Today is the 159th Anniversary of the first performance of Thomas Arne’s “Rule Britannia”!

Source: Rule Britannia – Last Night of the Proms 2009 | YouTube

Thomas Arne’s song “Rule Britannia” was performed for the first time on this date, 159 years ago: August 1, 1740. Historic UK notes that

“The patriotic song ‘Rule, Britannia!, Britannia rule the waves’, is traditionally performed at the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ which takes place each year at the Royal Albert Hall.”

Ignoring certain historical inaccuracies , this is an awesome rendition by mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly!

 

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Brother Cadfael: An Appreciation | CrimeReads

Image result for ellis peters brother cadfael
Sample covers of three of the books in the series of medieval mysteries, The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, by Ellis Peters.

Any writer who can make a living by her pen can be proud of her work, but it wasn’t until 1977, when A Morbid Taste for Bones introduced Cadfael, that Pargeter made her bid for literary immortality.

Source: Brother Cadfael: An Appreciation | CrimeReads

The Anglophilic Anglican has alluded to this excellent series of historical mysteries – “The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael,” by Ellis Peters (nom de plume of medieval scholar, author, and Shrewsbury, England, resident Edith Pargeter) – but I have not addressed them directly. Let me make up for that omission, now!

For those who may not be aware, the Cadfael Chronicles are a long-running series of medieval mysteries comprising 21 volumes – 20 novels and a short-story collection – written between 1977 and 1994, and set in 12th-century England: specifically, in the years 1137–1145, in and around the town (city) of Shrewsbury, near the Welsh border, and its Benedictine monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The protagonist, the eponymous Brother Cadfael of the aforementioned monastery, is both monk and herbalist, as well as a sort of medieval private investigator; a veteran Crusader and one-time sailor who – having seen much of the known world, in his first half-century or so – has chosen this quiet (?) harbor to live out the remainder of his earthy life.

Let’s let Levi Stahl tell it: Continue reading “Brother Cadfael: An Appreciation | CrimeReads”

BBC News – The Mary Rose: A Tudor ship’s secrets revealed

More than 30 years after it was raised from the seabed – and almost 500 years since it sank – the secrets of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, are being revealed to the public – along with the faces of its crew.

Source: BBC News – The Mary Rose: A Tudor ship’s secrets revealed

The Anglophilic Anglican has not been posting much that is either Anglophilic or Anglican, of late! I shall try to correct that imbalance: one should not stick one’s head in the ground, especially at a time of crisis for the Western world; but on the other hand, man cannot live by politics alone, either – at least not without going stark raving crazy!

At any rate, I would love to visit the Mary Rose Museum – dedicated to King Henry VIII’s flagship, sunk in 1545 and raised in 1982 – in Portsmouth, England, one day:

“Every artefact on show here is an original piece found with the wreck. Some of the cannons were still sticking out of the gunports when it was discovered in 1971.

“The Mary Rose was raised from the seabed of the Solent in 1982, and has been on display before, but it is only now that insights into life on board are being shown to the public.

“Forensic scientists, more used to working with murder victims, have recreated the faces of seven of the about 500 men who died when the ship sank in 1545.

“The new Mary Rose Museum has been dedicated to them, and it is through them the story of the ship is now being told.”

As I say, I would love to visit, some day! I do hope I get back to England, before I die…

Pendant of H.M.S. Tiger
Tudor naval streamer or pendant – “The Tudor naval streamer was a long, tapering flag, flown from the top of the forecastle, between 20 yards or longer in lenght, and up to 8 yards wide.” (https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb~tudor.html#dragon)

Continue reading “BBC News – The Mary Rose: A Tudor ship’s secrets revealed”

Must Farm: Britain’s Pompeii Reveals Burning Bronze Age Secrets | Ancient Origins

Remains of a house at Must Farm showing the unburnt stumps of posts under the waterline during the fire (top-right) and collapsed joists

Archaeologists discover that Must Farm Bronze Age settlement, dubbed the Pompeii of Britain, was burned to the ground soon after it was built.

Source: Must Farm: Britain’s Pompeii Reveals Burning Bronze Age Secrets | Ancient Origins

The site – a farming settlement built on piles in a wetland (fen), most likely for defensive purposes – continues to yield tremendous insights into the material culture of the period. This, despite the shortness of its habitation: apparently only about a year passed between its completion, and its destruction by fire. Of course, that very fact makes it a valuable snapshot of a particular moment in British prehistory!

“The press release for the article in Antiquity states that the fire was ‘A tragedy for the inhabitants, but lucky for archaeologists, as the fluvial silts have preserved wooden artefacts, pottery sets, bronze tools and weapons, fabrics and fibres , querns, loom weights, spindle whorls, animal remains, plants and seeds, coprolites…'”

It appears that between 50 and 80 people may have lived at the settlement – suggestive of a small tribe, or perhaps a large extended family (such distinctions can be blurry, at best). “Tools, housing, and even vitrified food have all been impeccably preserved at the waterlogged site.” Lead archaeologist of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Mark Knight, comments,

“Working at the site was a series of daily, almost hourly moments of astonishment and wonder (with each new discovery seemingly outshining the last). This was invariably accompanied by a faint rotten-egg smell that goes with most waterlogged sites – the smell of gradual organic decay.”

