Filed under rituals

Women’s Work- 19th Century Britain

Women’s Work- 19th Century Britain

I recently found this wonderful book by Rohana Darlington, Irish Knitting. She graduated from the Central School of Art and Design and in 1984 she received a travelling fellowship to study hand knitting in Norway and Ireland; from the latter came this book, a mix of Irish history focusing on fine art and textiles, but … Continue reading

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

I love obscure bits of history, and parish boundary markers are great because you really have to poke around with your eyes open to spot them. They were used to mark the parish boundaries of mediaeval cities, to establish who had to pay church rates, who attended churches, and as legal documents in property sales. … Continue reading

Beyond Love

I’ve become a huge fan of Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ podcast, especially since it provides a welcome antidote to all the bad news coming out of the states recently. Last week i stumbled upon one of the strangest stories ever, in the episode ‘Grand Gestures’ which challenges so many aspects of what we are … Continue reading

Mock Battle in Spain

Mock Battle in Spain

This is from the i paper, 29 December: Revellers dressed in mock military garb take part in the Enfarinats battle in the south eastern Spanish town of Ibi yesterday. During this 200-year-old festival participants, known as Els Enfarinats (those covered in flour) dress in military clothes and stage a mock coup d’etat using flour, eggs … Continue reading

An Irreplaceable Artefact

This is another piece by Frank Cottrell-Boyce on the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford: In the corner was a glass case with a curtain. I pulled the curtain aside and found a vast red and yellow cloak, an ‘ahu ‘ula made in the 1830s for Queen Kekauluoki of Lahina in Hawaii,of hundreds of thousands of … Continue reading

Not What it Seems

Not What it Seems

Here’s a very odd image from Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum: It shows the brothers of the fraternity of the Madonna f Humility gathered round conducting the offices of the dead for their patron. Here’s the full image:

Superstitions in Cambridge

Superstitions in Cambridge

These are from the Cambridge Local History Museum : This is a witches’ bottle, designed to dazzle a witch to prevent her working evil: And this is the local equivalent of a voodoo doll, with pins stuck into it, called the Corp Chreadh or clay body. They could also place it in water so the … Continue reading

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Most cities have a cathedral, you can expect it to be biggish, ancient and full of dead worthies and their memorials. But Liverpool was a small town until the 18th century when  it became a major port, and since then there have been a lot of Irish immigrants, so they have a catholic cathedral, so … Continue reading

Rosemary Ritual

Rosemary Ritual

I am fascinated how people invent and perpetuate personal rituals and a few days ago I think I saw one. It was simple, but seemed deliberate. A man walking out of a big carpark stroked a large rosemary bush and smelled his hand. A simple act, but it seemed unconscious, as if he’d done it … Continue reading

Sham Execution

This is an event from Bristol in October 1780, an incredibly well organised protest against senior naval officers, and unusual for its lack of violence and drunkenness which the city was so famous for: Thursday afternoon at a stigma on some commanders who have not deserved the high encomiums justly due tot the Lord Cornwallis, … Continue reading