The coroner in Shropshire, England has declared 6th century gold ring, found by a metal detectorist, treasure. The ring, which weighs 8.21g (0.3oz), probably belonged to an individual of high status. (photo)
Aerial photography has been used to discover what experts believe was a royal deer park in Gwynedd, Wales, where nobles would have gathered "for entertaining and forging alliances.” The park is located on the Brynkir estate at Dolbenmaen and dates to the reign of Prince Llywelyn the Great in the 13th Century.
Archaeologists working with volunteers have discovered several spectacular pieces of Viking-made jewelry on a farm in Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The finds include a "heart-shaped animal head with rounded ears and circular eyes," and a "central wheel cross in relief, with inlaid gold pressed into a waffle form." (photo)
"Re-enactors are a strange breed, pretty eccentric but all with a passion for history, which I guess makes them my kind of people,” said archaeologist Dr Tony Pollard at the recent Celebration of the Centuries at Fort George, near Inverness, Scotland.
For over seven years, screenwriter Philippa Langley worked to prove that King Richard III, killed at nearby Bosworth Field in 1485, was buried beneath a car park in Leicester, England. In 2012, the discovery of the remains was captured on video by Channel 4, the defining event in Langley's new book Richard III: The King in the Car Park. (video)
There will be unemployed gladiators pounding the streets of Antalya, Turkey after the closing of the Aspendos Gladiator School, where modern-day gladiators entertained tourists. The company cited "a poor tourism season" as the reason for the closing.
Picture it: midnight on the Grand Canal in Venice. The madding crowds and blanket of humidity that suffocate the daytime have dissipated, replaced by a cool breeze from the lagoon and streets quiet enough you can hear the echo of your footfalls as you step off the gondola and onto the Campo della Salute. The basilica of Santa Maria della Salute rises above you, the baroque whiteness of its cupola glowing in the penumbra just as it had for J.M.W. Turner 173 years ago.
You walk down the side of the great church. The street lights illuminate the great Gothic windows of the triple apse as you approach the Abbey of San Gregorio. You’ve made arrangements in advance. You didn’t want to show up with €50 and the dream that you might be the only one there. No, this date has been 270 years in coming and you want every last minute of your allotted hour to be spent alone with Canaletto. You were glad to spend €400 to buy all eight tickets available for your chosen hour so you could walk solitary down the monastery halls, look out the window he looked out of, stand in the room where his camera obscura perfectly captured the view, allowing him to depict the most minute architectural details of the church, the salt warehouses, the Doge’s palace.
On display in that very room, for the first time since Canaletto laid oil paint to canvas between 1740 and 1745, is the painting he made of that vista. You make good use of your precious hour alone, alternating between the painting — L’Entrata nel Canal Grande e la Basilica della Salute — and the view, marveling at how little has changed even though many of the boats are motorized now and there are two new bell towers. Was it worth it to spend an hour alone with Canaletto, his work and its subject in a 15th century monastery in the dead of night? The Pope remains Catholic and bears still relieve themselves in the woods.
At least that’s what the Fondaco Venezia, organizers of this unique exhibition, hope the reaction will be. Gero Qua Canaletto (“I Was Here Canaletto” in Venetian dialect) is intended to be an emotional experience, a rare chance to commune with the artist and his work where he painted it, to share an intimate connection between art, city and the magnificent austerity of the Medieval abbey. That’s why the exhibition will be open 24 hours a day from November 10th through December 27th, with only a maximum of eight people allowed in at one time.
From nine in the morning to nine at night, tickets will cost €35 ($47.86). From nine at night to nine in morning, tickets will cost €50 ($68.36). If you want that hour to yourself, call ahead to book all eight tickets. If you can stand to share Canaletto, just book a single. It’ll still be a small group and a unique experience, especially, I would imagine, at night. Hell, I’d pay just to roam the monastery. That’s got to be a most splendidly eerie place to be at the witching hour.
I doubt it’s coincidental that the dates of the show will include one of Venice’s greatest holidays (in the original “holy day” sense of the word). On November 21st, the city celebrates the Feast of the Madonna della Salute (the Madonna of Health), a prayerful pilgrimage to the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute to thank Mary for saving the city from the Bubonic plague that ravaged it in 1630 and 1631. A third of the city’s 150,000 residents died, including the Doge Nicolò Contarini and the Patriarch of Venice Giovanni Tiepolo.
