Creating Legacies In Gothic House Design, 1750–1850

An individual’s home is often central to the manifestation of personal identity. Among the English elite of eighteenth-century England, this was especially true. During this period country houses were not private spaces, and house visiting meant that the home became an important medium for display of the family, open to the judgement of observers. However, this could be utilised to create personal legacies. Common themes … Continue reading Creating Legacies In Gothic House Design, 1750–1850

War Stories: Inspired by my Grandma

We got to stay up later in the summer. Long days chasing each other round the fields and evenings in a quiet corner of the pub playing rummy; shared half pints of shandy; treasures of speckled eggs from the chickens. Falling in long grass and ricocheting off the rope swing over the river. The summer of 1940 was different though, and one I’ll never forget. … Continue reading War Stories: Inspired by my Grandma

From Oral to Written Folklore: The Evolution and Reception of the Icelandic Saga

The Icelandic Sagas are more than stories about a heroic age of kings, of trolls and witches, and magical phenomenon unseen by our modern eyes. They offer a complex resource of what early settlers of the island deemed important to their heritage. Since the thirteenth century, scholars have attempted to understand the departure from the oral tradition of storytelling to the more advanced written tradition, … Continue reading From Oral to Written Folklore: The Evolution and Reception of the Icelandic Saga

Fertility in the Early Middle Ages: The Dangers of Folklore

What did an early medieval bishop see when he looked up at the stars? In tenth-century Italy Atto of Vercelli saw divine fingerprints. God had arranged constellations in the heavens, he explained in a sermon, for our benefit on earth. Stars help us to mark the passing of time, to map journeys over sea or land. When Atto looked back down from heavenly bodies to … Continue reading Fertility in the Early Middle Ages: The Dangers of Folklore

Fiction: Mouse Trap Farm

Dan Greenwood Captain FAC Scrimger, 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), just outside Yrpres: 25th April 1915. ‘SIR, the last ambulance has left for Wietje!’ a messenger called through the stable door. Blast. I uttered a profanity and wiped my brow with the back of my hand, muddling blood and God-knows-what-else with the sweat and dirt that had accumulated over the last six hours. I dared … Continue reading Fiction: Mouse Trap Farm

Silence and Screams: The Interpretation of Punishment Devices In Museums

Wandering through the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I headed towards one of my favourite sections: crime and punishment in early modern Scotland. As I walked through the tranquil halls of the museum, observing the artefacts and reading the accompanying descriptions, it occurred to me how easy it is to forget that these items were once tools of torture and … Continue reading Silence and Screams: The Interpretation of Punishment Devices In Museums

Saudi Arabia and the Destruction of Islamic Cultural Heritage

Whilst the West despairs over the destruction of the Arch of Palmyra, the walls of Nineveh, and the lamassus of Nimrud by Islamic State, a second wave of cultural heritage destruction is sweeping across the Middle East almost unnoticed. The international media has devoted extensive coverage to the obliteration of museums and archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria by Islamic State fighters, but for the … Continue reading Saudi Arabia and the Destruction of Islamic Cultural Heritage