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Susan Granquist said...

Thank you for a well written view on the Jorvik Ragnarok. I have been posting some similar views, especially that I was disappointed with the center for doing just exactly that and had lost a lot of respect for the institution. I saw very few other people that took the view, and thought that it was great fun. The difference is just what you pointed out, they didn't say it was for fun, they made it up and promoted it as a truth that others took seriously just because of the source.

Clerk of Oxford said...

Thanks for commenting, Susan! I replied to your comment here:

Jerry C said...

Hello Clerk of Oxford. I was doing a little online research--my area is Spanish Medieval--and somehow a search brought up your blog. Some days, I suppose you just get lucky. I scrolled down to the flower photos posted on Thursday, March 7th. I stopped and scrolled to the top of that entry and read. A perfect, simple joy to consider the poetry, the photos, and your own lovely prose. I felt as though I could almost hear the lines of Arnold's "The Scholar Gipsy" interwoven in your work. I thought particularly of scholar's assessment of the bustle of modernity: "this strange disease of modern life, / With its sick hurry, its divided aims." Thank you for helping me to pause for a moment and to consider the beauty of March. I hope to read further in your blog.

Busyantine said...

I discovered your delightful blog within the past two weeks. I submitted a comment re John Skelton. This weekend I am visiting my elderly mother-in-law in Shropshire. The conversation turned to poetry and she recalled the line: "it is a joy for the blood to jig to..", but couldn't recall the author. We searched for those words and the first result Google returned was your site. John Masefield's The Tewkesbury Road. A nice piece of serendipity.
As we walked in the Shropshire Hills this morning I thought of Masefield's (now corrected lines, and thought that much was here still that he could enjoy.

Clerk of Oxford said...

What a lovely coincidence! Clearly we have more than one literary taste in common. Thank you for telling me about it, and for reminding me of that wonderful poem - this is just the season 'to be out on the road, and going one knows not where'!

Anjo de B said...

I really like your blog I am interested in Medieval mystics especially the English ones. Are you "A Clerk of Oxford" on I am "Rainbow Heart" on that. In real life I am a Benedictine monk in Scotland, so was pleased to see that "monks" were one of your likes so too St Margaret. Her grandson (or was it great G/son?) founded this Abbey
A very grace filled Easter to you. In the risen Lord
Brother Finbar OSB
(Btw I used to go to St Benets periodically when Fr Henry was there and giving his biblical seminars for us enclosed monastics)

Clerk of Oxford said...

Hello, and thanks for commenting! I found you on Happy Easter to you!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing the true spiritual enrichment of literature through your blog. I graduated from the University of Dallas with a degree in English Literature last May, where I studied Thomas Traherne at great length. Although he was Protestant, he is a great inspiration to me as a Catholic poet. Thus, I was very happy to find him on your blog today, amongst many other uplifting things. Keep up your good work in academia! May Saint Edith Stein assist you in your labours.

Clerk of Oxford said...

Thank you! And thanks for commenting - I'm always delighted to meet a fellow admirer of Thomas Traherne!

Henry said...

Hello and greetings from the antipodes.

I've recently read the Wikipedia article on St Olaf (not being an academic) and was struck by the fact that he had an illegitimate son and is also a canonised saint. (Not that this is unique - St Augustine Africanus was also so placed.).

I appreciate that Norway is a bit removed from your central interests but, Given interest your expertise in the interface of Vikings and Christianity, I'd be v interested

Clerk of Oxford said...

Hello, Henry! That's an interesting question, and there are a few possible ways to explain it. One is that the canonisation of medieval kings as saints often has more to do with the circumstances of their death than with whether or not they lived a saintly life - if a king was killed suddenly or unjustly he was likely to be considered a martyr for that reason alone (partly because of a sense that every king was in some way sacred, and partly because calling a deceased king a saint could have powerful political implications). So he wouldn't be disqualified from that if he had done some not-very-holy things in his life.

But it's also true that the idea of 'illegitimacy' wasn't quite as clear-cut in the earlier medieval period as it is today - there were different marriage customs, some recognised by the church and some not. It was not uncommon in Scandinavia (and in England before the Norman Conquest) for kings to have children by more than one woman, and the children weren't necessarily distinguished as legitimate and illegitimate based on the status of their parents' marriage ('illegitimate' sons could and did inherit the throne, for instance). So although Olaf's son might be considered illegitimate by modern standards, he probably wouldn't have been thought so in eleventh-century Norway - the church didn't always try to dissuade kings from having more than one 'wife'.

I hope that makes sense - thanks for commenting!

Edward Nightingale said...

I have been following your blog for a few months, and I merely wished to say how much I enjoy it, and how peaceful it seems.

I am generally against making the past 'relevant to our own day', but here I find the flavour of what may have been, and a meaningful linkage through your interests covering the centuries.

That's it: thank you!

