Flower of the Month: More Evidence of Boy Bishops in Durham

The custom of choosing a boy to act as ‘Bishop’ for one or more days each year, often with a considerable element of parody, was familiar throughout western Europe in the later Middle Ages. The Boy Bishop of Durham was chosen from among the children of the Almonry School, founded around 1340, whose schoolroom was […]

Pre-pub records from Durham Priory: the Feretrar’s Accounts

REED: Durham editors John McKinnell and Mark Chambers are pleased to announce the launch of the latest collection of records from Durham: the Durham Priory Feretrars’ Accounts. The ‘Feretrar’ (Medieval Latin feretrarius, from feretrum) was the officer-monk in charge of the shrine of St. Cuthbert and relics related to the saint – for their upkeep and maintenance, […]

The Latest Records from Durham: Boy Bishops and other customs in the Priory’s Almonry Accounts

REED: Durham editors Mark Chambers and John McKinnell are delighted to make available the latest set of Records of Early English Drama gathered from the documents of Durham’s great medieval monastery:  from the accounts of the Almoners of Durham Priory.* The Almoner was the monk in charge of distributing charity and charitable gifts on behalf […]

Launch of the Durham Priory Locelli Records

REED: Durham editors John McKinnell and Mark Chambers are very pleased to announce the launch of the pre-publication records from the Durham Priory locelli. The designation locelli (from Latin locellus, lit. ‘a little place’) originally referred to boxes or chests in which important documents were stored. Now referring to a category of important Priory documents, the Durham locelli contain […]

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: Thomas Fatuus gets replaced by a monkey!

The prior of Durham Priory was, for much of the medieval period, a very powerful religous figure who guided the monastery with the piety and seriousness required by the Benedictine Rule. However, this doesn’t mean that, on occasion, he wasn’t open to some levity:  we have records of Durham priors employing professional fools (jesters, ‘fatui’, […]

Celebrating Maundy Thursday at Durham Priory (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 mid 16th-century account of the earlier, pre-Reformation rites and practices of […]

BBC North-East interviews John McKinnell about the death of the medieval tightrope walker

See REED N-E’s Professor John McKinnell discussing the death of Durham’s 13th-century tightrope walker* on BBC Television! John can be seen (briefly) on BBC North-East’s Inside Out programme from 23rd February. The programme is available on BBC iPlayer until the last week of March. Click on the link below. John appears in the final piece […]