Selling dead bodies and mortuary artefacts in the UK today: Welbeck Hill


The name of Welbeck Hill (Lincolnshire) is reasonably familiar to me as I’m someone who has researched early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries (5th-7th-century AD). It’s now an early Anglo-Saxon collection up for sale: skeletons and artefacts all!

History teacher Gordon Taylor excavated 72 graves (including 5 cremation burials) over 17 years in the parish of Irby-on-Humber, Lincolnshire from 1962. Taylor was not a trained archaeologist and clearly was unable to publish his finds in a coherent and professional manner. Upon Taylor’s death, the collection has been inherited by his family. Two years subsequently, it is being sold off by auction, rather than donated to a museum, by Taylor’s widow and four children.

Details of the sale, by Hansons, are on their website. The justification for the sale is that it was discovered before the law of treasure trove (presumably they mean the current Treasure Act). To promote the sale of this…

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The Secret Room – Part 1

S C Richmond

The Secret Room

There was a room in my grandparent’s house that no one was allowed to enter, the family endlessly speculated what was hidden behind the locked door. The guesses ranged from hilarious to horrific but no one knew for sure. All of us grandchildren would listen outside the door regularly, our curiosity piqued,  but Grandma would sneak up on us and shoo us away from the door, smiling as she did. She would always mutter ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ as she led us away towards the kitchen to feed us cakes and biscuits. Still we wondered, did grandad have an amazing train set or was it where he went to watch the night sky and learn about the planets, he was interested in both but grandma always tapped her nose and said we were being nosey.

When we reached our teenage years we still hadn’t discovered his secret so when…

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Weaving Wyrd – Review.

S C Richmond


Weaving Wyrd by Elle Mort

I hold my hands up to having rarely enjoyed poetry but I had read a few of Elle Mort’s poems in the past on social media and really enjoyed them, imagine my joy when I saw a whole book of her work.

Much of the work is dark and will resonate on many levels but it also speaks in a language that beauty understands, there is a talent in this work that is magical, if you have never read any Elle Mort poetry now is your chance as she’s placed it within a binding for your enjoyment. Dare you go there?

The Blurb –

Ever since I can remember, poetry has been part of my life. The words and the flow come easily to me, like the rhythm of the music.
It brings me immense joy in happy times and soothes me, even in…

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Glory and Cherry Pride…

The moving dragon writes

Lois was given the theme of ‘Pride’ to write about in her writing group… sometime ago she had written something which was looking for a title and an ending… It was about an unnamed family and their twin daughters. Suddenly everything clicked into place – they would be the Pride family, and their twin daughters would be Glory and Cherry Pride… here it is, so far:

I love my sister Cherry, she’s three minutes younger than me so I’m the eldest. I love her but I have to say I feel eclipsed by her, sort of put in the shade… put in the shade is actually is a good way of expressing it since she’s blond and sunny and I’m dark and gloomy… well actually I’m not gloomy, I just have the sort of face where people are forever saying ‘cheer up’ when I’m actually quite happy but just thinking…

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Prussia Street

Today I sit and look around my flat.
I am not rich by modern standards, far from it. I am a full time carer which doesn’t come with an income, but I have all the basic things one needs for living, plus some luxuries (even though they are not new things). I have food in my cupboard and clothes in my wardrobe, I have a choice of things to wear and to eat.
I wonder what my ancestors would think, if I could transport them here for a few hours?

They weren’t rich either. In fact much of my recent family tree screams abject poverty – of living in back to back or slum housing, sometimes even in cellar rooms which were prone to flooding which brought all sorts of disease with it. There were cholera epidemics and any condition we take antibiotics for today was a potential killer back then.

My grandfather was born in the workhouse, as at the turn of the 20th century, medical help was confined to those who could afford to pay a doctor or midwife, so my great grandmother went to Leeds Workhouse to give birth to him, her eldest child.

She went on to have 9 more children (over a 19 year period) at home, losing only two boys at very young ages (and one in young adulthood) in an age where infant mortality was shockingly high. Harry, who died in 1917 at the age of 20 months, passed away in the Leeds Workhouse Hospital, as again, we can surmise that medical care was beyond the families purse.

For many years the family lived in Prussia Street in Leeds which encompassed a dire collection of slum housing just off of Lady Lane in Hunslet. They have long since been demolished to make way for council housing. The street was no stranger to gang crime and to visits from Sanitary Inspectors who were trying to minimise outbreaks of epidemics due to the overcrowding and virulent conditions.




The Last Kingdom Season 1 – Megaliths are All!


I’ve now watched the first season of The Last Kingdom from 2015, and blogged about its fire and death. Here I turn to the megaliths of the 8 episodes.

So The Last Kingdom’s set designers have a clear way of articulating the antiquity of the British landscape in which the Anglo-Saxons and Danes are inhabiting: megaliths. Yes, it’s an age-old trick deployed since the 19th century and the birth of the novel – Saxons live in an ancient land, and megaliths – the ruins of the Celts and all that they embody – materialise this antiquity. We find it in Sir Walter Scott, they are found in Tolkien’s Barrow Downs, and we find them in the writings of Bernard Cornwell.

If there is any real-world monument that embodies this reality, it is Wayland’s Smithy: a Neolithic chambered tomb dedicated to the legend of the Germanic shaman-smith Weland (ON: Volundr).

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