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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby TisILeclerc » 7:40 pm

They were held up as paragons of virtue, but one congregation of Essex nuns appear to have needed some pointers on how to conduct themselves.


Essex girls eh?

What do they say again Borry? You can take the girl out of Essex but you can't take Essex out of the girl. Or summat like that.
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby hvered » 6:52 am

Barking Abbey was a Benedictine house, the 12th century ruins have been documented but re the convent archaeologists report that 'no foundations survive', which is odd because historians are convinced it existed, even flourished

it became one of the greatest nunneries of England; the Abbess having precedence over all the other abbesses.

Since "very little is known" about nunneries generally and no trace has been found in this specific location, the question is why (and when) make it up? Who was this Aldhelm character and/or who invented him?

On the matter of non-existent Essex, I'm reading The Essex Serpent which a friend recommended. It starts off quite promisingly with a recently widowed fossil hunter who could have been a gloriously willful Victorian heroine but then turns into a love story so I may never get to find out about the beast in the estuary.

It's a pertinent complaint as this year's Reith lectures are given by Hilary Mantel, a historical novelist who like Sarah Perry has enjoyed popular success but unlike Perry isn't pulpy and insists she prioduces proper history. The best ever historical novelist in my view is Penelope Fitzgerald. Not even Hilary has her knack of 'being there'.
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby TisILeclerc » 9:33 am

Since "very little is known" about nunneries generally and no trace has been found in this specific location, the question is why (and when) make it up? Who was this Aldhelm character and/or who invented him?


Why anyone would do it could be quite simply down to money.

Send in a report to head office about an impoverished group of devoted ladies who want to set up a nunnery and if you know the ropes there will be cash and title deeds forthcoming. You don't need to build anything or recruit anyone apart from writing a list of names and what holy deeds they have been up to.

Trouble will come when Greedy Henry decides to take it over and finds nothing there. But you'll be long gone by then.

I believe a similar scam goes on today with people sending in bills to large organisations for services or materials provided. As long as it looks credible and legit the menials will pay up.

We have something similar where I live. It's called the Town Council. They invent jobs for themselves and pay each other lots of money. What's even better, they have elections every now and again and the good people of the burgh vote them back in to carry on as before. Works every time.

As for who did it? Is there news of somebody from a humble family suddenly arriving on the scene with coat of arms, lands and who is a bit of a mystery? I would suggest a humble clerk who knows how the system works. We call them politicians these days but back then it was the church that ruled the roost.
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby Boreades » 11:45 am

TisILeclerc wrote:Send in a report to head office about an impoverished group of devoted ladies who want to set up a nunnery and if you know the ropes there will be cash and title deeds forthcoming. You don't need to build anything or recruit anyone apart from writing a list of names and what holy deeds they have been up to..


I'm told the business of inventing convincing background stories is called Trade Craft. What better than a juicy story of semi-virtuous nuns who desperately need help and guidance. The sex angle is a great distraction from the dodgy provenance and dubious title deeds.

Here's a wonderful Trade Craft example, in a slightly different context.

The Manor House, Ogbourne St George – Address and letterhead used in the wartime deception,
“The Man Who Never Was” by Ewen Montagu

In 1943, a plan was devised to mislead the Germans about Allied invasion plans in the Mediterranean. A team led by Lieut.-Commander Montagu arranged to drop a body in the sea off Huelva, in southern Spain, purporting to be that of a messenger carrying a letter from General Nye to General Alexander and one from Lord Louis Mountbatten to Admiral Cunningham, both indicating that the Allies were targeting Sardinia. The operation was successful in that a substantial number of German troops were moved away from Sicily, which was where the actual invasion took place.

