29th May, 2018

Woolly Wolstenholme (& Maestoso) Box Set

Woolly Wolstenholme (and Maestoso) Strange Worlds box set

We're very proud to present a new 7CD box set containing all of the Woolly Wolstenholme and Maestoso albums from 1980's Maestoso to 2007's Caterwauling, plus a bonus disc of over an hour's worth of rare and previously unreleased recordings.

All of the albums are presented in miniature card sleeves with the original artwork, and the bonus disc contains 20 pieces, ranging from two finished recordings which appeared only on the Uneasy Listening compilation, to previously unheard songs and instrumentals in various states of completion, many of which might well have appeared on a new Maestoso release or a John Lees' Barclay James Harvest album, had Woolly not been tragically taken from us. The set comes with a 20-page full-colour booklet including a comprehensive history, and is housed in a sturdy clamshell box.

All copies pre-ordered from us will also come with an archive photo or postcard.

Strange Worlds will be released by Esoteric Recordings on July 27th, 2018, and full tracklistings and pre-ordering information can be found at our secure online shop.

20th July, 2014

2014 Woolly Wolstenholme Award Winner

Presentation of the 2014 Woolly Wolstenholme Award to Amy Bennett

The 2014 Woolly Wolstenholme Award for Commitment to Excellence, presented annually by the Higher Education part of The School of Society, Health and Childhood at the University Centre of The Blackpool and The Fylde College, has this year been won by Amy Bennett.

Amy engaged with the Illuminator Project, an initiative to encourage young people to read books, and took part in visits to the children's wards at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, sharing stories with children of all ages. Amy provided a large variety of books for a range of children across the Illuminator Project, above and beyond that expected of any individual.

Amy is pictured here receiving the award from Curriculum Leader Jonathan Ratcliffe.

28th April, 2014

The Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Bench

The Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Bench

On what would have been his 67th birthday, 15th April, 2014 a bench was "unveiled" in memory of Woolly, in the beautiful surroundings of Dovestones Reservoir, Saddleworth - a place which Woolly knew and loved, and can be seen on the 1977 documentary film, Caught Live.

The bench was commissioned by Woolly's long-time partner, Sue, and is carved with the words "Alphin and Alderman look on" and a metal plaque reading, "In loving memory of Woolly Wolstenholme 1947 - 2010".

The Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Bench

Amongst the friends and family in attendance were members of both John Lees' Barclay James Harvest and Mæstoso. It's a fitting place for a memorial to Woolly, with stunning views of the imposing Alphin and Alderman hills, immortalised in Woolly's "Sunday Bells", and the whole area is now part of a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which is open to the public. For information on how to get there, plus more photos, please visit the new page dedicated to the memorial bench on this site.

The Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Bench

16th July, 2013

The Woolly Wolstenholme Award, 2013

Presentation of the 2013 Woolly Wolstenholme Award

The 2013 Woolly Wolstenholme Award for Commitment to Excellence, presented annually by the Higher Education part of The School of Society, Health and Childhood at the University Centre of The Blackpool and The Fylde College, has this year been won by Sophie Whitworth.

Sophie, pictured above centre, was presented with the award by Chris Powell, Head of the Palatine School (left), and Bev Robinson, Principal of Blackpool and The Fylde College (right). Sophie was nominated for the WW Award for her commitment, enthusiasm and input to the" Illuminators" project, set up to facilitate access to books and developing positive attitudes to reading amongst children and young people. Sophie pushed the initiative forward, supported Deb Hewitt, the project originator, to develop links with schools in Blackpool, read to children in hospital who had missed out when the "Illuminators" visited schools, and was a key player in a project fundraising event.

16th July, 2013

Steve Broomhead and North Story Debut CD

north story CD EP

The long-awaited first release from north story, the new band formed by ex-Mæstoso lead guitarist and songwriter Steve Broomhead with Stephen Christopher (drums) and Chris Thompson (bass), will be released on August 1st.

The eponymous five-track CD EP comes in a standard jewel case, and clocks in at over twenty-three minutes of music.

