Tolkien’s Shire: Middle England, 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 provided the inspiration for the Tolkien stories of Middle-earth. The Tolkien Trail – Late Victorian &Continue reading “Tolkien’s Shire: Middle England, Middle Earth – People, Places & Past Times.”

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.”

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.”

‘You Can’t Stop Them Singing’: Welsh Experiences of Exodus and Exile in England, 1927-47.

This is an edited version of an article originally written for the Modern Wales Unit at the University of Wales, Cardiff in 1998, drawing on material in my unpublished PhD Thesis, presented in September 1988, The Re-Making of a Working-Class: Migration from the South Wales Coalfield to the New Industry Areas of the Midlands, c.Continue reading “‘You Can’t Stop Them Singing’: Welsh Experiences of Exodus and Exile in England, 1927-47.”

Who are the Ukrainians? Mythology & History, Part II: 1801-2001 – From Napoleon’s Empire to end of Empires?

Putin’s Perverse & Very Unorthodox History: In a letter of 10th March, H.H. Patriarch Kirill ‘of Moscow and all Russia’ replied to a letter sent on 2nd March by World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca asking the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church to mediate so that theContinue reading “Who are the Ukrainians? Mythology & History, Part II: 1801-2001 – From Napoleon’s Empire to end of Empires?”

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.”

The Enlightenment & Eighteenth-Century Rationalist Critics of the Bible: A Supplementary Summary.

For Calvinists at the time, as for many other conservative theologians since Spinoza, his role has been seen as purely destructive, as that of one who undermined the authority and inspiration of the biblical text and laid the foundation for Enlightenment scepticism about the Bible – the scepticism of the French philosophers, Voltaire (1694-1778) RousseauContinue reading “The Enlightenment & Eighteenth-Century Rationalist Critics of the Bible: A Supplementary Summary.”

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.”