Filed under suffering

Blind House

Blind House

This stands beside the bridge at the edge of Trowbridge centre, a rare survivor of the many that were built to detain overnight local drunks and other ne’er do wells, so thought it was apt for today.  It is really impressive, and I wonder if there used to be a ducking stool nearby on the … Continue reading

Healthcare USA in 2009

Healthcare USA in 2009

I just found this feature from the Independent newspaper of 15 August 2009 which ran over 3 pages. The article shocked the newspaper and it shocked me enough to keep the whole piece. In the wake of the recent election it is worth looking at it again. Why do the Republicans hate – or fear … 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:

Smallpox in Hampshire 1774

Smallpox is a disease which caused lots of fatalities but inoculation against was discovered in the 18th century, so fear of it has long since faded. This is from the Hampshire Chronicle of March 1774: We hear that the small-pox is broke out at Bishops Waltham, a dread of which distemper has induced many of … Continue reading

Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England

This is some more from a German physician’s journal, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599 Especially every quarter when the law courts sit in London and they throng from all parts of England for the terms … to litigate in numerous maters which have occurred in the interim, for everything is saved up till that … Continue reading

A Poisoner Burned At The Stake

Burning a woman alive is generally associated with witches, but they were more commonly hanged in England. But it was the punishment for a woman killing her husband, who as a superior creature was deemed an act of treason rather than mere murder. This is a letter from ‘Ivelchester’ [ie Ilchester] published in the Bristol … Continue reading

A Mistaken Changeling

A lot of folklore and witch stories are written in a way that it is hard to empathise with those involved, but here’s an item which raises a lot of modern issues, from BBC History Magazine, an article by Richard Sugg on ‘Fear of Fairies. Probably the most notorious Irish case took place in Ballyvdlea, … 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

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