Friday, March 20, 2009

Castle Priest Hole

Here at we try hard to find new and interesting things to write about for our readers. The problem is that our 'to do' list is huge and there are simply not enough hours in a day to get down it quickly. However, we are resolved to tackle a variety of subjects in depth and over time - so if you love medieval history and castles, please keep revisiting the site!

Today we can report that one of the items on our 'to do' list has had its box ticked - and a BIG tick it is too! Some time ago we decided to write a section on medieval worship and how it affected not only the way people lived their medieval lives but also had a bearing on medieval archictecture and design. Admittedly it is a broad subject and we have only just begun to scratch the surface with our first content in the section which went live this week.

We have started to dedicate pages to individual places of worship which date back to medieval times as well including St Etheldreda's Church in London, the oldest Catholic church in all England dating back to the era of King Edward I. When you read the page take a close look at the photograph - towards the bottom right hand corner there is a wonderful orb clearly visible!

Perhaps the most powerful impact made upon medieval worship in England was that of The Reformation. As a result many people were imprisoned, tortured and executed and many were forced into holding religious ceremonies in secret. The priest hole was born out of this.

Priest holes were generally built in homes and castles of wealthy and aristocratic Catholic families and we have been privileged to be able to visit a medieval castle with a priest hole as well as actually film it. Our priest hole video is now live and, we believe. is the first of its kind published on the Internet. Certainly as of this moment in time there is nothing to compare to it on youtube! So please visit the page, watch the video, read the accompanying account of its history and then pass the link on to others for their enjoyment.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Medieval English: A Poke - For the Pig or Ice Cream?

When you love medieval castles as much as we do, you get distracted into all manner of side issues - from medieval life to medieval music, medieval poetry and lots more. One of the most interesting aspects of medieval history is perhaps that of medieval English. Take one look at our medieval glossary and you will see a wide variety of words - some familiar and still in use today and others that have long since died away in popularity.

Here's a word, not currently in our glossary to be honest, whose use appears to date back to medieval Britain - the word: poke. Now many of us have heard the expression 'a pig in a poke' but what does it really mean? Well, I had never stopped to think about this until I read a great little post on an ice cream blog yesterday entitled: Ice Cream Poke & Ice Cream Slider.

How can a pig and an ice cream both share a poke?! What does it all mean?!

Well, as that little ice cream blog post explains, a poke is a bag or sack. OK so that makes the expression 'a pig in a poke' somewhat self-explanatory but ice cream ....? Well an ice cream poke is a favored expression in Ireland for an ice cream cone. So I learned something there. However, what I perhaps enjoyed learning the most is the fact that the word poke dates back to medieval times. It must go into the glossary at the next update!

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