Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Giants Hedge, Cornwall

One day the devil, having nothing to do,
Built a great hedge from Lerryn to Looe.

The parish church at St Veep is set high on a hill and looks down onto wide meadows and flower filled cornfields and from this point can be seen a great earthwork called The Giants Hedge that dates from the Anglo-Saxon period.
Just as the poem states, it runs from Lerryn to Looe, through Kilminorth Woods and beside the West Looe river. Over ten miles in length parts of this hedge run along a winding ridge and at one point is over twelve foot high, therefore we can take it that it was a structure of some importance.
There is not too much to be seen of this once magnificent Cornish hedge, but in its day it is believed to have been part of a defensive dyke. It could also well have been built along side an ancient roadway that once ran along the ridge, firmer footing for horses and carts, the hedge would have been some sort of boundary separating the fields from the road.

In my blog of April this year I also talk about Cornish Hedges.

The Great Hall at Winchester and Arthur's Round Table

The Great Hall at Winchester Castle was built between 1222 and 1235 by Henry III and later extended by Edward II, it is built of flint and has, inside and out, a limestone dressings to windows and doorways. The buttresses and ancient dormers are covered with finely cut masonry and the modern open timber truss roof over the nave is covered with tiles, it is certainly an impressive medieval building. 

Sadly, it is all that remains of the castle that was founded within a one year of the conquest of England.

My blog continues on my website at

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Meandering Through Time My Home Page

I like to post a blog on here most days, sometimes they are what I call Mini History Blogs and other times they are more substantial. For theses blogs I use my website, and if you are a regular reader then you will know that I often send you to my website to continue reading. Today I thought that I would upload my Home Page for you all to see. 

Welcome to Meandering Through Time

                               Family History and Other Historical Rambling



The Knight , illustrated by Alice Povey 

Hello there, I am pleased to meet you. 
My site is mainly about my family history, here you will find me rambling on about my ancestors.

  I cover other aspects of history too, I have two blog pages, one that talks about history in general and another that covers the Wars of the Roses. There is a photography page where I try to use my own photographs to illustrate a particular subject, and there is a page that will link you to other peoples sites.

So, i
f you are interested in history or family history, then have a look through some of my pages, you never know, you may find one of your ancestorhanging around with mine.
I'll see you later

Important Stuff
All works © Meandering Through Time 2014.
Please do not reproduce all or any part without the expressed written consent of Meandering Through Time.
NB Some of the work here on my website is work in progress, and as such will be updated from time to time. As I am not an accredited historian and only human I expect that sometimes there may be errors in my text. All corrections and additions will be welcomed and appreciated and you can do this via my contact page.  

Here is the link to my Home Page


Medieval Women

At the re enactment of the Battle of Bosworth this weekend, I attended a talk given by author Amy Licence, which I thoroughly   enjoyed. Amy spoke of the role of the queen in the medieval period, and how society viewed them, how men viewed them and how they are often placed into different categories. 

Author Amy Licence and Philippa Gregory 

I certainly agree with what Amy said. I have found that women are, more often than not, depicted as either a virgin or a whore, but these medieval women had far more to them.  It seems that prostitutes were more widely accepted in medieval times and nuns weren't always as saintly as we are lead to believe. 

My blog continues on my website 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Norse Mythology and the Universe.

Norse mythology holds that in the middle of the universe is what is known as Yggdrasil, a large ash tree. The tree is much much larger than the world and binds the earth, heaven, and hell with its roots and branches and is considered to be a holy place.

This wondrous tree is said to have three roots, the deepest of which descends all the way down to what we would call Hell, in Norse mythology this is Niflheim. Another root finds its home in Asgard, the home of the gods and our equivalent of Heaven. The third root ends in Jotunheim or the land of the giants, interestingly, under this land lies Mimirs Well which has a fountain of knowledge whose protector is Mimir who can only really be described as wisdom.
Norse tradition holds that once this ash tree begins to tremble the ending of the world was imminent. What we would call Armageddon the ancient Norse people call Ragnarok. 

All through the devastation Yggdrasil would remain standing, eventually two humans would emerge from the tree and repopulate the world, now that's another story.

Mini History Blog: Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe

It has been said that Isabelle Romee, the mother of Joan of Arc once came to pray at the chapel you can see in the above image but whether this is true or not we will never know, what is certain is that pilgrims have been visiting Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe for hundreds of years.
To reach the chapel these people would have had to climb 268 steps which are carved into the rock. 
This chapel is perched high on a 279 foot volcanic rock near the town of Le Puy-en-Velay in France and was built in 972. Predating this structure was a megalithic standing stone and it seems that the church was constructed around it, but by the eight century the stone had been broken up and incorporated into the floor of the church.
The chapel was built to celebrate the return from the pilgrimage of Saint James.

