By the late 18th century, private balls, public assemblies and impromptu dances after dinner were at the heart of social life for the upper classes. But more than that, dancing was a source of true pleasure for them, and it was a pleasure shared by our working-class ancestors too. Their opportunities to dance were rarer – reserved to high days and holidays – but they enjoyed it no less.
One punishment meted out to those who had committed crimes was, up to the mid-19th century, that of transportation. Originally to America, and then to Australia, the convicted might be sent to the other side of the world for seven years, 14 years, or even for life. That was if he or she survived the ship journey, of course. Many would be devastated at leaving their loved ones behind, but there were always those who believed that transportation might enable them to start a new life, far away from the problems they had faced at home. By the 1880s, transportation to the colonies had ended; the last convict ship had arrived in Australia back in 1868. However, it appears that one criminal, at least, saw Tasmania – the site of several previous criminal settlements – as the answer to his problems, and chose to transport himself there.
I dare say if you’re reading this magazine it’s likely that you find researching local history interesting, but have you considered the extent to which researching it is important? I believe that engaging with your local history is beneficial on both a personal and societal level, and offers something of a remedy to many of the more difficult aspects of our modern world. It’s a fact quietly appreciated by many, but too rarely is it articulated directly.
TheGenealogist has added to its Court and Criminal Records collection with the release of over 160,000 records of prisoners at the bar and their victims from the CRIM 9 records held by The National Archives. These documents were created by the Central Criminal Court and document the After-Trial Calendar of Prisoners.
Rings are among the items of sentimental jewellery most often passed down the generations and in many families inherited rings are especially intimate mementoes. Finger rings have been worn since time immemorial, for decorative effect and as powerful love tokens, the ring’s circular shape expressing eternity, the central hole representing the future.
For several centuries Hampshire’s county town of Winchester was a more important settlement than London. In Roman times, as Venta, it became the capital of the Belgae in Britain. After the Romans, Hampshire emerged as the centre of what was to become the most powerful kingdom in Britain, the Kingdom of Wessex.
The language and culture of the English have had an impact on the modern world out of all proportion to the size of their homeland, but what is understood of their ancestry? Traditionally, they have been seen as the descendants of those Germanic peoples who poured into Britain after the Roman legions departed, today known as the Anglo-Saxons. At last, the astonishing progress made in extracting and analysing ancient DNA means that new light can be shed on the movement and migrations of peoples in the past. Skilfully and accessibly blending together results from this cutting-edge DNA technology with new research from archaeology and linguistics, the late Jean Manco reveals a long and adventurous journey before a word of English was spoken. The result is an exciting new history of the English people, and a groundbreaking analysis of their development, coinciding with a landmark exhibition at the British Library.
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