Je vous les donne. Her Muster Book Adm. She arrived at Bristol from Faro on 5 March. When he removed to Bristol is unknown. A contemporary description of Bristol paints a dismal portrait of the place. England, both for Bilboa, and the N. The log, being only an account of wind, weather, and whereabouts, is of insufficient interest to reproduce fully. She cleared Salem for Lisbon with 3, quintals of fish on 22 January She cleared from Salem for Lisbon with 1, quintals of fish on 14 April Her entry into Salem from Lisbon with hogsheads of salt was recorded on 4 September Binney, after many years as a shipmaster, became a merchant in Boston where he sold dry goods.
He was born at Hull, Massachusetts, 22 March , married Avis Engs at Boston on 15 October , and is believed to have died at Demerara about See Charles J. Eustatius as 4 December Eustatia, is carried into Martinico. If this Should reach you let it Serve to Acquaint you that the family are Well except yr Mother, who remains in the State you left her in. I simpathize with you under your late Misfortune with Capt. She entered Salem with hogsheads of salt from St. Martins on 14 June and cleared from thence for the West Indies on 23 November Martins on 18 March In fact, she appears to have been the schooner Charming Sally , 50 tons, built at Newbury, Massachusetts, in Coombs cleared Salem in this vessel for Lisbon on 12 June The Admiral has further Assured Me, that if among the Men who shall inlist, there are any that understand navigating a Ship, and are qualified for that Purpose, he will give them all Encouragement he is able, by enabling them to act as Midshipmen; and further promises, That the Men of such Towns as shall appear by my Certificate to have done their Share in this Service, shall be free from all Impresses by Sea.
And I do hereby engage in behalf, both of the Province and of the Admiral, that the foregoing Conditions shall be duly complied with; and that the Men who shall inlist as aforesaid, shall likewise receive the Province Bounty, agreeable to My Proclamation of the 17th Instant, and be punctually Discharged at the Time they shall inlist for: And that whatever Number of Men any Town or Company shall raise for this Service, shall be esteemed as Part of their Quota of the Five Thousand Men agreed to be raised by this Government for the general Service of the year.
The total complement of Rangers at the Siege was In he became Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and from to he was Governor of Placentia. See Lieutenant Colonel H. She was a schooner of fifty tons, a prize taken from the French in , registered at Halifax on 23 July , and owned by Richard Codman and company of Boston. Her cargo, in addition to the men, consisted of lime, cider, potatoes, malt, flour, beef, rum, and New England distilled spirits.
A pollo cleared out from Halifax in ballast for Boston on 24 April Among his other, imperfectly recorded, duties, he was a member of the court-martial on Admiral Byng. Seahorse and subsequently H. Pembroke , Adm. As the best bower was one of the anchors most frequently used, the tier was a particularly wet, dank, and disagreeable place.
Empld working up Junk. On 14 February he was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue and was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet for the St. In he was installed as a Knight of the Bath. In he was appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty and the next year to be First Sea Lord, a post from which he resigned in less than three months. It had been delivered to the fleet by H.
Lowestoft upon her arrival, 20 May She was built at Plymouth, England, in Her complement of men was The actual number aboard in May , according to her Muster Book Adm. The books bore an additional 17 supernumeraries for wages the Marbleheaders , and 70 supernumeraries for victuals only. For some days after this, the fleet was forced to skirt along the edge of the ice, then in the process of breaking up and drifting about in the fog.
He had been a member of the court-martial on Admiral Byng. Lawrence fleet. In March he was appointed commander-in-chief at Jamaica, where he died. Muster Book of Prince of Orange , Adm. His necessity aboard Pembroke is clear from the entry for 15 May. There is, however, some confusion regarding when all that took place.
She saild from thence the 3d May for Mount Louis, to order the Inhabitants of that place up to Quebec, and to look after some English Prisoners who had made their Escape—The Master of the said Schooner informs me, that on the 9th instant 17 Ships past by Mount Louis, among which were two of the Line, and three Frigates. The Rangers arrived from Halifax on 11 June.
An exceptionally detailed, eyewitness account of the siege operations from this day forward is in Arthur G. Doughty, ed. Bowen, himself, shows them in his several sketches depicting the departure of the Marbleheaders from Pembroke in September The majority of entries from now until the end of August were kept for Bowen and are printed in italics within parentheses.
