Tag Archives: William

1066 and all that jazz

 

hastings
This sums up the incorrect version of the battle of Hastings that we always been led to believe. Here, for the first time, the truth is revealed.

William was totally fed up. Not only did they keep being rude about his mother but they kept spelling his name wrongly. William might have been the son of the unmarried Duke Robert of Normandy and his mistress Herleva but it was cruel of everyone to call him William the Bastard and remind him at every opportunity.

In the middle of the 11th century, despite his total lack of interest in all things political, William was part of a power struggle for the throne of England, held by his relative Edward the Confessor (who had been given his name because of his habit of turning up at sheep dog trials and confessing,) who named the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson as the next king on his deathbed in January 1066.

William didn’t much care. He and Harold had long been rivals but in another, far more interesting sphere: fighting with marrons.

Marrons came in two varieties in England and in what is now called Continental Europe, edible and inedible. The edible type, sweet and nutty, could be used in many different ways in the kitchen and for many communities the marron was the sole source of carbohydrate. Aunt Bessie’s oven chips had not yet been invented and the potato was still an unknown root vegetable in an unknown part of the world. William and Harold did not fight with the edible variety – both of their mother’s had separately put a stop to the boys fighting with food many years before – but they fought with the inedible variety of the humble marron.

The game was itself was simple: two players, each with a marron threaded on a thong of rawhide, take it in turns to hit each other’s marron, until one marron is destroyed. The first player holds out their marron at arm’s length, hanging down, ready to be hit, the thong wrapped around his hand to stop it being dropped.

The opponent, the striker, also wraps his marron string round his hand, then takes his marron in the other hand and draws it back for the strike. Releasing the marron he swings it down by the string held in the other hand and tries to hit his opponent’s marron with it.

But this year, William was despondent. Harold across what he called the Sūð-sǣ (South Sea) was busy being king and wouldn’t play with him, his courtiers kept being rude about his mum and the marrons were small and hardly worth playing for.

Harold, however, was equally fed up. Marron season was here and what fine huge conkers they were and here was he stuck at the head of an army somewhere in Geordie land fighting some Danes to ensure that his kingdom did not become overrun with chubby Danish comedians called Sandi.

Sandi-Toksvig_2363071c
Here’s one I made earlier. (Serving suggestion only.)

Harold’s ministers were adamant that their new king could not have time off, so Harold hatched a plan and calling for his scribe sent a quick parchment to his old adversary William the Bastard, challenging him to a marron fight on the south coast in a couple of weeks time and upon it’s receipt William gathered the usual band of mates he took on stag parties and they set sail.

Historians have made much of William gathering an army to cross the water and Harold leading his war band to the area, but the truth was far less blood thirsty. It was just a friendly meeting between two groups of young men, intent on having a good time with old mates; the usual, wine, women and song, with marron fighting thrown in.

After carousing through the south eastern coastal villages full of good ale and mead, the two groups of men met at Senlac Hill. (Senlac later gave its name to a laxative tablet made of Senna. If you have trouble with constipation, please do not rely on laxatives for long periods as dependency can develop. senaSeek advice from your doctor about retraining your bowel. This is a public service announcement.) Anyway, as I was saying, the drunken, carousing groups of young men met at Senlac Hill and there, after more mead and ale had been consumed, the marron battle started, William against Harold.

It was Harold’s turn to aim first, but shock and horror! Live footage embroidered rapidly at the scene shows that Harold was cheating. He had two marrons!

Bayeux_Tapestry_scene57_Harold_death
This footage, embroidered by the marron championship correspondents live from the scene, clearly shows Harold cheating.

William’s men saw red. They saw other colours too, but predominantly red and furiously angry and totally tanked up on the alcohol, they broke every marron championship rule in the book and beat the shit out of Harold and his friends. In the affray Harold got a red hot poker shoved in his eye and William lost some of his clothes and damaged his ring. Then one of William’s friends took things too far, (there is always one), and skanked Harold with a broken mead jar.

Harold died.

The party broke up after that and the hung-over men slunk away to vomit behind bushes and sleep off the effects of the day.

William woke up later with the horrid, horrid memory of what had happened. Oh MERDE! What could he do? As hastily as his pounding head would allow he opened an eye and then, much later, another. Groaning he sat up. Bodies were all around him, dead, dying, sleeping, groaning, spewing Saxons, Normans. All a great jumble of stinking hungover men. It looked like a battle field.

A battlefield?

As fast as his inebriated brain would process it, he realised that was the answer. Deny it was a stag party and insist that it had been an intentional invasion. The murder of the king could then be passed off as him having been killed in rightful combat!!

He tried to smile. It didn’t work. Some hangovers are like that. Not smiling he called the embroiderers to him and with a hefty pay off he got them to tweak a few bits of their tapestry interpretation of the day showing him not as William the Conkerer, but William the Conqueror.

William became king, but forever mourned the best marron fighting partner he had ever had. Under Norman rule, Angle-land became  très Frenchified, altering the language forever although here in England we now call marrons ”conkers

Source material:

A bit of old hessian I found in the garage

A small square of calico

Linen

I read a few books too.

