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Oswald the Runemaker - a short biography


 Oswald the Runemaker was started in 1994 when I was made redundant after many years in the tourism industry and then quality management. I am more-or-less retired now but I continue the Runemaker websites, provide artwork and transcription services to keep my aging brain active and for pocket money. Life at 70 is more fun if you can put gas in the tank, go to the movies occasionally,  or drink a beer now and again.

But back then, while waiting for "real" work, I indulged my personal interests and made some stuff for my own use.

Friends and relatives saw what I was doing, and I soon started getting orders. Realizing there might be a market for all things runic, I started taking bits and pieces to craft fairs along with the Celtic craftwork, wooden toys and games that I was making and selling here in England at that time. I was surprised at the level of interest in the rune wares and flattered people wanted to buy my products.

I used to supply rune goods to a number of dealers such as Jonathan Cainer of York and Occultique of Northampton who were selling my work to their own customers. Another wonderful dealer - Snapdragon of Sevenoaks - got my rune sets featured in Ure Geller's Encounters magazine in 1996. As a result of this publicity, an appearance on American TV, and some articles published in the widely read Traditions journal I started receiving orders from dozens of countries all over the world.

Oswald the Runemaker first appeared on the www in 1997 and is now basically a one-man retirement hobby run from my home in Buckinghamshire, England and financed from private resources. It combines three of my lifelong interests - the runes, woodwork, and ancient decorative art.

jpeg image: bewcastle monument

I first got interested in the runes after seeing the Bewcastle monument as a young teenager.

My father was a Geordie (i.e. a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north of England), a brilliant mathematician and engineer, and he knew everything! Well, I thought he did!

But when I spotted this monument in a Cumbrian churchyard and asked him what the writing on it was, he was stumped. This made such a big impression on me, I determined there and then to learn all about the strange angular symbols that were unknown to the great and wise Tom Oswald.

And so, for more than half a century I have searched, prodded and squirreled away every piece of runic knowledge that has come my way. I started with runology - the archaeological study of runes and their application purely from the historical point of view, and then moved on to read the mystic writings.

Here, I found that much of the published work on the mystic use of runes is supposition, inspiration, and downright guesswork. Whilst the early Germanic and Norse runes are well covered, not so much had been written about the Anglo-Saxon  (or Anglo-Friesian) runes. I therefore carried out my own research to establish an authentic appraisal of these that would accurately reflect their mystic use when they first arrived in Britain. The goods that I used to make which are described in the Rune Products retrospective pages were the result.

Finally, to answer the questions I am most frequently asked: I am experienced in all aspects of the runes and used to call myself  'runemaster' until that word became so over-used as it is today; now I'm simply The Runemaker. I am an Anglo-Saxon by descent; and my last name really is Oswald which means "the power of Odin" in the old Anglo-Saxon tongue. But most people just call me Bob and I have to say I do prefer that, it's more personal.

There is another bio page on my author website at www.boboswald.com related specifically to my writings which gives some more information about my life and career.



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