The tracklisting is as follows:

  1. To the Moon
  2. Quiet Rain
  3. White Noise
  4. Contemplation
  5. After the Rain

The first fifty to pre-order through the link below will receive an exclusive signed copy of the CD:


15th November, 2012

Woolly Wolstenholme Charity Raffle

A painting of Woolly, commissioned by BJH fan Stuart Howard, was presented to John at the recent JLBJH concert in Bristol. Stuart also took along a very high quality Giclée Fine Art Print of the painting, which all of the band members signed on the night, and has very kindly donated this to be raffled by us, with all proceeds going to the Mental Health Foundation charity. The print measures approximately 59 x 42cm, and will be sent to the winner of the raffle rolled in a strong cardboard tube, ready for framing.

The raffle is open from now until six p.m. UK time on the closing date of Wednesday, December 12th, and tickets cost just £1.00 each, from the BJH web site Charity Raffle page, where you can also see a picture of the print.

2nd November, 2012

The Woolly Wolstenholme Award

The Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Award for Commitment to Excellence

Earlier this year, a long-time BJH fan and personal friend, Peter Brooks, contacted us with the idea of remembering Woolly by presenting an annual award in his name as a prize for a student at the college where Peter teaches, The Blackpool and Fylde College in Lancashire. Woolly's partner, Sue, kindly gave permission, and Peter set about organising the award and having an appropriate trophy made.

The result is the Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Award for Commitment to Excellence, to be presented annually to someone who has not only been outstanding in their studies but who has also supported fellow students and made a significant contribution to the community. The Award is presented by the Higher Education part of The School of Society, Health and Childhood at the University Centre of The Blackpool and The Fylde College. The college is an associate college of Lancaster University and awards its degrees through Lancaster. The University is currently ranked 9th in the UK and in the top 1% of the world!

Norbert Mate, recipient of the first Woolly Wolstenholme Memorial Award, pictured with his personal tutor, Peter Brooks

The first recipient of the award, for the 2011/12 academic year, was Norbert Mate, and was presented with it at the Blackpool and Fylde College Awards Evening on June 28th. Norbert (left) is pictured here with Peter Brooks, his personal tutor and the organiser of the award. Norbert also received a book token for £50.00.

More photos of the award and the presentation can be seen in the Photo Gallery.

13th December, 2011

One Year On

To remember Woolly on the first anniversary of his passing, we have some exclusive music from the archive to share with you. For a limited period only, you can download free tracks recorded live at a Maestoso concert in Vienna back in 1982. Five songs from this concert, where the band supported Saga, have been previously released on the remastered Maestoso and Black Box Recovered CDs, but now you can get the remaining seven songs from the band's set that night, including their versions of BJH classics "The Iron Maiden" and "In Search Of England". This is an audience recording, so not of professional sound quality, but pretty good nonetheless.

The songs can be downloaded from this Soundcloud page.

14th December, 2010

Woolly Wolstenholme

It is with profound sorrow that we have to announce the passing of Woolly Wolstenholme. In recent weeks Woolly's mental health had taken a turn for the worse and sadly he took his own life on Monday 13th December 2010. In this difficult time our thoughts are with Woolly's partner, Sue. We would ask all of Woolly's fans to remember his incredible contribution to popular music and his unique presence on stage.

4th August, 2010

On Tour with John Lees' Barclay James Harvest

Woolly will be appearing live with John Lees' Barclay James Harvest again this year. The band currently have three dates planned in England, as follows:

  • November 26: London Islington O2 Academy
  • November 27: Manchester Academy
  • November 28: York Grand Opera House

For more information and ticketing details, please see the John Lees' Barclay James Harvest web site.

4th September, 2009

Mandalaband Album Pre-Orders

More than thirty years after Mandalaband and The Eye Of Wendor were released in the 1970s, not one but two new Mandalaband albums are on the way. David Rohl returns to making music, together with original Mandalaband contributors Woolly Wolstenholme, Kim Turner and Sad Café guitarist Ashley Mulford. They are joined by Troy Donockley (Iona & the Bad Shepherds) on pipes, whistles and guitars, Jose Manuel Medina (Last Knight) on keyboards, Marc Atkinson (Gabriel & Riversea) on vocals, Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan, The Penguin Café Orchestra & the Murray Head band) on violin, viola, flute, clarinet & guitars, Craig Fletcher (JLBJH and Maestoso) on bass and Barbara & Briony Macanas on vocals.

