THE JOHN MEADE FALKNER SOCIETY

Founded 8th May 1999

Newsletter No. 34

22 July 2010

 

Overdue Subscriptions There are only five subs now not paid. I will again gently remind those members and hope all continue.If they do, I will then send Journal No. 11 to them. If they don’t wish to carry on, I would appreciate a letter advising me of this sad fact. All of you are greatly valued by me.

Lord Quinton Lord Quinton died on 19 June, aged 85. He was educated at Stowe College in Buckinghamshire, and at Christ Church, Oxford. He went on to become a Fellow of All Souls; President of Trinity College, Oxford (1978-87); Vice-president of the British Academy (1985-6); and Chairman of the Board of the British Library in 1985. He was also the erudite Question Master of the Radio 4 ‘Round Britain Quiz’. Author of several important books - such as The Nature of Things (1973) - “a considerable work of twentieth-century metaphysics” - and Utilitarian Ethics (1973), he was made a Life Peer in 1982. The Times’ obituary writer remarked that “he appeared to have read everything”; whilst The Daily Telegraph commented - “A prodigious reader, Quinton had eclectic and catholic tastes in literature”. I have left the most important point to the end - Lord Quinton was a member of our Society from 2002 to 2006 and was an admirer of JMF’s work.

Journal No 11 - July 2010 This is enclosed with the Newsletter. I do hope you all enjoy the articles. I am most grateful to the contributors - George Robson, Michael Daniell and Christopher Hawtree - and to Royd Whitlock for the Index. I do apologise to those of you who have to put up with a small font and text not covering the whole page A kind friend offered to help print off a batch and somehow changed everything!

Three Priories A few more copies have been sold since the last Newsletter in May, including one going off to Spain. I do hope those who haven’t yet purchased a copy will now do so. At £10 [+ £1 p. & p.] it is a real bargain and a collector’s item and a good present to a friend for Christmas or their birthday.

Society Meeting in 2011 Another reminder that I hope to hold our next Society meeting over the weekend of 8th/9th July 2011. It will be held in the Fleet/Dorchester area and I am suggesting that we concentrate on JMF’s life before his move to Newcastle as well as on his most famous novel - Moonfleet. I will get a short list of hotels/B&Bs ready for the May Newsletter as well as some idea of the format. Any help gratefully received.

The value of JMF! Recently, I glanced through a copy of the monthly Book and Magazine Collector. One of the articles was on the Penguin Crime series (I am sure you all remember those atmospheric dark green and white covers). It ended with a list of the more collectible ones and, if my memory serves me rightly. The Nebuly Coat was one of the most pricey. This opinion was borne out on 26th June, when a copy came up for ‘auction’ on Ebay. The seller had started with £4.99, but by the time the bidding finished it had rocketed to £32. A mere snip, since postage was free! This Penguin version is interesting from a collector’s point of view: It was originally published with the number 427. This was a mistake, so other versions have the number blocked out and 437 just below. Of no interest to genuine readers, to the bibliographer/collector it is a vital point. Naturally, we have both copies. A final point about the Penguin version. It has a brief Introduction by Christine Longford, which is adequate; but it was also abridged, much to Christopher Hawtree’s displeasure.

JMF and cricket John Meade Falkner loved his tennis and cricket, fully joining in the games organised by the Nobles at their various leased residences in the north east - Cartington, Lorbottle, Chillingham and Nunnykirk. Sir Henry Newbolt recalled playing with JMF at Lorbottle in his memoir My World as in my Time. One of Christopher Hawtree’s earliest articles for this Society was on John Meade Falkner, sportsman. He quotes Falkner’s lifelong friend, Charles Lynam, telling John Betjeman that at Oxford the former had been “a good cricketer and racquets player”. Falkner mentions the game in several of his letters to John Noble: “I played cricket here (Derby) the other day for the first time this summer and did fairly well for me, catching two men & making 10..” (22 June 1884); “We had a little game at Lorbottle on Monday - but the ground is still very damp. I hope we shall get some cricket at Rothbury... he has put my name down for the Roth. Crick. Club but I suppose their election is not so stiff as at Lords” (28 May 1885). Now, thanks to the generosity of a member, you can all have your own photograph of JMF and others in a Nunnykirk cricket group of c.1890.

Best wishes Kenneth Hillier Greenmantle, Main Street, Kings Newton, Melbourne Derbyshire. DE73 8BX