The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay

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12. 1902 -







January 1902

An article on Robert Buchanan by Rev. A. L. Lilley (prompted by the publication of the Complete Poetical Works) is published in The Humane Review.


March 1902

The Peep O’ Day Boy: a Romance of ’98 published by John Dicks.
Reviewed in The Western Times (21 March).

Reviews and some speculation as to the origin of this novel.

8 April 1902

A previously unperformed one-act play by Robert Buchanan, The Night Watch, is presented by the Southend Dramatic Society at the Empire Theatre, Southend, in aid of the Buchanan Memorial Fund. The performance is repeated the following night.


26 April 1902

Another appeal for the Buchanan Memorial Fund is printed in The New York Times. The name of Rev. Walter E. Bentley has been added as the American representative of the appeal and “contributions from Americans may be sent to the editor of The New York Times Saturday Review of Books.


22 May 1902

Item in The Stage:
“Miss Harriett Jay’s life of Robert Buchanan will not be published until after the Coronation. Miss Jay, who has just written a play with Mdme. Sarah Grand, has been staying at Southend while completing the work. Among the contributors to the Buchanan Memorial Fund are many eminent names, notably that of Mr. Herbert Spencer. It is understood that many of the dramatist’s admirers incline towards the erection of a drinking fountain in Southend, opposite Buchanan’s former residence, as the most suitable form for the memorial.”

The play referred to is an adaptation of Sarah Grand’s novel, The Heavenly Twins. This was originally a Robert Buchanan/Charles Marlowe collaboration and there are odd references to it in the Press from March, 1896 to August, 1902. As far as I know it was never produced, possibly never completed.

3 October 1902

Premiere at the Sheffield Music Festival of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s cantata, Meg Blane, conducted by the composer.

More information available on the Buchanan’s Music page.





English Literature: An Illustrated Record: Volume IV: From the Age of Johnson to the Age of Tennyson by Edmund Gosse is published by William Heinemann. Robert Buchanan’s name does not appear at all, even in the section dealing with the ‘Fleshly School’ controversy, where he is referred to merely as “a writer of the day”.


2 February 1903

Robert Buchanan. Some Account of his Life, his Life’s Work, and his Literary Friendships by Harriet Jay is published by T. Fisher Unwin.

T. P. O’Connor reviewed the book in T. P.’s Weekly on 6th February, then in the following week’s issue he added some thoughts about Buchanan’s wife, Mary.

26 March 1903

Conrad Noel delivers a lecture on Robert Buchanan at the Southend Technical School in connection with the Buchanan Memorial Fund.


May 1903

A sixpenny edition of The Shadow of the Sword is issued by Chatto & Windus.


6 May 1903

The London correspondent of The Devon and Exeter Gazette reports that Harriett Jay is “lying seriously ill with influenza”.


June 1903

J. H. Millar’s A Literary History of Scotland is published by Fisher Unwin and contains the following verdict on Buchanan:
The two stout volumes which contain his poetical writings bear witness to the industry of his pen; but of all his verse, perhaps only three pieces may be remembered when the work of better poets has been forgotten—The Wake of Tim O’Hara, The Wedding of Shon Maclean, and Phil Blood’s Leap—and even these will chiefly be called to mind at smoking-concerts and in similar congregations.”


25 July 1903

The memorial to Robert Buchanan is unveiled in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist in Southend-on-Sea.
The Times of 27th July gave the following report:
“A memorial to Robert Buchanan, the poet and dramatist, consisting of a bust, was unveiled on Saturday by Mr. T. P. O’Connor, M.P., in St. John’s Churchyard, Southend-on- Sea, where Buchanan and his wife and mother were buried. The bust stands on a granite pedestal, and at the back is a stone screen, while yew trees protect the sides. Mr. George R. Sims was present at the unveiling, in addition to the poet’s sister-in-law, Miss Harriet Jay, the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend, Sir F. C. Rusch, M.P., Colonel Tufnell, M.P., and Mrs. Tufnell. After the gift had been formally handed over to the vicar and churchwardens on behalf of the subscribers, Mr. O’Connor gave an address in the schoolroom descriptive of the lives of Buchanan and his wife and mother. He observed that Buchanan had parents who devoted themselves to what they considered to be right opinions and the benefiting of their fellow men and women. They evidently, however, belonged to that great and imperishable race of dreamers who in the pursuit of the welfare of others forgot their own. Like his father, Buchanan never learned the art of compound addition. Whatever money he made disappeared quickly. Mr. O’Connor pointed out in reference to Buchanan’s attitude that there were always a number of false reputations. It required some clear voice to remind the public that the number of copies sold must not always be taken as the eternal verdict of literature on the quality of the writer. A vote of thanks to Mr. O’Connor was passed at the close.”
A report in
The Stage (30 July) mentioned that Roden Noel’s son, the Rev. Conrad Noel, also attended the unveiling of the monument which “was designed by Mr. Morley Horder, and executed by Mr. W. Darke of Southend.”

