IT’S A PORTENT OF DOOM, WE’RE ALL DOOMED

FEAR TERROR OR JUST SUPERSTITION

‘Then over all England there was seen a sign in the skies such as had never been seen before. It’s a sign, a portent, the people cried and they were afraid’

Comet

Science Correspondent, Godric of Rochester

Last night, a truly spectacular event marked the occasion of the Spring Solstice. One reveller tells of a star four times as big as anything else in the night sky and nearly as bright as the moon. Another said that it travelled slowly across London and seemed to hang over us. Some were terrified, nothing like it had ever been seen before, but the general opinion at the time was that “they should stop being so melodramatic, after all, if you looked at it nothing bad happened, you didn’t go blind or mad so what could go wrong.”

THE VIEW OF THE CHURCH

No one from the English Church or The Abbey of West Minster was available for comment but I was able to interview the monk Eilmer of Malmesbury.

It should be said that Eilmer’s observations are his own opinions but he did seem knowledgeable about the heavens. It was perhaps more of an outburst then a reasoned argument and Eilmer’s ideas are somewhat questionable. He said, “I’ve divined that the ‘star’ was a true portent of evil and that disaster will soon be upon us.”

IT’S A PORTENT OF DOOM, WE’RE ALL DOOMED

I had come upon Eilmer as he was talking to himself, surely a sign of lunacy. Looking up at the heavens he said “You’ve come, you’ve come, you’ve come again have you, you source of tears to mothers, you’re evil. I hate you! It is long since I saw you; but as I see you now you are much more terrible, for I see you brandishing the downfall of my country. I hate you!”

Dismissed as mad by those around, his comments were overheard by some close to the King. They did appear concerned, even worried and after some discussion decided to let the King know of Eilmer’s doom laden speech.

What will happen now to Eilmer I’m not sure but the general advice was that he should get back to the safety of Malmesbury as quickly as he could.

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters.

For more information on The Saxon Times visit: www.1066thesaxontimes.com/home

 

They’ve threatened to put him in the woods!

Brother-Ealdred_thumb.jpg

 READER’S LETTERS

Brother Ealdred’s recommendation for the wife’s headaches in January’s paper is a most valuable remedy. Indeed, I cannot express my thanks at the sense of well-being it provided. It was like a charm, soothing and relieving all the symptoms and I have found it to very advantageous whenever my wife feels poorly. Randulf

Dear Brother Ealdred

Eadhun is about ten years old and has begun to cough. It is worse at night when he keeps us all awake and our neighbours too. They’ve threatened to put him in the woods to sleep. We are at our wits end and the other six children are crabby too from lack of sleep. What can we do? Beowulf

For Brother Ealdred’s full reply, read The Saxon Times.

‘As for your neighbours, ask them to share some home brewed beer with you and watch you give your boy his medicine.’

ASK BROTHER EALDRED

Statements made in The Saxon Times, regarding the advice on herbal and natural remedies, are sourced from the ‘Lacnunga’, a collection of miscellaneous Anglo-Saxon medical texts and prayers. The advice given by Brother Ealdred is for information purposes only, it is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your doctor or other medical professionals.

Do not use Brother Ealdred’s advice to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor or health care provider.

 

Closer ties with Denmark?

Sweyn

By March, the ‘Treacherous Tostig’ had sailed all that way to Denmark and on to Viborg, just for King Sweyn to tell him no.

‘I don’t want to turn against Harold, he’s family too. I’d rather fight side by side with him, against that Viking William, then support any of your ill thought out proposed invasion plans. You’ll get no help here.’

AN INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF KING HAROLD’S CLOSEST ADVISORS

Last night our Royal Reporter was able to capture this insight into a political strategy that may help England’s cause. Speaking anonymously, a noble Lord said:

“If I had my way, Harold would be sending out emissaries to Denmark and building up his family ties abroad. They’d send an army to help and it might stop William if we could show a united front. Those Vikings from Norway have been trouble for the last 250 years, looting, burning and pillaging, and everything else too. William’s got Viking blood and he’s just the same. We need to stop him at source, turn his people against him. Sometimes, the King is so stubborn he won’t listen to any advice, good or bad.”

It’s an interesting viewpoint and one that makes some sense but will King Harold take heed?

FITZOSBERN THROWS DOWN THE GAUNTLET

After spring begins, William summons another war council to meet at Lillebonne and they begin to draw up the invasion plans. FitzOsbern, Lord of Breteuil, announced that “I’ll furnish forty ships, manned, equipped and provisioned, who of you will be brave enough to follow my lead”. The gauntlet was thrown down to the assembled nobles, challenging their loyalty to great effect. The first battle was won.

