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Illustrations of the Birds of Jamaica

Friday, 30 December 2022 at 21:51

Gosse birds on Dr John Dunn. The next book from my collection of the works of P. H. Gosse to be catalogued. Previously catalogued works can be seen here.

Illustrations of the Birds of Jamaica

This is the big one.

Of the works in my collection of P. H. Gosse, this is the most ambitious and largest in scale.

It relates to an earlier book by Gosse, described already in the cataloguing of my Gosse library. This work is, of course, The Birds of Jamaica of 1847.

Gosse undertook to publish a series of lithographic drawings of the birds of Jamaica.

The prospectus printed by Van Voorst and dated 1848 explained that:

The figures will be drawn on the stone by the author himself, partly from original drawings, and partly from preserved specimens, with the advantage of his own notes and personal knowledge of attitudes, &c.;and they will be very carefully coloured.
Publication was to proceed as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers would commit to purchase the work and cover the expenses of outlay.

The photograph below shows a list of the subscribers which was circulated with part 12 of the monthly circulation of completed drawings.

This work had a complex publishing history, but produced some of the most astonishing works of detailed illustration and colour by Gosse. It will take me sometime to pull together the cataloguing details for my library, but the effort will be worth it.

© John Dunn.

Getting to the core of what William Blake meant

Thursday, 29 December 2022 at 21:51

Blake Red Dragon on Dr John Dunn. William Blake's Red Dragon 1803 was his attempt to depict the half-human nature of evil

Getting to the core of what William Blake meant

Love knew His fate.

Confronting the those who rejected Love He exclaimed in no uncertain terms:

44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (John 8)

Love was murdered in the rejection of the truth and in the crucifixion.

The point is, Love was murdered, but not only at the crucifixion, which was a one-off event.

Love continues to be crucified repeatedly, every day, every moment, in every rejection of Love.

Love is rejected and despised by the Children of the Devil in the idolising of the god of this world; facts are there to be understood.

The real tragedy befalls the innocents who are dragged down by Urizen’s chains of debt.

It is the dumb innocents who live in a loveless world, singing their nauseating refrain “…we just want to be happy… we just want to be happy…” They are fed the religion of Satan by his children and they erect Satan’s Synagogue (i.e. the ‘reality’ in which they exist).

Satan’s Synagogue is William Blake’s name for the false religion that worships the base powers of this world.

Man must and will have some religion; if he has not the religion of Jesus, he will have the religion of Satan, and will erect the Synagogue of Satan.
It is called a synagogue because it murders Love, adhering instead pharisaically to a vengeful law.
Urizen called together the Synagogue of Satan in dire Sanhedrim
To judge the Lamb of God to death as a murderer and a robber. (Blake’s Jerusalem)
Understand this, and get to the core of what William Blake meant.

© John Dunn.

By Royal Enfield in Worcestershire & Herefordshire... ...seeking flats for pigeons and medieval history

Tuesday, 27 December 2022 at 20:54

Leigh Court Barn on Dr John Dunn. A new video production

A motorcycle day-tour.

Places seen from the saddle and explored on foot.

The flat plain of the Severn, the rolling hills above the Bromyard Downs, both were traversed by motorcycle as I sought out the quaint, quirky and historic.

Follow the link to the video here.

"The place I visited first has a connection to a celebrated composer from the Civil War era, one Thomas Tomkins."

"I came to Salwarpe because it looked interesting on the map, sandwiched betwixt river and canal; a sort of island."

"These were blocks of flats for hundreds of pigeons who were waiting to be eaten by their landlords."

"The location is idyllic, and you can’t help but be overwhelmed with a sense of timelessness."

"I scanned around to see if I could see any remnants of the old castle. Nothing, only the levelled ground of the bailey; but the strategic hill top location is there for all to see."

"Thanks, no doubt, to its size and sturdy construction, the barn has survived largely unaltered for almost 700 years."

"A great way to end my mini-tour of the Worcestershire - Herefordshire border lands; but now it’s time to move on and enjoy the remainder of a sunshine-filled day on two wheels."

For now I'm done.

© John Dunn.

Popular British Ornithology 1849 (1853)

Tuesday, 27 December 2022 at 20:41

From Gosse on Dr John Dunn. New blog posted in Gosserie, my collection of the books of P. H. Gosse.

Popular British Ornithology 1849 (1853)

Everything about this book is of exceptional quality.

Most important is the skill and sheer hard work that Gosse put into this work.

First of all, he wrote the book, describing the birds of Britain.

He also filled the book with copious illustrations.

The plates in the book were drawn and lithographed by Gosse himself.

He then hand-coloured each plate with beautiful colours. The sheen he achieved on some of the wings is quite remarkable, especially where a colour cannot be fixed and pinned down, such as on a magpie wing.

The colours also in the book have held up very well, with no deterioration.

The binding of the book is also of a high standard for a ‘popular’ edition.

The gilt work on the cover and spine is especially fine.

See the book on Gosserie here.

© John Dunn.

