history of british isles


Arbor Low, Derbyshire, England

Arbor Low is a Neolithic henge monument in the Peak District of Derbyshire. It consists of about 50 large limestone blocks, quarried from a local site, which form an egg-shaped circle, with monoliths at the entrances, and possibly a portal stone at the south entrance. The stones are surrounded by an oval earthen bank and ditch. There is also a large pit at the north entrance, which possibly contained a stone. Some of the stones are broken; some of these fragments may originally have been joined together, such that there were originally between 41 and 43 stones.

The bank and ditch of the henge, as well as its two entrances, were probably established in the Late Neolithic period, with the stones added later, some time before 2000 BC. The site seems to have been in use until into the Bronze Age, which was when the outer bank was reconstructed so that the round barrow could be erected. Few henge monuments in the British Isles are as well preserved.

Picking Apart the Picts: The Value of Aberdeen's Newest Discovery

Unfortunately, outside of the United Kingdom, the name ‘Pict’ means little but this reputedly fierce They resisted being engulfed by the Romans where most of the rest of Briton had failed.  Yet knowledge about them remains limitied. Scholars continue in their determination to uncover the secrets of Pictish life and spread Pictish history beyond the British Isles. Most recently, excavations at Burghead in the northern region of Moray have provided exciting new information of Pictish domesticity.

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anonymous asked:

I was going to say I'd love to have you show me your collection of books on mythology and cults and cosmic horror but then I realized- You kind of can do that. Do you have any book recs of the non-Lovecraft Lovecraftian sort?

Okay so I pulled some of my favourite things off my bookshelf which I think might appeal to people interested in Lovecraft. I tend to veer towards the more gothic of his tales so that’s what this collection reflects. There is a mixture of fiction and non fiction here so I hope this is useful!! 

1. The Hell-Fire Clubs by Evelyn Lord

A History of devil worshipping cults in the British Isles which supposedly operated from about the 16th-19th centuries. 

2. America Bewitched by Owen Davies

A history of witchcraft in America after the salem witch trials, really interesting to see how that initial incident affected the later ‘outbreaks’. 

3. Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell 

This is part one in a series of texts about the impact of mythology on the psychology/culture/identity of the human race. It reminds me a lot of the ideas Lovecraft explores about the idea of an ingrained fear that has been passed down through generations. 

4. The Devil Within by Brian Levak 

The best history of exorcism I have read, worth pointing out that is does only focus on Western history/concepts. 

5. Vampyres by Christopher Frayling 

Super comprehensive and very literary based, actually a really good reference text for people studying the gothic in any capacity. A social and anthropological history of the Vampyre in popular culture. 

6/7. The Blake and Avery Detective Series by M.J Carter 

Victorian detective series full of satanic cults, weird witch doctors, ancient symbolism and gruesome murders. 

8. Heavenly Bodies by Paul Koudounaris 

I have been obsessed with the Catholic practice of decorating the bodies of saints for ages and this is the definitive book on the subject. Full of gorgeous, fascinating photos and lots of insights into the ritual behind it all. 

9. This Way Madness Lies by Mike Jay 

A really well illustrated and gorgeously presented history of Bedlam in London. Any publication put out by the Wellcome Collection is always worth the money. 

10/11/12. The Annihilation Trilogy by Jeff Vandemeer 

My favourite weird fiction trilogy ever. Worth reading Annihilation on it’s own even if you don’t pick up the other two. Sort of like At the Mountains of Madness meets The X Files meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Also a nearly all female cast of characters. 

13. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

I’m an absolute sucker for things based on Russian Folklore and this is a bizarre fever dream of a narrative which never quite makes sense but the prose is insanely gorgeous. 

14. Satantango by Laszlo Kraszahorkai 

One to pick up if you like the Lovecraft stories like Dreams in the Witch House, The Colour out of Space and The Cats of Ulthar. Follows the impact of a group of uncanny individuals whose appearance in a rural town causes a slow descent into chaos. 

15. Moon Over Soho (The Rivers of London series) by Ben Aaronovitch 

The Rivers of London series is dark, funny and perfect as a light hearted monsters, girls and ghosts read. I love them because they are set around where I live which is always fun. 