Plague broke out in June of 1630. Despite quarantine procedures, by October the city was in dire circumstances. The ruling council organized a procession of constant prayers to the Virgin Mary that lasted three days and three nights. Doge Contarini pledged that he would build a magnificent church to Mary if she returned Venice to health, and that every year the senate, Doge and other dignitaries would process again to thank Mary for saving them. The intercession took a few months to kick in, and even after the plague peaked, it would still continue to kill until November 1631. The elderly Doge died from it on April 2nd, 1631.
His promise outlived him, though. Architect and sculptor Baldassare Longhena was commissioned to design the church in 1631. He worked on it until his death in 1682. It was finally completed five years later and the basilica was consecrated on November 21st, 1687. The yearly processions have taken place without fail ever since. To facilitate the movement of the crowds of pilgrims, an impromptu bridge is built from the opposite bank of the Grand Canal to the church steps. For centuries the bridge was made of gondolas crammed next to each other. Nowadays they build a slightly more stable floating pontoon bridge.
What a spectacular Feast it’s going to be this year, with Canaletto’s vision of the church ensconced right across from it.
Posted on behalf of the autocrat, Sir Tanaka:
Due to circumstances beyond our control
The event date is still November 23.
Filed under: Events Tagged: Carillion, Rusted Woodlands
Unofficial Court Report – Endewearde Investiture, provided by Baron Rowen Cloteworthy.
The 28th of September, forty-eight years since the founding of the Society, the 2013th year of the Common Era, dawned warm and bright in the Shire of Endewearde. Their Royal Majesties, Gregor IV and Kiena II, left Their royal estates in the southern part of the kingdom and, it may be said, fairly flew in Their coach to that northern Shire to hold Court among Their people.
Their Majesties opened Their Court in the early part of the afternoon. Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge came forward and spoke of the joy she had had singing for the ancestors of the current King and Queen, who bore the same names, and spoke of the kindness and generosity those royals had shown her. To repay such kindness, Baroness Aneleda proffered four cups that Their Majesties might bestow as tokens to other performers who might be recognised as Troubadours. Their Majesties spoke of the joy They had felt those times They had heard the Baroness sing and They thanked her for her gift in return.
The Crown then called for Colonel Wolfe’s Privateers and they came forth and arrayed themselves before the thrones. Her Majesty said that She had heard of one among them who distinguished himself by his singing and skill with Rapier. Don Jean de Montagne, with a grin, declaimed that there certainly was none like that to be found among the company, though he soon relented that stance. Fredrick van der Meer was then presented to the Crown to stand for his accomplishments. Her Majesty said that They had summoned him at the Great Northeastern War, but he had not come, and now They were forced to hold this entire event to gain his presence. Frederick was then raised to a Lord of the Court and Awarded Arms, as testified to in a document created by Lady Magdalena Kirschberg, dated July 13, A.S. 48., and company escorted him from the Presence.
Representatives of the Shire of Smithwick then presented themselves to Their Majesties. They had with them a wooden coffer filled with $250 they had raised as a donation to the Royal Travel Fund. His Majesty thanked them heartily for such a generous and thoughtful donation.
Before Their subjects were dismissed, however, Queen Kiena singled out one among them, Waylon of Tir. She spoke of hearing of Waylon’s many works – sewing, cooking, dancing, archery, fighting, smithing – and felt such “busy bees” should be recognised for such works and She caused a document drawn up by Lady Svea the Short-Sighted to be read, and with that Tir was Awarded Arms and made a Lord of the Court.
The herald called for Yzabell du Pearche to present herself to the Crown and she came forth and knelt. Her Majesty mentioned that She had just had lunch with Yzabell and His Majesty commented on her contribution to the arts in Endewearde, and of her opening her home for activities, and helping with administration, and at His word a scroll calligraphed and worded by Lord Gwillim Kyneth and illuminated by Lady Agatha Wanderer was read and so was Yzabell made a Lady of the Court and Awarded Arms.
