Young Vaughan Williams and pipe

Research & Resources

Vaughan Williams Foundation

The Vaughan Williams Foundation (VWF) was established in 2022, exactly 150 years after the birth of the celebrated composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. It brings together the two charities originally founded by Ralph (RVW Trust) and his wife Ursula (Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust) and is funded by the royalties earned from RVW’s music.

The principal aims of the Foundation are to honour RVW’s desire to support his fellow composers, and to make his own work widely accessible to the general public.

VWF is open for applications.


Vaughan Williams Letters

The Foundation website includes a searchable database of all RVW’s letters (over 5000 items); a catalogue of his published works with information on how to contact the appropriate publishers, and a selection of photographs from Ursula’s collection which are available to download for editorial purposes.

Letter to Gustav Holst

> Click here to view the Vaughan Williams Foundation website*

Access Details

All enquiries regarding the RVWT and the VWCT, and any outstanding grants, should now be addressed to the Foundation.

For further information contact Rosie Johnson at vaughanwilliamsfoundation.org/contact.

Essential Vaughan Williams Books

Williams: Composer, Radical, Patriot – A Biography
Aldritt, Keith.

Robert Hale. 2015. ISBN:9780719809378

Vaughan Williams Essays (11 essays by Vaughan Williams Fellowship winners)
*Adams, Byron, and Wells, Robin., (eds.)
Ashgate. 2003. ISBN: 185928387X

The Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895 – 1958 (Selected Letters)
Cobbe, Hugh. (ed.)
Oxford University Press. 2008. ISBN: 9780199257973

The Edge of Beyond – Ralph Vaughan Williams in the First World War
Connock, Stephen.
Albion Music. 2021. ISBN: 9780995628458

There Was a Time…Ralph Vaughan Williams – A Pictorial Journey from the Collection of Ursula Vaughan Williams
Connock, Stephen., Vaughan Williams, Ursula & Wells, Robin. (eds.)
Albion Music. 2003. ISBN: 0952870649

Toward the Sun Rising – Ralph Vaughan Williams Remembered
Connock, Stephen.
Albion Music. 2018. ISBN: 9780995628434

Vaughan Williams. Master Musicians Series. (Biography & study of works)
Saylor, Eric.
Oxford University Press. 2022. ISBN: 9780190918569

Working with Vaughan Williams. (Preface by Ursula Vaughan Williams)
Douglas, Roy.
The British Library. 1988. ISBN: 0712301488

Vaughan Williams in Perspective: Studies of an English Composer
*Foreman, Lewis., (ed.)
Albion Press. 1998. ISBN: 0952870614

The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams
Frogley, Alain and Thomson, Aidan J. (eds.)
Cambridge University Press. 2013. ISBN: 9780521197687

Vaughan Williams Studies
*Frogley, Alain., (ed.)
Cambridge University Press. 1996. ISBN: 0521480310

Vaughan Williams (Short biography)
Heffer, Simon.
Faber & Faber. 2008. ISBN: 9780571245758

The Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams (Second edition)
Kennedy, Michael.
Oxford University Press. 1980. ISBN: 0198163304

National Music and Other Essays (Ralph Vaughan Williams) (Second edition)
Kennedy, Michael. (ed.)
Oxford University Press. 1987. ISBN: 0192840169

Vaughan Williams on Music
Manning, David. (ed.)
Oxford University Press. 2008. ISBN: 9780195182392

Vaughan Williams: A Life in Photographs
Moore, Jerrold Northrop.
Oxford University Press. 1992. ISBN: 0198162960

Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge Music Bibliographies)
*Ross, Ryan.
Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) 2016. ISBN: 9781138792715

Heirs and Rebels: Letters Written to Each Other and Occasional Writings on Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst
Vaughan Williams, Ursula Vaughan Williams. & Holst, Imogen. (eds.)
Oxford University Press. 1959

Paradise Remembered (Edited by Roger Buckley with the assistance of Joyce Kennedy) (Autobiography)
*Vaughan Williams, Ursula.
Albion Music. 2002. ISBN: 0952870630

RVW: A Biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams
Vaughan Williams, Ursula Vaughan Williams
Oxford University Press. 1964. ISBN: 0192820826

The Captain’s Apprentice: Ralph Vaughan Williams and the Story of a Folk Song
Davison, Caroline.
Chatto & Windus. 2022. ISBN: 9781784744540

Ralph Vaughan Williams and Adrian Boult
Simeone, Nigel.
Boydell &Brewer Ltd, 2022. ISBN: 9781783277292

Vaughan Williams in Context
Ed. Julian Onderdonk, West Chester University, Pennsylvania and Ceri Owen, University of Birmingham
Cambridge University Press ISBN: 9781108493321

BBC Archives

BBC logo

BBC Archives manages one of the world’s largest multimedia archives. Our mission is to preserve content so that it can be re-used.

Our vision is to have an open archive, fit for a digital world. The BBC Archive Centre in Perivale, West London, houses most of the BBC Archive collections across 8 vaults and 60 miles of shelving containing 15 million assets. Other stores are held across London, in Caversham near Reading and at other sites around the UK. Around 200 staff work in BBC Archives; their aim is to manage the diverse range of collections and support research, reuse and access to BBC material by BBC staff and others who need it whilst they are making new content for the BBC. The earliest material dates back to 1890.

The BBC Archive is not directly accessible by the public, but BBC programmes can be researched at the British Film Institute or The British Library. Details can be found on the BBC Archives website*. Additionally, there is a wide range of resources that are accessible to the public online and a search for Vaughan Williams* produces almost 300 hits. Composer of the Week, a long running series on Radio Three has an extensive archive of programmes exploring the lives and music of composers all available online.

