Monday 27 October 2014

What a Witch...

We have blogged before about our love of palaeography and how it makes us feel like brilliant detectives or spies.
Usually, we are tackling old trial documents which are full of legal jargon and boring references to areas of land being contested.The above document, however, is about alleged witch Helen Isbister and all of the wicked things she was accused of doing.
It is quite hard going but so far we have discovered that she is accused of " be hir enchantment and dyvelrie, charming the meis (mice) in St Ola who went be hir enchantment into a park... thay wire found all deid in the heart of the park."
She also seems to have given a drink of milk to someone who later drowned, healed a local man of his sickness and, the sin which turns up frequently in old witch accusations, was seen with 'a black man' who was assumed to be her lover, the devil.
Poor Helen, she merely performed useful extermination services whilst handing out calcium-rich snacks and HEALING people. Medieval people sound hard to please.

Friday 24 October 2014

Shock Symbol

There have been a few articles on the history of the swastika symbol and its appropriation by Nazi Germany recently including this on the BBC website: and an interesting programme on Radio 4:

We were shocked to find it in a copy of a local newspaper in 1939:

Monday 20 October 2014

Terribly Terrific Tigers


We are very sorry for the lack of posting recently but various tragic I.T. occurrences have made it very difficult. Rest assured that we have been wailing over keyboards whilst rending our clothes in a bid to communicate with you.

The letter shown above caused much hilarity in the searchroom a few days ago as it is possibly the poshest letter ever written. David Balfour is being alerted to the fact that his tiger heads have been left in the capable hands of one Mr Sanderson and his correspondent draws attention to the hard won (8 days of stalking!) tiger head of a Mr David Kennedy although " I consider that yours are specimens that are not easily equalled."

Read it do. It'll make you feel like a peasant.