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The Perennial Allure of the Royal Family by Gill Paul

Posted on: 06/12/2017 with tags: Another Woman's Husband, Gill Paul, Royal family, The Windsors, Wallis SImpson, 20th Century, Modern

The public euphoria at the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle is proof, were any needed, that our fascination with the Windsor family is as strong as ever. But why should this be? Monarchs no longer have the power to order beheadings or start wars and crusades. The Queen has, at best, minimal influence on her government and every now and again the newspapers get on their high horses about how much she and her relatives cost the taxpayer. But if polls are to be believed, it’s a price mos…

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Festive Tidbits from Karen Maitland

Posted on: 05/12/2017 with tags: boxing day, christmas, Holly, karen maitland, The Plague Charmer, tidbit, Yule Log, Christmas, Medieval, Middle Ages

Feast of Fools In the Middle Ages, on the eve of the Feast of Circumcision (31 December) when the Magnificat was read out in cathedrals and abbeys – He has put down the mighty – all the junior clergy would start chanting Deposuit! (Put down!). They’d drag senior clergy from their seats and take their places, appointing a fool precentor. For the next few days the ‘humble’ ruled. On 1 January, a donkey carrying a woman and baby was led into the church. At the end of the Mass, the priest brayed thr…

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Tuesday Tidbits from Karen Maitland

Posted on: 28/11/2017 with tags: karen maitland, Medieval facts, The Plague Charmer, Tuesday Tidbits, Medieval, Middle Ages

Rock-a-bye Baby To prevent babies being abandoned in unsafe places, some religious houses in the Middle Ages, introduced Foundling Wheels. These were swivelling barrels built into their walls that had a hole cut into one side. A mother would creep up to the outside wall, pop the baby in the barrel, ring the bell to alert the monks or nuns, then hurry away. The barrel would be turned around by those inside and the baby safely removed to be cared for in the monastery. Some Orders would only take i…

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What’s a passionate man to do? Sarah Shoemaker

Posted on: 15/11/2017 with tags: Charlotte Bronte, Divorce, Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester, Nineteenth Century, Sarah Shoemaker, 19th Century

Love, marriage and divorce in the world of Jane Eyre Sometimes, seeing Mr Rochester tied down to an insane wife and loving Jane, it would seem easy to ask: Why doesn’t he just get a divorce? That may be cruel, but, indeed, what kind of marriage have they anyway? Or have they ever had after the first few months? I’m sure I must have asked that question when I first read Jane Eyre. Some history will make Rochester’s situation a little clearer: Before the latter part of the nineteenth century, marr…

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