Roger Lancelyn Green

In September 2017, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. Though a young church, we are part of a much longer Christian history in the area that goes back to Norman times through our links to St Andrew’s Church in Bebington and the Lancelyn Green family of Poulton Hall.

He was educated at Liverpool College and Merton College, Oxford, where he entered the world of amateur theatricals, and acted for the Oxford University Dramatic Society. While at University, he met June Burdett, whom he later married. After Oxford, Roger Lancelyn Green went to London, where he played on both the legitimate stage (including a part in Peter Pan) and in pantomime.
After the death of his father, Major Herbert Lancelyn-Green MC, Roger moved into Poulton Hall, where he set to work writing volume after volume, on the Classics, on A.E.W Mason, Mrs. Molesworth, Stanley Weyman, J. M. Barrie, C. S. Lewis, and his special favourites, Rudyard Kipling and Lewis Carroll.

Poulton Hall gradually became a focal point for friends of the Greens: Neville Coghill came, as did C. S. Lewis, with whom Roger Lancelyn Green shared a love of Greece, and stage personalities, too, including Harry Andrews, Tommy Trinder and Joyce Redman.

The theatre remained a dominant force in Green’s life. Poulton Hall, inside, outside, and sometimes both, was, turned into a theatrical stage set. Among the productions that were staged was a remarkable Midsummer Night’s Dream on the front lawn that used real horses and flights of doves. Both he and his wife played parts in it. There was also a magnificent  production of Through the Looking-Glass, where the audience sat in a carousel that, thanks to the sinews of dozens of Boy Scouts, was pushed on its axle to allow the seated audience to revolve from scene to scene.

None of these community efforts diminished Green’s literary output. From his pen poured forth biographies, critical studies, short stories, books of poetry, edited texts, translations of the Classics, and anthologies. For 23 years he edited the quarterly Kipling Journal. His reputation as a scholar acquired new force with his two-volume edition of Lewis Carroll’s diaries and his revision of The Lewis Carroll Handbook, even as he achieved considerable popular renown by his retelling of Greek and Norse myths and Arthurian legends. His Tellers of Tales, essays on children’s authors since 1800, has gone into numerous editions and is a classic blend of scholarship and popular writing.

Those who knew him described him as generous to a fault. His gift of Poulton Hey to the church is just one example of that generosity, and one for which we will forever be grateful.