There are around twenty episodes on the Discovering Vaughan Williams website*.

The British Library Sound Archive

British LIbrary logo

The Sound and Moving Image catalogue is available online.

> Click here to view The British Library Sound and Moving Image Catalogue*.

Currently digitized recordings that can be heard immediately through SoundServer in the reading rooms can be found by typing Vaughan Williams and Soundserver into the search box.

Other recordings can be found by combining Vaughan Williams with another word such as Vaughan Williams and speaker to give a more focused result.

Access Details

Classical Music
Sound Archive
96 Euston Road

Access to the British Library’s collections of sound recordings and moving image is found in the Humanities 2 Reading Room at St Pancras via SoundServer and through appointments made with the Listening and Viewing Service which is accessible in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room.

A Reader Pass is required for entry, and information about what is required to obtain this can be found on the Reader Pass page on the British Library website*.

Hours of Opening can be found on the British Library website*.

= External website(s)

The British Library – Music Manuscripts

British LIbrary logo

The British Library is the UK’s national library with collections of global importance. The music collections are especially rich when it comes to the manuscripts of 20th century British composers.

It holds the largest collection of original documents, scores, recordings and ephemera relating to Vaughan Williams. Some of these are explored further in online web resources
(https://www.bl.uk/20th-century-music) and from time-to-time original material is displayed in the Library’s exhibition galleries. Resources can be found by searching in the Manuscript Catalogue *.

Additionally, the British Library’s Discovering Music website* has the following pages that include Vaughan Williams:

> Click here to view a Biography of the Composer *
> Click here to view a collection of articles on English music in the Twentieth Century *
> Click here to view the Digital images of resources within the collection *

Access Details

Music Manuscripts Department
96 Euston Road

Access to the British Library’s physical music collections is restricted to the Rare Books & Music Reading Room at St Pancras.

A Reader Pass is required for entry, and information about what is required to obtain this can be found on the Reader Pass page on the British Library website*.

Hours of Opening can be found on the British Library website*.

= External website(s)

Royal College of Music (London) – Library

Royal College of Music logo


Enquirers are advised to consult the library catalogue in the first instance.  This includes RVW manuscript scores held by the College and published works.

> Click here to view the library catalogue website *

Of particular note are the autograph manuscripts (MSS numbers in brackets):

  • Symphony no. 5 (4231)
  • The vagabond (4128)
  • Love’s last gift – set for voice and orchestra (4129)
  • The shepherds of the delectable mountains – piano score for first performance (4571) Heart’s music (4936)
  • Two pieces for violin and piano (4983)
  • Hugh the drover  – Act 2, Scene 1 (4572)
  • Romance for viola and piano (9732)

Holdings also feature some material partly in autograph:

  • Shepherds of the delectable mountains – annotated proof copy (4570)
  • 2-piano versions of Pastoral symphony and Symphony no. 6 (5360)
  • Sir John in love – the Host’s part (4964), and directions for Fenton’s part (9439)
  • Symphony no. 5 – corrected printed copy (8179)
  • Hugh the drover – annotated proof copy (8807)

There are some 70 autograph letters in the collection, not on the library catalogue.  These are catalogued and transcribed on the Vaughan Williams Foundation website *.

Vaughan Williams spent two periods as a student at the College and joined the staff in 1918.   Tributes to him were published in the RCM Magazine for 1959 which may be viewed on the Archive website *.

Access Details

Royal College of Music
Prince Consort Road

The library is open to all current members of the RCM and welcomes researchers who may use it for reference only.
For opening hours see the Royal College of Music website *

Remnants of Vaughan Williams’s Personal Library

Vaughan Williams's personal library icon

The collection of some eighty plus books was acquired following the death of Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Addison, William. Suffolk. Robert Hale, 1950. (Signed ‘RVW 1957’ in Ursula’s handwriting. The book contains ‘A Twopenny Guide to Thaxted Church’)

Arnold, Matthew. The Poetical Works. Macmillan, 1892. (Inscribed ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams from M.J.V.W., Christmas 1893’. Contains detailed markings for An Oxford Elegy)

The Apocrypha according to the Authorised Version. OOUP, undated. (Inscribed ‘Ralph with love Ursula 6.6.51’)

Ault, Norman, (ed). Elizabethan Lyrics. Longmans, Green, 1925. (Contains detailed markings for The Bridal Day)

Barnes, William. Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect. C. Kegan Paul, 1879. (Inscribed ‘From M.J.V.W. Oct. 9th, 1904’)

Bell, Robert Poetical Works of Ben Jonson. John W. Parker, 1856. (Signed by S. Catherine Darwin, this book contains many markings including for The Triumph which VW included in Sir John in Love)

Bénet, Stephen Vincent. John Brown’s Body. William Heinemann, 1929. (Signed R. Vaughan Williams)

Berni, Francesco. Orlando Innamorato. Parigi, 1768. (Two volumes only)

Bridge, Joseph C. Three Chester Whitsun Plays. Phillipson and Golder, 1906.

Bridges, Robert. Poetical Works. OUP, 1913. (Contains markings to various poems in VW’s writing)

Bridges, Robert. The Testament of Beauty. OUP, 1930. (Signed R. Vaughan Williams with various lines highlighted)

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. Aurora Leigh. Smith, Elder, 1898.

Buchan, John. Sir Walter Scott. Cassell, 1932.

Bullett, Gerald. The English Gallery of Shorter Poems. Dent, 1933. (Contains in Vaughan Williams handwriting a list of poems for possible musical settings, including texts by Rossetti, Hall and Cleveland)

Butcher, S. H. and Lang, M. The Odyssey of Homer. Macmillan, 1897.

