Filed under 13th century history

Medieaval Selfie Stick?

Here’s a very strangely modern image It’s part of a medieval manuscript: At first I thought it was a joke, but it is in the museum of anthropology in Cambridge, a display on children in history, so look closer: The boys are playing on hobby horses, so playing at jousting, with their poles. What seems … Continue reading

Between Gargoyles and Grotesques

Between Gargoyles and Grotesques

A lot of people get these two terms mixed up. Gargoyles are the strange creatures that loom out of the sides of old churches to channel water away from the building; their mouths/throats are lead lined to protect them from erosion. Grotesques are strange faces. The term originates from the faces and masks found when … Continue reading

Crosses and Public Spaces

Crosses and Public Spaces

I am fascinated by the creation, marking and use of public space. The centre of many towns and cities had Market or High Crosses which were the focus for communities. This is from Francis Watkins and the Dollond Telescope Patent Controversy describes the region near Charring Cross/Trafalgar Square in central London. The latter continues to be the … Continue reading

‘The Good Life’ or Malnutrition?

Saturday’s i had an article featuring Monty Don, tv gardening presenter, who criticised the popular 1970s sitcom The Good Life, based on a suburban couple played by Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers who trie d to be self sufficient. Don claims: “No one seriously waned to know how to separate curds from whey  or render … Continue reading

Popes and Ventriloquy

I love reading about early theatre performances. In the early 18th century the first Prime Minister Robert Walpole was annoyed at the many scurrilous plays and comedies insulting him and his ministry so he passed the Licensing act of 1737 which censored public performances and continued into the 20th century. This led to shows advertising … Continue reading

William Wallace’s Kirk Found?

This is from the latest Current Archaeology: The remains of a medieval church, recently discovered in Selkirk, may be the remains of the ‘Kirk of the Forest’ where William Wallace was made Guardian of Scotland following his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, archaeologists suggest. Chris Bowles, Scottish Borders Council archaeologist, together … Continue reading

St Barbara

St Barbara

I am fascinated by the cult of the saints, especially as they are so poorly misunderstood in these determinedly anti-papist Isles. Europe still has churches and shrines to saints, and they know their histories, even in protestant regions, but here they were pretty thoroughly wiped off the face of the earth. St Barbara, my namesake, … Continue reading

Ladies and Hawking

This is from Sports and Pastimes of England, published in 1801. It seems ladies were not only allowed to practice hawking, but some may have been rather good at it: Ladies not only accompanied the gentlemen in pursuit of this diversion, but often practiced it themselves; and, if we may believe a contemporary writer, in … Continue reading