Two centuries ago, on 18 July 1817, one of Britain’s best-known novelists died. Today, when recollecting the early 19th century, inevitably we picture the world of Jane Austen (1775-1817). Her first three books were penned in the 1790s but all were published during the 1810s and with popular film and TV adaptations of her novels being set during the Napoleonic Wars and Regency, the modes and manners of that colourful era have become synonymous with her life and times.
On 14 April 1877, the committee of the All England Croquet Club at Worple Road, Wimbledon, took the historic decision to change its name to the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, in recognition of the growing popularity of the ‘new’ game of lawn tennis. Just two months later, chairman John Walsh proposed setting up a lawn tennis competition to raise money for the club. His proposal was adopted, a set of rules drawn up, and the first-ever championship opened on 10 July that year.
Best known for his detective fiction and his creation of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is often known by the two names of Conan Doyle – as if he had a double-barrelled surname. In most records, however, he is to be found simply under the surname Doyle. Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was so much more than just the writer of crime fiction that most of us today associate him with. He was a doctor, a sportsman, a writer of historical texts on the South African War and, at one time, a somewhat unsuccessful ophthalmologist who failed to get any patients to visit his London practice!
The railway, an icon of the Industrial Revolution that came to symbolise Britain’s place on the world stage, was perhaps one of the most important innovations of the modern era. It united the nation like never before, lessening the gulf between north and south, village and city, cutting journey times from days to hours. But its earliest roots were surprising and its growth was much more of an evolution than a masterplan for a radical transformation of the country.
The name ‘Cardiganshire’ is strictly speaking a Norman Anglicisation of the Welsh name, Ceredigion, which is the name mostly used in the county itself today. Ceredigion has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Around the time of the Roman invasion of Britain, the area was between the realms of the Demetae and Ordovices. The Sarn Helen road ran through the territory, with forts protecting gold mines near present-day Llelio. Following the Roman withdrawal, Irish raids and invasions were repulsed, supposedly by the forces under a northerner named Cunedda. The 9th-century History of the Britons attributed to Nennius records that Cunedda’s son Ceredig settled the area around the Teifi in the 5th century, and it is his name which has stuck. In the 9th century Hywel Dda inherited Ceredigion and its neighbouring kingdom Dyfed and established the realm of Deheubarth, although records from this era are sparse.
TheGenealogist has announced the release of the City of York and Ainsty colour tithe maps, plus another significant batch of Yorkshire directories – these were all released in time for last month’s Yorkshire Family History Show at York Racecourse, organised by Discover Your Ancestors. The colour tithe maps complement the gray scale maps and apportionment books that were already live. In addition, the site has released another 23 residential and commercial directory books to its ever expanding collection of Trade, Residential and Telephone Directories to help those with Yorkshire ancestors find their addresses.
For centuries women wore layers of underwear beneath their upper clothes, for modesty, warmth, comfort and hygiene. Basic coverings date back at least to early Christian times – long T-shaped smocks or shifts (equivalent to the male shirt: see DYA Sep 2016). Generally of plain, washable linen, these provided a protective buffer between the skin and upper garments. Surviving shifts dating to the 1540s, voluminous, with wide, round necklines are made from the finest linens: cambric, Holland and lawn; meanwhile, throughout the medieval and early-modern eras, working people wore heavy-duty canvas and hemp hair shifts and smocks.
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