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Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
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Mick Harper
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'Meeting a man on the Portobello' might be a bit misleading. My solicitor, being consulted on a different matter, suggested a meeting in one of Notting Hill’s trendier hostelries and I reluctantly concurred, knowing what that was likely to entail. Fortunately cheeseburgers-and-chips are still fashionable, or it may be a cyclical thing, and while I’m not generally a devotee of ethnic cuisines, it was fine. The legal matter was resolved soon enough (though his phrase “You’ll have a lot of trouble monetarising it” jarred) and we got down to the brass tacks of my latest projects.

I noticed his eyes glazing over so I mentioned Hatty’s Chaucerian initiative. He was immediately enthused (you may be right in that respect, Ishmael) but sufficiently sceptical to claim he would be able to rubbish it within twenty-four hours. To be fair, which one should always be with professional people, he did just that. He was able to provide sufficient chapter-and-verse to demonstrate that whatever else was true, Geoffrey Chaucer did exist and Chaucerian poetry was certainly available in the fifteenth century. There are still various mysteries and anomalies attached but not sufficiently alluring to require our urgentmost attention. Unless someone gets any better ideas.
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Mick Harper
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Wondrous developments on the Megalithic Portal front. The story so far: Hatty has been called a troll for pointing out there’s no actual archaeological evidence of the early monastery. Now read on

Harriet Vered‏ Replying to @megportal @irarchaeology
St Kevin purportedly founded the monastery in the 6th C. The present church is supposed to be (in parts) C10th. There's neither contemporaneous historical evidence nor relevant archaeology to support either statement. I’m happy for others to believe it, trolls require evidence.

Megalithic Portal begs to differ

Megalithic Portal #theoldstones‏ @megportal
Do you need a report to say your head is on the right way round?

It’s difficult to know how to respond to a reply of such fatuosity (aside from the cliche aspect) but one can't say it's not a message coming right from the top: The Old Stones of #theoldstones‏ has just been voted

CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGY's BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019

If the first prize doesn’t think archaeological claims need anything by way of actual evidence one wonders what the second prize was advocating. Evidence is positively dangerous? Fit only for trolls? I've got a Tiny Tots Annual somewhere (don't ask) so I suppose I could enter that for next year's competition. It won't win. I accept that. No footnotes. But a commendation is always nice to have.
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Ishmael


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Enjoying this.
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Hatty
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Laurence Nowell has come up again, this time in connection with the 'Burghal Hidage', a defensive network of 33 towns or burhs in southern England set up by Alfred the Great to save the townsfolk from Viking attacks as the story has it.

Turns out the towns were all Roman foundations or former Iron Age hill-forts and the earliest reference to the Burghal Hidage is in a Tudor manuscript of 1562

The Burgal Hidage survives in two versions of medieval and early modern date. Version A, Cotton Otho B.xi was badly damaged in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731 but the body of the text survives thanks to a transcript made by the Tudor historian Laurence Nowell in 1562. Version B survives as a part of seven further manuscripts, usually given the title De numero hydarum Anglie in Britannia. There are several discrepancies in the lists recorded in the two versions of the document

The 'burhs' were no longer Roman towns....they were English, or A-S as historians put it, all along!

Though autographed by Nowell it's got the fingerprints of his patron, William Cecil, all over it. In 1562 Nowell was living in Cecil's house and tutoring Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford's son.

‘Haec scripsit Laurentius Nowellus propria manu in aedibus Cecillianis anno đni. 1562. Londini.’

Nowell is celebrated for producing Vocabularium Saxonicum, the first Old English dictionary. Scholars however have 'corrected' the Nowell transcript because apparently Nowell wasn't a good enough Anglo-Saxon scholar to fully understand 'the subtlety in phonetics of the Anglo-Saxon language' unlike latter-day Anglo-Saxonists.

Nowell passed his transcripts on to his pupil, William Lambarde, who lost no time in publishing 'a collection of Anglo-Saxon laws', Archaionomia, in 1568. The ‘lost’ manuscript of the laws of Athelstan used by Lambarde was in fact a translation by Nowell.
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Hatty
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Moving forward a hundred years... Cotton Library records say the manuscript transcribed by Laurence Nowell was lent to 'Mr Lill', i.e. William L'isle, an antiquary and Anglo-Saxon scholar, related to Sir Henry Spelman, a leading antiquary

It would appear that L'isle detached this leaf when he borrowed Otho B. xi from Cotton and collated its Chronicle text with the Peterborough Chronicle.

What is L'isle up to? Collating text or creating 'records'? The Peterborough Chronicle is the 'E' version of the ASC and contains the first official use of 'native' English (1116?).

Lisle was a pioneer in the study of Anglo-Saxon. He is one of the known owners of the E manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the so-called Peterborough Chronicle, in which he made notes on interleaved pages

But his focus was on 'the doctrinal position of the early English church' though he seems to have got his Aelfrics in a twist, turning Aelfric abbot ('Grammaticus') into Aelfric archbishop of Canterbury. Historians are faced with various Aelfrics in A-S historical records none of which include Aelfric abbot of Eynsham (except in Aelfric's own writings).

Perhaps Lisle was in a hurry to publish his 'Treatise on the Old and New Testament’ (1623) with, for the first time, an English translation, purportedly written 'in the time of King Edgar' some seven hundred years earlier.
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Mick Harper
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... was badly damaged in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731 but the body of the text survives thanks to a transcript made by the Tudor historian Laurence Nowell in 1562.

Someone really should make a list of these. It's as if he knew.
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Mick Harper
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And put them in a safe place of course.
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Mick Harper
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More to report on the official view of the need for evidence or rather Hatty’s need for evidence. I’m not sure who Vox Hiberionacum is/are but their Twitter page claims

Vox Hiberionacum @VoxHib Academic blog. Archaeology, History, Hagiography, Folklore & Landscapes of Early Irish Christianity & Early Medieval Ireland. And other stuff...

It being St Patrick’s Day they were defending the Great Man from charges that he's more for the needs of the Irish Diaspora than Irish history. It doesn’t need any commentary

Vox Hiberionacum‏ @VoxHib
There certainly was. The 'Feast of St Patrick', regularly mentioned in Irish medieval annals.

IrishPhilosophy‏ @IrishPhilosophy
But was there general celebration or was it a church holiday (not that those are necessarily easily separated...), do we know?

Vox Hiberionacum‏
Hard to say, but it was significant. eg. AU756AD: The burning of Bennchor the Great on St Patrick's Day 17 March. i.e. a raid on Bangor monastery on Patrick's Day. Why then? Because it was likely filled with people and tribute...

Harriet Vered‏ @HarrietVered
Archaeologists excavating at Bangor report "no obvious evidence of ecclesiastical activity for the early medieval period", i.e. no monastery. The earliest extant feature is a stretch of rubble wall, “Malachy’s Wall”, believed to be thirteenth century. Annals clearly unreliable.

Vox Hiberionacum‏
Remind me again, how many early medieval Irish monastic sites have you excavated again, as opposed to portions of a single wall?

Harriet Vered‏
How many early medieval monasteries have been found, with or without retaining walls? None so far according to archaeological reports.
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Mick Harper
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Vox Hiberionacum‏ wrote:
Remind me again, how many early medieval Irish monastic sites have you excavated

This is really quite funny, if you think about it. And has a general application to Wales, Scotland, England and (though we haven't really checked all that thoroughly) Europe as well.
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