Monmouth Wyedean 374

We begin 2024/2025 stronger than before

Our Circle began the year 2023/2024 with 18 members including 7 joint members. During the year, we gained 1 joint member and 1 full member on re-joining, and lost 2 on transfer out, so 18 members and 8 joint members. However, on the close of Hereford Circle 190 on 31 March 2024, 2 of our joint members from Hereford transferred in as full members and 1 new member from Hereford transferred in. So, we begin 2024/2025 with 19 members, including 6 joint members, and with high expectations.

We have taken up the Province 12 challenge to be relaxed and lively

In line with the Province 12 Membership, Recruitment and Retention Strategy Report, Executive Summary, Actions for Circles, published in September 2022, we let people see that being a Catenian is fun; our meetings take 30 minutes or less; with dated and non value-added formality dropped; with a business casual dress code; with members engaging and socialising with Parish life; and opening our social events to all the Parish including non-Catholic Christian men who attend Mass. 

We meet on the third Thursday each month except in December. Many of our meetings are with Ladies dining. We hold most of our meetings at lunchtime, except where otherwise notified in our monthly circulars and on the Province 12 website where we also notify times for registration, meetings and meals. 

Our venue is Forest Hills Golf Club, Mile End Road, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 7QD. We are a social group who believe informality, good food and keeping our costs as low as possible is the key to our survival. 

Our dress code is smart casual

Bookings should be made with our Dining Secretary, contact details in our monthly Circulars and on the Province 12 website no later than 10:00am on the Monday preceding a meeting, after which menu choices may not be changed and cancellations may have to be charged. 

Visitors, who are always most welcome, should please note that only our Circle President will wear insignia at his discretion. Visiting Officers may of course wear insignia at their discretion. It is no longer necessary to stand when speaking. 

 About our Circle

Monmouth Wyedean Circle was inaugurated in April 2016, becoming the first new circle in Province 12 for 48 years. It is the only circle in Province 12 that was set up to serve both England and Wales. Our current roll has 19 members drawn from a wide and largely rural area centred on Monmouthshire, the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. In the wider area, we have members living in Bath, Bicester, Herefordshire and Powys. Our membership also boasts Scottish and Irish heritage!  

We visit and welcome vistors from other Circles. Our social calendar traditionally includes dining with ladies, family visits to places of interest, theatres and walks and these are open to friends. So far we have visited Harvington Hall in Worcestershire notable for its seven priest-holes, the Royal Mint at Llantrissant, the seminary at St. Mary's College Oscot, the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and Tredegar House and Orangery in Newport.

In addition we have had a number of guest speakers including Gerald Davies CBE DL of the Welsh Rugby Union and the British Lions, Andrew Blake of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and representatives of various local charities that we support. We host an annual Provincial St. Patrick's Race Night in March, an annual Clergy Night for our parish priests, and annual Masses for Vocations and for Deceased Catenians.  

More recently, our Circle has spawned a musical group known as the Celtic Collectors who comprise Catenians and valued guests and ladies. They have performed Welsh- Irish- and Scottish-themed lunch entertainment following our meetings, a concert for our parish and community and a concert for a local charity. They can be seen in our Photo Gallery below. 

Our Circle supports the Catenian Bursary Fund which exists to support young people who volunteer to individual or group projects overseas. A young member of our parish has received a bursary together with additional support from our Circle to undertake voluntary service in India. 

We would love to welcome any visiting Catenians and at Ladies events with their ladies, and to hear from any gentlemen interested in joining or hearing more about us (details of how to contact us below). 

The Coronavirus pandemic 

2020-2021 was like no other year, with no formal meetings for months at National, Provincial or Circle level other than by Zoom, when virtual meetings became the order of the day for most Circles. The arrangement did allow members to “visit” other Circles not only. in GB, but also in Australia, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Malta, Jersey and Guernsey! 

Mass was celebrated for much of the year streamed on-line without congregations. National Conference, due to take place in 2020 in Edinburgh, was cancelled and in May 2021 was conducted by Zoom. There is no doubt that the pandemic has caused major problems for the Association, Circles and venues. Equally, while Zoom has held us together, there is nothing as good as meeting with colleagues over a glass of wine. Happily, we were able to resume face to face Mass and Catenian meetings at our usual venue from August 2021. However, Brexit, the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine and Gaza-Israel wars have all conspired to cause a huge challenge, in which energy, fuel and food costs have led to increases in the cost of traveling, accommodation and meals. In order to maintain being a Catenian affordable, we continue to work with our venue to keep our costs down.

Our Formation as Monmouth Wyedean Group 932

Our journey began on 9th March 2015 with the first meeting of a project team set up to consider the potential for membership growth in Monmouth, the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean.

Initially the project team consisted of four members of Abergavenny Circle 238: Chris Cherry, Robert Derricott, Geoff Quinn and Dave Andrews, all of whom are parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Monmouth. The parish priest of Monmouth, Canon Nicholas James, and the then Provincial Membership Officer, Gervase O'Donovan, were invited to join the project team and pulpit presentations were held in Monmouth, Chepstow and the Forest of Dean parishes, and a social evening was held for interested parishioners to learn more about the Catenian Association. 

In all just seven monthly meetings of the project team were held, and Monmouth Wyedean Group 932 was inaugurated on 15th October 2015 by the then Provincial President, Pat Burbidge, with 12 founder group members including the four Abergavenny brothers who formed the project team, plus four more Abergavenny brothers, and one brother from Hereford 190 and another from Bath 192.

Inauguration as Monmouth Wyedean Circle 374

Within six months of the Group being recognised by Province 12, our membership had increased to 17, including four new Catenians and a brother from Bicester 360. 

Chris Cherry was elected Founder President and he accepted the Charter granted to the new Monmouth Wyedean Circle 374 from Great Britain National Grand President Peter Woodford on 21stApril 2016. 

