The Magdala Trilogy by Peter Longley


Horticulturist, Theologian, Author and Lecturer

Peter Longley was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 4th, 1944. His family, however, are not Scottish, but from Kent in England, where they have lived in the Cranbrook area since the Sixteenth Century. Peter spent his childhood in Kent, and was educated privately at the prestigious Tonbridge School, where history was his major subject. In 1963, he won a place at St. Catherine's College, Cambridge University, from whence he graduated with an honors Masters degree in Theology. In between, he had time to study fine art at Tunbridge Wells School of Art and join the American family of William Diaz-Albertini as a private tutor. This latter appointment took him to Ireland, which became important in the formative years of his professional life.

Peter had intended a career as a priest in the Church of England, but found himself drawn to Ireland where he accepted a position as a licensed Lay Reader and Preacher in the Anglican Church. Professionally, he became the Estate Manager of William Diaz-Albertini's Irish estate, Tullamaine Castle in County Tipperary, from 1967 to 1977. Here, he was responsible for the management of the household, plus a considerable enterprise consisting of two hundred and sixty five acres in mixed farming, and the design and maintenance of nearly twenty-five acres of gardens and grounds. He continued his voluntary work with the Church of Ireland, where he was a member of the General Synod, became in 1974, Acting Dean of Cashel Cathedral, and received training in Television and Radio communications for religious broadcasting. In Ireland, Peter had the opportunity to exhibit his paintings and began to sell. He paints in a variety of different media and was encouraged by William Diaz-Albertini, himself a noted painter.

From 1977 until 2000, Peter lived mostly in Georgia. At first, he lived on Sea Island and in later years moved to St. Simons Island. In 1978, he went to sea as Ship's Artist on the Swedish America liner Kungsholm. There, he was responsible for all the posters, port signs, stage sets and photographer's sets. Once at sea, he moved into the Social Staff area, and from 1978 to 1988 was on the Cruise Staff of Royal Viking Line, becoming Cruise Director of the Royal Viking Star in January 1984 and the Royal Viking Sea in 1986. He left Royal Viking Line to take up the position of Cruise Director on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1988. In the same year, he also worked for Sun Line as Cruise Director on board the Stella Solaris. With Cunard, he was Cruise Director of both the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Vistafjord and in 1997 and 1998 he served as World Cruise Port Lecturer, speaking on the Geography, Culture, Art, History, Philosophy, and all aspects of Queen Elizabeth 2's ports of call. Peter made seventeen full World Cruises.

In 1988, Peter embarked on a major project writing an epic novel in three volumes set in the First Century—The Magdala Trilogy. The first two books A Star's Legacy and Beyond the Olive Grove were published in 2009 (iUniverse). They had been preceded in 1996 by Two Thousand Years Later (Hovenden Press), a novel set on a World Cruise, but which has an innovative and interesting link with The Magdala Trilogy. Early in 1998, he completed an autobiography that explains his spiritual journey—A Vision of an Empty Cross. His novel Love is where your Rosemary Grows was published in 2003 (iUniverse) winning their Editor's Choice award. This latter novel is about serendipity and involves the reader in the relationship between its hero, a garden, and a cancer patient. In 2002, Peter wrote a non-fiction, but anecdotal, record of the changes in the cruise industry during his twenty-five years at sea—Twenty-five Years before the Mast. In 2009, he completed Forsythia—a family biography modeled on John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga. The remaining book of The Magdala Trilogy, The Mist of God, will be published in 2010. In 1993, Peter married international solo flautist Bettine Clemen. They both traveled extensively all over the world, and at first made their home in Minnetonka, Minnesota as well as in Georgia. In Minnesota, Peter teamed up with horticulturist, Steve Ruce at Heliotrope Gardens, working for him while researching horticultural information for Love is Where Your Rosemary Grows. Since Peter retired from cruise ships, he has made Missouri his home. He had lived in Ladue, a suburb of St. Louis, briefly in 1979, at which time he restored a magnificent garden. He and Bettine, now divorced, created a retreat center outside Seymour, the home and gardens having been the subject of articles in the News Leader and 417 Magazine. In 2003, he was elected onto the board of Friends of the Garden, Springfield's Botanical Center, and commissioned to design an English Garden at Close Memorial Park, Springfield. From 2005-2008, he was a Salesman, Specialist Presenter and Manager with Wyndham Vacation Resorts in Branson, Missouri. He works for Friends of the Garden at Close Memorial Park and in 2010 was appointed Horticultural Interpreter for the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and complex at Nathanael Greene and Close Memorial Park, Springfield.



Comprehensive Biography


Peter Hovenden Longley Esq. MA (Cantab)

Born in Scotland in 1944. Educated privately in England at Tonbridge School, Tunbridge Wells School of Art, and St. Catherine's College, Cambridge, where in 1966 he graduated with honors in Theology. Private tutor in Ireland 1962 and 1966. Kibbutznik on community farms in Israel in 1965. Estate Manager of Tullamaine Castle, Co. Tipperary, Ireland from 1967-1977. Licensed Lay Reader and Preacher in the Church of Ireland 1966-77. Member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland 1969-77 and Acting Dean of Cashel Cathedral 1974. Involved in religious broadcasting for Radio Telefis Eireann in the 1970's. Moved to Sea Island, Georgia, U.S.A. in 1977. Joined the Kungsholm as Ship's Artist in 1978. Cruise Director with Royal Viking Line and Cunard Line in 1980's and Cruise Director of Queen Elizabeth 2 1989-1995. World Cruise Port Lecturer QE2 1996-1998. Appointed Life Enhancement Lecturer in 1999 for Princess Cruises 2000 and Holland America Line 2002. Author of the three-volume novel The Magdala Trilogy (Volume One A Star's Legacy (iUniverse 2009) and Volume Two Beyond the Olive Grove (iUniverse 2009) will be joined by Volume Three The Mist of God in 2010), Love is where your Rosemary Grows (iUniverse 2003) and Two Thousand Years Later published by the Hovenden Press in 1996 (Second Edition 1997). Author of the Spiritual Autobiography A Vision of an Empty Cross and the anecdotal cruise documentary Twenty-Five Years before the Mast along with sundry theological, spiritual, historical and political articles. A recognized speaker on numerous topics from Theology and Spirituality to History, Horticulture, Travel, Art, and Creative Writing. A Landscape Design Consultant and Interior Decorator and from 2005 to 2008 a Sales Representative and Specialist Presenter with Fairfield Resorts (now Wyndham), Branson, Missouri. Married in 1993 to celebrated solo flutist Bettine Clemen, but divorced in 2005. A Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Barber Surgeons, City of London, England since 1965 and with the freedom of that city. Also a founder member of the Worshipful Company of Freeman of the City of London in North America. Now, resident in the United States in Springfield, Missouri, he has been accepted for a possible future position as an adjunct teacher in History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Drury University, Springfield, Missouri and was on the board of the Friends of the Garden at Nathaniel Greene and Close Memorial Parks where he was commissioned to design an English Garden. Currently he works for Friends of the Garden. Hobbies and interests include dancing, horseback riding, horticulture and landscaping, history, art, philosophy, spirituality, and travel.