Monday, August 29, 2016

Nottingham and Robin Hood. Sherwood Forest.

Robin Hood statue, Nottingham, England

Robin Hood. He is understated in his town, Nottingham, and in his woods, Sherwood Forest. See; and There is a fine interactive museum, however, with tableaux and details and old ledgers.

  • Update to 2016:  New archeological finds at nearby King's Clipstone, a village where The King's Houises, a/k/a King John's palace documented in 1164 are laid out at Archeology Magazine, Sept-Oct 2016, see

Robin Hood, according to the exhibits, is a generic type of name, like John Doe, used for any unknown petty criminal or other hapless individual arrested for whatever.

 Robin Hood did this, Robin Hood did that. See the ledgers through the years.  All those activities over that long period of time could not have referred to one person. But as anywhere, stories illustrate larger truths, and may well not be true in themselves. Legend, myth. Robin Hood. See the tales at

Many Robin Hoods:  Perhaps the main model for our Robin Hood was one Robin fitz Ooth, Earl of Huntingdon, born 1160, died 1247, Or Sir Robert Foliot, 1110-1165, or Robert Hod, or Robert de Kyme, 1210-1285, Robert Hood of the Wakefield Roles, 1290-1346, or several others not listed at the robinhood info site above.  Or a collage.

 Once a figure is identified, religions or social, the stories collect, and soon have a life of their own.

Sunday offers limited visiting hours. Visiting on a Sunday is good for leisurely strolls and a less crowded museum; but not all exhibit areas are open early. The underground caves and dungeon areas beneath the castle area did not open until much later.

Sing it again, Robin Hood riding through the glen, at

Update 2010:  the new film, Robin Hood, at, is fun and fast-fighting, but nothing at Nottingham seems to support the details.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Worcester. King Ceowulf II of Mercia, defender of England. Move over, King Alfred of Wessex.

Hwaet! An ally of King Alfred of Wessex seeks his time on the stage as a hero of England, against the Vikings.  Co-efforts shown on coins with faces together, equal, as to Alfred and Ceowulf.

Share, children.  Share.  History rewrites by the chroniclers serving the agenda of the king best equipped to chronicle, rule the day, but eventually some do get corrected.

Here, the chroniclers of Alfred the Great, King Alfred of Wessex, who beat back the Vikings at Edington and is therefore a great hero, had help.  Not only help, but perhaps the efforts of the unsung King Ceowulf II, king of Mercia 874-877 were dispositive.  Coins have been found that display Alfred and Ceowulf equally on the face of the coins.  A few of them had been found earlier, but a new discovery shows the widespread dissemination of them and points to a strong alliance between the kings. See support at

Ceowulf is not only written out of history, the few accounts of him are unfavorable. See
Ceowulf was dismissed as a "foolish king's thane" holding lands for the interest of the Vikings in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, see historyfiles site, and, for example.  Instead, he was independent, a "shrewd negotiator" (see site), legitimate king, and with friendly relations as to Alfred.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Glastonbury Abbey: Archeology and King Arthur

Archeology at Glastonbury Abbey.  Review of the old, and exploration of the new: Glastonbury Abbey back in the news  Archeology may produce ambiguous results, but continual look-backs are valuable. What was dismissed, or advocated earlier, may be a springboard for new information.  Here, the Abbey site was indeed occupied in the 5th Century, the time of King Arthur, but alleged remains of his body and that of Guinevere?  Not definitive, not really anything.  Just a pit.

Here, the interface of legend and fact, see Legends of Glastonbury at

Timeline highpoints

33-35 CE -- Legend.  Joseph of Arimathea, holder of the Holy Grail (do a search) founds "Christian" church at Glastonbury.  Church?  What institution was in effect so soon after the death?  No mind.

5th Century -- Site is occupied, with "definitive proof" at the Abbey site, and this from the time of the actual King Arthur, see Legends of Glastonbury

600's -- Saxons, now Christian, conquered Somerset county. King:  Ine of Wessex, who built on the Abbey site, see

1066 -- Norman invasion.  Normans added to the existing structures at the Abbey.

1184 -- Huge fire at the Monastery, see site.  Monks rebuild, with some new but old-looking structures, to add to the pilgrimage value, see Legends of Glastonbury site.

1191 -- Monks at the Abbey find a log, hollow but with two bodies inside and a cross with the inscription indicating that here lie "King Arthur and his wife Guinevere."

1278 -- Edward I oversees reburial, bones said to be the royals Arthur and Guinevere

1536-1541 -- Protestant Dissolution of the Monasteries, with Glastonbury Abbey included in 1539.  In 1536, there were 800 monasteries, convents, friaries, reign of Henry VIII.  By 1541, none, with 10,000 religious persons displaced. See Glastonburyabbey site.

1904-1979 --  Era of 36 or so excavations, but unpublished, often misinterpreted

1950's - 1960's -- more excavations, but affirmative evidence for the royals Arthur and Guinevere are contested.

Friday, August 23, 2013

England and Pulp Icons. Country Life. What's For Sale?

Country Life. British pulp magazine in large glossy. 

This is a magazine, oversized, laying out Brit properties for sale.  Property!  A British obsession.  Look at the house hunting international. The British talk of property. The concept uber alles. Not just a piece of real estate, but a property.   Great estates just for you.  Photography.  Vistas.  History.  A delight over coffee before the stress of the day o'ertakes.  Who would not enjoy it? Things for sale.  Acquisition.  Profit.  Find this icon for the uppah classes and wannabes who drool, at

For sale signs.  All over for the Brits to pick and choose.

Who else is property and, accordingly, pointedly included as available?  Ah, yes. The youngish or still-searching Ladies. The bloodline preserves the concept of property. If the property goes by male primogenture (does it still?)  marry up to one of them. Get in line.

  • In each issue, toward the center, more toward the prominence of the beginning than the afterthought of the ending, is this.  The Broad of the Day.  Somebody's Lovely Dottah!  A dewy or airbrushed blooming young thing, or a little past young but hunting for a permanent buyer.  Lady this or that.  The daughter of Who Big and Who Bigger and the genealogy for all to scrutinize.

Buy me says she.  Like Alice in Wonderland.  A cookie.  Eat me. A poor one. Shrink.  Wrong cookie. Eat me.  Grow. 

So, asks she, who will my husband be? 

Go to Country Life and see the dames' daughters in waiting.  There should be an audio attached.  Perhaps a scratch and sniff for the hedgerows.  Ha-has.  See the function of the ha-ha, to preserve boundaries without spoiling the view. at

Go for the before centerfold first, like in Playboy. 

That's the spirit. Pip pip.

Friday, February 01, 2013

WILTSHIRE. Stonehenge and Healing; Acoustics

Ceremonial, Healing, Acoustics, Other? 
2013 update

Stonehenge is a setting of ancient ceremonial standing stones near the town of Amesbury, in Wiltshire. Find it at 

The site is an easy ride from the airport at Heathrow.  A motorway after landing eases practice driving on the left on where there are lots of lanes.  What is Stonehenge?  There are various and ever-changing theories. It continues to amaze.

In addition to its ceremonial attributes, Stonehenge was an acoustic wonder.  By way of update,  today, New Year's 2013, a New York Times review by Katherine Bouton of the book, Discord, the Story of Noise (book by Mike Goldsmith) notes that Stonehenge originally was an acoustical marvel. In 2600 BC, its sound reverberated much like a concert hall, thanks to "thanks to the smooth and slightly curved inner face of the stones," see
Stonehenge: Stone,  Outside Main Perimeter, Wiltshire, England

1.  Stonehenge as a place of worship.

We had been told that this was a place of sun worship - example With the carbon-dating of cremated remains that had been in storage, archeologists then said that the purpose of Stonehenge is clearer. It was a burial ground, and apparently for rulers that dominated the area for some 500 years. Stonehenge itself dates from about 2500-3000 BC. See,0,3850894.story

Update 2011.
Research and archeology are now finding more to this famous setting of monolithic standing stones at Stonehenge, Stonehenge long thought to be for ceremonial and/or burial purposes.  There are other henge monument traces nearby, remains of a mound circle,  gaps, ditches, seen by below-ground imaging and without the digs initially, see  This also dates from 2500-3000 BC, as does mainstream Stonehenge.  Named Bluestone Henge in 2009, at its discovery (after our trip),

Stonehenge, for all its other possible uses, was apparently also a place of healing, its own Lourdes where those with illness or deformity could come for relief.  See

See September 2008 articles, at

Early pilgrims coming to Stonehenge - pre-Christian came from other parts of Europe, not just local. This was the Neolithic era. Some skulls even show signs of surgery (didn't the ancient Egyptians also drill through skulls successfully?), see
Current dating: at 2300 BCE (Before Christian Era), and more precise than the broader range laid out before,  see

2. Logistics

Comment reply -

  • We were able to get very close, but not to touch. Park across the highway, then follow the pedestrian tunnel underneath to the stones' side. There was a gravel walkway around a tight perimeter, with some stones nearby on the other side of the walkway as well. There was a very light wirey fence, nothing formidable, more a guide. We could not wander freely inside the main area of the stones, however.  Everyone stayed on the walkway.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dartmoor. Saxon Roots. Widicombe; Widukind?

1.  Widecombe.  An old town of Devon, Dartmoor. Spelling sometimes Widdecombe. Inspiration for the jolly rouser about Uncle Tom Cobley and all, perhaps on the gray mare at the Widecombe Fair, see There is apparently a traditional Saxon Well nearby; the area was a Saxon administrative center centuries ago, see

The area's inhabitants resisted William the Conqueror in his push westward, requiring William to build several castles (not seen by us) to establish his domains. 

2.  Saxons. Where is the research about them in particular, not just the Domesday or general Old English ideas?

Our understanding is that Saxons arrived along with or not long after the first Angles, when the Romans left.  See Angles and Saxons intermarried apparently, or at least did not severely conflict with each other, and voila, Anglo-Saxons.  The royal mints for Saxon Kings Ethelred, Harald, Edward, were located at Dartmoor.  See Moorlander.  Widecombe-in-the-Moor: a topic of great tomes, see this 1865 Google Book, Western Antiquary.  There was an Anglo-Saxon settlement at Dunstone, see, and the word root dun itself as Saxon, see

3.  Venture farther back than Saxons already in the British Isles.  Move to their own source, many in Saxony.

In Saxony, pursue a famous chieftain of the Saxons, Widukind, who harried Charlemagne for some 30 years before forced to capitulate, as he did in part.  See Germany Road Ways,  A church dedicated to him, and containing bones said to be his (no comparative DNA?) behind the altar are at Enger, Germany.  See 

The fine statue of Widukind at Enger, a pride of the town, was melted by the Nazis for war materiel.

Some spellings, some phonetics, are so close as to suggest a connection between otherwise separate-looking ideas, places, histories.  After finding Widicombe Fair in an old piano book of folksongs, listen to it at youtube again, above, and then think of the Saxons, some migrating peaceably to the British Isles in the course of things; others forced out by Charlemagne after Sachsenhain's slaughter, numbers may vary but the impact on the population did not, see

4.  Widukind's folk to Widecombe?

Saxon Widukind's kin to live on, in a way, in Dartmoor? That is up to the venerables on the moor:  can you check for us?  The root "wid" also is of Scandinavian-Saxon origin, do a search on Google Images for Runes Widing for an example of an amateur etymological sleuth enjoying life, and matching an old family story with old runes.  WID.

Runes.  Here experts are needed.  Our look into runes WID and runes produces fun, but little to withstand a serious researcher on the root wid, as it is also found in old incantations.  See

The surprise is finding so little about Saxon roots in the Dartmoor materials.  Spur on. Inform us all. Please.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rochester, Charles Dickens, Kent

Charles Dickens and Rochester

Rochester was founded by the Romans in some 53 AD, but often that would have been on a site earlier used by others.  Charles Dickens' moved there when he was a child, and his father was struggling to support the family.  He, the father, was constantly in debt, and in and out of debtors' prisons until he lucked out on one job -- found his employer a cheat -- blew the whistle, and then could move elsewhere for a fresh start.   The senior Mr. Dickens was the model for Mr. Micawber, one of the characters in Great Expectations.
Joseph Clayton Clarke illustrated much of Dickens, here Mr. Micawber,  fair use.  Smithsonian magazine has a fine article on Dickens, at Going Mad for Charles Dickens
Mr. Micawber, from David Copperfield:

Our additional Kyd illustrations are still framed, so a little dark.  Enjoy!
The Artful Dodger, from Oliver Twist:

Sam Weller, from The Pickwick Papers:

Uriah Heep, from David Copperfield:
Mr. Pickwick, from The Pickwick Papers:
Charles Dickens' life was complex, as anyone's.  Meet Ellen "Nelly" Ternan, at'Secret Affair

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rule, Rhubarbiana. West Yorkshire M1 and M62.

Rhubarb country.  Food alerts. The Rhubarb Triangle.  An inauspicious-looking triangle where the M1 and the M62 motorways intersect. The Financial Times zeroes in.  See the highways at  That would be West Yorkshire:  bounded by Wakefield, Rothwell, Morley.  Go from Manchester to Wakefield, and continue south to Nottingham, perhaps. 
Why?  Because rhubarb is a metaphor for the dedicated, stubborn life, growing where little else of value will. Bad climate, lots of waste from wool industry waste known as "shoddy", but good roads for transport.  See Fool's Paradise, on our US paper edition, The Rhubarb Ruse, at
What else but rhubarb: it takes a ruse.  Kid the plant into thinking spring has sprung. Leave the root out during fall; let it feel the sharp frost. Then take it indoors where it is warmer, and it will think it is okay to grow. Or, if it is too mild, apply an acid. See details. 

Rhubarb poisoning. Do not eat leaves.  We did, nice and chopped and sauteed, but it did not taste tastey. Hop on the internet: poison. Rhubarb info, poison! Fast to poison control at the drugstore, call Poison Central. Everybody fine.  Noone seems to post the antidote process, so just remember to call.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cumbria, Sheffield, Mormon History. Mormon Convert Immigration 19th C. Coming to America

Mormon History
Convert Immigration from England
19th Century
Perpetual Emigrating Fund

Mormonism.  Converts. History. The fast rise of a religion. Here, the impact on historical interest triggered by a Mormon candidate for the presidency of the United States/

1.  Roots of Mitt Romney.  Cumbria.  Dalton?

The current American presidential election process includes a Mormon candidate, whose forbears are traced, apparently, to 1837 or so, to Cumbria, Dalton in particular, see  This is an area that includes the Appleby Horse Fair, held 2011 on June 3-5.  This event attracts thousands of people of Traveler, Gypsy heritage, see
Interest simmers, not a big deal, on the ethnic roots of the candidate:  Mitt Romney, with Romneys in England for several centuries.  And in the process of Mormon conversions and financial support for converts.  See!/2012/01/mormon-converts-19th-c-owned-by-company.html.
With a name, Romney, so like Roma, Rom, Romany, we looked around. 
2.  Are there roots in Romney Marsh of Kent.

And, the closest connection for Romney with Romany or Roma or Rom (Travelers, Gypsies) is in the Romney Marsh of Kent.  This is specifically stated also as the Romany Marsh, see  A smugglers' haven -- wool, brandy, tea. Special breed of sheep that do well in the wet. The identification by surname and ethnic name is tenuous to be sure, and certainly in the dimmer past, but not so far fetched.  Will our Mitt Romney take an interest, ever, in migration, ethnic groups, and their opportunities.
3.  The rise of Mormonism

Mormonism, properly known as Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints, or LDS, began formally in America in 1830 by a previously unknown person, one Joseph Smith.

The religious sytem rapidly spread by means of LDS missionaries abroad, particularly in England. This activity resulted in a large migration of newly converted believers, thousands from the mainly industrial cities and worker neighborhoods (is that so?). These new Mormons emigrated to harbor areas in America from Boston to Louisiana, and then to gathering points to Utah by wagon train, see the BBC overview of basic beliefs at

Our candidate's family in Dalton was apparently converted in 1837. Who were they, to take on something so new? Are there any birth or death records prior to 1837, land holdings.  Or were they, as so many of our own forbears, not within the established cultural system.

Dalton is eager to claim Mitt Romney, see  See all the connections with family that that site lays out, tourists ho. An interest remains in photos, birth records, gravesites, documentation, of Church of England or Roman Catholic heritage, or other mainstream British Christian.  This documentation of Romney heritage would offset the clear suggestion that, at some point, a Romani family assimilated. All we need are the documents, the vetting.

The BBC identifies working class British as the primary converts, as industrial conditions were so harsh on laboring people. And there were also the poor, no resources. The BBC identifies Sheffield in particular as a human tragedy, for whom an alternative, a religion that welcomed them and would help them get to America, was a magnet.  See "social misery" at

4.  Financial help to converts.

Cash offered help to the poor and middling in their conversion.  The Mormons' Perpetual Emigration Fund or Perpetual Emigrating Fund, see Google Book Journal of Discourses of Brigham Young1854, on the establishment of it: reasons, methods.

The Perpetual Emigration Fund, or PEF, accordingly, was set up as a corporation by the Mormons in 1849, by which converts got free passage to America in exchange for repaying the amount (how much? was there interest? were fortunes made on a profit between passage costs and amount charged) -- a kind of indentured servitude a the American end? Or a huge student loan idea -- could the people get out of it if they changed heir minds?  In either event, it was a helping hand, get people over here, get them started.  Some, of course, never repaid; but benefited nonetheless.

Brigham Young was eloquent on the need, and the results, see  There is much on the subject, see another Google Book, Western Lives, a Biographical History
5.  Romney: Long history after emigration.

5.1.   Does length of residence mean superiority:  look at emigration through current lens.
Does emigration prior to 1900 or so mean superiority.  It means more time to amass wealth before income taxes, to exploit before the rights of others gained acceptance, but individual merit? Does any brilliant person pass those genes or influence on beyond the second generation?  Experience says, after the second generation, people become hangers-on.  Who left in immigration waves:  the successful, or the seeking.
5.2  If Romney has other-ethnic roots, different from pure "English" in the cultural tradition sense, that should help in his tolerance of other immigrants.  The Romany Archive and Documentation Center in Austin , Tx, would also like to know, we think.  See RADOC at

Why care?  Immigrants and immigrant rights (some would say there are no rights if persons enter without advance documentation) are in hot issue in America.
If this candidate knew that his heritage at some point was not English Upper, or even Middle, but even Traveler; or, English working class, would he be more amenable to human aspirations.  If his forebears were laborer, those who may not have been in misery, but had advancement roads blocked in the 19th Century, would he be more willing to stand up for those similarly disadvantaged, who don't have a handy Mormon conversion in their own country to help them. 

Or is Mitt Romney of the Dalton Romneys now just another profit-obsessed CEO:  if capitalism allows the big to swallow the little, why fuss?  That is an election issue.

6.  Other possible roots:

The name "Romney" suggests Romani, Romany, Roma, etc. but whether his forebears were Travelers will take someone simply looking up where the birth and grave records are.
The name itself, may even be Welsh,, but there were Travelers and Tinkers in Wales, and also in Ireland, so it is an open issue until we learn more. If the family assimilated before the 1600's or even 1700's, no trace would remain, except the name, is that so?
7. Suppose Romney has Roma or Travelers roots.

How are Travelers, Gypsies, doing here?  They are exploited in the United States, stay under the radar when possible, just as in Europe.  See Gypsies, Roma, Romani. See also an overview as to Texas at at!/2011/12/candidates-and-their-own-minority-roots.html; or at; or

Sunday, October 23, 2011

CORNWALL, Morwenstow. The Caledonia Shipwreck, Queen Scota?

There is a shipwreck site off Cornwall, the hapless "Caledonia" -- and a figurehead salvaged is, say some, Queen Scota who invaded ancient Ireland, leading her bands of warriors and founding lines of kings.  See Scota, or Scotia, as queen of the tribe of Scotti who then, pressed into Ulster, commenced to raid and then settle in Scotland and fight with Picts against Rome.  Is all that so?  See

Here she is, as found at Morwenstow, Cornwall, (fair use thumbnail) at

The issue of which tribes came from where and did what can never be settled where the bases are oral tradition and legend, then, again, they cannot be totally disregarded.  And, creativity is always in style, see  A more scholarly approach is at

Ancient Ireland.  Cornwall would have been well known to ancient navigators, whether ships were headed to parts unknown and ending up in Ireland, or not. Milesians:  First through Spain, perhaps from the middle east, to Ireland, and Albany -- old name for Scotland.  Is all this fantastic? See