Clerk of Oxford said...

That's lovely to hear. Thanks so much for telling me - it means a lot!

Zue said...

How lovely to have discovered your blog. I found it today when I was looking for something by Vaughan Williams.
My home is in Chalgrove and I am just beginning to look more deeply into our medieval history.
I think your blog is going to be so helpful and inspiring.
You have already inspired me to visit Binsey.
Have a wonderful, bright November day.
Susan Allan

Clerk of Oxford said...

Thank you! I do envy you for living in Chalgrove, with that beautiful church - it must be one of the best in the country, so a very good place to start exploring medieval history!

Kate Pilgrim said...

Thank you for the splendid illustration of a bell-ringer. We're hoping against hope that an illustration of a trapezoidal bell such as the Marden Bell will turn up, complete with 'bell-weard' --- an honoured relic from the Celtic church, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

I am currently researching St Eanswythe of Folkestone and would be grateful for any information you may have. Also, would you have any images that I could reproduce please? Any information will be used as part of a local history project which will include a procession to be held annually on St. Eanswythe's feast day. Thank you.

Clerk of Oxford said...

Hello - I assume you've seen my post about St Eanswythe: Email me at and I can send you some full-sized images.

Stephen Jarvis said...

Dear Clerk of Oxford
I was led to your blog because I googled the words “re-reading Pickwick” – I thought that if someone was re-reading The Pickwick Papers (or even re-re-reading it) it was a good indication of their enthusiasm for the novel. I was delighted to discover that you had posted some pieces about Pickwick on your blog, so I think that you are exactly the sort of person I have been trying to find.
I thought you might be interested in a piece of Pickwick-news. You see, I have written a novel about the origins and afterlife of The Pickwick Papers. It’s called Death and Mr Pickwick and it will be published in May by Jonathan Cape of the Random House Group (in the UK) and in June by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (in the USA). You can find out more at:
where there are also links to the publishers’ websites.
In response to the material you have posted on your blog, let me say that you’ll find material in my novel about Wellerisms, Bill Stumps and the Pickwickian Christmas, and much more besides. I don’t cover Sam Weller’s Valentine (not everything can be covered!) but I do mention Valentine’s Day, and there is an unusual twist on it in my novel, with a minor character called Valentine.
Anyway, I do hope you will take a look at my novel if you get an opportunity.
Best wishes

Stephen Jarvis

deirdre said...

Greetings, Ms. Parker.
I follow you on Twitter, and enjoy your blog very much. I think your decision to cover only what you like, or what has captured your fancy, is a very good policy. I write today to see if there are any little-known facts on the White Ship disaster of November 1120 you'd like to share. I've done the standard research while writing a novel that puts forth the position that someone besides Berold, the buoyant butcher from Rouen, survived the wreck. Great fun, and I kept true to all the known facts I could dig up. The novel is now in the hands of my literary agent, pre-publication, so there is still time to add a little known fact or two. Thanks again, and job well done.
Best, Deirdre O’Rourke

Clerk of Oxford said...

Sorry, I don't have any suggestions, but good luck with the book!

Anonymous said...

Probably a dumb question: Is it possible to receive your blog entries via email?
Thanks, Angelabsurdist

Clerk of Oxford said...

Yes - you can subscribe via the link in the sidebar :)

Oliver Stanley said...

St. Eanswythe

We live in the parish of Cold Ashton in South Glos., just north of Bath. There is a charter from King Athelstan which mentions St. Eanswythe's Spring on the southern boundary of the parish, which we have identified. What is the likely significance of St. Eanswythe being the patroness of a spring at this date?

David Wilson said...

Dear Clerk of Oxford, I wonder if you know anything about the church at Eastling near Faversham in Kent. I was talking to a friend [Esther Eidinow, Classics, Nottingham] about continuity of religious places, and she said the church there is surrounded by some splendid ancient Yew trees. As they can live for thousands of years, I wonder if there is any other reason we might suppose it to be possibly a pre-Christian place [grove?] reused as a church as Pope Gregory suggested. Looking at the map I see there is an 'East Grove' to the East of it. I love these continuities not just of churches but meeting places too [eg Cuckhamsley Hill in Berks] but I suspect I jump to conclusions too often!
Thanks again for you blog

Clerk of Oxford said...

Oliver Stanley - I couldn't really say, though I think it's surprising to find a reference to St Eanswythe outside Kent. You may already know of this, but there's a bibliography of discussions of that charter's boundaries at this link:
You may find something useful there.

David Wilson - I don't know, I'm afraid, but it's always a possibility!

patrick tanny said...

thanks for your Gilbert of Sempringham stories, i much enjoyed the story of Gilbert and the man worn out by is constant kneeling and standing

Unknown said...

