Avon Stories #4: Medieval Bristol part 2 – who were the Bristolians, and how did they live?

This is the second part of a conversation with Dr Peter Fleming, a professor at the University of the West of England, who specialises in Medieval History.

In Part 1, we talked about how Bristol became a superstar city, one of the most important in Western Medieval Europe. This time we talked about the people who lived in the city, from the Icelandic slaves to the Knights Templars, the Jewish communities, how women lived, and more; and how the city responded to the huge events of the era, including Plague and war.

Peter also told me about where the local seats of power were, and what Bristolians did for fun, including plays, sport and how Bristol has always been home to innovative music.

The map of the city, with photos of how sites we talked about look today, is here – and there are links to the Medieval maps in the post for Part 1 of the podcast.

If you want to know more about Peter Fleming, his UWE staff page is here, including the list of his articles and books he’s written and contributed to.   You can find more articles he’s written here, with links to read them.  And you can also follow Peter on his twitter.

We talked about books Peter has written, including:

  • Discovering Cabot’s Bristol: Life in the Medieval and Tudor Town, with Kieran Costello, which is out of print, but available in libraries and online retailers
  • His illustrated version of The Maire of Bristowe is Kalendar, written by town clerk Robert Ricart between 1480 and 1508, which you can buy from the Bristol Record Society.  Read more about it, with some of the amazing illustrations, on this blog by Peter.
  • Later this year, Peter’s latest book, Time, Space and Power in Fifteenth Century Bristol, will be published by Brill – tell your library to order it!

If you’d like to take a walk around Medieval Bristol, Bristol Old City has a Heritage Trail map with information about things you’ll see along the way, which Peter was involved in producing.  There’s also more information about Bristol’s town walls on Gatehouse.

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You can download this podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories.  Make sure you’re also following on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the river.

Photo set – the theme of the day was “brown”

This week I went for a walk with Nikki Pugh, who makes really fantastic interactive art.  We walked very slowly down the Chocolate Path, looking at the clouds of silt under the surface of the river, and the tide changing from coming in to sitting still at the change point, to watching what happens in the hour after the highest tide.

We both took a lot of photos with the theme of “brown”, and you can see Nikki’s flickr photoset here, and mine in this slideshow (click for more):

Watching the tide drop 1

I also made a couple of small, quiet videos, of how the water was reacting before and after Vauxhall Bridge:

Come back soon to hear the podcast, and make sure you check out Nikki’s website, and follow her on twitter.

Avon Stories #3 – Bristol and the Medieval Avon, part 1 – the City and the Rivers

This is the first of a two-part podcast where I met with Dr Peter Fleming of the University of the West of England, who told me all about Bristol in Medieval times, and how the River Avon and the River Frome were integral in making it one of the most important cities of the time in England and Western Europe.

In Part 1, we talk about the physical city and the infrastructure, how the geography made Bristol so important, as well as how people lived, who had the power, and what the city would have looked (and smelled) like.

Part 2 looks at how Bristol survived some of the big sweeping events of the time, with more about who lived and worked in the city, including the Knights Templars, the Jewish communities, women in Bristol, and Icelandic slaves.  We also talked about what Bristolians did for fun, including music, plays, sport and drinking.  Listen to that one here.

Of course, I have maps to give you an idea of what things looked like, with lots more links below.  First, my own map, with my rough approximations of where the city walls were, as well as the path of the River Frome as it runs through Bristol.  All errors are my own!  I’ve also added photos of what the places look like now, and you can also find these in my flickr albums of walking the Frome line, walking the inside of the Medieval Wall, and what’s left of the Bristol Castle.

Continue reading “Avon Stories #3 – Bristol and the Medieval Avon, part 1 – the City and the Rivers”

Changing light, Avon mud

I’ve always loved how different the Avon mud looks, depending on the light, and especially how that changes on a day like today, when the clouds move so fast across the sky.  To me, the mud by the disused lock at Cumberland Basin looks like landscapes in miniature, with rivers, ridges of hills, or sand-dunes, and I’m always fascinated at how the changing light makes different parts of it jump out at me.

After a week of intense, bright sunshine, and heatwave conditions, the breezes felt so good, and I’ve been waiting for a day like this to film on, and make something that’s a meditative piece for me.   I should probably go back and film for longer, and make a long piece that I could have as part of a show/installation, but I wanted to see what it was like today.

Avon Stories Podcast #2: The Portishead to Bristol railway

For this Avon Story, I travelled 20 miles outside of Bristol, to find out about the railway line that runs up the Avon Gorge to Pill and the Royal Portbury Dock, and used to continue on to Portishead, on the Bristol Channel.

Dave Chillistone of the Portishead Railway Group told me about how the issues that made the Avon so difficult for shipping in Victorian times resulted in the railway being built, the impact on the town, why it was closed, and why the PRG are campaigning for it to be re-opened.

Dave took me for a walk around the key places we talked about, and you can follow that walk, with photos of where we stopped, on this map – and scroll down for more photos, and lots more information about Portishead, the railway, the PRG and the plans for the railway’s return.

You can download the podcast directly from the Avon Stories Soundcloud, and sign up to the Avon Stories RSS and subscribe on iTunes, to make sure you hear all the future stories.  Make sure you’re also following on twitter and instagram, for regular photos of the river.

Continue reading “Avon Stories Podcast #2: The Portishead to Bristol railway”

River and Harbour films, 18th June

Such a hot day, and of course I’m wishing I could take photos of rain on the surface of the river and the Harbour in the middle of a heatwave…  But I went out to film and see how it all works in the sun.

First, the outflow, slowly letting water from the Harbour into the River.  Here, two waters meet.  50mm lens on my Canon DSLR:

And here’s looking down at the outflow, using Tim’s GoPro Hero Session on a telescopic painting stick:

Here’s my set-up:

Continue reading “River and Harbour films, 18th June”

Underwater films – Bristol Harbour, June 2017

I’m a bit obsessed with murky, underwater photography.  I shot a lot of photos with really crappy underwater film cameras during my degree, and I love them, but I never did much with them.  But I’ve always wanted to do more, and I really wanted to do some filming, so I borrowed my friend Tim’s GoPro Session and headed to the Harbour.

Continue reading “Underwater films – Bristol Harbour, June 2017”