Butterworth, George. A Memoir. privately printed, 1918. (Inscribed ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams from A. Kaye B., May 1918’)

Byron, Lord. The Works of Lord Byron with his Letters and his Life by Thomas Moore, in Fourteen Volumes John Murray, 1832.

Calverley, Charles Stuart. Verses and Fly Leaves. George Bell, 1887 and 1895 (two copies). (The 1887 edition is inscribed ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams’ and was, perhaps, a school prize. It is covered in ink spots)

Dickens, Charles. The Old Curiosity Shop. Collins, 1953. (Inscribed ‘RVW 1957’ in Ursula’s writing)

Donne, John. The Love Poems of John Donne. Chatto and Windus, 1937. (Inscribed ‘Ralph’ in Ursula’s writing with a card saying ‘Thank you for a lovely, lovely, day, my love’ again in Ursula’s writing)

Edgworth, Maria. Popular Tales. Two Volumes. Craddock, 1832.

Ekwall, Eilert, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames, OUP, 1940)

English Association, (ed). Poems of Today. Sidgwick and Jackson, 1918. (Signed R. Vaughan Williams)

Fisher, H. A. L. (ed). The Collected Papers of Frederic William Maitland. Three volumes. Cambridge University Press, 1911.

Fisher, H. A. L. Pages from the Past. OUP, 1939.

Fisher, H. A. L. An Unfinished Autobiography. OUP, 1941.

Ford, Ford Madox. Provence. George Allen and Unwin, 1938. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W. from Mary with love, 1955’)

Gilfillan, George, (ed). The Poetical Works of George Herbert. James Nicol, 1863. (Inscribed ‘Sophy Wedgwood from her Mother Feb 17, 1859’)

Greatheed, T. Poems by William Cowper, with the Life of the Author. Vol. 1, W. Wilson, 1821.

Hardy, Thomas. The Well-Beloved. Osgood, McIlvaine, 1897.

Hatchette (publisher). Greece, 1955. (Inscribed ‘R. Vaughan Williams, 10 Hanover Terrace, London NW1, 1955’ in Ursula’s writing)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Routledge, 1860. (Inscribed ‘MSVW from E. Darwin’)

Henderson, Philip, (ed). The Complete Poems of John Skelton. Dent, 1931. (Contains detailed markings for Five Tudor Portraits)

Heseltine, Olive. Lost Content. privately printed, 1948. (Inscribed ‘AMVW’)

Hickie, William James, (ed). The Comedies of Aristophanes, Vol. 1. George Bell, 1905. (Includes The Wasps)

Ingelow, Jean. Poems. Longman Green, 1864.

Jackson, Holbrook. The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear. Faber and Faber, 1947. (Marked ‘RVW’)

Kramer, Aaron. Roll the Forbidden Drums! Cameron and Kahn, 1954. (Inscribed ‘For Ralph Vaughan Williams, with admiration, Aaron Kramer, 7.10.56)

Krippner, Monica. Greece Invites. Hutchinson, 1955.

Lamb, Charles. Essays of Elia and Eliana. In Two Volumes, George Bell, 1891.

Lang, Andrew, (translated). The Iliad of Homer. Macmillan, 1895.

Lee, Sidney. Principles of Biography. Cambridge University Press, 1911. (Inscribed ‘To Mrs Herbert Fisher with the author’s very kind regards, 13.11.1911’)

Locock, Katharin. Poems of Abraham Cowley. Unit Library, 1903.

Long, George, (translator). The Thoughts of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. George Bell, 1892. (Inscribed ‘M.S.V. Williams 1893’)

Maitland, Frederic William. The Life and Letters of Leslie Stephen. Duckworth, 1906. (Contains press cuttings including an article on Leslie Stephen by Virginia Woolf, probably from 1932)

Mare, Walter de la. Love. Faber and Faber, 1943. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W. 12.x.43’ in Ursula’s writing)

Masefield, John. The Tragedy of Nan and Other Plays. Grant Richards, 1911.

Matthews, Elkin (ed), Georgian Poetry 1911-1912. Poetry Bookshop, 1913.

Matthews, Elkin (ed). Georgian Poetry 1916-1917. Poetry Bookshop, 1918.

Matthews, Elkin (ed) Georgian Poetry 1918-1919. Poetry Bookshop, 1919. (With a marking suggesting VW was looking at a poem by Edward Shanks, Fête Galante – The Triumph of Love)

MacCarthy, Desmond. Humanities. MacGibbon and Kee, 1953. (Inscribed ‘For Ursula Wedding Anniversary Feb 7th, 1954 “Not think to repent”’)

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick or The Whale. OUP, 1923. (Inscribed ‘RVW Xmas 1924’)

Meredith, George. Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Earth. Macmillan, 1894. (Inscribed ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams’. This book contains ‘A Lark Ascending’)

Mitford, Nancy. Voltaire in Love. Hamish Hamilton, 1957. (Inscribed ‘Ursula Vaughan Williams from R – 1957’)

Murray, John (publisher). A Handbook for Travellers in Somerset, 1899. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W. 1907’ and contains a letter to Mrs Vaughan Williams, dated 1 September 1901, recommending lodgings in Somerset)

Partridge, Eric (ed). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W. from U. Christmas 1956’)

Pollard, Alfred, (ed). Robert Herrick Volume II. Lawrence and Buller, 1898

Pollard, Alfred W. (ed). The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Macmillan, 1908. (Signed ‘RVW’ and ‘Frederic Maitland, Newham College’)

Pope, Alexander. The Works in Eight Volumes. Cavil, Martin, French, 1795.

Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur. The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1918. OUP, 1949 edition. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W. August 1955’ in Ursula’s handwriting. Contains markings for Epithalamion)

Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur. Felicities of Thomas Traherne. Dobell, 1934.

