St Bartholomew’s Day

Sorry! – I missed this one. It was 24th August. The traditional end of summer, when we begin to turn the candles back on. It’s a time for markets and fairs, such as St Bartholomew’s Fair, held at Smithfield since the Middle Ages.

So now we know a bit more about that ghastly event, the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which happened in France in 1572, and while historians tell us that it was the day when the evil of Catholics was indelibly printed on the minds of Protestants, we novelists can imagine ordinary folks setting up their stalls, the Hugenot weavers getting their products ready for the biggest market of the year, dreaming of nothing bloodier than a good spit roast…

When I got up at 6am, it was only just getting light. We are full of beans and excitement as we go off to the local car boot sale. Everything in life is different now, and so much is the same…

2 thoughts on “St Bartholomew’s Day

  1. I answered a post on Facebook the other day about almost the same thing – someone said “how come, given modern day appliances we still rush around like headless chickens. yet people in the past, without washing machines, cars, etc didn’t?”

    I answered, how do we know people weren’t stressed out & never had enough time in the day to get everything done?

    As you say, so much the same. So much different.

  2. No doubt there were all manner of stresses and strains – not enough food to eat, epidemics, infant mortality. But I read recently – in Resurgence – that before the Industrial Revolution people worked five to ten hours less a week than we do, and came up with phrases to describe their work such as ‘sweete and delightfull’. Hmmm… But I bet they got washed out by downpours at the wagon-gate sales where they were trying to interest their neighbours in worn-out mittens and socks with patched heels. We’re still drying out from this morning’s drenching…

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