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Black Quill

Issue 28
May/June/02 AS XXXVI
The Shire of Ravensweir
Quesnel BC

From the Acting Chronicler
The good Lady Sigrid has stepped down as Chronicler and I, Rowena, am editing the newsletter in the absence of an official Chronicler. I hope that after the Arts and Sciences competition in September to fully take the office but until that time I will just be doing the newsletters. Lady Sigrid has trained me well I hope so that the newslette will not be a disappointment for those of you who have appreciated her work and wonderful choice of content. Huzzah to Lady Sigrid. Well the camping season is upon us and we have an exciting even planned for the weekend of June 14-16. I hope to see many of you there. For the Saturday we have several things planned. In the afternoon we will be having the assassin games, a full list of rules will be given at the even. There will also be rapier tourney done by Milord Gwydion. If he has planned anything like he has in the past it should be highly entertaining and a whole lot of fun. We will be having Stone soup for dinner made from the generous contributions from the good gentles who wish to join us in the feasting. You can find a contribution list in the event copy that Lady Sigrid has sent to everyone. After dinner we will be entertained by a special group of belly dancers followed by the gorgeous dancers of our faire shire.
From the Mistress of A&Sc
Greetings to milords and miladys of this great shire. Once again I greet you and send out the latest edition of history bite. I hope that htese have amused and entertained you as they have amused and enterained me. Please feel free to send any little tibits of humerous historical facts to me.
-Lead cups were used to frink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake - hence the custom of holding a "wake".

-England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When re-opening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were founds to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyrad shite") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer".

-In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase "goodnight, sleep tight".

-It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calandar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month or what we know today as the honeymoon.

Rowan's Ramblins

Greetings Good Gentles,

I am entirely pleased to once again feel the sweet warmth of Father Sun and am looking happily forward to seeing all of you as tourney season decends upon us for another year.

The Shire is in need of some motivated officers. Currently there are several positions open... including Arts & Sciences, and Chatelaine. Please contact me if you are interested in becomming an active officer.

Also... now is the time to start working on your projects for the fall A&S champions. Let's try not to have an empty display table.

Be well and glad all, Rowan
Fields of Gold The Shire of Tir Bannog invites you to the 6th annual Fields of Gold Tourney
Site Direction: We are located on Hwy 16 West of Houston and East of Smithers at Hwy sign marker Km 385. (This is about 4 hours drive west of Prince George, BC)
Site information: It is private property and all mundane laws will be upheld. Water will be provided for cooking, washing and it is drinkable. We don't know how many will be attending, so please bring some personal drinking water to ease the demand. Ground fires will not be permitted with the exeption of the Bardic fire. The closest market is approx. 16 km away with no fresh meat and produce (it is a corner store with snacks and a few basics). If you require a large area to encamp you can phone ahead or e-mail to confirm space.
Site fee: $5.00 per head with a max. family rate of $15.00 (children under 12 are free)
Autocrat: Lady Betha (250)846-5290 or

Wolf's Lair Inn Now Open

Food and accommodations available. Reservations for accommodations recommended as there is limtited space at the onn. Hot and cold meals, spirits, and helm lunches available. Pre-order helm lunches please. Comprehensive rate for accommodation and meals on request. All proceeds from the inn will be donated to the Crown Principality. Contact for further information and reservations. Friday June 28th Site opens at 6pm for set up and preparations. Saturday June 29th Time available for Rapier (lesson or practice) and or Heavy Fighting and or Archery target or clout shoot.
Sunday June 30th 9:00 am event opening 10:30 am Archery
1:00 pm Helm Lunch Auction
3:00 pm Amrour inspection / Lists
3:30 pm Heavy Fighting
6:30 pm Pot Luck Supper
Bardic to Follow
Monday July 1st 9:00 am Pancake Breakfast (provided by Tewl and Betha) Site at 6pm

Eskya's Corner

Children in the Middle Ages

If You Were Five...
If you were five in the Middle Ages, you would be one of the lucky children to live that long. Eight out of nin children died before they were five.

Your parents would be strict with you. You would have to have good mannors all the time. You would get up very early (fice or six o'clock in the morning). At mealtime, you would serve your parents first and wait politely until you had permission to leave.

There was no law that said you had to go to shcool. If your parents wanted, you could have an edcucation. You may have had a hornbook to help you with the alphabet and some sounds. A hornbook was a piece of wood with a piece of parchment attached. The parchment was covered with a clear layer of horn to protect it. The alphabet and the Lord's Prayer was usually printed on the parchment.

