Flower of the Month: The Percys’ Fool in the New World?

The Percy family documents seldom provide much information about named performers, but for Thomas Wigen or Wyggen, the references suggest an eventful, perhaps harrowing life. He appears first in 1605 in a menial role,  paid 6 s 8 d ‘for taking up foundations in the garden May the 13˹th˺’.[1]  More interesting is a taylor’s bill […]

Flower of the Month: a New Year’s Day play in the East Riding of Yorkshire

Among the usual records of fornication, adultery, playing cards during service times, marrying without having the banns read properly and similar infringements, the Archbishop of York’s Visitation Book for 1615 has a most intriguing entry1:  This is kind of entry REED editors trawl Visitation books in the hope of finding, but what can we make of it? […]

Celebrating Maundy Thursday in Medieval Durham (2018)

Today is a beautiful sunny Maundy Thursday in Durham. In light of the day, we’re reposting this Flower from a few years back:   How did the medieval monks of Durham celebrate Maundy Thursday? A work known as the Rites of Durham – a late 16th-century account of the earlier, pre-Reformation rites and practices of […]

Update (stop the press): even earlier plough ceremonies from Durham?

In an update to REED N-E’s earlier ‘Flower of the Month’, we’ve discovered that Durham might have even older evidence for plow ceremonies than those mentioned last week (see Epiphanytide in Medieval Durham). As mentioned in the previous post, accounts from several of the manor houses attached to Durham Cathedral Priory record payments to ploughmen and […]

Epiphanytide in Medieval Durham

The Feast of Epiphany celebrates the revelation of God’s earthly presence to the Gentiles, through the revelation of the Christ-child to the Magi: et ecce stella quam viderant in oriente antecedebat eos usque dum veniens staret supra ubi erat puer videntes autem stellam gavisi sunt gaudio magno valde et intrantes domum invenerunt puerum cum Maria […]

Flower of the Month: Leeds’ John Harrison – good Christian benefactor or ‘the very knave of knaves’?

A standard search of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for “John Harrison” produces twelve results. Among scientists, artists, a horologist, a naval officer, clergymen, conspirators, one man is identified simply as “benefactor”—John Harrison (1579-1656) of Leeds. The only son and namesake of a successful clothier of the borough, Harrison inherited his father’s business in […]