A Crypto-Jew’s Guide to Surviving the Spanish Inquisition

Hello! Gosh I had this ambitious plan for writing something for every day in October, though you can see how well that’s gone. So many things happened this summer that I’ve been keeping it all on the shelf instead of telling about it.

I did another History Showoff talk last week, this one titled ‘How to Survive the Spanish Inquisition: Practical Tips for Crypto-Jews’. I got the timing a bit better than the Fascist Romeo & Juliet one, when I had to cut about a third of it, and the venue (in a great scuzzy pub basement) was much more fun. However, the Photoshop work is much worse, as I did it myself, including this slide about New Christians (converted Jews) having to go to church even when they’re menstruating:

Sevilla Cathedral - bloody text

Where else might Richard III be reburied? Alternate resting places for the last Plantagenet king

Team Plantagenet Alliance is pulling hard for Richard III to be reburied at York Minster, and Uni Leicester, Leicester city council and the Leicestershire tourism board are obviously pulling hard for Leicester, but I think there are a few other lovely and appropriate sites that should be considered.

Richard III in Leicester: Visiting the actual car park(!!!)

I mean, OK, I'm not one of THOSE Richard III people? So I didn't really care about actually getting to go into The Car Park. It was just REALLY HARD TO REMEMBER THAT when I was standing RIGHT THERE.

Bosworth Field and Richard III

I'm not outdoorsy and I don't like battlefields. But the Bosworth Field Heritage Centre has a lot going on that doesn't involve tromping around in the mud. There are birds, books, a smashing exhibition centre and some wines named after puns so bad I almost don't want to share them.

A Very Plantagenet Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Don’t worry! If you haven’t found a card yet that expresses how you really feel about your partner, maybe one of these Plantagenet valentines will help:

valentine henry vi margaret

St Albans is where Londoners get to go if we’ve been very, very good

I took last Monday off work for no real reason and decided to go to St Albans. It’s a cathedral city I’ve been wanting to visit for a while; I’ve heard it’s cosy and pleasant, it’s where two important battles in the Wars of the Roses were fought, and most importantly, it claims to have the most pubs for a town its size in the UK.

St Albans has been around for a while – it was originally a Roman settlement called Verulamium, and the town still has Roman ruins as well as a spectacular Norman cathedral. It’s around a day’s horse ride from London, so as soon as London was established as a centre of government and commerce, St Albans became important as the overnight stop for Londoners on their way north.

Alban, the saint who gave the cathedral and later the town its name, was a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity. He was killed (‘martyred’) by the Roman government and, as Christianity grew in the British Isles, the place where he was supposedly executed became a shrine, then a pilgrimage site. (Early Christian Britons were really big on pilgrimage sites.) Read more...