Each year the Society has a get together at some interesting venues, usually the second weekend in September. These used to be called Reunions, because most of those attending did so every year and were mainly those members who had come together to form and grow the Society as part of their endeavours to trace their Bliss ancestors before the days of internet coverage of family history information.
Last year’s Annual Bliss Gathering was held from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 September 2019 in Constable Country, Essex.
The weekend commenced with a visit to Melford Hall, a National Trust property in the village of Long Melford, Postcode: CO10 9AA. On Saturday we visited Flatford Mill, East Bergholt, Postcode: CO7 6UL. Flatford Mill is a 17th century Watermill with a Millers cottage on the side of the River Stour. The scene was immortalised by John Constable in his painting of ‘The Haywain’. There is an exhibition of Constable paintings nearby, lovely walks along the River Stour, an ancient farmhouse to visit and a Tea Room. We enjoyed a boat ride on the river in glorious sunshine. In the afternoon we visited St Mary’s Parish Church, East Bergholt: Postcode CO7 6DE, which also houses a fine Constable painting. We were recommended to visit a near garden centre where we enjoyed tea in the garden.
Later we had an evening meal at The Angel Inn, Stoke Nayland. On Sunday we visited The Beth Chatto Gardens at Elmstead Market. The Gardens are especially for plant lovers as well as being creative. There is also a Nursery and a Tea Room.
Several members who had voted to choose this Essex venue, were unable to join us, but those who did, really enjoyed the weekend. Thanks to our Vice Chairman, Jenny Bliss for organising the weekend.
This year, there are no plans to have an Annual Bliss Gathering because the Coronavirus restrictions are expected to be in place well into the summer when any possible venues would have to be visited to ensure suitability. We look forward to arranging the next Bliss Gathering in September 2021.
The past venues were:-
1983 & 1984 – Delapre Abbey, Northamptonshire.
1985 – 1990 – Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire.
1991 – Stoke Bliss, Worcestershire.
1992 – Naseby, Northamptonshire.
1993 – Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
1994 – Sulgrave Manor, Northamptonshire.
1995 – Frampton Mansell, Gloucestershire.
1996 – Kings Lynn and Sandingham, Norfolk.
1997 – Stockwood Craft Museum and Lutton Hoo.
1998 – Ironbridge’s Blist Hill, the Ironbridge and Darby’s Blast Furnace.
1999 – Warwick Castle.
2000 – Royal Windsor Castle and Eton.
2001 – York’s Historic Walls, the Minister, River Cruise and the Shambles.
2002 – Dudley’s Industrial Museum, West Midlands.
2003 – Bletchley Park and Grafton Regis.
2004 – Chatham’s Historic Dockyard and Rochester.
2005 – Oxford University Press, Bodleian Library, talk on William Henry Bliss DCL and Blenheim Palace at Woodstock.
2006 – Gloucestershire’s Chedworth Roman Villa, Bell-ringing display at Barnsley, St. Mary’s Church Fairford, Gloucester Cathedral and Corinium Museum at Cirencester
2007 – Portsmouth Dockyard’s HMS Mary Rose, HMS Victory, Museums and Spinnaker Tower
2008 – Stratford upon Avon’s William Shakespeare’s and his families’ homes, Narrow Boat Cruise on the River Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Co’s Courtyard Theatre
2009 – Greenwich Old Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House
2010 – City of London Guildhall, Bank of England, Southwark Cathedral and the Globe Theatre
2011 – National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Tamworth Castle, the National Brewery Centre and Museum in Burton-on-Trent and Shugborough Hall, all in Staffordshire.
2012 – Blists Hill and Ironbridge, Shropshire (spoken as Bliss Hill)
2013 – The Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and a visit and buffet at Charterhouse.
2014 – Hampton Court Palace, dinner at an Esher Restaurant, Kew Gardens and Kew House.
2015 – London – BBC Broadcasting House, lunch and visit to the Wallace Gallery and Kenwood House.
2016 – London – The Inner Temple, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, dinner at the Tower Restaurant and the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.
2017 – Cambridge – The American Cemetery, Duxford Imperial War Museum, a dinner at a riverside restaurant in Cambridge and Cambridge University’s Clare College
2018 – Richmond – the Poppy Factory, lunch at an Italian Restaurant and Syon House.
2019 – Constable Country – Melford Hall, Flatford Mill, St Mary’s Church, Dedham and dinner at The Angel Inn, Stoke Nayland, The Beth Chatto Gardens at Emstead Market
2020 – Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we will not be able to arrange a gathering for September 2020. It is hoped to have a lunch so members can meet up prior to the AGM in 2021.