Their Majesties requested the attendance of Fine Vals called Fina of the Vale. They confirmed that she was the Matriarch of House Knotty Snake, and had been such for many years, and confirmed also that she had taught classes in the arts and sewn favours for the Queen, and having confirmed such things had read to the Court a scroll drafted by Mistress Eowyn Eilonwy of Alewife Brook Awarding Arms to the now Lady Fine Vals.
Lord Otto Gottlieb, seneschal of the Shire of Endewearde, then approached the Crown. He said that twenty-five years prior a group of fencers built a tower at the end of the world, and that in the years since many had come to that tower and helped it grow strong and sturdy. He presented to Their Majesties the people’s petition for a Royal presence in the Shire. King Gregor spoke of the often entertaining times he had had in Endewearde and of the most wonderful Crown Tourney he had participated in in the Shire the prior autumn. Their Majesties then took a moment to reflect upon such a weighty request and asked that Their hall be sealed as They considered.
Lord Eric Oxneck was summoned to attend to this task and he called for the Thunder Clan to stand with him and so they did, guarding the sanctuary’s exits.
Quiet music filled the hall as Their Majesties summoned the Peers of Endewearde to consult with them. Mistress Mercedes de Califia, Master Godric of Hamtun, Sir Cedric of Thanet and Mistress Mira Finvar of Argyle, and Master Matthäus Kettner came forward and spoke to the Crown and repeated the request.
His Majesty said that he found the lands strong and flourishing and agreed that it would be well that the Crown be represented there. He then asked for the names of those who would stand forth as the Crown’s representatives, and at that Baron Ané du Vey and Mistress Sylvia du Vey came forth, preceded by an honour guard of those new to Endewearde and then by Eva and Aliyah bearing shields with the arms of Ané and Sylvia.
Ané and Sylvia knelt before Their Majesties and were asked if they would serve as the protectors of the end of the world, and they affirmed they would. King Gregor asked the people of Endewearde to rise, and he asked them if they would serve the Crown as a Barony, and the rafters shook with a resounding “Aye!”
Coronets were brought forward by Sir Cedric and Mistress Mira and placed upon Ané and Sylvia’s brows, and they were asked to swear that they would uphold the laws of the Kingdom, support the Crown and Its people, and defend chivalry and courtesy, and they swore they would do those things, they then offered their fealty to the Crown upon Sir Cedric’s sword, as he is knight to Ané.
A great scroll was read, naming Ané du Vey as Baron Endewearde and Sylvia du Vey as Baroness Endewearde, a scroll calligraphed by Lord Alexandre St. Pierre, illuminated by Lady Christina Crane, with words by Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge.
Queen Kiena the presented Baroness Sylvia a token, given to Her Majesty at the Twentieth Anniversary of the Kingdom of Drachenwald by Countess Anna von Urwald, Founding Baroness Aarnimetsä in that Kingdom.
Their Excellencies Endewearde then rose and faced Their people as “The Ode to Endewearde” was sung by Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge, Lady Constancia de Vienne, and Lord Gwillim Kynith from the choir loft. The shields of Ané and Sylvia were retired, and the arms of the Barony of Endewearde taken up by Them both. Then They spoke to the people of the Barony, of how They would help nurture and grow, protect and defend the Barony, and with that the people took to their feet raised their voices and hands in a thunderous ovation of joy.
Their Majesties then moved to suspend Their Court but paused, hearing the request of Their servant Mistress Elizabeth Darnley. She begged a boon that They consider the works of one of Their artisans, Baron D’Unstable Peregrinator, a jeweler and metalsmith who crafted the rings worn by the Prince and Princess of Tir Mara, and also Their scepters, and joined in the crafting of the Barony of Ruantallan’s coronets. She asked that, if it please Their Majesties, They might recognize him for his many talented works.
Their Majesties consulted with Their Highnesses Tir Mara, who replied that Their Majesties were wise to consider this, and so D’Unstable was called into the Presence, and there was he called well-versed in his art and his manner, and so the Ancient and Noble Order of the Laurel was called for, and D’Unstable directed to go with them, and sit in vigil, and take counsel, and return later when he was summoned to answer whether be would take a place among them. All business concluded for the moment, Their Majesties suspended Their Court and retired the sanctuary.
