Filed under 17th century history

Rudolph II & Daughter Sophie

Rudolph II & Daughter Sophie

I have often noted how rare are images of children from the past; here’s an unusual pair of wax portraits. The first is of Rudolph II,(1552-1612) son and heir to Maximilian II Holy Roman Emperor. It was made in the dreaded year 1666. He is noted for being a bad ruler, helping cause the 30 … Continue reading

Machin Tomb, Gloucester Cathedral

Machin Tomb, Gloucester Cathedral

This is the only Tudor tomb in the Cathedral (I think), showing the family of Alderman Thomas Machin who died in 1614 and Christian his wife who survived him by only a year. They were survived by quite a large brood, but what intrigues me is how the young boys had to continue round the … Continue reading

A Bad Doctor

A Bad Doctor

John Aubrey is one of the great English writers and left a huge amount of diaries which range over a wide range of topics. They are chatty, he often qualifies what he writes by citing he’s not sure of this, or that someone told him, so provides insight into his life and thinking. This is … Continue reading

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

This is one of the most important, but least known historical and archaeological sites in Britain. Gunpowder has played a huge role in modernisation; without it we would not have city states, mining, wars, hunting, and spectacular fireworks. This is from historian Brenda Buchannan: Gunpowder and the explosives and propellants which followed it provided a … Continue reading

Shipley Art Gallery

Shipley Art Gallery

This is a brilliant venue, all the more so as it is owned and run by Gateshead Council and is said to have the finest collection of ceramics outside London’s V&A. I visited it when it opened and for an hour I was the only visitor though the staff warned some children were coming later. … Continue reading

A Boy’s Memorial

A Boy’s Memorial

Bristol’s Mayor’s Chapel is a strange church, opposite the Cathedral, it was built in the 13th century by Maurice de Gaunt, as a hospital to care for the local poor. When Henry VIII closed the monasteries, it was converted for use by the Queen Elizabeth School for boys, and the associated Red Maids School for … Continue reading

The Silence

The Silence

This is the second time Liam Neeson has played a 17th century Jesuit priest, but this is a far cry from his role in The Mission. The film opens with him watching his fellows being tortured for refusing to recant their faith. Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield were his students, inspired to follow him to … Continue reading

Inside St Peter’s Bristol

Inside St Peter’s Bristol

When we were campaigning to save Bristol’s Castle Park, we were repeatedly told this mediaeval church was at risk of falling inwards, weakened by the fire that destroyed it in The Blitz. But it’s still standing and now volunteers have access to it to help maintain the adjoining garden. It’s misnamed the Physic Garden, but … Continue reading

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

I love obscure bits of history, and parish boundary markers are great because you really have to poke around with your eyes open to spot them. They were used to mark the parish boundaries of mediaeval cities, to establish who had to pay church rates, who attended churches, and as legal documents in property sales. … Continue reading