The early printing press – The Praelum Ascensianum

One of my great passions is early printing and bookbinding and in this post I am going to indulge that passion as I digress again into the wonderful world of Renaissance bibliography and take a look at the frontispiece of this splendid early printed book.  This book is an edition of Livy's History of Rome... Continue Reading →

A Fifteenth Century Bestseller

William Caxton was a London merchant who in his middle age decided to invest in new technology and diversify his business.  Having lived and worked on the continent in the 1450s and 60s, he had seen first-hand the products that were coming off the newly establishing printing presses and with an entrepreneurs eye he saw... Continue Reading →

Earl Odda’s Chapel at Deerhurst

The village of Deerhurst on the banks of the river Severn in Gloucestershire is one of the most instructive places to study Anglo-Saxon church architecture. The fabric of the parish church, dedicated to the Mother of God, is in large part that of a Saxon 'minster' church built on an important royal vill in the... Continue Reading →

Memento Mori – Remember death, or remember More?

In 1515 Sir Thomas More left England was sent as part of an embassy to the court of the future Emperor Charles V. For over twenty years the tax imposed on English exports to the Spanish Netherlands was growing year on year and the embassy was sent to negotiate a new trade agreement with the... Continue Reading →

“Here rest the relics of St Wite”

The ideology and iconoclasm of the Reformation did a very thorough job of destroying the cult of saints and the shrines and relics associated with them from medieval Britain. There are now only a couple of places in England and Wales where there is an untouched medieval shrine, complete with the relics of the medieval... Continue Reading →

‘coheir of a heavenly realm’ – St Wystan and Repton

At the peak of it's power and prestige the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia stretched from the Humber to the Thames and from the Trent to the border of Wales. The kingdom was converted to Christianity in the second half of the seventh century after King Peada was baptised by Finan of Lindisfarne at Repton, one... Continue Reading →

Tears, hares, butterflies and grouse – a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Melangell

My son and I have recently been on a week long pilgrimage across Britain to a number shrines and holy places. The purpose of the journey was pretty straightforward. Although ordained as an Anglican priest for over a decade, for much of that time I have suffered periods of ill health as I have tried... Continue Reading →

“Remember the end”

Incorporating images of donors or patrons into the works of art they had commissioned, was a common occurrence in the late medieval west and one that I've written about before. Often these images are shown interacting with other images within a work of art, focusing and portraying a devotion to figures of the saints, or... Continue Reading →

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