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  1. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #1

    The Sherry Connection

    Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine. It derives its name from the Andalucian town of Jerez de la Frontera, as mispronounced by the English, who have had a taste for “sherris sack” (= Jerez sec) at least back to the days of Falstaff; there is a strong tradition of British involvement in the production, distribution and sale of sherry. One of the biggest names in sherry is that of the firm of Osborne, established in the late 18th century (http://www.osborne.es/), and based at El Puerto de Santa Maria, between Jerez and Cadiz. In the course of the firm’s subsequent expansion, an Osborne daughter married the son of the sherry firm of Morgan, resulting in Osborne’s takeover of the relatively small but flourishing house of Morgan (more about this here: http://www.josemanuelferrandez.com/london/london.html ). One of the Morgan descendants was later ordained into the Catholic priesthood, and is known to us as Father Francis Xavier Morgan.

    Father Francis tends unfairly to be recollected mainly as the priest who kept Edith and Ronald apart, but of course there was far more to him than that (as some of us learnt from José Manuel Ferrández Bru at the Return of the Ring ). After the death of Mabel Tolkien, he became the Tolkien boys’ guardian, caring for them almost like a father; among many other things he supplemented the very small income Mabel had left with his own ampler resources, which derived mainly from his income as a part of the Osborne family. This was especially important as regards education; if it had not been for this, Ronald almost certainly would not have been able to attend Oxford - with consequences that do not bear thinking about.

    In recent decades the English appetite for sherry seems to have declined; however, it is still easily available, so the wine-bibbers among us should at least occasionally raise a glass of fino or Bristol Cream to the memory of Father Francis, to whose sherry money we are all indebted.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  2. Saranna's Avatar
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    #2
    Thanks Dorwiniondil, I can assure you that my own appetite for Sack has never declined! And your point is a good one, indeed.
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day

  3. Rómeran's Avatar
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    #3
    Cheers to that. Interesting parallel that I had never noticed. I can also assure you that while I am not the biggest fan of sherry, both of my grandparents have a great store of the stuff in their house in Purley.
    "The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone's backyard." - John Turkey

  4. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #4
    Purley? Oh yes, the trains go through there, don't they?

    When you look at the usual photo of Father Francis, you get the impression of this dour humourless priest whose main activity is stopping people doing things. In fact, he seems to have been rather a cheerful boisterous character who also inspired great affection. Tolkien called him his second father. (Letters p. 416)

    P.S. the abovementioned José Manuel Ferrández Bru is working on Fr. Francis.
    Last edited by Dorwiniondil; 18/Jan/2013 at 06:25 PM.
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  5. Very interesting! I'll have to remember this for my next toast to Tolkien
    It is hard indeed to believe that one of so great wisdom, and of power—for many wonderful things he did among us—could perish, and so much lore be taken from the world.

  6. geordie's Avatar
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    #6
    Dorwiniondil - I always thought that Fr. Francis has a kind and humorous look in that photo - and as you say, Ronald came to think of him as a second father. There's a nice photo of Edith and the boys, with Fr. Francis, taken at Lyme Regis in August 1928, published in The Tolkien Family Album.

    Tolkien liked his sherry - and port, too; which he preferred to imbibe not as an after-dinner drink, but mid-morning, with a dry biscuit. Must try that myself, at tea-break one of these days...

    I like sherry, too; as does mrs g. Our daughter won a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream in a Xmas raffle and, as she doesn't like the stuff - Baileys is more her taste, I believe - she gave us the sherry as a present, which was very nice of her, and we made our New Year toast - and the Tolkien birthday toast - with a glass, not forgetting absent friends.

    Hmm.. feeling sentimental now..
    Last edited by geordie; 20/Jan/2013 at 12:29 PM.
    It's all in the books...

