jump to navigation

Witch Ducking and Three in a Bed March 12, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Witch Ducking and Three in a Bed

This may not be the last witch killing in Britain, that seems to have taken place some months before. But this is my candidate for the last attempted witch ducking in the UK in 1880! Susan Sharpe, the ‘witch’ apparently brought the case to court because she was frightened that the local community, or elements […]

Transvestite Protestors: Why, When and Where? June 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Transvestite Protestors: Why, When and Where?

***Dedicated to Chris*** Modern and early modern social movements are not normally Beach’s thing. He’ll let the likes of Eric Hobsbawm salivate over those. But just yesterday an email brought a peculiar Irish American phenomenon to his attention: the Molly Maguires, previously known to this author only from Conan Doyle’s Valley of Fear.  The Mollys […]

Seventeenth-Century English Dragons May 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Seventeenth-Century English Dragons

Beachcombing recently highlighted the case of a giant serpent in nineteenth-century Devon, a snake that was as thick as a thigh. Beach had assumed that this was a one off, but now he is wondering as he found a second reference to go with it. This one comes from a pamphlet with a straight-to-the-point title: The […]

The Oak of Fairlop August 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Oak of Fairlop

One of little Miss B’s favourite films – a Japanese fable – includes a line about the time when ‘men and trees were friends’. Beach has his doubts that there ever was, in fact, friendship between the human race and the arboreal ones. But there are occasional instances when special trees and nearby human community’s […]

Battle of Maldon and Overheart August 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Battle of Maldon and Overheart

Beachcombing has a long tradition of screwing up anniversaries – wrong days, wrong months, wrong years… But just for once he thought that he would get things right and offer his readers a story on the right day – 10 August– and hopefully in the right tone. What we have here is a Weird War, […]