Surely, that would only work once, wouldn't it?
The Halloween tradition of placing a candle into a hollowed-out pumpkin and using them as lanterns seems to be a relatively modern tradition in England that I associate with the United States, yet it seems that here in England we do have a similar tradition.
On the last Thursday in October in the Somerset village of Hinton St George, the local children carry lanterns that they call Punkies, these lanterns are carved from mangel-wurzles. These root vegetables are decorated by cutting the skin to make patterns for the light to shine through, it seems that a crucial part of this task is that the cutting does not make an actual hole.
As with most traditions, Punkie Night in Somerset can be traced back a few hundred years when lanterns were made by the women of the village who were left at home whilst their husbands spent the whole day drinking at the annual fair in the neighbouring village of Chiselborough. As dusk arrived, the women with the candlelit mangle-wuzles, made their way to the fair. Seeing the pale faced ghostly spectres hovering in the air so frightened the menfolk they couldn't wait to get home.
Surely, that would only work once, wouldn't it?
In 1216 England was going through an unsettled period, because of this Henry III's first coronation at Gloucester Abbey on the 28th of October was rather a hurried affair.
Four years later the political situation had quietened somewhat and the Pope had given permission for a second coronation ceremony, this took place at Westminster Abbey on 17 May 1220.
Henry III was the first English king to be crowned as a child, he was just nine years old, but his reign would be a long one, he was king of England for fifty-six years, a reign where the social and political landscape of England would be changed irrevocably.
I feel Henry's time as our countries monarch was one of the most important and significant reigns in our history and as I have said on more than one occasion his achievements have been much overlooked. Henry III improved the educational system in England, he was a lover of art and architecture and it was Henry who ordered the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey in the Gothic style we see today.
On this day in 1449 the birth in Dublin of George, Duke of Clarence to Richard, Duke of York and Cecily Neville.
George's life is viewed as a long list of facts that give us some insight into his life and there isn't much written about Clarence as a person at all so because of this Clarence's character is hard to define. However, I have often wondered if we could apply the modern term 'middle child syndrome' to help understand his personality. Maybe it was his position within his family that made him the man he was, looking at the personality traits of a modern 'middle child' surprisingly Clarence fits the 'profile' on a number of points.
1. Middle children are not particularly interested in family hierarchy or ranking:
Clarence could not have cared less that his brother was king, he would undermine him given an opportunity, he had joined in all the careless talk, calling into question the legitimacy of the kings birth. His later actions had convinced Edward that he was looking to take the throne out from under him.
2. Middle children are more interested in taking advice from others outside the main family group:
Clarence was reliant on his cousin Richard Neville rather than Edward or Richard. He took Neville's 'advice' on more than one occasion, joining him in supporting a northern rebellion and went along with the idea to restore King Henry VI to the throne of England, realising too late that listening to Neville was not a good idea after all.
3. Middle children are risk takers and are more rebellious than their siblings:
Clarence certainly ticks both these boxes. By rebelling with Neville, Clarence risked everything and lost. He lost his position as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and by organising yet another rebellion, because of the loss of his Warwick lands to Richard, he caused a major rift that was ultimately the last nail in his coffin.
4. Middle children don't like conflict:
This is one category that Clarence doesn't fit into.
Of course, Clarence wasn't a middle child at all, he was number six of seven so you could argue that this hypothesis doesn't make any sense at all.....but it does if you look at it from the point of view that he was eventually slap bang in the middle of three boys. His older brother Edmund had died at the Battle of Wakefield aged just seventeen, I wonder if he had lived he would have shown the same personality traits as Clarence or would Clarence have been a different person altogether?
Supposition this may be, but whatever the cause Clarence turned out to be a weak self-centred man, and in the end, it was greed and jealousy that cost him his life.
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou? The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
James Henry Leigh Hunt, who wrote these wonderful lines was born on this day in 1784. Better known as Leigh Hunt he was a successful critic, essayist and journalist. Remembered not only for his beautiful poems, Jenny Kiss'd me being one, but for his work on magazines and the founding of the newspaper The Examiner. He is also remembered for his friendship with Percy Shelley, John Keats and other poets who favoured political reform.
For their writings in the aforementioned Examiner, both Leigh and John Hunt spent two years in prison after being found guilty on a libel charge after publishing an article criticising the Prince Regent. Following his release from prison Hunt accompanied his friends Lord Bryon and Shelley to Italy.
Hunt married Marianne Kent with whom he had seven children, the eldest being journalist Thornton Leigh Hunt who worked on such famous newspapers as the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph.
On this day in 1469, the marriage took place of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon,
Their marriage had been previously arranged, but Isabella only consented to this marriage if she met with the future king of Aragon before it took place, this meeting had been set for the 11th of October. The young man that Isabella first set eyes on was a dark-haired, seventeen-year-old with chubby cheeks and full lips who she no doubt found attractive.
Isabella was a year older than Ferdinand, they also were second cousins. The marriage of close family members was illegal and therefore there were consanguinity issues, however documentation, dated to five years earlier, had been found that decreed that Ferdinand could marry within the third degree of consanguinity, this papal bull legalised their marriage.
The wedding took place at the Palacio de los Vivero (Palace of the Nurseries) in the city of Valladolid in Castile and their first child, a daughter, Isabella, was born just under a year following their marriage.
Isabella and Ferdinand went on to have another six children, the most famous, from an English point of view, was Catherine, the wife of Prince Arthur and later his brother Henry VIII.
Isabella and Ferdinand's marriage paved the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country that we now know as Spain.
Today in 1216, at Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire, occurred the death, probably from dysentery, of King John.
Fleeing a French invasion John had previously taken a safe route around the marshy area of the Wash in Lincolnshire to avoid the rebel-held area of East Anglia. He had travelled from Spalding to a town where he was well liked, Bishops Lynn, now Kings Lynn in Norfolk where he had previously granted a royal charter. The king eventually arrived in Nottinghamshire and was here at his castle in Newark that he was taken ill and had decided not to continue the journey.
No one likes King John very much, this is reflected in his position at the top of the leader board every time there is a vote for England's worst king. This always irritates me, in my opinion, John was born into what today we would call a dysfunctional family- squabbling parents, the youngest son, a spoilt and show off older brother. As a king he had to deal with grumpy barons, a bankrupt country and had no support from his people, what chance did he have?
W L Warren sums up fairly accurately in my view the cause of his troubled reign.
'talented in some respects, good at administrative detail, but suspicious, unscrupulous, and mistrusted.
His crisis-prone career was sabotaged repeatedly by the half-halfheartedness with which his vassals supported
him and the energy with which some of them opposed him.'
English chronicler Matthew Paris wrote that John was
“Foul as it is, hell itself is made fouler by the presence of King John."
even noted children's authors get in on the act, A A Milne writing:
King John was not a good man
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
So there you have it, on the whole, King John is seen a wicked and villainous and his reign a catastrophic failure - personally, I'd say he was unlucky.
After ten years in the workplace I became a mother to three very beautiful daughters, I was fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home and spend my time with them as they grew into the young women they are now. I am still in the position of being able to be at home and pursue all the interests I have previously mentioned. We live in a beautiful Victorian spa town with wooded walks for the dog, lovely shops and a host of lovely people, what more could I ask for.
All works © Andrea Povey 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Andrea Povey.