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.”

‘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originally written for the Modern Wales Unit at the University of Wales, Cardiff in 1998, drawing on material in my unpublished PhD Thesis, presented in September 1988, The Re-Making of a Working-Class: Migration from the South Wales Coalfield to the New Industry Areas of the Midlands,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.”

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 Arthur J Chandler’s unpublished plays on Baptist History, featuring Thomas Helwys and Col.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

C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.

A Life Between Faith and Literature: Clive Staples Lewis became the most popular defender of orthodox Christianity in the English-speaking world in the mid-twentieth century. Born in Belfast in 1898, he was brought up an Anglican and educated at Malvern College. As a young man, C. S. Lewis had served in the trenches of WorldContinue reading “C. S. Lewis’s Tales of Narnia, from Genesis to ‘Shadowlands’ – Stealing Past Dragons.”

Paul’s Mission to ‘The Farthest Limits of the West’ – Did the Apostle Visit Britain? The Roman Conquest & Religion, AD 43-63

‘And did those feet …?’ – Glastonbury Myths: When I moved out of my grandparents’ house (which I bought from my mother) in Coventry in 1991, I discovered a copy of George F. Jowett’s popular book on her old rotating bookshelf, where it had sat for thirty years. The Arthurian legends had always fascinated me,Continue reading “Paul’s Mission to ‘The Farthest Limits of the West’ – Did the Apostle Visit Britain? The Roman Conquest & Religion, AD 43-63”

Off to Philadelphia and back again – The Transatlantic Economy & Patterns of Migration – Britain, Europe & North America, 1865-1940

Emigration & Internal Migration – Key Facts: In 1870, seventy-two per cent of all British and Irish emigrants continued to see the United States as their preferred destination. After the Civil War, the American railroad companies began their huge task of driving a steel highway to the west. Where this permanent way pointed, the settlersContinue reading “Off to Philadelphia and back again – The Transatlantic Economy & Patterns of Migration – Britain, Europe & North America, 1865-1940”

375 Years Ago: The Civil War in the West, July-September 1645 – From the Battle of Langport to the Fall of Bristol.

Lanes to Langport: While the King camped out at Raglan Castle at the beginning of July, to the north of the main ongoing conflict, Royalist troops under Lord Byron were attempting to hold their own at Chester, and in the south-west Lord Goring, continuing to command the King’s army there, was attempting to fight hisContinue reading “375 Years Ago: The Civil War in the West, July-September 1645 – From the Battle of Langport to the Fall of Bristol.”

Bristol, Colston and Colonial Trade, 1580-1780

Foreground: The ‘Drowning’ of Edward Colston, 2020 The heart-breaking, public and blatant murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020 has fuelled a storm of protests across the world. ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests have broken out across Britain and other European countries, where the reckoning has reopened questions about the legacies ofContinue reading “Bristol, Colston and Colonial Trade, 1580-1780”

375 Years Ago: Britain in Revolution – The Roads to & from Naseby, June 1645.

Decision Time! Royalist strategy in the Spring of 1645 had been to thrust north through Worcester to Chester and then pick up reinforcements in the north, where there would still be plenty of sympathisers despite the disaster of Marston Moor in the previous year. Rupert and Maurice, the King’s nephews, cleared the way by victoriesContinue reading “375 Years Ago: Britain in Revolution – The Roads to & from Naseby, June 1645.”