So in part 1 we looked at the first 3 Mother’s in Law of King Henry VIII, Queen Isabella of Castile & Leon, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn and Lady Margery Seymour. Now onto Mother’s in Law 4-6.
Mother in Law 4 was Maria of Jülich-Berg, the mother of Anne of Cleves. She was born in 1491 in what is now Germany to William IV, Duke of Julich-Berg and his wife Sibylle of Brandenburg. Maria was her father’s heir and inherited his titles in 1511 when he died. Maria married John III, Duke of Cleves in 1509 and the couple had 3 children, William 1516-1592 who became Duke of Julich-Cleves-Berg, Amalia 1517-1586 and Anne 1515-1557 who married King Henry VIII of England. After her husband’s death in 1511 Maria did not re marry. She raised her children with Catholic ideals even though they became Protestants, hence King Henry wanting to marry one of her daughters. There is some suggestion that Maria was against the marriage of Anne to Henry. Some say it was due to what had happened to his previous wives and others say she didn’t want her daughter to leave. Maria died in 1543. In her life time her son became a Duke and her daughter became Queen Consort of England, briefly.
Henry’s next wife was the ill-fated Catherine Howard. Her mother was Jocasta or Joyce Culpeper. She was born around 1480 to Sir Richard Culpeper and Isabel Worsley. Joyce married twice. The first was to Ralph Leigh who was her step father’s brother. They had 5 children, Sir John Leigh, Ralph Leigh, Isabel Leigh, Joyce Leigh and Margaret Leigh. After her husband’s death Joyce went on to marry Lord Edmund Howard who was the 3rd son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Together they had 6 children, Henry Howard, Sir Charles Howard, Sir George Howard, Margaret Howard, Catherine Howard c1523-1542 and Mary Howard. Little more is known about Joyce as she is believed to have died in 1528 and no definitive portrait of her is known. If she had survived I wonder how the life of her daughter may have differed. It must be said that it is very likely King Henry knew his future mother in law or at least had met her as her husband Edmund Howard was a member of the court and one of the Kings attendants.
Henry’s final wife Catherine Parr was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife Maud Green. Maud was born in Northamptonshire in 1492 to Sir Thomas Green and his wife Jane Fogge. Maud was at the Royal court from around 1509 as she was a lady in waiting to Queen Consort Catherine of Aragon and was one of the Queens closest ladies entrusting the organisation of the education of the Royal children to her since Maud was intelligent and well educated for the time. Before she arrived at court she married Sir Thomas Parr who was the Sheriff of Northamptonshire. Together the couple had 3 children who survived. They were Catherine Parr 1512-1548 who became Queen Consort number 6 to King Henry VIII and was the god daughter of Queen Consort Catherine of Aragon and probably named after her, William Parr 1st Marquess of Northamptonshire and 1st Earl of Essex 1513-1571 and Anne Parr 1515-1552 who became Countess of Pembroke. Maud died before she would ever know that her daughter had become Queen Consort. She died in 1531 and was buried in St Ann’s, Blackfriars alongside her husband Thomas who had died in 1517.
What Henry’s relationship with his mother’s in law that he knew was like we may never know, but none of them got into trouble with him for anything so maybe he liked them. He would have definitely known Lady Elizabeth Boleyn nee Howard, Lady Margery Seymour nee Wentworth and Lady Maud Parr nee Green as they would have been at court during his time as King. Did he know Joyce Culpeper? Possibly through her husband. He wouldn’t have known Queen Isabella of Castile & Leon as she died before he married her daughter and Maria of Jülich-Berg is not known to have visited Anne of Cleves. Also what they thought of him is not known but whatever the relationship their daughters went on to become Queens of England for better or worse, mainly worse.
So as those who read my blog know I’m a big fan of the history of the monarch and especially the Tudors. As you know Henry VIII was a big fan of wedding cake, well he must have been since he married 6 times! We all know about his wives, but who were his mother’s in law?
