Batman's Village of Fools: Gotham, England

  • Published on Dec 4, 2017
  • There's a link from a 13th century legend, to a 16th century insult book, to a 19th century writer, to a 20th century comic book hero. And it starts in a small village near Nottingham, in the time of Robin Hood. Here's why Batman comes from Gotham City.
    (I am reliably assured that the modern-people of Gotham are not, in fact, fools.)
    Many versions of the Merry Tales were printed: the earliest reference I can find a reference to is 1540 here:
    Furnivall (1870), "The fyrst boke of the introduction of knowledge made by Andrew Borde, of physycke doctor. A compendyous regyment; or, A dyetary of helth made in Mountpyllier", is available here:
    The Bill Finger phone-book story is found in multiple places, but I'm quoting Steranko's "History of Comics" p44 (admittedly as referenced in Wikipedia, I didn't have time to track down the original).
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Comments • 718

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  Year ago +1410

    This might be the least flattering angle I've been filmed from in a long time, and there's no-one to blame but myself. Feels right to be out doing solo videos again, though.

    • gorillaau
      gorillaau 10 months ago

      Tom Scott That is awesome. I wondered where the same name from. Origin of Gotham is better than Batman's. Thanks for the video.

    • RadioShackRobot
      RadioShackRobot Year ago +1

      Tom Scott, shoosh. You're always flattering.

    • Joseph Ralston
      Joseph Ralston Year ago +3

      It didn't bother me in the least. I honestly didn't notice until I read your comment. Great video.

    • pixel girl
      pixel girl Year ago +1

      Holy harsh lighting, Batman!

    • OblivionFall
      OblivionFall Year ago +2

      You look great, dude! I don't see a problem at all :P

    AR GAMING Month ago

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. - Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • Jordy Lont
    Jordy Lont Month ago

    This is so cool.

  • Gareth GB007
    Gareth GB007 Month ago

    Does not tell it said

  • Geeky Nerd
    Geeky Nerd 3 months ago

    I live in the next town over

  • JonatasAdoM
    JonatasAdoM 4 months ago

    Is it pronounced Gotum?

  • lindsey607
    lindsey607 4 months ago

    All of Britain seems like a village of fools n dolts. Liberalism run amuck.

  • Peiyao Liu
    Peiyao Liu 4 months ago

    Tom, you just like obscure references don't you.

  • EebstertheGreat
    EebstertheGreat 4 months ago

    I have heard many horrifying counterfactuals about how the world might have been with one detail changed. "If any link in the chain were broken," they say, "you would never have been born," or "the Third Reich would have won the war" or even "the entire human race would be extinct." But never have I been so profoundly shocked than by this clause: "Batman would have been born somewhere else."

  • Fummy
    Fummy 5 months ago

    Absolute mad men

  • mspenrice
    mspenrice 5 months ago

    Oddly, the main thing I knew Gotham for up until now was it being part of a handy traffic-busting back route into Nottingham from the south, vs the A453. Before the road was upgraded to dual carriageway and traffic calming and detours were incorporated to the back route, anyway.
    ...wonder if that's related to the King John story in some vague way?

  • Ali365Dash
    Ali365Dash 6 months ago

    On another note, there's a place in Turkey called Batman.

  • Shreyas Y D
    Shreyas Y D 6 months ago

    I would absolutely love to know the chain of circumstances and incidents that lead you to find this awesome chain

  • King Smith
    King Smith 7 months ago +1

    just wow good work love this knowledge 👍🖒

  • Seth Rhoades
    Seth Rhoades 7 months ago


  • Suwin Khamchaiwong
    Suwin Khamchaiwong 8 months ago

    King John Un

  • haselni
    haselni 8 months ago

    How is that initial joke obvious to anyone, but the Hyatt Regency Collapse isn't?

  • Mike L
    Mike L 8 months ago

    He'd live in the same place, just that place would have a different name

  • Noah Stolee
    Noah Stolee 8 months ago

    I like batman, but I don't like the other Marvel characters as much...

