Filed under 14th century history

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

What happened to objects when Henry VIII closed the monasteries? This is an area of history that is often ignored or the subject of guesswork, especially in England where there was so much destruction of religious artefacts at the long drawn-out Reformation. But here’s some thoughts. Every church that conducted masses had to have a … Continue reading

A True Romance

A True Romance

Here’s some rather wonderful images from Winchester Cathedral. Many old churches have lovely carved tombs to dead crusaders, but this one, remembering the Earl of Arundel and his second wife Eleanor, from about 1307 is rather special. Despite their wealth they left instructions to be buried together without pomp. She has her legs crossed, like … Continue reading

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

Salisbury Craft and Heritage Festival

Salisbury Craft and Heritage Festival

This 3 day event linked the Cathedral’s wonderful Glass Exhibition with the annual Doors Open Day, so a brilliant combination. Arrayed outside the cathedral were a number of potters, wood and stone carvers, weavers and others. One woman combined making and teaching  felt animals with repairing cane seats on chairs. An impressive mixture. I was … 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

Devon Shipwreck Preserved

Devon Shipwreck Preserved

This is from the i paper of 15 August: The remains of a wooden cargo ship wrecked off Devon while plying the trade route that kept Georgian dinner tables laden with port 250 years ago have been given protected status. The timbers of the vessel have been regularly exposed on the sands near Westward Ho! … Continue reading

Counting the Black Death

We know the epidemic known as the Black Death killed a lot of people in Britain and Europe. It put an end to the gloriously labour intensive architectural style of Decorated Gothic, to be replaced by the more austere Perpendicular. The manpower shortage was so desperate it led to the Peasants’ Revolt demanding better wages … 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