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Vindictive Welsh Saints July 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Vindictive Welsh Saints

Gerald of Wales has the following to say about the Irish: This seems to me a thing to be noticed that just as the men of this country are during this mortal life more prone to anger and revenge than any other race, so in eternal death the saints of this land that have been […]

Fairy Witches #3: Meilyr of Wales April 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Fairy Witches #3: Meilyr of Wales

The third in our series of fairy-witches is a certain Meilyr, who died at Usk Castle in 1174. True, in the account that follows, taken from that old cobbler-merchant Gerald of Wales, no fairies are mentioned and no maleficium (the normal defining feature of a witch). But there is something in Meilyr’s relations with the […]

The Cow-Man of Wicklow and His Sad End July 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Cow-Man of Wicklow and His Sad End

A paddy-bashing story from one of the nastiest Irish-haters of them all: Gerald of Wales. In the neighbourhood of Wicklow at the time when Maurice Fitzgerald got possession of the country and the castle, an extraordinary man was seen – if indeed it be right to call him a man. He had all the parts […]

The Christian Wolves of Ossory July 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Christian Wolves of Ossory

We all know that medieval chroniclers and sensationalists love wonder stories. Beach has a private rule that even if a medieval tale takes place with a ‘reliable’ witness in living memory, then he still looks the other way. But the following story clearly ‘happened’ (though there may be a way to reread it) in that […]

Snakes, Fairies and St Patrick January 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Snakes, Fairies and St Patrick

A lead up to tomorrow’s epiphany gift to all readers: Scary Fairies: the Proto Edition. Bede begins his Ecclesiastical History of the English in 731 with a geographical overview of the island of Britain and also, given its importance in the conversion of the English to Christianity, Ireland. It is a memorable passage not least […]

White Horses, Sex and Sovereignty December 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
White Horses, Sex and Sovereignty

Inspired by Southern Man’s comment on yesterday’s post Beach thought he would today quote from some of the passages relating to Irish sovereignty. There was in pre-Norman Ireland the idea that the land is a woman, Sovereignty, who must be courted and seduced by the successful king. Take, for example, this rather tame passage relating […]

Arthur’s Grave at Glastonbury September 13, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Arthur's Grave at Glastonbury

Beachcombing thought that he would recall tonight the first recorded archaeological dig to take place in the United Kingdom. The place? The magical abbey of Glastonbury on the fringes of the Celtic fringes. The time? Probably 1191, though different accounts give slightly different dating clues. The find? The body of Arthur, Lord of the Round […]