Cricket in the Air?

Georgian Era Stoolball

Here’s a brainteaser for my readers and especially for those who reenact during the Georgian Era.  What game, dating back to at least the 15th century, do some researchers credit as a possible origin for Cricket, Rounders and Baseball?  I’ll give you a couple more clues.  In the early periods, it was often associated with Easter time.  It also would be a great game for demonstrating at a living history event, and even involving the public, since both men and women played it.  Give up?  Well, the answer is Stoolball!  Never heard of Stoolball?  Well, it is not a game involving cow patties but you can read on to learn about this historic game that is still played today.

Stoolball’s origins

Stoolball is one of the best-documented of the early ballgames, with more than sixty possible references to its play between 1086 and 1861. Continue reading

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Happy Anniversary to HRH Elizabeth II

queen

 

Today, 9 September 2015, HRH Elizabeth II becomes England’s longest reigning monarch, surpassing the record of 63 years, 7 months and 2 days set by her great, great, grandmother Queen Victoria.

A few interesting facts about the two Queens.

  • A member of the German House of Hanover, VICTORIA, who stood 4ft 11in (1.5 metres), was the last of the Hanoverian monarchs. She had nine children- four of whom became sovereigns or married sovereigns.
  • ELIZABETH, who is 5ft 4ins (1.6 metres), is a descendant of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was renamed the House of Windsor during World War One. Elizabeth and Prince Philip have four children.
  • Some 400,000 people gathered in London for VICTORIA’s coronation.
  • An estimated 27 million people in Britain watched ELIZABETH’s coronation on TV and 11 million listened on the radio.
  • VICTORIA married Prince Albert on 10 February 1840 aged 21. They were married for 20 years, before he died in December 1861.
  • ELIZABETH married the Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947, also aged 21. They have been married for nearly 68 years.  She is the first reigning British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary.
  • When VICTORIA assumed the throne in 1837 – the population of England, Scotland and Wales was 16 million. She died on 22 January, 1901, when there were 32.5 million people living in England and Wales.
  • ELIZABETH took the throne in 1952 with the UK population at 50 million. At her Diamond Jubilee, in 2012, it had increased to 63.2 million.
  • VICTORIA oversaw an empire, measuring a quarter of the globe, and some 400 million people.
  • ELIZABETH is head of state of the UK and 15 Commonwealth realms, with a combined population of about 139 million.
  • VICTORIA’s reign included 10 UK prime ministers. She outlived all but two.  William Gladstone was prime minister on no less than four occasions during her monarchy.
  • ELIZABETH has overseen 12 prime ministers. Margaret Thatcher was the longest-serving – for more than 11 years.
  • Both queens were shot at by a lone gunman while out riding near Buckingham Palace.
  • ELIZABETH loves the private royal estate at Balmoral in Scotland, which was bought by VICTORIA.

Continue reading

The Indecent Foreign Dance: The Waltz Arrives in England

 

Cinderella and Prince Charming Dancing

 

“We who go forth of nights and see without the slightest discomposure our sister and our wife seized on by a strange man and subjected to violent embraces and canterings round a small-sized apartment – the only apparent excuse for such treatment being that it is done to the sound of music – can scarcely realize the horror which greeted the introduction of this wicked dance.”  – (Fitzgerald, 1867)

 

Few sights are as romantic as that of a couple, absorbed in each other, sweeping across the floor in a waltz.  It is certainly the highlight of many a fairy tale and even Jane Austen allows her couples ample time on the dance floor.  But what is the real story behind the waltz and how it was received when it arrived in England in the early 1800s?

Origins of the Waltz

The history of the waltz actually dates back to the 1500′s.  There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance, i.e. a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim.  Hans Sachs wrote of the dance in his 1568 Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände (1568) and the French philosopher Montaigne wrote of a dance he saw in 1580 in Augsburg, where the dancers held each other so closely that their faces touched (possibly La Volta).  Kunz Haas, in about the same period wrote: Continue reading