In the later afternoon, Their Majesties reconvened Court. They invited the Baron and Baroness of Endewearde to hold Their first Court, and so that was done. His Excellency said that he had brief words upon the occasion and spoke thus, “Wow!”, and then he sat and smiled, and spoke words of praise for the people of the Barony. Their Excellencies conducted and concluded such business as They had and thus began Their Majesties Court again.
Mistress Mercedes de Califia was called for. Once she had approached, King Gregor announced to the people that Mistress Hedewigis Ockenfüßin, having served the Kingdom well, would soon be concluding her term as Kingdom Seneschal, and asked Mistress Mercedes if it was still her intention to offer her service as Seneschal. When she asked if she could say no, His Majesty responded with a brief “No!” and announced that Mistress Mercedes would assume the office of Kingdom Seneschal at Smoking Rocks Baronial Investiture on November 9th.
The children of the East were summoned next. Her Majesty spoke of growing wiser as They grew older, some even approaching the sunset of their years, and perhaps a sly glance at His Majesty may have been seen by some. Without pause, Queen Kiena mentioned the children as the future of the Kingdom, and thanked them for coming and bringing their parents. Then a large chest was brought forth, and the children chose from the chest toys provided by la Chambre des Dames d’Alisay and others.
Eva du Vey, who had come forward with the rest of the children, was asked to stay. Her Majesty spoke of Eva’s generosity in offering her Tyger’s Cub medallion to another during Their Majesties’ Court at the just past Pennsic War, and said that upon hearing of such generosity Lady Bronwen Rose crafted an enameled Tyger’s Cub medallion specifically for Eva, and that was given to Eva with Their Majesties’ thanks.
Their Majesties called again for Foner of Maplecroft, as They had called for him at the Great Northeastern War on the 13th of July this year, A.S. 48. Foner was again unavailable to attend the Crown, but the Seneschal of the Shire of Hadchester, Lord Thomas de Winterwade, presented himself in Foner’s place. Their Majesties spoke to the Court of Foner’s contributions to bring Hadchester into being, and his work as a chatelaine and scribe, and asked that a scroll crafted by Mistress Constance Saint Denis be given to him, that he would know he had been Awarded Arms and named Lord.
Her Majesty Kiena then asked that all attending their first event rise, and She rose from Her throne and walked among them, greeting each in turn and thanking them for joining in such a joyful celebration.
Once Her Majesty was again seated, King Gregor rose and spoke to the Court. He said that He had felt safe in the new Barony of Endewearde, but upon reconvening His Court had found a single black arrow waiting for Him upon His throne. Her Highness said that such arrows were portents of death, for the late King Kenric I been found with three such arrows in his chest not a year prior after hunting boar in the forests of Endewearde. His Majesty Gregor did not wish to dwell too long on such sobering thoughts, for were not the Prince and Princess planning a lavish party for Their Majesties the coming weekend to celebrate six months upon the Throne?
Still, His Majesty felt it prudent to recognize some who had aided Him when called. Baron Ané du Vey and Sir Cedric of Thanet were summoned, and the House of Thanet praised for its many works. His Majesty said that great men surround themselves with great people, and by such a measure Sir Cedric was a very great man indeed. His Majesty then gifted both men with His Cypher, sword scabbards bearing his badge and crafted by His hand.
Queen Kiena then asked for Duchess Katherine Stanhope, and in a voice choked with emotion called her a friend and inspiration, quiet and gracious and filled with caring for Their Majesties. She then presented Her Grace with a small box of treasures finished with Her thistle badge as Her Cypher, and embraced Her friend for a long moment.
As Her Majesty composed Herself, King Gregor asked for Baron Aethelhavoc Keyfinder, and spoke of how He had so enjoyed the works of Aethelhavoc’s kitchen and his companionship. His Majesty gave Aethelhavoc a sword scabbard He had crafted as His Cypher and the men embraced.
Her Majesty now collected, She summoned Lady Lucie Lovegood. Both Queen Kiena and Lady Lucie had tears in their eyes as Her Majesty spoke of the treasure that is Lucie, of her utter joy and her boundless enthusiasm. Her Majesty said that they would be friends forever and ever and gave to Lucie Her Queen’s Cypher, a small box of treasures with Her badge upon it.