Following the reports from Normandy, the talk on the streets of London dismisses William as delusional and paranoid. “He’s just like a spoilt child” one said. “Stamps his feet and throws a tantrum just like my four year old but my wife gives in to him and he gets what he wants in the end, the same as William”. Another said “It’s all because he didn’t get England. He’s just evil but we can’t get his people to see that, he’s got such a good propaganda machine that they all believe him – even that Pope chap in Rome.”

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters.

For more information on The Saxon Times visit: www.1066thesaxontimes.com/home

 

It Is The ‘Work Of The Devil’

Special Edition: Science Extra

Work of the Devil

They Call It ‘Printing’!

Pilgrims from overseas, who have visited Winchester to sit at the tomb of St Swithun, have revealed some extraordinary tales from mysterious eastern lands.

Discounted by clergy as the work of the devil, it appears possible to create books many times over in “a blink of the eye”’ according to one report, and “without the use of pens”.

It has been incredulously greeted by many monks who fear for their future as illuminating manuscripts is their sole mission in life. “What will happen to me” said one monk who wished not to be named, “I’ve trained years for this job and it’s all I know. If it’s true and they bring those infernal machines to England it will change the way the church works and not for the better. Mark my words, those devil machines will have to go. Progress my foot, what about the rights of the workers”

I catch up with one of the pilgrims, Brother Osmund, and whilst he confirms the rumours he admits that the story is at least third hand. He heard it from a friend of a friend of a friend, so to speak, who had ventured east by boat from Byzantium.

Brother Osmund recounts this tale.

“In a land far away to the east, beyond belief, there is a world that has invented the ability to produce many copies of the same book. This country is known as China and they have called what they do ‘Printing’.

They have carved wooden blocks of letters and words and have a machine that once the characters are inked, presses the blocks onto paper and then rubs the back of the paper. It is truly amazing.”

“They’ve printed many copies of their religious writings, 5000 scrolls each. Just think what we could do with the Bible. If people could read, they could read the Bible themselves. It would be a whole new world. We could spread the word far and wide. Everybody will share in the Holy Trinity”.

For the full report behind these headlines and the reports, read 1066 The Saxon Times and experience the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the Saxon Times reporters

For more information on The Saxon Times visit: www.1066thesaxontimes.com/home

There is much more to 1066 than ‘the bigger picture’

The Saxon Times seeks to provide that important newspaper’s view of 1066.

World Book Day 2017

A compilation of The Saxon Times created to celebrate World Book Day. Read the Stories behind the Headlines

The Saxon Times was written to bring 1066 alive with the stories behind the headlines, ‘eye witness reports’ that explores life in 1066.

 

Eadwine of Christ Church, Canterbury, Editor The Saxon Times 1060 to 1066, writes:

‘I would like to thank my good friend William of Poitiers for all his help and support in writing this newspaper, he was a valuable source of information and privy to most of the decisions of Duke William himself.  William of Jumièges also proved to be a reasonably reliable source although he was limited in his capacity to travel because of his great age. Our discussions about the events of the day and their jottings and scribblings served me well when it came to write up my copy. I wish them both every success when they both come to write up their books on ‘The Deeds of Duke William’.

Despite keeping ‘immaculate’ records for both King Harold and Duke William there is occasionally some confusion as to the actual day or dates when these tumultuous events occurred. Everybody seemed to work to a different calendar and sometimes there was a discrepancy or difference of opinion for which I apologise. Even the best of us can forget which day it is!

I must also thank my colleagues who followed the campaigns of King Harold and Duke William, sometimes in great personal danger. Alfgar of Peterborough and Eadgar of West Minster were given leave of absence from their monasteries to record the events of 1066 for posterity. Eadgar became Court Correspondent and Alfgar followed the northern campaigns before we all joined up together at the Battle of Senlac Hill.

I do hope that you enjoy reading The Saxon Times. We will not see the like of it again.’

1066 is the stuff of legends and uncorroborated tales which allow a story to be woven as a best guess or a more than likely scenario.

There are only a few dates that than can be conformed categorically and often there is a discrepancy or a difference of opinion and sometimes pure conjecture as to when the events happened and I have attempted to draw together a timescale that meets the facts and the logistics of moving armies around Saxon England.