16. The Wolves of London by Mark Morris 

Weirdly this series was released around the same time as the above one but has a much more overt Lovecraftian tone to it. I prefer the ideas and the bleakness of this series but the writing style of Aaronovitch. 

16. Q by Luther Blissett 

Tonally quite similar to Lovecraft’s work. It’s dense but worth the read if you can get through it as it’s a maze of religious fever, manic peasant revolts and political upheaval. 

17. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley 

One of my favourite books of the last year. Deeply unsettling and an amazing blend of supernatural and domestic horror where you can never tell who is reliable. 

18. Thin Air by Michelle Paver 

Perfect for fans of Algernon Blackwood, M.J James and all those wonderful classic ghost writers. Genuinely frightening with an excellent payoff. 

19/20/21. Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook 

Probably visually the most Lovecraftian of this list. A classic tale of supernatural happenings in an isolated rural area but the illustrations and creature designs are some of the most beautiful and horrifying I’ve ever seen. 

Not pictured because I couldn’t find my copy of it is Kraken by China Miéville which starts with a giant embalmed squid being stolen from the Natural History Museum and explodes into a story of cults, magical books, sea monsters and a chilling use of origami. 

I’m also half way through Là-Bas, by J.K Huysmans which follows a young man who becomes obsessed with Gilles de Rais and eventually pursues satanism in turn of the century France. It’s a morbid delight and the love story at it’s centre will really appeal to people who aren’t normally into that aspect of the narrative. Who doesn’t want to go to a black mass with your lover? 

anonymous asked:

Can we please discuss the possibility/probability of the Targaryen Restoration? The story started off with almost the extinction of House Targaryen. I’m starting to get excited with the way the story is headed as we race towards the end.

I think it’s pretty likely because of historical parallels! This isn’t to say that I think that Jon and Dany will both live, or that things will proceed happily ever after, but I do think we could see the beginning of a new era for Westeros in the form of a new Targaryen dynasty. 

Westeros is clearly in many ways analogous to Britain. If we look at distant British history, the isle of Great Britain was once several warring factions, and  was finally united into one kingdom in 924 A.D. by King Æthelstan, essentially the first king of England (notice the æ–much like “ae,” a staple in Targaryen names). 

There were seven different Anglo-Saxon factions before Æthelstan’s unification, and this was called the Heptarchy. But in the tenth century, he brought them all together as one, much like Aegon Targaryen when he landed in Westeros.

But the work Æthelstan started wasn’t really finished until the Norman invasion in 1066, which is widely recognized as the beginning of England as the country it is today. The Norman invasion was led by “William the Conqueror” (see: Aegon the Conqueror!). William of Normandy was a descendant of Norman royalty but had to fight for six years to establish peace in Normandy (much like Daenerys taking six years to establish peace and freedom in Essos) before sailing to the British Isles to make his claim. 

So we can see clear parallels here, but there are far more in the actual timeline of ASOIAF/GOT. Our principle story parallels the Wars of the Roses between the rival British noble houses, the Yorks and the Lancasters. On the Lancaster side, Margaret of Anjou was married to the weak King Henry VI, and essentially ruled the country through him by proxy. She is clearly represented by Cersei Lannister, who swayed the drunk and disinterested Robert Baratheon during his reign. To further the parallel, the Lancaster colors were red, just like the Lannisters. 

The Lancaster rivals were the Yorks, and Margaret’s main adversary was the king’s closest advisor, Richard of York–represented in our series by Ned Stark. The York’s house color was white, like the Stark’s grey/white direwolf sigil. 

The two warring factions fought viciously for years and after Henry VI’s death, he was followed by a string of temporary rulers (see: Joffrey, Tommen, etc) and a tumultuous political climate for England. 

Eventually, Henry Tudor, a man with ties to the Lancaster family and thus a claim, sailed for Britain (much like Daenerys sailed for Westeros) and married Elizabeth of House York (we can tie this to Dany’s union with Jon–who everyone believes is a Stark). Their union established a new family, ending the York/Lancaster (Stark/Lannister) conflict and launching the Tudor (Targaryen?) dynasty.

So I think that based on this, it’s highly probable that Jon and Dany will helm a Targaryen restoration. But all of that hinges on ASOIAF/GOT upholding instead of overthrowing “happy ending” style tropes, so I’m not holding my breath. 