The Queen then called for Lady Frenya Thorsteinndottir and spoke of Her lessons in French with Lady Frenya, of Frenya’s service on the Queen’s Guard and her leadership there, and with thanks Her Majesty presented Lady Frenya with the Queen’s Cypher in the form of a rapier frog bearing Her Majesty’s badge, crafted by King Gregor.
The Crown then summoned Baron D’Unstable Peregrinator to answer the question set before him earlier that day. He spoke briefly and quietly with Their Majesties, then Mistress Elizabeth Darnley came forward and spoke to D’Unstable, telling him that he had far better served her than she had him, and with great admiration and emotion in her voice asked him to return his apprentice’s belt to her, for he no longer needed such.
His Majesty called for a member of the Order of Chivalry to speak and Syr Yesungge Altan claimed that right. Next, Master Ulric von der Insul spoke words on behalf of the Order of the Pelican. His Majesty asked for testimony from the Order of the Laurel and Sir Cedric of Thanet, who is a Master in that Order, spoke of D’Unstable’s art. Avelina, Princess of Tir Mara, spoke on behalf of the royal peers. Mistress Elizabeth requested that a member of the populace speak in support of His Excellency’s elevation to the peerage and so Aotroù (Lord) Conogan mab Rioc the Breton, Badger Principality Herald of Tir Mara, read the words of Lord Ranuccio Farnese and Lady Catriana of Airley before offering a few sincere words of his own.
King Gregor then called for a medallion. Syr Yesungge, who studies jewelry-work under Baron D’Unstable, presented a medallion he had crafted, hung upon a chain made by His Excellency’s apprentice-sister, the Honourable Lady Konstantia Kaloethina of Calontir. A stole made by Lady Cornelia VandeBrugge was placed over his shoulders, and then an almuse in scholar’s scarlet, made by Mistress Elizabeth. Lastly, a wreath of laurel leaves, also by Konstantia’s hand, was placed upon his head.
At that, the herald read a from a scroll painted by Mistress Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova, calligraphed by Mistress Eleanor Catlyng, and authored by Lord Díarmaid Ó Bríain. The now Master D’Unstable Peregrinator then gave his fealty to the Crown of the East.
His Majesty then offered some final words to His people. He spoke of the great journey He and Queen Kiena had embarked upon which had begun the prior autumn in Shire of Endewearde, and of His thanks for all the support the people had given Them, and his happiness that this year concluded with a visit to the now-Barony of the same. He spoke of looking forward to the great party Their Highnesses would be throwing for Their Majesties the following weekend, a celebration of King Gregor and Queen Kiena’s first six months upon the throne and Their Highnesses mentioned how happy They were that the Crown would be attending. There being no further business, Their Majesties Court was concluded.
These are my remembrances of the day’s events. To all who served the event, who attended and guarded the Crown, crafted scrolls and heralded, to the musicians and cooks and staff, and to the new Barony of Endewearde, my sincere thanks.
Pray know I remain,
Baron Rowen Cloteworthy
(Photos graciously provided by Lady Camille des Jardins and Mistress Bess Darnley)
Filed under: Court, Events Tagged: Endewearde
The discovery of a Roman well beneath a garden in Portsmouth, England has left archaeologists intrigued - and puzzled. The well contained Roman coins, a bronze ring, and the skeletons of eight dogs. (photo)
According to Lord Wilham DeBroc, Captain of the Queen’s Guard, the following individuals have been entrusted with guarding the person of Her Majesty Queen Avelina Keyes. . Lieutenants of the Queen’s Guard:
Our Editors have made every effort to ensure these names are correct. Please bring any errors or omissions to our attention using the Comments.
Filed under: Court Tagged: guards
Last year, the 14th century book, the Laws of Hywel Dda, was purchased at auction by the National Library of Wales and brought home after nearly 300 years in exile in the United States. Now the book is on display at the library in Aberystwyth, and available for all to see online.
In early 2011, a collection of human remains from indigenous peoples around the world was found in storage at the University of Birmingham Medical School. Some of the skulls and bone fragments were labeled with their places of origin, but there was no documentation beyond that explaining how the collection came about, who donated what and when. The collection has never been on display, as far as anyone knows, nor has it been used in any known study or research. Keenly conscious of the ethical issues surrounding human remains being kept in museums as anthropological exhibits, the university decided to make every effort to return the remains to their ancestral homes.