If you were a boy and lived on a farm, you would go to the fields with your father. At five, you would scare away the birds that would try to eat the seed.

Your food would be cool and moist suck as milk, cheese, and white meats like chicken.

You would take a bath once a month. Your clothes would be cleaned either once a month, or every other month.

To be continued......

Hereward the Wake

By Nan Compton

I want to tell you about a hero you probably haven't heard of, but one who was a well-known in England after his death as Robin Hood is now. His name was Hereward the Wake.

Hereward was born in Bourne, in what is now Licolnshire, sometime around 1032, and died some 40 years later. He inherited and held extensive lands in Lincolnshire as a thane; he also had properties in Warwickshire. Later he became one leader of the English resistance to William the Conquerer in 1070. The Norman had been here only since 1066 and thought and wishes of expelling them remained strong -- if futile as it was to turn out. However, this was the last time the British Isles were invaded.

The epithet 'the Wake' is obscure both in origin and in meaning. It was apperantly first used by the chronicler, John of Peterborogh. Its meaning can only be guessed at: perhaps it is meant to indicate he was 'awake' and alert to the Norman danger. (In the same way that 'Ethelred the Unready' did not mean 'unready to act' but more 'heedless of concil'). At the time, there Danish forces throughout the eastern part of England. King Alfred the Great had ceded the eastern part of England to the invading Norseman in 901. This was the region known as Danelaw, and it extended from the east of a line drawn from London to Chester Not until Edward the Confessor became king did an Anglo-Saxon rule again. It was Edward's death in 1066 that precipitated the final crisis that led to England effectively joining Europe -- by force of invasion, under Willian, later known as the Conqueror.

William had invaded because Engalnd was a wealthy country. Had it been poor, he would not have bothered, regardless of the strength of his claims to the crown.

The unpleasent fact was that the Anglo-Saxon kingdom was enfeebled and defunct, and so unable to effectivly resist the organised strength of the Normans. Before his death, Edward the Confessor has promised the crown to Duke william of Normandy -- there were close family links between the two men -- but Anglo-Saxon custom held this to be invalid. Harold Godwinnson was elected in accordance with custom.

William invaded to claim the kingdom. Everyone knows what happened at the Battle of Hastings. Harold died with an arrow in eye (or maybe not, but he was killed in the battle): Duke William of Normandy became King William.

Land - holdijng it and keeping - was the heart of the conflict. About this the Domesday Book is very revealing. It shows that the majority of Domesday landholders were from northern France. (Unsurprisingly). However, there are a few Anglod-Saxon nobility who yet possessed estates of any size. This was Thorkill of Arden, who held land in Warwickshire -- Where Hereward himself is also though to have had land.

In Domesday, Danes an Anglo-Saxons, listed as thanes, were still under-tenants of Normans. This would rankle not just because of dis-possesion but for the reason that under-tenancy incurred a debt o military duty to the lord -- who would, of course, have been a Norman.

It was against this background that Hereward joined with a band of Danes, who were based on the Isle of Ely ('Island of Eels' in the low-lying and swampy Fens). Over the years, the invaders had settled, the conquering impulse had waned, and their invaders had diminished. But together they attacked Peterborough and sacked the abby there, perhaps as a pre-emptive strike to exclude the Norman bishop Torold from the see. (Building of the cathedral had begun in 1118.) Hereward was joined by other English refugees, including Morcar, earl of Northumbria, and Aethelwine, bishop of Durum.

Hereward and his raiders were such a threat to William's control of the area that William made a treaty with the Danish king, Sweyn, who as a result told his raiders to withdraw from Ely. However, Hereward remained, and Ely became for a time refuge for all of William's enemies.

Appently William allowed the plundering of the English minsters; specifically to searh out thethe money and treasures hidden in them by the wealthy English. This was just four years after the conquest and William was still having to asserting his authority vigorously.

He needed money himself, while his supporters expected and were given the spoils and booty of success.

The monks of Ely, living as they did in the second-rihest monastary in England, were not supportive of the rebels, and Hereward constantly had to be aware o their attempts to inform William as to his actions. However, William still felt that the monks assisted Hereward and he fined them a thousand pounds. Although this enormous amount was probably meant to cripple the monostary permanently, the monks were able to find the sum and give it to the king.

Hereward carried on guerilla warefare against William, who laid siege to Ely in 1071. Most of the garrison surrenderd, but Hereward escaped into the fen country inland and disappeared from history. He became an English fold hero and the subject of many popular legends; according to one he was pardoned, according to another he was killed by the Normans.

To be continued........

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