But if anything, I think it’s possible that the “wheel” will still be broken and that Jon and Dany will not rule on the Iron Throne, and will not rule all Seven Kingdoms as absolute monarchs. Instead, each kingdom will have representatives in a sort of parliament-style, almost representational democracy. Jon and Dany will be at the top as figureheads but also as heads of state ensuring that their egalitarian values are enforced throughout the Seven Kingdoms. After all, if Westeros = Britain, Britain is literally the “United Kingdoms,” and England, Scotland, and Wales, were still distinct territories of their own, ruled by the British monarchy. 

Anyway, Jon’s and Dany’s reign would be sustained through peaceful means and negotiations, not fear. After all, we’re supposed to believe they are different sorts of rulers. So I personally think that part of the “bittersweet” ending will be the loss of the dragons. Jon and Dany might still be able to continue on, but they will have to do so on their own merits, without the power and political clout that comes with super weapons like the dragons. Together they start a new age for Westeros, a Targaryen dynasty much more progressive than Aegon’s but just as solid and unified (probably even more unified–with Dornish cooperation).

8th October, 1275- The Battle of Ronaldsway

(The area around Ronaldsway, at the south end of the Isle of Man, from the air. Picture from Wikimedia Commons)

Got another battle for you today folks, in keeping with the fact that earlier the Battle of Largs was covered on this blog. That battle, though perhaps not quite so game-changing and pivotal in British history as some sources would have us believe, was still an important moment in the process that saw sovereignty over the islands and western seaboard pass from Norway to the Scottish Crown. With the death of Haakon IV in late 1263, any hopes the Norwegians had of soon resuming their campaign and recouping losses were stymied and King Alexander III quickly capitalised on the situation, sending a force into the Hebrides under the Earl of Buchan and Alan Durward, whose forces simultaneously wreaked devastation and brought home the message of Scottish ascendancy. Hostages were taken for good behaviour and while some of the Hebridean rulers still refused to give into Scottish demands of overlordship, others, including several notable members of the House of Somerled, came into the king of Scotland’s peace more readily.

The story of how the Western Isles were incorporated into the kingdom of Scotland is reasonably well known- or at least the popular, if not wholly accurate and somewhat sanitised, version of the story is more likely to be covered in a Scottish history class than that of the Isle of Man. Nonetheless for a short while this territory also came under the control of the Scottish Crown. At around the same time as Buchan and Durward were sent into the Hebrides, an expedition was also fitted out for the Isle of Man. However, Magnus Olafsson, the King of Man, who was probably quite rightly anxious to avoid a Scottish army being set loose in his own land, pre-empted Alexander’s intervention and met with the king of Scots at Dumfries. There, he did homage and received Alexander’s promise of protection and shelter in Scotland should the king of Norway attempt to take reprisals against him, in return for agreeing to provide military service of ten galleys.

How this new relationship between the kings of Man and Scotland would have panned out in time is impossible to say, as Magnus died at Castle Rushen in late 1265. After this, control of Mann was put in the hands of a succession of royal bailiffs (Lewis and Skye, which were also part of the kingdom of Mann, were put under the control of the Crown and the Earl of Ross respectively) and Alexander’s sovereignty over the island was confirmed by Norway as a result of the Treaty of Perth in 1266. At some point seven hostages were taken for good behaviour as well, and kept by the Sheriff of Dumfries on behalf of the king. To all intents and purposes, Man was to be treated as a possession of the Scottish Crown, whether the Manx liked it or not (this also must have stuck in the throat of the king of England, who lost the opportunity to finally bring Mann under English control as a result of being distracted by domestic strife). However while there was little significant trouble in the Hebrides in the decades after the Treaty of Perth, Man was a different matter and not only were the baillies unpopular, but in general the island’s loss of autonomy and subjugation to the Scottish Crown did not go down well. And thus we are brought to the autumn of 1275, when that simmering discontent came to a head and the Manxmen rose in revolt.

