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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:07 am

The enigmatic Thomas Colpeper.

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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:09 am

Thomas Colpeper is the magistrate of the village of Chillingbourne. Right from the start, Colpeper makes it clear that Chillingbourne is his territory where he orders that all visitors must report to the Town Hall. Even though it was a time of war, his behaviour went way beyond emergency powers. Colpeper is a self proclaimed "moral defender of Chillingbourne" treating the people of the village as if they were his subjects. He is fascinated with local history even defending "Pouring knowledge into peoples' heads, by force, if necessary!" However, Colpeper's invitations to his lectures are not extended to the women of the village. As the Glue Man, he is the terror of the night, attacking any woman who dares to date the soldiers who would otherwise attend his lectures. To Colpeper, pouring glue on a woman's hair is a form of humiliation, a way of marking her body, and a warning to other women who ignore his standards.

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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:10 am

When Alison, Peter, and Bob arrive by train in Chillingbourne, acting Station Master Duckett tells them it is Colpeper's orders that "No young lady must go alone at night." One would think Duckett would have briefly explained the reason behind Colpeper's orders considering there had been ten reported glue attacks on women, instead of leaving the trio literally in the dark. As it was, if Alison didn't have a military escort she would not have had a sticky encounter with the mysterious Glue Man. So Colpeper attacked Alison, even though in reality, she wasn't dating any of the two soldiers escorting her.

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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:12 am

Colpeper's anxieties and authoritarian behaviour reflect the uncertainties that fuelled the rise of dictatorships in Europe in the 1930's. His ardent engagement with Kent heritage can be understood as in part a response to the social, agricultural, and political changes of the 20th century, and especially the "earthquake" caused by World War Two. How deeply unsettled he has been is confirmed by his irrational response as the Glue Man. Perhaps Colpeper really wanted women to be caught and punished with glue. It would give him a much needed sense of control to have done his "duty" in protecting the village from scandalous females. But many people would view Colpeper as just an ugly misogynist as seen by his reaction to Alison and her gender soon after her arrival in Chillingbourne:

#1. He pours glue on her hair.

#2. He tells Bob that the Ducking Stool is very sensibly used to silence talkative women.

#3. He refuses to hire her because she is a female.


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Appropriately, Colpeper's assumptions are challenged by a woman, Alison!
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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:13 am

Colpeper wants to use a variety of methods to punish women.

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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:14 am

Alison's later admiration for Colpeper was because of his love for the natural world.

"If ever a man looked right, he did."

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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:15 am

Even an austere man like Colpeper can have a change of heart as can be seen in his affection for Alison which began when she attended one of his lectures. Upon her arrival at the institute, she received the predictable wolf whistles from the soldiers, but even that didn't bother Colpeper. During the lecture he was impressed by her knowledge of the Pilgrims Road. Alison did not tell him that the geologist who had unearthed the old coins was in fact her lover, Geoffrey. The look on Colpeper's face clearly showed his delight when Alison said she would donate the coins to his institute. Later, Alison spots Colpeper on the hill telling him of sounds she claims to have heard of the old pilgrims. Her ability to "travel through time" convinces Colpeper that she is in tune with history and shares his love for the countryside. In a major change of heart toward a woman, Colpeper invites Alison to sit beside him. There is a hint of romantic chemistry between Colpeper and Alison as he apologizes for being very mistaken about her. Then Alison replies by saying she was mistaken about him, too. When Alison mentions that her "dead" boyfriend loved the hill so much, Colpeper immediately tells her that he also loves it and then asks her if she was engaged. Notice when Alison leans lower into the grass her hair is so close to Colpeper's face that his expression changes to one of guilt (see photo) for pouring glue onto the hair of such a nature loving girl. The next day, when Alison is in Canterbury, she walks to Rose Lane Garage. While she is there, Colpeper unexpectedly makes an appearance. When the owner of the garage tells Alison that Geoffrey is still alive, she almost faints. Upon hearing the news that Geoffrey hadn't been killed, Colpeper disappears knowing he has lost any chance he had with Alison. In the final cathedral scene, there is a poignant moment when Alison passes by Colpeper whose facial expression clearly indicates his sorrow.

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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:16 am

Colpeper's devotion to history and his obsession with Chaucer's Pilgrims Road leads him to think he can commune with the medieval Thomas Becket as can be seen when he says to Alison on the hill, "Pilgrims to Canterbury often receive blessings." Alison asks, "Do you think even a visit to the Agricultural Committee could be the instrument of a blessing?" Colpeper replies, "Who knows, if not I might have a word with him." Alison immediately gives Colpeper a dumbfounded look in reaction to his extraordinary answer.

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Many respected historians, impressed by the legal and administrative reforms of Henry II, have seen Thomas Becket as an ambitious and fanatical nuisance. If Henry made private and political miscalculations, Becket can rightly be accused of worldly behaviour, ostentation, impetuosity, and violent language. Sadly, hundreds of "miracles" have been wrongly attributed to Becket who obviously can't help anyone.
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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:17 am

If ever Colpeper did find the girl of his dreams, he would expect his wife to have a similar personality to his mother. Also, he would have been too busy to attend to his wife as can be seen by his active life:

MAGISTRATE

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE

GENTLEMAN FARMER

HOME GUARD

FIRE GUARD

LECTURER

GLUE MAKER


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Post  English Knight on Thu 09 Aug 2018, 12:18 am

Colpeper behaves as if he is the Sheriff of Chillingbourne who is allowed to use any method he deems fit to preserve England's heritage and stop moral decay. However, despite Colpeper's passionate lectures, his conduct as the Glue Man actually works against England's interest. He is so preoccupied with regulating village behaviour during his night time assaults against women that he lets a light shine through the Town Hall window in a potentially fatal violation of blackout regulations. "Very careless of me. We take our blackouts seriously in East Kent," he declares to Bob. Even though Colpeper is a member of the Home Guard, he doesn't protect the citizens of Chillingbourne, but instead he undermines the security of his homeland by exposing it to enemy attack. Despite having the right motives, Colpeper's transformation into the Glue Man actually contradicts his own teachings regarding the preservation of England with its rich cultural history and beautiful countryside. After being exposed as the Glue Man, Colpeper is remorseful for his silly behaviour and decides to allow the women of the village to hear his lectures. And who knows, he could have eventually found himself a nature loving wife among all those female attendees.

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