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).
    I'm at
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  • Runtime: 2:46
  • tom scott  tomscott  things you might not know  gotham  nottinghamshire  batman  washington irving  salmagundi  bill finger  merry tales of the mad-men of gotam  gotam  gottam  king john  mad men of gotham  wise men of gotham  

Comments: 650

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  17 days ago +1301

    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.

    • RadioShackRobot
      RadioShackRobot 7 days ago

      Tom Scott, shoosh. You're always flattering.

    • Joseph Ralston
      Joseph Ralston 8 days ago +2

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

    • pixel girl
      pixel girl 8 days ago +1

      Holy harsh lighting, Batman!

    • OblivionFall
      OblivionFall 8 days ago +2

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

    • ANeM
      ANeM 8 days ago +1

      Story was interesting, didn't notice the camera angles.

  • macronencer
    macronencer Day ago

    Another wonderfully engaging story, Tom. Thank you!

  • Revi M Fadli
    Revi M Fadli 2 days ago

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

  • ScytheNoire
    ScytheNoire 2 days ago

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

  • MrBgklug
    MrBgklug 2 days ago

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

  • capitanosmaw
    capitanosmaw 3 days ago

    Doctor Who needs a 13th century Gotham episode.

  • Fleurs de Lilas
    Fleurs de Lilas 3 days ago

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

  • Julian Danzer
    Julian Danzer 4 days ago

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

  • the.abhiram.r
    the.abhiram.r 4 days 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 4 days ago

    God home?

  • rxbs163
    rxbs163 4 days ago

    So good. Tom!

  • Hamzah Sajjad
    Hamzah Sajjad 4 days ago

    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 4 days 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 4 days ago

    I just love you(r videos) so much!

  • Henriette Flensborg
    Henriette Flensborg 5 days ago

    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 5 days 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 5 days 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 6 days ago

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

  • Uli Uchu
    Uli Uchu 6 days ago

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

  • klutterkicker
    klutterkicker 6 days ago

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

  • oo0Spyder0oo
    oo0Spyder0oo 6 days ago

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

  • Random Experiments International

    What an interesting story! Nice video! :)

  • Michael King
    Michael King 6 days ago

    This sounds like the Yiddish folklore town of Chelm

  • NoriMori
    NoriMori 6 days 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 6 days ago

    Pewdiepie plugged you....

  • Raymond K Petry
    Raymond K Petry 6 days ago

    ...have we ever seen a scene where Batman was cloaked in a flurry of bats...

  • silhouette
    silhouette 6 days ago

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

  • griff7533
    griff7533 6 days ago

    That’s a great story! Nice video!

  • April Pickens
    April Pickens 6 days ago

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

  • Elan Cook
    Elan Cook 6 days ago

    The opening joke made both of my coworkers laugh

  • JaCee Music
    JaCee Music 6 days ago

    Kool! Thanks, Tom!

  • Jim Lehmann
    Jim Lehmann 6 days 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 6 days 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 6 days 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 7 days ago

    That was interesting and I certainly did not know that.

  • nfayers1986
    nfayers1986 7 days 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 7 days ago

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

  • therese294776
    therese294776 7 days 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 7 days ago

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

  • Pogla The Grate
    Pogla The Grate 7 days 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.

  • Dev Singhania
    Dev Singhania 7 days ago

    I suppose this is what you call a "Butterfly Effect" :P

  • Andy Lundell
    Andy Lundell 7 days 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 7 days ago

    Things that make you go hmmm.

  • Falcarious
    Falcarious 7 days 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.

  • David Vermillion
    David Vermillion 7 days ago

    what about Batman, turkey

  • Eamonn
    Eamonn 7 days ago +1


  • xzonia1
    xzonia1 7 days ago

  • MrValdez
    MrValdez 7 days ago

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

  • sion8
    sion8 7 days ago

    Quick stop any foolish time travels from renaming…

  • Paul Stephen
    Paul Stephen 7 days ago

    Different products, different experiences

  • [sic]
    [sic] 7 days ago

    Intriguing that insanity features heavily in both Gothams.

  • Evan Davis
    Evan Davis 7 days ago

    This would explain why Batman's city is full of raving lunatics.

  • Anthony Houghton
    Anthony Houghton 7 days ago

    Reminds me of the stories the people of Devizes in Wiltshire, used to tell about the inhabitants of the nearby village of Bishops Cannings.
    Most famously, of course, the tale of the Moonrakers, who were caught by the revenue men trying to rake some barrels of contraband brandy out of the local pond, the Crammer. When asked what they were doing they pointed to the reflection of the full moon, and told the customs men that they were trying to rake a big old cheese out of the pond.
    Probably apocryphal, but one that is definitely true is the tale of the Bishop Cannings marching band base drum. The drummer decided to build a new drum in his front bedroom, but then found that is was too big for him to get it out of the house. The band were thus reduced to marching up and down the street outside his house as he stood at the window beating out time. The drum still exists, and was in Devizes Museum last time I went there.
    Less likely to be true is the tale of the church spires. Bishops Cannings Church has a mighty fine spire and a tiny one in the corner next to it housing the circular staircase. The story goes that one of the churchwardens wanted to grow the little spire to be as big as the main one, so he hauled a young calf up to the top of the tower in the hope that its manure would cause the little spire to grow. Every day he would take hay up to the top of the tower, and spread the manure round the base of the small spire. Of course it didn't grow, but the cow did, and soon there was no way to get it back down. The cow apparently lived out the rest of its life up there, and grass started growing all round the base of the spire.

  • Barrie O'Bama
    Barrie O'Bama 7 days ago

    A guy wearing a mask and cape who spent his life imitating bats would have fit right in.

  • Doktor McNasty
    Doktor McNasty 7 days ago


  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ah yes!

