Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the “Tremendous Trifles” column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He recently gave me permission to use them here. I hope y’all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.
The forerunner of G.K.’s Weekly was Cecil Chesterton’s New Witness, and the forerunner of the New Witness was Hilaire Belloc’s Eye Witness. Few probably know that Maurice Baring and Belloc founded an earlier newspaper called the North Street Gazette and that this was indirectly the parent of the Eye Witness. The paper’s motto was “Out, out, brief scandal!” It folded after one issue in the summer of 1908. [Emma Letley, Maurice Baring, London: 1991, 139-40] Upon Gilbert Chesterton’s death in 1936, the newspaper became The Weekly Review. The directors of G.K.’s Weekly had wanted to shut it down, but they were persuaded by Hilary Pepler to pass the enterprise on to a small group of key Distributists, including Hilaire Belloc. Belloc edited the paper for a brief time and then passed that responsibility to his son-in-law, Reginald Jebb. [Brocard Sewell, Habit of a Lifetime, Padstow, 1992, p. 99]