The Sectarian Divide in Belfast & the Peace Process, 1980-98: After the Provisional IRA assassinated Lord Mountbatten on his boat off the Western coast of Ireland in 1979, the mainland bombing campaign went on with attacks on the Chelsea barracks, then Hyde Park bombings, when eight people were killed and fifty-three injured. With hindsight, the emergenceContinue reading “Majesty & Grace X: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – Winter of Discontent to Golden Jubilee, 1979-2002; Part 2 – The Peace Process & The People’s Princess.”
Category Archives: West Country
Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.
The long and broad view of the British Economy: The economic historian, P. Calvocoressi, writing in 1978, provided a long view of the British economy from 1945 to 1975. He saw the failure of successive governments to manage it successfully as the result of their unwillingness to dismantle the ‘mixed’ economy model of private andContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.”
Majesty & Grace V: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – King, Country & People’s War, 1940-45:
‘Ribbentrop’s War’ – The Assault on the West: After the defeat of Poland, Hitler wanted to wage a winter campaign in the west, but bad weather prevented it, and both sides sat through a winter of ‘phoney war.’ For this reason and with some justice, the Second World War has been called ‘Ribbentrop’s war.’ AlthoughContinue reading “Majesty & Grace V: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – King, Country & People’s War, 1940-45:”
An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).
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 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).”
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. “
‘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? “
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.”
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.”
The Coming of the Northmen: from Coastal Raids to Inland Battles in Britain & Ireland, 789-871.
Pirates or Merchant Adventurers? Out of the North, they came, more warriors from the fringes of the Baltic. Norsemen, Vikings, Danes, many names, but one overriding characteristic – they came first to raid and plunder in tall-prowed sailing ships that had carried these sea-rovers to the Mediterranean and the coasts of a new world acrossContinue reading “The Coming of the Northmen: from Coastal Raids to Inland Battles in Britain & Ireland, 789-871.”
The False Dawn: Saxons, Celts and Britons, 616-839 – From Edwin of Northumbria to Egbert of Wessex.
The (no-longer-so-dark) Dark Ages: Since the discovery of the Sutton Hoo burial in Suffolk in 1939, archaeology has continued to shed light on the ‘Dark Ages’, where documentary evidence is lacking. The distribution of pagan fifth-century Anglo-Saxon burials indicates the probable areas of earliest English settlement in Britain. The English ‘advance’ continued throughout the periodContinue reading “The False Dawn: Saxons, Celts and Britons, 616-839 – From Edwin of Northumbria to Egbert of Wessex.”