Filed under Religion

Somerset Scoundrels

I’ve unearthed another gem of local history, Paupers and Pig Killers, The Diary of William Holland, A Somerset Parson, 1799 – 1818. Holland was far from a dusty vicar. He had lost 4 of his 5 children to Scarlet Fever, but then his wife produced a son on whom William doted, with frequent proud mentions of … Continue reading

A victory for Pastafarians

This was in yesterday’s i newspaper, and shows Britain does not hold a world monopoly on quirkiness: “A US woman has won the right to wear a colander on her driver’s licence photo, in accordance with her beliefs as a Pastafarian. Pastafarians believe a flying spaghetti monster created the universe. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor … Continue reading


This is a legal term that crops up with reference to women’s marital rights. Most people claim it was a draconian piece of law, but it is far more than this. Like wife selling, lots of people opposed it, and just as lots wanted wife selling made illegal, a lot of people wanted the law … Continue reading

What Caused the Great Fire of London

For much of human history reasons were sought for why thing happened, through omens, coincidences, all sorts of stuff. we’re far more sensible now, and we never read horoscopes or wear special clothes  when we go on first dates. This isa rather good sermon from 1778 Soon after the fire of London, a Divine asked what … Continue reading

Spirit of Place

The English landscape has long had a powerful impact on its people, but I have just stumbled upon a small area in Lancashire which seems to have something extraordinary about it. The Pendle witches are famous, seen variously as victims of male religious and legal oppression or local ignorance. They were put on trial in … Continue reading

An Unmarried Mother

This is another note from the parish register of Eydon in Northants, in Syd Tyrell’s A Countryman’s Tale: John Hinton sonne of Henry Hinton of the Graynge and Jane Warce whom he got with chylde being his mayde, was baptised 13th January 1623 This is interesting as this suggests the infamous practice of a master … Continue reading

Background to Myddle

My latest research is from a book I’ve had for ages, but never got round to reading it. The Hystory of Myddle by Richard Gough, a gent with legal training is generally considered to be the first ever local history book in England, written in 1702 and extending back as long as records permitted, interspersed … Continue reading

Women ‘Churched’

When Redland Parish church opened on the outskirts of Bristol, locals no longer faced a long trudge to their local church at westbury-on-Trym, which most of them had just not bothered with. So the church had a big backlog of baptisms, and a ritual for women, called ‘churching’ which I understood to be prayers for … Continue reading

Petition by Quaker Women

Today’s Quakers are a peaceful lot, so it is hard to see in them the founders of their group, the angry, disrespectful women who made the Leveller women took almost tame. They submitted a petition to parliament in 1659, 3 columns with 7,000 names, objecting to the  forced payment of tithes to maintain what they … Continue reading

Revolution and Women

The 17th century in Britain seems to have been a time when women were demanding rights and making a lot of noise and trouble. This is again from Stevie Davies Unbridled Spirits: At the Restoration, as the second Charles rode to his coronation, the conduits on the streets ran with wine. Charles’ procession passed beneath … Continue reading