Filed under 13th century history

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

Aristocracy and Hawking

Aristocracy and Hawking

One of he great Indy films of England last century was ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’, based on both animals and people having a fixed hierarchy. This is the full list, from Sports and Pastimes of the People of England: The eagle, the vulture, and the merlun, for an emperor The ger-faulcon, and the tercel … Continue reading

Extincting Wolves in England & Wales

This is from Sports and Pastimes of he People of England, published in 1801. My previous post listed a lot of animals of the hunt, but wolves were absent, apparently because they were already hunted to extinction. It is generally admitted that Edgar gave up the fine of gold and silver imposed by his uncle … Continue reading

Naming the Beasts of the Hunt

This is from Sports and Pastimes of he People of England, published in 1801. Twice or Twety, grand huntsman to Edward II divides animals to be hunted into 3 groups: The first class contains four, which may be properly called beasts for hunting; namely, the hare, the hart, the wolf, and the wild boar. The … Continue reading

The Sanctuary of St John of Beverley

This is from Highways & Byways in Yorkshire, The kindness of St. John towards all criminals was not exercised only in his church, but extended for a full mile into the open country on every side;and evil men, however stained with blood, even if it were the blood of priests, could not be seized by … Continue reading

Kidland on the Borders

Yet another excerpt from the fascinating ‘Highways & Byways in Northumbria’ Belonging to the monastery of Newminster in the Middle Ages here is a wild mountain country reaching to the Borders. It is known as Kidland, where a few shepherds tend thousands of sheep. Part of it was granted to the monastery in 1181 by … Continue reading

Early Berwick (upon-Tweed)

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border, i.e. the much disputed region between England and Scotland. This is about the border town Berwick upon Tweed: The town first became part of the kingdom of Scotland when Malcolm II, at Carham fight, won Lothian from Northumbria. That was in 1018.. Thenceforward Berwick was one … Continue reading