The first of the new albums is entitled BC - Ancestors, and is scheduled for release on October 19th. The BJH web site will have an exclusive pre-sale of the CD, and we are expecting to be able to send our copies out ahead of the official release date. You can pre-order now through our secure shopping cart

You can also hear excerpts from the album (and the companion album AD - Sangreal, which is due out in Summer 2010) at

14th February, 2009

Uneasy Listening - The Best Of Woolly Wolstenholme and Maestoso

Coming soon: a 2CD "best of" including both Woolly's solo work and Maestoso material. Featuring the previously unreleased "Faith, Hope and Charity" and a new recording of "The Angelus", Uneasy Listening will be on general release from April 27th, or possibly earlier from ourselves or at the JLBJH live concert at Salford on Easter Sunday.

Uneasy Listening CD cover

CD One
1. Sail Away / 2. Patriots / 3. Maestoso 4. American Excess / 5. Prospect of Whitby 6. Lives on the Line / 7. Deceivers All / 8. Too Much, Too Loud, Too Late / 9. All Get Burned / 10. Has to Be a Reason / 11. The Will to Fly / 12. The Sunday Bells / 13. Open 14. Why Remain / 15. Bootham Park Elegy 16. Blood and Bones

CD Two
1. Souk / 2. One Drop in a Dry World / 2. A Waiting Game / 4. Carpet / 5. 2 AM / 6. Birds / 7. Through a Storm / 8. A Lark / 9. The Iceman Cometh / 10. Hebden Bridge 11. Loot / 12. Harp and Carp / 13. Faith, Hope and Charity (previously unreleased) / 14. Matilda Yarrow / 15. Soldier of Fortune / 16. The Angelus (previously unreleased version)

In stock now!

14th February, 2009

On Tour with John Lees' Barclay James Harvest

Woolly will be appearing live as part of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest this year. The current list of dates can be seen on the John Lees' Barclay James Harvest web site.

23rd December, 2008

A Royal Christmas Message

My loyal subjects,

Whilst usually at this time of year, members of the forum would be receiving their luxury hamper (Gentleman's relish, Chocolate Olivers, Stichelton, Fonseca '77 etc.), due to an over-leveraged failed CDO negative equity credit crunchy flat busted ongoing scenario, a message of hopeful optimism will have to suffice.

As one gathers with one's loving family around a roaring turkey in bauble-festooned sitting rooms, it is perhaps appropriate to spare a thought for those less fortunate. Unemployed estate agents, struggling car salesmen and executives of the major banks deserve a modicum of sympathy at this time.

A happy and peaceful Christmas to you all.

Her Imperial Majesty, Wilhelmina Walthamstow
The Gin Palace, London

29th June, 2008

Mandalaband III Progress Report

David Rohl has added lots of new tracks to the Mandalaband MySpace page now. None of them is finished yet - there are still a lot of lead vocals to do, plus all of Ashley Mulford's guitars, Kim Turner's percussion and Geoffrey Richardson's violas and sax solos. Amongst the pieces to be heard is a rough mix of a new piece by Woolly entitled "Nimrod".

The plan is to release not one but two new concept albums - the first is to be called BC - Ancestors and will cover "the heroic age of our ancient ancestral history (leading up to the birth of Christ)". The second album will be entitled AD - Sangreal and concerns itself with "the Romano-Spanish legends surrounding the Holy Grail (minus King Arthur)".

16th June, 2008

Woolly Contributes to New Mellotron Book

Desert Hearts' new book on the Mellotron featuring a wonderful interview with Woolly on life, the Mellotron and everything, is due to be published on September 1st, but special preview copies may be ordered now direct from Desert Hearts, and will be available from Monday July 14th. Orders can be placed through the Desert Hearts web site, or by post using this order form.

The 592-page hardback book includes twenty-plus interviews with classic exponents of the Mellotronic art including the Moody Blues, Strawbs, King Crimson, Yes and Genesis as well as later groups like Steve Hackett, XTC, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, IQ, the Flower Kings and the 21st Century Schizoid Band.

Watch out for details of the August "MelloFest" book launch, plus special guests.

26th February, 2008

Mandalaband Update from Woolly

The multi-talented genius that is Geoffrey Richardson is now, after 5 and a half notes on 'Nimrod', a fully paid-up member of the Mandalaband 3 musical entity. Indeed so much so that he is likely to be swanning off down to Casa Rohl and performing on viola/violin/flute on a few tracks. (Unfortunately not the electric spoons.)