Dear Clerk,

I have stumbled across your blog and am thankful. Twenty years ago while racing like a maniac around England I passed through Oxford trying to have a quick look before heading back to Cambridge where I was staying for a few weeks under the guise of conference attendance and a bit of research. But in reality soaking up England. Australia, my home, is beautiful but harsh and I look at you blog and get a kind of balance between this harshness and the softness of the English country side and the depth of its literature and architecture and landscapes all stacked upon one another.

Thank you for this unintended service to the Antipodes! BTW, Macquarie University in Sydney bears the motto, "and gladly teche."


Peter Duffy said...

I'm now a regular reader and enjoy the blog - and cross references - very much. I wondered if you'd seen the Press mention of Bald's Leechbook - a 10th C Saxon treatment for an eye ailment appears to be effective against MRSA - results seem to have amazed modern scientific researchers! See Do you too turn to Bald's Leechbook for treatments? Perhaps there are better contemporary sources?
Peter Duffy

Patrick Sheridan said...

Dear Clerk of Oxford,

I'm looking to expand an article I wrote recently about silver and gold in Tolkien's legendarium and am appealing to your expertise in mediaeval English literature for some guidance in the matter. Can you think of any text that might be relevant to the study? Not so much silver and/or gold themselves but the qualities they have and represent, whether sinister, magnificence, wealth or otherwise.

Many thanks in advance.

Unknown said...

Hi Clerk of Oxford!

I've really really enjoyed reading your blog posts - so much fascinating material! I'm an Oxford student about to sit my English finals and I was hoping to bring in one or two of your ideas; so I was wondering if I could have your name so that I can credit these ideas and avoid plagiarising your work!


Clerk of Oxford said...

Hello Joshua,

That's great to hear, and I'm very flattered - it doesn't seem all that long since I was sitting my own finals! You can credit me as Eleanor Parker. Best of luck with your exams!

Aussiegirl said...

Hello from Australia. I'm researching for a novel partly set in the 14th century in Norfolk. I'm wondering if your blog has a database search I could do to search for information on social issues of that period? Thanks.

Clerk of Oxford said...

Hi, I'm afraid I can't think of anything I've written here which would be relevant to that subject...

Clerk of Oxford said...


Sorry for the slow reply - your comment had gone into the spam folder. Usually I'd be very happy to help with such questions. However, I'm familiar with your blog and, given your generally low opinion of women, I'm surprised to find you asking for my help. I'm sure you'd rather do without assistance from someone like me. Best of luck with your article.

Unknown said...

Hello, I am working on a film project in which we are making film which tracks migration dating back from Anglo Saxon period to the recent 21st century migration of asylum seekers. It is a documentary film, 20 mins long and will mainly be used for educational purpose, in museums and for archives. In this time frame, we will also be talking about Vikings and martyrdom of King Edmund. I found two images pertaining to king Edmund : one where he is being killed by arrows and the other where his head is found in the bush. We wish to use these images in our film when we talk about Danes and king Edmund but we are not sure about the source. Could you please guide me on how to sort out the copyright issue?

Clerk of Oxford said...

If you're referring to the manuscript images in this post you need to contact the British Library, who hold the copyright for those images. The sources of the manuscripts are linked in the post (and the comments).

If those aren't the images you mean, you'll need to be more specific about where on my blog you found them...

Unknown said...

The East Texas writer William Goyen quotes Chaucer, Trouthe at the beginning of his short story "Children of Old Somebody." Not rememberring having heard about ANYTHING from Chaucer on "trouthe" -- and of curse, not having been exposed to much of Chaucer in the first place anyway -- I did the google thing and wound up here. Thank you for the text, the "translation" and the gentle introduction regarding "integrity" as being perhaps a better translation. I agree. I am interested at how much Jesus and Buddha is in this ...

What a profound verse it is. And how SURPRISED I am (NOT) that it was not Required Reading in the public schools of the United States. It is a quite rebellious, heinous, un-American and subversive poem and ANYBODdY with that kind of name must OBVIOUSLY be a commiepinko comsymp or worse.

It continues to amaze how so much profound literature has escaped my notice during seven decades, INCLUDING as an academic and an English teacher. Sure, I got a lot of Shelley but not a WORD about "The Masque of Anarchy". The closest to Blake we ever got was outside of school from Jim Morrison of "The Doors" of perception. And on and on.

Which leads me to this: Not only is it the "trouthe" that 'What they do NOT tell you is more important than what they DO tell you'; but even more so 'the stuff left OFF the reading lists and OUT of the anthologies is more important than the stuff they put in.

Your site is quite a find and I'll be baaack. And I will be trying to avoid use of the word "medieval" to mean cruel. What is cruel, barbaric, dark and uncivilized is the unlettered world of US empire civiliation we live in now.

-- thom

johnAKAmark said...

I came here via Christopher Howse's recent Telegraph article recommending your blog. I'm so glad I did. I only want to say how much I'm enjoying it and how much I'm learning. I'm also a great lover of Kipling and Chesterton; your related posts are fascinating. Cheers!

