Perfume has evolved over millennia and is considered to have originated in pre-historic times with incense. Significantly, the word 'perfume’ derives from Latin, 'through smoke’, and ancient burials have yielded traces of incense - aromatic barks, gums and herbs burnt to purify and sweeten the smell of decay. Later, incense was burnt by priests in religious rituals and is still employed in some church ceremonies.
One of the characters I was most interested in when researching the tragic fate of those on board the Victorian emigrant ship Tayleur (which sank on its maiden voyage in 1854) was an ex-convict from Stamford, Lincolnshire – quite possibly the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ character Magwitch in Great Expectations.
Ancestors that fell foul of the law are always fascinating subjects for family history research. The chance to unearth a felon from within the records can be an exciting prospect. The Convict Transportation Registers at www.TheGenealogist.co.uk are a very useful resource for finding those of our forebears that escaped the hangman’s noose but were banished to the other side of the world for committing a serious crime at home.
Today the waters of the Bristol Channel are frequently empty of any shipping whatsoever. What a different scene it would have been in the past, especially in the 19th century. Huge numbers of vessels might be seen anchored in the regular spots in King Road, in the deeper channels off Cardiff and near Stert island, and might total anything from 10 to 60 vessels, all forced to wait until the conditions were right. And the mixture would contain smacks, sloops, luggers, trows, ketches, schooners and hybrids, all revealing a variety of shapes and rigs depending on their builders, skippers and trades. The variety in cargoes meant vessels sat in the water in different ways and their depth needs would determine when they could take the flowing tide upriver.
Historically the sturdiest outdoor garments were tailored from heavy, closely-woven woollen cloth that offered significant protection from the elements. However, there persisted a need for fully-waterproof materials. In the 1500s European explorers in the Americas had noticed how indigenous people used rubber from trees to make capes and footwear and by the mid-1700s Europeans were experimenting with waterproofing fabric for clothing. The first raincoat was manufactured by G Fox of London in 1821 - Fox’s Aquatic, tailored from a twilled mohair fabric called gambroon.
York is a historic walled city at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss. It was founded by the Romans as Eboracum in 71 AD. Under Viking rule, as capital of the kingdom of Jorvik, the city became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe.
This compelling account of Henry VIII is by no means yet another history of the ‘old monster’ and his reign. The ‘monster’ displayed here is, at the very least, a newer type, more beset by anxieties and insecurities, and more tightly surrounded by those who equated loyalty with fear, self-interest and blind obedience.
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