More information on the memorial and further reports of the unveiling ceremony are available here.




10 June 1904

Item in the Essex County Chronicle:
     “To-day is the third anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, poet, novelist, dramatist, and humanitarian. Many of his admirers will take flowers to his graveside in St. John’s Churchyard, Prittlewell.”


14 July 1904

‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’ is published by A. C. Fifield in the ‘Simple Life’ series, with the permission of Harriett Jay and Chatto & Windus.





25 March 1905

Revival of A Man’s Shadow at His Majesty’s Theatre by Herbert Beerbohm Tree.


6 April 1905

The Maiden Queen, a comic opera in two acts, written by Buchanan and Harriett Jay, with music by Florian Pascal, is given a copyright performance at Ladbroke Hall, London.

More information on The Maiden Queen is available here.

6 June 1905

Harriett Jay applies to the Royal Literary Fund. She is sponsored by Hall Caine and R.E. Francillon and receives a grant of £100.


15 June 1905

Item in The Wells Journal:
“BUCHANAN DAY.—The fourth anniversary of the death of Robert Buchanan, the poet, was kept on Saturday last, the 10th inst., when the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend-on-Sea attended in the churchyard of St. John, at the poet’s grave, to receive floral memorial tributes from Robert Buchanan’s friends and admirers. Amongst those who brought or sent flowers and bay and laurel wreaths were Mr. Beerbohm Tree, Miss Clough, Miss Harriet Jay, the poet’s sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Tate, of Leigh-on-Sea, and many others. The morning was wet, but the afternoon, when the reception by the Mayor and Mayoress took place, at three o’clock, was fine and breezy, and many had assembled at the poet’s grave, where he lies buried with his two Marys, his mother and his wife. Robert Buchanan some years ago occupied a beautiful old house, which at that time stood in fields surrounded by gardens, but the now fashionable resort of Westcliff-on-Sea, near Southend, has enclosed it on every side. The churchyard of St. John overlooks the broad estuary of the Thames.”


9 September 1905

Harriett Jay signs a contract with the actor James Welch regarding the performing rights of the play Good Old Times - later to be called When Knights Were Bold. This was originally an 1896 collaboration between Robert Buchanan and Harriett Jay and was offered to Weedon Grossmith, who turned it down in favour of The Romance of the Shopwalker. Under the agreement James Welch was granted the sole right to perform the play in any place or country whatever, and also the sole right to license the performance of any adaptation or translation of it, and he was also at liberty to make any reasonable alteration in the play. Harriett Jay was to receive for every performance in any West-end London theatre three guineas, and one pound ten shillings for each performance in any provincial town and London suburban theatre specified in a schedule to the agreement, and £1 for every performance in any other provincial town in Great Britain.

According to an article in The Stage (19 January, 1922) James Welch paid Harriett Jay £100 for a year’s option on the play and when that expired, £50 for a further six months.

November 1905

A previously unpublished poem by Buchanan is included in Archibald Stodart-Walker’s anthology, A Beggar’s Wallet, published in November, 1905 on behalf of Edinburgh’s Royal Victoria Hospital for Consumption, under the title ‘The Life Song of Buchanan’.





15 January 1906

Alexander Hastie Millar, Librarian of Dundee, gives a lecture to the Dundee Burns Society on “Robert Buchanan, Poet and Novelist”.

