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.”

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 Arthur J Chandler’s unpublished plays on Baptist History, featuring Thomas Helwys and Col.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.”

More on Poetry & History: The Middle Marches of Wales, the Welsh Bards & the Love Poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym.

The Conquest of ‘the Middle March’ & The Mortimers, 1240-1330: Searching for the history behind the legend of the ‘Massacre of the Five Hundred Bards’ entails a more detailed understanding of the nature and events surrounding ‘royal Montgomery’ and what became known as ‘the Middle March’, including the lands held (often temporarily) by the MortimerContinue reading “More on Poetry & History: The Middle Marches of Wales, the Welsh Bards & the Love Poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym.”

The Mysterious Magyar Origins of Margaret of Wessex, Hungary and Scotland

As all Scots know, 30th November is St Andrew’s Day, their ‘patron saint’. However, few people in Scotland, England and Hungary will know that the 17th November is the day when the Church commemorates the saint who links all three countries. Margaret was born in Hungary, the daughter of the exiled rightful heir to theContinue reading “The Mysterious Magyar Origins of Margaret of Wessex, Hungary and Scotland”

The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest: Chapter I – The Confessor, the Conqueror & the House of Wessex, 1035-1135

The Tragedy of Harold Godwinson: The story of the Norman ‘takeover’ of England has been told very often, most vividly in one of the earliest accounts in the form of Queen Matilda’s tapestry, still kept in Bayeux, which gives it the name it is better known by. French legend maintained the tapestry was commissioned andContinue reading “The End of Saxon England? Revisiting the Norman Conquest: Chapter I – The Confessor, the Conqueror & the House of Wessex, 1035-1135”

Regicides, Rebels & Revolutionaries: November 1648 – October 1649; from Pride’s Purge to the Leveller Mutinies in England.

Ireton’s ‘Remonstrance’ – St Albans & the London Levellers: When the Second Civil War ended, the frustrations and bitterness which had steadily been mounting against the king’s duplicity finally reached fever pitch. Many petitions were dispatched to London from various parts of the country demanding ‘impartial justice’ for all those involved in causing the recentContinue reading “Regicides, Rebels & Revolutionaries: November 1648 – October 1649; from Pride’s Purge to the Leveller Mutinies in England.”

The Putney Debates, the Second Civil War & the Newport Treaty: Oct 1647 – Oct 1648; Levellers, Engagers & Insurgents.

An ‘Outbreak of Democracy’?: In his 1961 work on The Levellers and the English Revolution, H N Brailsford wrote that: … there has been nothing like this spontaneous outbreak of democracy in any English or continental army before this year of 1647, nor was there anything like it thereafter till the Workers’ and Soldiers’ CouncilsContinue reading “The Putney Debates, the Second Civil War & the Newport Treaty: Oct 1647 – Oct 1648; Levellers, Engagers & Insurgents.”