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A Very Medieval Christmas by S.D. Sykes

Posted on: 19/12/2013 with tags: carols, history, Medieval, plague land, sd sykes

Growing up in the 1970s, I remember a lot of fuss about the true meaning of Christmas – a reaction to the rapid commercialisation of the festival. But what is the true meaning of Christmas? Really? As I get older and become increasingly disheartened by our long and dark winters, I can easily see why our ancestors wanted to celebrate something, anything in fact, at this dismal point in the year. For those last two weeks in December are different to any others in the calendar. The sun is low and m…

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The peasants are revolting . . . by S.D. Sykes

Posted on: 18/09/2013 with tags: Black Death, peasants revolt, plague, plague land, s d sykes, the butcher bird, Medieval

I love the patterns in history. The reflection of our own times in distant ages. The idea that the narrative never really changes, only the cast. Earlier this week a “tough stance” was announced on benefit fraud – which seems to have given rise to the usual rhetoric on phone-ins, websites and newspapers. Dependency culture, scroungers, single mothers, feral children, forty fags a day… plasma televisions. It brings to mind something I read recently while researching my second book The Butcher Bir…

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S D Sykes explores medieval toilets

Posted on: 29/07/2013 with tags: medieval toilet, s d sykes, weald and downland open air museum, Medieval

I love history. Of course I do, having just spent the last year writing a historical crime novel. But if I had to pick out one area which particularly appealed to me it would be the study of everyday life. The houses people lived in. The beds they slept in. The food they ate. And yes, where they went to the toilet. And it seems I’m not alone in this fascination. Last weekend I spent the day at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum near Chichester, an amazing place where buildings have been save…

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