Raverat, Gwen. Period Piece – A Cambridge Childhood. Faber and Faber, 1952. (Inscribed R. Vaughan Williams in Ursula’s writing)

Rhys, Ernest. The Lyric Poems of Thomas Campion. Dent, 1895. (With various markings in VW’s writing)

Rossetti, William M. The Collected Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti Volume II. Ellis and Elvey, 1897.

Rossetti, William M. The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti. Macmillan, 1904.

Shaw, T. E. (translated). The Odyssey of Homer. OUP, 1935. (Inscribed ‘R. Vaughan Williams’)

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. The Poetical Works. Frederick Warne, 1892. (Signed R. Vaughan Williams; contains markings for the Shelley song cycle In Time of War)

Shove, Fredegond. Christina Rossetti – A Study. Cambridge University Press, 1931.

Shove, Fredegond. Poems. Cambridge University Press, 1956. (Contains letter and a poem by Fredegond written when she was seven)

Squire, J. C. (ed). Selections from Modern Poets. Martin Secker, 1921. (Signed R. Vaughan Williams)

Steegman, John. Cambridge. Batsford, 1948. (Inscribed ‘Uncle Ralph from Gil 12 October 1952’)

Sullivan, Seumas O’. Collected Poems. Dublin: The Orwell Press, 1941. (Signed ‘To Dr Vaughan Williams with due respect from Seumas O’Sullivan’)

Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Poems and Ballads. Chatto and Windus, 1893. (Inscribed ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams’)

Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Atalanta in Calydon. Chatto and Windus, 1901.

Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Harold – A Drama. Henry S. King, 1877.

Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Becket. Macmillan, 1884.

Tennyson, Alfred Lord. The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Macmillan,(Inscribed ‘Ralph Vaughan Williams from M.J.V.W., November 1892)

Tennyson, Charles. Alfred Tennyson. Macmillan, 1949. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W.’)

Tennyson, Hallam Lord. Tennyson and His Friends. Macmillan, 1911.

Trevelyan, R.C. Beelzebub and Other Poems. Hogarth Press, 1935. (Inscribed ‘A. and R. Vaughan Williams from R.C.T., Xmas 1935’)

Trevelyan. G. M. An Autobiography. Longmans, Green, 1949.

Trollope, Anthony. The Eustace Diamonds. OUP, 1930. (Inscribed ‘R.V.W. from M.S.V.W., Christmas 1930’)

Wade, Gladys. The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne. Dobell, 1932.

Warren, C. Henry. Essex. Robert Hale. 1950. (Inscribed ‘RVW 1957’ in Ursula’s writing)

Weekly, Ernest. The Romance of Words. John Murray, 1913.

Wheatley, Henry B. The Diary of Samuel Pepys. George Bell, 1904.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. David McKay, 1891. (Signed R. Vaughan Williams and M. Sheepshanks; contains detailed markings for A Sea Symphony)

Williams, Oscar (ed). A Little Treasury of Modern Poetry. Routledge, 1947. (Inscribed ‘Ursula from RVW Xmas 1948, not suitable for Tigs’)

Wordsworth, William, The Poetical Works in Seven Volumes. Edward Moxon, 1846.

Yeats. W. B. Four Plays. Macmillan, 1936.

Young, E. Hilton. Verses. Sidgwick and Jackson, 1935. (Inscribed ‘Vaughan Williams with remembrances from Hilton Young, 1935’)


A.M.V.W. is Ralph’s first wife, Adeline Maria Vaughan Williams

M.J.V.W. is Ralph’s sister, Margaret Jane Vaughan Williams (Meggie)

M.S.V.W. is Ralph’s mother, Margaret Susan Vaughan Williams

Gil is Sir Gilmour Jenkins, VW’s best man (and Ursula’s lover)

Catherine Darwin was Charles Darwin’s sister

Darwin was Charles Darwin’s older brother, Erasmus

Access Details

For further information contact Stephen Connock on albionslc@aol.com.

Staffordshire Record Office

Staffordshire History Centre logo

RVW’s ‘Staffordshire’ Flourish rediscovered.

My name is Graham Muncy and I am the Information Officer for the RVW Society, I receive many requests for information about our composer and his works from many parts of the world, especially from the USA, Canada and Germany, so I was recently rather surprised to receive one from my own town of Malvern, Worcestershire, a place usually famed for its associations with another quite famous British composer, Edward Elgar.

The request was for information on a short piece, Flourish for 3 Natural Trumpets, and attached to the message was the 15 bar, neatly-written 3-part score, obviously a copy. The sender was a trumpet teacher at a well-known school in Malvern who was keen to perform the piece.

Of course, my first reaction was to reach for the Michael Kennedy Catalogue of the works… and I soon discovered the short entry on page 209 and listed under the year 1951:

Flourish for Three [natural Bd] Trumpets. Specially written for Staffordshire schools in the year of the Festival of Britain.


First performance. Stafford, Borough Hall, 19 March 1951, conducted by Maude Smith.

Whereabouts of MS. Music Department, William Salt Library, Stafford.

British Library has photocopy (63849)

My curiosity now aroused, together with the need to identify the copy sent to me as the one in Kennedy’s catalogue and not another, as RVW probably composed other flourishes and fanfares, particularly during his stint composing for the Benson Company at Stratford just before the Great War, I phoned the William Salt Library.

I was not really surprised at being informed that they had no Music Department but became a little worried that they held no music…or manuscripts. They suggested the Staffordshire Record Office, so I tried an email and a few days later, I had a positive reply saying that they had found some files relating to the Staffordshire Schools Music Service with some music scores including a manuscript version of the Flourish. The reply went on… ‘It does not obviously bear his name but there is a scribble at the bottom that might be a signature if you knew what his looked like, and also on the envelope. There are also items about Vaughan Williams in the scrapbook and also a set of programmes.’ (File CEU/4/2/2.)