The Muster Book of H. Porcupine Adm. A remarkable expression from some of these intrepid souls [sometimes attributed to the Marblehead contingent] to their comrades on this occasion, I must not omit, on account of its singular uncouthness, viz. The intelligence communicated to the French by the deserter is cited in the same reference.
Alcide was court-martialed on charges exhibited by Captain James Douglas of Alcide of neglect of duty and discourtesy in failing to inform him of a signal to weigh anchor. The charges were not proved and Ripley was acquitted. Court Martial Records, Adm. Pembroke on 19 September, but there is no reference to Moses Hooper. Pembroke Adm. The episode was not logged. Warren had died on 29 July. The Neptune parted and brought up lower down. Joseph Weare, owner of the transport schooner Swallow , was one of many of the name who lived around York Maine during Colonial times.
Penzance , had sailed from Plymouth, England, on 12 March. She arrived at Halifax 7 May and at Quebec on 29 June. Vanguard , had been tried by court-martial for desertion and had been sentenced to death. The other two are to be reprieved untill further Orders; and they are hereby reprieved accordingly. At 11 the prisoners, attended by two members of the clergy, proceeded to the forecastle, where James Mike drew the short straw and was hanged.
Papers of Admirals Colville and Saunders Adm. Vanguard Adm. Several may have been as follows: Small —Richard?
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Small, schooner Two Brothers of Boston. Campbell —James? Campbell, sloop Sally of Boston. Standford —Jeremiah Staniford, schooner Litchfield of Salem. He was at the Siege of Louisbourg in , and at Quebec in where he was twice wounded. The Colonel then ordered up two field-pieces and as many howitzers, under cover of a rising ground, to play upon the fort, and, at the same time, formed his corps into three divisions, being determined to storm the place without loss of time; all things being prepared, the assailants boldly advanced to the attack, which the Marquis perceiving, instantly beat a chamade , and surrendered at discretion.
The garrison consisted of two Lieutenants and fifty of the regulars, with one hundred and fifty militia, two Gunners, a few indifferent guns, with a very trifling proportion of ammunition, but no provisions, except a few calves, pigs, and poultry. After the garrison were disarmed, and the usual oath tendered to the Canadians, they were permitted to disperse, and return to their respective habitations. She cleared out from the Salem Custom House on 30 June, Ashley Bowen, master, bound for Quebec with a cargo of 3 barrels of molasses, 3 barrels of sugar, 6 barrels of rum, 60 barrels of Indian corn, and 9 quarter casks of Madeira wine.
The Merrimac River at this period was an extremely active shipbuilding area which supplied the Salem-Marblehead merchants with nearly 49 percent of all their vessels employed in foreign trade. Many commercial and economic ties existed between Marblehead and Newbury. See appendices of Philip C. Smith and Russell W. The instrument had been invented in by John Hadley, an Englishman, but until late in the century many mariners still continued the use of Davis quadrants, invented at the end of the sixteenth century. It was later recaptured by the English. We are putting this Town in the best Posture of Defence that is possible; and should the French pay us a Visit, we shall be in a Condition to give them a very warm and suitable Reception.
He was prominent in the early Provincial Congresses and was a member of the state Committee of Safety. In he was sent to the Continental Congress and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His three wives, each from well-connected families, added to his prestige and wealth. In he was the third largest taxpayer in Portsmouth.
See Charles W. A suitable watch was to be kept there, empowered to examine all persons or goods entering the town. Essex County Registry of Deeds, Book , p. The brick house, occupied by the Litchman-Orne printing shop, was still standing in See Narcissa G. Parceling is narrow strips of old, tarred canvas, normally wrapped around rope like a bandage prior to serving over with spun yarn. Its use ashore in buildings is not specifically known unless it served as flashing, weatherstripping, or some other form of waterproofing. On the 10th she sailed from Cape Ann. Sloop Jamaica , Adm. On or adjacent to it were the wharves and warehouses belonging to Robert Hooper and to Thomas Gerry.
In the wharves had become so congested that the town was forced to take steps. As the improvements had been made for the unlading of coasting vessels bringing in wood and lumber and as very often laded vessels had been obstructed from coming in and so had gone to other towns to dispose of their cargoes, it was ordered that no vessel could be suffered to lay at any of the wharves beyond the first tide after their cargo had been discharged. Barbe, who arrived last Tuesday. A rough map of the property appears at the back of John Prince, Jr.