(A seal of Alexander III of Scotland, last king of the House of Dunkeld) 

The leader of this movement was Guðrøðr Magnusson (name may also be rendered as Godfrey or Godred), an illegitimate son of the late Magnus, who appears to have been viewed by the majority of the Manx political community as the right man to succeed his father. Quickly gathering support, he soon seized the main castles and strongholds on the island, turfing out the Scots there, and making a bid to reestablish the primacy of the Crovan dynasty. Members of this kindred had ruled in Mann since at least the twelfth century, though at other times their power also extended to the Outer Hebrides, especially Lewis (their main competitors, meanwhile, were the branches of the Mac Somhairle clan in the Inner Hebrides and Argyll- who gave rise to the MacDonalds, MacDougalls, and MacRuaidhris- whose members had occasionally also ruled in Mann). But Godred’s attempts to claim the kingship of Mann that his ancestors once held, naturally aroused the wrath of Alexander III, who immediately acted to prevent the situation getting any further out of hand.

Having raised a force from Galloway and the Hebrides, a fleet was soon on its way south to Mann, landing at Ronaldsway on the south side of the island on the seventh of October. Its leaders were King Alexander’s second cousin John de Vesci, lord of Alnwick; John ‘the Black’ Comyn, lord of Badenoch; Alexander MacDougall lord of Argyll, whose sister had been married to the late Magnus Olafsson; Alan MacRuairi, who twelve years earlier had raided the west coast of Scotland on behalf of Hakon IV of Norway; and Alan, a son of the Earl of Atholl and grandson to Roland/Lachlan of Galloway. Of these the last had already been one of the Crown’s bailiffs of Mann, while two more- MacDougall and MacRuairi- belonged to two of the most prominent septs of the House of Somerled, and their role in the suppression of the Manx revolt says a lot about Alexander’s new power in the Hebrides and on the west coast of the Scottish mainland (nevertheless, Alan MacRuairi’s older brother Dubhgall, the head of the MacRuairis, remained in rebellion and had taken himself off to plunder Ireland a few years before, so not everyone was wholly happy with the situation in the Hebrides, even if it was more accepted than in Mann). Meanwhile the ability to raise men in the Hebrides and Galloway was a testament to the strength of the campaigns of Alexander III and his father respectively in those parts, and the Hebridean galleys were a strong addition to the naval power of the Scottish Crown, which had already shown its ability to exploit the advantages of the galley in its earlier campaigns in the west.

Sources for the Manx side of things are even less informative, though for all his early success Guðrøðr’s force does not seem to have been anywhere near as well-equipped as its enemy. When the Scots landed on the seventh, they sent a peace embassy to offer terms if the Manx surrendered, but Guðrøðr and his counsellors firmly rejected this option. Early the next day- the eighth of October- battle was joined, before the sun was even in the sky. It is perhaps rather disappointing, given all the lead-up, that Guðrøðr’s short rebellion ended so swiftly and that the skirmish can be summed up in a few sentences, but the sources, though unfortunately short, make clear that Ronaldsway was an overwhelming defeat for the Manxmen. Accounts of the battle describe the latter as being ‘naked and unarmed’ and they were almost immediately beaten back by the crossbowmen, archers, and other soldiers of the Scots. Very soon they turned and fled, with the Scots in hot pursuit, cutting down any they could catch and not stopping to spare people on account of sex or rank, to the result that over five hundred are alleged to have died in the battle itself. As Ronaldsway is, even today, very close to the important settlement of Castletown (so named for Castle Rushen, then the main political centre of the island), the flight of the Manx brought the Scots into contact with non-combatants and, both in the chase and after the battle was technically over, the invaders brought destruction to the area. As well as slaying many, they are also supposed to have sacked Rushen Abbey, a significant foundation of the Crovan dynasty and a hugely important religious centre for the Isle of Man.

The Chronicle of Man provided a versified toll of the dead:

‘Ten L’s, three X’s, with five and two to fall,

Manxmen take care lest future evils call.’

Or, in Latin:

‘L decies, X ter et penta, duo cecidere,

Mannica gens de te dampua futura cave.’

(Castle Rushen, in the thirteenth century the main political centre of the Isle of Man, and not far from Ronaldsway. Not my picture.)

Scottish control was quickly- and apparently brutally- reestablished over the Man, while Guðrøðr, if he survived the fray, is supposed to have fled to Wales with his wife and followers. He was not to be the last of the Crovan dynasty to lay claim to Mann, but for the rest of Alexander III’s reign the island does not appear to have caused any significant trouble. To the Scottish Crown this settled the matter and the young Prince Alexander, son of the Scottish king, was named lord of Man until his early death in 1284, though it is doubtful if he ever played much active role in its governance and the real administration of the island was once again placed in the hands of bailiffs.

