Filed under religious studies

The Ancient Churches of Peebles

This is some more from Highways & Byways on The Borders: There are still to be seen wishing the burgh the ruins of the Cross Church and of the Church of St Andrew. The former got its name from the fact that in May 1261 “a magnificent and venerable cross was found at Peblis”, which … Continue reading


Native American Historian

We mostly measure history in terms of years, or perhaps in generations, but memories can be closer than this system suggests. My grandfather was born about a century ago, and he could tell us tales of the gold rushes in Victoria in the 1860s. The last of the soldiers of the Great War have only … Continue reading

A French Invasion

Research often turns up oddities, and information is sometimes found where you least expect it. Parish registers are legal documents, so can sometimes turn up information that is lost elsewhere. For centuries, coastal towns in Britain  were subject to raiding parties, inhabitants often hid in the parish church for shelter. The entire town of Baltimore … Continue reading

French Satanism

Here’s an article from JStor on a surprisingly recent outbreak of superstitious belief and accusations in fin de siecle France. It’s interesting on several levels, because it involves men rather than women, because duelling is involved, which had died out almost 2 centuries before in Britain. It sort of links in with mesmerism, with telegraphy, … Continue reading

Christianity and the Calendar

Ten centuries of confusion in the Christian Calendar may well be drawing to the end when the Archbishop of Canterbury meeting with Popes of the Catholic and Coptic churches to decide on a fixed date for easter. This is from the i newspaper; Easter is not only celebrated n different dates from year to year, … Continue reading

Mannes Gere

Sir Thomas More wrote against pilgrimage sites, noting the shrine of St Valley in Picardy, specialising in genital disorders, impotence, & infertility, where “all theyr offrynges, that hinge about the walles, none other thyne but manned here and women’s here made in wax. “

Prayer or Spell?

“I Bind unto myself the Name The Strong Name of the Trinity By invocation of the same The Three in One and the One in Three” This looks to me like a spell bit it is from St Patrick’s breast plate, part of  the modern Anglican service. As Eamon Duffy writes in Stripping of the … Continue reading

Multiple Time Zones

In a world where most of us don’t know what day it is half the time, it’s impressive that in the Middle Ages, Europe operated in several time zones simultaneously. Following on from the book Keeping Time, which dealt with early notions of time keeping, here’s something from Stripping of the Altars, which describes a … Continue reading

Witchcraft in Christianity

Much of written history is about how the great and good control and manipulate the poor, but the more interesting parts are when the apparently ignorant and powerless make use of what they are given to create something very different. In the book ‘The Stripping of the Altars, Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 by Eamon … Continue reading