The Sloop, a few Days before put into the Vineyard for a Pilot, when the Captain went on shore and came round by Land to this Place, and they took on board Mr. David Davis, who was lost with the rest of the People. One of the greatest dangers to vessels in the eighteenth century, as well as to twentieth-century yachts, was the occasional vessel which broke adrift and, with the wind directly behind it, cut a swath down the length of the harbor, irrespective of what other vessels may have been in the way. That attended by Ashley, Jr. Requirements for admission of scholars were the capabilities of reading from the Testament.
Marblehead Town Records. Israel Dodge arrived here Yesterday, in 26 Days, from St. Eustatia; he sailed in Company with Capt. Hodges, of this Town [Salem], who arrived here last Saturday, and Capt. Bubiere of Marblehead. They parted the next Day after they sailed. On the 30th of October, in Lat. Bubiere who sailed with Capt. Dodge and several of his People, whose Vessel foundered at Sea on the 28th of October, when they took to their Boat, and on the 30th they met with the above Whaling Sloop, who took them up, and on the 1st Instant fell in with Capt.
Dodge as above. Romney from Halifax. The Massachusetts Gazette , 17 November She was hovering about the coast during the next several months on patrol. After this melancholy Accident, two Boys, who were all that remained on board, bore away for another Schooner, then in Sight, from which they received Assistance sufficient to bring the Vessel into Port. Rose , Captain Benjamin Caldwell. Rose put away her cutter under the command of Lieutenant Henry Gibson Panton, ostensibly to search for contraband, but in fact to impress men out of her.
As the cutter approached four members of the Pitt Packet crew scrambled below and barricaded themselves in the forepeak. Panton, discovering that some of the crew was missing, instigated a search. The four seamen, led by Michael Corbett, were soon discovered, but refused to come out and let it be known that they were armed. Panton sent for reenforcements from Rose. After a lengthy and heated altercation between the opponents, Lieutenant Panton was killed by a harpoon thrown through his neck by Michael Corbett.
Corbett and his companions were forcibly extricated and removed to Rose under heavy guard. Pitt Packet was manned by a crew from Rose , escorted into Boston, and finally released and returned to the Salem Custom House to be rummaged. Corbett and the other three seamen were prepared for trial; their defense attornies being John Adams and James Otis. The case was of the utmost significance and caused great excitement in Boston during the early summer.
See L. Wroth and H.
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Zobel, ed. Bowen did not mention the Pitt Packet incident at the time, although many years later he added to his Day Book, under date of 22 July which see , a garbled and misplaced reference to it. John Adams thought enough of Corbett to recommend him in later years for a captaincy in the Continental Navy. Halifax , Samuel Scott, commander.
Schooner Halifax , Adm.
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The Market was open every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in the year, from sunrise, when a bell was rung, until 1 p. Should one of these days happen to fall on a day set apart by government for religious services, the preceding day was market day from dawn to dusk. Numerous rules and regulations spelled out how it was to be maintained—no unwholesome meat to be sold there, no meat but pork to be left in the market during the winter after the closing hour, no horses or conveyances to encumber the entrance, restrictions concerning the purchase of provisions for resale at an enhanced price, and so on.
The hours and days varied from time to time. See, especially, minutes of the Town Meetings for 16 June and 19 April The Accession of the present Royal Family. That the King had been graciously pleased to recall a very bad Governor. The sure and certain Hopes that a very good one will be sent out, and placed in his Stead.
That a worse cannot be found on this Side—, if there. On Monday Evening the Baronet, being unwilling to give himself and Friends, if he has any, the Trouble of a formal Leave or the People an Opportunity to hiss him off the stage, sneaked down to Castle-William, where he lay that Night. The general Joy of this City was soon diffused through the neighbouring Towns, who gave similar Demonstrations of it. I'm sure Sophie Hannah, who uses mixed tenses in her Culver Valley series, doesn't dither as much! Keeping the individual characters' stories fresh and not giving away too much by linking them together too soon was also a challenge for me.
