Of all the occupations one might chose 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 ›››
John Elwes was 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 ›››
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 ›››
No-one knows who came up with this iconic phrase from WWII in Britain, but we do know who was responsible for turning it into the poster that we are all familiar with.
Edwin Embleton was a graphic designer who was born in Hornsey, London in 1907 and at the outbreak of war in 1939 he was studio manager at Odham’s Press… 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 ›››
I wrote about our elephant spotting endeavours under A is for Addo, but I didn’t reveal all because I had to save something for E is for Elephant.
As I mentioned back then, we had trouble spotting any elephants in the vastness of the Addo National Park until by good fortune we came across a matriarchal group with their youngsters. Read more ›››
One natural resource that England has aplenty is history. It’s all around us, and not just the grand palaces, castles, stately homes and cathedrals — it can also be found in the humblest of structures.
The organisation charged with and protecting these buildings is English Heritage. Their criteria for ‘listing’ them is complex, but it includes pretty much everything built up to 1840 and anything after then that is of special interest, quality and character or technological importance. Read more ›››
Here is a photo of an elephant in our garden. I’ve cheated by knocking back the colour to make it less like grass and more savannah-like, but I’m kidding no-one. The elephant statue actually stands about six inches tall and belongs to my son.
I’m not sure where it was made, possibly China, but whoever designed it probably created it from an amalgam of images. It has the ceremonial dress of an Indian elephant, minus the howdah, but the large ears and tusks of its African cousin. Read more ›››