Monday, 2 July 2012

Serendipitous links

Japanese researchers have found unusually high levels of carbon-14 in cedar tree rings laid down in 775. A report in New Scientist in June speculated whether a solar flare (rather bigger than ones otherwise evidenced) might have been responsible, or, perhaps more plausibly, a series of flares over a couple of years.

On a whim, I took down an edition of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and was delighted to see that it’s almanac-like set of a couple of facts for every year has for 773 or 774 the information that ‘a red cross was seen in the sky after sunset’ (and ‘strange adders were observed in Sussex’), although the dating is difficult as the 776 Mercian-Kentish battle at Otford is recorded in the same sentence.

However long the shot, I was sufficiently taken by the vague possibility that I had stumbled across an interdisciplinary insight that I sent New Scientist a letter about it which, to my surprise, it published last week.

Meanwhile, I’m developing some single illuminated sheets for our three churches each with one slightly more secure bit of historical information.  I have just placed one about the Taylor memorial in St Nicolas’ (including the picture of the grave of Richard Taylor Esq posted here last week) and another about the Tickler memorial window in St George’s (including its references to the family’s Grimsby based jam manufacturing).

The two picture above are a first attempt (I need to go back soon and get something better) to capture what I need to illustrate an information sheet about the coat of arms of the Barnardiston family - which owned Great Coates between the 1300s and the 1600s and members of which are commemorated in the pre-Reformation brasses in St Nicolas’.

The top picture includes the Barnardiston coat of arms among fragments of mediaeval glass set high in a plain window in St Nicolas’ (which I guess was placed there as part of a re-fenestration at the time of the restoration in the 1860s). The bottom picture is of the entrance to Great Coates Primary School. I wonder at what stage the school adopted this as its logo (which appears on pupils' sweat shirts as well as the door)? And whether those who adopted it thought it was the Great Coates coat of arms or whether they knew full well that they were borrowing a design from a particular family of former Lords of the Manor?

Anyway, putting the two pictures together provides another serendipitous link which I hope some people will enjoy - certainly those at the school who gave me permission to photograph its front door did not know the design comes from the Barnardistons (and they tell me that the school is considering creating a new logo soon anyway, so the link may soon disappear).

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