back to article Mediaeval Yorkshirefolk mutilated, burned t'dead to prevent reanimation

Archaeologists investigating human bones excavated from the deserted mediaeval village of Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire have suggested that the villagers burned and mutilated corpses to prevent the dead from rising from their graves to terrorise the living. Although starvation cannibalism often accounts for the mutilation …

  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The 11th Century?

    Would that be when WIlliam The Conqueror treated Yorkshire with the respect it deserved and wiped it pretty much clean?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The 11th Century?

      Our dialect retains a number of words derived from Danish settlers and we have many Anglo-Saxon and Danish place-names. That wouldn't have happened if the place had been "wiped clean" and resettled from elsewhere. I suspect an element of exaggeration.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: The 11th Century?

        The Harrying of the North did happen. The Doomesday book does record a lot of Yorkshire as 'waste'. Wharram Percy has land but no mention of households.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The 11th Century?

          "The Harrying of the North did happen."

          Certainly. But that doesn't preclude exaggeration. We know (because they were important enough to be documented) of pre-conquest Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Danish landowning families who went on into the post-Conquest period. Swein of Hoyland and Aleric of Emley are a couple of examples.

          Swein's son Alan adopted a Norman patronym and was known as Alan Fitzswaine (Fitz = "Fils de" and was used for some time in the same way as Icelandic patronymic system). Swein gave his name to the village of Hoylandswaine and Alan Fitzswaine founded the church of High Hoyland. I think the dynasty ran on a little longer but died out or at least lost importance.

          The family of Aleric of Emley followed a similar but more successful path. Emley was retained as a sub-tenancy of the the Manor of Wakefield. They also acquired Sprotborough as tenants-in-chief and gradually acquired many other interests in the area. The patronymic eventually stabilised as Fitzwilliam. The Fitzwilliams became important coal owners and iron masters in the industrial revolution.

    2. Wiltshire

      Re: The 11th Century?

      Yes,

      A moment's desk research by the wannaby academic would have taught him that.

      " After Harold's defeat, the English in the north were not defeated and would not obey William. Danish fleets sailed up the Rivers Tyne and Wear, the Scots marched to Gateshead, and the English in Durham and Northumberland gathered together on the Black Fell.This was in the year 1068. William marched north with his army. The battle took place on the Black Fell.The hardest fighting was on Shadon's Hill, Washington. After a terrible conflict, William won. The Danes sailed away in their

      ships and the Scots fled home.Then the fierce Normans destroyed everything. Villages were burnt, men, women and children were killed. The land was left desolate. There is nothing in the Domesday Book about Washington. "

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The 11th Century?

        "Then the fierce Normans destroyed everything. Villages were burnt, men, women and children were killed."

        Which villages, men, women and children?

        The evidence is that it wasn't all. History isn't always written by the victors, sometimes it's written by the victims but both have a tendency to exaggerate.

        Do you believe that Noah's flood really did inundate the whole world?

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

    Just wait a few years...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

      Go to one of the tabloid websites and look at the comments. We're already there.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

      Who would have thought then that walking dead would have become a useful source for cheap entertainment? Or maybe it happened back then too, and the remnants are those of producers and scriptwriters?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

        Is it different?

        We have fake news, they have legend and rumour.

        Unemployment, fear of random death...

        They have problems with tooth decay, which we are re-introducing.

        They have no antibiotics, we have ones that are loosing effectiveness.

        They have witches, we have (insert your choice here, I couldn't decide)

        Can't see it somehow, we just record things differently

        1. Florida1920
          Angel

          Re: "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

          They have witches, we have (insert your choice here, I couldn't decide Melania Trump)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

          >Is it different? ....

          TL;DR version. People are generally stupid, lazy, selfish, and greedy regardless of era, even in the future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZHCVyllnck

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: "...how different the Mediaeval view of the world was from our own"

        "Who would have thought then that walking dead would have become a useful source for cheap entertainment? Or maybe it happened back then too"

        Has The Walking Dead being going on for 1000 years, or does it just feel like it?

