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Forgotten Kingdom: Inbetween Saddleworth March 22, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Forgotten Kingdom: Inbetween Saddleworth

Saddleworth is a late entrant in the Forgotten Kingdoms series. A stupendously beautiful patch of Pennine land in the north of England, it sits uneasily on the border between the White Rose County, Yorkshire and the Red Rose County, Lancashire. Saddleworth is, in fact, a reminder of how differences between communities are messy not clean-cut: […]

Purring: A Taxonomy and an Exhibition at Wigan January 15, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Purring: A Taxonomy and an Exhibition at Wigan

This site has a small tag on the history of purring, the sometimes noble and often incredibly ignoble Lancashire marshal art whereby a man repeatedly kicked opponents or victims as hard as he could. We return to the theme today because of the exciting news that a Purring Display is going up in Wigan Museum, […]

Flying Boy Across the Mersey? December 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Flying Boy Across the Mersey?

This interesting but very confusing passage comes from Aubrey’s wonderful Brief Lives. It is, more specifically, from the chapter on a Lancastrian mathematician named Jonas Moore who had been taught by one William Gascoigne (this becomes important). Aubrey includes several fascinating facts including the unforgettable sentence that: ‘Sciatica: [Sir Jonas] cured it by boiling his […]

In Praise of Bouncer and Co December 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
In Praise of Bouncer and Co

***note because of stupid mistake yesterday’s post was posted in the wrong place late, look below for a possible medieval reference to hippopotami*** Another in our strange sport series: today it is trail hunting. This was completely new to Beach but it seems that trail hunting was actually a fairly common nineteenth century sport and […]

Romans and Fairies? November 25, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
Romans and Fairies?

***Dedicated to Invisible who sent the Notts example in*** Beach has slowly become aware that Roman remains in Britain were misinterpreted by imaginative yokels. Of course, already by the seventh century Roman Bath (probably?) was the City of Giants in an Anglo-Saxon poem. By the twelfth century Geoffrey of Monmouth was claiming that some Roman […]

Jumping the Broomstick September 30, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Jumping the Broomstick

Here’s an account from the marches of Yorkshire and Lancashire. It involves a very unusual folk wedding in the late nineteeenth or the early twentieth century. One of the strangest sights that I ever saw in my early inn days was a ‘brush steyl’ wedding at an inn on the Stanedge Road. We had been […]

Travelling to Another World from Nineteenth-century Rochdale September 17, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Travelling to Another World from Nineteenth-century Rochdale

Rochdale is a rather frightening town in northern England in the County of Lancashire. We have visited the religious eccentrics of this part of Britain on several occasions before: including the search for the wandering Jew in Burnley (on the wrong side of the Pennines), and Christ in an egg in Leeds (on the right […]

Professional Pipe Smoking September 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Professional Pipe Smoking

The strange sports series continues. So far we have enjoyed naked running, clowns playing cricket, homicidal basketball and, of course, purring. This time we are in a weird little corner of the South Pennines in northern England. In this particularly nineteenth-century village the highlight of Wakes week – working man’s summer holiday – was the […]

Hydropathy: Roby Comes Through August 31, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Hydropathy: Roby Comes Through

Hydropathy was one of Victorian England’s most interesting errors, the belief that by ‘taking the waters’ various serious conditions could be cured. Stuff and nonsense? Well, according to modern medical science, yes: and Darwin in the nineteenth century himself experimented with hydropathy (for his mysterious health condition) concluding that any success was really just a […]

The Amphibiotic Ablutionists August 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Amphibiotic Ablutionists

*** Sorry late, Beach family reunited today*** Diving in the freezing water is now a fairly common guarantee of guts and eccentricity. But in early nineteenth-century England it was the height of weirdness. Beach stumbled on these healthy souls while searching for more information about hydropathy.  Beach is going to put up a five dollar […]

H.F.Morton and Boggarts August 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
H.F.Morton and Boggarts

Beach has previously noted what an unusual field fairy studies is: for example, it is one of the few fields where amateurs outnumber and where amateurs are clearly better than academic writers. Another curiosity is the peculiar history of some of the fairy books out there and their tortured path to publication and beyond. There […]

Laddering: Making Jerry Pay August 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Laddering: Making Jerry Pay

Today if you dog defecates on the sidewalk or your daughter throws an icecream in the next-door neighbour’s garden it is a matter for the police or some of the tentacle-like social work groups from you local authority. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, of course, but in earlier centuries there was no question […]

Treasure-Hunting in Lancs July 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Treasure-Hunting in Lancs

Today is not a day to celebrate. Those bastards who provide Beach with his internet supply have been playing games for a week now. Beach finds himself, this morning, stranded without a signal. In desperation he has, therefore, been reduced to typing up the following post, putting it on a pen drive and giving it […]

A Coincidence in the County Palatine? July 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Coincidence in the County Palatine?

***Dedicated to Borky who has greater faith in coincidences than Beach*** Chesterton has that beautiful line that ‘coincidences are spiritual puns’. Well, today’s post is to celebrate a rare and seemingly unassailable coincidence in the life of this blogger: as to the ‘pun’ part any solutions gratefully accepted – drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. Should […]

The Bull of Brandlesholme (another reason to avoid Lancashire) July 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Bull of Brandlesholme (another reason to avoid Lancashire)

A transcendental experience this morning in the wood: came face to face with a cow-sized wild boar that sniffed at me and then went to chew on a neighbour’s cherries. Medium-sized or large creatures in the wild often have a  magical quality: foxes and deer are a particular favourite. ‘The Lords of Life’, as Lawrence […]

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