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M. R. James Conference
26th and 27th September 2018, York

A celebration of the work of M. R. James on the 120th anniversary of his visit to York.

In Autumn 1898, M. R. James visited York to examine the painted glass of twelve of its mediaeval parish churches. His notebooks from the time are filled with descriptions of angels, demons and scenes of the Apocalypse…


120 years later, in September 2018, The Friends of Count Magnus invite you to a 2-day conference in York, commemorating James’s visit and exploring the connections between his scholarly pursuits and his ghost stories.

This unique event will include a series of expert talks and panel discussions, a guided tour around two of the churches whose glass James found particularly noteworthy, and a dramatic performance of Jamesian readings by the incomparable Robert Lloyd Parry.


Tickets for this 2-day event are just £60.00 (excluding some meals and accommodation – excellent room rates are available at our principal venue, The Bar Convent). To book your place, click here.

Walking Tour of James's York

A tour of two of York’s mediaeval parish churches that most interested M R James, with guided talks.

Dramatic Reading of James's works

Robert Lloyd Parry will read two of James’s ghost stories in the atmospheric surroundings of York’s mediaeval Bedern Hall.

The Friends of Count Magnus

Join fellow scholars and enthusiasts in discussion about M. R. James, his life and works.

Expert talks and Panel Discussions

Enjoy scholarly papers and debates from some of the UK’s foremost authorities on M. R James.

Easy travel arrangements

The event will take place in The Bar Convent, five minutes walk from York Station and overlooking the City’s Micklegate Bar.

Optional Accommodation

Take advantage of reasonably priced accommodation at our principal venue, The Bar Convent, or in one of the many neighbouring hotels.










We are delighted to announce the following guests and speakers who have confirmed their attendance

Gail-Nina Anderson

Writer, cultural historian, specialist in Victorian and gothic literature and lecturer on M. R. James.

Peter Bell

Historian, writer of ghost stories, and frequent contributor to Ghosts and Scholars.

Paul M Chapman

Writer, editor, Sherlockian and author of Birth of a Legend, a study of Dracula and Whitby.

Helen Grant

Author of Urban Legends and Demons of Ghent, and frequent contributor to Ghosts and Scholars.

Terry Hale

Writer, translator and leading expert on Victorian, Edwardian and European gothic.

Darryl Jones

Expert in fin-de-siècle literature and editor of the Oxford World Classics Collected Ghost Stories.

John Reppion

Author, essayist and co-writer of the Ghosts Stories of an Antiquary graphic adaptations.

Mark Valentine

Author, biographer and editor of Wormwood, a journal of fantastic, supernatural and decadent literature.


Robert Lloyd Parry – Writer and actor who specializes in literary storytelling – one man shows based on classic texts. He regularly performs works by H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Saki and M. R. James.


Robert will be performing “A Pleasing Terror” – Two ghost stories by M. R. James.

 ***** Wonderful, magical storytelling

The Daily Mail

Over a century after they were first published, the ghost stories of M. R. James retain their power to terrify and amuse. This gripping one man show retells two of the earliest and eeriest.

In Canon Alberic’s Scrap-book, a young Cambridge antiquary discovers the devil in the details of an old book in a medieval town in the French Pyrenees…

In The Mezzotint a ghoulish revenge is enacted within a work of art, before the helpless eyes of a museum curator in Oxford…


Summary Itinerary

For the full itinerary, please click here.

Day 1: Wednesday 26th September 2018, 1pm – 10pm.

Afternoon: Welcome to all delegates followed by a selection of specialist talks, plus a panel discussion (The Bedingfield Room at The Bar Convent, Blossom Street, York).

Evening: Introduction to Bedern Hall followed by performed readings of two classic M.R. James ghost stories by the uniquely talented Robert Lloyd Parry (Bedern Hall, Bartlegarth, St. Andrewgate, York)


Day 2: Thursday 27th September 2018, 9.45am – 6.00pm.

Morning: Walking Tour (via stretches of the City Walls), taking in two of the mediaeval churches most admired by M. R. James on his 1898 visit to York. Includes talks by our two expert guides/churchwardens (All Saints, North Street and St. Denys, Walmgate, York).

Afternoon: Sandwich buffet, followed by a further selection of talks and presentations, plus one final panel discussion to round off the event (The Bedingfield & Gascoigne Rooms at The Bar Convent, Blossom Street, York).

Conference Venue: The Bar Convent, York

The Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, 17 Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AQ

Performance Venue: Bedern Hall, York

Bartle Garth, St Andrewgate, York, YO1 7AL

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