INTRODUCTION


Education of one sort or another has been my life. I have written, spoken and demonstrated history - about people, places and things - I have collected, classified, reconstructed, conserved and displayed, taught, researched, retrieved and recorded. To help bring objects (and through them people and places) to life I have made and used models, replicas and reconstructions, which also helps one discover how something was done and whether it could be done.
An historian should be a craftsman for a craftsman works with his head and his hands. It is no excuse for a scholar to say "I am not practical", there is no good reason for refusing to make the attempt.
         

       

                                       

BOOKS

Over the years I have written (and researched) a good deal.  In 2009 I published “HOAX! The Domesday Hide”, an attempt at feeding sops to Cerberus, more precisely my attempt to quietly persuade obdurate academics that they should not worship Trojans and toxic assets, or things they can neither demonstrate nor prove but which some dead "authority” invented one hundred years ago.  I asked them to use their common sense when analysing Domesday Book.  I failed.  Once again they insisted on deceiving their public by refusing even to read what I had written and telling others to avoid it.  Why would they need to do this? Now I will tell you. Now I have written the exposure they feared and, thanks to a redaction supplied by another historian, I can tell you why they fear what I have said.  I lay the scandal bare, for scandal it is.

 

FOOLS OR CHARLATANS

THE READING OF DOMESDAY BOOK

Matador 2014

Paperback  £12.99

Ebook  £5.99


  

If this was a novel then you wouldn’t believe it, but it isn’t a novel.  This is, unlike accepted Domesday studies, scientific methodology not guesswork and you have never seen an exposure like this, though you may have read about them. They don’t happen very often. ‘Experts’ will  tell you not to read this book at all for it will corrupt you (simple you!), they have lied, vilified, mocked and deceived but it remains a fact that although translated, England’s unique national treasure from 900 years ago, Domesday Book cannot be read by these ‘experts’!  What do you make of that?

They cannot tell you for certain, what anything means, they cannot put it into modern terms (although they can tell you ‘til the cows come home why not) so they say it never made sense.  Book after book, article after learned article, will tell you why it does not and cannot make sense. Reiterating this for a century has made it sacred; if it never made any sense, then tell me, why was it ever compiled?  This is the religious rubbish, the Cult, they want you to believe in.  Can you believe it?  Can these clever scholars really believe in such nonsense themselves, or is it even more sinister?
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  Either our Domesday ‘experts’ have never read these documents, the ones they are supposed to be expert in, or they have deliberately concealed the evidence which the documents contain!  What other excuse can they offer, how can they explain away such facts? No wonder they refuse to debate such evidence and do everything they can to hide and discredit it! The colophon to the “lesser” Domesday (a special part of Domesday Book) has been consistently mistranslated and the author of Domesday Book accused of an imperfect knowledge of Latin because it doesn’t say what the ‘experts’ want it to say!  Well, he wrote the colophon and he probably even dreamt in Latin!

It seems that we have a serious need to overhaul our system of higher education, at least in the field of history? Even at the primary school level crowd-pleasing myths should have no place in modern education. We need scientific methodology and structure: we need to teach our children the truth. Maybe that will help us inform and build both our and their futures? We are what we know of our past. Let's make sure it is the truth.

 

 Also try this - for a demonstration

 

 

 

QUESTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DOMESDAY BOOK

1.    Q. Is a “hide” the same as a “carucate”?
        A. No, D.B.  makes this quite clear in thousands of entries.
2.    Q. Does the “hide” word have any meaning as a value or a unit.
A. Yes, D.B. specifically tells us it was a measurement of 240 acres of land (and had been so for several hundreds of years) which was subsequently linked to taxation (of land) after 991 A.D.  The compilers of D.B. used it to measure tax liability assessed in 240 acre blocks. Sadly not everyone made an honest tax declaration!
3.    Q. Does “wasta” (wasted) mean “burnt to the ground”
A. No, there is no single record of anything “burnt to the ground”.  It seems to mean “gone to waste”, sometimes as a result of reprisals but sometimes as a result of neglect.
4.    Q. Does D.B. record stolen or expropriated lands?
A. Yes, very often.  Sometimes as a result of rapacity by a Norman lord when taking possession of forfeited Saxon lands but surprisingly often lands stolen from the Royal Estates (the King) by barons and bishops – it even records churchmen using forged documents in order to support such thefts.
5.    Q. Does D.B. say that any women (either Saxon or Norman) held lands?
A. Yes, quite a number are recorded and a significant number of them were English (Saxon) women.
6.    Q. Does D.B. record forced marriages involving  Saxon women?
A.  No, there is not a single such specific entry.
7.    Q. Does D.B. record wholesale rape and pillage?
A. No, there is not a single specific entry of either.
8.    Q. Does the greater Domesday record only pigs and no other animals?
A. No, both the greater Domesday and the lesser Domesday record animals of all sorts.  However, the lesser Domesday tells us of places in much greater detail and it includes information which helps us to apply cross-checks (a deliberately constructed audit trail) when reading either the lesser or the greater Domesday.
9.    Q. Was England still covered with extensive forests in 1086?
A. No, “forest” is, anyway, a legal entity, it has nothing to do with trees.  “Forests” were hunting preserves, the King had thousands of acres under “forest” law (some of it farmed) and some noblemen had private “forests”, though most called these “parks”.  King William was very fond  of hunting and venison was a wild food resource ‘on the hoof’, but the majority of England was not covered with trees.
10.    Q. Surely there were large, empty and uncharted areas of wildwood, moors and  heaths in 1086?
A. No, there was little (if any) ‘wildwood’ and even heaths were limited.  The evidence points in many cases to a planned landscape in which most trees and woods were carefully managed.  Where heath-land existed it was kept for grazing and fuel and because it sat on poor quality soils, though in the far west and in the north were extensive moorlands with rocky outcrops. Yet even these were carefully measured and D.B. often records other means of exploiting their resources.
11.    Q. Surely there were great improvements and reclamations made in agriculture in later centuries, so we can expect a much smaller
cultivated area in 1086?
A. No, D.B. tells us that the English shire heartlands were often ploughing as much land in 1086 as by circa 1950!  Of course yields (probably) increased in more recent times but it seems that the “agrarian revolution” has definitely been over emphasised in our history  books.  Now, for the first time, we have scientific evidence of the tillage and so some indication of output in 1066/1086.
12.       Q. Was the Domesday Book compiled by clerics, by monks and priests  and bishops?
A. No, this story is completely false. Domesday Book was a tax-audit and cadastre devised and created by royal clerks. The proof of this is that the Churchmen were among the largest and worst tax-evaders and so they subsequently branded the royal clerk who devised and co-ordinated this audit as diabolical –  and likewise the first King to implement it, who was William II “Rufus”.

DOMESDAY BOOK

BEYOND THE CENSORS

Matador 2016

Paperback  £11.99

Ebook available


MY LATEST BOOK: This is my latest book. I have already told you how to read Domesday Book so now I progress beyond “doing the arithmetic” and deciphering the secret messages, I look at the indirect economic evidence contained within this audit and cadastre. This is possible because of the astonishing competence of the senior royal clerk who, 900 years ago, drew up a specification (paradigm) for William I “the Conqueror”. Thanks to his thoroughness the King was able to instruct his subordinate royal clerks, those who were going on circuits to take verbal evidence, to adhere to a strict record of statistics. Because of this they collected far more information than was needed for immediate purposes. Was this deliberate, I have no idea but it was sheer genius.
So I have written a series of essays to show what lies hidden beneath the surface of the text. Taken together they present an economic picture of the eleventh century never dreamt of before by historians. There are things I have touched on before, now elaborated, and also novel insights: I want you to follow the methodology and make new discoveries for yourself for there is much more to be uncovered in Domesday Book. It is a prime archaeological site.
You don’t need to spend a fortune acquiring degrees and higher degrees, nor do I charge what university presses charge for my books: and you won’t need to ask anyone’s  permission to excavate. Of course, I can’t sell you a piece of paper for an employer to see (universities do that) but you won’t have a debt either; so, if what you actually seek is the truth about the world of the Norman Conquest, this is where you will find it.
 

