of one sort or another has been my life. I have written, spoken and
demonstrated history - about people, places and things - I have
collected, classified, reconstructed, conserved and displayed, taught,
researched, retrieved and recorded. To help bring objects (and through
them people and places) to life I have made and used models,
replicas and reconstructions, which also helps one discover how
something was done and whether it could be done.
An historian should
be a craftsman for a craftsman works with his head and his hands. It is
no excuse for a scholar to say "I am not practical", there is no good
reason for refusing to make the attempt.
the years I have written (and researched) a good deal. In 2009 I
published “HOAX! The Domesday Hide”, an attempt at feeding sops to Cerberus,
more precisely my attempt to quietly persuade obdurate academics that they
should not worship Trojans and toxic assets, or things they can neither demonstrate nor prove but which some dead "authority”
invented one hundred years ago. I asked them to use their common sense
when analysing Domesday Book. I failed. Once again they insisted on
deceiving their public by refusing even to read what I had written and telling
others to avoid it. Why would they need to do this? Now I will tell you.
Now I have written the exposure they feared and, thanks to a redaction supplied
by another historian, I can tell you why they fear what I have said. I
lay the scandal bare, for scandal it is.
FOOLS OR CHARLATANS
THE READING OF DOMESDAY BOOK
this was a novel then you wouldn’t believe it, but it isn’t a novel. This
is, unlike accepted Domesday studies, scientific methodology not guesswork and
you have never seen an exposure like this, though you may have read about them.
They don’t happen very often. ‘Experts’ will tell you not to read this
book at all for it will corrupt you (simple you!), they have lied, vilified,
mocked and deceived but it remains a fact that although translated, England’s unique
national treasure from 900 years ago, Domesday Book cannot be read by
these ‘experts’! What do you make of that?
cannot tell you for certain, what anything means, they cannot put it into
modern terms (although they can tell you ‘til the cows come home why not) so they
say it never made sense. Book after book, article after learned
article, will tell you why it does not and cannot make sense. Reiterating
this for a century has made it sacred; if it never made any sense, then tell me, why was it ever compiled? This is the
religious rubbish, the Cult, they want you to believe
in. Can you believe it? Can these clever scholars really
believe in such nonsense themselves, or is it even more sinister?
YOU BELIEVE IT? Either our Domesday ‘experts’ have
never read these
documents, the ones they are supposed to be expert in, or they have
deliberately concealed the evidence which the documents contain!
other excuse can they offer, how can they explain away such facts? No
they refuse to debate such evidence and do everything they can to hide
discredit it! The colophon to the “lesser” Domesday (a
special part of Domesday
Book) has been consistently mistranslated and the author of Domesday
accused of an imperfect knowledge of Latin because it doesn’t say
‘experts’ want it to say! Well, he wrote the colophon
and he probably even dreamt in
seems that we have a serious need to overhaul our system of higher education, at least in the field of history? Even at the primary school level
crowd-pleasing myths should have no place in modern education. We need
scientific methodology and structure:
we need to teach our children the truth.
Maybe that will help us inform and build both our and their futures? We are
what we know of our past. Let's make sure it is the truth.
Also try this - for a demonstration
QUESTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT
1. Q. Is
a “hide” the same as a “carucate”?
D.B. makes this quite clear in thousands of
2. Q. Does the “hide” word have any meaning as
a value or a unit.
A. Yes, D.B. specifically tells us it was a measurement of
240 acres of land (and had been so for several hundreds of years) which was subsequently linked to taxation (of land) after 991
A.D. The compilers of D.B. used it to measure tax liability assessed in
240 acre blocks. Sadly
not everyone made an honest tax declaration!
3. Q. Does “wasta” (wasted) mean “burnt to the ground”
A. No, there is no single record of anything “burnt to
the ground”. It seems to mean “gone to waste”, sometimes as a result of
reprisals but sometimes as a
result of neglect.
4. Q. Does D.B. record stolen or expropriated lands?
A. Yes, very often. Sometimes as a result of
rapacity by a Norman lord when taking possession of forfeited Saxon lands but
surprisingly often lands stolen
from the Royal Estates (the King) by barons and bishops – it even
records churchmen using forged documents in order to support such thefts.
5. Q. Does D.B. say that any women (either
Saxon or Norman) held lands?
A. Yes, quite a number are recorded and a significant
number of them were English (Saxon) women.
6. Q. Does D.B. record forced marriages involving
A. No, there is not a single such specific entry.
7. Q. Does D.B. record wholesale rape and pillage?
A. No, there is not a single specific entry of either.
8. Q. Does the greater
Domesday record only pigs and no other animals?
both the greater Domesday and the lesser Domesday record animals of all sorts.
However, the lesser Domesday tells us of places in much greater detail and it includes information which helps us to apply
cross-checks (a deliberately constructed audit trail) when reading either the lesser or the greater Domesday.
9. Q. Was England
still covered with extensive forests in 1086?
