sobota, 27 maja 2017

20/52 Jan Święcicki, Listy z Królewca

Bardzo chciałem poczytać coś, co przekaże informacje o życiu codziennym, emocjach, spostrzeżeniach ludzi, żyjących na przełomie XVIII i XIX w. w Prusach Wschodnich. Wszystko wiąże się oczywiście z #TolkienAncestry. W Bibliotece Śląskiej znalazłem wiele takich książek. Jedna z nich to Listy z Królewca Jana Święcickiego. Na główną część publikowanej w niniejszym tomiku korespondencji składa się osiem listów napisanych w latach 1802-1808 przez Święcickiego do przyjaciela, Franciszka Malinowskiego. To przyjaźń pełna takich emocji i wyrazów miłości, jaka dziś – w świecie zabrudzonym seksualnymi skojarzeniami – mogłaby się komuś wydać podejrzana. Ale wystarczy poczytać Cztery miłości C. S. Lewisa... Z listów dowiadujemy się, jak żyło się studentowi w Królewcu, jak żyło się w epoce napoleońskiej w Prusach, dziś "niewidzialnym królestwie", które dostrzegają, w którym jakoś też i żyją dziś tylko wtajemniczeni. Mamy tam też list z 3 marca 1804, w którym jest opis pogrzebu Immanuela Kanta. To jedyna taka relacja zachowana w polskich archiwaliach!

19/52 Encyklopedia Gdańska

Potężna publikacja. Bardzo ważna w moich badaniach nad rodziną Tolkienów (od XIX w. Tollkühnów) w Gdańsku (patrz #TolkienAncestry). To publikacja regionalna, która liczy 1176 stron, zawiera blisko 4000 haseł i ponad 1600 ilustracji. Autorzy zostali członkami powołanej Ławy Encyklopedystów Gdańskich. Autorami haseł zostało ogółem 247 osób. Pierwszych 5000 egzemplarzy zostało rozprowadzonych drogą subskrypcji. Jest to pierwsze w historii Gdańska całościowe kompendium wiedzy, ukazujące wszechstronny obraz miasta od jego początków do współczesności. Encyklopedia jest dostępna również w wersji internetowej jako Gedanopedia

To w elektronicznej wersji znalazłem mojego pierwszego gdańskiego Tolkiena, pana Christiana (1762-1821), który był członkiem rodziny Tolkienów – gdańskich kuśnierzy, był w XIX w. znanym antykwariuszem, a od czasu pruskiego zaboru Gdańska także pracownikiem magistratu. Książka bardzo pomogła mi rozgryźć takie kwestie, jak sprawę gdańskich cmentarzy, historię ważnych dla #TolkienAncestry gdańskich kościołów (św. Katarzyny i św. Jana), dzieje i specyfikę straży obywatelskiej, pieniędzy gdańskich itd.


Z książką będę miał już zawsze związane fajne wspomnienie mojej "Tolkien-Reise" w kwietniu 2017, gdy byłem w Archiwach Państwowych, spotkałem Agnieszkę i Jana, przeszedłem się po znanych mi tolkienowskich miejscach w Gdańsku. Mam z tego wyjazdu miłą pamiątkę na pierwszej stronie Encyklopedii. Samą publikację udało mi się kupić w księgarni angielskiej przy kościele św. Katarzyny. Był dzień obniżek cen i trafiło mi się potężne książysko za 40,- zł!

18/52 C. S. Lewis, Podział ostateczny

Kolejny audiobook maja'17. Jedna z najlepszych książek C. S. Lewisa, czytana przez Jerzego Zelnika. Uczta! W tworzeniu Podziału ostatecznego brał udział J.R.R. Tolkien. Książka, która ma duży wpływ na moje nadzieje eschatologiczne, dotyczące najważniejszej kwestii życia wiecznego. Może się stać czymś ważnym i dla ciebie, Czytelniku mojego bloga. Pokazuje, czym jest Niebo, a czym piekło. Niebo to miejsce, w którym dopełni się to, kim jesteśmy. Piekło to stan, w jakim jesteśmy, gdy nie chcemy zjednoczyć naszej woli z Wolą Boga. To właśnie z tej książki pochodzą tak ważne dla mnie słowa, że ostatecznie ludzie dzielą się tylko na dwie kategorie: tych, którzy mówią Bogu "bądź wola Twoja" i tych, do których Bóg powie na końcu "bądź wola twoja". Jest albo życie z Bogiem w Niebie, albo życie w ostatecznej depresji, ostatecznym odłączeniu od Boga i niezdolności do miłości w świecie naszej własnej pustki i cierpienia. Stawka jest wysoka. A książka warta poznania!

Polecam!