The main problem is that the two main chroniclers, William of Poitiers and William of Jumièges, both wrote their respective ‘books’ some years after 1066. The bulk of the writing of William of Poitiers’ ‘Gesta Guillelmi’ probably took place between 1071 and 1077 and William of Jumièges’ Gesta Normannorum Ducum (Deeds of the Dukes of the Normans) was most likely finished in the year of his death in 1070. With no internet access, dictaphones, laptops or tablets it is unsurprising that the dates may be out.

The Saxon Times is a compilation of the available historical information from a wide variety of sources that include relevant books, magazines, journals, television, radio and of course the internet. Where dates cannot be pinpointed accurately, they have been included as summary of events that provide some historical context to 1066. I must thank the eminent historians and scholars  whose books provided much of the detail for The Saxon Times and the Medievalist.net, and all their contributors, whose valuable research provided background reading for additional news items.

Summary

There is more to that tumultuous year than the political intrigues and family betrayals that led to the Battle of Hastings and so beloved of television productions.

The Battles of Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings, between Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Normans, are the stuff that every student knows. King Harold’s epic marches are part of our folklore and can be read in any history book. Old facts dressed up as new facts, revelations and interpretations that serve to create a vision of an official history are unchallenged. despite the many pages written that create a far more accurate picture of history.

But there is much more to history than ‘the bigger picture’ and The Saxon Times seeks to provide that important newspaper’s view of 1066.

The use of a newspaper style to record historic events enables a more inclusive look at 1066

Secret Service

Many of the troubles of modern day society are mirrored throughout 1066 with enough examples of invasion, terrorist acts and subjugation for comparison. That fateful year also can also be contemplated and argued as a lesson in business strategy and administration. 1066 is right on so many different fronts.

In writing The Saxon Times some fun stuff was added too; adverts, medical pages, cooking pages and a few insights from the ‘people’. Events such as the report by the BBC that the ‘Battle of Hastings sword failed to sell at auction’ and ‘the discovery at Lewes of the skeletal remains of a man believed to have been injured at the battle’ are all be woven into the fabric of the paper.

The use of a newspaper style to record historic events allows a more introspective view of the circumstances and, together with ‘expert’ comments, enables a more inclusive look at 1066.

The Saxon Times forms an important link in the history of 1066 for KS3.

The newspaper is look at how the events of 1066 may have been reported and records ‘eye-witness’ reports of the events surrounding the death of Edward the Confessor, the coronation of King Harold II, the events led to the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066 and the subsequent conquest of England through the eyes of The Saxon Times reporters.

The Saxon Times addresses key skills in interpretation, evaluation and explanation of the changes that occurred in 1066 Anglo-Saxon England.

 

The Saxon Times is written to allow students to:

  • Understand the history of 1066 in a coherent and chronological order
  • Identify the strategies and key personnel that influenced events of 1066
  • Provide a wider knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England, Normandy, Europe and the wider world in the context of 1066
  • Evaluate the political alliances and understand how decisions were effected and the cause and effect of these decisions on the events of 1066
  • Contrast and compare Norman and Anglo-Saxon Society
  • Enable wider discussion, contrasting arguments and interpretation of the events of 1066
  • Compare the events of 1066 to current 21st century topics

 

There is the opportunity to reflect upon:

  • Norman and Anglo-Saxon politics
  • Norman and Anglo-Saxon strategies
  • The claimants to the English throne
  • The Battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge
  • The Battle of Hastings
  • The conquest of England
  • Duke William’s advance on London

 

Extension work includes the opportunity to:

  • Create their own newspaper
  • Write articles for The Saxon Times
  • Write the stories behind the headlines
  • Create advertisements for employment, everyday items, recipes and medicinal cures
  • Imagine life as a Norman or Anglo-Saxon, a noble, a soldier or a peasant.

Some Suggested Overarching Key Enquires:

  • Why did the Normans win the Battle of Hastings?
  • Who were the claimants to the English Throne?
  • Why did Duke William take the long route to London?
  • Why did Duke William need the blessing of the Pope?
  • What was the timeline for the Battle of Hastings?
  • What was the timeline for Duke William’s advance on London?

Resources

The Saxon Times is available in individual editions, for wall display and classroom handouts, and each issue is a brief summary of the day’s Saxon Times news from 1066  as it happened with editorial, comment, features, foreign news, and special editions to bring the events to life.

The Saxon Times is also available as an A4 size paperback, published by Bretwalda Books, with the full stories behind the headlines for the whole year.

Resources are available through TES Resources and by mail order from History Walks.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

 

This article was first published on Linked In 22nd February 2017