The first group of remains welcomed home by their living descendants was a collection of seven complete skulls, each in their box, and four bone fragments. The bones were individually labeled as having been excavated from a grave in San Luis Obispo, California, (on the Pacific coast about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco). From there they were sold to a private collector who later donated the remains to the University of Birmingham at some point in the 19th century. Out of respect for the bodies, no radiocarbon dating or any other kind of testing was performed on the remains, so the university couldn’t be sure how old they were or which tribe to return them to. University biomedical ethics professor Dr. June Jones contacted representatives of the Native American tribes in the area — the Chumash and Salinan tribes both had territory in San Luis Obispo — and the Salinan tribe responded with alacrity that they would be glad to welcome the long-lost ancestors back to their homeland.
In May 2012, Dr. Jones carried the remains to California where they were first brought to the county coroner who confirmed by examination of the teeth that they are indeed Native American. (The standard test for this is to look at the molars. Traditional diets included a constant supply of grit that wore down the molars into a characteristic shovel shape. EDIT: This is the practice as described in Jones’ online diary. Stacey comments below that in fact incisors display the characteristic shovel shape, and it’s due to genetics, not diet.) Two days later, the skulls and bones were reburied in an undisclosed location to keep them from being immediately re-looted. According to June Jones’ short but very sweet diary of the repatriation, the ceremony was private, dignified and moving, with tribal members present and the Sheriff and Coroner also there to pay their respects. From the diary:
As one Tribal leader said to us as we gathered around the grave “tonight our ancestors will sit around the fire together in their own land for the first time in many years.”
The repatriation made the local news in California because it was the first time tribal remains were returned from outside the United States for reburial in their native soil. It was also notable because the University contacted the tribes first rather than the other way around, and paid for the repatriation. In the US, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act allows for tribe members to claim ancestral remains from museums, universities, private collections, etc., but the onus is on the tribes to file suit. It’s expensive and often fraught with conflict with institutions who are reluctant to let go of anything in their collections for fear of a domino effect of repatriation.
On Friday, October 18th, a year and a half after Dr. Jones’ trip to California, a second group of tribal remains — a tattooed mummified Maori head (known as a toi moko) and four skulls (known as koiwi tangata) — have been formally returned to their homeland. A delegation from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa received the remains in a traditional ceremony.
Arapata Hakiwai, co-leader of the New Zealand museum, said the ceremony was important “for the elders to tell the ancestors they’re going to journey home soon”.
Te Herekiekie Herewini, manager of the repatriation programme, said: “In our beliefs your spirit and life force comes from the particular part of the country you’re from. It’s important for your life force to go back to that place. Repatriation allows both sides to reconcile their histories.”
The remains were then flown to New Zealand where they were welcomed in a traditional Maori ceremony in Wellington. Their final destination has yet to be determined. First Te Papa museum researchers will attempt to determine their precise origin so they can be buried in their homelands as per Maori custom. In the meantime, the museum will care for the remains in private with all proper cultural respects.
The Maori have been working for decades to reclaim their ancestral remains scattered in museums, schools and hospitals around the world but overwhelmingly in Europe. They’re increasingly successful as attitudes towards human remains in institutions shift from the impersonal to a recognition of their cultural and religious significance. The University of Birmingham has been a trendsetter in this, taking a strong stand in favor of repatriation and taking it upon itself to see that human remains in its collections find their way home. In ten years, the university’s repatriation program has returned more than 100 items. It also works with Te Papa to identify and return remains in other UK institutions, of which there are an estimated 400 pieces that we know of. There are probably many more still out there undocumented and unrecognized, like these heads were before their rediscovery in 2011.
Archaeologists know what early medieval handbells looked like from the "rusty shadows in the museum case" that still exist, but not what these bells sounded like. Now a team of experts from the National Museum of Scotland has re-created such a bell, "used by Scottish monks more than 1,000 years ago." (photo)
The history of Europe is... complicated, as anyone who has studied it can confirm. A short animated film from LiveLeak, entitled Map of Europe: 1000 AD to present day, can help understand the ebbs and flows of the nations.
