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. “

J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham; the Formative Years, 1896-1916: Part Two (1908-16) – ‘Lang.’, Lore & Love.

Inventing Language: As a result of his insatiable love of words, Ronald started to invent his own languages. Some children have rudimentary private languages that they like to share together. This was what Ronald’s cousins Mary and Marjorie Incledon had done. They now lived outside Birmingham at Barnt Green, the neighbouring village to Rednal, andContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham; the Formative Years, 1896-1916: Part Two (1908-16) – ‘Lang.’, Lore & Love.”

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”

Britain, Europe and The World in 1937: A Moment in History Repeating itself? Part One

Democracy and Dictatorship – 2022 & 1922-1937: Beginning his keynote address on Russia’s War on Ukraine on 28th June 2022, the newly-commissioned Head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, spoke of the similarity of the events of 1937 in Europe to the continuing and impending events of 2022 in the central-eastern part ofContinue reading “Britain, Europe and The World in 1937: A Moment in History Repeating itself? Part One”

Tolkien’s Shire: From Middle England to Middle-earth – People, Places & Past Times.

Sarehole as Hobbiton: J.R.R. Tolkien lived near Sarehole Mill as a child in what was then a Worcestershire village and is now part of the Hall Green district of Birmingham. Together with the neighbouring Moseley Bog, the Sarehole area inspired the Tolkien stories of Middle-earth. The Tolkien Trail – Late Victorian & Edwardian Birmingham. Birmingham’sContinue reading “Tolkien’s Shire: From Middle England to Middle-earth – People, Places & Past Times.”

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.”

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.”

Afghanistan – ‘An Anatomy of Reporting’; Twenty-Five Years On: 1996-2021.

The BBC Journalist John Simpson had won the Richard Dimbleby award in 1991 and the News and Current Affairs award in 2000 for his coverage, with the BBC News team, of the Kosovo conflict, when he was asked to meet the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, in a hotel car park in Islamabad in SeptemberContinue reading “Afghanistan – ‘An Anatomy of Reporting’; Twenty-Five Years On: 1996-2021.”

Unifying the Kingdoms of Britain: The Kings of Wessex & The Birth of England, 871-1031.

Chaos in Christendom: From the late ninth century until the mid-eleventh century in Europe, internal and external problems steadily weakened western Christendom. The Carolingian Empire had fragmented; no major military power existed in the West. The continued attacks of Muslims from the south, a new wave of attackers from central Asia, the Magyars (Hungarians) andContinue reading “Unifying the Kingdoms of Britain: The Kings of Wessex & The Birth of England, 871-1031.”