Frank & Patricia Herrmann Award

The Trustees of the Friends of Thomas Plume’s Library (Charity No 1098311) have decided to close the Frank and Patricia Herrmann Award as from 1st March 2015.

In spite of repeated and widespread advertising in the specialist press and a number of universities, especially the University of Essex, and re-issuing the Award Leaflet at regular intervals, only two successful entries have been received during the seven years of the Award’s existence. The Trustees of Thomas Plume’s Library considered that this take-up was too little to justify locking up a considerable sum of money indefinitely. After full discussion, especially with Mr and Mrs Herrmann, the Trustees have therefore concluded that the Award is no longer viable and it was discontinued as from 1st March 2015, i.e. the day after the expiry of the last issued deadline, the 28th February 2015. Sadly the donor, Ken Bernard of San Diego died before he could be consulted, but his daughter has been informed of our decision.

However, whilst closure was under active consideration we received two late entries requesting an extension of the deadline. They were both given an extended deadline date of 16th May 2015. Having considered the origins of these entries, the Trustees are not convinced that they constitute a significant re-awakening of on-going interest in the award, and their decision to discontinue it was therefore confirmed.

The Trustees, however, recognize that the aim of the Award scheme, namely the promotion of the Plume Library at a scholarly level, remains completely valid. They are therefore prepared to consider future approaches to them for remuneration with regard to completed essays if they meet the original Award criteria and provided funds permit. Interested persons should approach the chairman of the Friends of Thomas Plume Library for guidance before completing more than a proposal.

2010 Presentation

The Friends of Thomas Plume’s Library announced that the first grant of the Award was made in October 2010. The winner, Hannah Salisbury, submitted an essay of just over 4,000 words entitled ‘A World of Heat and Clamour: the life and times of an Essex Vicar’. This recounts the salient facts of the life of Hippolito du Chastelet de Luzancy d. 1713, who was a French convert to the Church of England from Roman Catholicism in about 1674/5, and was vicar of Harwich from 1678 to 1702 and then vicar of South Weald until his death. Both parishes are in Essex.

Copy of Award presentation 2010 002

Soon after Luzancy’s arrival in this country he was forced to recant at knife-point by a Jesuit. This caused a great clamour in Parliament, leading to the issue of a Royal Proclamation against this man, Pierre St Germain, who then fled the country. The essay examines Luzancy’s writings both concerning these events and his subsequent attacks on Socianism and goes on to place him in the context of the religious and social upheavals of his day and the likely reasons that Dr Plume collected three of his books, namely his fight against separation from the Church of England. It also draws our attention to Plume’s relationship with another Roman Catholic convert to the Church of England at this time and compares the careers of both men.

There were no other entries for the Award on this occasion but the judges were unanimous in deciding that the essay handsomely met the criteria listed on our website, adding that it was very well researched and very well written Our cheque for £500 was presented initially at a simple ceremony  and a more formal event to mark this occasion was held later, when Mr and Mrs Herrmann were present. The essay was published in the Spring 2011 edition of the Essex Journal.

2015 Presentation

The winner of the award on this occasion was Hilary Wyatt for her essay entitled ‘ Preserving the Plume: Towards an analytical Evaluation of the Building Fabric with Particular Focus on Site Context, Available Documentary Evidence, Morphology and Repair Strategies.’ Hilary had originally produced this work as a contribution to her MSc course in Sustainable Conservation at the University of Cardiff, after a series of visits to the Plume Library. Following discussion with us she very successfully rewrote it as an essay.

Award presentation 2015 webpage (500x380)

As the title suggests, the essay is an analysis of the history of the building in its physical context, but its main strength is the highly detailed analysis of the structure of the Plume building, in which many different areas of reconstruction and repair over three centuries are highlighted and  interpreted.

The three judges all agreed that this essay, supported as it is by a wealth of illustrative appendices, fully met the criteria of the Frank and Patricia Herrmann Award.   A cheque for £500 was presented to Hilary by Tony Doe (committee member and trustee) on the evening of the Plume Lecture, 21st November 2015 in All Saints Church.  Sadly Mr and Mrs Herrmann were unable to be with us for the presentation due to health issues.

NB In 2015 a further entry for the Frank and Patricia Herrmann Award was received. This was entitled ‘The Prince of Puritans: Dr Owen in the Plume Library’, by Michael Horne, a member of the Friends. This is a study of some of the works of Dr John Owen (1616-1683) a renowned Puritan theologian, one of whose works, Mr Horne informs us, is still in print today. Dr Owen was also the first Congregationalist minister of Coggeshall. In the opinion of all the judges, Mr Horne’s essay did not fully meet the criteria of the Frank and Patricia Herrmann Award, but he was awarded £100 as runner-up and in recognition of his having drawn John Owen to the attention of students of the Plume Library. Over the years this will prove to be a useful resource.