Even now I think maybe i should have just changed this or that Care to share any real life experiences? Delphine: Hmm, the polite answer is - YFC events are well run, enjoyable and educational ones. However, any event that combines young people, alcohol and a sense of competitiveness tends to produce some out-of-character behaviour patterns!
Luckily I was helped by a young friend who is a YFC member. I imagine that the officers policing the annual Royal Welsh Show could come up with dozens of entertaining tales that would equal some in this book if we were to ask them! I think any notable bad behaviour that happens in an otherwise quiet location becomes big news and is the one thing that everyone remembers, so I guess that every real life event such as this has a story that is repeated for decades! AmeriCymru: Tegwyn Prydderch is an interesting character.
His stoicism is an appealing characteristic. Any real life or literary models? At one point he opines that none of the events in the book would be happening if it was raining. Does crime in west Wales really come to a halt when it pours? Delphine: Tegwyn is based on a number of real life characters to say otherwise would be dangerous!! In many ways, he shares my character too apart from the fact that he doesn't like dogs - which is a fact that will come back to haunt him when he has to look after someone's dog as part of the next book.
I think I wanted him to be a bit of a 'jobsworth' and at times, you want to shake him! Although he is pivotal character, he is not the 'be all and end all' of these books, rather a means of gelling the different storylines together. When Tegwyn calls rain 'the best policeman', he is repeating a very well used phrase. It is certainly one I and many colleagues have used over the years.
Without a doubt, the more petty crimes or those that are 'outdoors based' and spontaneous are less likely to happen when it is pouring with rain - a simple result of people not wanting to go outside if they don't have to. Unfortunately, many serious crimes cannot be controlled or predicted by weather conditions. AmeriCymru: We last spoke when your first title was released in How was 'Blessed Are The Cracked' received?
Delphine: I was delighted with the way Blessed was received and the fact that it was in the Amazon Top for several weeks with a high point of Number 24 for some of those weeks. I was invited to speak on local radio and to various societies such as the WI and other organisations - which was a new experience for me. Just before The Truth About Eggs was launched, I was invited to a live interview on Radio Woking - I did wonder if an area so far away from mythical Llanefa would be interested, but it seemed to go well and there were some interesting questions posed by listeners.
During that session, Blessed was also mentioned and that revived a little more public interest despite it having been released in AmeriCymru: What are you working on at the moment? Are there any new publications in the pipeline? Delphine: As I said earlier, I am a typical indecisive Libran!
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No surprise to hear that I am working on two new projects. The first one which is about halfway complete is a collection similar to Blessed and set in Llanefa, of course. The working title, Never Point at a Rainbow, the title of one of the stories which is set in London when some Llanefa residents go away for the weekend follows Tegwyn's memoirs when he is interviewed on a Radio Station.
The second one has only just been started and was a result of good feedback on The Truth About Eggs and persuaded me to get another full length work out there. The working title is The Donkey Shaped Stone and brings some more familiar characters back onto the page. Which one will I continue with first? Watch this space! Delphine: A simple message - please keep reading! It is a delight to know that so many American readers are interested in Welsh fiction and even more pleasing to know that AmeriCymru is the go-to site to keep them informed.
Tracy Prince. Prince has spent her career teaching and writing about race, gender, and social equity issues.
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She uncovers forgotten or overlooked historical moments by digging through archives and interviewing folks who like to talk about the good ol'' days. How would you characterize the theme or central thesis of your recent book ''Culture Wars ''? Tracy: Thanks! Good stuff! In my book I argue that British literature is more than Anglo-English literature, despite depictions by London literary elite and anthologies. My book analyzes who is left out of the British literary canon and explores the culture wars surrounding the discussion of Britishness highlighting how a white Anglo-English image of British identity has been promoted and assumed and its supposed demise grieved over.
The past century''s culture wars that Britain has been consumed by, but that few North Americans seem aware of, have resulted in revised notions of Britishness and British literature. Yet literary anthologies remain anchored to an archaic Anglo-English interpretation of British literature. Conflicts have been played out over specific national vs. British identity some residents prefer to describe themselves as being from Scotland, England, Wales, or Northern Ireland instead of Britain , in debates over immigration, race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and in arguments over British literature.