Infanta Catalina of Aragon’s mother was Queen Isabella of Castile and Leon, Queen consort of Aragon, Majorca, Sardinia, Sicily and Naples as well as Countess of Barcelona. She was born in 1451 in Madrigal de les Torres in Castile to King John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal. Isabella became the second in line to throne of Castile after her father died when she was 4. After her younger brother’s death she became the heir. When she was 18 she married Ferdinand of Aragon the son of King John II of Aragon who later became King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Isabella succeeded her brother Henry in 1474 as Queen of Castile and Leon. The couple had 7 children, 1 was a miscarriage and another was still born. Their surviving children were Isabella 1470-1498 who became Queen consort of Portugal, John 1478-1497, Joanna 1479-1555 who was Queen of Castile in her own right, Maria 1482-1517 who was Queen consort of Portugal (she married her sister Isabella’s husband after she died) and Catherine (Catalina) 1485-1536 who married Prince Arthur of England and then his brother King Henry VIII.
Isabella and Ferdinand and known as the Catholic Monarchs and it was during their reign that the infamous Spanish Inquisition started. If you weren’t a good Catholic you were a heretic and could be burned at the stake. They also funded Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Indies, he ended up in the America’s but hey we all make mistakes with directions. This lead to the great Spanish influence throughout the America’s and the Caribbean.
Isabella died at the Medina del Campo Royal Palace in Castile-Leon in 1504 after a steady decline in her health following the deaths of her family members. Her tomb is in the Capilla Real in Granada.
Lady Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Lady Elizabeth Boleyn nee Howard. Elizabeth Howard was born around 1480 and was the daughter of Thomas Howard the 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his wife Elizabeth Tilney. Lady Elizabeth was a lady in Waiting to Queen Consort Elizabeth of York and later Queen Consort Catherine of Aragon. Around 1500 Elizabeth married Thomas Boleyn who later became the Earl of Ormond and Wiltshire making her the Countess of Ormond and Wiltshire. The couple had 3 children. Mary c1499 -1543, Anne c1500-1536 and George c1503 to 1536. Elizabeth became the Queens mother in 1533 following Anne’s marriage to Henry VIII. Her tenure was short though, as was Anne’s. Following Anne and George’s fall from grace Elizabeth fought hard to save them but not even her father the Duke of Norfolk could save them from death. After the executions had taken place Elizabeth left London and died in 1538. She is buried in St Mary’s Church in Lambeth.
Jane Seymour was the daughter of Margery Wentworth and Sir John Seymour. Jane's mother Margery was born around 1478 and spent time in the household of her Aunt the Countess of Surrey. She married Sir John Seymour a courtier and solider of King Henry VII in 1494. Together the couple had 10 children. John c 1500-1510. Edward c1500-1522 who became the Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector during the reign of King Edward VI. Henry 1503-1578. Thomas c1508-1549 who was an admiral and became 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley and married Henry VIII widow Catherine Parr. John and Anthony who died young. Jane c1509-1537 who became Queen Consort of King Henry VIII. Margery who died around 1528. Elizabeth c1518-1568 and Dorothy. After Sir John died in 1536 Margery did not remarry. She died in 1550 having seen her daughter provide the much longed for male heir for King Henry VIII, her eldest son become Lord Protector of England and Wales for her Grandson King Edward VI and another son executed for treason.
So as you can see the mothers of the Queens consorts can be just as interesting as the daughters. The next 3 Mother’s in Law will be looked at in the future in Henry VIII’s Mother’s in Law part 2.
So in the past I’ve introduced you to my home city of Sheffield and this week I was wondering what had changed in the city that my ancestors would have known and that was no longer there or been adapted.
So the biggest change is in industry. Sheffield was synonymous with steel production, blade making and the cutlery industry. So much of this has now gone. Don’t get me wrong it does still take place in the city but not on the scale it did. When you went through the census returns the men were working in the steel mills, as blade forgers, blade grinders or making cutlery or even scissors. Even the women were working in the industry. So many of them worked as buffer girls which were the women who polished up the cutlers once it was made so it was ready for sale.
I was also thinking about the way the building in the city centre have changed. In my life time building have come and gone. I miss the Town Hall extension which was lovingly names the egg boxes. So what big changes have there been?
