The Legend of St Eustace

The latest medieval manuscript to go online is B.11.5, a 13th-century French Psalter once owned by Goring Priory. It includes illustrations of the legend of the 2nd-century saint, Eustace, as follows: A Roman military officer called Placida was hunting near Tivoli and saw a vision of Christ between the antlers of a stag. Taking the …

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Labours of the Month: December

Last month we looked at pannage, feeding pigs on the autumnal fodder in wooded pastures, particularly on acorns. December, however, is less auspicious for our porcine friends. Vegetarians and vegans should look away now because after November's pannage, December's Labour of the Month is the slaughter of pigs. It may seem odd to us that this was …

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Labours of the Month: November

Imagine you are standing at the edge of a forest on a cold November day. The periodic thump of a woodsman's axe echoes in the still air and from the shade beneath the trees there comes the sound of many animals rooting around in the fallen leaves. You hear their grunts and the occasional thwack of the swineherd's stick …

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Labours of the Month: October

Sowing was the beginning and end of the agricultural season and was an important charge for the workers responsible. After the soil was loosened with a harrow and subdivided into furrows with a plow, the process of sowing was as follows: "The field to be sown was measured, and the seed was measured into open sacks …

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