17/52 J.R.R. Tolkien, Silmarillion

W tym miesiącu przeżyłem podwójne spotkanie z Tolkienowskim opus życia – Silmarillionem. Wpierw w formie audiobooka (absolutny biały kruk – dla osób niewidomych, poza oficjalnym obiegiem, niemożliwy do kupienia!). Chore oko, ciemność pooperacyjna, a więc tym lepsza przestrzeń dla wyobraźni. I była to niezwykła podróż do mitycznej przeszłości naszej Ardy. Dawno nie przeżyłem Śródziemia tak mocno. Drugie spotkanie z Silmarillionem to lektura niezwykłego fanowskiego wydania tej opowieści. Chodzi o edycję MumakiL Fandom PresSsss (przeczytasz o nim tutaj i tutaj). Nie chcę zdradzać zbyt wiele, bo to prywatne wydanie dla wtajemniczonych. Napiszę tak, jak napisałem na Forum Hobbitonu: "Zachwycam się tym tomem od ostatniego poniedziałku. Wszystko mi się podoba: i szata graficzna, i edycja, i piękna czcionka, i nastrojowe grafiki Melinir, i niesamowita mapa Gondolinu Siriellë (Gondolin wydaje się jakby wyrastać z kart książki). Bardzo fachowo i ciekawie dobrane teksty. Dobre, łatwo czytające się tłumaczenia, arcyciekawe dodatki (Eru, dziękuję, że mogę jeszcze wśród kręgów tego świata zobaczyć duży lingwistyczny tekst Tolkiena w polskim tłłumaczeniu!). Jak się wzbogacę, każdy tom każę oprawić sobie w skórę (czerwono barwioną) lub płótno ze srebrzystym tengwarem. To jest Silmarillion, na jaki czekałem całe moje życie".

W każdym razie Christopher Tolkien ma w Polsce bardzo poważną konkurencję...



16/52 Ursula Le Guin, Lewa ręka ciemności


Ten miesiąc nie zaczął się dla mnie najszczęśliwiej. Czwartego maja wylądowałem w szpitalu okulistycznym w Katowicach i odbyła się szybka operacja oka. Jestem mocnym (a właściwie słabym) krótkowidzem, mam siatkówkę wrażliwszą niż przeciętny człowiek. I odkleiła się w prawym oku. Ale już jest dobrze. Możecie sobie jednak wyobrazić, że w maju nie byłem w stanie czytać książek. A jednak wykonałem plan 52/52, bo istnieją wspaniałe audiobooki! 

Le Guin to moja literacka miłość tuż po Tolkienie. Oczywiście, kto zna, ten wie, że teoretycznie Le Guin to antypody moich poglądów na świat. A jednak nie do końca, bo ja w swoim ewangelicznym katolicyzmie dostrzegam braterstwo myśli i przeczuć między apofatycznym chrześcijaństwem, a taoizmem (na co zwracał gdzieś uwagę kardynał Ratzinger, ale nie umiem tego cytatu niestety odnaleźć), a leguinowski feminizm którejś-tam-fali to dla mnie zawsze inspiracja do przemyśleń. Książkę poznałem we wczesnej młodości. Jako nastolatek słuchałem w odcinkach w Polskim Radiu (miałem nawet tę czytaną książkę nagraną i słuchałem jej na moim pierwszym walkmanie z kasetami), a potem zdobyłem książkę (to to wydanie ze zdjęcia). Teraz wysłuchałem jeszcze raz z bardzo fajnego audiobooka dla niewidomych. Bardzo bardzo działało to na wyobraźnię. Tym razem przy lekturze Lewej ręki ciemności zachwycałem się barwami, odcieniami, fakturami, zapachami i dźwiękami lodowej planety Gethen. I zauważyłem, że choć autorka próbuje pokazać nam świat, w którym człowiek ma wartość bez rozróżnienia na płeć męską i żeńską (czyli w duchu dzisiejszej "ideologii gender"), to jednak ci spokojni, zrównoważeni ludzie są po prostu nie tyle bezpłciowi, co po prostu męscy, bez kobiecych hormonów, emocji, zmienności, wrażliwości. Chyba nie udało się Le Guin stworzyć literackiego opisu ludzi idealnie pozbawionych seksualności (poza okresem kemmeru – jak u zwierząt okresu rui), tak jak nie uda się współczesnej fali rewolucji (post)seksualnej pozbawić mężczyzn i kobiet ich męskiej i żeńskiej specyfiki.

Książka jest bardzo dobra, ważna i powinna być jak najlepiej sfilmowana!

piątek, 26 maja 2017

czwartek, 25 maja 2017

Anecdotes about J.R.R. Tolkien

.From The Tolkien Society Facebook:

Obituary in The Times last Monday of Roger Highfield, fellow of Merton and contemporary of J. R. R. Tolkien. Interesting in that it has a couple of not entirely positive anecdotes about J.R.R.T.

"One of the secrets of his [Highfield's] longevity may have been his powers of discretion. At one stage he had rooms above JRR Tolkien, one of the college’s most illustrious fellows, and he knew him well, not least as a squash partner.

