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Dark Age Obscured (History)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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I haven't really looked at this but it would appear to be the wiki Olaf the White and his son Thorstein the Red.

Aud the wife of Olaf, mother of Thorstein, features in multiple 13th century sagas. But wiki spots a problem with the written sources......

Twelfth and thirteenth century Icelandic writers commonly believed that their country had been settled by Norwegians of noble birth who had been persecuted in Norway. The problem that dogged medieval Icelandic historiography was an understandable desire to avoid the charge that the country had been founded by a group of unruly Scottish Vikings. However, it is no longer possible to dismiss these tales of Aud and her father Ketil as unverifiable oral traditions, as this Scottish tradition in Icelandic oral history is of far greater antiquity than the thirteenth century saga age. The National Museum of Iceland contains an impressive collection of somewhat debased penannular brooches and pins of undoubted Celtic provenance from the ninth and tenth centuries which would fit well in the context of the Hebridean Norse–Gael.[9]


Put that in your Scandi pipe and smoke it.
"oral history is of greater antiquity"
"undoubted Celtic provenance"
"which would fit well in the context of the Hebridean Norse–Gael"
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Mick Harper
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Hatty has been blotting her copybook again on the very lively and well attended Hidden History, Folklore and Mystery of Our Churches discussion group. It all started with the usual claim that something or other is Anglo-Saxon. Or even older!

John Lock (no relation): St Margaret, Worthing, Norfolk. The round tower dates from between 900 and 1,000 ad. The tower is flat sided where it joins the church which means it was added later so making the church even older.

But our Hats is very cunning (“sinister” she was called last week) and after a bit of inconclusive dating argy-bargy concentrated on this innocent-sounding detail

John Lock: On the opposite side are curious "V" shaped marks. There is a body of opinion that says these are marks left by archers sharpening their arrows whilst practising in the churchyard.

To which Hatty replied with far too much aggression (I'm always warning her about it): "The arrow sharpening comments are hilarious... How can you tell the marks were made by people sharpening arrows? Wouldn't it be considered sacrilegious?"

John Lock: Arrow sharpening marks are quite common. Here's a link to a derbyshire church with them .http://www.derbyshireheritage.co.uk/.../thorpe-arrow...

Hatty let that go for the minute and turned to a rather more important matter (in the scale of things): "Where did you learn that archers were wont to practise in churchyards? Are there churchyards all over Britain with archery damage or is this the only example?" Cue the entrance of a very fearsome lady

Denise Beale Marks of sharpening of swords/daggers/arrows can be found on many churches. Archery butts were often found in or near churchyards. Practice was obligatory.

Time for Hatty to start laying down the law (something else I keep warning her about): "Every medieval English village, by law, had to have a churchyard and archery butts. They would certainly be near one another but I cannot think of a worse place than a graveyard to practice archery. It’s the most cluttered open space for miles around!" Oh dear, what's she started now? It would lead to calls for her to be banned forthwith and as per usual...
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aurelius



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Ortho would then make the connection with Yews.
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Mick Harper
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They quite forgot that one! It all gets a bit messy from here on in so I will adopt a quickfire cut and paste approach

Hatty: Arrows and swords certainly need sharpening, that’s what whetstones are for. They are highly technical bits of equipment and using a church wall for the purpose is not so much sacrilegious as completely useless.

Denise Beale: As for sharpening weapons on church stonework, it is well known, and there are examples across the country. Certainly not a useless exercise by any means. Experimental archaeology has looked at such issues.

Hatty: Could you provide a list of churches with arrow marks since according to you it was common practice? (I could only see two churches, including Thorpe's church, claiming to have been so disfigured)

John Lock: Harriet Vered, simply type these words into google - arrow sharpening church - you'll find plenty of examples.

Hatty: The idea of people sharpening arrows on church walls is so ridiculous that unless somebody comes up with contemporary references to people doing it, rather than contemporary references to experts saying they did, I continue to believe that they didn't.

Victor Ian: As to "sacrilege", our ancestors had a very different idea of the nature of religious buildings, and churches were used for all sorts of purposes, as the only public covered space available.

Hatty: You mean the archery was inside the church?

Victor Ian: The fact that unrestored surfaces are usually covered in graffiti, all of it created in publicly visible spaces, indicates that medieval ideas of fitness were different to ours. If you want an example of a church covered in graffiti, I can cite Hythe.

