The German Reinheitsgebot

The German Reinheitsgebot –

the oldest, currently valid consumer protection law in the world

Today we are celebrating a very important anniversary:  the German ‘Reinheitsgebot’ (purity law) is 500 years-old.  On 23 April 1516, the co-regents of Bavaria, dukes Wilhelm IV and Ludwig X, passed a decree that beer may only be made of barley, hops, and water.[i] Continue reading

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How to Bury a King

Book Review:  How to Bury a King:

The Reinterment of King Richard III

Pete Hobson, How to Bury a King: The Reinterment of King Richard III.  Zaccmedia, 2016

On 26 March 2016, the one year anniversary of Richard III’s reinterment in Leicester Cathedral, three books and a CD were launched in St Martin’s House adjacent to Leicester Cathedral.

The launch was held in the great hall of St Martin’s House, with the choir singing to publicise the release of the CD.  He lieth under this Stone features much of the choral music performed at Leicester Cathedral during the reinterment week in March 2015.  Of course, it also includes ‘Ghostly Grace’, composed especially for the occasion by Judith Bingham.

The three books were How to Bury a King by Rev Peter Hobson, acting canon missioner at Leicester Cathedral, Flowers for a King by Rosemary Hughes, who was responsible for the floral arrangements in the Cathedral, and Richard III – His Story, by Leicester artist Kirsteen Thomson. Continue reading

Hatfield before Hatfield House, Part 4

Hatfield before Hatfield House –

the 15th century ‘Old Palace’

In this final part of Hatfield before Hatfield House, we look at the last medieval manor at Hatfield, and the only one of which a part is still standing.[i]

In 1478, a new bishop of Ely was appointed:  John Morton. Morton was a dedicated supporter of the Lancastrians and would be on very good terms with Henry VII, though considerably less so with Richard III.  However, he is not only remembered for political mischief, but also as one of the great builders of his age.  Soon after being elevated to the bishopric of Ely, he set about rebuilding the manor at Hatfield, as well as Wisbech Castle, which also belonged to the Diocese of Ely.  Another project was a great dyke, which was cut through the fens from Peterborough to Wisbech, and is considered a pioneer effort in drainage.  In 1486, a grateful Henry VII had him translated to the see of Canterbury, where he completed the Angel steeple on the cathedral and further buildings of the archdiocese, as for example the gatehouse of Lambeth Palace (also built of brick).[ii] Continue reading

Hatfield before Hatfield House, Part 3

Hatfield before Hatfield House –

the Medieval Manor of the Bishops of Ely

Part 1 and Part 2 of Hatfield before Hatfield House explained how the Bishops of Ely came to hold the estate and how the park and township developed.  Part 3 will deal with the medieval manor of the bishops of Ely at Hatfield.

It is known that the bishops of Ely had a substantial house at Hatfield from early on, though we don’t know exactly when it was first built or what it looked like. [i] Continue reading