The report of the lecture in The Dundee Courier includes the following statement, presumably referring to the poem published in A Beggar’s Wallet:
“In concluding, the lecturer quoted Buchanan’s last unpublished verses, found after his death, which showed his steadfast faith in the Deity at the end of his days, and refuted the charge of atheism sometimes brought against him.”

15 June 1906

Item in the Essex County Chronicle:
     “A large number of wreaths were placed on the grave of Mr. Robert Buchanan, at Southend, on the anniversary of his burial.”


17 September 1906

When Knights Were Bold produced at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham by James Welch.
It is an immediate hit and continues to be performed for the next thirty years, providing a steady income for Harriett Jay, who never relinquished the rights to the play. It is by far the most successful of the Buchanan/Jay collaborations but Buchanan’s name is not associated with it at all and the play is credited solely to ‘Charles Marlowe’.


There is a fairly extensive section on When Knights Were Bold on this site, including the evidence for Buchanan’s co-authorship.

December 1906

Two letters from Jay’s biography (one to Roden Noel from August 1868 and one to W. E. H. Lecky from May 1888) are reprinted in Letters of Literary Men (Vol. 2 The Nineteenth Century) edited by Frank Arthur Mumby, published by George Routledge & Sons Ltd.





29 January 1907

When Knights Were Bold receives its London premiere at Wyndham’s Theatre.


13 June 1907

Item in the Somerset and West of England Advertiser:
     ‘Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Tate, of Leigh-on-Sea, were among those who placed flowers on the tomb of Robert Buchanan, the Poet, at Southend-on-Sea, on the anniversary of his death, on Monday last. We give in another column some extracts from an article, “Robert Buchanan: Some Literary Memories,” contributed by Mr. Tate to the Southend Telegraph.’

I don’t have the full article, but the extracts published in the Somerset and West of England Advertiser are available here.

4 July 1907

Item in the Somerset and West of England Advertiser:
     “MR. W. J. TATE’S ACCIDENT.—Mr. W. J. Tate is recovering nicely from his recent serious accident. Returning from Southend with Mrs. Tate, where they had been to see the flowers on Robert Buchanan’s grave, Mr. Tate, thinking the train had stopped at Leigh station, got out when there was still some little motion, and fell heavily on the platform, dislocating his right shoulder and bruising his leg, which latter, with great presence of mind, Mrs. Tate quickly dragged from the edge of the platform. After recovering from the shock, Mr. Tate was able to walk up Leigh Hill to the nearest doctor, where the shoulder joint was swoon replaced. Mr. Tate has been able to write for the past few days, but his arm is still stiff and weak, with considerable pain at night, but he has made much better progress than was expected. The accident happened on the 11th June, the eve of his sixty-sixth birthday. In case of accident to the right hand or arm Mr. Tate thinks it would be well to encourage writing with the left. Young boys and girls, if taught at school, would soon acquire the art of writing with their left hand as well as their right.”


20 August 1907

When Knights Were Bold is produced at the Garrick Theatre, New York, starring Francis Wilson.


October 1907

The Bookman publishes ‘The Fleshly School of Fiction: A Protest Against the Degradation of the Modern Novel’ by ‘A Man of Letters’. The November issue carries replies from Marie Corelli among others and the December issue has more comment and a response from the ‘Man of Letters’.

Although Buchanan is not referred to, I thought this worth a mention. The original article is available below:

Page 1     Page 2     Page 3.

And a comment on the November ‘symposium’ from The Manchester Courier of 2nd November (which does mention Buchanan), is available here.

14 November 1907

300th performance of When Knights Were Bold at Wyndham’s Theatre.






The libretto of The Maiden Queen published by Joseph Williams Ltd.


29 January 1908

To commemorate the first year of When Knights Were Bold at Wyndham’s Theatre, a First Anniversary Souvenir folder is produced containing photographs of the cast and Harriett Jay.


22 August 1908

Final (579th) performance of When Knights Were Bold at Wyndham’s Theatre.






The script of The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown is published by Samuel French.

Available at the Internet Archive.

16 January 1909

The second part of ‘Some Celebrities I Have Known’ by Archibald Stodart-Walker is published in Chambers’s Journal, featuring his memories of Robert Buchanan. These are concluded in the next part, published on 13th February.

