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.
I often wonder what I would do in a given situation in history, for instance, would I have followed Richard Duke of York against Henry VI? At Henry VIII's separation from Rome would I have stuck with the old religion or taken up the new Protestant one? Nobody knows what they would have done, and I suppose it all depends on who your family were, what positions they held and how they thought the turning of fortunes wheel might affect them.
My 15th century West Country ancestor was a fervent heretic hunter, yet his Catholic son, considered ‘suspect and weak and followed only those noblemen who are dangerous in the county’ conformed to the teachings of the Protestant church. I have to assume that, if I was with my ancestor at this time I might have joined him in capturing those men who were not of the same faith as me or maybe I would have been willing to join a rebellion that was taking place in the first few months of the reign of Queen Mary that was known as Wyatt's Rebellion.
The proposed marriage of the newly crowned Queen Mary to Philip of Spain and the fear that many people had that England would once again turn towards the old religion was at the root of Wyatt's rebellion. He had previously been imprisoned for his support of Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne but he had managed to escape the executioner's axe. Wyatt's new plan was to remove Mary from the throne and replace her with Elizabeth, who would then marry Edward Courtenay. Courtenay was never a proven rebel but he was however embroiled in the plot. Peter Carew, a West Country gentleman did take part as did Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk. Many others joined Wyatt but no one seemed to notice that the vast majority of the populace had taken to Mary as their queen.
On entering London Wyatt's rebels were outnumbered by the queen's forces and Wyatt was captured.
While in the tower Wyatt named Edward Courtenay as the instigator of the rebellion and begged Courtenay to admit to it. By implication, Courtenay and Princess Elizabeth were suspected of being involved and they too were imprisoned, when no evidence was found they were both released and Courtenay fled the country but Wyatt was sent to trial at Westminster Hall on the 15th of March.
Thomas Wyatt mounted the scaffold on the 11th April in 1554 and was executed for treason.
Following his trial Thomas Wyatt was beheaded on Tower Hill, his body quartered and his bowels and genitals burned. Wyatt's demise was gruesome but the treatment of his remains was even more so, his head and body parts were then taken and parboiled and were later displayed for all to see, his head however disappeared.
What of the fate of Carew and the Duke of Suffolk? Carew, like Courteney, escaped abroad he was captured and imprisoned but later released on payment of his debts to the crown. The Duke of Suffolk also escaped but was found on his estate in Warwickshire, where he was betrayed by his gamekeeper.
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 (at least Jane thought she did) with one of his favourite courtiers, 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 learned 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 executioner's 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 justices their fates were sealed, and 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 25th January 1554, what has come to be known as the Wyatt Rebellion began with a proclamation read out in the market square of Maidstone -
'Forasmuch as it is now spred abrode and certainly pronounced by the lords chancelour and other of the counsell, of the Quenes determinate pleasure to marry w. a stranger: etc we therefore write unto you, because you be our neighbors, because you be our frandes, and because you be Englishmen, that you will joyne with us, as we will with you unto death in this behalfe, protecting unto you before God...'
Thomas Wyatt's plan was to remove Mary from the throne of England and replace her with Elizabeth who would then marry West Country nobleman Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon.
By the end of January 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt and the four thousand men marched to Blackheath, south-east of the City of London to secure the advancements of 'liberty and commonwealth' that had been threatened by 'the Queen's determinate pleasure to marry with a stranger.’
The rebellion was a failure, on entering the city Wyatt's rebels were outnumbered by the queen's forces and Wyatt was captured.
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.
I first came across Sibel Penn quite a while ago when I was looking into the family of Margery Pigott of Little Horwood in Buckinghamshire who, in 1587, left a bequest to her cousin Thomas Hampden 'whom I have brought up of a child.' Sibel’s maiden name was Hampden and she was of the family of Hampden, also in Buckinghamshire. I took no notice of her, only entering her name on Margery’s family tree noting that Sibel was Margery’s cousin 3x removed. Sibel was the wife of David Penn of Penn’s Place in Buckinghamshire, she was of the same family as Margery’s step mother in law Margaret, the heiress of John Penn of Penn’s Place.
It wasn’t until the other day that Sibel cropped up again as nurse to Edward VI following his birth in 1537, she was later a lady of the bedchamber to Elizabeth I.
Sibel is also Hampton Court’s most famous ghost, the Grey Lady, she died of smallpox after catching it from Elizabeth in 1562. She is buried in Hampton Church with a live-size marble effigy over her tomb.
In 1829 the church was demolished and her remains scattered. Soon afterwards an unearthly noise was heard through the wall of the south wing of Hampton Court said to sound like that of someone spinning thread. An investigation was mounted and the wall taken down, an old spinning wheel was found and the floorboards worn away where the treadle hit the floor! However, Sibel's ghost is said to haunt Hampton Court; she was seen in 1890 by a sentry who noticed a woman dressed in the exact clothing Sibel wears on her tomb.
Hampton Court, as you all will know is famous for its ghosts as it is for being the property of Cardinal Wolsey and later Henry VIII, and Sibel’s ghost is not the only one to wander its corridors. In the Haunted Gallery poor Catherine Howard is said to have run up and down screaming for mercy. Jane Seymour, the much loved third queen of Henry is also said to have been seen, clothed in white and carrying a light taper close to what is known as the Silver Stick Gallery.
Interestingly, the village of Penn, the home of the aforementioned Penn’s has its own ghost, that of an 18th-century farm labourer, who appears, laughing, on a phantom horse.
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.
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
- Umfreville of Devon >
- Other Families
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- The Ancestors
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