Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Barsetshire

Barsetshire is located somewhere in southern England, south-west of London, north of Portsmouth and east of Stonehenge - but not really, seeing as it is actually a fictional county created by Anthony Trollope. Several later writers also set their novels in Barsetshire, including Angella Thirkell. In addition, in the original St. Trinian's movies, the school was located in Barchester.

My interest in the county comes from the relatively recent "Very British Civil War" craze - or the "Third English Civil War." Over the years several artists have made some rather good maps of the area, and one of these I am misappropriating for my "Very British Civil War" games.

What is the Very British Civil War, or VBCW? See here.

Eh, Wot! Wot?!

The intent is to divvy up the stately homes and manors between Royalists, Libertarians, Anglican League supporters and Fascists. Going by the names of the various towns (Winter Overcotes, Worsted, etc) there is a strong contingent of woolen mills and garment manufacturers whose factories workers will fill the ranks of the Communists and Trade Unions. There is at least one school shown which could have a unit of cadets. Then there are the Anarchists!

The naming of the main watercourse - the River - brings a nice little bit of overlap with "Wind in the Willows", which is perfect as Mutton Chop Miniatures now has a line of quirky character types and ne'er-do-wells inspired by the characters in that novel; for example: the "Windy Chaps", representing Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole, and the "Weasley Wretches", representing the weasels, in the form of a gang of smugglers and brigands.

Angella Thirkell's novels appear to be set around the same general time and there seems to be a good bunch of online reference material. I am hoping to borrow names and minor details from these online sources to help flesh out the county. I can always modify the bits I don't like and throw in characters from other sources - such as the Mutton Chop lads mentioned above!

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