Unknown said...

..and I do hope you know the beautiful 14th century wall paintings in St Peter ad Vincula in South Newington, really not far from Oxford. "A good example of damage that in a way contributes to the overall effect" (C. Howse).

Richard Hilliard

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, intelligent, passionate, insightful.

Somehow, as a young man growing up in Calfornia, there just weren't many women like you around. You really are something very, very special. I wish you all the academic succeess you'd like, with a side of happiness.

Kevin Vaillancourt
U.S. Dept. of State
Washington, D.C.

Helen said...

Dear Clerk

What words of comfort can one say? Whatever has happened, that is how academia is. Those who have a heart are better off away from it. In your sadness you mention the wheel of fortune, but seem to forget that if you are now at the bottom, the wheel is about to take you to the top again, though maybe in a different direction.
Vent your anger and disappointment, but remember Hope is still in Pandora's box.
Bless you for your blog. It gives me so much pleasure.

David Wilson said...

Dear Clerk,
I am very sorry to hear of your sadness. Your blog is one of the best things I've found on the internet. I really admire your generosity and enthusiasm,the broad range and depth of your scholarship and your unfailing sympathy with the past. You're a star, and while stars sometimes set, they always rise again! A bit like the wheel of fortune as Helen says...
All best

Unknown said...

Hello Clerk, I have found a record for the marriage of William Sessions & Frances Fairbourn at North Hinksey, Berks, 27th Nov 1696. I believe that these two people are two of my Great x 9 Grandparents. Do you have any idea as to where I might be able to find further information, ancestors/descendants, on either of them?
Regards. Brian Ekins

Clerk of Oxford said...

Brian, here's a link to the Berkshire Family History Society website - they can probably help:

Patrick Sheridan said...

In case you or any of your readers are interested, I have started a new Tolkien blog:

Unknown said...

Hello Clerk, I found your outstanding website while researching the chapel frescoes at Haddon Hall and realised you might be able to help me. I have an interest in the Order of the Knights Templar and when I visited the Convento Christo in Tomar (Portugal) at Easter was struck by the (damaged) fresco of the Legend of St Christopher in the Charola. The remains of a fresco on the same theme can be seen on the walls of the small KT church at Cameley in Somerset, the original church for Temple Cloud. (There are also the remains of a wall painting of a jester in the church.) Haddon Hall also has a most remarkable St Christopher fresco. So do you know of a listing of St Christopher murals/fresco in medieval churches in GB? And do you know an authoritative website about St Christopher as I am trying to find a version of the legend that explains the man with a lamp, sometimes in a tower, that appears in most paintings of the legend? (His feet are clearly visible on the right side of the fresco at Haddon Hall.) And, of course, if anyone knows of further jester frescos... I read your entry on the alabaster carvings at HH but did you do any other entries on Haddon Hall? Stephen Roberts, Sheffield

Clerk of Oxford said...

Hi Steve,

There's lots of useful information on medieval English wall-paintings on the site - they have a page on St Christopher ( but I think if you look around that site you'll probably find more examples, too.

I don't know much about his legend, I'm afraid, and I never wrote any more posts about Haddon Hall - I meant to, but somehow never got around to it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Clerk. I have been interested in your blog about Henry Chichele's tomb in Canterbury Cathedral, and as a Cathedral guide can hopefully fill in the details of the figures around the tomb.
Main piers reading from north to south
East end top row 1)William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester (holding what I believe is model of New College Oxford, which he founded)
2) King Henry Vl
3) The Virgin & Child
4) King Henry V
5) Queen Margaret of Anjou (wife of Henry Vl)
Lower Row
1) St Alphege
2) Duke of Clarence (brother of Henry V)
3) Archangel Gabriel
4) Mary de Bohun (1st wife of Henry lV)
5) St Dunstan
West End Top Row
1) St Thomas Becket (with sword in his head)
2) St Gregory
3) Abraham (with Chicele in his bosom)
4) St Augustine of Hippo
5) St Anselm (with his book Cur Deus Homo)
Lower Row
1) St Edmund Rich
2) St Ambrose
3) Archangel Michael (with a dragon)
4) St Jerome
5)St Augustine of Canterbury
Hope this helps

Clerk of Oxford said...

Thanks! That's very useful :)

Simon said...

Good Evening, I live in your neck of the woods of Thanet. I research the famous St Mary shrine here in a Kentish and European context. The fables and folklore yarns about the place are a silly as the impact as the site was once profound, but the affinity of secular and religious people today for its sentiments are as strong as ever. The have been some battles-royal ( excuse the pun ) for the remains to be respected and properly evaluated. Great antiquity of its reality and records is strongly acknowledged by most writers and there the matter has wallowed. My architectural analysis in its own context and then contrasted with published reports suggests an established Saxon presence of early Christian regional repute even then. Could we discuss this further? I digress. Your blog is a pleasant opportunity to read-relax or, imaginatively, tag-along with your perambulations; I see you have the same eye as me for Thanet's natural aesthetic beauty, too. Surely the simplicity religion strove for and lost - but that's humanity for you. Regards.