Having had a fair working knowledge of the manifestations of RVW’s signature at various stages of his life, the promise of a scribble looked hopeful, so I arranged a visit to the Record Office in Stafford as soon as I was free.

After a few registration formalities, I was finally presented with File CEU/4/2/2. Naturally, I quickly found the envelope containing the music manuscripts and together with the score of an orchestral suite by Frank Merrick and an interesting choral song by Maude Smith, I finally got my (very clean) hands on the Flourish which to my pleasure was in RVW’s spidery hand with the signature at the bottom, unmistakably his. The Flourish, written on three staves throughout, matched the 3-trumpet score that the original enquirer sent to me, so I was able to confirm that this was the manuscript that I was seeking. And the bonus was the original envelope addressed by RVW & with a rather smudged ‘Dorking’ postmark – I was unable to make out the date.

Of course, the other bonus was the material that this file contained. There were a number of programmes from the late 1940s and early 1950s recording the rather impressive musical activities organised by the Staffordshire Schools Music Service and their County Music Advisor, Maude Smith. The Service organised choral and orchestral concerts involving numerous schools across the county in centres including Stafford and Stoke with a special concert in Wolverhampton Civic Hall – ‘A Vaughan Williams Festival’ in 1952 to celebrate his eightieth birthday and in which his ‘Staffordshire’ Flourish was performed, together with choral songs and folksong arrangements, The Lark Ascending, Benedicite, and Festival Te Deum.

From what I have discovered from this file and the material preserved, The Staffordshire County Music Service were very proud of this connection with RVW and worked very hard to promote his music and to involve so many schools, teachers and the public in the enterprise. Belated praise must be given to the County Music Advisor, Maude Smith for asking RVW to compose the Flourish and for promoting the composer and his works to the young people and the wider public of Staffordshire. For his part, RVW probably felt a strong affinity to the county through his connections with the Wedgwoods and Darwins as well as perhaps not being able to turn down a request from Miss. Smith.

(I wish to thank the staff at the Staffordshire Record Office for their help. I have now amended my copy of Michael Kennedy’s Catalogue…)

Access Details

Collections Officer, Archives & Heritage
Staffordshire Record Office
Eastgate Street
ST16 2LZ

Staffordshire Record Office has now closed for major building work as part of the Staffordshire History Centre project. For more information about the temporary closure and interim service please see Staffordshire Record Office planning a visit *•= External website(s)

Surrey History Centre

Surrey County Council logo

  • Archives of the Leith Hill Musical Festival (refs. 2054, 8030, 8853, 8908);
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams’ manuscript score of Song for a Spring Festival, composed to mark the Leith Hill Musical Festival’s 50th anniversary in 1955 (ref. 2054/47/10);
  • Diaries and correspondence of Lucy Broadwood, folk song collector, including letters from RVW (refs. 2185/LEB, 6782);
  • Papers relating to RVW collected by Dr William Cole (ref. 8062);
  • Farrer family of Abinger, correspondence about Leith Hill Musical Festival including letters from RVW (ref. 2572);
  • Sale particulars of The White Gates, Dorking, 1953 (ref. 4414/1/87);
  • Archives of Surrey County Music Association (RVW was at one time chairman), (ref. 4432);
  • Vaughan Williams family of High Ashes and Tanhurst, Leith Hill, Wotton, small group of papers relating to RVW (ref. 6536);
  • Papers relating to The pageant of Abinger, written by EM Forster, with music composed and arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1934 (6536/35, 7744/1, 8852);
  • Letters to Susan Lushington from RVW (ref. 7854/4/36/39/-);
  • Lady Mary Wallis of Effingham, letters referring to RVW at the Leith Hill Musical Festival (ref. 9456);
  • Correspondence of Evangeline Farrer of Abinger, including from Margaret VW, with references to RVW’s activities, (ref. 9793);
  • Vocal score for ‘The Poisoned Kiss’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams, published by Oxford University Press, dedicated “With best wishes from R Vaughan Williams”. Includes rehearsal and production details with programme and reviews for a production of the opera by The Bridport Singers in 1937 (ref. CC1283)
  • Records of RVW’s piano now at Leith Hill Place, in the Broadwood piano archives (ref. 2185/JB)
  • The above are the principal items in the collections. Further references and full details are available on the catalogue database *.

Access Details

130 Goldsworth Road
GU21 6ND

> Click here to view the Visiting Surrey History Centre website *

> Click here to view the Surrey History Centre opening hours and how to get there information *

Cambridge University Library

Cambridge Library logo

Mus Doc 26 – The Cambridge Mass.
Vaughan Willams’s doctoral music composition

Access Details
Cambridge University Library
West Road

Cambridge University Library Special Collections are open to members of the public provided they hold a valid library card.

Opening hours are:
Monday – Friday: 9.30am – 6.15pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 4.30pm

• = External website(s)

Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge

Trinity College, Cambridge emblem

RVW resources in the library:

  • Small display of materials relating to VW and his years as a student at Trinity College, displayed in the Wren Library
  • Letters of Vaughan Williams, pencil portrait by Joy Finzi, related music manuscripts

Access Details

Wren Library
Trinity College

01223 338400

12-2 Monday-Friday, and 10.30-12.30 on Saturdays in Full Term, subject to Covid restrictions.

First floor room accessible only by staircase.