  • Demosthenes
    Demosthenes 8 months ago

    An important lesson in causal influence.

  • tasmedic
    tasmedic 8 months ago

    Just my kind of trivial crap! More, please!!

  • Joshua Young
    Joshua Young 8 months ago

    who are you

  • Ekki
    Ekki 8 months ago

    This video is awesome on too many levels.

  • Kaelem TM
    Kaelem TM 8 months ago


  • slightly annoying person

    Gotham? Let's not go there, it's a silly place

  • rashkavar
    rashkavar 9 months ago

    Funny story: my balcony has successfully caught a bird. It was a bit bigger than a cuckoo, though. It was a Red Tailed Hawk, if memory serves (certainly some similarly large raptor). The gap between the house and the railing is about 3 feet wide, so it couldn't take off on a route parallel to the house because its wingspan is ever so slightly more, and it couldn't take off perpendicular to the house because it's a bird, not a helicopter; bird wings aren't built for vertical takeoffs. (Well, not usually. I'm not going to argue that no bird can do a vertical takeoff, just that this increasingly alarmed raptor couldn't.)
    Once we figured out what was going on, my dad went out onto the balcony and boosted it up level with the railing, and it was gone. Seemed to be flying just fine, so it hadn't done itself an injury.
    Point being, if you build a wall around a bird that's high enough and tight enough, you can indeed capture the bird.

  • dawkinsfan41
    dawkinsfan41 9 months ago

    Gotham city is supposed to be New York and Metropolis is supposed to be Chicago

  • I'm Recording That
    I'm Recording That 10 months ago

    Live just up the road from there. As I think you said you're from the same town as me? Mansfield

  • J Lee
    J Lee 10 months ago

    Dude, you're going bald.

  • Luke BS
    Luke BS 10 months ago

    current fav youtuber

  • Mirza Ahmed
    Mirza Ahmed 10 months ago

    So these people were the original NIMBYs?

  • Jack Kraken
    Jack Kraken 11 months ago

    Oh so that might explain why that guy who is in power now acts like a ....... he is trolling us all!

  • Danny Morgan
    Danny Morgan 11 months ago +1

    This is basically the story of Brexit, with the villagers being the UK and the King being the EU "hierarchy" - think about it (whether you agree or not)

  • Breandan Downey
    Breandan Downey 11 months ago

    Really, because I thought that Gotham was the name of another comic book city that Bill Finger decided to use, because back then, plagiarism was not considered a crime.

  • Chicken Face
    Chicken Face 11 months ago

    Wouldn't that encourage the king to purge them?

  • Peacedust inc.
    Peacedust inc. 11 months ago

    The king might catch the sillies!!

  • Jacob Griffin
    Jacob Griffin 11 months ago

    There's a link from a 12th century church, to a 17th century water conduit, to a 20th century used car company.

  • Alex Bronoco
    Alex Bronoco 11 months ago

    There is a province in turkey called Batman. Don't ask why.

  • Carl Witt
    Carl Witt 11 months ago

    Have we found the source of all polak jokes??

  • Derek West
    Derek West 11 months ago

    what a brilliant little story

  • Michelle M
    Michelle M 11 months ago

    The Butterfly effect ?
    Also TOM, you’re gorgeous!

  • Jack Christmas
    Jack Christmas 11 months ago

    I really like these kinds of stories. Be it Harold Bluetooth, the secret post-nuclear strike order on British submarines, Operation Mincemeat, unexploded bombs off the British coast or the illegal burning of that Christmas goat in Sweden (I think this year it is still in one piece :) to just name a few of my favorites. Thanks for all of these and many more interesting videos.

  • Alevam-Inc.
    Alevam-Inc. 11 months ago

    Heres another fun fact: Arkham Asylum is named after the the rural town of Arkham from H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space"

  • Daniel Leonard
    Daniel Leonard 11 months ago

    The story with the Cuckoo was originally about a villiage called Wing in rutland. The locals saw the Cuckoo left at the end of summer and winter came. So by building a fence around the Cuckoo they could keep summer all year round.

