Sending letters and parcels is an age-old activity. And ever since Brian Tuke was installed as the official ‘Master of Posts’ in 1517, the state has played a key role in connecting up the nation. With the establishment of the General Post Office in the 17th century, a world-renowned institution emerged that has weathered some of the most challenging points in British history: the Industrial Revolution, the Second World War and now, increasingly, competition from private couriers, emails, instant messaging and globalisation.
Ever since Georgian mail coaches thundered along turnpike roads and letter-carriers knocked on doors, postal workers have been distinguished by their blue and scarlet uniforms. Some of the earliest couriers wore embroidered blue or red livery suits and when servants of the British Postal Service received their first official issue of regulation clothing in the late-1700s, the chosen colour was red – the royal colour of England – in honour of the royal origins of the postal system.
The Reverend Vyvyan Henry Moyle was born in Penzance Cornwall in 1834 to a well-heeled family. After matriculating from Oxford in 1853, he became a priest in the Church of England and made a good marriage to Wilhelmina Elizabeth Wade.</p> <p>As a vicar he was reported to be well liked in his parish in Yorkshire. From the 1890 edition of Bulmer’s North Yorkshire Directory, available within TheGenealogist’s Trade, Residential and Telephone Directories collection, we read that he was solely responsible for the building of the Church of the Holy Trinity in North Ormesby in 1869. Turning the page of this directory we find that the living was worth £300 a year, but that the church was by then in the care of another vicar – perhaps not a surprise as 20 years had passed.
What is your reaction when you see a baby crawling? For most of us it would be delight or pride, knowing that the infant was well on its way to learning to walk. For someone in the Middle Ages, they would have said the child was ‘kittening’, a phrase that dripped with disapproval at such a display of animalistic behaviour, however charming an expression we may find it today. Parents were encouraged to avoid such base and embarrassing displays by helping their infants to progress from swaddling to an upright stature and the more dignified state of walking as quickly as possible. Many were happy to do so for practical as well as moral reasons, given the cold floors and multiple hazards of letting a child crawl around the average medieval household.
When I was growing up, there were one or two family friends we knew as ‘uncle’ or ‘auntie’, even though they were in no way related. The phenomenon of respect and influence was therefore promulgated beyond the immediate circle of parents, their siblings, my grandparents and true cousins – and illustrated, early on, the interdependence of a ‘tribal’ community. Avuncular status was later extended to me when, in my teaching work, I was brought in as a supporting piano tutor and soon dubbed by the student’s mother as the ‘uncle’ helping him out at home.
The new year is going to see millions of new records added to TheGenealogist across a wide variety of collections: The site is adding millions of new and unique parish records and bishops’ transcripts are being added for many more counties. A new and unique record set covering detailed records of our ancestors houses, which will be searchable by name, address and area, with high resolution maps showing the property. An ongoing project with The National Archives is set to release yet more detailed colour county and tithe maps with tags to show where your ancestors lived. The site is releasing a 1921 census substitute, using a wide variety of records including trade and residential directories of the time. New decades of BT27 Passenger Lists and Emigration Records will become available.
Sleeveless surcoats and tunics were fashionable in the Middle Ages, but the fitted garment worn over the shirt that we term a ‘waistcoat’ evolved when the male three-piece suit first developed in the 1670s. This new ensemble comprising a coat, waistcoat (or ‘vest’) and breeches formed the basis of modern menswear, the waistcoat remaining a significant component until around the mid-20th century.
Portsmouth in Hampshire is the UK’s only island city, and has the world’s oldest dry dock (dating to Tudor times). The area around Portchester Castle was settled in Roman times, and known as Portus Adurni. There is no mention of Portsmouth in the Domesday Book, but the neighbouring settlements of Buckland, Copnor, Fratton, Cosham, Wymering and Drayton are listed.
The battlefields of England and Scotland are a strongly neglected but important part of our national heritage, and what remains today and the current usage of the sites is very varied. Some like Bosworth and Culloden have modern visitor centres, shops and cafes, and others such as Homildon Hill and Edgecote have nothing at all. From King Alfred’s victory over the Danes at Ashdown in 871 to the defeat of the Jacobites in the April show at Culloden in 1746, this book covers 70 battles that took place in England and Scotland. The author gives each battle its historical context, describes the action in relation to the landscape and discusses the remains of the site and what can be found today.
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