Author Archives: Buckley

A very large and faire Paire

A rather curious account of a mermaid spotted off the coast of Wales in 1603. Taken from A most strange and true report of a monsterous fish, who appeared in the forme of a woman, from her waste upwards (1604)

ON Fryday the xvij. day of Februarie last past 1603. about three of the clocke in the after noone, one Thomas Raynold of Pendine, (a Village in the Countie of Carmarden) a very honest and substanciall Yeoman, walking neare the shores side, not far from a high Land or Poynt in the same parish, called Hollogoho, betweene Gylmanes Poynt and Tolwen, he saw swimming in the Sea (neare the Poynt) a most strange and wonderfull thing: the greatnes and rarenes whereof, being of that forme and length, albeit he was a man of good sence and spright, having reason and judgement, more then many of no better education, drove him so to admire there at, that he spent the better part of two howers viewing of it, as it drave with the Tyde towardes the shore, betweene the two Poynts: where he did discover it at his full pleasure in this forme. The shape of a very lively Woman, from her wast upwardes, which was all above the water: her cullour browne: a very large and faire Paire: over which (to his seeming) was a thing like a Hood, about her necke in maner of a white Band, her Brestes round and very white, with two fayre handes, everie thing formally as a Woman.

Thomas Raynold having with great wonder noted all this, neare two howers space, in good fight, and tooke good notise thereof, imagining what might be thought, of unbeleeving people, if he should report it, having no body to justifie his wordes, although he be a man of credite: yet leaving it for a time, as waighing his reputation, speedeth him in all haste to the Towne, where, so many of his honest neighbours and coosens as he could sodainely finde, he caused to goe with him to the Poynt, where he left it, to witnesse what he had seene.

Who likewise had good view thereof halfe an houre and more, never changing any shape, but as Raynold had seene it. A most dreadfull woonder to many of those beholders, which diversly censured thereof: some being afrayde, least it might be otherwise then it shewed: Standing thus amazed at the sight, with turning of the Tyde, it made way from the place where they saw it swimming: then in swimming, (which was more admirable) it appeared in cullour gray, with eares like a Hound, but somewhat greater and shorter: her backe like unto a Cock-boate, a full yard or more in breadth: her tayle to their seeming, two fothomes in length: in her swimming she went South-east to the Sea: Then came shee North-east to Tolwen, where shee continued untill night: at which time, the darkenesse of the night approching, the beholders lost her sight, and from that time, was never seene more, or heard of as yet, about all the coast. Three howers full or more, they had perfect sight of her, as I have written.

We will have a paire of sausages

I haven’t blogged in a while due to lack of time, but today I found myself reading the wonderful John Florio’s First Fruites (1578), an Anglo Italian dictionary and phrasebook. It’s one of my favourite Elizabethan texts since it reveals much about how people interacted with each other in the course of daily life. Regular readers of the blog will already have read my earlier posts from First Fruites, and my little potted biography of Florio, but anyone else interested can find them here.

Today’s extract is a conversation between two men who meet on the street, and their subject matter is surprisingly contemporary.

‘God save you sir.’
‘The like I wishe to you.’
‘I commend me unto your lordship.’
‘When shal we see one another?’
‘When it pleaseth you.’
‘When will your lord come to the Court?’
‘Tomorrow, if it please God.’
‘I have seene a fayre damsell, I wyl goe and make her some musicke with Violes, or els Lute as soon as I have dyned.’
‘Will you that I keep you companie?’
‘Gladly, and I will give you two or three quartes of wine.’
‘I will go with you.’
‘I will knowe of her if shee will please to come and sup with me, I will be glad of her companie.’
‘Methinks she is very courteous.’
‘Verily she is very gallant.’
‘What do you think of the two women that go there together?’
‘Methinkes they are three.’
‘So me thinkes too.’
‘One of them is maried.’
‘It is so certaine.’
‘I would I had the like, and that she were mine.’
‘So would I also.’
‘Well I will go and walk in Cheape to buy something.’
‘And what will you buy?’
‘I will buy a hat, a payre of white Stockens, and I will buy me a payre of Pumpes.’
‘Tell me, how like you this sword and this dagger? Is it good?’
‘Me thinkes it is very good. I would I had the like for a Crowne.’
‘These Gloves, are they well perfumed?’
‘Yes certainly: who hath perfumed them?’
‘An English man.’
‘My garters are a good colour, and so are my Stockens also.’
‘So they are, where bought you them?’
‘On Cheape, they cost me ten shillings.’
‘Me thinks that is cheape.’
‘And me thinks it is deare.’
‘I will ride into the country.’
‘How long will you tarry there?’
‘I will tarry a month.’
‘What will you do so long?’
‘I will see the killing of some Buck if I can, afore I returne to the citie.’
‘Is there a great plentie?’
‘Yes, very great.’
‘Have you a horse?’
‘No sir, but I will buy one or else I will hyre one.’
‘What shall you pay a day?’
‘I know not, but I beleeve a shilling.’

Once his friend has returned from tarrying in the countryside, the two arrange to meet for breakfast:


‘You have tarried long in the country.’
‘I could not come sooner.’
‘Tomorrow morning I will come to you.’
‘Come, and you shall be welcome. I will break my fast with you and we will have a paire of sausages. They please me very well.’
‘And also me.’
‘But we must have some wine.’
‘We will have some, if there be any in London.’
‘I will go and put me on a cleane shirt, because I sweate very much. It is hot.’


I stumbled upon another woodcut of seventeenth century waterboarding earlier today, which dates from 1624. You can read a detailed, if gruesome, later published account of the event itself here

Hever Castle


A few snaps of Hever Castle in Kent, once home to Anne Boleyn and her family. I took my camera, but forgot a memory card, so had to rely on my low-on-battery-life iPhone. Photography was not permitted inside the house, so I can’t account for several grainy (flash-free) indoor shots which showed up on my camera roll at home. The Boleyns bought the castle, which dates to 1270, and built a lovely Tudor house within its walls. It was later given to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement from Henry VIII.







Anne Boleyn’s bedroom


Anne Boleyn’s bedroom


Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours


Anne Boleyn’s bedroom window







The Six Wives of Henry VIII Placemat & Coaster set in the Gift Shoppe


Tudor Christmas Baubles in the Gift Shoppe


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