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  • Welsh Pre-Marital Sex, c. 1850 May 11, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Welsh Pre-Marital Sex, c. 1850

    A German tourist in Wales in the 1850s. Our hero befriends, Sarah the girl of the house where he is staying and on whom, Beach suspects, he had something of a crush. However, Sarah, who is the only member of the house who can speak English, is walking out with Owen, the elder son of […]

    Victorian Osiris Kills Father and Paints Fairies April 30, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Osiris Kills Father and Paints Fairies

    Now that the happy days of summer are here Beach is running away, in his mind, with several projects. There are the bat boxes, visits to the animals’ secret garden in the woods (with elder daughter), an attempt (probably vain) to get a carpenter to put up some shelves and then, chief among Beach’s preoccupations, there […]

    Misfortunes with Severed Heads: Richard Owen and Lancaster Jail April 17, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Misfortunes with Severed Heads: Richard Owen and Lancaster Jail

    Beachcombing regrets that he cannot provide the primary source for the following anecdote from Richard Owen’s early life. Anyone lucky enough to have instant access to mid nineteenth-century periodicals will find it in Hood’s Magazine and Comic Miscellany vol 3 (1845), 294-303. Beach is taking this paraphrase from the excellent Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury, […]

    Fairy Sighting on Skye, c. 1880 March 12, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Sighting on Skye, c. 1880

    The family crisis continues here and so Beach offers a modest little post on a fairy sighting in Skye: perhaps Beachcombing’s favourite witness account of the ‘good folk’.  This was written out in the early 1960s that puts the experience back c. 1880. In the darkening of an Autumn evening over eighty years ago a […]

    The Rocking Stone Unrocked February 10, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Rocking Stone Unrocked

    The mother of all busy days today as students clamor for assistance and daughters for entertainment. Beach hope that readers will forgive him for offering up this story from his winter reading about Cornwall in the south-west of Britain. Our author is describing the Loggan Stone, aka the Logan Stone of Treen. This far-famed rock […]

    Electrocuting African Tribal Hosts January 3, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Electrocuting African Tribal Hosts

    One of the great challenges of any nineteenth-century explorers was to make friends with the ‘primitives’ in such out of the way places as an equatorial rain forest, the upper peaks of the Andes and through much of Darkest Africa. And, of course, to do so they brought gifts along with them: a sensible enough […]

    Lancashire Voodoo c. 1850 December 26, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lancashire Voodoo c. 1850

    Beach promised no more fairy stories in 2011 but he thought he would go out with a witch tale from nineteenth-century Lancashire on the wrong side of the Pennines. There is something reminiscent of an earlier post from Hebden Bridge here and also of the curious case of the witch who suffered spontaneous combustion in […]

    What do fairies smell of? December 23, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    What do fairies smell of?

    Beachcombing knows that not everyone appreciates his endless posts on fairies, but here is – he promises – the last one for 2011. He might even wait a week before he starts again in 2012. Anyway, apologies apart, he recently stumbled on a rather beautiful book about Yorkshire in the late nineteenth century, one that […]

    Fairy Death Bed Conversion December 15, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Fairy Death Bed Conversion

    Beachcombing’s fairy year continues. In his grazing through the accounts of the fairy faith on the western and northern fringe of Europe one of the things that has most fascinated him is the belief of the connection between Catholicism and things fairy. There is a famous early modern comment – irritatingly Beach can’t remember by […]

    Female Flyting in the Raj? August 17, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern

    It has been a long day and Beach has not had time to look for this in all the normal works of reference. However, this story (or fiction?) rang no bells and as Beach has – disgrace upon disgrace – never had a Pakistani story before he thought he’d take a risk. A curious custom, […]

    Changelings and the Law August 11, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Changelings and the Law

    ‘Changeling’, as noted in a recent post, was the name given by country folk on the Celtic fringe prior to children who were bewitched (i.e. ill): they were called ‘changelings’ because it was believed that fairies had come and had exchanged the child with a fairy. Parents’ reactions on having their children spirited away and […]

    Missing Holmes July 4, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Missing Holmes

    Yesterday it was flogging, tomorrow Renaissance cannibalism, so Beachcombing thought that today he would indulge in something rather more cerebral and what better than a gentle Invisible Library post? Beachcombing has introduced readers to several Invisible Libraries over the months, books that never existed except as titles in their creator’s imagination. And tonight he thought […]

    Thomas Hood or Tom Hood’s Invisible Library June 30, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Thomas Hood or Tom Hood’s Invisible Library

    Tomorrow the monthly round up of interesting emails and communications – Beachcombing is slaving to get them ready in time. In the meantime,  a further Invisible Library to add to the one that Frank Buckland discovered in late nineteenth-century Reading and that was featured here a couple of days ago. The following list was created […]

    Invisible Library at Reading June 28, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Invisible Library at Reading

    Beachcombing pioneered, early in his blogging career, an invisible library tag for books that have never existed save in the imagination of bookophiles: Beachcombing has, in fact, been preparing his own list for the last year for a false door in the family mansion for which readers kindly offered various titles. To keep the tag […]

    Lancashire Kick Boxing March 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Lancashire Kick Boxing

      Old time readers of this blog will know that Beachcombing once expressed an interest in ‘purring’ or ‘clog fighting’ when in the nineteenth century the natives of Manchester, Preston and Liverpool in the north-west of Britain were alleged to settle their disputes through kicking contests. Back when he wrote this post Beachcombing expressed some […]

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