Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Thursday 27 March 2014

Bargain prices for Belloc and Chesterton books (lots of first edition material)...

Message from the Emerald Isle...

I have recently purchased a private library. I am presently sorting
through the material as my particular interests are Irish history,
Irish literature and the Irish language.

The collection contained a large amount of books by Hilaire Belloc and
GK Chesterton. The majority of these are first editions and are in
very good condition. Clearly the owner was a great admirer of both
Chesterton and Belloc.

From a quick perusal of the material I would say it is close to an
entire collection of their works.

With regards Hilaire Belloc:

From a Bibliography list found on Wikipedia, see

Out of the 150 books authored by Belloc listed, I have 114. I also
have 13 other items written by Belloc that are not listed. There are
a further 13 pamphlets by Belloc. There are also 20 books relating to
Belloc. Also there are a number of duplicates (later editions) of
some of the 1st edition books. And finally the book "Many Cities"
1928) is signed by Belloc.

With regards GK Chesterton:

From a Bibliography list found on Wikipedia, see:

Out of the 115 books authored by Chesterton listed, I have 72. I also
have 14 other items written by Chesterton that are not listed.
Again, there are some duplicates, only a handful. There are also 28
books relating to Chesterton, some of which are signed by the authors.
The book "Queen of Swords Poetry" (1926) is signed by Chesterton. The
"Book of Job" (1916) is a publisher's presentation copy. There are
some bound and loose G.K.'s Weekly. Some of the books are
boxed/cased/leather bound. There are 101 Chesterton Reviews. The
book "Poems"(1915) is signed by the poet Katherine Tynan. And
finally, there is one book by Cecil Chesterton Nell Gwyn (1912).

I do intend to sell the collections, either separately or together.
While I would like to achieve a good and fair price for these
collections, my priority is to secure a good home for the collections.
This will also enable me to defray some of the cost of my original

At your convenience I would appreciate it if you would let me know if
your institution has any interest in these collections. And if not if
you could direct me to an institution, library or a private collector
that would be interested. I appreciate your help in this matter, as
I said previously I wish to find a good home for the collection.

I am working on a detailed inventory at present. I live in Dublin
and should anyone wish to view either collection, that can be arranged.

Thank you in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,

Seán O Mathúna

If you require more details etc please do not hesitate to contact
either me or my father


Regards and thanks,
Ciara O'Mahony.

Monday 17 March 2014

Belloc on Saint Patrick...

If there is one thing that people who are not Catholic have gone wrong upon more than another in the intellectual things of life, it is the conception of a Personality. They are muddled about it where their own little selves are concerned, they misappreciate it when they deal with the problems of society, and they have a very weak hold of it when they consider (if they do consider) the nature of Almighty God.

Now, personality is everything. It was a Personal Will that made all things, visible and invisible. Our hope of immortality resides in this, that we are persons, and half our frailties proceed from a misapprehension of the awful responsibilities which personality involves or a cowardly ignorance of its powers of self-government.

The hundred and one errors which this main error leads to include a bad error on the nature of history. Your modern non-Catholic or anti-Catholic historian is always misunderstanding, underestimating, or muddling the role played in the affairs of men by great and individual Personalities. That is why he is so lamentably weak upon the function of legend; that is why he makes a fetish of documentary evidence and has no grip upon the value of tradition. For traditions spring from some personality invariably, and the function of legend, whether it be a rigidly true legend or one tinged with make-believe, is to interpret Personality. Legends have vitality and continue, because in their origin they so exactly serve to explain or illustrate some personal character in a man which no cold statement could give.

Now St. Patrick, the whole story and effect of him, is a matter of Personality. There was once — twenty or thirty years ago — a whole school of dunderheads who wondered whether St. Patrick ever existed, because the mass of legends surrounding his name troubled them. How on earth (one wonders) do such scholars consider their fellow-beings! Have they ever seen a crowd cheering a popular hero, or noticed the expression upon men’s faces when they spoke of some friend of striking power recently dead? A great growth of legends around a man is the very best proof you could have not only of his existence but of the fact that he was an origin and a beginning, and that things sprang from his will or his vision. There were some who seemed to think it a kind of favour done to the indestructible body of Irish Catholicism when Mr. Bury wrote his learned Protestant book upon St. Patrick. It was a critical and very careful bit of work, and was deservedly praised; but the favour done us I could not see! It is all to the advantage of non-Catholic history that it should be sane, and that a great Protestant historian should make true history out of a great historical figure was a very good sign. It was a long step back towards common sense compared with the German absurdities which had left their victims doubting almost all the solid foundation of the European story; but as for us Catholics, we had no need to be told it. Not only was there a St. Patrick in history, but there is a St. Patrick on the shores of his eastern sea and throughout all Ireland to-day. It is a presence that stares you in the face, and physically almost haunts you. Let a man sail along the Leinster coast on such a day as renders the Wicklow Mountains clear up-weather behind him, and the Mourne Mountains perhaps in storm, lifted clearly above the sea down the wind. He is taking some such course as that on which St. Patrick sailed, and if he will land from time to time from his little boat at the end of each day’s sailing, and hear Mass in the morning before he sails further northward, he will know in what way St. Patrick inhabits the soil which he rendered sacred.