So one change my ancestor may notice happened to the City Hall. This is a massive performance venue in the city that hosts concerts, plays and so much more. It was completed in the 1930’s. Now during the WW2 a bomb exploded in the square outside the hall. If you visit look at the pillars that were once pristine but now they have shrapnel wounds in them. I always find it fitting that the war memorial for the city stands in the square where the bomb fell.
Another massive change would be to the churches in the city. The Cathedral had an extension in the 1960’s and it’s off the period. It’s so different from the medieval church building. It’s a very marmite addition (you either love it or you hate it). Another big change would be that St Paul’s church next to the Town Hall is no longer there. It was built in the early 1700’s as the other churches couldn’t cope with the growing population. By 1937 the church had virtually no congregation so it shut and was pulled down. My ancestors may even has gone there as some lived locally to it.
In 1905 King Edward VII and Queen Alexander opened Firth Court at the University of Sheffield. It is a grand building and my ancestors certainly would have known the building as again some lived in the area. By 1971 it had a new building next to it which was designed in the 1960’s. It was built using the same coloured bricks but the styles were completely different.
Now I know this is a minor change but it’s a change no the less. In Sheffield next to the Town Hall is a police box. It was installed in 1928 and is still there and it’s even a listed building. The change is that it now says South Yorkshire Police on it instead of just Sheffield Police as it was when it was built. South Yorkshire didn’t exist until 1974 when it was formed from the West Riding of Yorkshire. So in a way another that’s another change. The city didn’t move but it moved county.
There will be so many things throughout the City that have changed since my ancestors were around. The fact I’m even calling it a city is different as from 1297 to 1893 it was a town. So why not think about what has changed in your area that you ancestors would have known.
So things are strange at the moment to say the least. Parents are trying to work full time and teach the kids. So Why not use technology and family to bring the kids closer to their ancestry. Family has a wealth of information in it that is vital to our family history. So kids ask you grandparents etc the questions now and write it down and it can work as a boredom buster for both young and old.
I really believe that children need to learn about their ancestors. These days we don’t live close together as families like our ancestors did and so were may not know as much about our forebears.
I remember as a kid having to ask questions of my Grandpa as part of a school project. I had a sheet with my questions on and Grandpa wrote down his answers in my Fraggle Rock note book as I sat with him in his bedroom and asked the questions.
I was trying to decide what the questions were and I think they must have been:
1. Where did you live growing up?
2. How many rooms were there in your house?
3. How many bedrooms did your house have?
4. Who lived in the house?
6. What was used for cleaning the house?
7. How did you do the washing?
8. How was the house heated?
9. What was there in the kitchen?
10. What furniture did you have in your bedroom?
11. What was in the bathroom?
12. What furniture was in the sitting room?
So from here I decided to compile a list of questions children could ask their parents, grandparents and if their lucky enough great grandparents (I was lucky I knew both my paternal great grandma’s).
1. What is your full name?
2. When and where were you born?
3. Did you have a nick name?
4. What were your parent’s names?
5. When were your parent’s dates of birth?
6. Where were your parents born?
7. What were your siblings called and when and where were they born?
8. Where did you live?
9. Where did you go to school?
10. What was you highest qualification?
11. Who did you marry?
12. Where did you meet your spouse?
13. When did you get married?
14. Who were your bridesmaids and best man?
15. Did you have any children?
16. What did you do for a living?
17. Who were your grandparents?
18. When and where were they born?
19. What were their occupations?
20. Did you know your Great Grandparents?
21. What can you tell me about them?
22. When and where did they die?
23. Where were they buried or cremated?
They could take a list of questions with them to the family gathering and ask away. Once they’ve got all their answers they could spend the rest of Christmas writing the story of their ancestors. Or they could have one of the many blank ancestor forms from the Internet download and printed and then file them in. There is a great selection at: https://www.cyndislist.com/free-stuff/printable-charts-and-forms/
They could also have a blank family tree printed out and filed in or even better make one. All you need to do is draw a tree and place small printed out photos of your ancestors and stick them on. Then write their names underneath. Alternatively use one of the many blank family trees which can be printed out that don’t have photos on.
