Alabaster & Who?
Alabaster & Clarke Winetours does not exist, although many people spend a lot of time searching in vain for them, Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours however does! and was founded in 1986 by Lynette Arblaster & Tim Clarke. We are Arblaster and Clarke Wine Tours, not Alabaster and Clarke Wine Tours or even Alabaster & Clark Wine Tours as sometimes stated incorrectly. Alabaster and Clarke Winetours has even been used as our name in travel and wine articles!
Arblaster is the name which people often ask us about. It is old English for a “Crossbowman” and as the English did not use many crossbows in Medieval times it is a pretty rare name. The earliest form of the name, apearing soon after the Norman Conquest was Arbalistarius which sounds very similar to the well known spanish form of the name Balistieros, as in the golfer, Sevvi Balistieros.
Interestingly there were some 80 Arblasters in the English army at the battle of Agincourt, along with the 8000 or so Archers. The Archers are credited with winning the battle against a French army, some 4 or 5 times the size consisting of heavily armoured knights and mercenary crossbowmen (Arbaleteriers).
Revisionist historians have downgraded the effect of the massed longbow fire and put more emphasis on the heavy ground and row of sharpened stakes that broke the charge of the French knights, then proposing that the archers’ secondary armaments, (such as hammers and chisels), actually did the damage.
As for the Arblasters, they would normally have been defending the baggage train, which seems to have been undefended because it was captured by a couple of French Knights and some peasants. (Unless the Arblasters didn’t do their job properly! Unthinkable!). Perhaps they were in the front line, or perhaps they were looking after the prisoners, many of whom were killed during the crisis of the battle after the loss of the baggage train.
It’s all in Shakespere’s Henry V. – I’m sure that Pistol was an Arblaster really.
Clarke is usually a Scottish or Irish name, although it is sometimes English – the origin of the word in believed to be Anglo-Saxon “clerec” meaning a member of religious orders below a priest. It is believed later it became associated with village clerks. In Ireland and Scotland there are also clan associations – O’Cleary in Ireland and the Camerons and Clan Chattan in Scotland. In our case the name is Irish (Clarke with an ‘e’ usually is). Tim Clarke is 1/4 Irish, (the Clarke and presumably the improbable yarn telling bit). Lynette Arblaster is also 1/2 Irish, all the rest being English!
Clark is the Scottish spelling of the name. – If your partner’s name is Arblaster you get used to being a Clark. It is an advance on being called “Monsieur Arblaster” as Tim sometimes gets called in France.
Altough some people claim that the name Alabaster is a corruption of Arblaster, we stick to the story that their ancestors were alabaster carvers. Thus the medieval Alabaster and Clarke would have been Irish alabaster carvers who could read and write! This may explain why they don’t exist.
Anyway enough about Alabaster and Clarke Winetours, Alabaster & Clark and Arblaster and Clark too!
Arblaster & Clarke – the leading wine tours specialist
Once we’ve cleared up the spelling of the name, remember that an Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tour is unique! Arblaster & Clarke are the unrivalled world’s leading specialist wine tours operator. We pioneered the whole concept of wine tourism in many parts of France, Spain, Italy, Portugal – where we were often the first serious wine loving non-trade clients to visit. Now in our 25th year of wine touring, we offer the widest ranging and most imaginative selection of wine tours throughout the wine-world that is available.
Where we lead, others follow, and there are newer, less reupatable firms who are pleased to trade off our experience and knowledge, with little of their own. You will notice this from copied wording, copied ideas and even tour names copied, similar use of colour schemes and even maps lifted from our literature as well as bold and false claims about who they can visit – even to chateaux that are physically closed for renovation!