Simon said...

Hi again, Reckon I've now got you an example saxon chapel design to contemplate in your Mildred reflections and musings about life in those times. Not much removed in size from Q. Bertha's chapel proper. Do you have any literary references per Thanet concerning shrines round here?. I know Mr Stigand was a generous A. Bishop in general, but unlikely as it might transpire, Bradstowe might have been written down somewhere other than just a name of course. Did you know one of the Minster Abbey sisters is researching the early church liturgy at present? Any plans for another stroll around here?
Regards, Simon

Sardonicus said...


I have enjoyed your posts. I am a descendant of the Bartholomew family, some of whom are buried in St. John's Church in Burford. Have you ever visited the Church, or written about it?


Clerk of Oxford said...

No, I'm afraid I've never been to Burford! Sorry I can't help.

Sardonicus said...

Thank you, regardless. And keep up the good blogging! Thank you!

Q said...

I very reluctantly allowed myself to be persuaded to open a Twitter account, on the suggestion of a friend; I am so glad that I did. Through Twitter, I discovered the tweets of A Clerk of Oxford; through them, I discovered the Clerk of Oxford Website. What a wonderful site! Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to give us such a store of highly interesting material. I wish my brain were bigger : I feel I have discovered rivers of information but all I can do is dip my toes in them!

Rodney Brown said...

This article seems like the kind of thing you might be interested in, and might make use of in your blog posts:

Happy reading. -- Rodney Brown

Diana RR said...

What a delight to find such a site! Thank you, Clerk of Oxenford.
I am particularly interested in medieval terms of endearment,
and have always admired the extravagant paeans to Mary.
Can you tell me if the word "dearling" was used in the Middle Ages,
and if not, when it was in use? My 2-volume OED doesn't divulge.

Clerk of Oxford said...

Hello! Yes it was, as a form of 'darling' - here's the Middle English Dictionary entry for the word:

Diana RR said...

Ah, thank you for this ME Dictionary link.
But this now leads to another question. The MED mentions:

(c) of kings: Engle ~, Englene ~, beloved of the English;

Does this really mean that "Engle derlynge" would only be applied to a king? Why not to an English person of less noble rank? I am particularly interested because of an American friend whose last name is Engel,and I'm curious to know how the name might have been derived.

Any suggestions appreciated!

Patrick Harpur said...

Dear Ms Clerk of Oxford,
I just wanted to say how simultaneously restful and stimulating I find your blog, and so to encourage you to keep it up. I'm unlettered in Anglo-Saxon, so it's a particular pleasure to try and puzzle it out with the help of your translations. I love your apt photos and illustrations as well.
Best wishes,
Patrick Harpur

Clerk of Oxford said...

I would have thought Engel was more likely to be a German surname than an English one - I don't know much about it, though!

Clerk of Oxford said...

Thank you, Patrick - I love hearing comments like that :)

lexsongs said...

What a pleasant surprise to be clicking around cyberspace - in search of particular phrases in Middle English - and then landing lightly here. Thanks for feeding mind and soul.

All best wishes,
Alex Domschot

Amanda Kay said...

Hello, I've just happened across your very informative blog during a search for information about Wulfstan II. I'm currently researching images for a guidebook about St Mary's, Shrewsbury. Apparently he visited the church in 1070. I would be very grateful if I could use one of your images of Wulfstan in the guidebook (with full attribution).

I look forward to hearing from you.

With thanks and warm wishes, Amanda

Anonymous said...

I very much enjoy your blog about my favorite period of history. Beautifully written.

Mark Robinson
Portland, OR USA

Clerk of Oxford said...

Thank you very much!

That's fine, Amanda - please credit me as 'Eleanor Parker' (not just the blog name). Thanks!

patrick tanny said...

i often use your blog as a resource, thank you for your excellent work, your site has inspired me to create my own blog (patrick's postings), and i just wanted to let you know you have made a difference...

Amanda Kay said...

Thank you very much Eleanor, much appreciated.


Mark Ellis said...

Fabulous article. Would it be OK to post on the God Reports blog with a link back to you?
Mark Ellis
God Reports, founder

Michael Chambers said...

Dear Clerk of Oxford,

I enjoyed your post "'This doubtful day of feast or fast': Good Friday and the Annunciation." I recently painted a modern version of the Annunciation. (See it here:

I've made two previous versions of the Annunciation and each time I look a little bit deeper into the symbolism. To be honest, I mostly spend a lot of time looking at other artists' depictions of the scene. I'm pretty certain that I'll refer to your article the next time. Thank you for your research and happy Easter!

