In the late evening of the 17th June 1239 Edward I was born to Henry III and Eleanor of Provence, he was probably named after Edward the Confessor.
On the death of his father in 1272, Edward inherited the English throne. He would build castles in Wales to subdue the Welsh and make his son the first Prince of Wales. By 1290, he moved on to Scotland and angered the Scottish nobility by deciding who would succeed to the Scottish throne. He chose John Balliol. In retaliation the Scottish deposed Balliol and formed an alliance with France. Edward then invaded Scotland, imprisoned Balliol in the Tower of London and placed the Scottish people under English rule. For this he was given the name of Hammer of the Scots.
Edward had a second nickname, that of Longshanks because of his height - he was six foot two. Historian Michael Prestwich wrote of this that Edward's
"Long arms gave him an advantage as a swordsman, long thighs one as a horseman'
The Georgian era was an age of expansion, an age of inventions that brought changes in agriculture, textiles and in mining. It was also a time when coffee became a big thing. Coffee houses, an 17th century equivalent of Costa Coffee and Starbucks, were extremely popular.
I imagine these modern day cafes have writers, artists and scientists among their clientele, all chatting over their steaming coffees and slices of walnut cake, London Coffee houses had much the same. Frequenting these houses were the who's who of the day, Samuel Pepys, Alexander Pope and Isaac Newton. However, unlike today women were not found in these establishments.
Women took up the banner against the consumption of this drink in their Women’s Petition Against Coffee, in which it was claimed that the 'old tar turned men into effeminate, babbling, French layabouts.'
Pasque Rosee, a servant to a London merchant opened the first coffee house in London as a side line in 1652, he claimed in The Virtue of Coffee that it was 'the grain or berry called coffee that groweth upon little trees, only in the Deserts of Arabia' others likened to “syrup of soot and the essence of old shoes.”
I have to agree on that point.
Despite that, the taste for coffee hasn't lessened, in fact you cannot walk down the high street without seeing some one clutching a plastic coffee cup.
Give me tea in a china cup and saucer any day.
John Nevison was a notorious highwayman who had been convicted of horse theft and highway robbery. He went to his death on the 4th May in 1684 following his conviction of the murder.
Nevison was rogue who had a reputation as a 'gentleman highwayman' a veritable Robin Hood who it was said never used violence against his victims, who was always polite and robbed only the wealthy. He was an ex-military man from a wealthy family who fell on hard times following the death of his father. Everyone knew about Nevison at the time, even King Charles II had heard of him.
In 1676 Nevison was tried on a charge of armed robbery that took place in Kent. Evidence was heard at his trial that he was in York at eight o'clock on the evening of the murder and therefore it was impossible for him to have been in Kent that morning because agreed that it was impossible to cover over two hundred miles in one day and therefore Nevison was acquitted.
This ride from Kent to York was later used the embellish the story of another highwayman - does it ring any bells?
John Nevison's name has faded into obscurity, his life story is similar to that of many men who resorted to highway robbery to earn a living, however certain aspects of his life have been attributed to a man who few knew of at the time, but whose story would become stuff legends are made of.
Dick Turpin was a violent troublemaker in Essex, a horse rustler, a sheep stealer in Lincolnshire whose past finally caught up with him. Turpin was sentenced to death by hanging and executed this day in 1739. It is said that he paid for professional mourners to follow him up the scaffold where he put on a great show for the large crowd.
Reality and storytelling came together in 1834 in the book Rookwood, where the author, either by mistake or design, merges the gentleman highwayman that was Nevison with the violent show off that was Turpin and added his own twist to the tale in the form of Turpin's horse Black Bess who he said to have died on exhaustion following Turpin's ride from London to York to establish an alibi.
Both these men lived a life of crime and were punished for it, but I cannot help feeling sorry for Nevison, the life he chose seems to have been born out of necessity whereas Tupin's, in his later crimes anyway, out of greed and profit.
On the 13th February in 1542 the execution of Catherine Howard and Jane Boleyn.
Many people believe that it was Jane Parker, the wife of George Boleyn, who was to blame for initiating the downfall of her sister in law Anne in 1536, but there were other women in the court, Elizabeth Browne for instance, whose actions history might like to take a look at. However, it was the events of 1542 that were Jane's downfall.