However, when approached by a television producer to discuss his memories of the author of The Lord of the Rings, Highfield played down his connection and suggested that they speak to Bruce Mitchell at St Edmund Hall, who had been taught by Tolkien. After the producer went away happy, Highfield was heard to mutter that Mitchell was a rare bird indeed, because Tolkien was “very lazy and supervised few”. His deflection also avoided him having to admit that all he could say of Tolkien was that he was “the worst sub-warden ever”, and that Tolkien-mania left him “baffled”."
"At his funeral at Merton chapel, old dons remembered his favourite anecdote about the time that Tolkien offered to bequeath to the college his original (and therefore highly valuable) manuscript of The Hobbit. Champagne was ordered to mark the occasion, and Tolkien duly handed the thing over to Highfield to the sound of popping corks. When Highfield untied the string and opened the brown paper he found that the great man had wrapped a work in progress up by mistake. He duly asked for it back. “Waste of good champagne,” Highfield was heard to mutter as the party gloomily disbanded."

More about the map...

The map must have been made after the building of the Baroque palace in Tołkiny (Tolksdorf)  by Master Georg Müller in 1650 and before the Neoclassical rebuilding in 1820s (see the shape of the palace; it reminds this one in Tolks-Tolko). I suppose the map comes from the eighteenth century, from the times of Antoinette Wilhelmine von Bonin who was the owner of Tolksdorf between 1772 and 1782. It is possible that her name is written in the third line. I can see also the place name Plötnizken (today Płutniki) - this small village belonged to the goods of Tolksdorf.

I wonder what is the cubic shape (a building?) above the church. Have you ever met something like this on the old maps?

I have tried to transcribe the German text from the map:

... gesowies gip. Im Amst [?] Kassckop [family name Kässkopf?]*
...a liegsten Bese... Von nur [or mir]
...dt nach an....ssung von Bonin [Antoinette Wilhelmine von Bonin?]
...iget Aborden [Abordnen?] ... nechstem
...tdreuschiesen [dreizehn?] Maas [Maß?] tei
... den Dreüen [drei?] ...itligck Ort
... Plötnizken [today Płutniki]. Ein Smidt [Schmidt]
...ck 190 Kütten (Quitten?) . Wiesolesis [family name?]
... I. K. A. Signiret [signieret?] ... der
... innen Tatt [Tat?]
... Vierzchen [Vierzehn?] Morgen 25 9 1/2 K [Quitten?]
... M. E. I. K. A. notiret [notieret?]
...nen 20 1/2 Kütten [Quitten] Weisermül [Weissermühl family name?]
... [M]orgen 116 Kütten Vandt ... [family name?]
_____________________________________
* But there is also a town Rastenburg where there was the land's Amt for the area of Tolksdorf; so maybe Rastekopf?



środa, 24 maja 2017

Mysterious map of Tołkiny-Tolksdorf
Tajemnicza mapa Tołkin-Tolksdorfu


This is only a fragment of the bigger map. The original map probably did not survive the Second World War. This photo was probably made in 1938 in East Prussia. According to Mr Jan Przypkowski from the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (who provided me with this map on Christmas 2016) this is probably a fragment of the property map of the Tolksdorf Palace (Pałac w Tołkinach) where the Tolkien family name has its origins (the 15th century). More on the history of the village here.

I can see that the palace is described: Schloß Tolksdorff
and the village: D[...] R[...] [...] Dorff

Have you ever seen the rest of this map? Can you decipher the inscriptions? Your support is needed!
_______________________________________

To tylko fragment większej mapy. Oryginał prawdopodobnie nie przetrwał II wojny światowej. To zdjęcie zrobiono prawdopodobnie w 1938 w Prusach Wschodnich (w ich części, która znajduje się dziś w woj. warmińsko-mazurskim). Według p. Jana Przypkowskiego z Instytutu Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (który przysłał mi ten skan w Boże Narodzenie 2016) jest to fragment mapy pałacowej, ze zbiorów pałacu w Tołkinach. Nazwisko Tolkien właśnie w Tołkinach ma swoje początki. Więcej o historii wsi tutaj.

Potrafię przeczytać tylko koło pałacu: Schloß Tolksdorff
a przy wsi: D[...] R[...] [...] Dorff

Anecdotes and reports from London in Danziger Zeitung (1808-1819)

In June 1808 the Danziger Zeitung published two advertisements of Christian Tolkien's Antiquary at 11 Tegnetergaße (see here). In August 1808 the same newspaper started a cycle of the English anecdotes and reports from London. It is one of them (from 25 August 1808):
"Englische Anecdote", 25 August 1808
And another one (from 19 April 1819):
:



This last text is very interesting because it describes London as it was seen by a person from Gdańsk. Unfortunately I cannot find the continuation of this story. Of course I can imagine Mr Christian Tolkien (who lived very close to the Editors of the Danziger Zeitung; from Klein Schirrmachergaße to Holzmarkt is about 100 m) visiting London in 1819 to see his brother John Benjamin Tolkien (a bankrupt "china and glass-seller from St Paul's church-yard, London") who died in the same year (see the life of John Benjamin Tolkien). Christian might have wanted to check the matters of Daniel's last will. This is of course my imagination...

