Saturday, 28 February 2015

The wealth of medieval England


This week we took advantage of an almost early spring day to explore the landscapes and little stone villages of the Cotswolds – bright sunshine, rooks cawing in the trees, small fast flowing rivers that form the headwaters of the Thames. This was a landscape made rich by wool, which was packed away across England on good straight routes left by the Romans, shipped to Flanders, Genoa, Venice and beyond. Merchants in Cairo wore Cotswold wool; so did the Janissaries, the crack troops of the Ottoman Empire. The grazing hills of the Cotswolds produced this wealth, and the villages and churches, built out of oolitic limestone, ranging in colour from pale grey to warm honey, contain a unique heritage of medieval architecture and art.
The church of East Leach Martin


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

'Take only what you can carry'

Thinking about refugees - and not a day goes by but the displacement of people gets worse and the tales more traumatic - I've just written a post for the interesting Museum of Marco Polo blog on the expulsion of the Greeks from the Ottoman Empire, particularly from the Black Sea region, and the massive population exchanges of 1923.

Visit the Marco Polo Museum site to read here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A warning to us all

Seen in a country churchyard recently - the memorial to the unfortunate William Beames, aged 22.


                                   ' A warning peice to all young men
                                    Who in their blooming age
                                    Mispend their time and know not when
                                    They must go off the stage.'
I wonder what he could possibly have got up to in rural Gloucestershire in the late eighteenth century. I'm interested in the 'ei' spelling in 'peice' - it seems to have been quite common at the time.