  • Sumnusson
    Sumnusson Year ago

    Tom always has such amazing content

  • Tayler Dust
    Tayler Dust Year ago

    In Denmark we have the same with Aarhus, and we have jokes like "Whats written on the bottom of Aarhusianeres bottles?" "Open on the other side" (Aarhusianer is the name of the people living in Aarhus)

  • Eric Codecire
    Eric Codecire Year ago

    we flew a kite in a public place

  • Martin Langstrumpf

    would you please make a video about Zalgo texts. why they exist and how they manage to go over multiple lines? what was the original purpose of it?

  • kairon156
    kairon156 Year ago

    That's just crazy. Batman without Gotham City.

  • Jamie Spong
    Jamie Spong Year ago

    Now do a video on Batman Close in London.

  • Jay Custodio
    Jay Custodio Year ago

    I love your videos because we both like studying and plus that story is very nice send more videos I am a fan

  • Sergal Hixantapo
    Sergal Hixantapo Year ago

    that was deep...feels all warm and fuzzy~

  • macronencer
    macronencer Year ago

    Another wonderfully engaging story, Tom. Thank you!

  • Revi M Fadli
    Revi M Fadli Year ago

    Maybe Flashpoint was caused by Flash's shockwaves hitting that phonebook

  • ScytheNoire
    ScytheNoire Year ago

    Props for stating Batman's proper creative mind, Bill Finger.

  • Sir,
    Sir, Year ago

    This assumes the shop in the phone book used the name Gotham because of the writer?

  • capitanosmaw
    capitanosmaw Year ago

    Doctor Who needs a 13th century Gotham episode.

  • Fleurs de Lilas
    Fleurs de Lilas Year ago

    where deos he come up with those things? I'm amazed!

  • Julian Danzer
    Julian Danzer Year ago

    fools? you mean..
    yeah I know it was bad, but someone hadto do it :P

  • the.abhiram.r
    the.abhiram.r Year ago

    I'm disappointed in your Thomas, only #105 on trending it should be #1 like your other videos

    Sorry if im off I haven't seen youtube in like 7 days

  • LukeOfTroy
    LukeOfTroy Year ago

    God home?

  • Yily
    Yily Year ago

    So good. Tom!

  • Warboss Grimdakka

    Hold on. Is this near Nottingham? If so I've definetely seen the sign for the place and remember laughing about it as a kid. I never raised hoe close I was

  • ViridianIsland
    ViridianIsland Year ago

    After finishing this video read this. Tom is right, the chain of events leading up to the conception of Gotham City is remarkable. But the truth is, this happens all the time. The "Butterfly Effect" is always active; small changes in the past make big changes in the present. This is also true now, small decisions you make day-to-day can and will effect you in massively in the future. Always think, be decisive, and live every day as best you can.

  • Alice Gray
    Alice Gray Year ago

    I just love you(r videos) so much!

  • Henriette Flensborg

    That really was a thing I did not know! The tales (like trying to kill an eel by drowning it) sounds a lot like the stories we have in Denmark, called “Molbo” stories. I wonder if every country has their own Molbo/Gotham stories.

    • Henriette Flensborg
      Henriette Flensborg Year ago

      I just googled it and they do mention Molbo stories as being like the Gotham stories, ha! That’s awesome.

  • Sam Tait
    Sam Tait Year ago

    I live not far from here and never heard of these tales, I’ve no idea if they are wise or mad these days should I avoid the village?

  • auntieslapscake
    auntieslapscake Year ago

    I love your solo videos.... good job...

  • Uli Uchu
    Uli Uchu Year ago

    In germany there is Schilda with pretty similar storys about its "Schildbürger"

  • klutterkicker
    klutterkicker Year ago

    I aslways assumed it was a play on the word "Gothic."

  • oo0Spyder0oo
    oo0Spyder0oo Year ago

    How ironic, they won't say herb with a H but add do when it's a silent one in Gotham.

