Rigby’s Encyclopaedia of the Herring

A work in progress with no end in sight

Browse History ...

A IS FOR A BEGINNING

On the fossil origins of herring in the Sea of Tethys, on the geographical spread of the Clupeidae and, in particular, our hero Clupea harengus

ARCHAEOLOGY

The earliest kitchen middens archaeological record of herring eating and why no earlier herring bones have been found

BALDIE

On the C19th Scottish origins and naming of the herring drifter known as the Baldie, including a photograph of two at Pittenweem

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

BEUCKEL, Willem

On the semi-mythical C14th Dutch fisherman who may have come up with an improved method of gutting and salting herring

BOHUSLÄN FISHERY

A brief history of the sporadic 'herring periods' on Sweden's Bohuslän coast and whether they're caused by sunspots or food availability

BRITISH FISHERY

An account of early underachievement, overdue triumph and eventual decline in both England and Scotland, featuring kings, economists and fishermen

BUSS

On the large vessels developed by the Dutch for voyages to the fishing grounds off Scotland and England and for on board gutting and salting

CANNING

The story of canning, fish in particular, and why young herrings can no longer be called sardines, either in the United Kingdom or Europe.

DIVINE PROVIDENCE

On interpreting the herring's grand migration as a gift from God, the ensuing arguments between nations and the eventual progress of science.

DUTCH GRAND FISHERY

The rise and fall of the 'Groote Visserye', its role in the Dutch War of Independence and in various wars with England and Scotland

FASTING

On herrings and fasting, fish-based fasting on Fridays and in Lent and its origins in earlier religions, cults and/or alien contact

FIFIE

On the development, nature and adaptability of the sailing and steam drifters, the Fifie; its unsurprising origins on the Fife coast

FISH FINGERS

Birdseye Frozen Foods, Clarence Birdseye, Captain Birdseye and the original herring prototype for fish fingers

GERMAN SPIES

An dubious account of the use of herrings to identify German spies pretending to be Dutch during World War II

HERRING BUSS (TUNE)

A jig from 1750, The Herring Buss, is found and played for you by the excellent English concertina player Rob Harbron

HERRING LASSES

On the herring lasses and the work they did, following the fishing around the coast of Britain, but particularly from Shetland to Great Yarmouth

ICELANDIC FISHERY

A brief history of the brief history of The Herring Adventure, in which our hero transforms an economy and emancipates womankind

LOCKMAN’S VAST IMPORTANCE

John Lockman's 1750 pamphlet: the herring's importance to the National Wealth, our Naval Strength and, of course, dealing with the Highlanders

LUGGER

A description of the boat which replaced the herring buss and increased the alternative income opportunities for fishermen

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

PURSE SEINING

The development, efficiencies and impacts of the purse seine net for herring fishing (other fish, of course, also apply)

RACIAL THEORY

The development of thinking around herring population difference and some uncomfortable parallels with racial theories of mankind

RING NETTING

On the rise and demise of ring net fishing for herring, which originated in the waters of Loch Fyne and played a role in the sad development of overfishing

SALT

An 8,000 year history of salt and salt pickling, paying particular attention to the preservation of herrings by the German Hanse, the Dutch and the British.

SKÅNE FISHERY

An historical account of the first empire-shaping herring fishery off the southern coast of Sweden, developed by the Vikings and the German Hanse