Henry Tolkien, George Tolkien's son, Gdańsk-born John B. Tolkien's grandson
By the way I want to recommend a very interesting blog London Street Views with careful comments on the London Street Views that John Tallis produced from 1838-1847. They have an article about Henry Tolkien (1814-1885), music publisher, and about his shop at 28 King William Street in London. Henry Tolkien was of course the grandson of John Benjamin Tolkien (born in Gdańsk in 1753) and a great-grandson of Christian and Euphrosina from Gdańsk. 

Blog's author writes: "And yes, in case you were wondering, Henry and J.R.R. are related. J.R.R. was the grandson of John Benjamin Tolkien who was Henry’s elder brother (see more on the Tolkien family in general here and on John Benjamin in particular here.) " 

And maybe one of our German readers would like to translate the German texts for us? I would love to publish such a translation!

poniedziałek, 22 maja 2017

»debt of £700 and upwards due to me by my Brother«
Brothers Daniel and John Tolkien!


Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien's Last Will from 6 September 1810 was find by me yesterday. It is a beautiful document, three pages long, with wonderful calligraphy (it looks like best examples of J.R.R. Tolkien's manuscripts), and with a lot of details about Daniel Tolkien's family: his wife Ann Tolkien and his children Maria, Daniel, Ann, Martha, Charles, John and James. It begins as follows:
»THIS IS THE LAST WILL and Testament of Mr. Daniel Tolkien [Tolkein] of Hackney Road in the Parish of Shoreditch in the County of Middlesex, furrier, made in the following manner: in the first place I summoned my soul into kind hands of my most merciful Creator in humble hope of pardon of my manifold sins [...] and I desire that my body may be buried devoutly with as little expence as may be in my family grave in the burial ground of the [...] Chapel of City Road. I give [...] Ann Tolkien my [...] house in Hoxton Town, all my furniture, plates, books and linen for her own use [...]«
Then we find a lot of information about Daniel's property, his houses at Cumberland Street, Hoxton Town etc. And at last we find information about Daniel's brother, John Benjamin Tolkien! (who was probably mentioned by name, but the name seems to be covered with a streep of white paper!) This is a very strong proof that Daniel Gottlieb and John Benjamin Tolkien were real brothers (and if so we can be almost sure that Professor Tolkien's great-great-grandfather was born in Gdańsk in 1753!). And we find the explanation why the families of Daniel and John don't seem to be in good contacts in the last years of Dan and John and after:


»[...] shall & shall alike the debt of £700 and upwards due to me by my Brother [the name seems to be covered with a stip of paper!] My executors will receive if he shall find it convenient to pay and (I) direct that no action of law or providing shall be taken out against him and I appoint my dear Wife Ann Tolkien, my son Daniel Tolkien of Cheapside and John Hopwood of Paternoster No. 10 Glover Executors of this my last will and testament oath of them to answerable for his own disposition [...]
A good man, isn't he? And the name of John Benjamin Tolkien seems to be covered with a streep of white paper (maybe the reason is clear: not to make any legal problems to the descendants of John Benjamin Tolkien?):



Anyway we know from my summary of John Benjamin's life that he had financial problems in 1810s. Maybe these 700 pounds were lent to John to start his own "Tolkien & Dancer Watch-movement & Tool-manufacturer" at 145 St. John's Street (evidence from 1808)? In the London newspaper The News (from 9 May 1813) we can read that he bankrupted in May 1813. Maybe it was connected with the fact that Daniel Tolkien died in the same month?
My thanks to Jarema Piekutowski for his help in transcription

niedziela, 21 maja 2017

Daniel Gottlieb and John Benjamin in 1782
Another proof that they were brothers!

Yé, utúvienyes! Sometimes when you are looking for a Tolkien you need to mistype... Typing TOLKEIN on the Ancestry.co.uk I have today found an act of Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien's and Ann Austen's wedding! 

Beautiful book from the St Sepulchre church in London
Daniel, Ann and... John Tolkien!
Original signatures of Daniel and John Tolkien (1782)
It was on 7 April 1782 in the St Sepulchre church, Holborn, London. In the same church where John Tolkien got married with Mary née Wall a year earlier (on 22 April 1781). Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien (who evidently wanted to forget about his German second name Gottlieb) got married with Ann Austin. And Daniel's witness is... John Tolkien!

This is a document I needed to have another proof that Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and John Banjamin Tolkien were brothers! Because if we are sure that Daniel Gottlieb came to England from Gdańsk, so Johann (John) Benjamin – his younger brother – must come from Gdańsk too!

Holy Sepulchre, Holborn, London
And do you remember that Ann Austin was a witness during John Benjamin's wedding?

Note: The ultimate proof that Daniel and John were brothers and that Professor's ancestors came to England from Gdańsk would be two acts of baptism of these two men (or another document where they would be called brothers). I hope that I will find such a document soon. At the moment I can only tell what I wrote in my text "Why I think that J. B. Tolkien was born in Gdańsk". And I can add few other notes:

1. Daniel's and John's children and grandchildren never intermarried! If Daniel and John were only friends, what stopped their siblings to get married with each other?
 