There were four articles, beginning in the issue of 19th December, 1908 and ending with the issue of 3rd April, 1909. Archibald Stodart-Walker includes the poem he had previously published in his 1905 anthology, A Beggar’s Wallet.

28 February 1909

An article entitled ‘Names of Men Used By Women: Interesting Reasons Given by Novelists for Writing under Masculine Pseudonym’ is published in The Washington Post and various other American newspapers. Harriett Jay gives her reasons for using the pseudonym, ‘Charles Marlowe’.

A copy of the article from The San Francisco Sunday Call of 25th July, 1909 is available here.

30 March 1909

First performance of Hubert Bath’s setting of Buchanan’s poem, ‘The Wedding of Shon Maclean’ at the Queen’s Hall, London.

More information.

10 April 1909

Death of Algernon Charles Swinburne.


May 1909

A Stepson of Fortune: The Memories, Confessions, and Opinions of Henry Murray is published by Chapman & Hall. The book contains a long section about Robert Buchanan and the disastrous production of A Society Butterfly.


11 June 1909

Item in The Essex County Chronicle:
     “BUCHANAN DAY.—Yesterday was observed as Buchanan-day, in memory of the poet, Robert Buchanan, who was buried in St. John’s Churchyard. A victor’s palm, wreaths, and flowers were placed at the foot of the obelisk.”






The Literature of the Victorian Era by Hugh Walker (Cambridge University Press) contains a section on Buchanan.

Die goldene Ritterzeit by Charles Marlowe, translated by Siegfried V. Lutz (a German version of When Knights Were Bold) is published.


January 1910

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Part-songs, op. 73a (including Buchanan’s ‘O mariners, out of the sunlight’ and ‘O who will worship the great god Pan?’) published by J. Curwen & Sons.


23 January 1910

A lecture by Harriet McIlquham on the subject of “Robert Buchanan, the Poet of the Higher Criticism” is due to be given to the Cheltenham Ethical Society, however, due to the illness of Mrs. McIlquham, her paper is read by Mrs. Earengey.


24 January 1910

Death of Harriet McIlquham.

A report of the lecture from the Gloucestershire Echo of 24th January is available here, together with obituaries of Harriet McIlquham.

10 June 1910

Item in The Essex County Chronicle:
                           “BUCHANAN DAY” AT SOUTHEND.
     Yesterday, June 9, being the anniversary of the lamented death of the late Robert Buchanan, his tomb in St. John Baptist Churchyard, Southend, was visited by a number of his friends and admirers, who placed several beautiful floral emblems at the foot of the handsome pedestal bearing a bust of the deceased author. Buchanan lived in the district for a considerable period, and left many pleasant personal memories behind him.”


19 September 1910

Charles Gibbon’s touring production of Alone in London, starring Miss Nellie Clyde, opens at the Grand Theatre, Walsall.

I mention this because it’s the last of the provincial touring productions of Alone in London I’ve come across.

20 September 1910

Dr. Frederic Cowen’s cantata, The Veil (based on Buchanan’s The Book of Orm), receives its first performance at the Cardiff Music Festival.

More information.




2 April 1911

The date of the 1911 census. Harriett Jay is now living at 144 Plashet Grove, East Ham, Essex (now part of the London Borough of Newham). Her age is given as 48 (actually 57) and her occupation as Novelist. The house has eight rooms and she lives there with a German nurse/companion, Kabrina Klaus, and a housemaid, May Mars.

1911 census.

29 May 1911

’Twas In Trafalgar’s Bay (adapted from The Mariners of England) is produced at the Glasgow Coliseum. The title was later changed to Trafalgar.

The scenes involving Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar were turned into a jingoistic sketch and played the halls for the next three years,

30 October 1911

Dr. Frederic Cowen’s The Veil receives its London premiere at the Queen’s Hall.





4 March 1912

First performance of Trafalgar in London at the South London Palace.


September 1912

Buchanan’s original version of The Life and Adventures of J. J. Audubon is published by J. M. Dent & Sons as No. 601 in their Everyman’s Library.





