Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland Find!
I can't believe how quickly time passes and I was astounded to discover that a month has passed since I made my first blog entry!
I haven't been slacking though, and apart from 2 weeks away on holiday I have been both hard at work on the day job as well as on the Reading Detectives project!
In my initial blog entry I spoke about a book I was reading by W G Collingwood, who was an author, artist, antiquary and also a Professor of Fine Arts at Reading University. He also worked at Brantwood, Coniston, with John Ruskin.
The book was Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland.
Using his immense knowledge of Norse history and mythology, Collingwood wrote this saga which tells how the area between Greenodd and Coniston was initially settled by Thorstein's father, Swein, and how after Swein's death he was succeeded by his 3 sons.
As the novel unfolds the reader sees how the settlers' community functioned, and, how the relationship of the 3 brothers as well as the various battles, power struggles, treaties and alliances which were going on in other parts of the country impinged on this community and affected their lives.
Other parts of the county are also vividly described as they travel to fight in battle or to various "tribal" council meetings, which adds further interest.
It was fascinating to read this book - not only because it is an engaging, absorbing and interesting story, but also because it made me look at the county I live in with new eyes...or maybe that should be with older, historical eyes!
It encapsulates how, historically, Cumbria has had waves of settlers from several different races, who, over time have made both the Cumbrian people and the Cumbrian countryside what they are today.
Both Greenodd and Consiton are quite close to where I live, which made it even more interesting for me, and when I recently drove past Greenodd I found myself trying to imagine how it might have looked during the time in history when the book is set.
It was also fascinating to learn that Coniston Water's name was originally Thorstanes Watter.
My earlier blog entry describes the links between Arthur Ransome and Collingwood. I have also discovered that Thorstein of the Mere was one of Arthur Ransome's favourite books when he was young.
In 1929, Ransome wrote about Collingwood's book:
"For myself, the Lake Country and my own childhood would not have been what they were if I had not known Mr. W.J. Collingwood's Thorstein of the Mere....Years and years after, taking Thorstein of the Mere with me into Russia, I had my childhood and its country in my pocket and could escape into them when I wished. ...What Lorna Doone must be for those who come from Somerset and Devon Thorstein of the Mere must be for those who were children in Thorstein's country: and so it will be for generations yet to come"
If anyone wants to read more of Ransome's introduction, or even the full text of Thorstein of the Mere, it can be seen online at:
30 August 2009 from Helen
- On Lindale Hill
- Grange-over-Sands: The Story of a Gentle Township
- The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland
- Red Ike
- Cumbrian Privies
- Ethel Fisher's West Cumbrian Dialect titles
- The Embalmer's Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard
- Nella Last's Peace
- Riding the Stang by Dawn Robertson
- Life on the Fell - a pictorial chronicle of a Lakeland community
- About Scout Scar
- William Wilberforce - A Summer Diary 1779
- Beatrix Potter - the unknown years
- Smoke over Shap by Margaret Potter
- Songs of a Cragsman by George Basterfield
- The Grasmere Dialect Plays
- The Grizedale Experience: Sculpture, Art & Theatre in a Lakeland Forest
- An Atlas of The English Lakes
- How Hall. Poetry and Memories. A Passion for Ennerdale by Tom Rawling
- Stumpy, Hero of the Lakes
- The High Places by A. Harry Griffin
- The Highest House in Wathendale
- Kendal by Roger Bingham
- Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland
- Reminiscences of Wordsworth Among the Peasantry of Westmorland by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
- Little Gods by Jacob Polley
- A Lakeland Summer
- Hunter of Harter Fell by Joseph E Chipperfield
- And Nobody Woke Up Dead
- An accessible paradise
- The Fleming Family novels and Graham Sutton
- Excursion to Loweswater. A Lakeland Visit 1865
- Writing on the Wall
- Beyond Scafell by Alan Robinson
- Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
- Kendal In The Nineteenth Century by A Wainwright
- In There Somewhere
- The Bondwomen by W G Collingwood
- "Ah'd Gaa Back Tomorra!"
- A Cumbrian Copper by Ray Huddart
- The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
- Old Will Stories by Dudley Hoys
- The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff
- T'Bacca Queen by Theodora Wilson Wilson
- Furness and the Industrial Revolution
- The Shadow of Black Combe
- The Painted Letters of Percy Kelly
- Ivver Sen
- Lakeland in the 1830s
- Wasdale Climbing Book By Michael Cocker
- Riding High by Barbara Sneyd
- Deborah in Langdale
- Early Recollections of Grange
- Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank
- Yan, Tan, Tethera
- Talk of the Town
- Capturing the Mountains
- Hope On, Hope Ever
- Mildred Edwards: Our City Our People 1889 - 1978 Memories
- Lakeland Limericks
- Surrounding loveliness
- Haweswater by Sarah Hall
- Coast to Coast by Jan Minshull
- Sunshine To The Sunless
- Geese, cattle wallopers and secret Irish paths
- Anarchists, Angels and wet Bank Holiday Mondays
- A more unconventional kind of find...?
- Skiddaw Summit by Kathleen Jones
- Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland
- Wednesday Early Closing
- Smoke Across The Fell
- The Sand Pilot of Morecambe Bay
- The Chronicles of Boggerthwaite
- Carrock Fell
- Feet in the Clouds
- Hercules and the Farmer's Wife
- Shepherd's Warning
- The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
- I've been so busy reading I haven't had time to blog!
- Reading Detectives film
- Thank you!
- Coffee and books at the Bluebell Bookshop
- Mary learns to blog!
- Lucky 13!
- Grange over Sands get reading
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