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Cathedral of the bishop of Exeter, who condemned the order in 1348
Cathedral of the bishop of Exeter, who condemned the order in 1348

The Order of Brothelyngham was a gang of men who, in mid-14th-century England, formed themselves into a fake religious order in Exeter, Devon. Styling themselves as theatrical players, they terrorised, kidnapped and extorted the locals. They may well have been satirising the church, which was commonly perceived as corrupt. The group appears to have named itself after a non-existent place, "Brothelyngham". The name was probably meant as an allusion to the Order of Sempringham, which was known to enclose both monks and nuns on the same premises. Members of the Order of Brothelyngham dressed as monks. They supposedly elected a madman to rule them as their abbot, possibly from a theatrical stage, and bore their ruler aloft before them in a mockery of a bishop's throne. As one of the few such gangs known to modern historians, the order is considered significant for what it suggests of anticlerical activities and attitudes in England during the period. (Full article...)

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April 1: April Fools' Day; Iranian Islamic Republic Day (1979)

Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
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Book believed to be bound in human skin
Book believed to be bound in human skin

The binding of books in human skin – anthropodermic bibliopegy – peaked in the 19th century. The practice was most popular among doctors, who had access to cadavers in their profession. It was nonetheless a rare phenomenon even at the peak of its popularity, and fraudulent claims were commonplace; by 2020, the Anthropodermic Book Project had confirmed the existence of 18 books bound in human skin, out of 31 tested cases. The ability to unequivocally identify book bindings as being of human skin dates only to the mid-2010s. The development of peptide mass fingerprinting permitted conclusive testing and became the gold standard method. The first book confirmed as authentic through its use was in 2014; it was a copy of Des destinées de l'ame by the French philosopher Arsène Houssaye. Themes emerge in what purportedly anthropodermic books turn out to be legitimate or illegitimate. Most legitimate anthropodermic books were owned or bound by physicians, and many of them are dedicated to the practice of medicine. (Full list...)

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Nelly Martyl

Nelly Martyl (1 April 1884 – 9 November 1953) was a French opera singer based in Paris who participated in several world premieres. After making her professional debut in 1907 in Gluck's Armide, she joined the Opéra-Comique, where she appeared as Micaela in Bizet's Carmen, Sophie in Massenet's Werther, Mimi in Puccini's La bohème and in the title role of Massenet's Manon, among others. During World War I and the 1918 flu epidemic, she worked as a nurse and received the Croix de Guerre for her service. After the war, she created a charitable medical foundation with automobile racer Magdeleine Goüin. This photograph of Martyl was taken by the French photographer Jean Reutlinger, probably between 1907 and 1912.

Photograph credit: Jean Reutlinger; restored by Adam Cuerden

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