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Festivals and Customs

Something old, something new – Victorian wedding customes

 Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue, And a silver sixpence in her shoe. This saying, believed to be Victorian describes items that brides should carry up the aisle with them as good luck talismans.  Traditionally a wedding dress would have been handed down through the family and altered to fit.  Now days the … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Legacies | Tags: | 1 Comment

‘They met at Term Tuesday fair’

The theme of our blog posts this month is ‘romance’. The problem for me, in writing about my ancestors in nineteenth and twentieth century Cumberland and Westmorland, is that ‘romance’ may have been thin on the ground! Life was hard and marriages sometimes a matter of expediency. This is not to say that my ancestors … Continue reading »

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A wartime Christmas (continued)

On Christmas Day 1942 the Germans brought up armoured cars and infantry to mount an attack. After fierce fighting it became clear that the Allies could no longer hold Longstop Hill as their losses were so great. Therefore, in the afternoon the decision was made against a counter attack. The Northamptons  had been instructed  to … Continue reading »

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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 »

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Buon Natale!

I have really enjoyed learning about the Christmas traditions of southern Italian village where my family comes from.  While I am sure they looked different at the time of my great grandmother, today it looks like this. Families celebrate on Christmas eve with a meal being the main event. Over the course of the evening … Continue reading »

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A thought for Christmas Day

What was Christmas Day like over the past 400 years?   In 1644, the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas.  They believed it was associated with disorder and debauchery.  It was only after the Restoration of Charles ll in 1660 that it was celebrated more openly, though it remained a working day, at least in part … Continue reading »

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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 »

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Christmas in a New World

The Second World War had been over nearly two years when my father arrived in America in June, 1947.  With so many casualties suffered on both sides, the redrawing of national boundaries and the establishment of once unbeknownst political regimes, the war was still being experienced long after it was declared to be over; its … Continue reading »

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A wartime Christmas

‘Algiers to Austria’ by Cyril Ray is an account of the 78thDivision in World War 2, based on divisional war diaries. In the acknowledgments my father, Captain J.A. Pike, is listed among those officers who lent the author first hand material. On the title page he had stuck in a photograph of himself in uniform. … Continue reading »

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Christmas traditions?

At our last writing group meeting, we agreed to try and give our blog postings in December a Christmas theme. For Tracey, this is easier said than done. For the plain fact of the matter is that she does not know how her great-grandfather, Tom Robinson, and his family celebrated Christmas in the early years … Continue reading »

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