Michael Chambers

Dianne Whelan Falk said...

Dear Clerk,
Thanks so much for writing this. I am always wondering about things like this, and trying to find information about The Annunciation and Easter, because my birthday is The Annunciation, and my first birthday, in 1951, was on Easter. Also, I am always being adored and called. My life is a prayer. Thank you, thank you, Clerk, for this slice of light on my little life! Please continue your work. It is from God.

Plantagenet Rose said...

Just wanted to say that, having recently discovered your blog, I am finding it an inspiration and a delight. Thankyou!

- Eleanor Bloomfield, Auckland, New Zealand

Isabella james said...

I am preparing a book on history of Scotland and have a gallery of images of different artworks and images and would like consent to use your image of stained glass image of Matilda of Scotland, of whom I am descendant. If I attribute your name and weblink would you mind if I use it.
Many thanks

Unknown said...

I just stumbled on this blog while I was doing ongoing research on the Danish Conquest, specifically the involvement of Eadric "Streona". I am writing an historical novel centered on Eadric--he presented in a startlingly favorable light. The monk historians, particularly from the Worcester diocese, had a major axe to grind with him, so much of what he was accused of many years later must be taken with some large chunks of salt. I am trying to be as accurate as possible in my sequence of likely events, and I hope that your mid-Summer material doesn't savage my narrative too badly, as I expect to get to Deerhurst and Eadric's death before you do.

Unknown said...

Hello. I am enjoying reading up on the History of Kent and the church. I am in South Africa but visited Kent last year. Could you please tell me if it is known where Ethelbert resided at the time of his kingship?

Thank you

Clerk of Oxford said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! Ethelbert would have had several royal residences across Kent, including Canterbury, Eastry, Faversham, Reculver in Thanet, and probably more.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to find a reference for the story that the relics of St Wendreda of March were taken to the Battle of Assundun and consequently lost to Cnut -who took them to Canterbury.

That's how I arrived at your marvelous blog. Do you know this story?

Robert Walker

Clerk of Oxford said...

Fantastic, Brian! I love the thought of Old English Wisdom being used like that :D

Robert, I do indeed know that very interesting story! It comes from the Liber Eliensis, the twelfth-century history of Ely, and can be found in 'Liber Eliensis: A History of the Isle of Ely from the Seventh Century to the Twelfth', trans. Janet Fairweather (Woodbridge, 2005), p.176. This post might be helpful if you haven't already seen it:

Anselm said...

I am somewhat new to you blog. I discovered it about two years ago but have not been a faithful visitor. During the summer I have visited blogs beginning at the beginning. They have been a true joy and a wonderful vacation into history. Thank you so much for your efforts. You have made me begging to think about reading other sources covering your period of study. Could you please make some suggestions. My particular interest is on the Benedictine tradition in the period.

Anonymous said...

This blog has brought me to tears. I never thought anyone in the world shared literally every interest of mine. Vaughan Williams, Anglo-Saxon studies, English churches, poetry, hymns, Latin, psalms, translations... it's simply astonishing. It's as if you're my long-list twin sister. This is a glorious website, and I'm so glad it exists. It is truly a unique and valued contribution to the internet as a whole and to Christianity in particular.

Ian from Canada

Anonymous said...

This blog has brought me to tears. I never thought anyone in the world shared literally every interest of mine. Vaughan Williams, Anglo-Saxon studies, English churches, poetry, hymns, Latin, psalms, translations... it's simply astonishing. It's as if you're my long-list twin sister. This is a glorious website, and I'm so glad it exists. It is truly a unique and valued contribution to the internet as a whole and to Christianity in particular.

Ian from Canada

Unknown said...

I found you on Youtube through searching for medieval poetry and I love what you are doing. I will become an avid reader of this blog! Thank you for it all!

Anonymous said...

I am Terry from Michigan in the USA. Several years ago my lovely wife was given 2 rubbings her friend made while visiting Churches in England. One has the name, Thomas Hovingham on the back. Do you have any information on him?

Dave Carless said...

Hi I was very interested in your summary of the sources on St Birinus. My interest is in the the origins of the Churn Knob pilgrimage based on the assertion that Birinus preached to Cynegils there. I have seen a reference elsewhere suggesting that it began in the 12th century but, as you say, referring to it as "local tradition".

The question is what is the earliest documented evidence of this? I can't find anything earlier than Victorian references but there surely must be something much earlier than that. Can you help?


Clerk of Oxford said...

Hi Dave,

I'm afraid I've never been able to find any references older than the 19th century either, though I haven't had a chance to investigate properly - if I find anything I'll add it to the post! Thanks for commenting.

Maureen Butler said...

Very much enjoyed your blog in Evesham Abbey. To see just what does remain today, if you have time, have a look at the video on You Tube The Lost Abbey of Evesham ( Evesham's history is my passion and I made this with the local movie makers six years ago.).