A. No, “forest” is, anyway, a legal entity,
it has nothing to do with trees. “Forests” were hunting preserves, the
King had thousands of acres under “forest” law (some
of it farmed) and some noblemen had private “forests”, though most called these
“parks”. King William was very fond of hunting and venison was a wild food
resource ‘on the hoof’, but the majority of England was not covered with
10. Q. Surely there were large, empty and
uncharted areas of wildwood, moors and heaths in 1086?
A. No, there was little (if any) ‘wildwood’ and even heaths
were limited. The evidence points in many cases to a planned landscape in
which most trees and woods were carefully
managed. Where heath-land existed it was kept for grazing and fuel and
because it sat on poor quality soils,
though in the far west and in the north were extensive moorlands with rocky
outcrops. Yet even these were carefully measured and D.B. often records other means of
exploiting their resources.
11. Q. Surely there were great improvements and reclamations made in agriculture
in later centuries, so we can expect a much smaller
cultivated area in 1086?
A. No, D.B. tells us
that the English shire heartlands were often ploughing as much land in 1086 as
by circa 1950! Of course yields (probably) increased in more recent times
but it seems that the “agrarian revolution” has definitely been over emphasised
in our history books. Now, for
the first time, we have scientific evidence of the tillage and so some
indication of output in 1066/1086.
12. Q. Was the Domesday Book compiled
by clerics, by monks and priests and
A. No, this story is completely false. Domesday Book
was a tax-audit and cadastre devised and created by royal clerks. The proof of
this is that the Churchmen were among the largest and worst tax-evaders
and so they subsequently branded the royal clerk who devised and co-ordinated
this audit as diabolical – and likewise the
first King to implement it, who was William II “Rufus”.
BEYOND THE CENSORS
MY LATEST BOOK: This is my latest book. I have already told
you how to read Domesday Book so now I progress beyond “doing the arithmetic” and
deciphering the secret messages, I look at the indirect economic evidence
contained within this audit
and cadastre. This is possible because of the astonishing competence of the
senior royal clerk who, 900 years ago, drew up a specification (paradigm) for
William I “the Conqueror”. Thanks to his thoroughness the King was able to
instruct his subordinate royal clerks, those who were going on circuits to take
verbal evidence, to adhere to a strict record of statistics. Because of this
they collected far more information than was needed
for immediate purposes. Was this deliberate, I have no idea but it was sheer
I have written a series of essays to show what lies hidden beneath the surface
of the text. Taken together they present an economic picture of the eleventh
century never dreamt of before by historians. There are things I have touched
on before, now elaborated, and also novel insights: I want you to follow the
methodology and make new discoveries for yourself for there is much more to be
uncovered in Domesday Book. It is a prime archaeological site.
You don’t need to spend a
fortune acquiring degrees and higher degrees, nor do I charge what university
presses charge for my books: and you won’t need to ask anyone’s
to excavate. Of course, I can’t sell you a piece of paper for an employer to
see (universities do that) but you won’t have a debt either; so, if what you
actually seek is the truth about the world of the Norman Conquest, this is
where you will find it.
For most of my life I have practised a number of crafts. I
learned them, in many cases, in order to demonstrate my research or the finds
made by archaeologists. When a thing is physical, real and workable you can
learn from replication, learn both how things were made (using
particular tools and materials) and also how they would have worked. It is the
point at which you leave theories (guesswork) behind and advance to scientific
reality. I make no excuse for 'showing off' these things for craftwork relies
on skill, on head plus hands, and not on the opinion of some 'expert' with no
practical knowledge. The question is not "should it fly" but
"does it fly?" When it does, it does!
In the first place, when I began, my craftwork supplied domestic needs, like
Lester Griswold's maxim, 'let us improve our standard of living through better
handicrafts', except that he really meant crafts not handicrafts. As I expanded
my skill-base and improved my skills, I began to supply replicas, models and
illustrations for children and museum visitors to use, finally I created unique
objects from the past, things which people said couldn't be done today. This
led me into producing a wide range of costume and accessories for living history
so that I can now work in wood, leather, animal products, textiles,
ferrous and non-ferrous metals. I like a challenge, whether academic or
No, I don't ever make cheap
gimmicks by the hundred, rather I design and realise special and unique
artefacts to order. Below you will find a few examples of my work,
products of head and hands in harmony.
Replica of the only Saxon
plane ever found (at Saare in Kent in 1863),
Roman jack and foreplanes made of holm oak and
the original is in the
English oak (specimens are known from several contexts)
Made of stag horn and bronze
with the wedge and 'iron' restored.
with a replica of a bronze
tri-square found at Canterbury. The
maximum straight edge length of the
tri-square was 6 inches
Scabbard of red leather and silver made for a Wilkinson
Company's presentation poniard.
of my toolbox.
In the 18th century cabinet makers used to
advertise their skills by fitting out and
veneering the interiors of their
large wooden chests. I have done the same.
Replica costume circa 1565
made from patterns supplied by surviving clothes (from burials or museums).