In 1541, Catherine Howard, Henry VIII fifth wife, had begun a physical relationship with one of his favourite courtier, Thomas Culpepper, and Jane Boleyn went out of her way to encourage this relationship.
Catherine wrote to Culpepper in a letter that was to be all their undoing:
“praying you that you will come when my Lady Rochford is here”
If Jane had anything to do with Anne’s downfall she must have realised that she was lucky to escape in 1536, and if she didn’t, then she doesn't seem to have learnt anything from the whole affair. Jane must have known what would happen if Henry found out that she was involved with Catherine and Culpepper and when the affair was out in the open each woman blamed the other. Jane Boleyn walked right into the Culpepper affair with her eyes open.
Following their arrest, Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London and Catherine Howard at Syon Abbey. The night before her execution, Catherine is said to have spent it practicing laying her head upon the block, and Jane was in the throes of a nervous breakdown.
Both women were beheaded with one blow of the executioners axe and their bodies buried in the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.
I often asked myself the question, were Catherine, Jane and Anne's 'crimes' so appalling that they warranted a death sentence? That, I think made little difference, once they stood before the justice's their fates were sealed, state trials weren't fair trials. Schauer and Schauer in their article Law as an Engine of State wrote " Laws, like armies, were an engine of state, not a mechanism for justice!" and in that lies the answer.
On the 2nd October 1501, Catherine of Aragon arrived at the Devon port of Plymouth
Catherine was greeted by the nobility who escorted them to St Andrews Church where thanks were given for her safe arrival and outside the townspeople clamoured to welcome their distinguished foreign guests.
Catherine was later escorted to Exeter where she was to stay for fourteen days. On the 16th her future father-in-law, Henry VII, sent messengers with a letter of welcome and a delegation of courtiers to escort her to London.
Catherine was to be married to Prince Arthur, the heir to the throne of England and of course we know that this marriage was short lived. Catherine would become queen of England on her marriage to Henry, Arthur's brother and for the first eleven years of her marriage she would be happy, but in what would later be known as the Kings Great Matter her life would be turned upside down.
Catherine was renowned for her strength of character and virtue, and I wonder if she could have seen her future would have had reconsidered this English marriage as she left the Alhambra in Granada for the port of Corunna to board a boat to England.
My family and I frequently travelled on trains; it was part of my life. The longest journey and most exciting was to visit my grandparents in Cornwall. We always caught the Cornishman at Derby and on the whole, we had the carriage, just like the one in the image, all to ourselves for most of the journey. We travelled over the River Tamar on Brunel's bridge, looked at all the ships at Plymouth, stopped at the seaside station at Dawlish and passed through long dark tunnels on the way. What with sandwiches, chocolate, colouring books, joining the dots and a doll called Fingle Bunt. It was simply wonderful!
I know that advertisements can be misleading but this one, a vintage railway poster, is actually true to life.
However, on the 16th of February 1965, Dr. Richard Beeching published his plans for what he called our 'bloated' railways.
This was Beeching's second report as British Railways Board chairman, and in it, he outlined the country's transport needs for the next quarter of a century. The report followed his first controversial review of the state of Britain's railways which had been published in 1963. In that report, he said the railway system was uneconomic and under-used and recommended that a quarter of the railway system should be shut down.
So was Beeching right with his idea of railway cuts 53 years ago or am I looking at train travel through rose-coloured glasses?
On this day in 1236 the marriage of Eleanor of Provence to Henry III.
Eleanor was twelve when she arrived in England to marry the twenty-eight-year-old Henry, who she had never met.
A beauty by all accounts Eleanor was dressed in a shimmering golden outfit that 'fitted tightly at the waist and flared out to wide pleats at her feet. The sleeves were long and lined with ermine.'
There was talk that Eleanor could not give Henry an heir, but their first child, the future Edward I, was born three years later, and other children followed in quick succession. Henry was very fond and loving towards his five children and detested spending long periods of time apart from them.
Eleanor outlived Henry by nineteen years.
Henry and Eleanor were the last of my monarch ancestors, it was a long long descent via their son Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, through princesses, nobility, gentry and farmers before my arrival in the world.