Unknown said...

I was wondering if you would be interested in reading part or all of a 90,000 word novel about Ealdorman Eadric of Mercia, which attempts to present a much more plausible portrait of the guy than the melodrama villain that many historians have offered. If you're willing, I can send a word document and you can have a go. A few literate friends have read it and said they enjoyed it. Let me know. Regards, DavidM

Unknown said...

Beautifully expressed and erudite contributions to our knowledge of the often ignored or misunderstood time. You are there with Helen Waddell, Francoise Henry and Eleanor Knott, who are gifted with a feeling for this past that lies under our present.
Came upon your blogs through Christopher Howse and Stephanie A Mann; debt of gratitude.
Long love affair with Oxford, from early origins and connections with European foundations and wider culture, through its traumas to the 19th century, Oxford Movement and G M Hopkins, and other giants. Never studied there, but my son did.
Best wishes, and anticipations of future jewels.
Peter Gerrard, in Co. Tipperary, Ireland.

Anselm said...

I wish to thank you for all your posting this past you, they have put the seasons and events of the year in a new perspective. As we end this year I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Unknown said...

Hi, thanks for blogging. Partly because of your example, I requested and received for Christmas Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Primer. Have you any other suggestions for learning Old English in one's spare time? Please forgive me if you've addressed this elsewhere. Thanks again. Paul in North Carolina.

Michael Sibly said...

Just to thank you for your excellent material. This particular comment is prompted by just having read your entry from January 2016 about St Wendreda of March. I am going to visit March next Sunday, 22nd January, her feast day, and your blog has given me a lot to think about.

Anonymous said...

Dear Clerk,

I am preparing a performance of Tallis's wonderful motet Absterge Domine, and - meticulous as usual - trying to find out where the text comes from. It is clearly not liturgical, but probably something otherwise well-known. My best guess was the so-called Meditations of St. Augustine, but I did not find the text there.

Then I thought of your wide reading of similar texts. Have you come across the same text elsewhere?

The full text goes:

Absterge Domine delicta mea
quae inscienter juvenis feci,
et ignosce poenitenti nam tu es Deus meus.
Tibi soli fidit anima mea,
Tu es salus mea.
Dolorem meum testantur lachrimae meae,
sis memor Domine bonae voluntatis tuae.
Nunc exaudi preces meas,
et serviet per aevum tibi spiritus meus. Amen.

If you have any suggestions, I would be grateful of your help.

With kind regards,
Jaakko Saarinen,
cornettist from Finland

Unknown said...

I love the blog posts you have written about St. Dunstan. I am planning a sabbatical trip to England and Scotland later this Spring and part of that includes visiting places associated with him. My plan includes Baltonsborough, Glastonbury, Bath, Winchester, and Canterbury. Are there any places I am missing?

Thank you so much!
Mary Ann+

blackdeathgr said...

Thank you for your insightful look on that period. Much knowledge can be gained by studying each era's literature in different places around the world.
I have stumbled across your blog while reading your "Chaucer's post-truth world" article over at "History Today" and as an avid eastern and western history lover, I am really enjoying reading your other "more medieval" articles as well, in your blog. So keep up the good work and enlighten us as much as possible!

A friend from Greece.

Unknown said...

We really appreciate your blog. We are considering naming our new folk band "King of Blysse". Are there any other references you could give us to explore in songs or poems? We are wondering how common the word bliss or blysse were used in reference to God or Jesus and what the connotation of the word was at the time when the poem was written.


Unknown said...

Hello and thank you for a lovely and thoughtful blog. Recently on Radio 3 they played a poem set to music called Linden Lea and I saw your post on the poem from a few years ago. I was curious about the line "Though no man may heed my frowns." I wonder what you believe the meaning of this line is? Just an expression of the fact that one who is alone in the woods will get no attention from others? Heed my frowns? Anyway I would be interested in any thoughts that you might share on this. Thank you Don Lewis

Grant said...

The site aggregator I use, Feedly, and I have seemed to miss some great, great posts here. I am discovering so much, after 30 years as an Episcopal priest, working in Anglo-Catholic and low church parishes alike. The wonderful medieval metaphor of Jesus leaping...from heaven to womb, from earth to cross, etc....have you looked for or been able to find any images of any of the less portrayed events?

Ben Tito said...

What a wonderful blog. I have particularly enjoyed some of the posts on the villages around Canterbury, as I live in one of them, and have pottered around many of the churches you have discussed, though of course without your keen eye and expertise.

This may be unlikely, but are there any plans to collate this blog in book form? I seem to lack the attention span to read off screens for any length of time.

NineMuses said...

Hi from New York! I found your blog while researching a college term paper on Margaret of Scotland that I just wrote for a class on medieval English literature. Though I didn't wind up citing you as a source, your post about Margaret was a great background resource, and I'm very glad I found it.