Hunting doublet circa 1565 worn by Nils Sturé
(murdered 1567), now in Upsala Cathedral
“A doublet of straw-coloured buckskin worked with black silk and
with silver buttons, lined with Holland and Lockeram”
Venetians (breeches) circa. 1580 from a pair in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum,
“Venetians of sad blue says (or Kersey)
with tavelle of black and brazil,
shot with purle”
Tall hat circa 1570 – examples survive in the Germanisches
Nationalmuseum and in the Museum of London
. “Capotain of sad blue says (or Kersey) with tavelle of black and
brazil shot with purle, lined with
lady-blush sarcanet and with a neats’
“A cotton (or fostat) shirt with crespines and parchment lace”
Riding boots of welted or randed turnshoe construction, with low heels, of light-tan neats’ leather and half lined with cambric;
low heels (for jack spurs).
Sword of mid-16th century south
German form and belts of red leather and silver, the weapon itself of
brass, iron and steel.
NOTE: I did not make the sword blade, the silver buttons or the ensigne (hat badge)
Shotgun restocked in black, American walnut (juglens nigra).
The whole stock was shaped, fitted, chequered and finally oiled and polished.
Sword belt and
hanger for the south German sword made of red leather and silver. The buckles
on the hanger are not cast but
hand forged to make a set and the check-strap
(hexagonal) buckle is engraved with a legend.
Renaissance dress-dagger in various materials, early
Replica of the earliest piece of European
furniture, the stool found in a Bronze Age grave at Goldhoj, Denmark. It
was made of ash with bronze pivots and mortice and tenon joints, thus
representing cabinet (not greenwood) work. My tools were of modern tool
steel but the original may have been made with flint tools as bronze
would not be adequate to work seasoned ash.
Scale model of an early Iron-Age roundhouse,
made to illustrate archaeological remains. The opposite side was left
open to show its construction and the 1/30th scale figures were
specially made. Over the years I have made a number of models of
houses, castles, forts and landscapes for museums and exhibitions.
Medieval refectory table (or board) of oak and elm with tripod trestles. The problem was to make a knockdown,
car transportable object for living history use: it dismounts and folds flat in five main pieces.
A pen and ink drawing for an illustration of a
16th century Essex cheese-press in use, drawn for my book "Cantles of
Tart and Pungete, A History of Essex Cheese" published by Mobile Museum
in 2004. This was the first published work ever to attempt a history of
this little known delicacy and as far as I know only one Essex cheese-press survives,
at Chelmsford Museum.
Outfit circa 1560 for a girl of 12, a scaled down
pattern of the dress in which Eleanora of Toledo was buried in 1562.The sleeves are detachable and the fitting adjustable on
laces at the back, on either side.
'A dress of roy or tawny mockardo
trimmed with a galloon inkle of purle
and goose-turd green'
Replica of a hunting crossbow
circa 1500 showing the box-lock and 'nut' with various inlays, below which is
the finial of the 'key' (trigger bar) in the form of a lion couchant grasping a
shield. The blued steel 'key' is damascened with copper and brass (like the
box-lock) and the figure has been chiselled from solid steel, a technique quite
common on high quality weapons of the period.
Prehistoric lathe. We have lathe turned objects from at least the Bronze-Age
but no fragments of lathes: the challenge was to make a pole-lathe with no
Using wedges, side-axe and adze I converted part of a 2 ton oak
tree (using stag
horn centres) on which I turned objects with modern tools.
Then I mounted flint
scrapers on sticks to demonstrate that lathes could have
been used in the Stone Age!
of 10th-11th century
Roman table leg in oak, modelled from surviving
'Spangenhelm' form of iron
to demonstrate that hardwood
could be used in the same way in Britain
model of a timber built Norman castle (donjon) on a motte, built to
demonstrate how such fortifications could be constructed in order to
resemble those on the Bayeux Tapestry whilst conforming to what we know
of Romanesque carpentry, especially the researches of the pioneering
Essex historian Cecil Hewett. The structure itself is made of oak
and the shingled cupola top is leaded. The line illustration was part of the
realisation process when devising the construction details. Such a
structure explains the origins of several features found in later stone
built donjons (such as the galleries).
other reconstructions have shown either a Hollywood, Wild West,
stockade or something that could never be built, this is the first
attempt to show how it could
have been done, to show why the Bayeux Tapestry's castles were not just
imaginative fictions (as so many 'experts' claim) and why stone castles
took the form they did.
Monopodium table of revived neo-Medieval style in oak, marquetry
and marbling. The top shows a king with
his witan of six counsellors, their eyes in faux-tortoiseshell.
Replicas of Saxon silver work
in the British Museum: the cloak pin
(9½”l.) found at Trewhiddle
(Cornwall in 1774) and the fork found
(Wiltshire) in 1834, both before c.850 A.D.
Medieval 'lover's greeting' cards from original illuminated manuscripts by me. Covers
bound in leather, silk or fancy papers. Little books
like this were made in the 15th and 16th centuries
as sweetheart presents and
these specimens contain 16th century love poems in English or French.
Two late Medieval
patrons or quivers for crossbow bolts, the one on the left (resembling an owl)
deer-fur and taken from 'The Hunts of the Emperor Maximillian' and the one on
modelled in relief in leather over a wooden carcase and given tooled