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As an Author

"The Story of Royal Eltham" was first drawn up as a series of lessons for his older pupils, was then serialized in the local paper over two years and finally published for 5/per 348-page profusely-illustrated copy, in 1909. It is "a loving study of the place where he lived" and "no undertaking has been more fortunate or more timely" for there were rapid changes in Eltham in the succeeding decades and "The Story of Royal Eltham" captured the essence of its rural past before its imminent smothering in suburban modernity.

As a writer, Mr Gregory was fascinated by words and retained to the end of his life an ability to play with them and enjoy their sounds and meanings. He wrote in a "fair round hand" and, when he wrote of Eltham, "his love was so warm that his writing reached real literary distinction". He had served a long self-disciplined apprenticeship before publishing "The Story of Royal Eltham". For the North Cadbury Local Operatic Society in the 1880's he wrote musical cornedies. At Castle Cary he contributed to the popular monthly magazine "The Castle Cary Visitor", chatty historical pieces and poems in dialect like "Ef I wur King O'Zummerset". Items published on Football and on Cycling over the pen-names Free Kick and Old Crock, are suspiciously similar in style. While in Eltham he edited the Somerset Year Book. Also in Eltham, over the pseudonym "John Quill", he wrote a weekly column in the "Eltham and District Times" from 1904 to 1927, excluding the years of the First World War. The title of the contributions was "Olla Podrida", which is Spanish for a mixed-pie. The author himself recommended the reading of it as a "palliative for the nerves after a day's work, read weekly. I have faith myself and, as a friend, recommend it to them." This unbroken weekly output earned him the title of "one of Eltham's most devoted citizens."

In his historical writing he had a ready eye for the colourful and romantic aspects likely to appeal to children and a wide public. Mr Gregory frequently comments on authenticity and imagination. He was aware of the dangers.

"There are no three things in the wide wide world more likely to excite the imagination of the credulous and to induce them to tell lies than Nell Gwynn, King John and an Underground Passage" . . . .
"It takes a thunderbolt to impress the imagination of some Englishmen" ...
"We take our history seriously here. Very!. Particularly Palace history."

For children in school he wrote "Lessons in Country Life" (1903), "Junior Country Readers" (1904), and edited "The Ludgate School Books". "Yarns from a Captain's Log" (1912) was more recreational.

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