Because you expressed a fondness for Margaret and you seem so genuinely fond of what you do, I wanted to let you know about a book I found about Margaret's life and early cult that very comprehensively re-analyses the interpretations of her in the historical context of 11th century Britain and the motivations of her hagiographers. I think the author makes a compelling case for some very interesting ideas, particularly that Turgot's story about Margret being coerced into marriage might be a contrivance on his part. It's a thorough treatment and in my opinion a very good read.

Anyway, I thought it might be of interest to you, so here's a link to the publisher's page:

I really hope you have luck in finding a library somewhere with a copy, because the price to purchase it online is absurd. I got access to a copy through my college's interlibrary loan system, but somehow I don't think that crosses the Pond!

Happy holidays!

BW said...

Visited Nackington Church today in the rain. My wife and I spent a thoroughly pleasant half hour looking at the glass while reading your blog post on the church.

Having you as a virtual guide raised the tone of our church conversation above the usual, 'erm, this looks old. Probably.'

I asked this before, but the comment seems to have been lost in the wash - I don't suppose there are any plans for this blog to be published as a book?

Young Geezer said...

thank you for providing both the original and the translationin your New Year material - something very concisely said in "yeldez never lyke"

Anonymous said...

Allow me to bring to your attention something which may be to your taste:

If you have the time and inclination, we would be delighted if you leave a comment, as well!

David Llewellyn Dodds, Guest Editor

Melva said...

Thank you for this wonderful site! It has been a valued source in my research on texts of choral music, many of which are medieval. I have found your site to be a huge help. I would very much appreciate any information you might have about the source of the following two prayers that the composer has labelled as medieval. The first is to St. Helena: Saint Elena, I thee pray to help me at my last day to settle the crosse and His passion betwixt my sinful soul and me, now and in the house of my dede. And bring my soul to requied. (The spelling is from the composer, and may not be original) The second is 'To Our Father, the King of Heaven: Bidde we with mild steven til are Fader, the King of Hevene, for all Cristen folk that is in goode life, that God shilled hem today fro since and from site; and for all that on earth us feed and foster, says we now all the holy Pater Noster.' Thank you for sharing your knowledge and many beauties with the world! Melva Treffinger Graham, Guelph, Ontario

kay morten said...

Hi, im the guy who initiated the viking longship journey to NE in 2015. I just read your commentry on the news coverage of the project, and wanted to thank you for adding historical value to what they coverd. It was a truly amazing year of my life, planning and compleating this journey of learning, adventure and engaging churches in Newcastle and the NE on our shared history. You are of cource right in your comments, and i wanted to ensure you we have a much wider grasp of our shared history than media coverd.
At the time it was a great angle to engage people there, but equaly important to us was how it enabeld us to adress historical misconceptions of how the christian gospel came to norway. Most norwegians grow up lesrning norway was christend with violence. Where as we put it, christianety came to a violent people in scandinavia and brought peace. A very different take on the story. It has plenty of aspects of cource, but as a punchline managing to break trough the media here at home it served well.
The christian viking group Olavs Menn who were instrumental in the project are still active and engage kids in history learning trough viking activistys such as sailing, smithing, fighting and much more. Keep up the good work, and thank you for commenting��

RSL2019 said...

I am unable to figure out how to subscribe to this blog, but would really love to!

Annemieke Blondeel said...

Dear Clerk of Oxford,
I do not know where to begin to thank you for your writings under the title "Barking Abbey". It is insightful, and your remarks on the attitude of some academics are absolutely spot on! Your text has been shared by me with some of the Clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland who are equally concerned with the inability of some (so-called) academics to reach out to "ordinary people".
Keep going, I have been missing your articles this year!

Patrick Harpur said...

Dear Clerk of Oxford,
I very much enjoyed - and agreed with - your impassioned and touching entry 'Barking Abbey'.
Best wishes,
Patrick Harpur

Castus said...

Ms Parker,

I've been an on and off again reader of your blog for over 3 years (which, I realise, is not a particularly long time in the scheme of things). Your posts have been illuminating to me in periods of history that I am interested in but lack your depth of knowledge. I remember showing friends your 1000th anniversary post of Assandun and being rather enthralled by it! And here, I always thought Cnut was the Danish invader, &c...

After a long time where I got busy, changed computers and lost your address, I saw a video on Youtube about Assandun by HistoryMarche which cited you as as a source and rediscovered you!

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your post on 'Barking Abbey'; it came from the heart, it was fascinating to read, and it obviously meant a great deal to you. This came through immensely in the writing of it, and I hope that you know that many of us silent folk really take a great deal of pleasure in reading all of your posts.

Don't get discouraged by academia - you will always have an audience.

- A Gentleman from Canada

Paul said...

Many thanks for your posting on Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry. Enjoyable and informative.