  7. José Manuel Ferrández Brú's website has an English section: http://www.josemanuelferrandez.com/ENindex.html

    Unfortunately most of his work on “J.R.R. Tolkien's Spanish Connection” is still only available in Spanish, but I continue to hope that he will translate more of it.
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  8. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #8
    For those that read Spanish, details of "Tolkien's Spanish Connection" here: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/La_Co...J.R.R._Tolkien
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  9. Morgan's Avatar
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    #9
    I've posted a review essay about Ferrández Bru's book on my blog Mythoi, which hopefully will be of interest to some:

    http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net/#post9
    My blog: Mythoi (http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net/). My Tolkien collection: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/User:Morgan/Collection

  10. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for this, Morgan!
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  11. Excellent review, Morgan!, Thank you, indeed!

    Some of the phrases seems to me to suggest that you know than an English translation is forthcoming (which will, as you say, hopefully address the problem about not using Findegil's J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide and actually using Grotta). Is this a mere accident of phrasing (and my over-eager imagination ) or is is there some substance to this feeling?
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  12. Morgan's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Troelsfo View Post
    Some of the phrases seems to me to suggest that you know than an English translation is forthcoming (which will, as you say, hopefully address the problem about not using Findegil's J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide and actually using Grotta). Is this a mere accident of phrasing (and my over-eager imagination ) or is is there some substance to this feeling?
    Unfortunately it was a misinterpretation -- I'll blame my ambiguous phrasing! ;-)

    A couple of weeks ago, however, I did actually suggest the book to a publisher in the US (in all informality). But I haven't heard back if they thought it was a good idea...
    My blog: Mythoi (http://mythoi.tolkienindex.net/). My Tolkien collection: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/User:Morgan/Collection

  13. I blame my eagerness, then — I so wanted it to be true But thank you for the clarification
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  14. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #14
    The Tablet (British Catholic weekly) has a piece on Fr. Francis (without mentioning José Manuel Ferrández Brú!). Scroll down to p.12:
    http://www.thetablet.co.uk/images/120113issue.pdf
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  15. Thank you, Dorwiniondil!
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  16. Globüműdű's Avatar
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    #16
    I dislike the Tablet (I find it lame ) but that was actually an enjoyable read! Thanks!

  17. José Manuel Ferrández Bru has, on the Tolkien Society Facebook page, commented that he suspects that the author for The Tablet has copied or adapted parts of his research without citing him properly (he mainly suspects borrowing from his article in Tolkien Studies).

    This is quite likely, in my view, as Bru's article, to the best of my knowledge, is the first published on Father Francis and particularly on the relations between Tolkien and Father Francis, but I am not sure to what degree this may be.

    The article in The Tablet, does, for instance, part ways with Bru's descriptions (at least in the Tolkien Studies article — I wish my Spanish was up to the task of reading his book) in describing Father Francis as not intellectual — something which, as Bru points out, doesn't fit very well with his being the personal secretary to Cardinal Newman nor with other evidence such as letters from Fr. Francis. Edwards, in the article in The Tablet appears to rely rather on the memories of people who remembered Fr. Francis (my interpretation of his use of ‘by all accounts’) as ‘loud and ebullient,’ which he then sees as proof that Fr. Francis was not an intellectual (I have, at university and elsewhere, met more than a few loud and ebullient people who where none the less towering intellectuals — and by all accounts the Inklings' gatherings could also at times reach loud and ebullient).

    Much of the story is known also from earlier sources such as Carpenter's authorized Biography and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by Carpenter) and the J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond neither of which are credited in the article either.
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  18. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #18
    Yes, "loud and ebullient" would be a good way of describing C.S. Lewis and Hugo Dyson (by all accounts ).
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  19. So they cannot have been among the Inklings' intellectuals, right?
    (Some day I'll have to learn to control that urge to be sarcastic ...)
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  20. geordie's Avatar
    Hugo Bracegirdle
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    #20
    It says here, 'Catholicism is utterly central to Tolkien's writing, and he learned most of it from his guardian'. So, a bit biased then? I prefer Carpenter's take on it; he says that the three greates influences on Tolkien's life were his family, his faith and Language (with a capital 'L', IIRC). A much more balanced view IMO than that put forward by the likes of this article.
    Last edited by geordie; 04/May/2013 at 01:58 PM.
    It's all in the books...

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