In order to make the deception seem genuine, a ‘real’ person had to be fabricated and personal items placed on the body in addition to the official papers that ‘Major William Martin’ carried. The following extract from Ewen Montagu’s book describes the part played by the Manor House in the story:

.... First of all we needed a suitable snapshot of Pam, Major Martin’s fiancée. The scheme which we devised was to ask the more attractive girls in our various of fices to lend us a snapshot of themselves for use in a photographic identity parade-the sort of thing where the photographs of one or two suspects are shuffled in among those of a number of perfectly innocent persons and the “witness” is asked to pick out the one of the per son whom he had seen; we asked for a
variegated lot, and got quite a collection. We eventually chose a charming photograph and returned the remainder. The subject of the photograph was working in the War Office and, as she had access to “Top Secret” papers, we were able to tell her that we wanted to use the photograph as that of someone’s fictitious fiancée in a deception, and she gave her permission. None of us had felt up to writing the love letters–after all, ours was not the feminine point of view – and it was a bit difficult to ask a girl whether she could write a first-rate paean of love. So we asked a girl working in one of the offices whether she could get some girl to do it. She took on the job, but never would tell us the name of the girl who produced the two magnificent letters that Major Martin was to carry with him.

I had decided that the first of these should be written on my brother-in-law’s notepaper, for I was sure that no German could resist the “Englishness” of such an address as “The Manor House, Ogbourne St. George, Marlborough, Wiltshire”; this letter, dated “Sunday 18th,” ran as follows:

The Manor House,
Ogbourne St. George,
Marlborough, Wiltshire.
Telephone: Ogbourne St. George 242.
Sunday, 18th.

I do think dearest that seeing people like you off at railway stations is one of the poorer forms of sport. A train going out can leave a howling great gap in ones life & one has to try madly–& quite in vain–to fill it with all the things one used to enjoy a whole five weeks ago. That lovely golden day we spent together–oh! I know it has been said before, but if only time could sometimes stand still just for a minute–But that line of thought is too pointless. Pull your socks up Pam & don't be a silly little fool.

Your letter made me feel slightly better–but I shall get horribly conceited if you go on saying things like that about me–they’re utterly unlike ME, as I’m afraid you’ll soon find out. Here I am for the weekend in this divine place with Mummy & Jane being too sweet & understanding the whole time, bored beyond words & panting for Monday so that I can get back to the old grindstone again. What an idiotic waste!

Bill darling, do let me know as soon as you get fixed & can make some more plans, & don't please let them send you off into the blue the horrible way they do nowadays–now that we’ve found each other out of the whole world, I don't think I could bear it –

All my love,
PAM.


http://ogbournestgeorge.org.uk/wp-conte ... er-was.pdf

Hmm, perhaps it's time we started writing letters to English Heritage....
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby TisILeclerc » 1:25 pm

It still goes on in a variety of ways. From the friendly heir to a fortune in Nigeria who wants to give you millions in exchange for your silly bank details to people actually using our computer illiterate government to steal property on a grand scale by logging on to the Land Registry.

The Land Registry, the government department that logs land and property ownership in England and Wales, has paid out more than £26m since 2006 compensating victims of a recurring property fraud.

The con – called property title theft – involves criminals taking out mortgages on properties they do not own, pocketing the money and leaving the real owner thousands of pounds in debt.


https://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/ ... mpensation

What the article doesn't mention is that these people also get the title deeds to houses and the owners find themselves evicted as the Land Registry has sent the deeds off to the criminals.

And of course there is little Jack Horner who pulled out a plum. That was property theft as well and all engineered by the leader of the gang Henry VIII.

`Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating his Christmas pie. He stuck in a thumb and pulled out a plum and said, "What a good boy am I."'

Where to begin with this? This is talking about the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII taking property from the Catholic Church. Jack, as we know, is actually called Thomas Horner. Now he was a steward to the Abbot of Glastonbury during the reign of Henry VIII. This is how the story goes: He was entrusted to take some title deeds of properties to Henry VIII as a bribe so the abbot could keep the main monastery, but was prepared to give away some of the lesser properties.

Now the title deeds were held and sealed in a pie, and Jack's off to London. But instead of delivering the bribe to Henry VIII, he helps himself to the pie, puts his hand in, pulls out a plum piece of real estate--in this case, a place called Mells Manor--and thinks he's very clever for doing this. That's one version of it, that Jack is a thief and he's stealing the bribe that's intended for the king.