This generalist cultural study is a lively read and a fascinating glimpse into Britain''s changing identity as reflected in 20th and 21st century British literature. AmeriCymru: What special difficulties do you see in defining British literature in the modern age? Tracy: Consciously or unconsciously, presuppositions of Anglo-English centrality remain deeply imbedded in the teaching of British literature.
A study of this issue reveals the underpinnings of the construction and maintenance of an Anglo-English definition of Britishness and the British literary canon. Indeed, American literature is widely understood as central to the process of how American-ness is analyzed and defined. But I believe that British literature has been equally as important to the analyzing and defining of Britishness, even when critics and authors claim to focus strictly on literary aesthetics and would not think of themselves as engaging with issues surrounding British identity.
British literature offers many cues to the reader about what Britishness means, about who is included, and about who is excluded. So, my book is filled with quotes from a variety of writers in the UK who have expressed how they feel about Britishness from the early 20 th century to 21 st century authors. And I cite studies that attempt to quantify how UK residents feel about being British. An example of presuppositions of Anglo-English centrality is that A. Byatt assembled an anthology in , the Oxford Book of English Short Stories , in which she ethnically cleansed writers in England.
Only a Black British and a British Jewish literary critic noticed. It is not surprising then, when London-born, English writer Hanif Kureishi demands a different version of Englishness and of Britishness. Her view is that when many people throughout Britain hear someone referring to themselves as British, this is often understood as coming from someone who is English. I wrote the book with a non-academic audience in mind. AmeriCymru: In Chapter 6 you state that:- "Britain''s culture wars are on explicit technicolor display in discussions about the Man Booker Prize" Can you tell us more?
The novels reflected a multi-cultural background that, while politically correct, did not include native, non-minority British authors. This idea would be found laughable among Welsh writers, who struggle to get on the radar of what is now called the Man Booker Prize based upon its current sponsorship. The M25 motorway surrounds Greater London. No doubt the judges have concealed youths spent digging coal with teaspoons in the Welsh valleys or working the checkouts on the dawn shift at Grimethorpe Asda.
But that is not what it looked and sounded like to me, or anyone else cringing at home who craved just the merest acknowledgement that someone outside the Woosterian Brahmin caste of literary London might read a book, or know good writing when they saw it. Of course, one look at the definition of the countries eligible for the Booker Prize refutes this premise.
Since this prize is an award for Commonwealth and Irish writers, the percentage of British and more specifically Anglo-English writers represented on shortlists and longlists is embarrassingly high. In the rules were changed to allow American writers to be eligible. The only way these Anglo-English novels are sold to people whose lives bear no resemblance to the lives in the novels is through marketing and especially through marketing of imperialist literary nostalgia.
This excruciatingly obvious point seems to have escaped great swathes of the British literary establishment. AmeriCymru: In your opinion, how has the ''rapidly changing sense of national identity'' in Britain both pre and post devolution been reflected in the writings of Welsh authors? She writes of her upbringing in Wales by a Welsh speaking white mother and a black Guyanese father in Sugar and Slate When she lived in Guyana for a few years she was thought of as British, though being Welsh calls to her most profoundly.
Williams traces connections between Africa and Wales in an effort to write a history of Wales that includes her story within Welsh identity. And white Welsh writer R. Beneath it there is only one nation, England. It is an abstraction forced on the Welsh people. However, Abse lived much of his adult life in Golders Green, London, primarily a Jewish neighborhood, with many synagogues and Jewish owned restaurants, bakeries, and bookstores.
He tells of an interaction with a patient:. He did not know I was Welsh. Then he praised the architects. AmeriCymru: Care to tell us a little about any Anglo Welsh writer or writers who have captured your attention in recent years? His The Welsh Girl was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in and deals with complex questions of belonging, loyalty, and identity.
Sarah Waters was born in Neyland, Pembrokeshire. This story of an immigrant Maltese family delves into the Cardiff underworld of the s. Another Welsh writer that I write about is Leonora Brito, who passed away in In the last half of the twentieth century the area was filled with decrepit buildings because of the decline of the coal industry and the related decline of harbor traffic. So in in a re-development scheme, large areas were bulldozed and the bay was reconfigured and, in a controversial move, renamed Cardiff Bay.