The Great Portway

Monday, 26 December 2022 at 19:31

Silchester on Dr John Dunn. The Roman walls of Silchester

As promised yesterday, the Great Portway Itinerary follows.

This is my conjectured Roman road and its approximation to the present-day road system.

The Great Portway*

The Portway runs northwards, out of the Thames valley.


The road which ran northwards from the Roman town of Sichester left through the North Gate but there is no strong evidence for its line beyond this. My modern road approximation is:

Mortimer West End

Ufton Nervet


The fording of the River Kennet would have been somewhere on an alignmet between Ufton Nervet and the modern A340. For my itinerary Tylemill Bridge offers the nearest crossing.

The A340 is a straight Roman Road. (Interestingly, just to the east of it, north of Theale, there are resonances of a roman road in the hamlet name of North Street, though it is off the alignment. Did the river crossing upset the desired northbound alignment, taking it through present-day Theale and North Street before its realignment further on?)



(There is a known Roman Road which keeps to the west of the Thames, hugging the west bank, before crossing the river near Shillingford to the Roman town of Dorchester on Thames. However. my conjectured Portway continues northwards on the established alignment, meaning that the Thames would have been forded here.)

Whitchurch Bridge (Toll)

Whitchurch-on Thames

Whilst not dead straight, the Roman road alignment broadly follows the B471 up the Chiltern escarpment. There are resonances of a Roman road in the place-names of Cold Harbour and Broad Street Farm nearby, which may offer a more accurate road alignment than the present-day road.


(Here my itinerary meets the present-day A4074)

My reason for believing that this modern A road has a place on my Portway itinerary is two-fold.

Just to the east of Woodcote is Exlade Street, a place name redolent of a Roman road.

Just to the west of Woodcote, the A4074 is actually named as Port Way on the Ordnance Survey maps, in the area where it crosses the Ancient British Icknield Street. Roman coins have been found at these ancient crossroads.

Whilst the road name Portway was a relatively common post-Roman description of a road to a market, it is possible that this Port Way on the A4074 is related to the road named Port Way after Kirtlington, thereby giving continuity to my route.

Crowmarsh Gifford (Now bypassed.)

Here the Port Way meets the Roman road from Henley-on-Thames.


(Benson had many Royal connections in the post-Romano-British and Saxon eras. This suggests that nearby Roman roads would have continued in use after the Roman departure.)

There are two options from Benson.

Option 1

Dorchester-on-Thames (Roman town)

From here a Roman road went to Alchester (near Bicester) via Beckley.

Option 2

The Portway continues northwards from Benson to Beckley.

The route is lost and vague here and ‘un-Roman’. Tributaries of the Thames and the floodplain of the meandering Thame would have caused deviations (even by the Romans) from a direct route, or the Roman road followed pre-Roman trackways through the low wetlands, or both.

An area of multi-phase occupation spanning the Neolithic to Roman periods has been excavated on the Berrick-Warborough boundary west of Berrick Salome village, adjoining a likely Roman road which the boundary follows.

The road would have left Benson via Hale Farm, following the parish boundary to Ladybrook Copse, after which the parish boundary with Drayton St Leonard strikes northwards to join a metalled lane at Lane End Farm.

My close-by metalled road itinerary from Benson is:

Berrick Salome

Berrick Prior



(an important historical crossing on the River Thame).

B480 northwards

Garsington or Cuddesdon (leaving the wetlands behind, climbing to a ridgeway of higher ground).

The Cuddesdon option is my favoured one.

Turn right off the B480 along Denton Lane.




A Roman Villa has been excavated at Castle Hill Farm, just to the east of the Garsington/Cuddesdon to Wheatley road. There is also an excavated Roman cemetery next to the road just north of Coombe Wood.

Wheatley (I conjecture that my Portway joined an existing Roman road at Wheatley which was heading for Forest Hill, Beckley and Islip. I cite the following notes in support of the conjecture.)

What is now Wheatley centre was a T-junction for two Saxon roads, one taking the ridge to the north (Old London and London Road), the other crossing from Garsington to meet it, over the brook (culverted under High Street) up a hollow/sunken way (Holloway) in the direction of the hollow/sunken town(Holton). Both roads are described as straet (paved, usually old Roman roads). Old London/London Road was part of a straet.

There was also a herpaeth (army road) running from London to Worcester, across the Thame and through Forest Hill and Islip.**

The lower part of the hill where the road met the Hollow Brook (now culverted under High Street) was known as Ladder Hill (Crossing Hill) a reference to the crossing of the Brook. The crossing gave access, by Hollow Way, to the ancient straet or herpaeth (London Road) to Islip, Worcester and Wales, via Forest Hill.

** Roman and Saxon Wheatley by John Fox

The Main Road from London Via Forest Hill & Islip to Worcester, the Marches & Wales. ran through Wheatley (predominantly the A44 after Islip).


Forest Hill

I conjecture that from Forest Hill, the Portway followed what is now a bridleway, north to Breach Farm, Woodperry, past Beckley church, to join the present B4027 near Woodmoor Copse.