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=5135080

It seems though that once people are programmed they will believe and accept anything. Rather like these people at Knock screaming at a cloud in the belief it is the virgin Mary come to visit the faithful in Ireland.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... r-sky.html

I know it's the Daily Mail but it's in the Independent as well so it must be true.

The thing about property scams ancient and modern is that it saves having to practise all your life at fisticuffs and sword fighting. All you need do is mention your solicitors and wave a piece of paper. It's safer too. As the old song says, 'Some rob you with a six gun, some with a fountain pen'
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby Boreades » 2:23 pm

TisILeclerc wrote: people actually using our computer illiterate government


If only they could. I thought I might have a look at the Land Registry to see who's got the title deeds to Chateau Boreades. Just in case the Boreadettes have pulled a fast one with those papers they said we should sign for them.

https://search-property-information.ser ... k/register

Registration fail!

Sorry, we are experiencing technical difficulties.
Please try again in a few moments.


Doh!
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby hvered » 2:32 pm

The story of Jack Horner and the plum-in-a-pie sounds very similar to the Jack o'Kent folk-tale, flying (not sure if meant metaphorically) to London from the Welsh marches with a mince pie for the king. It was still hot when he arrived. En route he loses a garter on a church weathervane or spire. An additional exploit that I haven't heard before is that according to this website our Jack tamed crows

Another story of his control over the animal kingdom concerns a time he was employed by a farmer as a crow-scarer. Jack decided that he wanted to go to the fair that had arrived in town, so he called together all the crows and put them into an old barn, with no roof on it… and there they stayed. At the fair unfortunately he met the farmer for whom he was working, who angrily took him back to the farm. But Jack led him to the barn: there were all of the crows, despite the lack of roof they were unable to escape.

http://www.kentchurch.org.uk/legends-of-john-okent/

There is a clear link between spires/weathervanes and crows
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby Mick Harper » 9:58 am

Let's not get too Daily Mail about all this.
Why anyone would do it could be quite simply down to money. Send in a report to head office about an impoverished group of devoted ladies who want to set up a nunnery and if you know the ropes there will be cash and title deeds forthcoming. You don't need to build anything or recruit anyone apart from writing a list of names and what holy deeds they have been up to.

I think you are underestimating Head Office. Monastic orders were very, very businesslike. They were after all businesses. In fact the most successful businesses of their day. There is no way in the world this scam would fly. It would however fly if it was Head Office working the scam. The drill is fairly standard and covered in full in our forthcoming book

1. You wish to make some money from the pilgrimage trade for your new (twelfth century) monastery in Barking, Essex.
2. You compose an array of documents that show it was founded back in the eighth century, was famous for this and that, had connections with various famous people eg St Dunstan etc etc
3. Pilgrims flock, monastery waxes.
4. Now you are an important monastery with an impressive pedigree.
5. So you can come up with more documents showing you were the first nunnery in England and claim seniority over all the other nunneries in England who didn't come up with the same idea.
6. More pilgrims come, more nuns apply, more waxing takes place.
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby TisILeclerc » 11:08 am

While the nuns are having their Brazilians or waxes or whatever won't the local peasants be saying 'Oohh aarrrh, that's new innit?'

And granny peasant says there was never a nunnery with all that going on when ah were a lass or my granny either.
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Re: Every forum needs a Humour Section...

Postby Mick Harper » 10:23 pm

No, the nunnery's been there since the twelfth century. This is the whole point about 'historical documents'. They are historical. They allude to events that nobody is in any position to dispute unless they have got rival historical documents. And believe me, medieval law courts were filled with disputes between different ecclesiastical authorities brandishing documents claiming this or that privilege, landed estate, toll crossing or whatever. An entire independent ecclesiastical 'country', the Palatinate of Durham, was built on such fictions.

These people are professionals. They would not issue documents that somebody else could show were fraudulent simply by bringing a 'granny' into court to give damning testimony. Why, they're good enough to fool modern historians. But I admit that is not much of a recommendation.
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