J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English

The South African Prelude – Beginnings in Bloemfontein: Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield (pictured above in the family group), both from Birmingham, were married in Cape Town Cathedral on 16th April 1891, after which came an exhausting railway journey of nearly seven hundred miles to the capital of the Orange Free State. Less thanContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English”

A Gentle Gulliver – Warwickshire Adventures & Sojourns

Mooching with Seymour Henry: Forty years ago this summer (2022), my grandfather, Seymour Henry Gulliver, died aged eighty-two. He was born at the beginning of the twentieth century at Ufton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire, the seventh child and one of the younger sons of a large family of thirteen children, eleven of whom survived into adulthood. Seymour wasContinue reading “A Gentle Gulliver – Warwickshire Adventures & Sojourns”

What is the ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration? – A Briefing for Students & Teachers of Black (African-American) History.

Ten Key Questions: Why was Juneteenth celebrated? Where did most slaves work before the Civil War? Between 1865 and 1954, how were the lives of black people in the South different from those in the North? Why was Dr King so important in the fight for civil rights? How was Martin Luther King killed inContinue reading “What is the ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration? – A Briefing for Students & Teachers of Black (African-American) History.”

The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context

The Covenant and the Torah: Closely associated with the story of the exodus in the Old Testament is that of how the Israelites journeyed to a mountain where Yahweh ratified a covenant between himself and his people. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about this mountain of Israel’s destiny. Its very name isContinue reading “The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context”

The Incredulous Twin – Finding Faith: The Second Sunday of Easter

Thomas the ‘Doubter’: On the second Sunday of Easter, ‘western’ Christians celebrate Thomas the Apostle and the Gospel story in John of how, as the disciple who missed Jesus’ visit to the ‘Upper Room’ after his resurrection, he overcame his doubts about his master’s physical appearance to the others in the first days of ‘EasterContinue reading “The Incredulous Twin – Finding Faith: The Second Sunday of Easter”

Bible Battles & The ‘Ascent of Man’: Nineteenth-Century Sceptics & Critics – Religion, Philosophy & Science.

Victorian Britain – An Age of Conformity? For many people in the early twenty-first century, the title ‘mid-Victorian Britain’ conjures up an image of church-going, sabbath seriousness, packed pews and the head of the household, invariably the father, questioning his progeny on the points of the morning sermon. The very word ‘Victorian’ has passed intoContinue reading “Bible Battles & The ‘Ascent of Man’: Nineteenth-Century Sceptics & Critics – Religion, Philosophy & Science.”

Scenes from Baptist History, 1814-1914: Missionaries, Mechanics & Manufacturers.

Includes a scene from Regent Street Baptist Church, Smethwick, Birmingham, from November 1897, ‘The Church in Meeting Assembled’ by Rev. A. J. Chandler, Minister of Bearwood Baptist Church, Birmingham, 1965-79. Revival, ‘Respectability’ & Reform in Britain, 1814-1859: In 1814, there was an evangelistic revival at Redruth in Cornwall which continued for nine days. An eye-witnessContinue reading “Scenes from Baptist History, 1814-1914: Missionaries, Mechanics & Manufacturers.”

Scenes from Baptist History: Persecution of the Puritans, Evangelical Revival & William Carey, 1662-1812.

Persecution of All ‘Nonconformists’, 1662-87: It was not until 1687 that the dissenting or ‘nonconformist’ churches felt able to look back upon ye Times of our late Troubles since the Act of Uniformity in 1662 had taken away the relative toleration they had experienced in the Interregnum. The Presbyterian minister Richard Baxter (1615-91) had takenContinue reading “Scenes from Baptist History: Persecution of the Puritans, Evangelical Revival & William Carey, 1662-1812.”

Three Scenes from Baptist History – The First Fifty Years, 1612-1662: The Puritan Revolution & The Civil Wars.

Two more scenes from Rev. Arthur J Chandler’s unpublished plays on Baptist History, featuring Thomas Helwys and Col. John Hutchinson, plus a scene from David Starsmeare’s play, ‘Diggers: The Story of a Commune’, featuring Gerrard Winstanley. Background – The First English Puritans & Exile in the Netherlands: The Elizabethan puritans wanted to reform the churchContinue reading “Three Scenes from Baptist History – The First Fifty Years, 1612-1662: The Puritan Revolution & The Civil Wars.”

Six Scenes from the English Civil War: Vignettes of Colonel John Hutchinson – Roundhead, Radical & Regicide.

Scenes from an unpublished play, ‘Vignettes of Colonel Hutchinson’ written (in typescript) in the early 1960s by Rev Arthur James Chandler, then Pastor of Daybrook Baptist Church in Nottingham, edited with added historical notes by Dr Andrew James Chandler. Background: The Outbreak of the First Civil War in England: On 4 January 1642, Charles IContinue reading “Six Scenes from the English Civil War: Vignettes of Colonel John Hutchinson – Roundhead, Radical & Regicide.”