The real St Vowelless’s


THIS is St Beuno’s, the Jesuit college near St Asaph in North Wales which was home to Gerard Manley Hopkins while he was composing The Wreck of the Deutschland.

In The Hopkins Conundrum, Tim Cleverley refers to it as “St Vowelless’s”, which isn’t quite fair to the real name. It’s meant to be a way of representing an Englishman’s bewilderment with the Welsh language in general – the English tending not to realise that the letters ’y’ and ’w’ which feature so often in Welsh words are actually vowels.

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