  • Random Experiments Int. - Experiments and syntheses

    What an interesting story! Nice video! :)

  • Michael King
    Michael King Year ago

    This sounds like the Yiddish folklore town of Chelm

  • NoriMori
    NoriMori Year ago

    "In Victorian England, a commoner was not allowed to look directly at the queen, due to a belief at the time that the poor had the ability to steal thoughts. Science now believes that less than 4% of poor people are able to do this."

  • Cholloway01
    Cholloway01 Year ago

    Pewdiepie plugged you....

  • silhouette
    silhouette Year ago

    I think this is my fave video you've ever done! Awesome :D

  • griff7533
    griff7533 Year ago

    That’s a great story! Nice video!

  • April Pickens
    April Pickens Year ago

    Where do you find a guy as intelligent and informative as Tom. 🤔

  • Elan Cook
    Elan Cook Year ago

    The opening joke made both of my coworkers laugh

  • JaCee Music
    JaCee Music Year ago

    Kool! Thanks, Tom!

  • Jim Lehmann
    Jim Lehmann Year ago

    James Burke did a series about these kinds of connections. It was called "Connections".
    There's probably a way I could have said that without repeating the same word twice.

  • kuraz
    kuraz Year ago

    got ham?

  • Christian Ferrius Tvilling

    We have the exact same type of stories, about a certain town in Denmark and the people who live there. "Molbo".
    Seems to be a universal thing, to ridicule a town, city, or area of your country ^^ @enyay

  • Josh Hyland
    Josh Hyland Year ago

    Hello Tom, do you consider the concept of the carbon footprint to have any merit? If so, how do you offset your air travel?

  • Sg Kingly
    Sg Kingly Year ago

    That was interesting and I certainly did not know that.

  • nfayers1986
    nfayers1986 Year ago

    ...and this is also why Gotham is constantly having to replace its town sign due to thieves. possibly drunken thieves. probably student thieves.

  • Elmo
    Elmo Year ago

    "Batman would live somewhere", eh more than likely but not necessarily so

  • therese294776
    therese294776 Year ago

    Seriously? They chose the name 'Gotham' at random?! Here I was, thinking that the choice of name was some sort of deep and insightful statement about the people of the city and their relationship with/attitude towards Batman, a commentary on the wider phenomenon of superheroes and the people who need them (or think that they do) thus allowing them to go on existing and functioning as such, an open-ended question about whether the people of Gotham are wise or foolish to treat Batman the way that they do, inviting the audience to reflect on the ways in which similar dynamics might exist and play out in the real world... but no. DISAPPOINTMENT.

  • JamieJamez
    JamieJamez Year ago

    Tom turned into James Burke so gradually I didn't even notice.

  • Pogla The Grate
    Pogla The Grate Year ago

    There's a federal electorate in a called Batman (pronounced Bate men or Bat m'n) named after the original purchaser of Port Phillip.
    The seat was held by the Shadow Minister for Justice

  • FrozenLavaDragonProd

    Funny thing is, Gotham is in New Jersey in some of the comics.

  • Andy Lundell
    Andy Lundell Year ago

    Is this video using a different stabilization algorithm then in the olden days of Scott's handheld videos? The way the buildings in the background are ... sort of sloshing around, was really distracting to me. Am I the only one?

  • MrHEC381991
    MrHEC381991 Year ago

    Things that make you go hmmm.

  • Falcarious
    Falcarious Year ago

    Does the fact that the Joker is called such have anything to do with the history of Gotham? The Joker is a madman who may seem daft in some instances, but is really quite smart, just as the "madmen" of Gotham were seen as fools, but in fact outsmarted the king.

  • The Q
    The Q Year ago

    what about Batman, turkey

  • Eamonn
    Eamonn Year ago +1


  • xzonia1
    xzonia1 Year ago

  • MrValdez
    MrValdez Year ago

    2:23. It's Adam West Batman. Gotham have good taste

  • sion8
    sion8 Year ago

    Quick stop any foolish time travels from renaming…

  • [sic]
    [sic] Year ago

    Intriguing that insanity features heavily in both Gothams.