BECKET PAGEANT FOR LONDON

Brangwen A City Pageant .jpg
A City Pageant in Olden Times’, Frank Brangwen, Skinners’ Hal

17-18 June 2022: Guildhall Yard, London

This looks like it might be fun! I was hoping it would be the full recreation of the Becket Pageant in in 1519 but it a day of ‘performances inspired by the 1519 Midsummer pageant, and accompanied by a Livery Crafts Fair organised by the Skinners Company.’

Further Details are here:

TODAY SPRING SPRUNG

HAGGERSTON. LONDON

The first sunny day of the year inviting enough to eat in the garden, partly because is is north facing, and its only now getting a decent time in the sun; and partly because it was a stonking warm sun. The Haggerston Rivera in the background is full of people deciding that this is the day to get it all out out in the sun. But also there is still a small proportion of people dressed ready just in case a chill north wind arrives unexpectedly.

Its also the death of the daffodils day – at least in my garden. Still a few tulips and even one or two yet to bloom. But the star of my garden at the moment is Honesty, which you can see to the left of the table (an old door repurposed). I first grew it on the balcony and it has now spread down and appeared in three places, and is rather lovely.

Its latin name is Lunaria annua because the silver seed pods look like a full moon, but they also look like silver coins. Therefore it symbolises wealth. It’s name Honesty is said to come from the translucent pod revealing the seeds beneath, honestly.

The book you see on the table s written by a friend from my Museum of London days who has recently published a book on Shakespeare’s time living in the Parish of St Helen’s near Bishopsgate.

Photos taken by the author last night.

PLOWONIDA – LONDON’S ORIGINAL NAME & THE LONDON ‘RITUAL LANDSCAPE’

https://www.etymonline.com/word/*pleu-

Definition of the proto-indo-european route "pleu
https://www.etymonline.com/word/*pleu-

Richard Coates in a ground breaking article ‘A New Explanation Of The Name Of London’ Transactions Of The Philological Society Volume 96:2 (1998) Pgs 203 – 229 suggested the original name of London was Plowonida – or settlement by the wide flowing river. He deduces its name by comparing different versions of ‘London’ in different Celtic dialects and traces them back to what he believes is the common origin. This is the root *pleu meaning fleet flowing river, and onida which means ‘settlement by the’.

So, in the 2nd Millennia BC – the Bronze Age, there was a settlement by the flowing River. He thinks the Thames was the name for the river upstream of the Pool of London, and where it widened into an estuary it was called the Pleu. Etymonline.com says of the name Thames:

Thames – River through London, Old English Temese, from Latin Tamesis (51 B.C.E.), from British Tamesa, an ancient Celtic river name perhaps meaning “the dark one.” The -h- is unetymological (see th).

https://www.etymonline.com/word/thames

So, in the Bronze Age there must have been a small settlement probably in the area of the City or on the south bank in Southwark. It’s possible we have already found it in the occasional findings of post-holes, gullies, plough marks, brushwood platforms and burial mounds (particularly in Southwark) that have been found or we may be yet to find it. Or we may never find it. And if we do, unless it is significant in some way or has a signpost on it saying (“You are entering Plowonida”) we will never know.

Of course Coates may be wrong, but he is the most distinguished linguist of recent years to put his head about a dangerous parapet. Antiquarian journals were full of suggestions for the name of London. Previous suggestions include Lake Side Town, Lud’s Castle, Londinos’s settlement. None have survived scrutiny, and very few people were willing to make a guess after the late 70s, until 1998 and Richard Coates. However they all seem to accept that the name is pre-Roman in origin.

Archaeologists since the 1970s have been completely convinced there was no City before the arrival of the Romans. So, why bother finding the original name of a place that did not exist? However, last year in an excavation underneath Amazon’s new HQ, Principle Place, just north of Liverpool Street station, was found over 400 pieces of neolithic pottery, and evidence of extensive feasting. If you put this together with the burials found in the water margins of the River Thames, and the incredible finds of prestige metal objects: helmets, shields, swords, cauldrons, etc. from the River a case is beginning to be made (by David Keys in the Independent for example) that the area of the City of London might have been an important place for gatherings. So is it possible that the origins of London are as part of a ritual landscape?

If this is taken seriously it has a lot of implications for received opinion.

I discuss this and other issues in my Myths and Legends Guided Walks for London Walks. Click here to see the details

Bran's head taken to Tower Hill
King Bran’s head buried at Tower Hill

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & CELTIC FESTIVALS GUIDED & VIRTUAL WALKS

Bran's head taken to Tower Hill
King Bran’s head buried at Tower Hill

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & CELTIC FESTIVALS LONDON GUIDED WALK

Sunday30th January 2022 2.30pm Tower Hill Underground

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic Festival of Imbolc.

The guided walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

The walk is one of a series about London’s Myths and Legends which take place on or around one of the significant festivals of the Celtic calendar. On this tour we celebrate Imbolc, the festival half way between the winter and the Summer Solstice that celebrates the first signs of the coming of spring. The day is also dedicated to St Bridget, or St Bride.

