Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire by @scskillman #Blog Tour @amberleybooks

May thanks to Sheila for giving me a chance to read an advanced copy of her newest release, Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire!

Warwickshire, often known as Shakespeare’s county, has a host of strange and mysterious tales ranging from ancient legends and stories of the supernatural to more modern documented cases. Curious beliefs and customs were once widespread in Warwickshire’s towns and villages, some of which still flourish today.

These strange and spooky stories include the quirky death of the Roundhead commander who owned Warwick Castle; the association of the great author J. R. R. Tolkien with the town; the story of the hand of glory obtained at Warwick hangings, and the threshold protection spell widely practised in former times. Stratford-upon-Avon’s historic buildings have witnessed many strange events over the centuries and more recently the Crackley Wood sprite has been sighted at Kenilworth. Other stories include the Wroth Silver at Knightlow Cross; the discovery of the holy grail in a box in Rugby; a violent 800-year-old ball game played annually at Atherstone on Shrove Tuesday; the sightings of a Beast at Barford; the annual wassailing ceremony at Brandon Marsh Nature Centre; and the unresolved mystery of the 1945 murder at Lower Quinton associated with witchcraft, along with other weird tales from the surrounding towns and villages.These strange and spooky stories are accompanied by the author’s photographs of places featured in the text, both present-day and historical, in this hugely entertaining book.

I have been lucky enough to give you a taster with an extract, which centres around authors associated with Warwickshire!

Famous Individuals Not Usually Associated with Warwickshire

Find what you seek, That fame may cry you loud.

All’s Well That Ends Well (Act 2, Scene 1)

J. R. R. Tolkien, Creator of Middle-earth: Inspired by Warwickshire and by the Town of Warwick
The fully realised vision of the great fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien, which emerged in his most popular works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, arose from a rich blend of his experiences, relationships, and inner life from earliest childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. For the most part, no single element of his creation, Middle-earth, can truly be said to have emerged solely from a single source. Nevertheless, he is known to have told his publisher ‘The Shire is more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee.’

That refers to Queen Victoria’s sixtieth year on the throne, 1867. More commonly associated with Oxford and Birmingham, it is not widely known that Tolkien was inspired by the Warwickshire countryside and specifically by the town of Warwick itself.

Having spent his infancy in South Africa and his childhood in Birmingham, John Ronald Tolkien married his bride Edith in Warwick, at the Church of St Mary Immaculate in West Street, on 22 March 1916. While Tolkien and his

family called Sarehole, in Birmingham, their home, Edith lived in lodgings in Warwick for a while immediately prior to her marriage. Edith shared her home with her cousin Jennie and received instruction in the Catholic faith from Father Murphy, parish priest of Warwick.

The elements of Warwick so attractive to Tolkien can be detected echoing in his works throughout his life. Tolkien’s foremost biographer Humphrey Carpenter also notes that during the late sixties, Tolkien’s residency in the town was celebrated, and ‘students at Warwick University renamed the Ring Road around their campus “Tolkien Road”’.

The beauty of Warwick in former times was especially significant in relation to Tolkien’s scholarly interests as professor of Anglo-Saxon literature. Anglo-Saxon Warwick, on its rocky outcrop, commanded a crossing on the River Avon. We know that Tolkien admired the stone-built castle on its rock rising above the river, commanding a lofty position from which a wide panorama can be seen. This became a model for Middle-earth locations such as Minas Tirith. Tolkien’s early poem ‘Kortirion Among the Trees’ was written in Warwick during army leave in autumn 1915, when Tolkien’s peers were beginning to be cut down on the battlefields of Europe. In this poem he evokes a fading town overshadowed by towering elms, which was built by elves on a hill close to a river, and it contains what were to become some of his most characteristic themes. He suggested within his vision that it was no longer the dwelling place of elves as its ancient mythical beauty had waned. Nevertheless, Warwick’s remaining beauty and importance to his personal life was such that he dedicated his poem to the town and returned to its image again and again in his writing throughout his life.

The book is filled with wonderful illustrations to add depth to the words you read, too!

Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire by S C Skillman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed S C Skillman’s last foray into Warwickshire history and was thrilled to have been given a chance to read and review this next book.
Warwickshire will always be dear to my heart, and it was great to be able to read some historical tales and facts about the county, with all the fabulous photos to enhance the experience!
Add in the extra tidbits about famous local authors (and bards!) that were included, and it made for a fascinating read!

About the Author

SC Skillman lives in Warwickshire, and writes psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers.

Her two literary nonfiction books Paranormal Warwickshire and Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire are published by Amberley, and she is now writing a third book in the series called A-Z of Warwick.

Her novel, Director’s Cut , is out with publishers and she is currently working on Standing Ovation, the sequel.

She began her publishing career with the duology Mystical Circles and A Passionate Spirit which are both set in the same mysterious English manor house in the heart of England – the beautiful Cotswolds hills. There, gothic themes, paranormal events and ghostly tales are never far away. She has set the books in contemporary times, not far from her present home.

She has also written Perilous Path, A Writer’s Journey which is a self help book for those writing a novel, or who would like to write a novel. Packed full of tips and friendly reminders, it’s encouraging and motivational. It’s also for anyone who loves finding out about writers, their lives and works.

SC Skillman was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and has loved writing stories most of her life. She studied English Literature at Lancaster University, and her first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later she lived for nearly five years in Australia before returning to the UK. She has now settled in Warwick with her husband and son, and her daughter currently lives and works in Australia.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    May 15, 2022 @ 14:53:46

    Thanks for another great review on a very interesting book, Sis! Sorry for the earlier silly comment. 😉 xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  2. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    May 15, 2022 @ 14:52:43


  3. Trackback: Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire blog tour – SC Skillman Author
  4. beth
    May 10, 2022 @ 10:57:23

    thanks for sharing this, Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    May 10, 2022 @ 09:49:14

    Another shire i had not heard before. But very interesting! Thanks for sharing the news, Sis! It seems in the past there only were nobility on the isles. 😉 xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  6. SC Skillman
    May 10, 2022 @ 09:08:09

    Thank you Ritu for this lovely blog post and review! I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

    Liked by 1 person


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