Friday, 30 January 2009

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Poor interpretation by Beckford

Theologian Dr Robert Beckford has just given a most slanted explanation of the 'triumph' of Christianity in Britain in the Dark Ages in Channel 4's Christianity a History.

Britain did not exist as a 'country' in the period 450- 800, therefore Dr Beckford is falling into the classic failing of the Academic with a bias, in this case Christianity and multicultural society, mediating the 'Dark Ages' through the prism of a 21st Century political viewpoint.

Three points that he did put over though I am not sure he understood what he was saying.

One- The introduction of Christianity was top down, through the conversion of Kings eager to align themselves with continental pawers. Christianity had very little effect on the culture of the Anglo Saxons. Indeed Raedwald whose burial mound was excavated at Sutton Hoo in 1939, had both Pagan and Christian artifacts in it.

Two- The Augustine conversion was largely a failure and ended after only twenty years, it was only when the rites and beliefs of the people were incorporated into Christianity did Christianity gain a foothold, but again it was closely aligned with the monarchs, providing 'services' such as written records and corrspondence. Christianity had little effect on the warrior society.

Three- After Whitby the Catholic Church sought to suppress the Celtic Church with its mysticism inherited from the Coptic Church.

I grew tired of the message and gave up after half an hour irritated by bland 21st century political statements on the beliefs of our society 1700 years ago.

Also very irritated when Anglo-Saxon society was described as barbaric.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Friday, 23 January 2009



The swift flight of a sparrow

Why would anyone want to spend thousands of years in limbo waiting for Judgment Day, when they could get an instant ticket to a real afterlife? Had there been Heathen missionaries fourteen hundred years ago, that is the question they may have asked those about to convert to Christianity, or the Christian missionaries themselves.

Needless to say, this may have been the very question Penda asked the missionaries that caused him not to convert ala Radbod the Frisian. Radbod of Frisia had one foot in the baptismal font, and was ready to be baptized when he asked, "Where are my dead ancestors at present?" Wolfram the Christian missionary answered, ""In Hell, with all other unbelievers." Upon hearing this, Radbod removed his foot from the font and responded, "Then I would rather live there with my honourable ancestors than go to heaven with a parcel of beggars ." Wolfram and his missionaries were expelled, Wolfram narrowly escaping sacrifice to the Heathen Gods.

Such tales are rare, but it demonstrates that the Christians must have hidden the truth about their afterlife from those they were converting. According to Bede, one of King Edwin's men remarked about Heathen belief and the afterlife:

" The present life man, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the Hall wherein you sit at supper in winter amid your officers and ministers, with a good fire in the midst whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door and immediately another, whilst he is within is safe from the wintry but after a short space of fair weather he immediately vanishes out of your sight into the dark winter from which he has emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space but of what went before or what is to follow we are ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed."

(J. H. Robinson, Readings in European History, (Boston: Ginn, 1905), pp. 97-105 )

Sofðu unga ástin mín

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Saturday, 17 January 2009


Details on tonights wassail at Carhampton and at Barrington Court

The West Country Wassail traditionally takes place tonight, January 17, the old Twelfth Night before Britain changed from the Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1752. Nowadays, the tradition of the wassail is not only kept at Carhampton (a separate wassail takes place earlier on the same night at the village's community orchard), but elsewhere in Somerset and beyond. The format of the ceremony is also fluid: if no one is available to fire a shotgun, pots and pans are banged together, the idea being to make as much noise as possible. The majority of the wassails are revivals and even used by some cider-makers as a kind of countryside corporate event. Yet, whatever the motive or format, interest in the West Country wassail is growing as more people become aware of the traditions that governed our pre-Industrial Age life.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Baebes- Adam Lay I Bounden


Schelmish - Kalifenzorn

Tales From The Green Valley

Currently Channel 4 are currently following up with a new series on the Victorian Farm, an intriguing series that showed that less than 400 years ago, our lives revolved around the seasons far more than it does today

Eivør Pálsdóttir - Trøllabundin