Visit the website for library and visiting details *

= External website(s)

Fitzwilliam Museum, Manuscripts and Printed Books

Fitzwilliam Museum logo

Music manuscript material
  • MU.MS. 626, RVW holograph manuscript, three preludes for the organ founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes (8 fols.)
  • MU.MS.694A-C, RVW holograph manuscript, Music to The Wasps of Aristophanes (420 pp. in 3 vols), with programme for the original performances, Cambridge, 1909
  • MU.MS.695, RVW holograph manuscript, The Wasps: vocal score (156 pp.), with programme for the original performances, Cambridge, 1909
  • MU.MS.901, RVW holograph manuscript, Fen and Flood, SATB chorus part (11 fols.), sent to Patrick Hadley, October 1955
  • MU.MS.1462, Patrick Hadley, ‘One Morning in Spring’, copyist manuscript (22 pp.) with holograph additions, sent to RVW for his 70th birthday
Fitzwilliam Museum Archive
  • FM/70/10/626/1, Autograph signed letter to Charles Cudworth, 11 May 1933 (concerns MU.MS.626)
  • FM/5/7/1/ Williams (RV) – Ralph Vaughan Williams to L. C. G. Clarke: letter 13.11.1947 (Concerns a proposed portrait of the composer)
  • GEN/W/WILLIAMS (RV)/1, typed letter signed, to Patrick Hadley, 8 June 1949
  • KEYNES/1
    Album compiled by Geoffrey Keynes mainly relating to a ballet – Job being William Blake’s Vision of the Book of Job (music by Ralph Vaughan Williams; scenario by G. Keynes; choregraphy by Ninette De Valois and scenery/costumes by Gwen Raverat). It includes various versions of the scenario some with corrections and one translated into French; correspondence from various sources connected with the project including Ninette De Valois, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gwen Raverat and Frederick Ashton; together with programmes from various productions from 1930 to 1959, press cuttings and a few photographs including two signed. Also included are some general articles/cuttings on ballet and obituaries and memorial services for Ralph Vaughan Williams and Lydia Lopokova (Lady Keynes).
  • KEYNES/2/1 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Geoffrey Keynes: letter
  • KEYNES/2/2 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Geoffrey Keynes: letter
  • KEYNES/2/3 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Geoffrey Keynes: letter 26.11.1957
  • KEYNES/2/4 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes: letter
  • KEYNES/2/5 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes: letter 3.6.1944
  • KEYNES/2/6 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes: letter 20.12.1953
  • KEYNES/2/7 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes: letter 28.1.1954
  • KEYNES/2/8 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gwen Raverat: letter October 1927
  • KEYNES/2/9 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gwen Raverat: letter
  • KEYNES/2/10 – Ralph Vaughan Williams to George Darwin: letter 11.6.1909
  • KEYNES/2/11 – Ursula Vaughan Williams to Margaret and Geoffrey Keynes: letter 14.5.1970
  • KEYNES/2/12 – Ursula Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes: postcard 9.9.1958
  • KEYNES/2/13 – Ursula Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes: letter 15.9.1960

Access Details

By appointment to researchers in the Graham Robertson Study Room, open Tuesday to Friday, 10-1 and 2-4.30. Group visits can sometimes be arranged.


Charterhouse School

Charterhouse logo

Vaughan Williams Archive Sources

0531 Vaughan Williams: Charterhouse Masque Music, original manuscript. 1950
0250 Vaughan Williams: Household Music letters. Two letters from RVW make clear that Mr Smithers had asked for a bass part for the “Variations Aberystwyth” from his Household Music. In the event Mr Smithers wrote his own Bass part, and it was sent to RVW who made a few small alterations and suggestions, written on the part. (The music is not in RVW’s hand but, presumably, in Mr Smithers’). Mr S makes some comments on the music and RVW’s suggestions in his covering letter to Mr Llewellyn. 1953 1976
0259 Vaughan Williams’ letters to Nancy Marsden: Nancy Marsden nee Coles was a cellist. The 14 letters to her (1937-52) from RVW are about Leith Hill Musical Festival and associated performances. Some are to her as conductor of the Merrow choir. Pr programmes & cuttings: not Dorking 1947-72, Dorking 1951-72, General & Funeral Service, Nancy Marsden herself; neither NM nor RVW: Guildford Symphony Orchestra and Repertory Co, “The Bosun’s Mate” by Ethel Smyth, verse to Claud Powell from the G Orchestra. 1913 1977
0297 Vaughan Williams’ letter to Harold Haig Brown thanking for a verse and refusing to write another hymn tune.
0402 Xerox of notes said to be by Vaughan Williams: Notes made on pr circulars sent out from C’house, one dated Nov 1903. The ms notes by RVW appear to be the words of folk songs, one about a ploughboy, one about hunting, one about a boy living in a cottage. There are three pages of notes, and some were perhaps taken down in a hurry. The xeroxed pages came from The English Folk Song and Dance Society at Cecil Sharp House. 1903?
0487 Vaughan Williams’ letter to the Post Office: Letter congratulating the Post Office on successfully redirecting a letter addressed to him at Down Ampney where he had not lived “since somewhere about 1876”. The envelope is enclosed. With dealer’s description and cover. 25 Jan 1957
10567 Postcard referring to Vaughan Williams: Postcard from Richard Tayler to H & S Corke with details of an entry in the visitors’ book in a house on Mull where he has been staying. RVW stayed there in 1922, and is reported to have gone there in order to set some gaelic songs for the present owner of the house’s wife’s father. RVW has written a crotchet on the bottom line of the stave, and by it “C Bass”. A visit to Scotland during 1922 is not mentioned in Ursula VW’s biography.

