Trump, the End of the World, & the Battle of Bossenden Wood
Apparently the end of the world is scheduled for Friday 20th January. It is yet another attempt by a religious group to claim that a ‘prophecy’ they have found in an obscure text will in fact lead to cataclysmic material changes happening. It won’t of course but it must be said that the day of the Inauguration of Trump would be quite a good starting point for anyone genuinely attempting to work out if the world might end.
Such ideas are generally known as millenarian and were common in the first half of the nineteenth century in Britain. Times of social upheaval and disruption tend to provoke thoughts of the end of days. The idea is that Christ reappears on Earth (with a beard obviously) and true believers find themselves in some sort of promised land. It’s a nice idea I suppose, although changing the world requires rather harder and more practical activity.
The last armed battle on English soil, at Bossenden Wood near Canterbury in May 1838 focused on a millenarian leader ‘Sir William Courtenay’ who had managed to gather a group of around 50 peasants to ride around Kent villages on horse-back, armed with pistols and carrying a loaf of bread on a pole under a blue and white flag with a rampant lion..
Reading from the Bible he proclaimed:
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you..
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth..
(E.P Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class)
Courtenay and around a dozen followers were shot dead by a crack regiment of the British Army but his words are surely a template for The Donald to follow on 20th January