Personal Recollections of Prince Charles as Chancellor of the University of Wales, 1979-80 & Reflections on his Elevation to King Charles III.

The Troubles & the Tragedy, 1966-79: On August 27, 1979, in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, on the western coast of the Republic of Ireland, a massive 50lb remote-controlled bomb exploded on board the fishing boat Shadow V, killing Lord Louis Mountbatten, his grandson and two others while they were boating on holiday off the coast. Lord Mountbatten wasContinue reading “Personal Recollections of Prince Charles as Chancellor of the University of Wales, 1979-80 & Reflections on his Elevation to King Charles III.”

An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973

The Road Goes Ever on – Headington to Bournemouth: Although life retirement sometimes seemed ‘grey and grim’ to Tolkien, it also had many elements that suited him. For one thing, he and Edith, at last, had enough money. However, the tax authorities took a large proportion of his earnings, and on one occasion, Tolkien wroteContinue reading “An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973”

Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part Two – ‘Shadowy Abstractions’

There was a good stretch of time between Jack Lewis’s conversion on the way to Whipsnade and his writing of the Tales of Narnia. Throughout this time, while Tolkien was writing his Hobbit stories, Lewis was musing on the physical similarities that men and beasts have in common. This is why he felt that Kenneth Grahame, in The Wind in the Willows, made exactly the right choice in giving his principal character the form of a toad

The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.

Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:

“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”

This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:

“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “

Who were the Huguenots? Currents of Cultural & Linguistic Change in France & Early Modern Europe.

Pictured above are French Protestants at Lyons Temple service, which was converted from an ordinary house. The hatted preacher is timed by an hourglass, and the two sexes are seated mainly in separate parts of the temple. Introduction – A Retrospective on Genocide & Deculturation: The word ‘genocide’ is essentially a term relating to eventsContinue reading “Who were the Huguenots? Currents of Cultural & Linguistic Change in France & Early Modern Europe.”

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”

‘Cry God for Queen Bess, England and St Cuthbert….!’ How did George become England’s Patron Saint? 

Follow your spirit; and upon this charge Cry God for Harry, England and St George! William Shakespeare, Henry V, Part One. England hasn’t really got a national anthem….The Irish, the Scots and the Welsh all have anthems, the Americans have the cheek to sing ‘My Country ’tis of thee’ to the tune of ‘God Save the Queen‘, but what do theContinue reading “‘Cry God for Queen Bess, England and St Cuthbert….!’ How did George become England’s Patron Saint? “

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.”