A Horrible Pestiferous Vice or Wholesome Exercise? – Dancing in Elizabethan England

Elizabeth I Dancing with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester Philip Stubbs, the Puritan pamphleteer, in his Anatomie of Abuses (1582-3) had little good to say about dancing unless men and women were dancing separately to the glory of God, following the example of King David. He described it as 'an introduction to whordom, a preparatiue … Continue reading A Horrible Pestiferous Vice or Wholesome Exercise? – Dancing in Elizabethan England

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Between August and November 1888, five women were killed in Whitechapel, all believed to be the victim of a single killer. The identity and the behaviour of the killer has fascinated multitudes since to the point where the killer has achieved almost mythic status, the women he killed dismissed as prostitutes, mere footnotes to the … Continue reading The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

‘Seldom doth the husband thrive without leave of his wife’ – The Sixteenth Century Manor Wife

A slightly more succinct version of this post was published on Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots on 8 July 2019. Sixteenth century conduct manuals advised a man seeking a wife to consider everything from the woman’s age, appearance, health, obedience and piety, to her love of children, singing voice and ability to be silent. … Continue reading ‘Seldom doth the husband thrive without leave of his wife’ – The Sixteenth Century Manor Wife

Book Review – Tombland by C.J. Sansom

1549. Edward VI, the eleven-year-old son of Henry VIII has been on the throne two years. The country is effectively run by the Lord Protector, Edward Somerset. The preceding decade has seen war with Scotland, inflation, unemployment, rising rents and declining wages. A sense of grievance is swelling among the common people against the imposition … Continue reading Book Review – Tombland by C.J. Sansom

Easter in Early Modern England

The Lenten and Easter season in pre-Reformation England was rich in sights and sounds and smells. Shrove Tuesday was celebrated with pancakes and football games, plays and masquerades. Ash Wednesday brought the blessing of ashes and their application by the priest to the foreheads of the faithful with the injunction ‘Remember O man that thou are … Continue reading Easter in Early Modern England

Elizabethan Magpie Pickings

I have something of a magpie brain—I like to collect shiny bits of information, not necessarily immediately useful but interesting, to me at least. Over the past few weeks I have been heavily revising my current work in progress, The Bridled Tongue, and checking that I have no glaring anachronisms. These are some of the … Continue reading Elizabethan Magpie Pickings

More than just written words?

Yesterday was National Handwriting Day in a number of countries and wonderful images of pages handwritten by various people from the past were floating around the internet.  One was the the draft of a speech given by Elizabeth I to Parliament on 10 April 1563 responding to a House of Lords petition urging her to … Continue reading More than just written words?