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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Knights of old...

My grandson has taken a strong liking to visiting the amazing Beauchamp Chapel in the collegiate church of St. Mary's, Warwick. This is a part of the church which dates back to the fifteenth century and was, very happily, preserved from the Great Fire of Warwick - 'conflaone stupenda' - that burnt part of the church but allowed the building of the current tower by the good burghers of the town in 1704. For which, much thanks. The Beauchamp Chapel is, apparently, one of the finest medieval chapels in England, and contains marvellous effigies of the Beauchamps, in all their armoured finery - hence the little fellow's keenness. So, today, in our Saturday wanderings, we visited, then played in the old cloister gardens, bought a light sabre (cue discussion of knights past and future), and had a quick visit to a second hand bookshop in Smith Street (where the armourers of past ages used to work, outside the town walls). Happily, there was some new old stock, including:

An old Almark from 1976, with some useful uniform illustrations, especially of the Frenchies (an amusing irony, that the sons of liberty were so close to the most tyrannical, absolutist regime of its day), and a detailed order of battle. And it is always nice to be able to buy the books I couldn't afford back then. The second is one by Christopher Hibbert MC, a popular historian who could write readable English. His Mussolini, for example, is still a jolly good read, and quite beats struggling with the tedium of, say, Denis Mack Smith's biography of the dictator. So, I'm looking forward to Redcoats and Rebels, although, it should really be Redcoats, Greencoats and Rebels. Those noble Loyalists, founders of English-speaking Canada! Not to mention Ban:

Ban - historical victim of propaganda, which was itself simply the product of the fear that he instilled in the rebels. He needs a good biography. I have The Green Dragoon, but it is written in that curious 'he said, she said' style (popular in the 1950s) that is offputting, to say the least.

My other purchase, which I have accidentally sandwiched between two warship wargame pictures...

was this cracking volume from 1990:

It covers, as you see, the pre-Dreadnought period, with all its wondrous, often unique ships.

And all this reading for £11. Top banana!

1 comment:

  1. I'm a great fan of Hibbert to 'Redcoats & Rebals ' is a good read.