Our Photo Gallery

Tour of Harvington Hall, Worcestershire, for tales of devotion and Catholic persecution arranged by Geoff Quinn, 9 July 2017

Assembling for a Royal Mint Tour, Llantrissant, arranged by Geoff Quinn, 25 November 2017

Anniversary celebration aperitifs, AGM, at Forest Hills Golf Club, Coleford, 19 April 2018

WRU and Lions Rugby legend, Gerald Davies was guest speaker at our Clergy & Ladies Night at Forest Hills Golf Club, Coleford, 20 September 2018

Third Provincial St. Patrck's Day Charity Race Night, hosted by Monmouth Wyedean 374 and arranged by Dave Andrews at Whitchurch & Ganerew Community Hall, 16 March 2019 

Joint walk with Abergavenny 238 arranged by Chris Cherry and hosted by Monmouth Wyedean 374 in the Cyril Hart Arboretum, Forest of Dean, attended by 24 brothers and wives, 10 June 2021

Joint Industrial Heritage Walk with Abergavenny 238 arranged by Larry Thomas and hosted by Abergavenny 238, starting at Llanfoist Car Park, following the disused railway line to Govilon and returning along the Monmouthshire and Pontypool Canal toepath, 29 July 2021

Visit to Tredegar House, Newport on 14 October 2021

Joint walk with Abergavenny Circle around Llanthony Abbey on 29 October 2021

Christmas Party at the Three Salmons Hotel, Usk, 28 January 2022, delayed by the pandemic

Joint walk with Abergavenny Circle around RSPB Newport Wetlands, 30 March 2022

Presidential Handover Meal at the Kilpeck Inn, Herefordshire, 24 April 2022

Eyes down for Province 12 Royal Ascot Race Night, held at the Whitchurch & Ganarew Memorial Hall, Herefordshire on 18 June 2022 

Before the deluge! Circle fielded a party of 12 to attend an open-air performance by The Lord Chamberlain's Men of "As You Like It" at Raglan Castle  on 24 June 2022. Hats off, the show had to go on to the end!

Picnic at Lydney Harbour, after the Joint Walk with Abergavenny Circle on 13 July 2022 

Visit to Kentchurch Court & Gardens, 10 August 2022 

Advent Music and Shared Supper Event, 15 December 2022

Dr Rob Jones' presented “Stuck in the Middle with You – the Marches, Monmouth and the Forest of Dean in the Middle Ages” to 20 members, wives and visitors, 19 January 2023

Mine host Dave Andrews at the microphone, with the winners at Provincial St. Patrick's Race Night held on Saturday, 18 March 2023, attended by over 40 Catenians, visitors, parishioners and wives 

Presidents' Handover Lunch at the Three Salmons, Usk, St. George's Day, 23 April 2023

Intrepid Walkers in the Forest of Dean, about to walk off the Coronation weekend festivities, 10 May 2023

Mike Bushell, presented with his 50-year Anniversary Scroll at our 77th Circle Meeting held on 18 May 2023, in the presence of 38 attendees including Mike's wife, Christine and visitors from Newport and Bristol Circles and their wives

At our July 2023 meeting, President Tony (pictured centre) welcomed Glyn Jones back into the Circle, bringing our membership to 20 in the presence of 11 visitors. After lunch all 43 present were entertained by the Celtic Collectors (pictured left) consisting of three Monmouth Catenians: President Tony Forster  (guitar), Dave Andrews and Glyn Jones, together with Mike Keating (mandolin), and singers Chris Lowry, Pat Stewart and Helen Quinn. Plaudits received from attendees asserted this was our best ever meeting, hopefully securing the future of the ensemble! 

The Celtic Collectors performed at the opening and closing ceremonies, and during a 24-hour sleep-out at the medieval bridge in Monmouth, which began at 10 am on Thursday 29 February and ended at 10 am on Friday 1 March 2024. The event was organised to highlight homelessness, poverty and loneliness, and was supported by local schools. The High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant of Gwent also attended.

The 2024 Provincial St. Patrick's Racenight, held on 16 March 2024 and hosted by Monmouth Wyedean Circle under the presiding guidance of Dave Andrews, was attended by more than 50 people, including Provincial Membership Officer Stephen Lake, Catenians from Swindon, Newport and Abergavenny Circles, and parishioners from Monmouth and Ross parishes. Here are this year's winners! 

In June 2024, President Martin led a visit to Hellens, a Tudor/Jacobean home with beautiful gardens and a history dating back to 1057. Attractions included heirlooms of Anne Boleyn, Queen Mary Tudor's bedroom, and paintings by Gainsborough, Van Dyke, and tales of three ghosts! 

On 8 July 2024, parishioner Charles Boase led a Historical Walk of Monmouth, attended by 18 Catenians, wives and friends, which included St. Mary's Catholic Church, St. Mary's Priory Church, Monmouth Castle (pictured here), the Robin Hood Inn where Mass was celebrated in penal times, and inside the Medieval Bridge, ending with Afternoon Tea at the Bridges Centre.

Our Presidents

Chris Cherry: 2016-2017

Geoff Quinn: 2017-2018

Rob Derricott OBE JP: 2018-2019

Dave Andrews: 2019-2020

Glyn Jones: 2020-2021

Malcolm Rebeiro: 2021-2022

Chris Cherry: 2022-2023

Tony Forster: 2023-2024

Martin Flach: 2024-2025

How to contact us

If you live in Monmouthshire or the Forest of Dean and you wish to enquire about our activities, membership, transfer-in or ask about joint membership, or if as a Catenian you wish to visit us as we hope you will, our Secretary's and our Dining Secretary's contact details are on the Association and  Province 12 Websites.

Thank you.