The walk begins with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries. As we explore the City we also look at evidence for ‘Celtic’ origins of London and how Imbolc may have been celebrated in early London.

The route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up at St Brides.

This is a London Walks Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & CELTIC FESTIVALS LONDON VIRTUAL WALK

Sunday 30th January 2022 7.30pm

The virtual version of the walk starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up at St Brides.This is a London Walks Virtual Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

MYTHS, LEGENDS, MAY EVE LONDON GUIDED WALK

Sunday 30th April 2022 2.30pm Tower Hill Underground

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the Celtic Festival of Beltane

The walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

The guided walk is one of a series about London’s Myths and Legends which take place on or around one of the significant festivals of the Celtic calendar. On this tour we celebrate May Day, or Beltane – the celebration of the coming of Summer.

The walk begins with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries. As we explore the City we also look at evidence for ‘Celtic’ origins of London and how Imbolc may have been celebrated in early London.

The virtual route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls

This is a London Walks guided walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book

MYTHS, LEGENDS, MAY EVE LONDON VIRTUAL WALK

SUNDAY 30th April 2022 7.30pm

The virtual version of the walk route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St PaulsThis is a London Walks Virtual Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & HALLOWEEN VIRTUAL WALK

Sunday 30th October 2022 2.30pm Tower Hill Underground

The walk tells the story of London’s myths and legends and the celtic origins of Halloween

The guided walk is led by Kevin Flude, a former archaeologist at the Museum of London, who has an interest both in the archaeological evidence as well as the myths and legends of London’s origin.

The walk will tell the story of a selection of London’s Myths and Legends, beginning with the tale of London’s legendary origins in the Bronze Age by an exiled Trojan called Brutus. Stories of Bladud, Bellinus, Bran and Arthur will be interspersed with how they fit in with archaeological discoveries.

As we explore the City we also look at the origins of Halloween celebrations and how they may have been celebrated in early London.

The route starts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls.

This is a London Walks Guided Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

MYTHS, LEGENDS, & HALLOWEEN VIRTUAL WALK

MONDAY 31st October 2022 7.30pm

The virtual version of this walkstarts at Tower Hill, then down to the River Thames at Billingsgate, to London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral, to the Roman Forum at the top of Cornhill, into the valley of the River Walbrook, passed the Temple of Mithras, along Cheapside to the Roman Amphitheatre, and finishing up in the shadow of St Pauls.

This is a London Walks Virtual Walk. Look at their web site for a list of other of their amazing walks.

To Book:

JANUARY 13TH – 18TH BLUE MONDAY, WOLF MOON, START OF LAMBING AND TWELFTH NIGHT, OLD STYLE

Hackney Marshes, Jan 2022, Chris Sansom

Third Monday in the year – traditionally the most depressing day. Traditional in the sense of the word meaning ‘made up recently as part of a marketing campaign.” * AD2005.

Wolf Moon is a recent introduction to mainstream culture and was borrowed from Native Americans as wolves are known to howl at the moon at this time of the year. (First full moon of the year.) So this year they are both on the 17th January. So is the wonder of the moon a counter to the depressive effect of a cold period when the joys of Christmas and the hopes of a New Year are encountering the reality of wintery bleakness?

In Jane Austen’s time winter socialising depended upon the moon. Generally, people would schedule balls and dinner parties on nights when the moon was bright to make their journey’s home safer. This is one reason why Almanac’s were so ubiquitous.

The 17th January is also the Day of Peace for the Goddesses Felicitas, Pax, and Concordia,

Lambing can begin about now in the south, and it gets progressively later as you travel north. Of course, it depends when the ewe is tupped by the ram. 5 months later the lamb, or lambs will be born – normally, one or two but occasionally more.

The country expression is ‘in with a bang and out with the fool’ which suggests an ideal time to tup, is November 5th, so that the lambs will be born around the 1st of April. Itinerant shearers, now often from New Zealand, travel the country shearing sheep. They will begin in the south and then progress north.

In the ‘Return of the Native’, Thomas Hardy has a character called Diggory Venn, he is a reddleman. He travels the country selling a red ochre dye with which shepherds mark their flock. The ram wears a collar with a marker full of reddle in it. When he mounts the ewe she will have a red mark on her back. Once she has been tupped twice she will be taken out of the field, to encourage the ram to impregnate the others. Reddle could also be used to mark lambs chosen for slaughter, or dipping, or weighing etc..

Twelfth Night Old style is the date of celebration of the last night of Christmas but according to the Julian Calendar which was replaced in 1752. Time to Wassail the Orchard.

JANUARY 12 OLD MOORE’S ALMANAC

Old Moore's Almanac for 2022 photo of January
Old Moore’s Almanac for 2022 photo of January

The Alamanac which claims to have begun in 1697 is heavily based on predictions which are mostly astrologically based. It begins with a World Preview of 2022. The economy is going to be uncertain, but growth will start to build from March.

Then there profiles of people such as Joe Biden, Keeley Hawkes, Countess of Wess etc. Biden it appears is unconventional and a maverick. He will surprise everyone by proving himself a modern FDR.