Who knows what impact going through this process may have on the kids. They may develop an interest in genealogy. This may lead to a lifelong passion for the subject and who knows where they may end up. They may up being a professional genealogist like me. This could also lead them to a passion for history in general as a hobby and it’s well know a knowledge of the past can help in future.
Another quick thought is to make a diary and get the kids to write all the birth, marriages and deaths of their ancestors in it so they can wish a happy birthday to them.
So make genealogy a fun thing that may spark a lifelong passion and if nothing else give the kids a project for a few hours.
Now you may not have heard of this lady but what a life she had. She was the second recorded supercentenarian and lived in 3 centuries.
Margaret Ann Harvey was born on the 18th May 1792 in St Peter Port on the Island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. She was the first child and eldest of seven children born to John Harvey and his wife Elizabeth Harvey nee Guille.
Margaret’s father was a shipping magnet and privateer which afforded her a better life than most. She attended school in Bristol followed by finishing school in Brussels. She was a great fan of literature and spoke English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and could read Greek.
On the 18th January 1823 in St Peter Port she married John Neve. The couple lived in England from their marriage until John Neve died in 1849. The couple didn’t have any children so after John’s death Margaret returned to Guernsey and spent the rest of her life living there.
Throughout her life she travelled in Europe. She visited the battle site of Waterloo and throughout Europe including the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She travelled before her marriage and during. In her widowhood her travelling companion was her sister.
It was reported that in 1902 Margaret was found climbing a tree to pick apples at the age of 110. It just shows she never gave up. I couldn’t climb a tree as a kid so full marks to Margaret.
Margaret died on the 4th April 1903 a month before her 111 birthday. She was alive in the 1700’s, 1800’s and 1900’s.
So let’s consider what she was aware of during her life time.
She was alive during the reign of 5 monarchs. When she was born King George III was on the throne and would reign for a further 28 years. Then came King George IV, King William IV, Queen Victoria and King Edward VII was 2 years into his reign when she died. She would have started out life as a Georgian and ended as an Edwardian.
The world changed so much during her lifetime. The industrial revolution was a big part of her life as was the inventions that would change our lives.
Some of the inventions included:
1798. Edward Jenner invented the inoculation for Smallpox.
1804. Richard Trevithick invented the steam locomotive as a form of power.
1837. Samuel Morse develops morse code.
1855. Henry Bessemer develops the Bessemer converter for use in the steel industry.
1867. Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.
1876. Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone.
1879. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb (amongst others).
1901. The first vacuum cleaner was developed.
Also the steamship was developed, steam trains for passengers, the first steps into flight and the development of the car.
There was also so much change in the world. Margaret was known to have visited the battle site of Waterloo in Belgium but she also would have been aware of so much more. She recalled she remembered the end of the French Revolution which ran from 1789 to 1799. This was followed by the Revolutionary wars which ran from 1792 to 1802. Next came the Napoleonic wars which ran from 1803 to 1815 ending with the Battle of Waterloo. The Crimean war ran from 1853 to 1856 and Margaret would certainly have been aware of this. Next was the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The final major outbreak she lived through was the Boer War from 1899 to 1902.
Margaret’s life must have changed so much over her 110 years with so many new developments and inventions, changes in medicine and the world around her.
This week I thought I’d give you a list of all the births, marriages, deaths, burials and coronations that have occurred for the Monarchs and Consorts of England, Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Birth month, or it could be April, of future Queen Margaret of Scotland, 1283, Tonsberg, Norway.
Birth of future Queen Consort Caroline of Ansbach, 1683, Ansbach, Holy Roman Empire. Consort of King George II.
Death of Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, 1619, Hampton Court Palace. Consort of King James VI.
Death of Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, 1619, Hampton Court Palace. Consort of King James VI.
Birth of future King Robert II of Scotland, 1316, Paisley Abbey.
Death of Queen Consort Matilda of Bolougne, 1152, Hedingham Castle, Essex. Consort of King Stephen.
Death of Queen Consort Joan of England, 1238, Havering-Atte-Bower, England. Consort of King Alexander II of Scotland.