Daniel had sons: Daniel, Charles, John and James.
John had daughters: Anna and Elisabeth


Daniel had daughters: Elisabeth, Martha, Charlotte, Ann and Marie
John had sons: Benjamin, George and John Benjamin.


No marriage between them and between their children. Strange between two friends. Easy to explain if they were brothers. 

2. Look at the rule of names in their families. The oldest sons have the same names as their fathers: Daniel has Daniel (1784-1815) and John Benjamin has Benjamin (1782-1787) and John Benjamin (1788-1859). And Daniel's third son has the same name as John – John (1795-1820). It looks like a close family – like the brothers' relation. 

By the way John seems to be a very important name in the family of J.R.R. Tolkien! 

3. Daniel got Act of Naturalization in 1794. Why John didn't do the same? If they were brothers it is easy to explain: the Act is a big cost and only the older brother paid for it. As an older brother he took under his patronage one of John's sons, George, who was the apprentice to Daniel, the furrier. 

4. Daniel and John attend to the same churches, even after becoming closer to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Their common churches are: German Lutheran Chapel, Savoy (where both baptize their children), Holy Sepulchre, Holborn (where both have their weddings), Wesleyan Chapel, City Road (where both are buried). It looks like the brothers' relation!

Tolki(e)n as a name of the Slavic origin

I have written many times about the Baltic (Old Prussian) origin of the Tolkien family name (see: "The Earliest Tolkiens ever", "Tolkien to nie tollkühn", "Tolkien becomes Tollkuehn", "Reinhold Trautmann about Old Prussian -in", "The suffix -ien", and "Another proof (...)").

Today I have found another interpretation – the Slavic one. I think that the Tolkien family name comes from the Old Prussian (Baltic) and Low Prussian (German dialect) and means something like "a descendant of Tolk" or "small Tolk", but the Slavic etymology is very interesting too.

According to the dtv-Atlas: Namenkunde (1998) the German family names with the ending -in/-ien come from the Slavic territories east of the river Łaba (German Elbe): Meklemburg and eastern part of Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg and Lusatia. According to the Namenkunde such family names usually are derived from the Slavic place names with the possessive suffix -in (like Polish Będzin, Polabian Berlin/Bralin etc.). The Atlas provides us with the examples of such German family names (p. 93):
Benthien, Benzien; Bonin, Schwerin, Tauenzien; Welzien, Zeppelin (...)
The Tolkien family name fits here very well. It could mean '(a village) of Tolk' and it really occurs in such a role in the 15th century, Tolkyn (= Tolkien in the pre-Luther spelling) being an alternative name of the village Tolksdorf (today Tołkiny) in East Prussia (today in the Polish Mazuria). If so it could be a typical German family name coming from a place-name. Eg. Peter Tolkyn (see "Tolkien - a noble family in Prussia"), a noble from the 15th century, is 'Peter from Tolkyn (vel Tolksdorf)'. The original family name of his ancestors was Merklingerode (which is also on the map from the Atlas: place- and family-names with -i(n)gerode come from the Harz region near the town of Wernigerode; the Tolkien-Merklingerode came to East Prussia from near Werningerode in the 14th century!).



As many moders German linguists I can say the same: that this name does not come from late German adjective tollkühn 'foolhardy' but rather from Slavic or Baltic forms and is connected with a place name in East Prussia (today in Poland).

The Tolkiens' Gdańsk: a map


A kind of the graphic summary and a guide for all these who want to visit Gdańsk following the footsteps of the early Tolkiens (1700-1821). I have used a map of Gdańsk (then German Danzig) from 1807-1820.

1. A possible house of the Tolkien family in the 1700s at 16 Grobla II. (German: Zweiter Damm No. 16). I suppose that Daniel Gottlieb (1747-1813), Johann Benjamin (1753-1819) and Christian (1762-1821) were born here. Their mother, Euphrosina Tolkien lived at Damm Street untill her death in 1783. This house is the only one on this street where in the beginning of the 19th century there was a furrier workshop (and we know that the Tolkiens in Gdańsk were a famous family of the furriers).

Zweiter Damm No. 16 (Grobla II. nr 16)
Was J.R.R. Tolkien's great-great-granfather, Johann Benjamin born here?


2. St Catherine Lutheran church (St Katharinenkirche) where Michael Tolkien (a master-furrier), Euphrosina Tolkien and other members of this family are buried (graves nos. 37, 48 and 84).




3. A possible place of the Kürschner Gewerkshaus (Furrier Guildhouse) on the corner of Długi Targ and Kuśnierska (Langer Markt and Kürschnergaße 'Furrier Lane'). This beautiful barock house was also called Gildehaus.
Former Furrier Guildhouse?
4. St John's church (St Johanniskirche) or a place of the Lutheran baptisms of the Tolkien family in Gdańsk. It is still not proofed that Daniel Gottlieb and Johann Benjamin were baptized here (the church books from the period of the mid-18th century are not yet digitalized) but I am waiting for the confirmation from the adminitration of the Mormon church from Salt Lake City. Christian Tolkien baptized here his daughters in the end of the 18th century. Is the vocation of this church the source of the "John" naming tradition in the Tolkien family?