...and they call this a 'job'!

10th December, 2007

Mandalaband III Update

WW and Craig F. are back after spending a week in Spain at Casa Rohl.

Things attended-to included Craig singing on 'Magdalena" and a few bass parts, whilst WW provided the basis for 'Nimrod' - though it's not anything to do with Elgar's chum.

This track will be worked on in the UK and have Kim T's drums and Steve B's guitar added.

David and Ditas fed them royally for the week, before preparing for a trip to Beirut and an editing job.

19th November, 2007


The brand new studio album from Woolly Wolstenholme's Maestoso, Caterwauling, was released on an unsuspecting public by Esoteric Recordings today. There's still time to get your exclusive bonus postcard autographed by all the band members, by ordering the CD through the Barclay James Harvest mail-order shop.

Caterwauling CD cover
  • Caterwauling
  • Soldier Of Fortune
  • The Road To Nowhere
  • Matilda Yarrow
  • The Collector
  • Closure
  • Always
  • I Don't Like You
  • Tonight Could Be The Night
  • Shoes
  • Strange Worlds
  • Quicksand
  • Blossom Hill

  • Pills

10th December, 2007

Mandalaband III Update

WW and Craig F. are back after spending a week in Spain at Casa Rohl.

Things attended-to included Craig singing on 'Magdalena" and a few bass parts, whilst WW provided the basis for 'Nimrod' - though it's not anything to do with Elgar's chum.

This track will be worked on in the UK and have Kim T's drums and Steve B's guitar added.

David and Ditas fed them royally for the week, before preparing for a trip to Beirut and an editing job.

1st October, 2007


We can now accept advance orders for Caterwauling, which is scheduled for release by Esoteric Recordings on November 19th. The first 300 orders through our web sites will also receive, completely gratis, an exclusive photo-postcard in arty (and cheap) black and white, lovingly defaced by Woolly and the boys with autographs and/or thumb-prints. Details of prices and how to benefit from this fabulous (or was that frivolous?) offer, can be found at the Barclay James Harvest mail-order shop.

New Mæstoso Album: Woolly's Blog - the final insult instalment!

22nd August, 2007


Caterwauling CD cover

Recording and mixing of the brand new Mæstoso studio album, Caterwauling, is now complete. We don't have a definite release date yet, but there shouldn't be much longer to wait! In the meantime, you can read Woolly's own blog of unreliable memoirs charting the progress of the recording from start to finish, written in his own incomparable (and, indeed, incomprehensible) style:

19th March, 2007


As things stand at present (late February 2007) these are the plans for Mandalaband III. However, as is invariably the case with new projects, much can happen twixt cup and lip (especially when Woolly adds his recipe to the brew).

In January of this year Kim Turner flew out to Spain to work with me on some track sketches for a proposed new Mandalaband album. Those of you who are in the know will be aware that this initial get-together marks the first Mandalaband recording session in more than thirty years - probably a world record for an interval between albums. You can hear the backing tracks the two of us concocted at the David Rohl MySpace, URL: along with some other earlier Mandalaband pieces.

But this was not the first chapter in the story of the Mandalaband reincarnation. That began about three years ago when I talked through the idea with Keith and Monika when I visited them in Southampton and then, subsequently, I had a meeting with Woolly at the British Museum (two antiquities, so to speak, meeting up for the first time in what would normally constitute an entire archaeological period, i.e. twenty years).

At the same time, and quite coincidentally, Ashley Mulford (Mandalaband I and Sad Café) got in touch by e-mail to let it be known that he would love to do something musical with me again. So the bones of the ancients were stirring in the ground and a resurrection appeared to be on the cards. Kim Turner, Steve Broomhead, Craig Fletcher (all of Maestoso), plus Dave Irving (of Sad Café) were quick to sign up. A studio band was beginning to take shape. I felt like Moses leading the mixed multitude out into the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. Mandalaband III was rapidly becoming a tribe. More great musicians and vocalists have joined up in recent months but I will keep that under my hat for the moment if you don't mind.

Anyway, the ball is now rolling and the first tracks are being written, recorded and dumped straight into the bin. Eventually, though, we will have enough good material for release - in about a year's time. In fact, it looks like we will be recording two albums simultaneously.