Coronation of Queen Consort Phillipa of Hainault, 1330, Westminster Abbey. Consort of King Edward III.
Reign 1 ends of King Henry VI after being deposed, 1461.
Reign 1 ends of Queen Consort Margaret of Anjou, 1461. Consort of King Henry VI.
Reign 1 begins of King Edward IV, 1461.
Birth of future King Henry II, 1133, Le Mans, France.
Burial of Queen Mary II, 1695, Westminster Abbey.
Burial 1 of King Richard II, 1400, Kings Langley. Moved to Westminster Abbey in 1413.
Death of King William III, 1702, Kensington Palace.
Reign begins of Queen Anne, 1702.
Reign begins of Consort Prince George of Denmark, 1702.
Marriage of King Edward VII to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, 1863, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Death of Queen Consort Anne Neville, 1485, Westminster. Consort of King Richard III.
Death of King Lulach of Scotland, 1058, Essie.
Birth of future King James IV, 1473, Stirling Castle.
Death of King Alexander II of Scotland, 1286, Kinghorn Ness, Fife.
End of reign of Queen Yolande of Dreux, 1236, consort of King Alexander II of Scotland.
Reign begins of Queen Margaret of Scotland, 1236.
Divorce of King David II of Scotland from Margaret Drummond, 1370
Reign ends of Scottish Queen Consort Margaret Drummond, 1370.
Death of King Henry IV, 1413, Westminster.
Reign ends of Queen Consort Joan of Navarre, 1413. Consort of King Henry IV.
Reign begins of King Henry V, 1413.
Death of former King Henry VI, 1471, Tower of London.
Coronation of Queen Consort Matilda of Bolougne, 1136, Consort of King Stephen.
Birth of future Queen Consort Margaret of Anjou, 1430, Pont-A-Mousson, Lorraine, France. Consort of King Henry VI.
Death of Queen Elizabeth, 1603, Richmond Palace, Surrey.
Reign begins of King James VI, 1603.
Reign begins of Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, 1603, Consort of King James VI.
Death of Dowager Queen Consort Mary of Teck, 1953, Marlborough House, London. Consort of King George V.
Approximate start of the reign of King Malcolm II of Scotland 1005
Reign begins of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, 1306.
Reign begins of Queen Consort Elizabeth de Burgh, 1306, Consort of King Robert I.
Coronation of King Robert I, 1306.
Coronation of Queen Consort Elizabeth de Burgh, 1306, Consort of King Robert 1.
Coronation of King James II of Scotland, 1437, Holyrood Abbey.
Burial of Queen Consort Anne Neville, 1485, Westminster Abbey. Consort of King Richard III.
Possible birth date of the future King Malcolm III, 1031, Scotland.
Coronation of King Robert II of Scotland, 1371.
Coronation of Queen Consort Eupemia de Ross, 1371. Consort of King Robert II.
Burial of King Richard III, 2015, Leicester Cathedral.
Death of King James VI, 1625, Theobalds House.
Death of King James VI, 1625, Theobalds House.
Reign begins of King Charles I, 1625.
Reign begins of King Charles I, 1625.
Burial of King Alexander III, 1286, Dunfermline Abbey.
Death of Dowager of Queen Consort Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, 2002, Royal Lodge, Windsor.
Burial of Dowager Queen Consort Mary of Teck, 1953, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
So that’s March covered for you.
Know I bet your thinking what is she on about? Who is Isabella Mayson? Well you may know her better by her married name of Isabella Beeton.
Isabella Mary Mayson was born in London on the 14th March 1836 to Benjamin Mayson and his wife Elizabeth Jerrom. She had 2 younger sisters and a younger brother. When she was 4 her father died and she went to live with her grandfather. She eventually went back to live with her mother. When she was 7 her mother married Henry Dorling the clerk of Epsom race course. Henry had 4 children of his own so it was a large family living at the race course. It got even bigger after Elizabeth and Henry had 13 more children. This taught Isabella a lot about running a large household and raising a family. To be honest most days must have been crowed control in the Mayson Dorling household. Isabella spent time at boarding schools in London and Germany and it was in Germany she began an interest in pastry which continued when she returned to Epsom.
