19th December 1154: Henry II and the Hand of St James

by Dr Ruth Salter 836 years ago, on a day much like this (possibly), Henry II was crowned at Westminster Abbey.  His predecessor (and uncle), Stephen, had died just under two months earlier, much of his reign having been taken up by ‘The Anarchy’ – a civil war of succession following the death of Henry [...]

Restless Revenants: A Curious Case of Animated Corpses in Vita S. Moduenne Uirginis.

Restless Revenants: A Curious Case of Animated Corpses in Vita S. Moduenne Uirginis.

* forewarning: this is a long read - if you just want the ghost stories stop when you reach the map*   ‘It would not be easy to believe that the corpses of the dead should sally (I know not by what agency) from their graves, and should wander about to the terror or destruction [...]

Toads mean Trouble: Amphibious Assassins in Gerald of Wales’ The Journey through Wales

If you were asked to think of an unassuming British animal, I would hazard a guess that the first creature to come to mind would be something – small, brown, possibly squeaky – like a mouse or hedgehog.  So unassuming is the toad that I bet you’d not have even given it a second thought [...]