Tag Archives: New Year

Medieval Magic and Marvels: Of a fantastic apparition in the Sky

This is from Matthew Paris’s Chronica Majora for 1254. This time a phenomenon seen by monks from his own abbey!

Fits quite well I think with the idea of Cloud Ships that I blogged about previously.

Of a fantastic apparition in the Sky

About midnight of the day of our Lord’s circumcision, the moon being eight days old, and the firmament studded with stars, and the air completely calm, there appeared in the sky, wonderful to relate, the form of a large ship, well-shaped, and of remarkable design and colour. This apparition was seen by some monks of St. Alban’s, staying at St. Amphibalus to celebrate the festival, who were looking out to see by the stars if it was the hour for chanting matins, and they at once called together all their friends and followers who were in the house to see the wonderful apparition. The vessel appeared for a long time, as if it were painted, and really built with planks ; but at length it began by degrees to dissolve and disappear, wherefore it was believed to have been a cloud, but a wonderful and extra-ordinary one.

Day of our Lord’s circumcision – actually New Year’s Day, January 1st – as this was eight days after Christ’s birth.

St. Amphibalus – a Christian pries sheltered by Alban, who was converted by Amphibalus. St. Alban was then martyred protecting Amphibalus. Matthew is indicated that the monks were at the Abbey’s satellite priory of St. Amphibalus at Redbourn, which is where the Saints remains were originally found before being moved to a shrine in the Abbey Church.

I wonder what this vessel could have been. It is interesting that Matthew does not try to explain it any spiritual one – in the end he puts it down to being just a very remarkable cloud.

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New Year, New Blogging?

Happy New Year to you all and thanks for dropping by at my blog. I sincerely hope that you find something of interest here.

I’m wondering about the direction of this blog at the moment as I’m having trouble finding the time to update with concrete posts on the medieval world and fantasy and science fiction writing, as I have been doing in the past.

Luckily for me this is because I really am dedicated as much free time as I have to two important projects: firstly my novel Hell has its Demons, and secondly editing the Alt Hist magazine.

One thought I had was to use the blog for the moment more as a commentary on the first of these activities – my current writing and to perhaps make the blog more of a diary for the moment. So expect to see some more regular posts from me.