St John's baptizmal chapel
 5. Christian Tolkien's "Antiquary" on Tandety nr 17 (Tagnetergaße No. 17). Christian was possibly a brother of Daniel Gottlieb and John Benjamin. He was an antiquarian in the same time as John Benjamin was a china and glass-seller in London.
The "Tolkien" Antiquary on Tandety 17 (the house doesn't exist any more)
6. Christian Tolkien's last address at Podkołodziejska 3 (Klein Schirrmachergaße No. 3 vel Hintergaße No. 120). In 1718 Mr Christian Tolkien was a member of the Town Magistrate and he was responsible for the lantern lighting in the Lower Town.

Christian Tolkien's house is in the rear of the house on the left
7. Christian Tolkien's grave on the St Mary Church cemetery on the outskirts of Gdańsk where he was buried in 1821. The cemetery doesn't exist any more.

A view of the cemetery

sobota, 20 maja 2017

Niederpreußisch – the language of Tolkien's ancestors


About Low Prussian dialect of the German language you can read on Wikipedia – here.

Both Tolkien's family name (see the article on its etymology: *tolk-īn 'son or descendant of Tolk', here) and the language of Tolkien's ancestors are Low Prussian. 

Low Prussian or Niederpreußisch, sometimes known simply as Prussian (Preußisch), is a dialect of East Low German that developed in East Prussia. Low Prussian was spoken in East and West Prussia and Danzig up to 1945. It developed on a Baltic substrate through the influx of Dutch- and Low-German-speaking immigrants. It overruled Old Prussian, which then became extinct in the 17th century.

Plautdietsch, a Low German variety, is included within Low Prussian by some observers. Excluding Plautdietsch, Low Prussian can be considered moribund due to the evacuation and forced expulsion of Germans from East Prussia after World War II. Plautdietsch, however, has several thousand speakers throughout the world, most notably in South America, Canada and Germany.

It is how Niederpreußisch sounds: 


And this is the most famous poetic composition in Low Prussian, Anke Van Taraw by Simon Dach (17th century):



Pamiątka z Avalonu

Jest Avalon i jest cudowny święty głóg, który tylko na Avalonie kwitnie dwa razy do roku – w Boże Narodzenie i w Wielkanoc. Gdy drzewo głogowe, które według uświęconych legend wyrosło z laski św. Józefa z Arymatei (który swojego krewniaka, młodego Jezusa przywiózł do Brytanii, a Ten mógł tym samym postawić swoją boską stopę na "najzieleńszych wzgórzach Anglii"), próbowano przesadzać w inne miejsca, poza Glastonbury, to drzewo zmieniało właściwości – zakwitało normalnie, raz do roku...



Nie pytajcie jak to zrobiłem, ale mam zasuszone kwiaty Głogu z Glastonbury (Glastonbury Thorn). Co roku na Wielkanoc gałązka tego kwitnącego drzewa przywożona jest też do Pałacu Backingham, dla Królowej.

A czy wiecie, że Geoffrey of Monmouth, który zapisał wiele legend arturiańskich, a także ten opis wizyt św. Józefa z Arymatei, to taki XII-wieczny Profesor Tolkien? On też był uczonym z Oksfordu, on też kochał pradawną przeszłość, on też chciał uzupełnić naszą wiedzę o mitycznej przeszłości i on też napisał "Mitologię dla Anglii"...

I czy pamiętamy, że Avallónë to w quenya 'Wyspa na zewnątrz'? Tolkien w liście do Miltona Waldmana pisze, że Frodo i Bilbo dostali w darze "arturiańskie zakończenie". Profesor podkreślił tu związek quenejskiej nazwy portu w Númenorze (tolkienowskiej Atlantydzie, w quenya Atalantë 'Upadłej') z nazwą wyspy Avalon, na którą odchodzi Król Artur, żeby wyleczyć swoje rany...

John Benjamin Tolkien (1753-1819): a summary

"Certainly the story - typical of the kind of tale that middle-class families tell about their origins - gave colour to the presence of Tolkiens in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, making their living as clock and watch manufacturers and piano-makers. And it was as a piano-maker and music-seller that John Benjamin Tolkien, Arthur’s father, had come to Birmingham and set up business some years later."
(...)
"These stories had begun during the Leeds years. John, the eldest son, often found difficulty in getting to sleep. When he was lying awake his father would come and sit on his bed and tell him a tale of ‘Carrots’, a boy with red hair who climbed into a cuckoo clock and went off on a series of strange adventures."
H. Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien. A Biography

John Benjamin Tolkien's signature. In 1777 he wrote his name in the German form
Johann

John Benjamin Tolkien's grave in London
John Benjamin Tolkien (earlier Johann Benjamin Tolkien) was born in 1753 most probably* in the famous Polish port town Gdańsk (German form Danzig) and died on 27 January 1819 in Clerkenwell, London. 