At Beckley the Portway crossed the Dorchester-on-Thames to Alchester Roman Road, making Beckley an important Roman crossroads town.

The present B4027 is a turnpike road that by-passes Stanton St John and Beckley.

Royal Oak Farm on this section of turnpike was clearly a coaching inn.


Islip is the obvious crossing point of the River Ray, leaving the route to thread its way around streams, brooks and springs, as higher ground begins to be met at Bletchington and more consistently after Kirtlinton.



Crossing the Roman Ackerman Street north of Kirtlington, the route keeps to the higher ground east of the Cherwell and west of Gallos Brook.

The road is named once more on the Ordnance Survey Map as Port Way at this point.

It is severed in twain by the old RAF airfield and subsequent developments at Upper Heyford, but the route clearly picks up again as a bridleway at Village Farm, actually passing a farm named Portway Farm, before being severed again by the M40.

Upper Heyford

The route is picked up again as a bridleway, before a metalled road continues the route at Souldern, taking us to Aynhoe.



From Aynhoe, it continues as bridleway to Charlton, passing the Ancient British hill fort of Rainsborough Camp.

Rainsborough Camp


From Charlton it continues as a metalled road to Farthinghoe and Marston St Lawrence, passing between Thorpe Mandeville and Sulgrave at the crossroads by the former drovers’ inn now called Magpie Farm.


Marston St Lawrence

Thorpe Mandeville


Passing east of Culworth, the metalled roadway is broken briefly at Crockwell Farm, continuing again as a metalled lane to Preston Capes.

Crockwell Farm

Preston Capes

At Preston Capes there is a Motte and Bailey Castle at the roadside, suggesting that as a trading route in the Middle Ages the Portway may have been thought worth defending, or controlling.

Though the original trackway is lost on this last section, the modern road from Preston Capes through Newnham still shows signs of its age. Crossing over the ridge towards the Ancient British hill fort of Borough Hill, there are thick ancient hedgerows, and occasional holloways on the hill-climbs.


Borough Hill

The lane from Newnham to Borough Hill continues on the the village of Norton, near the site of the Roman town of Bannaventa, which is where the Portway joins Watling Street, opening up further travel options northwards.



Watling Street

is the route of my conjectured Roman road called Portway. (Not to be confused with the southern Roman Portway which runs from Silchester to Old Sarum.)

The Romans famously built roads across Britain. However, they also utilised existing roads and tracks too.

My conjectured Portway is largely made up of roads which pre-dated the Roman arrival. There may have been some connecting work carried out by the Romans to give the north-south route its continuity, but much of the route would have existed before this, albeit in a fragmented form. After the Roman departure, the route continued in use as a north-south trading corridor,right up to the seventeenth century, when the steep and rough terrain in parts meant that it was largely left off the system of turnpikes.

© John Dunn.

The great Portway itinerary

Sunday, 25 December 2022 at 16:55

Motte Preston Capes on Dr John Dunn. The motte and bailey at Preston Capes, on the route of the Portway

A newly discovered Roman road, running from the Thames Valley to the Watling Street, near Daventry

The great Portway itinerary

What follows tomorrow is the route of my conjectured Roman road called Portway. (Not to be confused with the southern Roman Portway which runs from Silchester to Old Sarum.)

The Romans famously built roads across Britain. However, they also utilised existing roads and tracks too.

My conjectured Portway is largely made up of roads which pre-dated the Roman arrival. There may have been some connecting work carried out by the Romans to give the north-south route its continuity, but much of the route would have existed before this, albeit in a fragmented form. After the Roman departure, the route continued in use as a north-south trading corridor, right up to the seventeenth century, when the steep and rough terrain in parts meant that it was largely left off the system of turnpikes.

Tomorrow, Christmas Day, I will present the itinerary for the Portway, using roads on our existing road network that approximate as closely as I can get to the old Roman route.

© John Dunn.

Love: the light in the darkness

Saturday, 24 December 2022 at 18:04

St John on Dr John Dunn. Love: the light in the darkness

The translation of the Bible that has come down to us is a vile conspiracy.

The most malicious of all the mistranslations applies to the opening of John’s Gospel.

It is deliberately presented to us in the past tense, whereas the Hellenistic Greek, from which the Bible was translated, had no past tense.

The intended result of the mistranslation is to fix the Beginning as a one-off ‘big bang’ event in the distant past. This serves to separate off God (better translated as the Logos or Truth, or, better still, Love) as a distant Jehovah. The mistranslators wanted to ameliorate the impact of the incarnation, and retain within Christianity the dead idol worshipping trappings of Judaisim.

The correct translation of the opening to John’s Gospel is as follows.

1In the beginning is Love, and Love is with God, and Love is God. 2 Love is with God in the beginning. 3 Through Love all things are made; without Love nothing is made that is made. 4 In Love is life, and that life is the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.

Through the mistranslation, John’s good news about Love being the source of everything was turned into a devil worshipping mantra.

© John Dunn.

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