THE ARTIST: I was born,raised and lived in Kent for most of my life. I have always been inspired by the lovely countryside around me and appreciated England's deep and rich history.
My paintings have been internationally exhibited and featured on BBC programmes such as 'Country Tracks' and 'The One Show'.I recently had my work displayed in a feature article in 'Pagan Dawn' magazine .
REGARDING MY WORK, my craft, and spiritual life....
I identify closely with the timeless linear quality of early English Art from the 7th to 11th century which combines purity of colour, beauty of line and cryptic design for its expression. As a practising heathen I draw on my Woden-born inspiration daily.
If you wish to get in touch,please do so using the contact form, I'm always happy to answer any questions.
The English: A unique folk with an ancient identity:
Identity is hugely important to everyone - Folk of all races & ethnicities are unique in their identity - here I look at the origins of the English and why our identity and the culture that comes with it differentiate we,the English from the other peoples of Britain - Scots, Welsh, Irish and the many recent immigrant identities.
A brief look at English origins.
Our ancestors, travelled across the North Sea from the areas that we now call north Germany, Denmark and Holland,as tribes from the mid 5th century.Angeln,now part of Denmark bordering modern day northern Germany, was said by Bede to have been 'emptied' and the archaelogical record confirms this.
The tribes were Germanic,in terms of numbers predominantly Angles, with Saxons, Jutes and small numbers of Frisians and Franks. Gildas and Bede record savage battles as they fought the native Brythonic tribes, carving out sections of the land for themselves. Eventually, the majority of the Brythons were pushed to the western fringes of modern Wales and Cornwall. As the Germanic tribes grew, they began to amalgamate and larger swathes of land were named after the men and women that peopled them.The tribes called themselves the Angelcynn Angle kin or the Englisc. The term 'Anglo-Saxon' was developed centuries later by Latin speaking learned academics.
In the north (as far north as modern day Lowland Scotland), this land was named Northumbria - the land north of the humber, peopled by Angles. Below and in the central west was Mercia, the border land,which was also Angle occupied. To the east, the north folk & south folk gave their names to Norfolk & Suffolk. South of them were the Kentish tribes, largely made up of Jutes from north of Angeln,modern Denmark, and to the west was Essex, Sussex & Wessex - the east, south and west Saxons. Their languages only varied as dialects and were mutually intelligible, we know them now as various forms of Old English.
The Kingdoms fought each other in bitter wars - land and tribal pride was at stake. Smaller tribes were amalgamated into the larger ones. At various times, one kingdom was dominant, first Northumbria, then Mercia.
Then, with the coming of the Viking invasions from Denmark & beyond - it was Wessex's turn, & under the reign of King Alfred the Great, the fightback began. King Alfred was able to start the true unification of England, named after the dominant tribe, Ænglaland - meaning 'Land of the Angles'.
In 1066,Harold's army having crushed a huge Viking army at Stamford Bridge near York, England was to be invaded for the final time by the Normans, who had invaded and occupied what is now the Normandy area of northern France. The Normans got their name from 'North Men'and they were descended from Germanic tribes themselves ,Vikings from Scandinavia .The men to raid England were of Norman & Frank / Breton stock, under the control of William 'the bastard'. England was harried, and finally subdued after several uprisings.
From 1066 onwards, the English were second class citizens. William redistributed English land to those that had supported and taken part in the conquest. All prominent Church and administrative roles were given to Normans or their supporters. The English language was effectively banned by the rulers, who insisted on their subjects using their adopted patoi of Norman French for everyday matters with Latin for state purposes. However,after three hundred years,Norman French merged into Old English to create Middle English (the language of Chaucer). Even today, a large area of land is owned by the many aristocratic families who can trace their origins to the Norman conquest.
It may be that a small number of early English had wives of Brythonic ethnicity - the ancestors of the modern Welsh, although recent genetic research suggests that a kind of apartheid was used to keep the two peoples distinct.In fact the Old English word for Welsh was 'Wealisc', meaning foreigner.
The Vikings that settled northern & eastern England were mostly Danes. These were a very similar Germanic people to the English (coming from the same place as the original English tribes). They were also culturally similar, with a closely related language to Old English and shared heathen belief system. and within a short period of time they were absorbed into the English majority.
The Northmen/Normans were also absorbed into the unchanged Germanic stock of the English community over time. There was very little immigration over the next 850+ years,this included French Huguenots, Jews & the Irish. In total the addition to the existing population of the time never amounted to little more than a tiny 1%.
Until mass immigration policies were deliberately pursued in the past 30 years, (unlike the fluctuation and movement of populations throughout Europe,-especially in central Europe) brought about by wars and sudden demographic crises, England's insular position created a stable and homogenous English people, whose written and linguistic evidence show a vigorous, unique way of life which has contributed hugely to world culture, and these factors underline the status of the English,who still continue to enjoy the role of being a very defined people and have every intention of being so in the future.