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Title:York England
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Being retired means that I have more than 15 minutes on any given day to read.  I am currently reading a book about York England during the mid to late 14th century.  This period is inclusive of the Black Death and other assorted horrors.  The story takes place in York predominantly and I would like to know where this is in relation to where you (Mark and Major) live.  John Thoresby is the Archbishop of York.

The 1300's normally have not interested me but now I'm diving in.
"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted: 07/06/2018 17:51 PM
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Barbara Tuchman wrote a book, A Distant Mirror, about the 14th Century and in the forward she mentions that the period interested her because she felt it mirrored our own times in the late 1970's.  I read this book many years ago when I wasn't really interested in the time period, so I'll have to go back to it at some point. 

The books I am reading now are by Candace Robb and begins with The Apothecary Rose.  What I like about her is that she actually searches the archives in York and the surrounding areas, finds an interesting recorded event, and writes her stories around them.

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/06/2018 18:10 PM
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I've got A Distant Mirror, but lke so many others on my shelves I've not read it.
York is a lovely city; I'm about 90 miles away, Major 80. One of those places that has a visible history going back to the Romans nearly 2000 years ago.

You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/07/2018 01:55 AM
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Well, then, I can see why Ms. Robb goes to the York archives for research.  An interesting note that she makes in one of her books is about the third visitation of the plague is that the adults seem to be developing an immunity to it and by and large only young children and the elderly. 

Our hero is Owen Archer, a Welshman in the service of the Duke of Lancaster and captain of his archers.  Owen loses an eye in France and is thus effectively retired.  The old Duke dies and Owen goes into service for the Archbishop (John Thoresby) as his spy.  Having worked with the infirmarian who treats his eye, he is qualified to apply as an apothecary's apprentice.  The apothecary dies and Owen gets apprenticed to his widow who was herself an apprentice.  They fall in love, etc., etc.

What is interesting here is how powerful the Guilds were.  The Guild Master agrees to the marriage but requires the widow (who has been promoted to Master Apothecary) to retain her name and not take Owen's last name. 

Of course, we have an Abbey whose infirmarian is a good friend of our apothecary.  I am loving this story line and learning along the way about how herbs were used.    One of my long unanswered questions was if there was an effective anthesthesia.  There was and it was called dwale.

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/07/2018 19:31 PM
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I know you've read at least one Brother Cadfael novel, they're set in Shrewsbury and the Welsh Marches area in the 1130s-40s. They contain much about Mediaeval herbalism etc as that's Cadfael's area of expertise. One of them even moves the action into "my" Staffordshire taking in such places as Lichfield, Brewood and Elford.  
You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/08/2018 01:59 AM
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On the subject of herbal medicines (nature has the answer to every question on earth, whether it be science, engineering or medicine etc) When I first moved to my present home in 85, I had a neighbour who was 90 at the time. He was a fascinating, multi talented man, who had lived in this village all his life. You can just imagine how different things were when he was a child and his mother was the village doctor, so to speak. People came to her for her herbal medicines, because she was free, they couldn't afford a doctor. He was an ex army man and he didn't walk, he marched up the lane every day and on his way back, he sometimes had some plant life in his hand. I used to chat to him regularly and so asked him about what he was doing and it turned out he was making his own medicines, as he was taught to by his mother. Now here's the strange thing. His neighbour was somebody he grew up with and she knew all about him and his mother. The poor old dear had a wound on her leg, which refused to heal. She was visiting the hospital regularly and they were treating her. In the end she went to see her old neighbour and he mixed her up some poultice or other and it worked. He told her before he treated her not to tell anybody and me not to tell anybody because, as he said, I don't want every nutter and his brother knocking on my door to be cured. These things are lost now.
Date Posted:07/08/2018 02:57 AM
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 I've been to York a number of times, it's a very interesting city, with a strong Viking inheritance. York Cathedral is wonderful.
Date Posted:07/08/2018 03:01 AM
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That old lady sounds like one of the last Lancashire witches.

The Guilds in Shula's novel became powerful about the time the story is set, in the middle of the 14th century under Edward III. When a town became a Borough it was usually granted the right to form a merchant guild controlling trade within its boundaries and limit the number of outsiders who wished to become traders there. They evolved into craftsmen's guilds which still exist today but without the powers they once had.

