Page 331. " piled high with copies of The Times "

The Times is a daily national newspaper which has been published in the United Kingdom since 1785.

Old copies of The Times and supplements
Public DomainOld copies of The Times and supplements - Credit: Ranveig

Page 336. " the shaman who made it was a potent magician "

 A shaman is a practitioner of shamanism, an ancient method of spiritual communication—perhaps tens of thousands of years old—that is used for spiritual and physical healing as well as for personal growth.  Shamanic practices exist in many tribal cultures world-wide.

Shamans treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. The shaman enters an altered mental state—typically by using drums or rattles to create a sound field that changes consciousness.  The altered state, called a shamanic journey, is used to gain help and wisdom. In the journey the shaman encounters helping spirits.  These spirits are experienced as a kind of consciousness that does not exist in a body;  when properly approached, the spirits provide help and guidance. The shaman only affects the spiritual world, which in turn affects the natural world. The shaman brings balance to a soul and this will result in creating balance and health for the body.

Page 336. " had no books or parchments "

An English deed hand-written on fine vellum - 1638
Public DomainAn English deed hand-written on fine vellum - 1638 - Credit: Randy Benzie
 Parchment is the skin of a sheep or goat prepared as a thin material on which to write or paint; the finer qualities of parchment are called vellum. The word parchment is also used to indicate the manuscript, bookbinding, etc., made of this material. The use of parchment dates back to at least the 6th century BC.