He is buried on the Methodist cemetery of Bunhill Fields, near his brother, Dan Godleip Tolkien (earlier Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien), b. in 1747 (Gdańsk) and d. in May 1813 in Shoreditch, London.

They were sons of Christian (c. 1727 – c. 1770) and Euphrosina Tolkien (c. 1727-1783) and their earliest years were spent in Gdańsk between the Lutheran churches of St John (where the Gdańsk Tolkiens were usually baptized) and St Catherine (where the Tolkiens were buried: Michael – their grandfather, a master-furrier, Euphrosina – their mother and other Tolkiens from Gdańsk). They had probably a brother, Christian Tolkien (1762-1821) who was a member of the Gdańsk middle-class, an antiquarian and a member of the city council. Their granfather, Michael Tolkien (spelled also Tolckin and Tolkiehn) lived in the years 1708-1795 and was a master-furrier, an elder of the craft guild of the furriers of Gdańsk, a rich man. Daniel was probably his apprentice before two brothers emmigrated to London.

Daniel, Johann and Christian Tolkien were probably baptized in St John church.
Is St John church the beginning of the John name tradition in the Tolkien family?
Daniel Gottlieb and Johann Benjamin emmigrated to the United Kingdom probably after 1772 when Gdańsk was blockaded by the Prussians (during the first partition of Poland). If so, Daniel would be 25 and Johann 19 – a good age to begin the new life in a new country. They must have had money with them. Their start was quite successful in London where John and Dan found wifes soon and began their bussinesses. Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien received (bought) the British citizenship in 1794 (see his Act of Naturalization with the name "Dantzig", 'Gdańsk' and with the names of his parents – here)

The earliest document which tells us about the Tolkien brothers in London comes from 27 April 1777 from St James church, Clerkenwell, London. This is the act of marriage between John Benjamin (24) and his first wife, Mary Tolkien, née Warner (who died in 1780). Mary Tolkien gave birth to two daughters of John Benjamin: Anna Maria Tolkien (1779-1815) and Elisabeth Tolkien (1780-). Mary died probably when giving birth to Elisabeth. (See the document of the marrage). Their children are baptized in the Lutheran Chapel in Savoy!

German Lutheran Church in Savoy, London. The first church of the Tolkiens in England!
(now not existing)
On 22 April 1781 John Benjamin (28) gets married for the second time. The act of the marrage comes from St Sepulchre church in Holborn, London. His wife was Mary Tolkien, née Wall (1746-1837), seven years older lady from London. John and Mary had three children: Benjamin Tolkien (1782-1787), George Tolkien (1784-1840; this is J.R.R. Tolkien's great-grandfather!) and John Benjamin Tolkien (1788-1859).

On 7 April 1782 John Benjamin (29) is a witness during his brother's wedding with Ann Austin.

Original signatures of Daniel and John
We don't know what was John Benjamin's profession before 1790s. Maybe he was an apprentice to a watch and clockmaker in London. In 1792 in the age of 39 John Benjamin Tolkien became a co-owner of the clock and watchmaker firm which is known as Gravell & Tolkien. Its address was 49 St John Street, London. It belonged earlier to the famous Eardley Norton (who was born 1728 and died 1792; he was a London clockmaker between 1760 and 1792. He became a freeman of the Clockmaker Company in 1770**). One of the earliest clocks made by Gravell & Tolkien can be seen in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia (see here)!

Gravell & Tolkien clock in The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
Gravell and Tolkien took over Eardley Norton's business in 1792 maintaining the firms reputation. In the early 1790s some of the clocks were signed "GRAVELL & TOLKIEN AND EARDLEY NORTON", or “EARDLEY NORTON" on the dial and "GRAVELL & TOLKIEN" on the movement. It appears Gravell and Tolkien continued to use Eardley’s stock of cases and dials when they took over his business after his death in 1792/94. Soon they started to use "Gravell & Tolkien, Successors to Eardley Norton". They continued working from the same premises in 49 St John, London until 1820, followed by William Gravell & Son (1820-50), and Robert Rolfe (from 1850). 

By a Special Command Of
HER MAJESTY CATHERINE II
EMPRESS OF RUSSIA,
THIS CLOCK was designed and
commenced by
EARDLEY NORTON,
49, St. John Street, London;
and finished by his successors:
GRAVELL and TOLKIEN,
in 1792.
In 1799 John Benjamin's son, George Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien's great-grandfather) is an apprentice to John's brother, Daniel, the City citizen and a furrier. He resides in "Furrier Trade" on White Lyon Street, London ("Master Daniel Tolkien of Cheapside, London Skinner and Furrier").