February 1913

Fra Giacomo, the first film of a work by Robert Buchanan is produced by Eric Williams Speaking Pictures. A silent film is projected while the poem is recited by Eric Williams in the character of the Count.


13 June 1913

Item in The Essex County Chronicle:
     “THE TWELFTH ANNIVERSARY of the death of Robert Buchanan, poet, dramatist, and novelist, who lived at Southend for many years, was celebrated on Tuesday by his tomb in St. John’s Churchyard being decorated with flowers.”


8 October 1913

An advert for Clarendon Speaking Pictures appears in The Era announcing “An entirely new idea and novel turn”. Clarendon produce the second ‘Buchanan film’ - Phil Blood’s Leap.

The ‘novelty’ compared to Eric Williams’ production is that the speaker remains hidden. I’m not sure of the date of the release of Phil Blood’s Leap (the earliest review I’ve found is from March, 1914) but the Clarendon Film Company did demonstrate their process to members of the Poetry Society in London on 8th December, 1913.
Yet another system of ‘speaking pictures’ was advertised in The Era on 24th December, 1913.





Sweet Nancy is published by Samuel French.


18 February 1914

The Wake of O’Connor - ‘An Irish Rhapsody’ by Hubert Bath receives its first performance at Park Hall, Cardiff.

More information.
The score was published by Novello & Co. towards the end of 1913.

13 June 1914

The Shamrock and the Thistle, another unofficial adaptation of Lady Kilpatrick, is produced at the Theatre Royal, Brisbane, Australia by Mr. C. E. King’s Royal Dramatic Company.


10 July 1914

Cecil Coles’ setting of Robert Buchanan’s ‘Fra Giacomo’ is performed at the Queen’s Hall, London at a concert on behalf of the Royal College of Music Patron’s Fund.

More information.





Reticence in Literature, and Other Papers by Arthur Waugh
(London: J. G. Wilson) contains a section on Buchanan.

The Cry for Justice: an anthology of the literature of social protest edited by Upton Sinclair (Philadelphia: Winston) contains four poems by Buchanan: ‘The Image in the Forum’, ‘The New Rome’ (extract), ‘Tom Dunstan’ and ‘The Ballad of Kiplingson’.


April 1915

British Cinema Productions acquire the film rights to all of Buchanan’s novels. In their contract with Chatto & Windus they ‘agree to produce films of at least two of the said works each year from 31st May 1915’. Harriett Jay receives royalties from the films. By 1920 the agreement has lapsed and Chatto & Windus receive further offers for Buchanan’s works from other film companies.

Information from Alexis Weedon’s Victorian Publishing: The Economics of Book Publishing for a Mass Market 1836-1916.

9 August 1915

A film version of Alone in London, produced by and starring the American actress Florence Turner, is released. It is directed by Larry Trimble.


13 September 1915

A film version of The Trumpet Call is released. It is produced by the Neptune Film Company, directed by Percy Nash.






Film version of The Charlatan produced by Famous Authors, directed by Sidney Morgan.

A film of When Knights Were Bold is produced by the London Film Company, starring James Welch and directed by Maurice Elvey.

An Italian film of When Knights Were Bold is also produced by Aquila Films with the title Il Cavaliere del Silenzio. Directed by Oreste Visalli.

Appreciations of Poetry by Lafcadio Hearn (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company) has a chapter on Buchanan.


2 February 1916

Death of Rudolf Blind.





10 April 1917

Death of James Welch.


2 July 1917

Death of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree.

According to an item in The Hull Daily Mail of 6th July:
     ‘Sir Herbert Tree’s last letter was written to Miss Harriett Jay. It was written a few hours before his death, and concluded: “I am doing splendidly. This enforced rest is a blessing in disguise.”’

3 July 1917

Harriett Jay issues a writ against the widow of James Welch claiming that the agreement made in September 1905 regarding the performing rights of When Knights Were Bold was personal to Mr. Welch and ceased to be operative on his death.

Reports of the court case are available in the When Knights Were Bold section of the site.

20 July 1917

The case of Harriett Jay v. Mrs. Amy Hannah Welch is heard in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice. During his illness James Welch had made an arrangement with Bromley Challenor to take over his role of Sir Guy de Vere for which Welch received 5% of the gross takings and Harriett Jay received 40% of that. This arrangement is to continue for the time being.


