Boating parties in the Merry Month of May….

There must have been a brisk trade in illustrations of boating parties in the Merry Month of May…and Flemish painter Simon Bening (circa 1483-1561) stepped up to the mark! Mind you, I’m a little perturbed as to how the good Simon managed to paint the above in 1575 if he died in 1561. I suppose… Continue reading Boating parties in the Merry Month of May….

Chaucer’s Pilgrims and calculating Easter Sunday 1394….

We all know that pinpointing Easter in the medieval period is awkward – well, it’s awkward in any period, come to that. I want to know exactly when Easter Day fell in 1394. But do all the clever-clogs sites agree? Nope. They say they give you the correct date, but one of them had moved… Continue reading Chaucer’s Pilgrims and calculating Easter Sunday 1394….

An interesting magazine I missed….

  When the remains of Richard III were sought and then discovered, A magazine entitled Current Archaeology covered it prominently on a number of occasions: “….Current Archaeology reported on the unfolding story in detail, with no fewer than three ‘cover’ features, in CA 272, CA 277, and CA 294 (November 2012, April 2013, and September… Continue reading An interesting magazine I missed….

The “Gentle Villainy” of Richard III….?

  The following is an extract from this site.  :- “….The season wraps up with “The Gentle Villainy of Richard III, Troubler of the Poor World’s Peace,” an adapation of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” running April 21-May 1 at the Outcalt Theatre….” Oh, dear (heavy sigh). Shoving the word “gentle” in front of “villainy” doesn’t… Continue reading The “Gentle Villainy” of Richard III….?

A primrose at Candlemas….

  “….and grant of the said manor and lands to Sir Walter for two years from this date, rendering one primrose a year at the Purification…” You’ll find the above extract at this site. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-close-rolls/ric2/vol3/pp296-298 It records an agreement between Sir Walter de Cokesseye and the more famous Sir Hugh Calveley, who was a famous… Continue reading A primrose at Candlemas….

My reaction to Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey….

Sometimes the stories behind our much-loved Christmas carols are quite disheartening, involving as they do national and international strife and religious rivalry that was both bloody and filled with hatred. Yet every year we sing the resultant carols with joy. The reactions of the human race are sometimes contradictory. To say the least! I am… Continue reading My reaction to Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey….

From Yule Log to Buche de Noel

While the traditional Yule Log is associated with Great Britain – as its television broadcast/DVD version is associated with America – it seems to have originated in the misty past of Central Germany and Westphalia.   It is certainly of pagan origin as are many of our Christian customs.  To quote Sir James George Frazer in… Continue reading From Yule Log to Buche de Noel

From  St Nicholas to Sir Christmas to Old Father Christmas to Santa Claus….

“….the beautiful, unspoiled Mediterranean town of Patara is the birthplace of the bearded gift-giver, who we look out for with such excitement on Christmas Eve. Or rather, the birthplace of the third century Christian saint whose life of kindness and miraculous do-goodery created a legend which has evolved down the centuries, and given us the… Continue reading From  St Nicholas to Sir Christmas to Old Father Christmas to Santa Claus….

Medieval poinsettias? I think not….

Well, I can’t believe poinsettias, pretty as they are, ever featured in medieval European Christmas festivities! Any more than turkeys, roast potatoes, cranberries, chocolate and other such delights that are due entirely to the New World. The above picture is from this article about the pagan origins of Christmas, and for all its New World… Continue reading Medieval poinsettias? I think not….