Posted by: secretperson | March 31, 2008

Prince Charles on Pubs

An Englishman’s Castle has links to a Times story, and accompanying leader, reporting that Prince Charles himself has come out in defence of the local pub. The importance to the local community is emphasised, as is the English nature of the pub.

His Royal Highness has invited Rural Affairs Minister Hillary Benn to a local pub that has turned itself around. Though quite why the teetotal Benn would be expected to understand I don’t know. (Good spot from the castle, Englishman). But then I can’t imagine Charles is down the local every night for a pint and a game of darts either. Doesn’t stop him spotting a very real problem and speaking out.


  1. Hillary’s dad wrote in 1993:

    “England is also entitled to its own cultural and political identity. The cultural identity of the English has been submerged by a history of dominating the United Kingdom and the world, such that the common people of England have been persuaded that in return for status as subjects of a King or Queen-Emperor, they somehow shared the glory of that Empire. In fact England, like Scotland and Wales is the colony that never secured its own liberation from that monarchical power.”

  2. I think you’ll find it was the Normans, i.e. the catholic pope’s henchmen, who were responsible for English subjugation! It is called the Norman yoke.
    To say it was the fault of the monarchy is a lie.

    Like the Greeks in relation to the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons were part of an older civilisation than that of the Normans. Anglo-Saxon ‘Anglalond’ (now England)
    had laws which protected people’s freedom before 1066! The English lived free under their own law and these liberties were lost to the Normans. In their place was imposed Norman law, foreign law, French law. Up until the English Civil War, the English were all, in effect, under the rule of the Norman descendents.
    The 17th-century struggles then were to free England from the Norman Yoke. As they said at the time of the English Civil War, ‘What are the King and his ministers but the Conqueror’s colonels in another guise?’

    This tradition of the cataclysm of 1066 has never been lost in the culture of England. You can trace it through the literature of the following six centuries. The common thread was that these were terrible events and that the English were deprived of their liberties.

    This became more sophisticated in Tudor and Stuart times. After the break with Rome and later, in the time of Elizabeth, there was a lot of delving into Anglo-Saxon history to try and see what we had been like before 1066, to try to discover the character of early English law and the early English church. It was all part of the politically charged redefining of English identity, which went on after the tremendous cataclysm of the Reformation and the break with our ancient past.

    England had become probably the most literate society that had yet existed in history. With the establishment of grammar schools in the 16th century a wide-ranging education had become available to middle-class people.

    A lot of the ideologues in the Civil War (especially the Levellers and the Diggers) were teeming with ideas as they attempted to overthrow the monarchy.
    They knew that the English had lost their liberties in 1066. This comes through very clearly in the writings of great Levellers such as Gerard Winstanley.

    ‘England, you know, hath been conquered and enslaved divers times, and the best laws that England hath were got by our forefathers’ importunate petitioning unto the kings, that still were their task-masters; and yet these best laws are yokes and manacles, tying one sort of people to be slaves to another…
    ‘The last enslaving yoke that England groaned under (and yet is not freed from) was the Norman, as you know; and since William the Conqueror came in, about 600 years ago, all the kings did confirm the old laws, or else make new ones, to uphold that Norman Conquest over us; and the most favouring laws that we have doth still bind the hands of the enslaved English from enjoying the freedom of their creation.
    ‘You of the gentry, as well as we of the commonalty, all groaned under the burden of the bad government and burdening laws under the late King Charles, who was the last successor of William the Conqueror: you and we cried for a Parliament, and a Parliament was called, and wars, you know, presently begun, between the King, that represented William the Conqueror, and the body of the English people that were enslaved …
    ‘… and William the Conqueror’s successor, which was Charles (I), was cast out; and thereby we have recovered ourselves from under that Norman Yoke.’
    An Appeal to the House of Commons (1649)

    The arguments of the Levellers were not only to dissect what had happened in history and to agree on what had happened at the time of the Norman Conquest. They wanted to rectify it. One radical, John Hare, wanted not only the Lords thrown out and their lands taken away from them, but to have the laws redone in English and to have French words expunged from the English language. Which is why Americans spell colour color. They expunged the french out of the English language.

    Even in the 18th century we find the idea that the quest for English liberty was basically a war between the English people and the successors of William the Conqueror. It is, for example, the subject of several scintillating passages in the works of Tom Paine.

    ‘A French bastard arriving with armed banditti and establishing himself the King of England against the consent of the natives is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original and certainly has no divinity in it.’
    In The Rights of Man Paine jeers at the idea of the succession:

    ‘If the succession runs in the line of the conqueror the nation runs in the line of being conquered and ought to rescue itself.’

    Today, it is still very important to rediscover the essential Englishness of pre-Conquest England – it is part of asserting English national identity.

    The truth is that the Anglo-Saxons created
    England and had a wonderful culture with very distinctive thought, poetry, literature, art, music, metalwork and needlework.
    Uniquely, in Europe, the vernacular was widely used in administration and literature, and shreds of wonderful Anglo-Saxon literature have come down to us, despite the destruction of so much by the Normans and by Henry VIII.

    Anyway, it was the Normans who enslaved the English. We see the results of it to this day.

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