The Duke of Lancaster in Question is, I assume, Henry who died (along with his wife) of the plague in 1361. 

You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/08/2018 06:41 AM
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There is a growing interest in herbal medicines, and I believe in such.  Our government frowns on anything that comes from nature.  Actually, it is the pharmaceutical companies that control the agency.  Any move toward cheaper and more natural medicines is less money for them.  All of the doctors in my town are what I call pharmadocs.  They frown on patients substituting any prescribed medicines.  Then, you watch late night TV and see nothing but ads for "ask your doctor about...this medicine".  The next ad is about a class action lawsuit against the drug company pushing the medicine in the previous ad.  I could go on but it would just come off as a rant.

Would that I could find someone like your old neighbor, Major.  I would beg for an apprenticeship.  As it is, I do use some of the tried and true herbs, like valerian (nature's valium), chamomile, mint and lemon balm. 

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/08/2018 11:00 AM
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Yes, Mark, the Duke our hero served was Henry.  It was his son who Owen didn't wish to serve.  Chaucer was the son's spy and Owen encounters him in some of his travels. 

In A Spy for the Redeemer our hero is torn between his loyalty to the Crown and his loyalty to his home country of Wales when a rebellion is planned.  I didn't think he would desert his lovely wife and 2 children, but I had me doubts there for a while.

Wool smuggling was at the center of one of these novels.  Edward III placed tariffs on wool coming from Flanders to finance his war against France.  Murder and mayhem followed naturally.

I remember Brother Cadfael quite well, although it was Hugh Beringar I fell madly in love with.  He was the sheriff in the series.  Monkshood was a weapon as I recall in one book.  A salve made from the plant relieves pain but taken internally is a quick death.  I don't think either monkshood (wolfsbane) or mandrake is available here, so couldn't do much damage even if I were so inclined.

I am developing quite a book, however, of herbal recipes to vex my enemies.
"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/08/2018 11:18 AM
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You could probably buy the full Cadfael series as one set from Amazon. I used to read them at intervals as if I read one after the other I got the characters and plots mixed up.
They were dramatized first on the radio and then on TV with Derek Jacobi in the TV version. 

You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/08/2018 13:26 PM
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At first I was disappointed in the choice of Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael as I didn't think he looked much of a crusader.  I soon became accustomed to him (Derek Jacobi as Henry V is a different matter!) and loved the series.  My only complaint was that they didn't produce more episodes.

I suppose it is too much to ask that the Shambles still exists in York.  Even worse, should it still exist, I hope it hasn't been turned into an upper class neighbo(u)rhood for wealthy muslims.

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/09/2018 12:21 PM
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 There is a Shambles in Manchester, which has a very interesting story. At it's centre is the pub and it dates back to the 1552. However, it's not where it used to be, as they jacked it up and moved the entire building to a new site. The area was originally a butchers area and blood and guts would have been running down the streets, hence the term has survived as meaning a mess.
Date Posted:07/10/2018 01:01 AM
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The Shambles does still exist in York, a nice narrow street lined with shops; no butchers though nor entrails running down the street. If you go to Google Images and type in The Shambles you'll see some lovely pictures in which the buildings appear to lean inwards and almost touch at rooftop level. There are others collectively known as The Snickelways.
I bought a book on the US rigid airships there years ago. 

You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/10/2018 01:46 AM
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I did as you suggested, Mark, and it looks a lovely, quaint place to visit.  I love the little shops.  I hadn't dared hope it still existed.
"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/10/2018 18:30 PM
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The Manchester Shambles Pub is beautiful, Major.  I love the style of the building. 

Much to my surprise, I've found, after googling, that Seattle, Washington has a Shambles Bar & Butcher.  I'm figuring the name was taken from your Shambles.

I might hold off on that time travel trip as the smell of entrails and blood might be a bit much for me.  The only smell of entrails I remember is those of rabbits.  My dad used to hunt them and it is a smell never forgotten and instantly recognized.