19 October 1917

An agreement is reached in the When Knights Were Bold court case. Harriett Jay remains “the sole proprietor of the play” after coming to a finanacial arrangement with Mrs. Welch. Presumably ahe then made a new agreement with Bromley Challenor who continued to tour the play until his death in 1935.


17 November 1917

When Knights Were Bold revived at the Kingsway Theatre, London starring Bromley Challenor, who has already played Sir Guy de Vere 1500 times in provincial productions.



1918 ...



Film version of God and the Man is produced by the Ideal Film Company, directed by Edwin J. Collins.

Film version of Matt is produced by I. B. Davidson and Tiger Films, directed by A. E. Coleby.

Cuthbert Clarke’s setting of Buchanan’s ‘Phil Blood’s Leap’ is published by Reynolds & Co.



Film version of A Man’s Shadow is produced by Frank E. Spring for Progress Films. Directed by Sidney Morgan.

Film version of The Lights of Home is produced by Screen Plays, directed by Fred Paul.

Film version of The English Rose is produced by John Robyns for British Standard, directed by Fred Paul.


June 1920

Max Pallenberg stars in When Knights were Bold (Die goldene Ritterzeit) at the Theater des Westens in Berlin.


4 September 1922

Death of George R. Sims.



Film version of Buchanan’s poem, ‘The Little Milliner’, entitled Love In An Attic, is produced by Edward Godal for the British & Colonial Kinematograph Company, directed by Edward Greenwood.

Film version of Buchanan’s novel, Woman and the Man, produced in Italy entitled La Donna e l’Uomo by Rinascimento Film, directed by Amleto Palermi.


27 August 1923

Death of Letty Lind.



In her entry in the 1925 edition of Who’s Who In The Theatre, Harriett Jay’s address is given as 20, Seymour Gardens, Ilford, Essex.


29 June 1928

Harriett Jay makes a will.



Third film version of When Knights Were Bold is produced by British and Dominions Film Corporation, directed by Tim Whelan.


12 February 1929

Death of Lillie Langtry.


July 1929

The Poetry Review publishes an article, ‘The Poetry of Robert Buchanan’ by T. L. Adamson.


9 December 1929

Harriett Jay adds a codicil to her will bequeathing all rights to When Knights Were Bold to her nephew, William Paul Jay.


May 1930

The essay, ‘Whitman and Buchanan’ by Harold Blodgett is published in the May edition of American Literature.


21 December 1932

Harriett Jay dies at ‘The Cottage’, 20, Seymour Gardens, Ilford, Essex, after a long illness. She was 79 years old.


24 December 1932

Harriett Jay is buried beside Robert Buchanan and her sister, Mary, in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist in Southend-on-Sea.


3 March 1933

Registration of Harriett Jay’s will. She leaves an estate of £4,041, the bulk of which goes to her nephew, William Paul Jay. She leaves her house in trust to her cook and housekeeper.


3 August 1933

Sweet Seventeen, a musical adaptation of The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown is premiered at the Theatre Royal, Brighton at the start of a short tour of the south coast, also including Eastbourne and Folkestone.

The production does not make it to London but the name is changed, first to The Girls of Vanderloo, and then to Tulip Time.

13 March 1934

Death of Dr. Archibald Stodart-Walker.


14 August 1935

Tulip Time, (originally Sweet Seventeen) a musical comedy by Worton David, Alfred Parker, Bruce Sievier and Colin Wark, based on The Strange Adventures of Miss Brown is produced at the Alhambra Theatre, London and runs for 425 performances.


17 December 1935

Death of Bromley Challenor (aged 51) at the Fortune Theatre while rehearsing When Knights Were Bold.



The final film adaptation of When Knights Were Bold is released. Produced by Capitol Film Corporation, directed by Jack Raymond, it stars Jack Buchanan and Fay Wray and includes several musical numbers.

The 1936 version of When Knights Were Bold is available to watch or download from the Free Classic Movies site.


The musical score of Tulip Time published by Francis, Day & Hunter Ltd.



The libretto of Tulip Time is published by Samuel French Ltd.