Enough to make me wish I had stuck with archaeology! Although the chances of being able to work on this site would have been slight, even if I had. Alas! For more, check out these links:

Excavations at British sites are Revolutionizing Prehistoric Studies and Revealing Secrets of the Past

Bronze Age time capsule: 3,000-year-old vitrified food found in jars in England

 

66th Anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

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👑 On this day in 1953, Her Majesty The Queen’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.

Source: The British Royalist Society, which writes:

“The Queen was the 39th sovereign to be crowned in the Abbey and the sixth Queen to be crowned there in her own right. The service used for the Queen’s coronation descends directly from King Edgar’s in 973.

“The Sovereign’s procession was made up of 250 people including Church leaders, Commonwealth Prime Ministers, members of the Royal Household, civil and military leaders and the Yeoman of the Guard.

“Her Majesty’s accession to the throne also set history in and of itself. Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) was the first grandmother to see two Sovereigns ascend and Prince Charles was the first child to witness his mother’s coronation as Sovereign. Princess Anne did not attend the ceremony as she was considered to be too young. On a side note, Princess Marie Louise (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter) witnessed four coronations, including that of Elizabeth II.

“129 nations and territories were represented at the coronation with a whopping 8,200 guests were in attendance.

“Read more about the coronation and its importance here.”

[The Anglophilic Anglican notes that the above-linked short essay on the Coronation is quite fascinating and helpful in understanding the significance of this ceremony.]

None of them look terribly happy about it, in this picture – but considering that Her Majesty had come to the crown unexpectedly due to the premature death of her father, King George VI, that is perhaps to be expected.

Nota Bene: I am not certain of the identity of the prelate to the right of Her Majesty; but she was crowned by the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Geoffrey Francis Fisher, then Archbishop of Canterbury. Aside from the Coronation of Her Majesty, he is perhaps most famous for his assertion that

“We [meaning the Church of England, and by extension Anglicans in general] have no doctrine of our own — we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock.”

The one to the far left, I am quite confident, is then-Bishop of Durham Arthur Michael Ramsey, who became the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury (1961 – 1974), following Fischer: one of the greatest – arguably, the greatest of the 20th century – occupants of that Primatial See. He was known as a gifted theologian, educator, and advocate of Christian unity, and the writer of many books, perhaps most notably his first: The Gospel and the Catholic Church.

Ironically and somewhat amusingly, Fisher – who had been Ramsey’s headmaster at Repton, and known him basically all his life – is said to have counseled Prime Minister Harold Macmillan against selecting Ramsey for approval by Her Majesty as Archbishop of Canterbury, commenting that

“Doctor Ramsey is a theologian, a scholar and a man of prayer. Therefore, he is entirely unsuitable as Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Macmillan reportedly responded,

“Thank you, your Grace, for your kind advice. You may have been Doctor Ramsey’s headmaster, but you were not mine.”

Ramsey was duly selected.

Britain’s equivalent to Tutankhamun found in Southend-on-Sea | UK news | The Guardian

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/bd89f32ccef23e671dd0e21c1ddba973950264e5/104_130_5232_3870/master/5232.jpg?width=1140&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=b3a1833d5f8abc1bbbf4c688c277863c

Burial chamber of a wealthy nobleman in Prittlewell shows Anglo-Saxon Essex in new light

Source: Britain’s equivalent to Tutankhamun found in Southend-on-Sea | UK news | The Guardian

The title is a little click-bait-ish; the article itself points out only that “it could be seen as a British equivalent to Tutankhamun’s tomb, although different in a number of ways.” Nonetheless, a fascinating find!

As the article also comments, the site was discovered in 2003, as the result of a proposal to widen a road, but “it is only now, after years of painstaking investigation by more than 40 specialists, that a fuller picture of the extraordinary nature of the find is emerging.”

Of greatest interest to me, as The Anglophilic Anglican:

“… scientific dating now suggests the burial was in the late-6th century, about 580… Gold foil crosses were found in the grave which indicate he was a Christian, a fact which has also surprised historians.

“Sue Hirst, Mola’s Anglo-Saxon burial expert, said that date was remarkably early for the adoption of Christianity in England, coming before Augustine’s mission to convert the country from paganism.

But it could be explained because Seaxa’s mother Ricula was sister to king Ethelbert of Kent who was married to a Frankish Christian princess called Bertha. ‘Ricula would have brought close knowledge of Christianity from her sister-in-law.'”

However it arrived (and the connection to Kent is significant, as it was King Ethelbert who gave refuge to Augustine, later “of Canterbury,” when he arrived), this is interesting – to my mind, fascinating! – evidence that Christianity had at least a toe-hold in Anglo-Saxon England earlier than most had previously thought.

Things like this are why my understanding of the “Anglican Tradition” encompasses much more than simply Cranmer, Hooker, and the Caroline Divines. Without question, they were crucial to the formation of Anglicanism as we understand it today. But the roots of the Ecclesia Anglicana are found here – and in similar sites, both previously and yet-to-be discovered – and even earlier, among the Celts (both Brythonic and Goidelic) that preceded the Anglo-Saxons.

There is so much more to the Anglican tradition than just the 16th and 17th centuries!