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/10/2018 18:49 PM
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Try "The Old House Hereford" and "Ancient High House Stafford" for more black and white timbered houses in towns/cities. The one is Stafford dates from 1595, Hereford's from 1621. Both are open as museums.
You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/11/2018 02:10 AM
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 There are a few pubs in Stratford Upon Avon that are around the 500 year old mark, Mark.
Date Posted:07/11/2018 02:46 AM
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Are these houses considered in the Shakespearean style?

Another note on Edward III's reign.  His mistress Alice Perrers is mentioned quite often.  The author seems a bit sympathetic to her, but all that I've read elsewhere say she was much hated by those at Court.  I have read that when Edward III died she stole a ring off his finger. 

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/11/2018 18:44 PM
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Reply to shula (07/12/2018 00:44 AM)

Are these houses considered in the Shakespearean style?

It's what's called the Elizabethan style, although buildings like them were being constructed long before Lizzie one. When you go into them you soon discover there isn't a straight line in there, except for the bar, as they are made of wood and wood bends. The fact that they are black and white is not an original feature, as originally they would have been grey and kinda white, as the timbers were originally coated in lime. Painting them in the black and white style was a Victorian fad, which swept the country. Any Elizabethan house, which is owned by the National Trust, which needs restoration of its timbers, have them replaced and left limed  now, as they were originally. If you're tall, you will come out, after a few pints, with a dozen lumps on your head, as the ceilings are so low and have open beams.




Date Posted:07/12/2018 01:55 AM
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There's a drive you can follow through Herefordshire passing a number of black and white houses called The Black and White Trail.
You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/12/2018 02:20 AM
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 You must have tried Little Moreton Hall Mark, it's in your patch
Date Posted:07/12/2018 05:22 AM
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Tharr she be.




Date Posted:07/12/2018 05:49 AM
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Is there supposed to be a picture, there's nothing there, or is it just me.
You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/12/2018 11:53 AM
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 I've just tried it and the video worked for me.
Date Posted:07/12/2018 13:11 PM
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Just a blank space. What can Shula see?



You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/12/2018 14:43 PM
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Drat.  I can't see the video either.
"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/12/2018 16:31 PM
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Reply to shula (07/12/2018 22:31 PM)

Drat.  I can't see the video either.

Seems like only the person who posted the vid can see it. So, you'll have to go to youtube and put in Little Moreton Hall and see it there. This is possibly the ultimate Tudor, wooden building.
Date Posted:07/13/2018 01:41 AM
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I've been unable to post images on The History Page for a year or two, looks like this "upgraded" site is no better. I'll have a proper go at it over the weekend.  
You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
Arnold Bennett
Date Posted:07/13/2018 01:50 AM
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I've viewed four of the eleven videos offered so far.  The one using a drone to cover the grounds is really spectacular. 

The windows in Little Moreton Hall are unbelievable.   Did I understand "Mary the Maid" right when she said it took 4 years to build the house?  Just looking at those windows I can't imagine it being done in that short a time.

I see You Tube offers many videos of England's National Trust sites.  Adventuring we shall go.

"It is forbidden to spit on cats in plague-time."

-Albert Camus-
Date Posted:07/13/2018 17:03 PM
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The windows in Little Moreton Hall are unbelievable.   Did I understand "Mary the Maid" right when she said it took 4 years to build the house?  Just looking at those windows I can't imagine it being done in that short a time.

I see You Tube offers many videos of England's National Trust sites.  Adventuring we shall go.


I visited the house about 10 years ago and it's a wonderful place, so quirky and eccentric. If I remember rightly, the windows have biblical passages carved into them above the panes. They must have been quite a religious family, as the Hall includes its own chapel. What struck me was, there isn't a straight line in the place, as being virtually all wood, it's twisted and turned for centuries. 4 years to build? I think that's a long time really, as a wealthy family such as this could afford armies of carpenters and various craftsmen. I think the length of time would be governed by the supply of oak, even though it would have been originally built using what's called 'green oak' which is oak that has not been seasoned, hence the twisting. There are many types of oak, you have your American oak and far eastern oak has been plentifully used here in furniture but English oak is the king of oaks. If you've never come across it, it's hard to explain just how hard this material is and without it, Britain would be a little known Island of the French coast, as it was oak that built the ships that spanned the world.
Date Posted:07/14/2018 04:51 AM
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