This post is as much about a place as a person and the letter E takes me to Wimborne Minster in Dorset and the rather eccentric Anthony Ettricke.
Ettricke was a 17th-century barrister who was called to the bar in 1652 and from 1662 to 1682 served as the Recorder and Magistrate of Poole and Wimborne. Read more ›››
If asked who became King of England after the Battle of Hastings, most people, myself included, would say William the Conqueror, but in fact, it was Edgar the Etheling (or Ætheling to be correct, which means Prince).
There was no automatic succession to the English throne in 1066 and the king was elected by the Witangemot, or ‘wise-meeting’, a council of religious and political leaders. Read more ›››
Gertrude ‘Trudy’ Ederle was an American competition swimmer who earned the nickname of Queen of the Waves when in 1926 she became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
Ederle was born in New York in 1905 the daughter of German immigrants who ran a butcher’s shop in Manhattan. It was her father who first taught to swim in New Jersey where the family owned a summer cottage. Read more ›››
No, not that Chris Evans or even the actor, but Chris Evans the Canadian-born outlaw, train robber, serial escaper and gunslinger at the Gunfight at Stone Corral.
Evans was born in 1847 near Ottawa in Canada but settled in the town of Visalia in the San Joaquin Valley of California as a typical farmer and was considered a hard-working and honest man. Read more ›››
Of all the occupations one might choose to follow, perhaps the strangest is that of executioner. What is it that might set you on that career path? Perhaps too many games of hangman as a child.
But when you look at the characteristics of the people who have become the state’s executioners, what is striking is their otherwise everyday ordinariness and one such was John Ellis. Read more ›››
I have been struggling to find a suitable candidate for my letter E so I return John Elwes, an English eccentric who was noted for his extravagant generosity on the one hand and his extreme miserliness on the other that made him the model for one of the best-known characters of fiction.
He was born John Meggott in 1714, the son of a successful and wealthy brewer Robert Meggott and Amy Elwes whose surname he would eventually adopt. Read more ›››
Christiana Edmunds was in many ways typical of our idea of a Victorian English lady. Born to a privileged family, she was privately educated and lived a comfortable life as a ‘lady of fortune’. Strange then that she is remembered as The Chocolate Cream Poisoner.
Edmunds was born in Margate in 1928, the eldest daughter of the architect who designed Margate Light House among other projects. Read more ›››
In 2011, a portrait of an unknown woman appeared at a provincial sale in New York mistakenly attributed to Gilbert Stuart, famous for painting George Washington on the dollar bill.
Even in its dirty state, it was clear that the rather butch woman in the feathered hat was sporting five o’clock shadow and was bought by an intrigued London art dealer who took it home for restoration. Read more ›››