  • Jason Judge
    Jason Judge 7 days ago

    You'll be putting James Burke out of a job with connections like this. Love it.

  • Stray03
    Stray03 7 days ago

    You would like the series "connections" and connections 3.

  • Joeink100
    Joeink100 7 days ago

    I live near there

  • nitehawk86
    nitehawk86 7 days ago

    I bet Tom was a fan of James Burke's Connections. Loved seeing that show and its successors on PBS as a kid. This video reminds me of the show.

  • UltraPrimal
    UltraPrimal 7 days ago

    2:30 He'd live in Canada. No, wait. That's Superman I'm thinking of.

  • AdamN
    AdamN 7 days ago

    having driven past the signs for Gotham many times, I had often wondered if there was any connection to Batman or not, but couldn't have imagined it went so far back!

  • Foultone84
    Foultone84 7 days ago

    Very interesting. Thank you
    Love from Sweden

  • TheBushdoctor68
    TheBushdoctor68 7 days ago

    Nice. :)
    There's also a city called Batman btw. In Turkey I think..

  • country farmer420
    country farmer420 7 days ago

    so /this is where batman came from.

  • preachffxi
    preachffxi 7 days ago

    It's because of penguins that decided to not go instinct just before the movie came out. The Penguin wouldn't have existed would've had been regular name like Charles etc... Thanks penguins !!!

  • Nicu Irimia
    Nicu Irimia 7 days ago

    story sells

  • Nimmo1492
    Nimmo1492 7 days ago

    Finally a place I know! I went to school in Gotham.

  • dirm12
    dirm12 7 days ago

    Interesting history but I find your conclusion... underwhelming :P

  • Sari Al Shammari
    Sari Al Shammari 8 days ago

    That's neat

  • stephenrgow
    stephenrgow 8 days ago

    "We're gonna build a hunting lodge, it will be a great hunting lodge, and we will make Gotham pay for it!"

  • Jinzo Okami
    Jinzo Okami 8 days ago

    from thrown shade in the 16th century, to providing shade for the batman in 20th.
    life's weird, eh?

  • boiled frog
    boiled frog 8 days ago

    england is my city

  • Hiramas
    Hiramas 8 days ago

    We have similar stories in Germany, they are called the Schildbürger, Citizens of the fictitious town of Schilda. When the price for salt got too high for them, they salted the earth around their town so they could harvest whatever plant the salt grew from. And there are many other stories.

  • Victor Rosario
    Victor Rosario 8 days ago

    This reminds me of Connections by James Burke.

  • Titans JoJo
    Titans JoJo 8 days ago +1

    OG Trolls

  • kurbycar32
    kurbycar32 8 days ago

    This was just an interesting story until Batman got involved, now its a critical piece of information.

  • Sturdy Fence
    Sturdy Fence 8 days ago

  • Nautilus 211
    Nautilus 211 8 days ago

    I love your videos! You have something unique and fun to watch. I have learned a lot! Thanks buddy! Keep it up!

  • Harvey Kong
    Harvey Kong 8 days ago

    Tom, how do you even track these stories down ? Amazing content, please keep this up

  • Marcus Woolley
    Marcus Woolley 8 days ago

    My Scout group used to meet in Gotham. For years we kept making Barman jokes, but we had no idea there was a connection.

  • Sudstah
    Sudstah 8 days ago

    goat am city!, I can see a flaw in their strategy though, I am surprise the king didn't raze the village to the ground and burn all of its residents.

  • Allan Tj
    Allan Tj 8 days ago

    Looking for the "um, actually" in the comments

  • StickguyPaul Gibert
    StickguyPaul Gibert 8 days ago

    We also have something similar in Spain, there is a town called Lepe, around which many jokes about dumb people revolve. I do not know it's history though.

  • val
    val 8 days ago

    uuuur hairline reeeeeEEEWE

  • Bumholeo
    Bumholeo 8 days ago

    I go through that village everyday

  • Liam Thrower
    Liam Thrower 8 days ago

    That was fantastic Tom. Thanks

  • ThreadThatHas NoEnd
    ThreadThatHas NoEnd 8 days ago

    Makes sense Batman's Gotham is full of crazies

  • Mikosch2
    Mikosch2 8 days ago

    So the people of Gotham are the British equivalent to Germany's Schildbürger, essentially?

  • Andrew Cullen Entertainment

    You are always on trending!

  • Aleksandr Kamarov
    Aleksandr Kamarov 8 days ago

    For some reason in Spanish Gotham is called "Gothic city"

  • Jay Mata
    Jay Mata 8 days ago

    Gotham . . the OG trolls . . . XD

  • VKGchaos
    VKGchaos 8 days ago

    This is the same Gotham that's south of Nottingham, near Rushcliffe?

  • Thiago Mestres
    Thiago Mestres 8 days ago

    Isn't it weird that the real Gotham is associated with Madness which is a recurring theme in the comics?

  • Balu
    Balu 8 days ago +1

    Interesting enough we have the "Schildbürger" in Germany who live in a (fictious?) town called "Schilda". They were known to be very smart / intelligent so kings and imperators invited them to be their advisors. This resulted in more and more people leaving the town and to avoid the city from becoming depopulated, they started to act like fools. The moral of their stories is that they started to stay in that "dumb" state and became known as stupid as they were known as intelligent before.

    PYXEL 8 days ago +8

    This town deserves a hero, but doesn't need one right now

  • Saint Infragilis
    Saint Infragilis 8 days ago +2

    Butterfly effect in action!

  • BulletFever1
    BulletFever1 8 days ago +2

    Appropriately, I got an advert for sudafed blocked nose.

  • The John Dorian
    The John Dorian 8 days ago +1

    get on that finasteride brah