Monthly Archives: August 2015

What King William of the Normans did next

So – William had won; he was now King of England and changes would follow. The establishing of Benedictine monasticism as an agency of reform and a vehicle of ducal authority had been occurring in western Normandy at exactly the same time as in the north of England. Both areas had previously been immune to […]

England under the Danes

In the last blog we left the Fenland monasteries re-establishing themselves under the Danes. By the late 10th century a significant degree of stability existed in England under Ethelred II ‘The Unready’ who reigned from 979 to 1016 apart from a short while (1013-4) when Sweyn took the throne. Edmund II, ‘Ironside’, held sway from […]

The Danes have gone – welcome to the Angles and the Saxons

Three men combined to drive the re-foundation of monastic life in England – King Edgar, St Dunstan & St Aethelwold. In the early 10th century Glastonbury was a popular place for Christian pilgrimage & also of Christian learning. The young Dunstan was educated there & then joined his uncle Athelm, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the royal court […]

The Great Train Robbery of May 1855

The London Evening Standard of Tuesday 22nd May 1855 carried the following story under the headline: The Bullion Robbery: ‘The robbery which, according to yesterday’s papers, took place on the way from London to Paris, was evidently perpetrated by persons who were acquainted with the extent and mode of the consignments. The gold in bars […]

They stopped a train

As I write this today it is 8th August 2015. Many people are waking up to England on the verge of regaining The Ashes. Others are welcoming the beginning of the soccer season. 52 years ago we were waking up to the news that a Royal Mail train from Glasgow and heading to Euston had […]

Peterborough’s first monastery

The first monastic settlement in Peterborough was originally known as ‘Medeshamstede, a name derived from the meadows which lie on each side of the River Nen – ‘the home in the meadows.’ Described as ‘a great stretch of swampy land’ it was a perfect place for the community there to ‘wage a relentless war with […]

The story of Monastic Ely with Etheldreda & Sexburga

The story of Anna, the 7th century king of East Anglia is, as many of that time, rather convoluted. Here is not the place to try and unravel that but it is important that we look at the life of two of his daughters – Etheldreda and Sexburga – in our story of the monastic […]