Conkers-Featured

© Jeff Jefferty Jeff 6th October 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The “Tudor” Propaganda of William Shakespeare

Tudor propaganda is a word that is sometimes thrown about, and it´s usually associatedShakespeare_Droeshout_1623 with two names, Thomas More and William Shakespeare, both of them in certain quarters seen as nothing but tools of the reigning Tudor monarch at the time. The purpose of the propaganda probably doesn´t even need to be mentioned, but I will do it anyway; it is to blacken the memory of Richard III. Here I will focus on the alleged propaganda distributed by William Shakespeare through his play Richard III, thought by some to have been written to please, or maybe even commissioned by, Elizabeth I

This has caused rift between what would otherwise have been sane people where one side will claim to be the voices of reason and ask why Elizabeth I, the 5th Tudor monarch on the throne, would towards the end of her reign, feel the need to blacken a king that had been dead for over a century and therefore couldn´t make a claim for the throne even if he wanted to, when she obviously had more pressing matters at hand, such as real live pretenders to the throne and the problem of succession to solve.

Then we have the other side, who will see much more sinister forces at work, for reasons that remain unknown, aiming to utterly discredit “their” king with withered arms, limp and a hunchback and not to mention a murderous mind.

Feeling somewhat uncomfortable by the constant bickering back and forward I, Jeff Sixwhotsitdorf, decided to dedicate myself to an extensive and – as it turned out – ground breaking research into the subject, and what I have found is astonishing.

It has come to light that the so called propaganda had nothing to do with Elizabeth I what so ever. She in fact tried to stop the play, being slightly clairvoyant herself and also having access to the astrologer John Dee she predicted a future where a limping, hunchbacked and generally crippled king opened the door for herself being portrayed with a ridiculously white face, huge wigs and an unstable temperament. She did not want to see that happen, for she actually was vain, that much is true.

But “hell hath no fury like a man whose ancestors has been offended” (ancient saying carved into the wall of a cave that was once passed by by Etruscan migrants, later changed and used for his own purposes by the 17th century playwright William Congreve).

There was simply no stopping Shakespeare. But what was it that had actually happened?

Carefully studying the appropriate sources show us that at one point – at the time very young – Richard Plantagenet once passed through the little village Stratford-upon-Avon, during the mid-15th century so small that you could pass it without noticing. But there it was, and there was also a man by the name of Geffron Shakespeare, father of Hugh Shakespeare and brother of Richard Shakespeare, one day to be referred to as the great grandfather of The Bard.

Geffron had a small establishment serving travelling parties a hearty meal, and this is where his path was to be crossed by a young future king on his way to Southampton for further distribution to the continent, away from the ravings of war (the party had gotten slightly lost due to their drunk guard).

Feral_goatThe boy, only aged eight, starred at the innkeeper, who was slightly disfigured due to an unfortunate run-in with an angry bull in childhood, and started mocking him, maybe out of exhaustion from the long journey because history – at least some versions of it – has taught us that Richard was an epiphany of chivalry.

Geffron had since long had quite enough of that sort of behaviour and chased the boy out into the yard. Little Richard (a name later adopted by a performer of the kind of music that would have gotten him burnt at the stake during this time) was dancing around Geffron in a taunting manner with the result that Geffron in his agitated state tripped over a goat which out of sheer fright retaliated with a pair of well-placed horns in the region of Geffron´s bottom that sent him flying to the other end of the well trampled road.

If fate had been kind, it would have allowed Geffron to land relatively soft by the side of the said road. This did not how ever happen. Geffron got stuck in a pane less window of the local baker, head halfway into the oven. Local chroniclers confirm that this was not a pretty sight.

The Plantagenet party scrapped the kids together (the older brother George had been laughing like a madman through the whole debacle) and fled the scene, while the family of Geffron Shakespeare, once the initial shock had abated, swore to seek revenge.

This would eventually tear the family apart, with Geffron´s son Hugh feeling increasingly humiliated by his father´s spectacular demise. He would in time study at Morton College in Oxford, a time during which he in took the opportunity to change his name from Shakespeare to Sawndare, explaining his decision by stating that his former name was of “vile reputum”.

Geffron´s brother Richard though, the great grandfather of William, decided to make good on his vow to revenge his brother and joined the ranks of Henry Tudor, with such success that he was later granted land in Warwickshire by the new king Henry VII and also laid the foundation for the application made by Shakespeare´s father and later Shakespeare himself for a coat of arms.

But William Shakespeare was, like all great artists, a person of a moody nature and Kathryn_Huntersometimes his glass wasn´t even half empty, it was smashed against a wall of a bakery in Stratford. It was during one of these periods he decided to get even once and for all, if not with the actual little brat that had ended the life of his great grand uncle, but also alienated his distant cousin Hugh from the rest of the family, so at least with the posthumous reputation of the brat in question.

He sat down with his pen and paper and gave the last of the Plantagenet king all the crippling features that once a bull had given Geffron Shakespeare during his early years. And he laughed and laughed, convinced that he had for many centuries into the future blackened the reputation of Richard III.

It should be said that Elizabeth I was utterly disgusted by the play, and had she known it would come to somehow have been thought of something she herself had ordered, she would have thrown a tantrum.

Jeff Sixwhotsitdorf,

still in a state of being astonishingly astonished

Sources:

The forgotten grave stone of an unknown relative of someone you´ve never heard of (and for good reasons!)

The backside of a black cow

The front of a very old goat

The very hazy table of ancestry of William Shakespeare

The bottom of a wine bottle

Scribblings on a handkerchief thought to once have belonged to William Congreve, ranging from the quote above via “hell hath no fury like a squirrel who lost his nuts” to the more famous “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”

The last meal of a dissected carrot

The phone call no one ever made (me neither)

The content declaration of Ramen Noodles, mushroom flavour

A dream I had

The dark alley medium I found online