We know that among the marks of holiness is the working of miracles. Ireland is the greatest miracle any saint ever worked. It is a miracle and a nexus of miracles. Among other miracles it is a nation raised from the dead.

The preservation of the Faith by the Irish is an historical miracle comparable to nothing else in Europe. There never was, and please God never can be, so prolonged and insanely violent a persecution of men by their fellow-men as was undertaken for centuries against the Faith in Ireland: and it has completely failed. I know of no example in history of failure following upon such effort. It had behind it in combination the two most powerful of the evil passions of men, terror and greed. And so amazing is it that they did not attain their end, that perpetually as one reads one finds the authors of the dreadful business now at one period, now at another, assuming with certitude that their success is achieved. Then, after centuries, it is almost suddenly perceived — and in our own time — that it has not been achieved and never will be.

What a complexity of strange coincidences combined, coming out of nothing as it were, advancing like spirits summoned on to the stage, all to effect this end! Think of the American Colonies; with one little exception they were perhaps the most completely non-Catholic society of their time. Their successful rebellion against the mother country meant many things, and led to many prophecies. Who could have guessed that one of its chief results would be the furnishing of a free refuge for the Irish?

The famine, all human opinion imagined, and all human judgment was bound to conclude, was a mortal wound, coming in as the ally of the vile persecution I have named. It has turned out the very contrary. From it there springs indirectly the dispersion, and that power which comes from unity in dispersion, of Irish Catholicism.

Who, looking at the huge financial power that dominated Europe, and England in particular, during the youth of our own generation, could have dreamt that in any corner of Europe, least of all in the poorest and most ruined corner of Christendom, an effective resistance could be raised?

Behind the enemies of Ireland, furnishing them with all their modern strength, was that base and secret master of modern things, the usurer. He it was far more than the gentry of the island who demanded toll, and, through the mortgages on the Irish estates, had determined to drain Ireland as he has drained and rendered desert so much else. Is it not a miracle that he has failed?

Ireland is a nation risen from the dead; and to raise one man from the dead is surely miraculous enough to convince one of the power of a great spirit. This miracle, as I am prepared to believe, is the last and the greatest of St. Patrick’s.

When I was last in Ireland, I bought in the town of Wexford a coloured picture of St. Patrick which greatly pleased me. Most of it was green in colour, and St. Patrick wore a mitre and had a crosier in his hand. He was turning into the sea a number of nasty reptiles: snakes and toads and the rest. I bought this picture because it seemed to me as modern a piece of symbolism as ever I had seen: and that was why I bought it for my children and for my home.

There was a few pence change, but I did not want it. The person who sold me the picture said they would spend the change in candles for St. Patrick’s altar. So St. Patrick is still alive.

The Ostara Music Festival in Sussex...

Wednesday 12 March 2014

An appraisal of our Sussex outing...

Chris in full flow

The annual Belloc Society Sussex talk, and day, passed off very successfully earlier in the month. Initially, the London contingent couldn't find their driver but, eventually, he was found in an unlikely location. We arrived late, but this heightened the anticipation.

The afternoon started off with Sussex folk music (at the The George and Dragon), progressing through to Scots Gaelic songs. Following a well lubricated lunch we moved off to the Downs: the view of the Wildbrooks from the top was quite stunning.

Back at the ranch Chris Hare treated us to a brief introduction to Belloc (highlighting his prescient observations on the rise of Islam and the pernicious nature of the modern Banking system) and a fulsome appraisal of his poetic outpourings.

The day continued, thereafter, an an informal basis. A good time was had by all!

I would like to thank Chris, once again, for his help. I would also like to say how delighted I was to see the former Chairman of the Hilaire Belloc Society (after a long interlude). I do hope that Grahame Clough can attend future events as he has so much to offer the cause of Belloc.

William with his Bob Copper book. The chorus being: 'His hide is covered with hair.' 

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Schall on Belloc for Lent...

''For Lent, I will read Hilaire Belloc's Places. Belloc is the best essayist in our language. Here are essays on places from North to the South of Europe, to the Mideast, to North Africa. The memory of what we are, or perhaps of what we were and are now rejecting, is here found. The third essay is "On Wandering;" the final essay is "About Wine," neither to be missed. I heard of a new book that, like the European constitutionalists, wrote of Europe as if it had no Christian roots. But, "A (man) travels in order to visit cities and men, and to get a knowledge of the real places where things happened in the past, getting a knowledge also of how the mind of man worked in building and works now in daily life." Today we must also find these same places in books, lest we forget what we are.''

Father James V. Schall, S. J., is a retired Professor of Government (Georgetown University).