The Knotsman by Math JonesThe Knotsman by Math Jones

The Knotsman

byMath Jones

Paperback | April 11, 2019

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The Knotsman does not exist, you will not find him in history books or collections of ‘bygone’ skills. But Math Jones has created him, and his fellows, in a time very like the English Civil War.
There he is, going from house to house, village to village, poem to poem, battlefield to gallows, unravelling knots and problems, physical, emotional and psychological; a new kind of cunning man, not always welcome, not always quite as clever as his fingers and picks would have him believe.

No one knows what the knotty man knows – or no one knew – here knots of love, domesticity and death, children’s rhymes, deep poems, songs and snatches created by Math Jones build folklore around a character so wholly believable he will surely become entwined in our host of  otherworldly creatures. The Knotsman has secured a place in my imagination and this is a volume I will turn to time and time again to help me unravel the important questions.

Dr Fay Hield

Math Jones is a natural at merging poetry with engaging narrative and syntax. Despite a 17th century setting about poems focusing on a cunning protagonist, (a Knotsman with an alchemy for untying various knots) these also to me represented a modern allegorical critique on an unravelling political world we inhabit today. With a finesse in his rhyme and a beat to his controlled and structured poems this is a consistently good read where each poem is well crafted with the same discipline of the character which the poems represent.

Anthony Owen


The mysterious Knotsman travels far and wide, unhitching and unravelling, rewriting vows and improving lives. He is so convincing that you almost want to look him up – is this a recently discovered manuscript, a Chaucerian character that has slipped our notice? None of these. In his “mess of superstitions” Math Jones has created a distant, mystical world where strings speak, knots stand in for relationships and the centuries fall away. One to read aloud by a log fire.

Kathy Gee


Math Jones was born, and currently lives, in London, but lived in Worcester for many years. A pagan in the Old English and Norse tradition, he often writes poetry on the stories and in the metres of that tradition. He also writes more usual verses, performing throughout the Midlands and London. A bookseller for many years, he retrained...
Title:The KnotsmanFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:114 pages, 7.81 × 5.06 × 0.24 inShipping dimensions:7.81 × 5.06 × 0.24 inPublished:April 11, 2019Publisher:Arachne PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1909208736

ISBN - 13:9781909208735


Table of Contents

The Last Knotsman
A True Historie of the Last Knotsman
The Knotsman’s Apprentice
The Knotsman
The Knotsman’s Defence
The Slipped-Knot
‘I’d ne’er deny the Knotsman, though he tied the rope hi’self’  
‘My Mourning-Knot is Lost.’ (or, The Knotsman’s Farewell.)   
Love Knot  
The Foundling   
‘The Route the Trouble Takes’
The slayed-knot
The Spur
The Prize Picker (or, A Knotsman’s Recollections of the War)
The Black Thread
Four Failures
His Master Freed
‘I owe tha’ Mother Lichgate ha’f a shillin’’

Loose Threads
The First Knotsman?
The Undoer of Knots
The Chirurgeons
The Poor Knot Amongst the Rich
The Hill-Diggers
The Bag of Ribbons
The Weaver Wife
The Scholar in his Cups
Scrawl (Calling on Mr E.)
The Poetess
The Sailor
The Puritan
Knot Love
The Knotsman at Rest
The Betrothal Rope
The Drop
Mr Swarthye
A Man called ’Win
The Hanged Man
The Knot Never Tied