Writers Wanted - Get Involved!


As part of the Millennium Celebrations we will produce a newspaper to be called the "Pachstone Post" written as if it was 1020.

Not being one to hoard all the goodies to myself, I am inviting you to contribute to this piece of history in the making as guest authors.

I envisage it being entertaining rather than a publication of historical importance, though where possible it should be historically accurate.

I'm aiming for articles that would have been a pertinent and interesting at the time to ordinary people, the kind of things that would make the newspapers if it was happening today.

Articles from 1000 years ago that while people today will recognise the themes, they will provide details from the perspective of ordinary people at the time rather than the historian.

There is a list of possible topics down the page which is not complete, nor will all these necessarily be incorporated, they are starting points or suggestions, hopefully some will appeal to you and by all means make up your own if you wish.

Articles should be anywhere from about 50-1000 words long, with most in the 200-500 range.

If you want to get involved and make a contribution, please  to me to let me know in advance so I can keep tabs on who is doing what in case we get 5 versions of the same thing. Also please don't hesitate to contact me if I haven't been very clear about what is required.

Yours in anticipation,

Paul Ward - Editor

Pachstone - Great Paxton has had a number of names over the years, Pachstone is the oldest recorded, being the name given in the Domesday Book of 1086 and therefore most likely the name it was known by in 1020.

See here for a brief introduction to Great Paxton in Saxon times.


Articles

King Cnut and his vision for Pachstone Minster.
We don't know why the church was built here, initially it was a "Minster church" a larger building than it is now with several clergy who would go out into the countryside and preach to the then still largely pagan population. The then king, Cnut may have paid the cost of its building (but we don't really know).

Stone Buildings - fad or future?
The church was the only stone building for many miles around, it was the only stone church for even further afield, they were rare and very expensive, most buildings at the time would have been wattle and daub walls with a thatched roof.

Working on the lime kiln.
The remnant's of an ancient lime-kiln were found between the church and river in the 1930's. It was almost certainly made to provide lime mortar for the church with raw materials brought in by the river, after the church was finished there was no more need for lime and so it was abandoned.

Is the village getting too big?
By 1086 the village had 69 households and between 200 and 450 people, probably towards the larger end as it the taxes raised were greater than those on some larger local settlements, see here for more details.

Child killed by runaway cart on Pachstone Hill.
Self-explanatory, the hill has always been there, there have always been accidents.

Child killed by drowning in village pond.
Self-explanatory, there are a number of historical records of accidental drowning's, usually of children, in several ponds that used to be in the fields of the village to provide water for livestock.

Common ailments and their treatment.
With no medicine as we know it in existence, people were left largely to their own devices, herbs and what we now call "folk treatments" were all there was.

Which gods should I worship?
England was still largely pagan in 1020 and Christianity was still very much in the missionary stages which would have been a major function of the new minster church. Some would have been fully pagan, some Christian and some would have taken elements of both.

News from abroad.
Self explanatory, a bit of research needed and lots of scope.

Fishing and hunting around Pachstone.
A small human population and plenty of opportunity for the hunting of local game, what to hunt for and how to catch it.

 

Politics

At the court of King Cnut.
An interview with someone from the court? Perhaps our reporter was allowed to be an observer?

 

Job Opportunities

Farmhands wanted.
Self explanatory.

Join the local militia.
With no police or standing army, villages had to defend themselves against threats from outside and within and potentially be prepared to join up with neighbouring settlements.

 

Miscellany

What do your runes say for the coming year?
Throwing rune stones were a way of predicting the future, a Saxon version of horoscopes.

What to do if you see a bear or wolf.
Brown bears were almost extinct in England by 1020 but wolves would be around until about 1600, either might be seen outside of the village and may come inside the village boundaries during the winter.

Ways with woad.
The blue dye that ancient Britons painted themselves with before battle was one of the most useful dyes for cloth and would still be so for hundreds of years to come.

Tapestry patterns.
Windows were holes in the wall, tapestries were a way of covering the hole in the wall at night and when it was cold. The Bayeux tapestry, the most famous was made in the 1070's.

Hedgerow recipes.
Locally foraged fruit, berries and herbs were valuable foodstuffs especially for introducing flavours to the bland ingredients of the staple diet.

Sedge or reed for the best roof?
Roofs were thatched, the flood plain of the water meadow on either side of the river up to approximately the line of the railway would have reliably flooded in winter providing conditions for reeds, sedges and osiers (willow) providing important crops of thatching materials that we know were exported in the middle ages and may well have been traded in Saxon times. Perhaps an advert for Pachstone's superior roofing materials?


Articles under production

Join the clergy at Pachstone Minster - Annette Reed

Dear Deidre (Dear Wulfreda?) - Diane James

A time capsule for the future - Jaqueline Wieczorek

The Viking Threat, is it credible or exaggerated? - Matt Goodson

Ready for the press!

How well do you know our king? Cnut, a king for our time - Graham James

Sports Report - Graham James

Letters to the editor:

    Disappointment with stone buildings - Graham James
    Thoughtless dragon owners - Graham James

Situations vacant - post 1 - Paul Ward

Want to get involved? Please me.