jump to navigation

Review: Goodwin Wharton October 31, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Review: Goodwin Wharton

In the spring of 1683, a disgraced scion of an English aristocratic family, Goodwin Wharton met Mary Parish a woman in regular communication with fairies (‘lowlanders’), angels, the dead and, of course, the Almighty. Mary was down on her luck having alienated her spirit guide, having argued bitterly with the royal family of faery and […]

Welsh Candles and a Ghost October 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Welsh Candles and a Ghost

A couple of weeks ago we travelled to the Church Porch at midnight to see who would die in the coming year. Here is a Welsh equivalent (kind of). Down to the last hundred years it was usual in many a district in Wales to burn candles in the parish church on the eve of […]

Shakespeare’s First Anne October 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Shakespeare's First Anne

Earlier this year we publicised that famous inventor of the compass, Flavio Gioia, who never, in fact, existed. Today, we offer a parallel tale from English literature: the story of Shakespeare’s first love. We refer here not to that hated appendage, Anne Hathaway, who married the bard after he got her pregnant and eventually got […]

The Missing Autobiography of Mario Esposito October 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
The Missing Autobiography of Mario Esposito

Mario Esposito (obit 1975) was a talented medievalist born to an Italian family in that glittering Dublin of Joyce, Yeats and Beckett. ME got involved with the struggle for Irish independence, was a keen mountaineer, but above all published on Irish manuscripts. His first academic article was written when he was 18, a rather misinformed […]

Wikipedia Comes of Age: Wincest, Exobiddling, Osloed and Getting Wilked October 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Wikipedia Comes of Age: Wincest, Exobiddling, Osloed and Getting Wilked

About ten years ago the present author was asked to present a paper on a medieval Christian thinker at an international conference. He began his talk that day by mocking Wikipedia’s treatment of said Christian thinker and got some cheap laughs. Last weekend in a melancholy mood – another decade of his life steamed off […]

Fairy Jousting? October 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Fairy Jousting?

This tale comes from an early thirteenth-century Latin collection of mirabilia. It has not, to the best of Beach’s knowledge been associated with fairies, but reading it eight hundred years after its composition, there seem to be some fey hints worth flagging up. Note that the Latin below comes from an early edition where there […]

A Fourteen-Month Pregnancy in Nineteenth-century Cornwall? October 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Fourteen-Month Pregnancy in Nineteenth-century Cornwall?

Polperro Press is a small publishing house that produces excellent quality monographs on Cornish themes. If every town of this size – Polperro is an idyllic Cornish port – had a book producing company of a third of this quality historians would be able to give up their day jobs: history, at least western history, […]

The Last of 2973 October 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
The Last of 2973

From June to September 1940 2937 pilots flew in RAF fighters to retain British air superiority over the Home Counties in a scrap that has been remembered by history as ‘the Battle of Britain’. Immortalized by Churchill as ‘the few’ these men have come, even more than the Dunkirk-bound BEF, to symbolise the British achievement […]

Flying with Diana October 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
Flying with Diana

One of the most fascinating questions about witchcraft belief is the extent to which it was invented by the Inquisition (and other bogey men of our own imaginations); or to what extent it reflected common beliefs held by medieval and early modern European populations. If we accept that the idea of the sabbat and devil-sex, […]

Indonesians in Medieval Africa October 22, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Indonesians in Medieval Africa

Despite all the excitement about the use of DNA in history, those elusive strands have so far proved surprisingly unhelpful in our text books. The problem is that populations with similar DNA live close to each other and that it is next to impossible to give a chronological breakdown of when a given locality changes […]

Dowding and the Fairies! October 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Dowding and the Fairies!

Hugh Dowding (1970 obit) is a British hero. It was his expert shepherding of Fighter Command in the summer of 1940 that allowed British victory against the Luftwaffe, or at least a convincing draw that could be passed off as a victory. He stands with Slim and Cunningham as one of Britain’s three great 1939-1945 […]

Immortal Meals 10#: Love Feast in Fifteenth-century Florence October 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Immortal Meals 10#: Love Feast in Fifteenth-century Florence

If you could visit any dinner in history, where the mighty of the earth were gathered, what would you choose? One of Nero’s shindigs in ancient Rome, Giordano Bruno’s Ash Wednesday Supper, the Banquet of the Chestnuts to watch the Borgias having sex, Churchill and Stalin‘s snarl show at Tehran, Mannerheim blowing cigar smoke into […]

Mythic Lines at the Alamo October 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mythic Lines at the Alamo

***Dedicated to Paul Caspar/ Paul Kaspar of Santiago de Compostela and Austin Fame*** The Battle or more accurately the Siege of the Alamo took place in 1836, as a small band of irregulars, English- and Spanish-speaking, resisted a Mexican attempt to re-impose the Supreme Government’s rule in the territory that was to become Texas. Of […]

Whoops, Apocalypse! October 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Whoops, Apocalypse!

***Dedicated to Andy the Mad Monk, who suggested this topic*** When, 6 August 1945, the pilot Paul Tibbets revved up Enola Gay on the island of Tinian everyone on the ground held their breath. Since the bomb, Little Boy, had arrived  those in the know had understood that should it accidentally explode most human life […]

Coins Out of Time October 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Coins Out of Time

***Dedicated to Lehmansterms, whom Beach owes an email…*** An underdeveloped post on the wrong time use of coins. Any other examples gratefully received: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The following passage comes from a book describing the adventures of an Allied serviceman in Italy in 1943: the serviceman in question had escaped from prison camp […]

Page 1 of 3123