Horatio Nelson had died on board the HMS Victory on the 21st October 1805. Of this Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood wrote
'a victory, such a this, has never been achieved, but at such an expense, in the loss of the most gallant of men, and best of friends, as renders it to me a victory I never wished to have witnessed'
The body of the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar had been preserved in a 'cask of brandy mixed with camphor and myrrh for preservation' and transported to Gibraltar onboard the Victory. Nelson’s body finally arrived at Greenwich Hospital on 23rd December 1805, and from the 5th January it lay in state in for three days. Four days later his coffin was carried from Greenwich in 'one of the greatest aquatic processions that ever was beheld on the River Thames' and then escorted by ten-thousand soldiers to St Pauls. Following a four-hour service, Nelson was laid to rest in a crypt within a sarcophagus that was originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey.
Nelson's death was received by the nation as a personal grief, much like that of the death of the Princess of Wales in 1997. Just like that day, hundreds of thousands of people turned out to get a glimpse of his coffin as it passed by them carried on a monumental funeral car modelled on the Victory.
On the 9th January in 1806 Nelson's funeral took place at St Paul's Cathedral in London. He was the first commoner to have been given a State Funeral.
There's more about Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar here
In 1666 the cause of the Great Fire of London was blamed on a bakery on Pudding Lane, evidently, sparks from a fire fell into some dry flour. Over thirty years later another accident with the equally combustible items was the cause of a fire in which the Tudor Whitehall Palace burned down and along with it a Hans Holbein masterpiece.
It was at 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th January in 1698 that women doing her laundry at a riverside house in London placed her clothing too near a fire, within minutes the washing was engulfed in flames as was all the furniture in the room.
The fire soon spread destroying residential and government buildings from the riverside to the Holbein Gate and the Banqueting House, both of which had survived a previous fire in 1691 that had damaged the older palace structures. Of the 1698 fire diarist, John Evelyn wrote
"Whitehall burnt! nothing but walls and ruins left."
Whitehall Palace had been the main residence of the royal family in London from the reign of Henry VIII. In 1537 Henry VIII commissioned Hans Holbein to paint a large mural so he could show off his Tudor lineage. The magnificent painting was Holbein's largest and most important royal commission, in it Henry VIII was portrayed with his queen Jane Seymour and his parents Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The mural was probably painted on the wall of Henry's privy chamber and no doubt dominated it. It is said to have faced the door and any visitor would have been immediately overwhelmed by the life-size image of Henry VIII confronting them.
How wonderful would it have been to wander the corridors of such a palace and look upon the faces of those people who changed our history, sadly it was not to be, however today some parts of the old palace do still exist but have been incorporated into new buildings in the Whitehall.
On the 22nd November in 1392 Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of Oxford, a favourite of Richard II, died near Louvain in Belgium. He had received the Earldom of Oxford when he was nine years old and was knighted along with the king, Henry, the Earl of Derby, the future Henry IV and Richard's uncle Thomas of Woodstock.
Robert de Vere benefited greatly from his friendship with the king, he was given his own rooms in Richard's castles, granted estates, gifts and other nobles' inheritances. He was also given the title Marquess of Dublin, yet he never set foot in Ireland. However, he is mostly remembered for his opposition to the Lords Appellant, a group of nobles who sort to bring the king to task over his reliance on his favourites, at Radcote Bridge.
Robert de Vere's forces were soon surrounded and after a short clash of weapons, de Vere was quick to realise the danger of his position and abandoned his men, leaving many of them to the mercy of their enemy and made his cowardly escape by crossing the river, supposedly in disguise, and headed to the Netherlands.
A year later, in what has come to be known as the Merciless Parliament he was found guilty of treason and a death sentence was passed in his absence.
Robert de Vere spent the rest of his life in exile, thus avoiding the executioner's blade. His death left Richard II bereft. Three years later, on the anniversary of his death, the king had de Vere's embalmed body brought back to England for burial in the Priory at Earl's Colne, in Essex.
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.
My Family Stories
- Bustaine of Braunton: Introduction
- Hunt of Barnstaple Introduction >
- Lakeman of Mevagissey >
- Meavy Introduction >
- Mitchell of Crantock: An Introduction >
- Mohun of Dunster: Introduction >
- Purches of Hampshire and Cornwall >
- Scoboryo of St Columb Major >
Thomas Vaughan: An Introduction
- Smith of Barkby Introduction >
- Taylor Introduction >
- Tosny of Normandy >
- Toon of Leicestershire: Introduction >
- Underwood of Coleorton Introduction
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