Clive Tolley MA, PGCE, D.Phil.

Research, Editing, Translation


For paid work, I undertake editorial work for publishers and private clients, and have my own company for this purpose (Word and Page). One of my main clients has been Boydell & Brewer. I work in the areas of linguistics, and classical and medieval languages, literature, and history. My specialist fields are Old English, Old Norse, Finnish, along with Latin and Greek. Translation from these languages is offered, and editorial work involving these and other languages. Work is carried out on computer, using mainly Microsoft Word and Adobe CS Suite.

Go to work page.


I am also an academic researcher in the fields of Old English, Old Norse, and Finnish literature and mythology. I received my doctorate from Oxford University in 1993 on ‘A Comparative Study of Some Germanic and Finnic Myths’, and have published a number of articles in academic journals on these topics. (Please note: my thesis is superseded by the major work on shamanism listed below - please read this instead.)

I am assisting Ursula Dronke in her monumental edition of the Old Norse Poetic Edda, in particular with the editing of the mythological poems. 

I frequently visit Finland for research and lecturing, the most recent extended stay being at the Kalevala Institute in Turku (2003-4). A diary of a trip to Jokkmokk in Lapland, Jan 2007.

My latest publication is a major work in two volumes, Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic (Folklore Fellows' Communications). Click here for details.

I have also just had published my edition of the Old Norse poem Grottasöngr (Viking Society for Northern Research).

Along with Osmo Pekonen, I have translated and edited Beowulf into Finnish, and more recently Widsith (2004) and (with Jonathan Himes) Waldere (2005).

    Beowulf: Suomennos, johdanto ja selitykset

    Osmo Pekonen ja Clive Tolley

    Werner Söderström Oy, Porvoo 1999

    ISBN 951-0-22432-4


    A reprint is due Nov. 2007 (2000 copies only – don't miss it).

    View map (designed and drawn by me for this edition).

    Read text of first fitt.


I have recently translated, contributed to, edited, and typeset Juha Pentikäinen's Golden King of the Forest: The Lore of the Northern Bear, Etnika, 2007.

ISBN 978-951-97889-7-5

This book presents the bear, the divine being who descends from heaven and begets the forefather of the clan, as he appears in the myth and folk
tradition of the northern world of Finland and its neighbouring lands. It describes how, though a god, the bear was ritually hunted; his body was
then reverently buried, while his skull was hung upon a sacred pine tree, symbolising his ascent back to his heavenly home. The ancient Finnish
poems, set down in writing from the seventeenth century on, are examined and presented in both Finnish and English translation, and the continuing
significance of the bear within Finnish culture up to the present day is put before the reader.

A limited number of copies of Golden King of the Forest and Shamanism and Culture (also by Juha Pentikäinen, not translated by me) are available for £23.50, incl. postage to UK addresses.







Article on Oswald's tree, published in Pagans and Christians, ed. T. Hofstra et al. 1995.

Article on the Golden Hall scene from Lord of the Rings

Guide to the day-name myths in the fireplace relief, Pownall Hall.


Music (especially early music) is my other great interest. I sing in the Renaissance Music Group in Liverpool, and am editing a collection of the music we sing; I am also an active member of the North West Early Music Forum (currently secretary). I play the treble viol and the baroque violin (neither of them at an outstanding level, but it is fun). I have a diploma in music from the Open University. I am also interested in Russian chant.

Work with children

I run a weekly history club on Vikings and Anglo-Saxons for years 5–6 (age 9–11) at a local girls' school in Chester. This can prove great fun! (I in fact have a teaching qualification.)


For photos, click on the door below:

Family history page

Contact me