A Warning to the Curious
Saturday 29th September
We are delighted to welcome Robert Lloyd Parry to Great War Huts for an evening of spine chilling ghost stories by author M R James.
M R James grew up in Great Livermere, about 5 miles from Bury St Edmunds, and knew the town very well. As a medievalist and archaeologist he was fascinated with the history of the Abbey, particularly its library. In 1903 he was responsible for the location and excavation of the tombs of several medieval abbots.
Over a century after they were first published, the ghost stories of M R James
retain their power to terrify and amuse. This gripping one man show retells two of
Lost Hearts was among the first stories the author wrote and it offers one of his
most memorable villains, the predatory scholar Mr Abney. It is paired here with
perhaps James’s most poignant and personal work: A Warning to the Curious, in
which a young archaeologist is haunted and hunted by the guardian of an ancient
treasure. It was published in 1925 and is set in Aldeburgh and talks of a folk belief (probably invented by James) that three buried Anglo Saxon crowns protect the east coast of England from enemy invasion, and have done for centuries.
The Great War is mentioned indirectly (it is said that the buried crowns prevented "the Germans landing and killing man, woman and child in their beds"), but the theme of defence of the realm and a sense of anxiety about invasion pervade the story. The bleak ending reflects the sense of loss that M R James felt and was called upon to memorialise after the war.
The families or next-of-kin of every serviceman and woman who were killed or died during the Great War received a bronze death plaque and a printed memorial scroll. The wording upon the scrolls was written, with a few small amendments, by M R James. We will have examples of the scroll on display before the performance.
Further information can be found about Robert Lloyd Parry here.