There is a page of predictions for each for star sign; a Chinese horoscope and then a page for each month as illustrated above. At the end are astrological pointers for horse racing, greyhound racing, gardening by the moon, Football pools, Angler’s Guide, lottery numbers. It finishes with a list of UK fairs and events, and lighting up times.

Very similar to almanacs since the 15th Century which I discussed here.

ADVERT FOR OLD MOORE'S ALMANAC 2022
Image of an advert for ADVERT FOR OLD MOORE’S ALMANAC 2022

This week I received my copy of Old Moore’s Almanac and a reproduction of the Illustrated London Almanac of 1873 (which I will discuss on another day).

As I stated in an earlier post the content of Almanacs has been similar since the Kalendar of Shepherdes of the 15th Century.

Old Moore’s, which claims ancestry back to 1697., begins with a large tranche of predictions both for the world and for celebrities, based on astrology. 2022 is the ‘year of Adjustment’. We are, they say, confronted with weak leaders, with weak values and so we, ‘the governed must build them.’

Then there is a page for each month, noting the calendar events such as Epiphany, Burns Night, Australia Day, and other days filled with very random notable events chosen to represent that day through history- 2nd Jan Conquest of Granada 1462. 9th Jan Duchess of Cambridge b. 1982, 13th Jan Trump impeached 2021 etc.

Next are columns for Sun rise and set, high water at London Bridge, moon at London. and a weather column. (Early snow, improvements mid month, and gale at the end of the month)

Then a column of predictions for the month:

‘The New Moon on 2nd January falls in Capricorn in the sixth house at London in a harmonious trine aspect to Uranus in the tenth house and a conjunction to the UK’s Sun.’ Venus is conjunct Pluto’. Phew! ‘The country is ready for a fresh start with a prevailing sense of optimism correlating with high support for government.’ And then they predict moves to constitutional reform for proportional representation! Boris Johnson will be surprised at this!

The horoscopes continue after the calendar has come to Dec 31st. We have pages for celebrities such as Joe Biden (he is unorthodox and will surprise people by some amazing FDR style transformation.) ; Matt Baker,;Peter Kay; Sophie Countess of Wessex etc. Right at the end we have astrological pointers to betting on the horses; greyhound racing; Gardening by the Moon; Football pools forecasts,; Angler’s guide; lottery numbers, and finishes with lighting up times.

£3.50 good value or is it just cheap?

JANUARY 10TH PLOUGH MONDAY, BACK TO WORK AND FALSE SPRING

Medieval scene showing a man plouging with the plough pulled by a bullock from Les_Très_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry
Detail from LesTrès Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

But as we saw Distaff Sunday is the day that women traditionally went back to work and Plough Monday was the men’s turn. 2022 it was on the 10th January. Plough Monday was not just a normal day of work though. Particularly in the North it was celebrated with a procession of ‘plough boys’, with a decorated plough and team and known as ‘Fool Plough’. Mumming, sword dancing and foolery propelled people back to work.

Here is a lovely recipe for a ‘Norfolk Plough Pudding‘ brought to my attention by Sue Walker.

The Christmas/Mid Winter break went on for some until Candlemas in early February, and in Jane Austen’s day the school boys had a 6 week holiday at Christmas much to the distress of Mary Musgrove in ‘Persuasion’, Chapter 18. She complains bitterly of children being left with her during the long winter holiday. But as it was written on 1st February I will leave the joy of that great FOMO letter till then.

This is a period when the world is dead but underneath the ground the bulbs are stirring. This year in London, after a very warm period, we have had a lot of premature budding. In my local park Euphorbia’s have been budding, there is blossom on a Japanese Cherry Tree and on a Bear’s Breech. The Park has a high wall facing south and this does provide a very sheltered spot but even so! In my arctic, North-facing garden some geraniums, and fuchsias are hanging on, and I have two white flowers on my Convolvulus which is unheard of.

This has been the hottest period in the world since records have been taken. A false spring can cause major disruption to agriculture. Plants put a lot of energy into surviving the winter so they can bloom in the spring. If they are fooled to bud early, the plant will pay a cost when the cold weather comes back, and this will mean either no flowering or fruiting later in the year or a reduced yield. Caitlin Reinartz, (follow the link above) says ‘the false spring of 2012 caused an estimated $500 million dollars of losses in the orchards of Michigan.’

DECEMBER – THE MONTH OF ADVENT OF ‘EXPECTANT WAITING’ LOOKING FORWARD TO CHRISTMAS, YULE, SATURNALIA SOLSTICE

Advent begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. This year it was Sunday 28th November but it can be as last as 3rd December.

Advent divides the world into those who love to plan; who love to anticipate and people like me who buy all my presents in a mad flurry on Christmas Eve. Surely, my nephew will like the Arsenal Yearbook, my father ‘The History of the Spitfire’ and my brother the remastered version of the early Fleetwood Mac LP that I have, he tells me, already bought him three times. (In my defence, not the middle-of-the -road Fleetwood Mac but the one with Peter Green in it and capable of the Green Manalishi).

In my mind, people should be heavily fined for mentioning the C-word before December, and whipped, for mentioning the X word at all. So, not sure advent is my favourite time of the year.