Isabella married Samuel Orchart Beeton in July 1855 at St Martin’s Church, Epsom. Samuel was a publisher who made his fortune publishing Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Samuel encouraged Isabella to write for the women’s magazines of the day including The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. It was in the magazine that she encouraged women to send in their recipes which they published, usually unsourced. Isabella also translated French texts and had a cooker column. Isabella also had a column in the new magazine The Queen, The Ladies newspaper.
It was in 1861 that Isabella published her most famous work the Book of Household Management through her husband’s publishing house. The book was 1112 pages long and in the first year sold over 60,000 copies. All the aspiring women wanted a copy. The book held a wealth of information in it. The book held around 900 recipes most of which were the ones that were sent into The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. The book also gave information on how to run the household including how to manage the servants and look after the animals of the house. She also advocates the use of in season produce. There is also information on basic first aid and poisons. I’m not sure if it’s how to uses them or how to avoid them. Mind you the way I cook if it explained how to survive my food then it could help. Later editions of the book included pictures and the book is still in print today.
Isabella continued her work in the magazines and with her book throughout her marriage as well as being a mother. She gave birth to 4 sons and had several miscarriages. Her first son Samuel Orchart Beeton was born in May 1857 but he died in August the same year. Her second son Samuel Orchart Beeton was born in September 1859 and he died on New Year’s Eve of the same year. The couple’s third child was born in December 1863 and he was named Orchart Beeton and he lived until the age of 83 in 1947. Their final child was Mayson Moss Beeton who was born in January 1865 and he also died in 1947 aged 82. It may be that Isabella’s husband had syphilis when the couple married and it was this that caused the miscarriages.
Isabella died on the 6th February 1865 aged 28 just 9 days after giving birth to Mayson. She died from puerperal fever or childbed fever. This is a bacterial infection and is similar to sepsis. It’s the same thing Queen Jane Seymour died from.
So just think how many of your ancestors have read this book since it was published in 1861. Did my great, great grandmothers pick up a book? I can just see Charlotte Weeds nee Voyce in her cottage in Norfolk with the book or Louisa Dent nee Payling in the Red Lion in Wisbech. How about Jane Jessop nee Wood cooking up a storm in Barnsley waiting for her slater husband to come home. How about Grace Elshaw nee Moor cooking for her family and running the household waiting for her forger son in law to come home. I may never know if they read it but maybe they did.
Today is world book day to promote reading especially in kids. These days we pick up our e reader and download the latest books or go to the book shop and get our hands on a proper book. We have books everywhere from the libraries to the shelves at home. We read everything from a good murder mystery to a political thriller to a good paranormal book. But what were our ancestors reading?
Now for me it would be a great paranormal book full of werewolves and vampires. But then there are the great books that combine genealogy, history and mystery. I love 2 series of these book, the Morton Farrier books by Nathan Dylan Goodwin and the Steve Robinson series based around Jefferson Tayte. There are more series out there but these are my favourite. Then there’s a good history book whether fact or fiction. I’m a fan of anything by Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir.
In 1950 one of the best selling books was Animal Farm by Orson Wells (I prefer Orson’s farm the cartoon series). The book is basically a look at what was happening in 1940’s Europe told through the eyes of animals portraying the main political figures. For the younger reader the frankly excellent The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis was published. This is the story of 4 evacuated children who enter another world through a wardrobe and the side of good under the command of Aslan the Lion take on the evil side of the Witch.
If we go further back to 1900 the grownups could pick up a copy of The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud and for the kids it was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. I’ll admit I’ve never read either but they were all the rage at the time. Maybe my Great Grandparents or Great, Great Grandparents picked up a copy.