The Carthusian magazine
  • Mar 1888 p428 report of concert on 25 Feb
  • Nov 1888 p509 report of concert on 20 Oct
  • Dec 1889 p657-658 French Debating Soc. (merits of horse racing v football)
  • Feb 1890 p676-677 French Debating Soc (Channel Tunnel)
  • March 1890 p691 French Debating Soc. (classics teaching)
  • April 1890 p712-713 French Debating Soc.
  • March 1890 Promoted to Corporal in Rifle Corps
  • Dec 1952 p1 letter from RVW
  • July 1956 Article by RVW about the Masque
White Lists (termly form lists) Blue Books
  • LQ1887 Saunderites, Middle IV B, 1887 p82-83
  • CQ1887 Saunderites, Upper IV B Choir
  • OQ1887 Saunderites, Upper IV B Choir
  • LQ1888 Saunderites, Upper IV Choir
  • CQ1888 Saunderites, Upper IV Choir, 1888 p78-79
  • OQ1888 Saunderites, Under V A
  • LQ1889 Robinites, Monitor, Head of House
  • CQ1889 Robinites, Monitor, Head of House 1889 p86-87
  • OQ1889 Robinites, V Form A, Monitor, Head of House
  • LQ1890 Robinites, V Form A, Monitor, Head of House
  • CQ1890 Robinites, V Form A, Monitor, Head of House 1890 p84-85
Black Book (extra labour entries) 32/19
  • 19 Feb 1887, Noisy, Voigt
  • 20 July 1887, Talking, Voigt (with Charles Jeffcock RA)
  • 2 August 1887 Maths Ex. Neglected, Noon
  • 28 Sept 1887, Ill behaved, Sharpe
  • 5 Oct 1887, Bad manners, Voigt
  • 10 Dec 1887, Impos. Neglected, Sharpe
  • 24 Oct 1888, Playing the fool, Sharpe
Annie Marion’s Scrapbooks
  • 1888 p13, Programme
  • 1888 p19, Programme
  • 1888 p13, Programme 25 Feb (See Carthusian report of concert, March
  • 1888 p428)
  • 1888 p37, Choir list
  • 1888 p80, Programme 8 May ?
  • 1888 p80, Programme 5 Aug Trio composed by RVW (four performers) and song composed by HV Hamilton
  • 1888 p92, Photo Saunderites CQ1888
  • 1888 p107, Programme 20 Oct Welsh concert (See Carthusian report of concert Nov 1888 p509)
  • 1889 p17, Programme 9 Feb
  • 1889, Corps photo
  • 1889 p58, Rifle Corps promotion
  • 1889, Robinites photo
  • 1889 p111, Programme 12 Oct
  • 1889 p133, Concert 3 Dec
  • 1890, Robinites photo
  • 1890 p22, programme 22 Feb
0478 Miss Weeke’s collection
  • 19 Programme 5 Aug 1888
  • 24 Programme 20 Oct 1888
  • Saunderites 1887 and 1888
    Robinites 1889 and 1890
    Rifle Corps 1889
Charterhouse Register 1872-1900:
  • LQ1887-CQ1890
    b 12 Oct 1872: s of Rev Arthur Charles Vaughan Williams, V of Down Ampney, Glos: C’90: Trin, Camb: BA: MusD 1901: Hon Fellow 1935: Musician and composer: In Gt War, Pte RAMC and RGA: Hon D Mus (Oxon) 1919: OM 1935: Publication: National Music 1935: m (1) 1897, Adeline, d of Herbert William Fisher of Brockenhurst (L’37): (2) 1953, Mrs Ursula Wood, d of Maj-Gen Sir Robert Ferguson Lock, KBE, of Milford-on-Sea, and widow of Lt-Col J M J Forrester Wood, RA: d in London 26 Aug 1958b 12 Oct 1872: s of Rev Arthur Charles Vaughan Williams, V of Down Ampney, Glos: C’90:
    Trin, Camb: BA: MusD 1901: Hon Fellow 1935: Musician and composer:
    In Gt War, Pte RAMC and RGA:
    Hon D Mus (Oxon) 1919: OM 1935: Publication: National Music 1935:
    m (1) 1897, Adeline, d of Herbert William Fisher of Brockenhurst (L’37): (2) 1953, Mrs Ursula Wood, d of Maj-Gen Sir Robert Ferguson Lock, KBE, of Milford-on-Sea, and widow of Lt-Col J M J Forrester Wood, RA:
    d in London 26 Aug 1958
  • OQ1888
    RS VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, Hervey Wedgwood.
    b 14 April 1869: 1st s of Rev Arthur Charles Vaughan Williams, V of Down Ampney: Jun School: 0’88: New Coll, Ox: BA: Barr LI 1895: Egyptian Gov Service 1905-12: m 1917, Constance Margaret, ygst d of Rt Hon William Lidderdale: d in London 30 May 1944.

Access Details

Charterhouse School

Catherine Smith, Archivist

01483 291500

Researchers are welcome to visit the archives but need to book in advance.

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, English Folk Dance and Song Society

EDFS logo

EFDSS, founded in 1932 from the merger of the Folk Song Society and the English Folk Dance Society, is the national development agency for preserving, protecting, disseminating and promoting the folk arts at the heart of England’s rich and diverse cultural landscape.

We run programmes of education and artist development at Cecil Sharp House and a range of venues across England, and through our library and archive. When Vaughan Williams died in 1958 he was the president of EFDSS, and it was decided to rename the library in his honour. Though most of Vaughan Williams’ folk material and manuscripts were deposited in the British Library, the VWML holds his folk music scrapbooks and broadside collection, as well as some correspondence and other texts.

> Click here to view details of the Vaughan Williams collections at EFDSS *

Access Details

Tiffany Hore
Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent’s Park Road

Open to the public, no booking required. Currently open 11am – 4pm Tuesday to Friday, and the first and third Saturdays of the month. Hours may extend in the near future.

