Thursday Thirteen #4

Thirteen Things You Didn't Know About 12th Century London Unless You're a Super Nerd Like Me

1 . There were 98 Parish Churches.

That's only within the city walls! There were 10 more outside the walls of the city. And the original St. Paul's church, which was an Gothic cathedral with an ENORMOUS spire, not the pretty domed one we see there today. The Old church was destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666.

2 . They went ice skating outside the walls of the city in winter.

They just didn't have the nice skates we have today. They tied bones to their shoes. Yes! Bones! I kid you not! And if skating around on bones weren't fun enough, the boys (being the boys that they were) played a game where two of them got going as fast as the possibly could and rammed each other. Men sure haven't changed much...

3. They Jousted...on Boats!!!

Now we've all heard of jousting. Who hasn't seen A Knight's Tale? If you haven't you simply must because Heath Ledger is positively yummy. I digress...I was talking about boats. They would get their friends together and take their boats into the Thames and one would stand on the prow of the ship with a lance. There would be big pole with a shield strapped to it in the middle of the river. They would then have their good buddies row the ship as fast as possible with the current and standing on the prow of the ship would try to break their lance on the shield. Naturally a good many of them ended up wet with a perfectly whole lance. Silly boys!

4 . They had horse races.

Every Friday they had a horse sale, unless there was some big holy feast. One of the things they did at the sale was race the horses to prove, which was the fastest.

5 . The Tower of London was called the Palatine Citadel.

The Tower of London was already built at this point, but they didn't yet call it the Tower of London.

6 . They had mock wars.

Every Sunday in Lent all the young gentleman would go out in the field and play war. Sure! Why not? I know I enjoy a rousing round of paintball.

7 . There were Dog fights and cock fights.

Bad Norman Londoners! Poor puppies and rosters!!!

8 . There were Athletic tournaments on feast days all summer.

They had jumping contests, archery, wrestling, javelin throwing, shot put, and of course sword fighting. What medieval day would be complete without a little sword fighting?

9 . They played football.

Okay, I don't know the rules so it probably wasn't actually football, but they went out an played ball at any rate. Each of the schools would have teams and each of the guilds of workmen would as well. I can just see them! Go Bakers Beat the Smiths!!!

10 . They had sewers.

Okay, this is probably naive of me, but I had no earthly idea that they had sewers. I guess I just imagined that everything eventually trickled down to the river. Talk about yuck!

11 . The kids hung out by the wells.

Yes, sounds exciting doesn't it? But this was particularly sweet watered wells! hehe In my head this is the equivalent of cruising the square, which was the highlight of my hometown's nightlife. So basically it was just what you told your mom you were doing so that you could go talk to your friends about how boring Cheapside was, and how you were moving as soon as you were old enough to get your own place.

12 . They had a hospital.

The Hospital of St. Kathrine to be exact. I can only imagine the joys of being treated there!

13 . They had Great Street names!!!

Fleet Street was already named, but I don't think there were any murdering barbers on it. Gutter Lane. Wood Street. Mincing Street. Candlewick street. Lime Street. And my personal favorite Knichrider Street. I am not sure why it was named that, but it sounds really cool. :D

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pussreboots said…
Fantastic list. Have you read The Biography of London?
lulu said…
Awesome TT! I loves me ANYTHING London! Love that they ice skated with bones on their shoes!
Rene Lyons said…
Oh! I'm a stupid nerd too. I knew almost all of these. heh.
Rhian said…
i knew about the ice skating and the sewers so i guess that makes me a nerd wannabe. Cool stuff - i love history and weird history facts.
What an interesting and educational list, Lesley! I only knew a few of those. I'm a research junkie and your TT list is going in my saver pile! :-D
Tink said…
Very interesting stuff! I love this kind of trivia! I knew some of it, but not all. Nerd or not, I like it!
Thanks for visiting my food TT.
Me said…
Pussreboots: I haven't read that one. I'll have to pick it up. I got all this info from a book I've been reading for research called Norman London by William Fitz Stephen. It's great!

Lulu: Isn't that cool? I had no idea! I love London too!
Me said…
Rene: Hey! I said Super not Stupid! hehehe Obviously we're not stupid or our massive brains couldn't hold all this trivial knowledge. ;) Yay for fellow nerds!

Rhian: I love history too! I came very close to majoring in it before the English department sucked me in. hehe
Me said…
Daisy: I'm a research-holic myself. :-D And I adore daily life stuff!

Tink: Trivia is the best! Now we just have to find some way to worm our way on Millionaire and put it to some use!
Joy T. said…
Ok I'm impressed with myself because I didn't think it would be interesting at all, and I actually found it 'very' interesting. Great list!!
she said…
I love trivia such as this. Unfortunately, things haven't changed too much, underground dog fighting still occurs on occassion ;(

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