In 1890 you could read the latest Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (he wasn’t knighted until 1902) or for the kids there was English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. This was a collection of fairy tales including some well-known ones such as Jack and the Beanstalk and less known ones such as The Fish and the Ring. If you’re interested you can read the book here: https://archive.org/details/englishfairytale00jaco
Let’s go back to 1880 where our ancestors may have settled down to read the latest Mark Twain A Tramp Abroad or for the little ones Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Now in 1870 one of the most famous nursery rhymes was written in the Owl and the Pussycat. For the older reader they could read the latest by the French writer Jules Verne. They could descend under the waves on board the Nautilus and attempt to find the sea monster through Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.
The 1860’s saw Wilkie Collins publish the novel the Woman in White which was a good old who done it. If this wasn’t our ancestor’s bag then maybe they would have reached for the new novel by George Eliot The Mill on the Floss which follows the lives of 2 siblings as they grow up.
1850 would have seen people reading for David Copperfield (the book not a person) by Charles Dickens and in 1840 Edgar Allan Poe published his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque which was a collection of short stories.
1830 saw the publishing of the novel The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck by Mary Shelley which considered that Perkin Warbeck was actually Richard of York the second son of King Edward IV. For the children why not the Chronicles of a School Room by Anna Maria Hall.
Back in 1820 the novel of the year was Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott which is set in medieval Scotland in the 12th century. 1810 could have seen your ancestor’s reading the latest by Percy Bysshe Shelley entitled Zastrozzi which is a romance set in Germany.
Now some of these books are still loved today by some even if they just know the books by film and TV adaptations but they do still live on and can be read by us today.
I suppose what we should remember in all this is that we have access to books and we can all read them when we want. This wasn’t a luxury our ancestors may have had. They may not have been able to read and books would have been too expensive for them to buy. The central library in Sheffield didn’t open until 1934 so before then you would have to buy your books. So this world book day why not settle down with a book you’ve being bursting to read and lose yourself in the pages. Now will it be Freddy the Frog, Don’t Forget the Bacon or Eric Carle’s seminal work The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
February may be the shortest month of the year but for the history of the Monarchy it was quite busy.
1st February 1327 was the coronation of King Edward III. He came to the throne following the death of his father Edward II. He came to the throne aged 14 on the 25th January 1327 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
2nd February 1626 was the date of the coronation of King Charles I. His reign began on the 27th March 1625 when his father James VI (under the new convention) died. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey but his wife Henrietta Maria of France was not crowned alongside him as she was of the Catholic faith and as such could not be crowned in a Church of England ceremony.
6th February 1685 saw the death of King Charles II at Whitehall Palace several days after he suffered a seizure. Charles and his wife Catherine of Braganza didn’t have any children, although Charles was rumoured to have had as many as 14 illegitimate children, so he was succeeded by his brother James as King James VII (under the new convention) whose reign began on this day. It was also the date of the birth of the future Queen Anne in 1665. She was born at St James Palace to the future King James VII and his first wife Anne Hyde.
7th February 1102 was the date of birth of Matilda, the daughter of King Henry 1. She would later become the Empress Consort of the Holy Roman Empire and then Lady of the English during the Medieval Anarchy. She was also the mother of the Plantagenet dynasty in England through her marriage to Geoffrey Plantagenet and their descendants. The 7th of February also saw the marriage of King Henry IV to Joanna of Navarre, the daughter of the King of Navarre, at Winchester Cathedral. It was the Kings second marriage and produced no issues.
9th February 1649 was the burial date of King Charles I following his execution for treason on the 30th January 1649. Charles was not allowed to be buried at Westminster Abbey so he was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
12th February 1554 was a black day. It was the date that Queen Jane was executed at the Tower of London and then buried within the Tower at St Peter ad Vincular. She was executed on the orders of her cousin Queen Mary as she feared Jane would be a focal point for a Protestant uprising. Jane’s husband Guildford Dudley was also executed on the same day.
14th February 1400 is the date when it was believed that King Richard II died at Pontefract Castle. He may have starved to death, although no one is really sure. Richard had been force to abdicate the year before in favour of his cousin King Henry IV. This date was also the date of the burial of King Charles II in 1685 at Westminster Abbey.
15th February 1516 saw the future Queen Mary enter the world at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London. She was the only surviving child of King Henry VIII and his first wife Queen Catherine of Aragon and would become Queen after the death of her half-brother King Edward VI in 1553.
