Monday, January 31, 2011

The Various Names of Roseberry Topping

I recently read a 19th century article titled, ‘On the Danish Element in the Population of Cleveland, Yorkshire.’ It was written by a Reverend named J. C. Atkinson and in it he mentions the various names that have been used for Roseberry Topping over the centuries. He wrote:
"Between the dates 1119 and 1540, I find the name of this conspicuous hill written Otneberch, Ohtnebercg, Othenbruche, Othenesbergh, Ornbach, Ounsbery, Onesbergh, and, more corruptly, Hensberg (1119), Hogtenberg, Thuerbrugh, Thuerbrught, all (expect the last two) manifest corruptions of an original Odinberg (a name which could only have been imposed by the Danes), but never written Roseberry."
I was particularly interested in the last two names, given the book about Thorn Worship that I’d been reading (see previous post). Maybe both these names are corruptions of Thor or Thorn.

Plus, Roseberry Topping does look somewhat thorn-shaped.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Thorn-Tree: A History of Thorn Worship

I recently read an odd book, titled ‘The Thorn-Tree,’ or to give it it’s full title ‘The Thorn-Tree: Being A History of Thorn Worship, of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, But More Especially of the Lost Tribes and House of David.’

The book was printed in 1863 and appears to be a pretty esoteric work. For a start, on one of the opening pages appears this quasi-Masonic symbol:

Intriguing. To add to this, the author of the work simply gives his name as Theta. Although on the PDF copy I was reading someone has scrawled in pen ‘William Thorn’ and ‘Pseud’ next to this name.

Anyway, the book basically states that the original name for God was thorn, and that people venerated thorns and thorny plants as a consequence. In particular the rose and the pomegranate, but also other prickly plants like the thistle and the bramble bush. In fact, the author states that the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate tree. He even links the pomegranate to the rose:
“Thus, then, we find that the pomegranate is thorny, and was called in ancient days the rose.”
I only really came across this book by accident, as I was researching the area where I live - an estate in the English town of Middlesbrough called Thorntree. The area was originally called Thorntree Farm until a housing estate was built on the land, but other than that I don’t really know much else about it. However, the adjacent estate is called Brambles Farm, so thorns seem to be a common theme in the area. The book seemed strangely apt given what I was searching for.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Druid Hell Was Cold

I recently read this:
“The Druids likewise believed in a hell, or a place of future torments, - a dreary, gloomy region, frozen with perpetual cold[.]”
- The History and Antiquities of Cleveland.
I don’t know whether this statement is accurate or not, but it seems like an interesting thing to make note of.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Red Hair in the Caucasus

I read this quote about red hair in a book called, ‘Russia: or, A Compleat Historical Account of All The Nations Which Compose That Empire.’ Printed in 1780.
“In the provinces of Caucasus red hair is thought so great a beauty in the women, that such as have not received that advantage from nature use red pomatum”
NOTE: I should probably mention at this point that red hair is a bit of a theme for me. Over the years I’ve developed an interest in it, mainly owing to the fact that I have red hair and freckles myself. I’m particularly interested in the myths and history associated with it, and any curious titbit I come across in regards the colour I’m liable to make note of. My apologies to anyone who isn’t likewise inclined.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Not To Choose A Red-Haired Wet Nurse

Whilst searching Google Books I came across this book from the 18th century, titled 'The Diseases of Women with Child, And in Child-Bed.' It's a treatise on childbirth and new born babies, and the section about choosing a wet nurse contains some interesting views in regards red hair. For example, page 371 states that a wet nurse "must not be red-hair'd, nor marked with Spots[.]"

It then goes on to say:
"She ought to have a sweet Voice to please and rejoice the Child, and likewise ought to have a clear and free Pronunciation, that the child may not learn an ill Accent from her, as usually red-hair'd have[.]"
Then, on page 372, when talking of the quality of a nurse’s milk, it says:
"It must be of a sweet and pleasant Smell, which is Testimony of a good Temperament, as may be seen in red hair'd Women, whose Milk hath a sour, stinking and bad Scent[.]"
However, my favourite line comes on page 338, where it states:
"Very frequently the Milk of a Nurse, who is Red-hair'd, given to Wine, or very Amorous, may by its Heat and Acrimony cause small Ulcers in an Infant's Mouth[.]"


Hi, I've started this blog to collect and catalogue the various things that pique my interest. No doubt there'll be a great deal of personal opinion mixed in as well. Hopefully not too much, though.