AmeriCymru: Do you foresee a time when ''Welsh Writing In English'' is taught as a separate subject or discipline in American universities? Tracy: Such a course would have strong appeal for Welsh ex-pats and people of Welsh ancestry, so I would think it wise for American universities to explore this option. However, I have taught literature in three countries America, Canada, Turkey , and I can report that many universities do not have the funding or professors specializing in Welsh literature to add a course on Welsh Writing in English.
Since most universities offer British literature every semester, it seems important to at least make sure that Welsh writing in English is taught more robustly in British literature courses. Because of America''s strong link to the Mother Country, because of our continuing "special relationship" with Britain, the teaching of British history and literature will remain important in American universities.
Thus it is important to have the teaching of British literature include all of Britain and not just London, Oxford, and Cambridge. My feeling is that it is bizarre and archaic to see the teaching of British literature and British literary anthologies continuing to focus mostly on dead, white, English writers. However, it would be great to think of ways to encourage universities to enhance their courses by offering Welsh Writing in English.
It seems like the demand would be strong. AmeriCymru: What''s next for Dr. Tracy J. Will you be exploring similar themes in future works? But I research in a wide array of historical areas. It''s the story of four generations of southern women, breast cancer, and the music of the American south. I have eclectic intellectual interests. I joked with my friends that the ad would need to read: "Are you interested in Oregon history, Native American art, ss magazine illustrations, architectural preservation, British literature, the history of Southern music, cotton sharecropping in Arkansas, or Oklahoma half-breeds?
Then I''m just the professor for you! So, stop on by and say hello when you mosey that way. Now devolution has actually happened and they have assemblies, flags, control over their own affairs. We feel aggrieved, abandoned, and find it hard to accept the outcome of what we have done. We have always regarded our confederates as children, as we did the rest of the empire, even though they are historically our predecessors. I find the most interesting parts of British literature are authors who are struggling with a sense of a cohesive British identity. With post-war immigration leading to a more multi-ethnic populace and with uncertainties brought about by devolution, it is important and fascinating when writers explore what it means to be British.
In the course of a distinguished career as a forensic pathologist, medical doctor and barrister you have also found time to write more than 30 novels since , in addition to radio and teleplays and non-fiction works. What was your main motivation when you began writing fiction? What inspired you? Bernard: I suppose my literary career began when I was a medical student in Cardiff in , which was after being first a farm worker in Gower and then a hospital lab tech.
By default, I became editor of the student magazine, appropriately called ''The Leech'' - and as usual, being editor of any small publication meant you had to write most of it yourself. But novel writing started not from ''inspiration'', but boredom. When called up to the Royal Army Medical Corps for compulsory military service in , I had not long been married and applied to stay in Britain — so with the usual military efficiency, they sent me to Malaya for three years!
Here the bloody twelve-year ''Forgotten War'' against the communist terrorists was going on and I was posted to a small military hospital in North Malaya, a place a bit like MASH, complete with helicopters and a mad commanding officer! My main recreation was reading books from the camp library — many were crime novels, but as the hospital pathologist, I found many of the forensic aspects so wildly inaccurate that I decided I could do better myself.
I started writing one and when I came back to my first forensic job in London, I mentioned this to a court reporter, and was astonished to see my boast in the next day''s Daily Mirror! The next day, I had a letter from a publisher asking to see my manuscript — I had only written a bit of it, so I dashed off the rest and he took it! It doesn''t happen like that these days! After this first shot at crime fiction with ''The Lately Deceased'', I went on to write about half a dozen ''stand-alone'' novels, several based in South Wales. Following this, I also started writing scripts for radio plays for the BBC and then for television.
I wrote the story-lines for a very popular BBC forensic series called The Expert, and did quite bit of TV work, even presenting some documentary stuff on forensic topics like skeletons. A few years ago, I was involved in two programmes where we examined the alleged bones of St David, kept in a chest behind the high altar at the cathedral in Pembrokeshire— unfortunately, we showed that they were six hundred years too recent to be our patron saint!
I did some Welsh Language programmes, too, though I''m not fluent, much to my sorrow. One was a series about spies at the missile range in West Wales and more recently I wrote the stories for Dim Clew, a forensic team game on S4C. The book, written as an autobiography, called Autopsy,was very successful, going into five editions and book clubs, though unfortunately my old friend Milton died just before publication.