  3. PNGuinn
    Trollface

    Obligatory

    "various ways to deal with revenants, one of which was to dig up the offending corpse, decapitate and dismember it, and burn the pieces in a fire."

    Pah.

    Wen Ah were a lad our dad ....

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If they were from up North, they probably just chewed the meat direct from the bones. Did they also find the giant Yorkshire pudding trays to go with the meat?

    1. Toltec

      "If they were from up North, they probably just chewed the meat direct from the bones. Did they also find the giant Yorkshire pudding trays to go with the meat?"

      At least that means they were cooked, otherwise where would the gravy for the puds have come from?

  5. Anonymous Blowhard

    Zombies?

    You were lucky! When I were a lad, our parents would kill us and dismember our corpses to stop us walkin' t'Earth agin'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Zombies?

      When the boy was born, like all Yorkshiremen he was inspected.

      If he'd been small or puny or sickly or misshapen, he would have been discarded.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Zombies?

        Looked at his bowling aptitude and then gave hime an early run in the nets to just check I presume

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they were all witches. This can be easily tested on a see saw with a duck.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Early MacDonalds?

    Sounds like a small start-up working out how to make a big mac burger - it probably failed after a few years due to a lack of pickles.

    1. Dave Pickles

      Re: Early MacDonalds?

      Did somebody call??

  8. WibbleMe

    Yep and there is an even better hill fort in Oswestry, Shrop that dickheads keep trying to build houses on.

  9. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    Or just neighbours they really hated?

    Kicking a corpse when it's down, so to speak.

  10. Mage Silver badge
    Pirate

    deserted mediaeval village

    So the "treatment" failed, the villagers had to flee and no-one wanted to re-occupy the village.

    Hmm.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: deserted mediaeval village

      Well, after that treatment I would be really upset and thereby raise to terrorize the village as much as I could.

  11. VinceH

    Optional

    I look forward to a low budget period zombie fillum depicting a zombie outbreak in the village, resulting in everyone in it being wiped out.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, any explanation why the village was deserted, or did the inhabitants just go lurching off ?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Sheep.

      The landowners discovered that there was more money to be made having sheep on the land than peasants mostly growing food for themselves.

      So it was necessary to enhance productivity going forward to leverage market synergies, reach a global market and achieve dynamic sales targets necessary for maximising cashflow - to kick the peasants out.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Coat

        re: Sheep

        @ Yet Another Anonymous coward

        I'm not sure if it was sheep, but yes, "the Clearances" in Scotland, though that was much later and may have been inspired by Cromwell's economic successes east of the Shannon and Elisabeth I's successes east of the river Bann.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: re: Sheep

          In the C16 it was sheep - The village that sheep ate

      2. herman Silver badge

        The absentee landlord didn't kick the peasants out, he outsourced the peasant positions to Ireland.

  13. Dan McIntyre

    Thanks Reg

    This story has made me want to visit - the place is practically on my doorstep.

    1. Colabroad

      Re: Thanks Reg

      I spent a term going there as part of my abortive attempt at an Archaeology degree.

      Sadly there's bugger all to see, all the ruins are buried and under farmland, apart from the fairly bog standard church everything of interest has to be dug up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eee by 'eck lad ... Just takin' zombie for a walk down t'club

  15. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Alternate theory: "As we gather here to bury our dead, lost in the great raid, we ... hang on, what's that smelly black liquid seeping into the grave? Bring those torches nearer so I can get a better look".

  16. NorthernCoder
    Headmaster

    Help a foreigner, please

    I am slightly confused by the spelling of medaeiouyvaeiouyl (cross out as necessary).

    Is it the British spelling in this article and is it slightly different from the spelling used in e.g. USA?