Mingary Castle, overlooking the Sound of Mull in Scotland, may have had a more violent past than once believed, according to experts pondering the discovery of an iron arrowhead. (photo)
Archaeologist Matt Beresford is hoping that his team will find conclusive evidence that a "lost" pre-Norman village may be found beneath the streets of the Nottinghamshire town of Southwell. The project was being funded by a UK£5,800 Heritage Lottery grant. (photos)
The Plantagenet Alliance has not given up. They want the bones of their king. Who are these people? "We are the collateral [non-direct] descendants of Richard III, we speak on behalf of him, the only people who can speak on behalf of him," replied Vanessa Roe, the group's spokesperson.
The East Kingdom Gazette has published notes of the fourth quarter Board of Directors meeting.
The synopsis of the meeting can be found at the link below. This is not an official publication of the SCA Inc. nor the East Kingdom.
The violin believed to be the one played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley as Titanic sank the night of April 14th, 1912, has sold at auction for a record £900,000 ($1,454,000) hammer price, £1.1 million ($1,778,000) including buyer’s premium and taxes. The previous record price for Titanic memorabilia was just set in May of 2011 when the 33-foot-long plan of the ship made for the British Board of Trade’s inquiry into the disaster sold for £220,000 ($363,000).
The buyer is a British collector of Titanic artifacts who has of course chosen to remain anonymous. It took less than two minutes for the bids to go from £50 — an artificially low opening point that was a gift from auctioneer Alan Aldridge to two of his friends who just wanted to get a bid in — to £100,000. Within 10 minutes the final two buyers standing, both anonymous phone bidders, had battled it out to the rousing £900,000 finale.
There was a great deal of interest in this piece, not all of it approving. The circumstances of its survival and rediscovery read more like fiction than reality, so much so that an elaborate hoax seems at least as possible as it being Hartley’s violin.
It was found in a leather luggage case monogrammed “W. H. H.” (Wallace Henry Hartley) which also held a silver cigarette case, a signet ring and a letter written by the violin teacher who had given the objects to the current owner’s mother. On the tail piece of the violin is a silver plate inscribed “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria.” Wallace Hartley’s fiancé Maria Robinson gave him a violin when they got engaged in 1910, and he brought it on the Titanic.
The violin teacher’s letter told the remarkable story that Maria Robinson’s sister Margaret had given the violin to the local Salvation Army after Maria’s death in 1939. Margaret told the Bridlington Salvation Army leader, Major Renwick, about the instrument’s history and Renwick gave it to one of their members who was a violin teacher. That teacher gave it to one of his students and that years later student’s son found in the attic.
The owner took the violin to auction house Henry Aldridge & Son to have it authenticated in 2006. That was no easy task. The very notion that the violin could have survived intact strapped to the chest of the dead musician while his body floated in the frigid north Atlantic for 10 days is a fanciful one, to put it mildly. Aldridge spent seven years analyzing the instrument, enlisting experts to determine if it was a forgery, a pastiche of period elements like a 1910 silver plate cobbled together and dunked in sea water to make it seem legit.
Henry Aldridge & Son felt they’d sufficiently established its authenticity to announce the find in March of this year. In May, one more test was performed: a CT scan at BMI Ridgeway Hospital in Wiltshire.
Astrid Little, Imaging Manager at the Wroughton hospital explains why a CT scan helped in the authentication process: “A 3D image of the violin was created from the CT scan, meaning the violin could be examined from the inside. The scan revealed that the original wood was cracked and showed signs of possible restoration. The fine detail of the scan meant the auctioneers could examine the construction, interior and the glue holding the instrument together.”
After it was released from the hospital, the violin went on tour, stopping at two Titanic museums in the United States, Branson and Pigeon Forge, where 315,000 people viewed it over the course of three months. After that, it went back across the ocean to the Titanic Belfast, the exceptional museum overlooking historic slipways where Titanic and Olympic were built.
There are still many doubts as to how any wooden instrument could have survived intact the sinking of the Titanic and subsequent week and a half in the water. Still, somebody was willing to bet $1.78 million on the chance of it being the real deal.