As a full-time pathologist, working for the university and the Home Office, I had to do all my writing at night, sometimes until three in the morning — I once passed my resident mother-in-law, an early riser, on the stairs as I was going up and she was going down! AmeriCymru: How do you choose your subjects and can you tell us a bit about your creative process? Bernard: My abiding fascination with Welsh history tempted me to write my first historical novel Lion Rampant in , the true tragic romance of Princess Nest and Owain ap Cadwgan. It''s still my favourite book, being so closely bound to real history.
I followed this with another twelfth century yarn Madoc, Prince of America , about which more below. These two books really got me hooked on the twelfth century, which set the pattern for Crowner John. The creative process is a bit of a myth in terms of ''inspiration'', in that once I get a general idea for a book, I first beaver away at the historical background, this research being the most interesting part of the job — in fact, I don''t really like the chore of writing, slogging away at a keyboard. It''s the research that grabs me, it took a year''s work to get the facts right for Lion Rampant.
The themes for the Crowner John books were very varied — the business of sanctuary, where criminals sought shelter in a church; tournaments the medieval equivalent of football, horse-racing and baseball ; the harsh forest laws; witchcraft, piracy, tin-mining and of course, ever-present dominance of the Church. I used to write a detailed synopsis of a book before I started, even if the finished product diverged considerably from it. I''ve got lazier now, but I still need to know where I''m going with a book, rather than the ''sit-down-and-hope-for-the-best'' approach that some writers seem to get away with.
I now start with a flow-diagram on a single sheet of paper, with characters called X,Y. Z, and build up a visual pattern with arrows for motives. Then I put names on the people and write a ''curriculum vita'' for each, so that I can establish continuity. This is vital for a series like Crowner John, with fifteen books to handle. I have a large file which I call ''My Bible'', which has separate sections for the personal details of each character, then bits about costume, diet, locations, maps, etc, so that I can keep a grip on things.
Even so, one makes slips and my many readers around the world are swift to let me know — for example John''s cook-maid was blonde in one book and brunette in another! Anachronisms are another problem - I had an Email from somewhere in the world to tell me that I had screwed a booby trap to the lavatory wall, which was impossible because screws weren''t invented until the 14th century!
Even in dialogue, anachronisms are hard to avoid — can you say in a book that someone was a ''sadist'' — or a man was ''mesmerised'', when those eponymous words were still centuries in the future? The hardest part of a book is the ending, which causes many otherwise good books to fall flat. In crime books, the old standby, the ''denoument'' beloved of Hercule Poirot, with the suspects gathered together in the drawing-room, is quite unrealistic in real life, but there is only a limited range of outcomes — the culprit is either arrested, shot, commits suicide or conveniently has a fatal accident.
It''s ''not cricket'' to let him get away with it! Care to explain for our readers what a Crowner was and did? Bernard: As a forensic pathologist, my instructions — and payment — for an autopsy came from the coroner, an official always either a lawyer or a doctor, responsible for investigating deaths which cannot be certified by a physician as natural causes. It was with the idea of becoming a coroner that I also studied to be a barrister, as an insurance against not getting a senior medical post. The word ''coroner'' comes from the Latin ''Custos placitorum coronae'', meaning ''keeper of the pleas of the crown''.
The office originated in , partly as a means to attract fines from the population to help pay for the ransom of Richard the Lionheart, captured in Austria on his way home from the Third Crusade. Anything 12th century was of interest to me and after a bit of academic delving, I had the idea to write a one-off book about a fictional first coroner. I would have liked to have set it in Wales, but that was impossible as in , we were still independent and had our own laws of Hwyel Dda — so I had to go to England and I chose Devonshire. Most of the characters I used were real and actually held the jobs I portrayed, like Sir Richard de Revelle, the sheriff.
There was no record of the early coroners, so I invented Sir John de Wolfe, a returning Crusader who was looking for a job. The title ''crowner'' is a bit of cheat for , as it was not used until the 14th century as a slightly derogatory nickname — Shakespeare uses it in that sense in Hamlet. The coroner''s job was to hold inquests on all deaths that did not occur in the bosom of the family, including murders, suicides, accidents etc — and where possible, bring any culprits to justice.
