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18th Century

A Detour with the Durants

Some time ago I blogged about the last will and testament of one of my ancestors.  He had stipulated that if the husband of his married daughter Catharine so much as crossed the threshold of the family home, she would lose her inheritance.  I was not particularly interested in following up this daughter, as the … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, 19th Century | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Mrs Chapone’s Advice

In this season of New Year resolutions, there is usually an explosion of self-help books, instructing us how to keep fit, healthy and happy.  It so happens that I have just started to peruse a self-help book from the 18th century, having reached the appropriate date in my ‘shitty first draft’ . One of the … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, 19th Century, Books we've read | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

A Puzzling Synchronicity

For some months I have been planning to take a trip to Birmingham, to try and track down some dates and facts which have eluded me.  Most importantly, I have never found a baptism record for my main subject, Esther Casson, who married in 1800 under her mother’s maiden name, Walker, not her mother’s married … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love and marriage in 1794

Two brothers, James and William Burnley had a double wedding on Thursday 11 December 1794 in the Anglican parish church of St Peters, Birstall.   James was 40 years old – rather late by the average for the time – and his brother William 10 years younger.  Whatever had led up to this joyous occasion, it … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

London: Severe Winter Weather (1739-40) – Part 1

The British are well known for their obsession with the weather, but the current severe winter warnings seem over dramatic when compared ‘big freezes’ in the past.   Imagine the winter of 1739-40 that the two surviving van Aken brothers, Joseph and Alexander, lived through.    It started with the easterly winds that brought heavy frosts in … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The van Aken brothers’ Christmas – Part 2

Early Christmas pudding Recipes The seventeenth century diarist Samuel Pepys wrote that he ate ‘…… mess of brave plum-porridge’[i] as part of his Christmas dinner in 1662.   Its less festive name was Barley Gruel, which was a mixture of: 50g (2oz) pearl barley, 25g (1oz) currents, 25g (1oz) raisins, 2.5ml (half teaspoon) ground mace   Stirred into 1.1 lt … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, Festivals and Customs, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The van Aken brothers’ Christmas – Part 1

As Christmas approaches I am wondering how the van Aken brothers, Arnold, Joseph and Alexander, would have spent the Holy day; what rituals and traditions were typical in the first half of the eighteenth century.    I know that the glorious, highly decorated evergreen trees lit by tiny twinkling candles, families gathered around roaring fires and … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, Festivals and Customs, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Letitia Pudsey or One of Aunt Salisbury’s Extraordinary Tales

Picking up on recent posts, I agree about mistakes creeping in to and also how thorny the questions of verification becomes.  I don’t think there is a general solution, and I don’t know how one corrects the transcriptions on and similar sites.  I found, for example, that in early handwriting of a double … Continue reading »

Categories: 17th Century, 18th Century | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment