The Minster’s west front and north porch.
The heavy walls, sharp corners and definitive rounded arches of Southwell Minster peered out from the pages of a book I was reading – or was it an on-line, social media post? – late last year, drawing me in with it’s grand, austere Norman architecture and emitting an aura of the medieval times in which it was conceived.
The plain simplicity of it’s Romanesque west front reflects the piety and devotion to a Higher Power of those who built it. But in it’s simplicity the building’s architecture serves another purpose – a projection of power and authority, a domineering fortress to protect against an oft anarchic age.
Sutton Hoo has provided much fascination in the last weeks, ever sine I caught up with the Netflix movie THE DIG (I gave my thoughts on the film in another blog). But while writing that piece, I became fascinated in the actual dig itself, the finds discovered there and the question of just who was likely to have been placed in the barrow in Suffolk. Continue reading
I stumbled across the #deepnostalgia hashtag on Twitter this morning and was instantly curious, so went to take a look at what it was all about. Deep Nostalgia is offered by the online genealogy website MyHeritage, and uses Artificial Intelligence licensed from D-ID to create the effect that a still photo is actually moving.
But Deep Nostalgia can take photos from any camera and seemingly bring them to life.
The program has a store of pre-recorded driver videos of facial movements and it takes uploaded photographs and applies the one that works best for Continue reading
Absent from work today – not because of the snow but because of a middle of the day appointment – and I’m chasing ghosts from the very distant past in my local area. Sadly for ghost hunters and Most Haunted aficionados, I’m not after the spiritual or ethereal kind but more the traces of an Anglo-Saxon past, buried beneath the fabric of the current Rotherham Minster.
John Guest’s voluminous book Historic Notices of Rotherham gives little indication of the pre-Norman history of Rotherham’s main church, now Minster, beyond indicating that there was a church on the current site prior to 1066. Continue reading
Much publicised over the last few weeks has been Netflix’s original movie offering, THE DIG, based on the John Preston novel of the same name. The Dig stars Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes and tells the story of the discovery of a burial ship, probably that of King Raedweld of the Anglo Saxons, in the mounds of Sutton Hoo during 1938 and 1939.
The real dig itself was massively important in the history of archaeology in the UK and globally. It shed a light on a period about which there was little known and was key in establishing the history of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia and the early Anglo-Saxon period. It also uncovered some stunning examples of Anglo-Saxon metal work, most of which are Continue reading
Looking over the pictures at St Leonard’s that I took in January, I became interested in the heraldic family crest that sits atop the memorial to Sir John Reresby (1634 – 1689). Crests and coat of arms like this were quite common on memorials to individuals with some rank or title. Sir John, as I explain here, was a member of the Baronetcy, the only British hereditary honour that is not a peerage. Continue reading
This January, I finally managed to get inside St Leonard’s Church at Thrybergh to take some photographs of the inside of the building and of some of the quite grand memorials and monuments that can be found in there. Most of these memorials are linked with the names of families from the local area throughout the long history of the place and include the Fullertons and Reresby.
The Reresby family came by the estate at Thrybergh in 1316 when it passed from it’s previous owners, the Normanvilles. They – the Reresby’s – held it in an unbroken line for around the next four hundred years, with Sir John Reresby (1611 – 1646) becoming the first Baronet of Thribergh in 16421.
However, it’s not that Sir John Reresby that this blog piece concerns itself but his son, who became the second Baronet in 1634 on his father’s death. Continue reading
Halloween is always an atmospheric time of year – glowing pumpkins, roasted chestnuts, Yorkshire parkin and faces painted in a myriad of ghoulish disguises. But this year was made all the more so by spending Samhain in the Gothic surroundings of Whitby and it’s wonderful abbey ruins.
English Heritage‘s Illuminated Abbey event in 2019 was a week of activities at the abbey that sits in a prominent position on the headland overlooking Whitby’s ancient harbour. The abbey itself is, of course, a ruin – years of neglect after the violence of it’s dissolution in 1540 left it a shell. The bracing wind, rain and salt spray from the North Sea have also taken their toll on the stonework and an attack by German battle-cruisers in December 1914 did further severe damage.
I find myself writing this blog in Lincolnshire, a place we often visit as a family, and somewhere that my own family hails from in the dim and distant past. While I’ve been aware of this association in my family history since I first started researching my family history in 2001, it was only last year that I actually found myself with the time to spare and in the right place to be able to visit the church at Tallington.
My earlier blog posting considered the legend of a local saint, Saint Leonard of Reresby, one about which I had never come across until I researched the medieval stone cross at St Leonard’s Church in nearby Thrybergh.
It’s unsurprising that I’ve never come across the legend before as it seems the first time anyone has put any coherent research together is John Doxey’s website on the local area.
Etching from 1817 of the stone cross at it’s original location on East Hill (now the cemetery) in Thrybergh.
I wrote in a previous blog about the stone cross that can be found at St Leonard’s Church in Thrybergh and while researching that post I came across the legend of St Leonard and the various stories and myths associated with it. It was a story that I was unfamiliar with even though I’m more than familiar with Thrybergh and with the church itself. Thanks go to John Doxey, among others, for providing some of the background information to my own search on his own website.