He had to attend hangings to seize the property of felons, take confessions from sanctuary-seekers, attend ordeals, examine assaults, rapes, robberies, fires, wrecks, catches of the royal fish whale and sturgeon and many other legal tasks, most designed to gather money into the royal exchequer, rather than let the local lords continue to use their own courts. Essentially, his job was to record every legal event and present them to the king''s judges when they circulated around the county towns to administer justice.
It seemed a good basis for an investigative story, as at least it really was the coroner''s job — not like the many old ladies, writers, aristocrats and priests that abound in detective fiction! I thought this was to be a single book, but it was so popular that the fifteenth will be published this coming August. AmeriCymru: From the Wikipedia we learn that:- "Apart from John, most of the main characters actually existed in history and every care is taken with research and the creation of atmosphere, to offer an authentic picture of twelfth-century England.
Most the places described in the stories can be visited by readers today, even the gatehouse of Rougemont Castle in Exeter, where John had his office. What proportion of your time is spent on research? Bernard: Amongst historical novelists, there is a divergence of opinion about whether you should use real characters in the books. Some say it is perverting history and also risks possibly blackening the name of nice folk. I don''t think this is valid, especially after years, as everyone knows the books are meant as entertainment, not teaching - though many ''fans'' have told me that they enjoyed such a painless way of learning some history, especially about common folk.
I always try to tell life as it really was - the squalor, the dirt and the poverty, as well as how people ate and dressed all those centuries ago. My information comes from all sorts of sources — history textbooks, monographs, direct questioning of very helpful experts — and of course the Internet, though one has to be careful in accepting everything in Wikipedia, as you never know if some historical essay was actually written by some spotty kid in Idaho!
I am almost obsessional about authenticity and cannot use anything I know or suspect to be wrong. Some of my writer friends are not so fussy, saying that it''s only entertainment, but I go to considerable lengths to try to get it right, even though I still slip up some times. For instance in one of the earlier books, The Grim Reaper, I had the bright idea of having my serial killer, a priest, leave a relevant Biblical quotation at the scene of each murder, such as ''The Gospel of Mark, Chapter Ten, Verse Six.
Chapters were invented by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th century and verses came in far later as a printing convenience. Everywhere I write about, I have visited. It''s important, I think, to ''walk the territory'' which gives you a far more realistic impression of the scene than looking at photos or reading descriptions. I have even been up on Dartmoor in the snow to visit the place where the Devon tin miners used to hold their parliament.
I also find it very satisfying to tread the same stones as my characters did, all those centuries ago, like the gatehouse of Exeter Castle, built by William the Conqueror as early as AmeriCymru: Crowner John could be called an "ancestor" of the modern pathologist, in writing about the beginnings of your own field in the 12th century, was it challenging to translate your much more vast knowledge of pathology to John''s limited resources, the information or education he would have had and the circumstances he would have had to work under?
Bernard: I went out of my way to avoid using my forensic pathology expertise in the Crowner John books, though of course, my more recent Dr Richard Pryor series based in South Wales in the ''s depends entirely upon it. But writing all those Crowner John stories was really a form of escapism for me, and it would have been a ''busman''s holiday'' if they contained any significant pathology — as well as being a total anachronism! I confine the post-mortem examinations of John and Gwyn to crudely testing rigor mortis to guess how long someone had been dead — they probably did as well in as we do now, as it''s a pretty useless test!
As for wounds, both John and Gwyn consider themselves experts after a lifetime on the battlefield, but they go little farther than sticking a finger into a stab wound to see how deep it was! AmeriCymru: You have also written seven novels under the pseudonym "Bernard Picton". Can you tell us a bit more about those?
Bernard: In former years in Britain, it was unethical for doctors to professionally advertise themselves in any way - even the first TV doctor used to sit with his back to the camera! When I started writing in , I could not flaunt my forensic knowledge in my novels and scripts, so had to take a pseudonym. At the time I was living in an old pub near Cowbridge, which had been ''The General Picton'', so I took that as a pen-name.
Later, Margaret Thatcher forced the professions to open up and there was then no reason not to use my real name. Front Matter Pages i-xviii. Front Matter Pages Seeing with an Unconscious Eye. Pages Lean in as the Story is Told. The Unpredictability of Bliss. Joys and Dilemmas. Embodied Poetics in Mother Poetry. Resonance and Aesthetics. Poetics in a Capacious Landscape.