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  • The Stalmine Fairy Tree: A Lancashire Mystery April 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Stalmine Fairy Tree: A Lancashire Mystery

    Here is a record that Beach simply cannot explain and that to the best of his knowledge is unique in England. Before getting to the fairy juice though some details about the document in which this unusual reference appears. Every British parish had, in the nineteenth century, tithe apportion records. The writers of these documents […]

    Woman-Hating Bedforshire Wild Man April 28, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Woman-Hating Bedforshire Wild Man

    A couple of months ago Beach offered a post on British wild men. Here is one to add to the list, Simon Goodman or Simon Goodwin aka Tim Goodman or Tim Goodwin: those name variants give some warning of the kind of historical bog we are about to wade into. Simon Goodman was born c. […]

    Dawn Chorus of Clogs in the Nineteenth Century April 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Dawn Chorus of Clogs in the Nineteenth Century

    The clog was the preferred footwear of the English industrial north, and particularly the industrial north-west. Shoes were cut from wood and tipped with iron in Lancashire, in the West Riding and the mill towns of Cheshire and Derbyshire. The clog cost relatively little, it was good for defending yourself, it was durable and it […]

    Mysterious American Indian Ceremony April 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mysterious American Indian Ceremony

    This is a curious little snippet of American native religious ritual from the least expected source, a late seventeenth-century book of apparitions. We are introduced first to the protagonist. A goodly minister, Mr. Farnworth, that came hither from New England (being a Nonconformist and extream poor, dyed as all about him said, of meer Poverty, […]

    Britain’s Lost Bogies: Holden Rag April 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Britain's Lost Bogies: Holden Rag

    Holden is a stretch of countryside just to the north of Burnley, a small town in a small county (Lancashire) in the UK. It would be good to give a map at this point but Beach has decided against this  because the nineteenth-century ordinance survey has this territory on an edge between map sheets. That […]

    The Last African Slaves to Be Brought to America: Eyewitness Accounts April 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Last African Slaves to Be Brought to America: Eyewitness Accounts

    The slave trade to America was banned in 1807, but slaves were still brought to America illegally in the decades that followed. The last known slave ship that brought slaves across the Atlantic was the Clotilde in 1859. What is extraordinary about the Clotilde’s journey is that the young slaves who were sold in Alabama, […]

    The Republic of the Seven Islands April 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Republic of the Seven Islands

    A thalassocracy is a sea power, a realm built around the sea. The word is sometimes used to refer to maritime superpowers, like the British and French empires, but is more typically employed for chains of islands governed by a single king or council. Historical examples include Tondo; or some of the Viking polities from […]

    The Hare that Got Away April 16, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Hare that Got Away

    Here is a short paragraph from the late nineteenth century about Pendle in Lancashire. He who visits Pendle will yet find that charms are generally resorted to amongst the lower classes; that there are hares, which in their persuasion, never can be caught, and which survive only to baffle and confound the huntsman; that each […]

    Hare Horror in Furness! Return of the Supernatural Bunnies April 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Hare Horror in Furness! Return of the Supernatural Bunnies

    Beach has recently been enjoying the splendour of supernatural rabbits and hares. Yes, dear reader, do you remember the thud of paranormal poltergeist bunnies? What about the legendary Baum Rabbit? Or the Welsh ghost rabbit as big as a sheep? Or Boudicca’s sacrificial hare? Or the Mann witch trial hare? However, everything that he has […]

    Huge Erratic Boulders: the Westmorland Thunderstones April 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Huge Erratic Boulders: the Westmorland Thunderstones

    Thunderstones are a well known European and, indeed, international phenomenon, flint arrowheads or stone axes which were believed, by our early modern ancestors, to have descended from the sky in lightning storms. The typical praxis was that a sheep would be killed by a bolt of lightning and the family would discover, near the animal, […]

    Perugian Witch, 1908 April 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Perugian Witch, 1908

    Perugia is a marvelous medieval city in Umbria, about half way between Rome and Florence. The following account of early twentieth-century witchcraft there was not, in itself, remarkable, but Perugia has a special place in Beach’s heart and so he hoped vainly perhaps, that someone could fill in the blanks. The great problem with Italian […]

    The Real Romeo and Juliet April 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Real Romeo and Juliet

    It is always pleasant in history to look back to the moment when something began; when the unwinding shoot starts to fracture the seed shell. It is the evening of 26 February 1511 and Antonio Savorgnan and his men are enjoying a ball at his sister Maria Savorgnan’s house in Udine (Italy), Piazza Venerio. The evening is tense. […]

    The Spaw Monster April 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Spaw Monster

    This is a ghost account from 1839. It starts simply enough, but it has some remarkable features. One of those singular cases commonly classed amongst the supernatural, has produced a considerable sensation amongst the inhabitant of the district of Middleton and the surrounding villages. The following are a few of the particulars. In a small […]

    The Ghost of Coalville: Women in the Choir April 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Ghost of Coalville: Women in the Choir

    The village of Ravenstone (Leicestershire, UK) has, apparently, one church and Beach has not found anything in my books or on the internet about it having ghosts. However, this appeared in 1934. The old parish church of Ravenstone, near Coalville, is said to be haunted. According to villagers, during the evening services an apparition takes shape out […]

    Review: A Word Geography of England April 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: A Word Geography of England

    When Beach was a little tyke (boy) he used to run out to lek (play) and then he and his friends would go to the shop to buy spice (candy): trousers were ‘togs’ in those not so halcyon days, and missing school was ‘skiving’. Dialect is dead in England (save perhaps in the north-east), but […]

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