Hatty: Since you raise the point, before the Protestant Revolution church walls were vividly painted and covered with art. Just the place for a bit of arrow sharpening.

Victor Ian: Harriet Vered, just something that seems to have escaped your notice: the church is made of flint. Any ashlar would have to be imported in this village. That on the church is probably the only flat stone surface for miles.

Hatty: Must have been a tidy walk for housewives wanting to mill a bit of corn. Or a hundred and one other things for which traditional rural societies need a whetstone.

But now we move outside to explore the history of churchyards and archery. I promise you, it gets wackier, and the villagers are gathering with their pitchforks to deal with this Hatty creature. She's not from round here...
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Some folks go for early dates on round church towers
The round tower dates from between 900 and 1,000 ad.


Yet rounded castle keeps are dated later than the square or rectangular variants. According to ortho the earliest was at New Buckingham Castle, built in 1150.

Just saying.
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Mick Harper
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Hatty: You don't say why archery, which can be practised anywhere, would be practised in the village’s single most treasured space. What next? Shrovetide football? The annual mummers play? The Spring Fayre? Public hangings? A churchyard is a churchyard is a churchyard. Then, now, always.

Denise Beale: Re: archery butts. Churchyards were not "cluttered" in those times, and a clear area would have been set aside for such practice. Most graves did not have headstones (only the rich could afford them) and most wealthy people had tombs within the church itself.

Victor Ian: Yes, a few prominent people were buried with grave slabs, usually near the chancel to be in proximity to the altar. Such early grave slabs tend to sink beneath the turf due to worm action. But the majority of the space would be green and I'm sure our ancestors were capable of managing not to trip up on any areas of fresh earth.

Hatty: I'm sure you're right about headstones. Archery practice involves dozens of people tramping back and forth all day long between the throw line or oche and the targets. Picking your way between unmarked graves would have helped pass the time, I suppose.

Victor Ian: We can rarely say with certainty where the butts were set up.

Hatty: Actually we can. If you Google, for instance 'Butts Lane', you will be given hundreds of examples. I don’t think I was saying that you couldn’t use churchyards for archery if you really wanted to. I am just saying why in God’s name you would ever want to. Medieval England wasn’t exactly short of suitable open space.

Victor Ian: But villages with a central green are far from the norm, and where one did exist it was used for grazing, not cricket. It would be every bit as cluttered as the graveyard.

Hatty: Fair enough. Use the cricket field then. Or the field next door. Or the field next door to that.

Denise Beale: Folks (and admin) after being involved with a similar thread with the disbeliever known as Harriet Vered, and having read her profile and unsubstantiated book, I think we can safely consider her a troll who needs to be removed from this group immediately (she has been similarly removed from other groups). Thank you.

Victor Ian: And the idea of the archers all tramping to the lord's mill to sharpen their arrows? Or the archers using the "cricket field", when I had pointed out that the village green wasn't used for cricket in the medieval period? Correct decision to remove from group.

Hatty: I agree it’s probably best. Most people here just like the good old ways and want to be left in peace to enjoy them. Still it would send out the wrong signal about tolerating dissent so it’s probably best if I’m put on probation.
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aurelius



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Just to add, from an "artisan bowyer":

Most towns and villages had an archery butt, often in a field beside the churchyard. To this day, many villages in England and Wales still have a place called ‘butt field’. When I was growing up, I [interviewer Rob Penn] played rugby at a ground called The Butts. Tom [the bowyer] told me that at the back door of the church of St Edward, King and Martyr, next to Corfe Castle in Dorset, there are marks in the walls where the archers used to sharpen their arrows before practice, 500 or more years ago. The object of enforced practice was to develop and maintain a national pool of accomplished archers who were ready for military service at any time.
https://robpenn.net/ash-project/tom-mareschall/

(My italics). And this distinction of Butts outside of churchyards, though some sharpening within is explored more thoroughly here:

http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1917/churchporches2.htm
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Mick Harper
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This must not be allowed to get out.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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There is still debate on the function and dating of grooves in ancient stones.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grooves_(archaeology)

BTW people are fascinated by national myths arounds invasions, less so by ordinary toil.

When you consider the tools used to build a medieval church and sculptures, is it a surprise that you get grooves?
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Ishmael


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I think I'm in love with Hatty.
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