The first is provisionally entitled 'BC' and will be themed on the legends, heroes and great events of ancient history. The second is provisionally entitled 'AD' and deals with legends, heroes and great events of the centuries since the crucifixion. This second album will predominantly focus on the Sangreal and its history over the last 2000 years. If you have no idea what the heck I am rambling on about then just do some internet questing for answers or simply wait for the CDs. All will be revealed. Actually, very little will be revealed as the lyrics of the songs are intended to be doorways to your own personal discovery rather than instruction manuals. On the other hand, you could just forget all this esoteric nonsense and simply enjoy the music. We will prepare a sumptuous table for your repast and you can just eat what you will (or what you are). Of course, the music will be pompous, grandiose, self-indulgent, majestic, myopic and magnificent (I have told Woolly that he has to write with majesty and beauty for M III or else I won't let him play with all the new and wonderful sounds I have gathered together for his pleasure) so you can probably anticipate what sort of hydra we are going to create.

Woolly comes over to the Spanish studio retreat in a few weeks' time and I look forward to updating you on how things went and what we managed to achieve in amongst the cherry blossom.

With best wishes,


5th February, 2007


In March Woolly will be off to Spain to visit old friend David Rohl, famous author, TV presenter and expert on Ancient Chronology - oh, and for being the brains behind the Mandalaband albums. The pair will be discussing a new musical project of David's, and details will be leaked made exclusively available through unattributable briefings on this site.

As previously threatened, tantalising tasters of the forthcoming Mæstoso album are now available in the form of rough mixes on MySpace. Go to if you dare ...

9th January, 2007


It is anticipated that within the next couple of weeks exquisitely formed fragments of the soon-to-be-released Mæstoso offering will be trailed on MySpace, thus enabling the discerning gentleman (or lady) to peruse these tasty morsels in the privacy of their own homes.

8th October, 2006


We've added a music player to the web site. Currently it features tracks from the now-unavailable bonus disc which came with initial copies of the One Drop In A Dry World CD. You can listen to full tracks on the player, or buy high-quality downloads to burn to CD. Other tracks will be made available on the player in future, including material which is not available anywhere else.

Check the player out here


You can now pre-order the Eclectic Discs remastered CD of Woolly's 1980 album, Maestoso, which is due out on November 6th. The CD will come with the original LP artwork, an eight-page booklet and two bonus tracks recorded live in Vienna in 1982 - "Even The Night" and "Has To Be A Reason". The existing CD of "Maestoso" on the Brimstone label (without the bonus tracks) will still be available for a while at a reduced price of £7.00 including UK postage and packing.

Order either CD through the Barclay James Harvest web site secure form

18th September, 2006


The recording sessions for the next Mæstoso CD continue apace, and you can read Woolly's own blog recounting the band's misadventures in his inimitable style here on the WWWebsite.

Now Woolly is taking a break from Mæstosoworld to rehearse for the forthcoming John Lees' Barclay James Harvest tour and to undertake some promotional work including a trip to Belgium to take part in a two-hour radio special on BJH. More details of all JLBJH activities at

20th August, 2006


Check out Woolly's MySpace page to hear a spanking new song from the current Maestoso recording sessions! "Faith, Hope and Charity" is not available anywhere else, but for a limited time you can stream it from:

15th July, 2006


Work has begun on a new Mæstoso album, and Woolly is already posting his, er, idiosyncratic updates in his own blog on this site, also known after the album's working title as the Grafenberg Flight Log (FLOG). In the meantime, a CD single of "Hebden Bridge" from the last Mæstoso album, Grim, is due out in the autumn, coupled with a completely new song from the Grimroyd gang of rude minstrels. More details and ordering information as soon as we have it.

3rd July, 2006


We've had a number of enquiries about the bonus disc which came with Mæstoso's One Drop In A Dry World. Whilst the double CD of that album was a strictly limited edition, we can now offer four of the songs from the bonus disc as exclusive downloads through the Indiestore site. You can listen to reduced quality versions of "Flip!", "Music from The Wind In The Willows', a different version of "A Waiting Game" with Craig Fletcher singing lead vocals and "The Angelus", or you can download them in their full glory for a mere 77p each. Woolly's Indiestore page can be found at

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