    1. PickledAardvark

      Re: Help a foreigner, please

      Perhaps a Welsh spelling or annunciation? Like Afon or Abona, meaning river, which becomes River River when translated into English to describe the Avon.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Help a foreigner, please

      Try Shakespeare, and if that's too easy try Chaucer, unreadable for many English people*. Though in Ireland we have some good stories up to 500 years older than Chaucer. As few Irish speakers can cope with pre 1948 spelling, naturally even the pre-10th C stuff is unreadable.

      Demons - Daemons

      I just discovered Fay comes from Fae, which is the old singular for the plural Faerie, though why Morgan is Le Fay rather than La Fay maybe needs a Frenchman to explain, unless she was a he. Oddly Morgan (Morien) is more often a male name, in Wales, where the name and story comes from.

      I love the Mediaeval stories.

      [*Actually reading it out loud with a rustic English or Welsh accent helps a lot, as a lot of the time it's eccentric spelling]

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Help a foreigner, please

        I believe that Mediaeval is more correctly represented as Mediæval however due to various technical limitations in technology (and Americans, who are generally poor at spelling) the æ ligature(?) was dropped in favour of the separate letters. Not sure when/why it morphed into Medieval as well (probably the same buggers who keep forgetting the letter u and replacing the letter s with the letter z).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Help a foreigner, please

          It was the British that replaced 'z' with 's' and, probably, added the 'u's - plus ca change, and all that.

        2. PNGuinn
          Coat

          Re: Help a foreigner, please

          "... due to various technical limitations in technology and Americans, the æ ...

          There, FIFY.

          Thanks, mine's the one with the complete OED and Webster's in the pocketses. >>

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Help a foreigner, please

            Used to see Æ symbol on older radios for the aerial connection. Oh how I miss my diphthong!

            1. Long John Brass Silver badge

              Re: Help a foreigner, please

              > Oh how I miss my diphthong!

              Medical science has advanced a fair bit in the last few years; I believe that a simple surgical procedure can restore you to your former glory!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Help a foreigner, please

          > I believe that Mediaeval is more correctly represented as Mediæval however due to various technical limitations in technology

          And to recover the IT and anti-Microsoft angles, that's what Windows and its inexcusable lack of a compose key have brought to us.

          To the "where is the IT angle brigade": You're welcome. ☺

      2. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Demons - Daemons

        Thanks Madge - you've just solved an 'istorical conundrum.

        So they *were* evil witches in that village. Developed a new incantation, a prototype of systemd.

        Well, when the truth was out, there was one possible way to save civilisation, wasn't there?

        We're all doomed, I tell 'ee.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Demons - Daemons

          "Developed a new incantation, a prototype of systemd."

          Daemon as a computing term was introduced by the BSD crowd. Definitely no systemd there.

  17. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    It worked though

    How many Zombies have you seen in North Yorkshire?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It worked though

      Andrew Lincoln spent time in Hull when he was a kid, does that count?

  18. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Ahh I spot an analogy with the behaviour and pitiful attempts to slow it down, of many off out consulynts roaming the corridors of Whitehall. Not to mention a number of 'almost' Zombie tech companies (we see you HPE) who just don't understand that they have turned off their life support and it is all taking a little time for the information to reach the board.

  19. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    Just how "Different" are we from our medieval predecessors?

    Considering that the "zombie apocalypse" is gabbed about all the time in this day and age.

    We'rd not mutilating corpses, but this shows just how primal the fear is that the dead might rise and assault the living.

  20. Mike Flugennock
    Coat

    BRING OUT YOUR etc. etc...

    Sorry, couldn't help it.

  21. DougS Silver badge

    How long does the zombie virus last?

    Might want to keep your distance from the Archeology Department at the University of Southampton, in case the villagers missed one. Just to be safe.

  22. Richard 12 Silver badge

    'Twas effective, far more zombies down int' big smoke than in God's own county.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge
      Joke

      Well they do feed on brains ....

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