George Tolkien, John Benjamin's son, was an apprentice to Daniel Tolkien, a London furrier
In 1808 John Benjamin (55) has his new business: "Tolkien & Dancer" Watch-movement & Tool-manufacturer at 145 St. John's Street:

 
May 1813 is hard for John Benjamin Tolkien (60). His brother Daniel Tolkien dies on 23 May (he is buried on the Methodist cemetery by the Wesley Chapel by City Road, London – about 100 meters to John Benjamin Tolkien's grave). We also read in the newspaper The News (from 9 May 1813) that in the same month John Benjamin Tolkien, "china and glass-seller from St Paul's church-yard, London") bankrupted:


So we can see that after John Benjamin finished his cooperation with Gravell (the clock and watchmaker) and Dancer, he was a china and glass-seller in the City or in Covent Garden (where there is another St Paul's church). It is interesting that in the same time his possible younger brother living still in Gdańsk, Christian Tolkien, was in the same time an antiquarian (having his antiquary on Tagnetergaße and Klein Schirrmachergße – read about this here and here).

In 1815 (he is 62) his oldest daughter dies, Anna Maria Tolkien.

On 27 January 1819 John Benjamin Tolkien dies in the age of 66. He and his wife are probably the Methodists and could know personally John Wesley, the founder of Methodism (Daniel Gottlieb and Johann Benjamin's names are proofs of the Pietist Lutheranism of the 18th century – in England it was quite natural that the Pietists became Methodists). John Benjamin Tolkien and his wife Mary are buried in the same grave with William Shrubsole, an English musician and composer of the hymn-tune "Miles Lane" (Tolkien Gateway). It was set to the hymn by Edward Perronet, All hail! the power of Jesus' Name. Shrubsole knew Perronet at Canterbury, and Perronet left him property. The first notes of "Miles Lane" were cut on Shrubsole's tombstone.

I want to thank Oronzo Cilli from Italy for his help in writing this text.
_______________________________

* To be sure that John Benjamin Tolkien was Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien's brother and that he was born in Gdańsk we must find the baptism acts of these men. I am closer and closer to the final answer. Read my text "Why I think John Benjamin Tolkien was born in Gdańsk".

** Eardley Norton was one of the most famous and talented clockmakers of the second half of the 18th Century and was based at 49 St John St, Clerkenwell, London. He was born in Lincolnshire in 1728 and apprenticed to Robert Dawson, a clockmaker in Alford (Lincolnshire) on 17 September 1743 for the usual period of 7 years. Eardley's mothers name was Elizabeth and she was a widow at the time. He was accepted into the Clockmakers Company in 1762 and is noted as a maker from 1771 to 1794. In 1771 he patented (Pat. No. 987) 'a clock which strikes the hours and parts upon a principle entirely new; and a watch which repeats the hours and parts, so concisely contrived as of being conveniently contained not only in a watch but also in its appendage...' (see Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and Their makers, London, 1956, p.446).

He was appointed Royal Clockmaker to King George III and made an Astronomical Clock for him with four dials that is considered his finest work, which he made to stand in the library of Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace, London). He was paid at the time 1,042 pounds sterling, quite a considerable sum at the time, and it is now a part of the Royal Collection. (see Cedric Jagger Royal Clocks, London, 1983, Figs.151-152).

Some of his more notable works have been noted at the National Museum of Stockholm (small cartel clock), Cassel Landes Museum, France (clock), Palace Museum, Peking (elaborate automator clock with organ), Virginia Museum, USA (bracket clock) and the Ibert Collection, British Museum (marine chronometer) and an elaborate automaton clock with organ in the Palace Museum, Pekin. In addition three watches made by him are part of the collection of “The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers” (“The Guildhall Collection”) and housed in the City of London. He also made a fine musical clock for Empress Catherine of Russia (Old Clocks and Watches and Their Makers, Spon, Seventh Edition 1956, p.446).

A musical clock by him adorns the front dust jacket of Richard C R Barder's The Georgian Bracket Clock 1714-1830, Antique Collectors' Club, 1993.

He is believed to have built up a thriving export business, particularly for his watches. Whilst these may have not been made to the highest quality those made for the domestic market were of top London Manufacture. These were sometimes signed “Yeldrae Notron” (Eardley Norton backwards) possibly to avoid taxes.

He usually numbered his clocks either on the dial or on the backplate. The highest number recorded is 3792. No. 3766 is signed "Gravell & Tolkien, Successors to Eardley Norton" on the backplate.
On 30 May 1760 Eardley Norton, in St John Street London, took James Harrison as an apprentice for 7 years.

In 1772 Sarah Norton, the daughter Eardley Norton, has married clockmaker Samuel Green, at St Andrew in Holborn. About this time Samuel has established himself as an organ builder in Red Lion Street, Holborn.

Gravell and Tolkien took over his business in 1792 maintaining the firms reputation. In the early 1790’s some of the clocks were signed "GRAVELL & TOLKIEN AND EARDLEY NORTON", or “EARDLEY NORTON" on the dial and "GRAVELL & TOLKIEN" on the movement. It appears Gravell and Tolkien continued to use Eardley’s stock of cases and dials when they took over his business after his death in 1792/94. Soon they started to use "Gravell & Tolkien, Successors to Eardley Norton". They continued working from the same premises in St Johns St London until 1820, followed by William Gravell & Son (1820-50), and Robert Rolfe (from 1850). [source]