  • = External website(s)

Sound & Vision

British Library: National Sound Archive
The British Library’s collection includes commercial discs, tapes of BBC and other radio broadcasts, test pressings, and rare or unpublished recordings donated by composers and private collectors.
At time of writing the Archive is offline but try later
> Click here to view the British Library website

The Passions Of Vaughan Williams
2008, BBC Four
The music of Ralph Vaughan Williams ranges far beyond the folksy and the pastoral. The hidden story of his long affair with Ursula Wood reveals a composer of enormous energy and passion and opens the way to a reappraisal of his music. Full length movie on YouTube.
Written and directed by John Bridcut:
> Click here to visit John Bridcut’s website
> Click here to vist YouTube page

O Thou Transcendent: The Life Of Ralph Vaughan Williams
Film biography of the great composer, produced by the multi-award-winning director, Tony Palmer. Featuring many of those who knew and worked with him, including the Gloucester Cathedral Choir, conducted by Andrew Nethsingha, archive performances by Boult and Barbirolli. Available to purchase.
> Click here to visit Tony Palmer’s website

A Short Biography Colin Lees
An excellent presentation made for the Ralph Vaughan Williams website.
> Click to visit our Short Biography page
> Click to visit the YouTube page

R.V.W.: a portrait in words, music and memories of Ralph Vaughan Williams
Documentary By Michael Oliver
Broadcast in the series Music Weekly on Sunday 6th December 1981 at 10.30.  Produced by Christine Hardwick.
> Click to visit our Short Biography page
> Click to visit the YouTube page 

Vaughan Williams (1984)
For the South Bank Show, LWT, tx. 8/4/1984
60 mins, colour
Directed by Ken Russell
The life and work of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, with illustrations and comments from his widow Ursula and with particular focus on his nine symphonies.
> Click to visit the YouTube page


Vaughan Williams on Facebook

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Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Group

A celebration of the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958). Managed by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society.

> Click here to view the Facebook Page *

Vaughan Williams Discussion Group

This is a group where we discuss the life and music of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, along with related musical and cultural topics. We avoid raising contemporary political issues here, though discussion of the social and political affairs of RVW’s lifetime is acceptable, of course, where they are relevant to discussion of his music. The group regularly share images of RVW and with almost 1200 members it offers a valuable knowledge base for those interested in Vaughan Williams.

> Click here to view the Facebook Group *

Access Details

Free access to everyone. We invite people wishing to join our group to respond to the three very simple membership questions.

Horsham Museum and Art Gallery

The Ralph Vaughan Williams Collection of published books, scores and recordings was established in the late 1970s, after Surrey Libraries had collected a lot of material about this local composer over many years. It is an element of the Surrey Performing Arts Library.

The collection comprises around 70 books, 300 scores, 200 LP records, 250+ compact discs, and the Vaughan Williams Choral Archive (a comprehensive collection of his smaller choral works).

NEWSPAL *, a charitable trust now manages the Performing Arts Library collection, which is currently based at Ewell Library. The Trust aspire to finding separate accommodation in the future. Most items are available for loan directly from Ewell library.


Access Details

Ewell Library
Bourne Hall
Spring Street
KT17 1UF


Pamphlets, Leaflets, Miscellany

Tributes to Vaughan Williams: 50 Years On

57 pages. A reprint of the Royal College of Music magazine from Easter 1959 which gathered tributes to Ralph Vaughan Williams from people who had known him throughout his life.
Reprinted in 2009 with the assistance of the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust.
May be out of print. Try libraries or the Royal College of Music.

Contributors: Mary Bennett, Sir Adrian Boult, The Lady Cynthia Colville, J. Ellis Cook, Frances Cornford, Margery Cullen, Dr. A. T. Davison, A. E. Dickinson, Roy Douglas, Rupert Erlebach, Keith Falkner, Including American Tributes, Christopher Finzi, Dr. Ruth Gipps, Eric Greene, Ernest Hall, Edna Harling, Genia Hornstein, Imogen Holst, Dr. Herbert Howells, Frank Howes, Dr. Gordon Jacob, Elizabeth Maconchy, Lady Diana Montgomery-Massingberd, Michael Mullinar, Dr. G. S. Mccleary, David Mcfall, Ralph Nicholson, Bernard Shore, Henry T. Steggles, Jean Stewart, Lris Lady Wedgwood, Grace Williams, Ursula Vaughan Williams, John Wilson, Sir Stuart Wilson.


Tributes 50 years on booklet cover


Vaughan Williams in Dorking

42 pages. A collection of personal reminiscences of the composer published by the Local History Group of the Dorking and Leith Hill District Preservation Society.
Edited by Celia Newbery.
Available from Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre.

>Click to visit Dorking Museum


Vaughan Williams in Dorking booklet cover

The Dorking Trail

Vaughan Williams lived in or near Dorking for many years and was where he composed many of his most significant works. Even when not living in the area, he retained close connections with the town. The website shows some of the landmarks associated with the composer and in particular, places connected with the Leith Hill Musical Festival, of which he was the conductor for many years.

The photograph taken in 1949, © Dorking Museum K977 shows the composer in the garden of his house, ‘The White Gates’ .

>Click to visit webpage

Vaughan Williams in garden of The White Gates


Ralph Vaughan Williams O.M. 1872 – 1958

Edited by Barbara Yates Rothwell.
Ralph Vaughan Williams Centenary Committee.

Published to celebrate Vaughan Williams’s centenary in 1972 as a tribute from the people and organisations in and around Dorking.

Contains articles and tributes by Sir Arthur Bliss, Sir Adrian Boult, Ursula Vaughan Williams and others.

Out of print. Copies may be available at libraries.

Centenary Committee booklet 1971Centenary Committee booklet 1971 contents