Welcome to Martinalia. An academic career generates material which for one reason or another does not get into print. There are public lectures and keynote addresses. Some are never intended for publication. Others are commissioned for projects which never get off the ground. There is material prepared for teaching, which may be useful to colleagues and students involved in similar courses. Some projects seem worth sharing with interested readers even though they remain unfinished, lacking the final polish needed for conventional academic publication. Since 2014 I have used Martinalia to publish essays and research reports. 

The term “Martinalia” was coined by my friend Jim Sturgis.  

A.C. Benson and Cambridge: II, 1885-1925


The continuation of A.C. Benson and Cambridge: I, 1862-1884

Read More ...

Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: From a College Window: Glimpses of Magdalene (1906)

From a College Window was the most successful of the collections of essays published by A.C. Benson.

Read More ...

The Reverend William Palin (1803-1882), the Essex village of Stifford and the Grays Steamboats

William Palin was Rector of Stifford from 1834 until his death in 1882.

Read More ...

Sootigine: Marketing a Failed Victorian Fertiliser

While reviewing commercial activities in Romford in 1886, as listed in Kelly's Directory of Essex, I came across an intriguing entry, which described one Thomas F. Burbrow as "sootigine agent". I had never heard of sootigine – nor, it seemed, had the Oxford English Dictionary.

Read More ...

Charles Stewart Parnell: Economics and Politics of a Building Trade Entrepreneur

In 2011, one hundred and twenty years after Parnell's death, Paul Bew published a biography, with a revealing single-word main title, Enigma.[1] The notion of mystery, of paradox, is an enduring theme around Charles Stewart Parnell.

Read More ...

A.C. Benson and Cambridge: I, 1862-1884

The first part of an extended essay on A.C. Benson and Cambridge University.

Read More ...

Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: Robert Edgar Hughes, the Yachting Don, and the Baltic Campaigns (1854-55)

The Reverend Robert Edgar Hughes was a Fellow of Magdalene College Cambridge from 1846 until 1856.[1] For the last three years of his tenure, he was also Junior Tutor, sharing in student administration, during which time he also served twice as a University examiner. Thus far, we have the profile of a typical clerical don of Victorian times.[2] But it was precisely in this period, in 1854 and 1855, that Hughes also took his yacht, the impossibly tiny Pet, on two long summer cruises to the Baltic.[3]

Read More ...

Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: Walter John Whiting and the Battle of Chillianwala (1849)

The British people – around the world -- needed a hero after the shock of Chillianwala. For a brief moment, the role was filled by a clergyman happily packaged as "Whiting of Magdalen".

Read More ...

Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: S.S.Nehru (1905-8)

Shri Shridhar Nehru was a student at Magdalene College Cambridge from 1905 to 1908, overlapping with his cousin Jawaharlal Nehru, later first prime minister of independent India, who was at Trinity from 1907 to 1910.

Read More ...

The Cambridge Academic Record of Charles Stewart Parnell

Charles Stewart Parnell spent five and a half terms as an undergraduate at Cambridge between 1865 and 1869. What sort of a student was he?

Read More ...