MY CRAFTWORK

For most of my life I have practised a number of crafts. I learned them, in many cases, in order to demonstrate my research or the finds made by archaeologists. When a thing is physical, real and workable you can learn from replication, learn both how things were made (using particular tools and materials) and also how they would have worked. It is the point at which you leave theories (guesswork) behind and advance to scientific reality. I make no excuse for 'showing off' these things for craftwork relies on skill, on head plus hands, and not on the opinion of some 'expert' with no practical knowledge. The question is not "should it fly" but "does it fly?" When it does, it does!
In the first place, when I began, my craftwork supplied domestic needs, like Lester Griswold's maxim, 'let us improve our standard of living through better handicrafts', except that he really meant crafts not handicrafts. As I expanded my skill-base and improved my skills, I began to supply replicas, models and illustrations for children and museum visitors to use, finally I created unique objects from the past, things which people said couldn't be done today. This led me into producing a wide range of costume and accessories for living history so that I can now work in wood, leather, animal products, textiles, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. I like a challenge, whether academic or practical.
No, I don't ever make cheap gimmicks by the hundred, rather I design and realise special and unique artefacts to order. Below you will find a few examples of my work, products of head and hands in harmony.

                                                                                                                                                                               

Replica of the only Saxon plane ever found (at Saare in Kent in 1863),                                                                Replicas of Roman jack and foreplanes made of holm oak and
the original is in the British Museum.                                                                                                                          English oak (specimens are known from several contexts) together
Made of stag horn and bronze with the wedge and 'iron' restored.                                                                       with a replica of a bronze tri-square found at Canterbury. The
                                                                                                                                                                                              maximum straight edge length of the tri-square was 6 inches
                                                                                                                                                                                              PES DRUSIANUS


                  Scabbard of red leather and silver made for a Wilkinson Sword
                  Company's
presentation poniard.




   






Interior of my toolbox. In the 18th century cabinet makers used to
advertise their skills by fitting out and veneering the interiors of their
large wooden chests. I have done the same.








Replica costume circa 1565 made from patterns supplied by surviving clothes (from burials or museums).
Hunting doublet circa 1565 worn by Nils Sturé (murdered 1567), now in Upsala Cathedral
“A doublet of straw-coloured buckskin worked with black silk and with silver buttons, lined with Holland and Lockeram
Venetians (breeches) circa. 1580 from a pair in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremburg.
“Venetians of sad blue says (or Kersey) with tavelle of black and brazil, shot with purle
Tall hat circa 1570 – examples survive in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum and in the Museum of  London
. “Capotain of sad blue says (or Kersey) with tavelle of black and brazil shot with purle, lined with lady-blush sarcanet and with a neats’ leather band”
“A cotton (or fostat) shirt with crespines and parchment lace”
Riding boots of welted or randed turnshoe construction, with low heels, of light-tan neatsleather and half lined with cambric; low heels (for jack spurs).
Sword of mid-16th century south German form and belts of red leather and silver, the weapon itself of brass, iron and steel.
NOTE: I did not make the sword blade, the silver buttons or the ensigne (hat badge)

  

  Shotgun restocked in black, American walnut (juglens nigra). 
   The whole stock was shaped, fitted, chequered and finally oiled and polished.


    Sword belt and hanger for the south German sword made of red leather and silver. The buckles on the hanger are not cast but   
      hand forged to make a set and the check-strap (hexagonal) buckle is engraved with a legend.
 

