The Roots Of Heritage
by Mary Essberger


The writing of a book is seldom completely the sole effort of the author. Behind him stand a host of those who have helped and encouraged, criticised and cajoled – those who have done, often, more than the author to ensure that the completed work finally sees the light of day.

For most of this it is impossible to make any full acknowledgement, although the debt is great. But inevitably some names come especially to mind, demanding and deserving the author’s special thanks.

Firstly I remember and thank the Reverend Canon J Stafford Wright, whose friendship and interest has always spurred on my fascination in early Christianity in Britain, and who has encouraged me to write about it (and other subjects which I have not yet got round to – mea culpa).

For the same insistent (indeed, one could say, persistent) encouragement, I owe a great debt also to my friends Walter and Lis de M Seaman who have always shared by enthusiasm for this subject.

I regret that it is too late now for the former Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Walter Matthews, to know that I did, finally, commit to paper the ideas we often discussed about Robert Parson’s book ‘The Three Conversions of England’, and which he suggested would be worth following up in book form. Too late indeed for him to read this book, but memory and love acknowledge how much I owe to our talks and correspondence on the matter.

Also there is an inestimable debt of gratitude, which again can never now be fully repaid, due to the late Professor E G Bowen, Professor Emeritus of Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University, for the readiness with which he read the script as it was written, checking on accuracy, commenting on historicity and literary style, and generally making available to me his own vast knowledge in this field. It is a real grief to me that he died before the Addendum, in which he was greatly interested, was fully completed.

Amongst others who also encouraged me to seek publication I must offer my very warm thanks to the reverend Canon E H Wade and John Gouriet. I also want to acknowledge the great help given me by my son, Stephen Essberger, as regards editing and presentation of the original manuscript before it was ready to face the scrutiny of a publisher. But for that, I suspect any publisher would have wilted visibly at the sight of it and refused to give it even a first reading. I also place on record the ever-ready and generous help of the Staff of the University Library in Cambridge, for which I can never be sufficiently thankful since, confined to a wheelchair, every book large or small had to be traced up, sought out and brought to me over a period of many months – always with the greatest willingness and cheerfulness.

Finally may I express my sincerest gratitude to the Right Honourable Viscount Tonypandy who, at Canon Wade’s request, kindly consented to read the manuscript. That he then found in of sufficient interest to write a Foreword was a real joy to me, since from both his Celtic and his Christian backgrounds I realised that he would not have been prepared to do so unless he sincerely and fervently supported its content.

Mary Essberger