Doreen Valiente - Witch

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Pagan Pride 2011

The Doreen Valiente Foundation's John Belham-Payne was invited to be the guest of honour at this year's ever growing Pagan Pride Festival in Nottingham. John was invited to lead the parade of over 600 pagans through the streets of Nottingham and to partner the event's founder Esme Knight in performing the opening blessing ceremony.

John, Esme and First Nations' Elder, WaNaNeeChe, headed the parade  to the accompaniment of drums, singing and hurdy gurdy music from Serpentyne. The parade was met by the Nottingham public  cheering and applauding the colourful spectacle as it made its way through the city centre and on to the festival site at Nottingham's aboretum park where an estimated 1000 pagans enjoyed a day in the sunshine listening to live music, talks and demonstrations and browsing the numerous stalls and displays.  John officially declared the event open and raised a great cheer from the crowd as he and Esme performed a four-elements blessing from the bandstand in front of the gathered crowd and then placed the elemental symbols at the four edges of the park.

Later in the day  after manning the Centre For pagan Studies / Doreen Valiente Foundation stall and talking to hordes of well-wishers John was joined by fellow trustee Ashley Mortimer to give a talk about Doreen and the foundation to the day's biggest crowd. Some of Doreen's artefacts were displayed, a few stories were told and Ashley gave a talk that Doreen had written and delivered during the 1960's which was well received indeed. A questions and answers session followed and the talk was concluded with the reading of Doreen's poem "What Witchcraft Means To Me" which has never been published.

The event was declared a huge success, adding to its claim to be the UK's biggest free pagan event, and Esme was reported as saying that the involvement of the CFPS and the Doreen Valiente Foundation was a big part of its success. Ashley & Jon ended the day on a perfect note as they were presented with a new artefact for the collection which is a pentacle necklace once owned by Alex Sanders!

Pagan Pride itself has begun the long process of rasing funds to put on next year's event and, being based in Nottingham himself, Ashley will be supporting the cause on behalf of the Foundation and making further talks and displays in this capacity. Pagan Pride is expecting to roll out to other cities next year and has pledged to be involved in the plans for the future for the Foundation and the Centre For Pagan Studies which include a weekend event in 2013 and a first official exhibition in Brighton also in 2013 which it is hped will be the precursor for the long awaited opening of the Museum and study centre.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Ashley Mortimer Gives First Doreen Valiente Foundation Talk

Trustee Ashley Mortimer gave his first talk and indeed the first Doreen Valiente Foundation talk in Lincoln in July this year. Ashley spoke at the Crow & Greenman Moot in Lincoln about Doreen's life and works, about how the Centre For Pagan Studies has been progressing and about the newly formed Doreen Valiente FOundation. A collection of some of Doreen's personal items was displayed and exhibited and Ashley delivered a talk from a script Doreen wrote and gave several times herself during the sixties.

Although John Belham-Payne has been giving talks under the banner of the Centre For Pagan Studies for a number of years the Foundation is dedicated to making Doreen's works and legacy accessible to as many pagans as possible as soon as possible and so other trustees will also be doing the same as time goes on but Ashley seems to be on a bit of a roll having also spoken at Nottingham Goddess camp in July and alongside John at Pagan Pride on 7th August, also in Nottingham. He is also confirmed as a speaker at the Pagan Federation North East Conference in York on Saturday April 21st 2012 and will speak at Nottingham Empyrean on wednesday 2nd November 2011.

Useful web links:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Update - June 2011

Having spent a few days working with the collection we're pleased to say that we've made a definite and positive start on the mammoth task of cataloguing, provenancing and preserving the items in the collection.

We decided to start with the documents and we managed to complete the first rough sort into categories of all of Doreen's papers, manuscripts, books, notes, diaries and original writings. While we have not been through all of them individually yet we focussed in on a number of categories, namely her original essays, her magical manuscripts and her poems and stories and we found a great deal of material in these categories alone that has previously been unpublished . . .which we hope to rectify in the future!

We've also equipped trustee Ashley Mortimer with some artefacts from the collection and some documents to enable him to begin giving talks on Doreen's legacy which we understand will begin in the next few weeks starting with some East Midlands Pagan Federation moots and gatherings spreading to Nottingham EMpyrean's invited speaker event in November and Pagan Pride in Nottingham on August 7th.

On the subject of Pagan Pride, the OFundation and the Centre For Pagan Studies is looking forward to making good on its promise to support the event and all the trustees will be there in Nottingham on August 7th to take part in the parade and give a talk on Doreen and her legacy as well as network and mingle and talk with anyone who is interested about Doreen, the collection and paganism in general.

Well, thats it for now, we'll keep blogging here with any more information as we get it including where we will be speaking and appearing and exhibiting.

Some useful weblinks:

If you know of a group near you who'd be interested in hosting one of our travelling talks / exhibitions on any scale, small and intimate or large and grand, please get in touch with us on  or Ashley directly on

The Doreen Valiente Foundation

We are very pleased to announce that on the 6th March 2011 The Doreen Valiente Foundation was officially formed and has received ownership of the artefacts bequeathed to John Belham-Payne of the Centre For Pagan Studies by Doreen Valiente.
The primary objects of the foundation are "To protect artefacts which are important to the past, present and future of pagan religions" and "To make the artefacts available for education and research".

The Declaration of Trust was signed by the first trustees: John Belham-Payne, Julia Belham-Payne, Brian Botham, Patricia Botham and Ashley Mortimer.

The Foundation held its first meeting and made the following resolutions:

 * To seek charitable status from the Charities Commission
 * To design and prepare the artefacts for their new purpose: that of exhibition

The foundation has already received pledges of further artefacts to add to the collection and anticipates further growth with future donations.

For press and media enquiries relating to the Doreen Valiente Foundation and to the ongoing programme of fundraising events we are happy to give interviews to the media. Please contact: