All posts tagged: history

Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

I was flicking through a copy of the BBC History Magazine, don’t ask me which I own quite a few, and I came across a photograph of a painting done of Anne Boleyn by an unknown artist. The actual painting is in the National Portrait Galley in London and above is my meagre attempt to recreate it. Well some of it. I ran out of paper at the bottom. In secondary school I could not draw faces. They would always be out of proportion, warped and weird. I’m still not amazing but you can at least tell that Anne is supposed to be a human being. In the last five years my skills with a pencil have improves significantly, it just took time, practice and patience. The same as any skill. For those of you uncertain who Anne Boleyn was, she was the second wife of Henry VIII of England. They married after Henry’s divorce from Catherine and Aragon and she is seen by many historians as a driving factor in some of Henry’s more …

History Fandom

I have always been a fan of history, right from when I was a small child. For those of you who read my posts regularly you’ll have noticed already the I have something of an obsession for the old and the half-forgotten. For this post I decided to combine my love of history with my love of scribbling. I don’t claim to have any great talent for drawing, but I do find it relaxing and really good fun. The first of the doodles above is taken from a 1337 French illustration. I’m assuming that it’s Philip VI of France but that might be wrong.  The original image doesn’t name the character but Philip VI fits with the time and provenance of the artwork. The original illustration depicts St Eligius pinching the devil’s nose, a story from the First Crusade. Image number two is a doodle of a Norman helmet. It’s a little more ornate that the traditional image of a Norman helmet but I quite liked the extra challenge the detail added to the piece …

Jisei – Japanese Death Poems

In ancient Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures, a practice was used at the time of death to capture the last words spoken. This practice was called jisei (in Japan) or death poem Written below are my entries for DVersePoets’ most recent prompt. Written By Grace from Bodhirose’s Blog, the challenge is to write a haiku or tanka in the theme of Jisei. Check out her fantastic post about them on the DVerse Poet’s Pub here! ——————– Jisei – A Tanka You can fall further than your heart would have believed into your own mind. It eats you alive this thing, mind, body and soul, all gone. Jesei – A Haiku In part it’s for you, all these words scattered around, they will outlast me.

Ditherington Flax Mill – Grandfather To Skyscrapers?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel so proud of your own local knowledge that you haven’t got a clue what to do with yourself when it turns out you were wrong? It’s soul crushing. In that moment being a hedgehog sounds like a fantastic idea because curling into yourself seemed like the only way you could possibly escape the shame. “Hey, you know the Maltings? Did you know it was the first iron framed building in the world!” No. No it was not. It isn’t even completely iron framed but that doesn’t bother me quite as much as being told I was wrong about the ‘first ever’ claim, or that I’d been proudly toting it as my tip-bit of cool history from my native soil of Shropshire whenever I got the chance. For those of you who don’t know, the Maltings are a building in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Half an hour drive from where I live when I’m at home with my parents, this crumbling building is something of a National …

Life Among Old Paper

The letter was marked number 66/41/C/8504 and mixed in with the correspondence of someone else. This was the only reason her name had survived the purging of her family when they sought to scour all trace of her from their history. Wincing at the creak of old paper straining beneath the pull of modern fingers, Anna unfolded the letter. “To my dearest Father, I am sorry…” The rest is faint, the ink is much older than Anna and almost lost to time’s fading. She wonders if whoever wrote it can see someone has found her words and is finally listening. Back in Shrewsbury our archives are right next to the library and for me the two sites share so many similarities that one always makes me think of the other.

Rebels, Plots and Spies

Calling all NaNoWriMo fantasy writers out there! Are you ready for November yet? How’s your world-building going? Have you got those factions sorted out yet? What about races? Are you going to have any? Will there be friction between them? Who’s ruling your world? Is there more than one ruler? Do they get along? Are there wars? Who’s winning? Why are they fighting? Does one side thing they’re fighting because of one issue and does the other side think their fighting because of something completely different? Wait! Are there more than two sides even? Dear flubberworts, writing a fantasy-fiction novel can be confusing. For those of you who haven’t checked out the about page I’ll let you in on a secret  well known fact about me. I love my history. Especially medieval and early modern Europe. Anything under two hundred years old can suck it, you’re too young and I’m just not that into you. But I digress. My point is, history is awesome and if you have any sort of background studying history in …

Farm Archaeology

I seem to be starting my own mini-archive and I’m blaming my father for it. Well perhaps I shouldn’t be using the word blame, I actually love how interested my father gets in things from the past, but the issue is that I seem to take this love to another level and now I seem to be using the archivist skills from one year at my university archive to put together my own personal one. Do you remember the spoon? No? Well here: If you give it a click it will take you to the relevant ramble about my childhood obsession with digging. [I thought I was an archaeologist so read that as digging with intent. I wasn’t just digging some random hole, despite what the results may look like these days.] Anyway, I’ve gone off topic just as I always do, time to get back to the inspiration for this specific post. [Originally I was going to write about St. Swinthun’s Day and things my Grandad says but then I found out that St. …


So far there have been more pages turned than footsteps trodden in my life. This isn’t necessarily bad. Those pages and the words have fed into everything I am, everything I want to be, everything I want to do. They have set pins into maps for locations I can see and given me the chance to create for myself that which no longer exists. I could walk the world over and never find the moment when the Parthenon stood whole, or Stephen Sauvestre sat hunched over sketched out plans, or Henry De Audley first saw the finished Red Castle. However, I am not content with pages instead of footsteps, and it is time for my feet to catch up.   Time changes all things, sweeping stone to sand and dust. Witness what comes next. A Haibun for DVersePoets. Thank you for the wonderful prompt and a fantastically interesting article.