Filed under exile

A Rebel Redeemed

A Rebel Redeemed

Robert Walpole passed the Black Acts in response to poaching in windsor Forest in the early 18th century. The law should have been a short term one, but was not repealed till many decades later. A wide range of former misdemeanors or traditional rights were converted to capital punishments, but they were often converted to … Continue reading

Food and Language

Food and Language

Indian food has become hugely popular in Britain, but it was not always so. when the first immigrants from the huge sub-continent arrived, their food was too spicy for local palates. Here’s a great story from Stuart Maconie on how he discovered this cuisine, from his book Pies and Prejudice, In Search of the North: … Continue reading

The Sanctuary of St John of Beverley

This is from Highways & Byways in Yorkshire, The kindness of St. John towards all criminals was not exercised only in his church, but extended for a full mile into the open country on every side;and evil men, however stained with blood, even if it were the blood of priests, could not be seized by … Continue reading

Early Berwick (upon-Tweed)

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border, i.e. the much disputed region between England and Scotland. This is about the border town Berwick upon Tweed: The town first became part of the kingdom of Scotland when Malcolm II, at Carham fight, won Lothian from Northumbria. That was in 1018.. Thenceforward Berwick was one … Continue reading

Henry and Bad Timing

So much in English history seems to be a matter of timing, so it is interesting that Henry VIII could have got a divorce from the pope and kept England Catholic. Because when the letter from Henry requesting the divorce reached the then pope, Clement, he had got himself in a bit of a mess, … Continue reading

Jimmy’s Hall

This has been rumoured to be veteran Ken Loach’s final film, but it is his last using real film stock & was helped out by Pixar to find enough of it. It had the potential to be so PC driven to be mawkish, but it steers a fine line between politics and humanity It is … Continue reading

A Letter from 1792

The French Revolution had a huge impact across the Western world; in Britain, it was in part blamed on do-gooders educating the masses, so people like Hannah More who camapigned for mass education were for a time seen as 5th columnists, the enemy within. It is claimed by some if it had not been for … Continue reading

A Forgotten Radical

I have just started on a book by Gillian Tindal, The Journey of Martin Nadaud, A Life and Turbulent Times,  about a French mason’s life in the 19th century. He was from the Creuse area, a very poor, mountainous region, from where thousands of men left each year to work as builders, especially masons, in … Continue reading

The Red Slave

The Red Slave

I have just finished one of the most intriguing books: ‘In Search of The Red Slave- Shipwreck & Captivity in Madagascar’ by Mike Parker Pearson & Karen Godden. This is an account of an archaeological investigation with lots of detours, into the story of Robert Drury’s Journal, which was published in 1729, claiming to be … Continue reading

Slavery & Abolition Sites – Dorset, England

Slavery & Abolition Sites – Dorset, England

Racedown Lodge, near Crewkerne Home of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and sister Dorothy (1771-1855) from 1795-7. William Wordsworth is the most famous of the Lakeland Romantic poets who wrote widely about nature and injustice, including slavery.  He returned from Europe disillusioned with politics and under suspicion so encouraged to leave London.  He came into an inheritance, and after … Continue reading