Nonetheless, some historians believe that the aftermath of the Battle of Ronaldsway, as it can hardly have inspired positive feelings towards Scotland, may have promoted the further growth of an anti-Scottish faction in the Manx political community. When Margaret- the infant daughter of Eric II of Norway and granddaughter of Alexander III- inherited the throne of Scotland upon the death of her maternal grandfather in 1286, she also succeeded to the title Lady of Mann. However, when her great-uncle Edward I of England annexed the island a little while before her premature death in September of 1290, nobody on the Isle of Man appears to have complained. After all, the Battle of Ronaldsway- and the destruction that followed- had only occurred fifteen years before, and even prior to that the majority of the Manx had not shown any particular liking for Scottish governance, even if there had existed a faction in favour of it. The territory was formally restored to King John by Edward I some time after the rest of the Scottish realm in 1293 and was to pass back and forth between Scotland and England for some decades yet, but after the mid-fourteenth century Scottish claims to Mann were largely abandoned and at the end of the century it formally came under English control. The Crovan dynasty, however, would never again hold the title Kings of Mann.

(References below cut)

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October is Black History Month in the UK.

Black people have lived in the British isles for centuries contributing greatly to society.

This portrait is of Ignatius Sancho (c. 1729 – 14 December 1780) who was a composer, actor, and writer. He is the first known Black Briton to vote in a British election.

Much love and appreciation to all British Black people!

Crystal Herbalism- Lavender

Lavender has been used for more than 2,500 years, as part of the mint family.

In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, lavender was sprinkled around the castles and homes to ward off disease and bring protection. It was sown into clothing and wrapped around wrists during the plague to provide good health and purity.

Physical: heals headaches, sedative, antidepressant, calms the mind, strengthen immune system, and eases motion sickness.

Metaphysical: lucid dreams, psychic awareness, strengthen intuition, brings clarity to visions, connects to the spirit realm.

Western Europe and the British isles used lavender during the midsummer to connect with the Fae folk and nature spirits.

When casting a circle sprinkle lavender around you to bring only good energy in and protecting you from negativity. It will balance your inner magic.

Calming Tea

½ tsp Spearmint

½ tsp Peppermint

½ tsp Lavender

Pinch of Vanilla

Drink this tea and mediate with a lavender amethyst (fairy amethyst) to connect with the ancient energies of lavender and the nature spirits.

lightdragon837  asked:

What is the history of England ?

In the beginning, there were the British Isles. These were the home of the Celtic people, who liked to draw fancy knots and build large stone circles. They were immediately killed off by the Romans for these dangerous and blasphemous acts. The Romans then built a giant wall to keep the most brutal survivors from invading their settlements. These dangerous and bizarre northerners would in time become known as the Scottish.

In 1066, a man named Norman invaded and killed off all the remaining Romans and Celts because they did not speak French. The survivors were taught French, and began to fight each other over who was more French. These wars included the Hundred Years War, which lasted 116 years; the War of the Roses, in which no actual roses fought; and the English Civil War, in which the people literally fought about whether their government should be run by people calling themselves “The Rump.”

England during this time also had well over 30 different Kings and Queens, who all together had well under 5 different names. There was also Oliver Cromwell, who banned Christmas because it wasn’t Christian enough for him. These centuries also saw the creation of the Magna Carta, which was by far the biggest Carta.

Shakespeare happened.

England then began to colonize the world. For 300 years, the English invaded literally every single other country they could find. They only missed like five. They invaded so many that their empire sprawled across the globe and they could claim that “The Sun Never Set On The British Empire,” which was inaccurate because the sun set every night on each portion, meaning the sun was in fact always setting on the British Empire.

In time, the empire grew obsolete and England joined together with its feisty brother Ireland (or at least his shoulder), its peaceful sister Wales, and its crazy uncle Scotland that nobody liked to visit or talk about. Together they became known as the UK, which in turn joined the EU, ushering in a new era of two letter abbreviations that reigned over Europe, past England’s brutal defeat of Germany, England’s other brutal defeat of Germany, and the withdrawal of England from the EU, which was for some reason lamented by Germany.

Also Harry Potter happened.