16th February 1547 was the burial day of King Henry VIII. Henry had died on the 28th January at Whitehall Palace in London. His body was transferred to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where he was buried alongside his third wife Queen Jane Seymour.
20th February 1547 was the day King Edward VI was crowned King at Westminster Abbey. He ascended the throne aged 9 after the death of his father King Henry VIII. He would reign until his death in 1553.
25th February 1308 saw another coronation in Westminster Abbey. It was on this day that King Edward II was crowned. He became King after the death of his father King Edward I on the 8th July 1307. Edward was crowned alongside his new bride Isabella of France.
So lots happen in the monarchy in February. Why not try coming up with a similar list for your own family.
This week the new £20 note enters circulation in the UK, but did you know that on the 26th February 1797 the first £1 was issued. The bank of England did this as a result of the panic the Invasion of Fishguard created. But what was the invasion of Fishguard?
It’s the year 1797 and Britain is about to be invaded for the last time by a foreign force. The location, the towns of Fishguard and Goodwick in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The invaders, the French.
Now anyone who knows the area will tell you it’s a quiet place with a nice walk along the parrog at Goodwick and the old harbour of Fishguard. At the time of the invasion the area was deeply agricultural (as it is today) and small fishing vessels would have been out and about.
So how did this come about? Well it’s was a kind of past time that the French had a go at the British and we had a go back. On the 22th February 1797 it was the French’s turn. They thought if they invaded the people of Britain would join forces with them against the nobility and land owners in an attempt to gain more rights. The French people had successfully done this in the late 1780’s early 1790’s during the French Revolution.
The French were under the command of Colonel William Tate, who incidentally was of Irish American ancestry, and disliked the British as some of his family were killed during the American Revolution. What better way to get back at us than to invade. He had 4 ships loaded with around 1400 soldiers, around 600 regular troops and the rest were ex and part time soldiers as well as criminals. He anchored his ships 2 miles from Fishguard and the landing parties began.
There was panic amongst the people as you can imagine. They took up arms under the command of Thomas Knox who was a local landowner. They used any weapon they could find including the scythes from the land and what guns they had.
The French were busily looting in the surrounding areas and farms where their main target so they could get food and steal what valuables they could find. In one instance a French soldiers shot a grandfather clock thinking it was a person. As a side note the clock still exists with its hole. By the second day of the invasion it was reported that many of the French soldiers were rather merry on the wine and beer they had found.
The locals had had enough and moved to where the French were with their makeshift weapons and began capturing them. It’s said that the local shoemaker Jemima Nicholas who was in her late 40’s captures 12 soldiers using only a pitch folk and marched them back to Fishguard. She allegedly later brought 2 more to the town, one under each arm (well she was described as a well-built lady).
Now Colonel Tate was at an impasse. His ships had returned to France as he was convinced of his success, but the locals were closing in on them. He then got the shock of his life when he saw British armed soldiers heading in his direction. What he actually saw was Welsh women in the traditional costumes who from a distance could be mistaken for soldiers by their hats (there is some debate about whether this is true but I love the story).
As a result the Colonel surrendered that night to the British commander Lord Cawdor. The next day the people of the town gathered to watch the capture of the remaining soldiers. So by 4pm on the 24th February 1797 it was all over. The jovial French set off to walk to Haverfordwest and the prisons and churches (which were used as an overflow prison). The prisoners remained in the area until the following year when they were returned to France, Tate included, under a prisoner exchange.
So in just 3 days the last invasion of Britain was over. The French were defeated and no one would try and invade our lands again. Jemima Nicholas was the heroine of the day and she lived until 1832 when she died aged 82.
If you go to Fishguard there is a tapestry depicting the events of the invasion. It was made in 1997 and is designed along the same lines as the Bayeux tapestry. It can be seen in Fishguard town hall. There is also a video made of the recreation of the capture of the French which was done in 1997 (I’ve seen some of it, but homework called!), the lady playing Jemima certainly gave it her all.
So we can really thank the French for giving our ancestors a new currency note. Mind you most probably never got to see them.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my Family History Ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!