Rigby’s Encyclopaedia of the Herring

A work in progress with no end in sight

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BATTLE OF THE HERRINGS (1429)

On the connection between Sir John Fastolf, victor at the Battle of Herrings, and Sir John Falstaff, a large Shakespearean character

BRITTEN

On the Lowestoft-born, English composer's creative relationship with herrings, possibly spurious, certainly little commented upon

CADGER

The derivation of the word 'cadger', a derogatory epithet for someone who tries to get things for free, and its origins in the fish trade

CALLER HERRIN’ (FILM)

Picking up on the song and fisherwomen's marketing of their wares, a film deploying documentary to encourage herring consumption

CALLER HERRIN’ (SONG)

Drawing on street cries, composed for harpsichord, given lyrics by Jacobite-sympathising aristocrat Mrs Bogan of Bogan, a Scottish song

DRIFTERS (DOCUMENTARY FILM)

The first documentary, famously directed by Grierson; funded by herring historian & Financial Secretary to the Treasury, AM Samuel

ETYMOLOGY

On the derivation of the word herring and the uncertainty attached to it, along with that, similarly uncertain, of the kipper

EUPHEMISMS

Some of the names given to herrings together with the associated logics and a brief digression on the subject of Bombay duck

EYVIND SKÁLDASPILLIR

The earliest herring poet and the two earliest herring poems, together with the difficulties of dealing with kings

FLEAS

A brief, possibly unnattractive account of fleas and their use in a Norfolk fisherman's ability to predict herring catches

HARENG SAUR, LE

In which the current and historical natures of Hareng Saur are considered alongside the proto-surreal works it inspired (Cros, Huysmans, Ensor)

HERRING’S HEAD

On the traditional song, collected across the British Isles, celebrating the ways the herring underpins everything of social importance

LOCKMAN, JOHN

He had his flaws, he may not have been the poet herrings so richly deserve, but he was The Herring Poet - let's celebrate him anyway!

MONKEY BUSINESS

Discovering The Marx Brothers in kipper barrels on a liner may not have been so improbable, but the dialogue makes up for any accidental plausibility

NAMES OF THE HERRING

The words for herring listed by language in alphabetical order with room for additions if anyone would like to send them

NASHES LENTEN STUFFE

A brief account of the writing of Thomas Nashe's extraordinary late C16th work; its scurrilous red herring origin story extracted in full

NEUCRANTZ, PAUL: ON HERRING (1643)

A long term project for the encyclopaedia, new chapters of the translation of Neucrantz' C17th Latin text will be added as they are completed

PICKELHERRING

The use of the name by C16th English slapstick clowns, out of fashion at home, unable to speak the languages of the countries where they laughed

PROPHETIC HERRINGS

On the strange markings discovered on two herrings and their possible connection with the death of Denmark's Frederick II five months later

SHOALS OF HERRING, THE

Written for the BBC's Radio Ballads, a song by Ewan McColl which has entered the traditional music repertoire and is sung by many

SINGING THE FISHING

Always at the forefront of documentary innovation, the herring swims through the great Radio Ballad of 1960

TOURISM: MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

On AC Hardy's proposal for a herring research centre and William Hodgson's brief vision of what might have been a formidable tourist attraction

WHY HERRINGS LIVE IN THE SEA

A curious origin myth for maritime as opposed to land-based rat-catching herrings, related in an Estonian folk song

WITCHCRAFT

The role of herrings in England's penultimate witch trial and the subsequent part the narrative played in shaping the hysteria in Salem