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Civil War London -Interview with Robin Rowles

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Interview with tour-guide and author Robin Rowles 





 Image used courtesy of 'Pen & Sword' Books 

Delighted to be able to interview Robin Rowles, author of 'The Civil War in London : Voices from the City ' ( 'Pen & Sword' ,2018)  via email.

I have asked Robin to introduce to himself.

I am a City of London Tour Guide, working as a self employed member of 'Footprints of London Ltd'. In 2012 I developed a walk 'Civil War connections around St Paul's and Cheapside. The title is a nod to Dr Johnson's  Tour Through The Whole Island of Great Britain. News of my walk obviously spread, very flattering, because in September 2016 I received a tweet from 'Pen and Sword'. Would I be interested in writing a book about Sherlock Holmes and London? I replied no! Not because I doubted my ability to write one, but I knew the market was nearly saturated with the topic. However, I added that I could write about the civil war in London.

1.How…

Review of Jemahl Evans 'Of Blood Exhausted'

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Keep Your Friends Close and Enemies Closer 


It was a treat to begin 2019 with a new Blandford Candy tale by Jemahl Evans . 'Of Blood Exhausted' is the third picaresque novel, following the adventures of Sir Blandford Candy during the English Civil War, who joined the parliamentary side almost by default.

The novel opens in 1720,  with Candy as an elderly curmudgeon, being invited to meet Sarah Churchill, though most of the novel is set in London in 1644-1645, along with a trip to Amsterdam . The picture of Parliamentarian London is evoked by pox doctors, assassins,spies swordmasters, and menacing characters such as the Black Bear and the Burned Man. Certainly not the New Jerusalem preachers were hoping for.



It is soon apparent that Blandford Candy is a Parliamentarian by instinct and feeling, not prone to sanctimonious or puritanical whimsy.  A description of parliament is hardly idealistic, rows of honourable and dishonourable MPs are depicted as  crows sitt…

M R James -The Uncommon Prayer Book

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'The Uncommon Prayer Book' and Psalm 109 



                                               M.R.James in 1900 courtesy of 'Wikipedia'




New years greetings to all visitors this blog and hope that you all have an inspiring 2019. Have spent a great deal of the festive season researching my other interest, World War 2 poetry, and also have written a short article for The Cromwell Association newsletter.

To start the year off with a consideration - how should the Psalms be treated when considering whether or not there is such a genre as 16th or 17th century war poetry ?  Of course  Psalters, personal collection of selected  psalms, sometimes illustrated, had been in circulation for centuries, often copied out by hand. But in Latin or Greek. When and why did the Psalms start to have wider circulation and influence?

Christopher Hill in his seminal work 'The English Bible and the Seventeenth Century Revolution' looked at the use of the Psalms . His case was th…

James Shirley 17th century War Poetry

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James Shirley 1596-1666





James Shirley's house was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666; He and his wife managed to escape the blaze but both died a few weeks later.

His life, even his date of birth, are disputed. In 'Ben Johnson and the Cavalier Poets' selected & edited by Hugh Maclean( 1974), , we are informed that Shirley was educated at the 'Merchant Taylors' School, studied at Saint John's College at Oxford in 1612, but soon transferred to Saint Catherine's Hall in Cambridge. James Shirley graduated in 1646 and was a minister in and then a headmaster of a Grammar School in St. Albans, converting to the Roman Catholic faith around 1623.

From 1625 -1636, Shirley wrote fifteen comedies, four tragedies, and two masques. He then spent four years in Dublin, with two further plays appearing. A number of his  plays were performed by Queen Henrietta's Men, and his 1634 play 'The Triumph of Peace' had a set designed by Indigo Jones. …

Jemahl Evans interview Part Two

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Concluding part of Jemahl Evans Interview 


Samuel Butler -Poet- 1613- 1680 . Portrait by Pieter Borsseler courtesy Wiki Commons


Continuing my interview with novelist Jemahl Evans .  Part One is here   To recap slightly Jemahl's lead character is one Sir Blandford Candy- " an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats"  : In fact 'hatred' is probably too mellow a word  to  describe the seething contempt he has for Samuel Butler  and the poem ' Hudibras' . Blandford was ninety five years old in 1719, and  the sole surviving Roundhead. 

 One enthusiast summed up Jemahl's 2015 novel, 'The Last Roundhead', as '"Flashman meets the Three Muskateers in a picaresque romp through Stuart England" and the sequel, 'This Deceitful Light' , is certainly of a similar nature. A collection of five short stories 'Davenant s Egg and Other Tales' (2017) , all connected to the 1643 Siege of Gloucester, has also appeared…

Worcester Visit 2018/ More on Richard Lovelace

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Visit to Worcester September 2018 





                                      Bronze relief sculpture of Battle of Worcester at Fort Royal
                                       by Ken Potts, courtesy of the Battle of Worcester Society

The 3rd September was significant  for Oliver Cromwell , the date of his victories at Dunbar 1650, Worcester 1651, and his death -1658.

Was delighted to visit Worcester on the first weekend of September 2018  : On Saturday 1st September I attended The Cromwell Association visit to - The Commandery museum at Sidbury ,Worcester, where we were lucky enough to have a guided tour  from Richard Shaw,  current chairman of the Battle of Worcester Society, with a quick visit to Fort Royal Hill  next door. ( Fair to stress at this point that the Battle of Worcester Society are neutral as it were in their approach to the British Civil Wars).  It was inspiring to see how much this Society are doing to increase awareness of the battle, and The Commandery is highly recomm…

Jemahl Evans- author of 'The Last Roundhead'

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Jemahl Evans interview part one 




Jemahl Evans -pic supplied by the author



I was delighted to interview author  Jemahl Evans via Email recently. His lead character -Sir Blandford Candy- " an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats" , was ninety five years old in 1719, and  the sole surviving Roundhead.

 One enthusiast summed up Jemahl's 2015 novel, 'The Last Roundhead', as '"Flashman meets the Three Muskateers in a picaresque romp through Stuart England" and the sequel, 'This Deceitful Light' , is certainly of a similar nature. A collection of five short stories 'Davenants Egg and Other Tales' (2017) , all connected to the 1643 Siege of Gloucester, has also appeared, demonstrating the bitter humour and the bizarre, as well as the heartbreak to be found in a civil war.

People looking for stories about dashing cavaliers or Puritan idealists building a new Jerusalem will probably not immediate…