Mini History Blog: Oliver Cromwell's Skull

A Cornish Tale of Cromwell's Skull.

I read a funny little story recently regarding Helston Fair and the skull of Oliver Cromwell. In a book entitled Around Helston in the Old Days, the author, A S Oates tells of one travelling showman named Maxwell.
Maxwell carried with him a box in which he said was the skull of the Lord Protector, and for a penny you would be able to view it. Oates writes that after his penny was paid and the skull viewed, puzzled, he remarked to Maxwell.
"Here's a funny thing Maxwell, I've a photograph of Oliver Cromwell at home in a book, he's pictured as having a very large head. The skull you have in your box is a very small one. How do you account for that?"
The peddler replied promptly,
"Oh, this was his skull when he was a boy!"

Friday, 21 August 2015

Valuing Antiques: The Tudor Coleridge Collar.

Edward Montagu, was Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and a member of Henry VIII Privy Council. In 1546/7 Henry VIII presented Montagu with what has come to be known as the Coleridge Collar.

 " a 20½oz gold judicial chain of office made up of 27 S-links interspersed with 26 knot-links, with an unenamelled Tudor rose flanked by portcullises at its centre" 

The Coleridge family, who owned the collar until 2006 stated that they thought that King Henry VII had given the collar to the first Chief Justice of the Common Pleas during his reign between 1485 and 1509 and that Henry VIII gifted Montagu the chain when he took up his role as Lord Chief Justice. 

My blog continues on my website at 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

"To Love and Wait Upon"

Inscription on the tomb of Sir Thomas Vaughan at Westminster Abbey


It was on the 25th June 1483 that three men were executed for treason at Pontifract Castle in Yorkshire on charges of conspiracy and plotting against Richard, Duke of Gloucester. These men were Anthony, Earl Rivers and Richard Grey, brother and son of Edward IV’s queen Elizabeth Woodville, the third man was Thomas Vaughan, chamberlain to Edward, Prince of Wales.

Pontefract was the largest town in medieval West Yorkshire, Edward I called it the ‘key to the north.’ It's once mighty castle is in ruins today, but in its time it was seen as the ‘Jewel of Yorkshire’. It is thought that the castle had, at one time, a two walled outer bailey, John Leyland, the Tudor antiquarian, described the castle as having ‘six roundells, three bigge and three small’ that made up the the castle’s keep which he states as measuring 63-64 feet in diameter. Archaelogia, published in 1770 by the Society of Antiquaries of London, confirms this and suggests that within one of the three towers mentioned by Leyland there was a 

“very frightful small dungeon.” 

From the top of the keep you would have been able to look out towards the Derne Valley, today you can follow the railway line that takes its name from the valley as it makes its way toward Rotherham. In 1483, all that could be seen were fields and possibly the tiny hamlet of Ackworth whose inhabitants were accustomed to violence. In 1461 the Battle of Towton was fought in the area around Ackworth as was the Battle of Wakefield in the December of 1460. 

Thomas Vaughan's story continues through the introduction and into a new chapeter entitled 
Setting the Scene: The Game Begins.

Thomas Vaughan's story continues on my website

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Coal mining: One Families Story

“If there is one type of man to whom I do feel myself inferior, it is the coal miner" 
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937.

Like many families of South Staffordshire and Yorkshire the Taylor's lives were solely dependent on a living earned from the iron and coal mines. Miners were paid a pittance and they risked losing their lives every time they went below ground.

Although the development of the spinning frame and water frame by Richard Arkwright and the improvement of the steam engine by James Watt was seen as a great step forward for society as a whole, it also caused a greater demand for coal, and as a result coal mines got deeper and deeper and coal mining became more and more dangerous. In one year in an unnamed coal mine, 58 deaths out of a total of 349, involved children thirteen years or younger. With new coal mines opening and large new factories appearing whole families began to move into the towns looking for better paid work, better living conditions and a better life. Coal was many thing to many people, some became rich because of it, many died because of it but it was the mainstay of my Taylor families whole existence.

It was into the Staffordshire mining town of Brierley Hill that my ‘Taylor’ bloodline originates but to begin their story from this point would be leaving out much of what made them what they really were……or intriguingly ……weren't!

In the eight months between August 1880 and the April of 1881 one Eliza Kennett, mother of three illegitimate children, met one Joseph Taylor. This one catalytic event changed the Taylor family history has made us what we are today. All of Eliza’s illegitimate children were brought up to believe that Joseph Taylor was their father and we can have no doubt that he had a great affect on their lives, because of this his life story cannot go unmentioned.

