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  • Prostitutes Past September 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Prostitutes Past

    Beach has recently been reading around medieval and early modern prostitutes. Of course, contemporary sources are not particularly vivid in this respect. Between canon law and town legislation, we either get an hysterical appeal to the coldest parts of the Gospels, or pounds, pennies and halfpence. In fact, if you want to relive the medieval […]

    Republican Fields January 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Republican Fields

    A month ago Beach offered up some of the most offensive names that farmer’s gave their fields in medieval and modern England: Judas, Kiss Arse Hill, and Poison Piddle being some of the highlights. Our reference guide, Mark Field’s English field names, goes beyond the offensive though to the downright bizarre. Perhaps the most striking example […]

    Foundling Names August 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Foundling Names

    We recently offered a post on the names given to bastard children. Here is a related and far nicer post on the names given to foundlings, who seem to have been treated, perhaps strangely, with rather more respect by society. Today, if an anonymous individual turns up, he is, in the US, referred to as […]

    Bastard Names June 15, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bastard Names

    One of the least attractive aspects of organized morality is the scapegoating of children for the sins of their parents. Those who grew up with the Bible will remember the dread words: ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he […]

    Bizarre Seventeenth-Century Jury List May 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bizarre Seventeenth-Century Jury List

    There follows a jury panel list from Sussex in the UK dating to the seventeenth century. A simple question: what is wrong with it? Beach has placed the forenames in bold and the surnames in italics: the final names are the local towns. Accepted Trevor of Norsham Redeemed Compton of Battle* Faint-not Hewit of Heathfield […]

    Strange Historical Personal Names September 15, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Strange Historical Personal Names

    Full crisis here. A think tank that Beachcombing sometimes works for needs some urgent help with a text: in a format that no program on his computer can open… And Mrs B has a pressing deadline – more help needed – with a project she has worked up about what good Europeans (ha!) the young […]