26 April 1943

Kiss The Girls, a musical version of When Knights Were Bold, opens at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle-on-Tyne at the start of a provincial tour. The musical (book by Harriett Jay, Emile Littler and Thomas Browne, music by Harry Parr-Davies, lyrics by Barbara Gordon and Basil Thomas) is produced by Emile Littler and stars Sonnie Hale and Adele Dixon.


1 July 1943

The Knight Was Bold, (originally Kiss The Girls) opens at the Piccadilly Theatre, London. It closes after only 10 performances.



Richard Purvis’ setting of ‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’ for choir and organ, published by Elkan-Vogel (Philadelphia).


13 February 1951

According to the London correspondent of The Glasgow Herald, “Letters and other mementoes of the Scots poet, Robert Williams Buchanan, were shown off here, the other day” apparently in connection with the centenary of John James Audubon.

So far I’ve not found any more information about this exhibition, but the item from The Glasgow Herald is available here.

March 1952

The March edition of Publications of the Modern Language Association includes two essays concerning Buchanan:
‘The Immediate Source of The Dynasts by Hoxie N. Fairchild and ‘Robert Buchanan and the Fleshly Controversy’by John A. Cassidy.


December 1953

The December edition of Publications of the Modern Language Association includes ‘Robert Buchanan’s Critical Principles’ by George G. Storey.


December 1954

The December edition of Publications of the Modern Language Association includes ‘The Original Source of Hardy’s Dynasts.


June 1969

The essay, Nature and the Victorian City: The Ambivalent Attitude of Robert Buchanan’ by R. A. Forsyth is published in English Literary History.


Autumn 1969

The essay Robert Buchanan and the Dilemma of the Brave New Victorian World’ by R. A. Forsyth is published in the Autumn edition of Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900.


c. November 1969

Donald Swann composes Soliloquy for Autumn which includes a setting of part of ‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’.



Robert W. Buchanan by John A. Cassidy published by Twayne Publishers, New York.


27 September 1973

Donald Swann’s Soliloquy for Autumn recorded at Malpas, Cheshire for the BBC TV programme, ‘Seeing & Believing’.


21 October 1973

Donald Swann’s Soliloquy for Autumn broadcast on the BBC TV programme, ‘Seeing & Believing’.



Robert Buchanan (1841-1901): An assessment of his career by Christopher D. Murray. This doctoral thesis was unfortunately never published but is now available to download.



An edition of ‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’, illustrated by J. Martin Pitts, is published by the Old Stile Press.


Autumn 1982

‘D. G. Rossetti, A. C. Swinburne and R. W. Buchanan: The Fleshly School Revisited: I’ by Christopher D. Murray published in the Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.
Part 2 is published in the Spring 1983 edition.





June/July 1996

A restored version of La Donna e l’Uomo (the 1923 Italian film of Buchanan’s Woman and the Man) is shown at the Festival International du Film de La Rochelle in a retrospective of the films of the actress Pina Menichelli.


27 August 2002

This website goes online.



The Belgian ‘black metal’ band, Paragon Impure, release their EP, In Commemoration of Ish Kerioth, containing a version of ‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’.


25 March 2005

‘The Wickedest Man’, a programme about Judas Iscariot, is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It concludes with a reading of the final stanzas of ‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’ by Andrew Sachs.


10 July 2005

‘Judas Iscariot, The Church Cantata’, composed by Paul Pilott to commemorate the Centenary celebrations of St. Mary’s Church, Alverstoke, Gosport, receives its first performance. The work is inspired by ‘The Ballad of Judas Iscariot’.


26 April 2009

‘Song of the Slain’ for soprano and piano, composed by Douglas DaSilva, performed at Jan Hus Church, 351 East 74th Street, New York by Angela Scherrar (soprano) and Alexandra Frederick (piano) as part of the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice concert series.


15 March 2011

As part of the renovation of the churchyard of St. John the Baptist, Southend, Buchanan’s grave is restored and a new bust of Buchanan (sculpted by Lisa Hawker) is unveiled.


8 June 2015

How to Be Bohemian with Victoria Coren Mitchell is broadcast on BBC4 and includes an extract from The Fleshly School of Poetry.


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Harriett Jay


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