Monthly Archives: March 2016

Launch Party: ‘The Day that Shakespeare Died’ by Dorian Kelly

Wednesday 23rd March, 6 – 8 pm

We are delighted to be holding a party to celebrate the launch of Dorian’s anarchic imagining of the life and adventures of Mr William Shakespeare, deceased.


A joyous romp around William Shakespeare’s life, death, bizarre funeral and subsequent adventures in the afterlife! Within these pages take a darkly comic glimpse into the true nature of time,  place and the boredom of eternity.

A dramatised version of ‘The Day That Shakespeare Died’ will be performed at the Mercury Theatre on April 22nd and 23rd. Details here.

‘The Wallowbang Tree’ and ‘Godfrey’s Clever Inventions’ Book Launch

We are pleased to be hosting the launch of two new children’s books from independent publisher Pudding Press. Come and meet some talented local authors and hear a dramatised reading.

The Wallowbang Tree’ by Danielle Wrayton 

One fatal night young Rosie Sparks’ world is turned upside down after listening to  her granny’s strange but true tale of a magical tree, the Wallowbang Tree. In her subsequent adventure she encounters fiendish characters but new and old friends are there to help her on her quest to find her missing dad. As Granny Sparks pieces the puzzle together, she realises that she knows who might be behind Rosie’s dad’s disappearance and her own capture and imprisonment. Will Rosie ever find her dad? Will she ever save her granny? The answer can only be found in the great twisted branches of the Wallowbang Tree. The Wallowbang tree is a paperback priced at £8.99. See for more details. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danielle Wrayton is a lecturer in Interactive Media and Games at Colchester Institute and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Essex. She is now studying for an MSC in Computer Games Design. She has had numerous poems published as a child, including one alongside Spike Milligan. She has three children and THE WALLOWBANG TREE is her first published novel.

‘Godfrey’s Clever Inventions’ written and illustrated by Mike Fryer


Godfrey’s Clever Inventions is the third and final title in Mike Fryer’s Godfrey series. The other two titles are ‘Godfrey and the Stars’ and ‘Godfrey’s Flying Adventures’. Godfrey is a gargoyle living at the top of the Cathedral. Godfrey and the Pigeon are friends. Clever Godfrey invents many things such as a Rain Machine, a Lightning Machine and an Underground train. In the process, he answers various questions about science posed by his friend, the Pigeon. See for more details ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR: Mike Fryer from Colchester is a Research Scientist at the University of Essex, specialising in imaging photosynthesis in leaves, vitamins, and medical writing. He is a brilliant artist, a one-time amateur pilot and has a life-long interest in astronomy, especially the planets.


The Angel Roofs of East Anglia

By the late fourteenth century the carpenters of mediaeval England had mastered the complex mechanics needed to span vast spaces with interlocking timber arches thus freeing the space below of supporting columns. Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament was the crowning glory, 68 feet wide and 240 feet long. But remarkably almost hidden in the darkness of the roof 92 feet high, are angels carved into the beams. No one really knows why. But the tradition of Angel roofs had begun and through the fifteenth century East Anglia was the place where it blossomed. Three quarters of surviving angel roofs are in the churches of East Anglia and this book combines details of their history and construction with glorious photographs of these masterpieces of sculpture and engineering. Some of the angels are carved with staggering and beautiful detail, full of local religious symbolism and sometimes with the arms of wealthy patrons who funded the work. We are fortunate that, high in the roofs, so many escaped the destruction of the reformation. So when visiting churches don’t forget to look up and spot these wonders of mediaeval craftsmanship.

In The Artist’s Garden

He may now be in his nineties and living alone in his ancient farmhouse in the Stour Valley, but Ronald Blythe is no reclusive writer. His latest collection of short pieces, written originally for the Church Times, demonstrates once again how involved and connected he is to life outside the peace and quiet of his house and garden. Connected to history, to literature, to the life of the church and to the many friends who visit. As a young man in the fifties he mixed with many East Anglian artists and once said that he ‘longed to be a painter’ as well. Instead he paints pictures with words and his graceful prose is a joy to read. He writes of nature and of the small wonders of village life; the Wormingford flower show, the discovery of an ancient axe head in a local farmer’s field or visiting the Minories art gallery. Each piece is illuminated by a lifetime’s love of poetry and literature making this wonderfully rich and rewarding collection.


The Church of England and the Home Front 1914 – 1918

The sub-title of this fascinating social history of the 1st world war is ‘Civilians, Soldiers and Religion in Wartime Colchester’. And indeed it a detailed and focused look at how the Church was involved in the life of our town during the wartime years. The permanent garrison in Colchester was built towards the end of the Crimean War between the Mersea and Military Roads. It was a great boost for the town, although things did not always run smoothly. Drunkenness and brawling between soldiers and townsfolk became a problem for the town council- as did prostitution and by 1914 the population was approaching 50,000. From the leafy Lexden suburbs, where the social elite resided, to the factories and slums of the Hythe, the clergy of the seventeen parishes of Colchester were active within their communities offering practical and pastoral care. The book provides a vividly detailed look at the lives of ordinary people in Colchester during the 1st World War.