                                                                                                                       


                                                                                                        Renaissance dress-dagger in various materials, early 16th century

Replica of the earliest piece of European furniture, the stool found in a Bronze Age grave at Goldhoj, Denmark. It was made of ash with bronze pivots and mortice and tenon joints, thus representing cabinet (not greenwood) work. My tools were of modern tool steel but the original may have been made with flint tools as bronze would not be adequate to work seasoned ash.

Scale model of an early Iron-Age roundhouse, made to illustrate archaeological remains. The opposite side was left open to show its construction and the 1/30th scale figures were specially made. Over the years I have made a number of models of houses, castles, forts and landscapes for museums and exhibitions.

Medieval refectory table (or board) of oak and elm with tripod trestles. The problem was to make a knockdown,
car transportable object for living history use: it dismounts and folds flat in five main pieces.

A pen and ink drawing for an illustration of a 16th century Essex cheese-press in use, drawn for my book "Cantles of Tart and Pungete, A History of Essex Cheese" published by Mobile Museum in 2004. This was the first published work ever to attempt a history of this little known delicacy and as far as I know only one Essex cheese-press survives, at Chelmsford Museum.






Outfit circa 1560 for a girl of 12, a scaled down pattern of the dress in which Eleanora of Toledo was buried in 1562.The sleeves are detachable and the fitting adjustable on laces at the back, on either side.
'A dress of roy or tawny mockardo trimmed with a galloon inkle of purle and goose-turd green'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      












Replica of a hunting crossbow circa 1500 showing the box-lock and 'nut' with various inlays, below which is the finial of the 'key' (trigger bar) in the form of a lion couchant grasping a shield. The blued steel 'key' is damascened with copper and brass (like the box-lock) and the figure has been chiselled from solid steel, a technique quite common on high quality weapons of the period.




Prehistoric lathe. We have lathe turned objects from at least the Bronze-Age
but no fragments of lathes: the challenge was to make a pole-lathe with no metal parts.
Using wedges, side-axe and adze I converted part of a 2 ton oak tree (using stag 
horn centres) on which I turned objects with modern tools. Then I mounted flint 
scrapers on sticks to demonstrate that lathes could have been used in the Stone Age! 
(greenwood technology)

                                                                                                                       

                               Helmet of 10th-11th century                                                                            Roman table leg in oak, modelled from surviving
                                          'Spangenhelm' form of iron                                                                              shale originals to demonstrate that hardwood
                                          and bronze                                                                                                           could be used in the same way in Britain


Scale model of a timber built Norman castle (donjon) on a motte, built to demonstrate how such fortifications could be constructed in order to resemble those on the Bayeux Tapestry whilst conforming to what we know of Romanesque carpentry, especially the researches of the pioneering Essex historian Cecil Hewett. The structure itself is made of oak and the shingled cupola top is leaded. The line illustration was part of the realisation process when devising the construction details. Such a structure explains the origins of several features found in later stone built donjons (such as the galleries).
All other reconstructions have shown either a Hollywood, Wild West, stockade or something that could never be built, this is the first attempt to show how it could have been done, to show why the Bayeux Tapestry's castles were not just imaginative fictions (as so many 'experts' claim) and why stone castles took the form they did.

Monopodium table of revived neo-Medieval style in oak,  marquetry and marbling. The top shows a  king with
his witan of six counsellors, their eyes in faux-tortoiseshell.


Replicas of Saxon silver work in the British Museum: the  cloak pin 
(9½”l.) found at Trewhiddle (Cornwall in 1774) and the fork found
at Sevington (Wiltshire) in 1834, both before c.850 A.D.



Medieval 'lover's greeting' cards from original illuminated manuscripts by me. Covers
bound in leather, silk or fancy papers. Little books like this were made in the 15th and 16th centuries
as sweetheart presents and these specimens contain 16th century love poems in English or French.



Two late Medieval patrons or quivers for crossbow bolts, the one on the left (resembling an owl)
of deer-fur and taken from 'The Hunts of the Emperor Maximillian' and the one on the right
modelled in relief in leather over a wooden carcase and given tooled decoration.


     mobilemuseum22@gmail.com 

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