It was on the hill farms of North Wales that Josephs family originate and they can be found there at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Taylor's family story continues on my website at

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Mini History Blogs: Napoleon

Despite appearing quite small in many of the images we see, Napoleon Bonaparte was not, in fact, a short man. Actually, he was the average height of a French man of his time. He was nicknamed “the little Corporal” not because of his height, but because he never snubbed his soldiers and was generally friendly with them.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Duke of Wellington and the Great Exhibition....

What do they all have in Common?

Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury was born on 6th August in 1504.

Parker served as chaplain to Anne Boleyn, was involved in implementing the Thirty Nine Articles, a set of doctrines within the Church of England, he was also an avid book collector, salvaging medieval manuscripts that were set to be destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries. His efforts meant he left us a priceless collection of manuscripts that are now housed at the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

But did you know that Matthew Parker was the first 'Nosey Parker'?
For more on the term Nosey Parker click on the link to my website

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Queen Elizabeth and the Tilbury Speech

On this day Queen Elizabeth I delivers her most famous speech. 

In 1588 an Armada of ships prepared to invade England, defeat its armies and depose Queen Elizabeth. The Spanish fleet consisted of around 

"130 ships, 8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers, 1,500 brass guns and 1,000 iron guns."

Spain at this time was one of the wealthiest and most powerful in the world. England in comparison was much weaker, both economically and militarily, and being a Protestant nation  the country lacked powerful allies. 

The story of Elizabeth's speech and how it still continues to be quoted 427 years later is in my blog at

Thursday, 6 August 2015

They say that truth is better than fiction....I have to agree with that!

Yesterday my research took me to Wales, via books and the internet sadly, to the castle of Pen-Pont that once stood on the bank of the River Usk.  My interest in Wales is concerned with the Vaughan family of Tretower, I found some interesting stuff while I was rifling through some of my notes and it links nicely with my blog, "Vengeance in Mine" which I posted here a while ago. Here is what I found.......

Alice Bredwardine (the Bredwardine's were the ancestors of the Vaughans) was the mother of Sir John Scudamore who had secretly married the daughter of Owen Glyndwr. 

The story goes that John and Alice had hidden Glyndwr after which  he was never heard of again, legend has it that one day he will appear to save Wales. A statute had been passed which forbade any Englishman with an alliance with Glendwr from holding any office, so Scudamore was stripped of his titles. The Scudamore’s son, was Henry, it was this Henry who was captured after Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, along with John Throckmorton and Owen Tudor, although he and Throckmorton may have escaped execution at Hereford, Owen Tudor, was not so lucky, his executioner was Roger Vaughan, the great great grandson of the Bredwardines (not Alice's line I must point out.)

They say that truth (if this story is true) is better than fiction....I have to agree with that!

Here is a link to my blog if you wish to read where Henry Scudamore, Owen Tudor and Roger Vaughan fit in.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Mini History Blogs: Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born this day in 1792, he was one of a group of poets, along with the likes of Keats, Bryon and Blake who came to be known as The Romantics.

The Shelley's were a wealthy Sussex family, it would have been Percy Shelley who would eventually inherit his parents money and that of his grandfathers, but his expulsion from Eton in 1811, for writing about atheism, upset his father who later disinherited him. 

Shelly married, at nineteen, Harriet Westbrook, three years later he left for Europe with Mary Godwin who he would later marry. 

The life Shelley lead was unconventional and tragic, but it did inspire him to create some of the most significant and beautiful writings in English literature. 

Percy Bysshe Shelley was idealistic and radical, it is said that his poem Ozymandias, the Egyptian pharaoh Rameses II, is about how the ravages of time destroy even the mighty.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Mini History Blogs: Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me, That there's some corner of a foreign field, That is forever England.

This wonderful line, certainly brings a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye! It is the first line of Rupert Brooke's poem The Soldier, Brooke was born today in 1887.
He is best known as one of the First World War Poets, a title he shared along with Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Brooke was friendly with members of the the Bloomsbury group, he was also a member of the literary group known as the Georgian Poets.
W B Yeats, another man with a talent for words described him as

"the handsomest young man in England"
Here is there rest of Brooks emotive poem.
IF I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mini History Blogs: The Last Invasion

The last time Britain was invaded by a hostile force was in 1595 in Cornwall.
On this day, the 2nd August, Spanish ships arrived at Mounts Bay where there were a number of Cornish soldiers who were there to do battle with the invaders. Many of these men soon abandoned their posts, only Francis Godolphin, as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and commander of the local force, along with just a dozen of his soldiers stood in defense of Cornwall.
The Spanish soon made way to the tiny fishing village of Mousehole, its forces burnt the village and some surrounding hamlets, including the village of Paul, causing its frightened inhabitants flee in panic.