A Painter and A Petition

In late 1841, Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle, received an unusual request in the post, comprising of a letter and petition from a man named as Thomas J. Williams asking for financial support to attend the Royal Academy in London, in order to hone his talents as a painter.   In the petition, which is …

Meet the Participants

Hatfield Chase, a low-lying marshland straddling Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, once teemed with wild birds, fish and deer – the pursuit of many a party on this royal hunting ground. However, by 1626, Charles I had drained the nation’s coffers and sought an innovative solution to his financial woes: employing another Charles (Vermuyden, a Dutch engineer) …

A Blessing and A Curse

The Rushall Psalter is a remarkable manuscript in many ways: it is an undoubtedly beautiful volume which has lived a long and unusual life – not to mention the fact that it is the subject of a 600 year old curse… As suggested by its name, the volume’s content is largely religious in nature, consisting …

Images of India

Around 100 years ago, Professor Henry Hurd Swinnerton learned that 300 old glass plate negatives were about to be thrown out. Glass plate negatives are thin sheets of fragile glass coated in light-sensitive chemicals, and by the late 1930s they were becoming obsolete. These particular negatives of 19th century India were a little damaged and …

Lenton Priory

Did you watch The Great British Dig last week? Fronted by Hugh Dennis, a team of archaeologists excavated the gardens of homes built on the site of the long-gone Priory of Lenton, situated between the University Park and King’s Meadow Campuses. Lenton Priory itself is not exactly a mystery: this map clearly shows the site and there have been several …

The Bigger Picture

This is a guest post by Anjali, an Politics and Economics student, written as part of the Nottingham Advantage Award run by the Careers and Employability Service. Culture and heritage forms a big part of an individual’s identity. As an individual who is a young British Indian woman, living in a world where a person such …

By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes

The Witchcraft Act of 1735 brought an end to the legal acceptance that magic and witchcraft were genuine. It became a crime to claim magical or supernatural powers, with a maximum penalty of a year’s imprisonment. Instead, witches, cunning folk and wise men were viewed as fraudsters conning the desperate and the naïve. This complete …

A Token of Childhood

Are the souls of your children of no value? Are you indifferent whether they be damned or saved? They are not too little to die…not too little to go to hell….not too little to go to heaven. And so begins James Janeway’s cheerful book, ‘A Token For Children: An Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and …

The Curious Case of Benjamin Cockayne

By October 1719, Churchwardens Stephen Turpin and John Pimm had had enough of Benjamin Cockayne, the bad boy of Bramcote. For seven years, they had watched with increasing concern his immoral lifestyle, his drunkenness, and his routine abuse of his neighbours. They brought a case against Cockayne to the ecclesiastical authorities and there was no shortage …

Medieval Christmas Mass

It’s entirely possible that the clerk who ripped the pages out of the 15th book of Roman Catholic liturgical music was just old enough to have attended church services in pre-Reformation England, but in truth we don’t know. These parchment leaves, MS 12/6-7, contain parts of masses for Christmas Day and the Feast of St Stephen …