Sunday, 18 November 2012
A Riot of Biblical Proportions
It was our annual family murmuration yesterday, a time to catch up on news from various far-flung outposts in a non-funereal context. And there was some good gossip on offer, like my cousin Hayley delivering her own grandchild because the midwife insisted the baby (a little girl called Millie, 8lbs 6oz, since you ask) wouldn't be born till morning. But there was something more unusual from my cousin Pam, who'd been helping her mother sort through papers following my Uncle Meric's death.
My photos are rather hurried - my cousin was en route to Bristol's newest museum, the M Shed, where the pages will now be housed - but the pages (from 2 Kings Chapter 11, it would seem) are inscribed with the following in copperplate handwriting:
This was part of a bible which was plundered from the dwelling houses in Queen Square, Bristol, on the ever memorable Sunday the 30th day of October when the dreadful Riot and burning of that place was perpetrated by an infuriate and lawless mob.
Which poses all sorts of questions. How did my great-grandmother (for it was she who gave it to my uncle) come by such a thing? What on earth was a rioter doing looting a bible? Was the bible the then equivalent of a flat-screen TV as far as entertainment was concerned? And perhaps most pressingly of all, where's the d from the end of infuriate?