Category Archives: People

British Titles of Nobility

British Titles of Nobility

Titles of nobility are one of those areas Americans have particular trouble wrapping our minds around. It doesn’t help that the rules and application of British titles are extremely complex, and have changed in multiple ways over the centuries. In some respects, reading the various titles or hearing them uttered in a movie is akin to hearing a word or phrase in… Continue Reading

Christmas Carols: Silent Night

Christmas Carols: Silent Night

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” ~Luke 2:8 Unlike most Christmas carols, the origins of Silent Night are rooted in well-established facts AND steeped in dramatized legend. The Facts: Father Joseph Mohr (1792-1848), a young priest in the parish church at Oberndorf (a village on the… Continue Reading

Guy Fawkes Day: A History of the person & event

Guy Fawkes Day: A History of the person & event

November 5th is “Bonfire Night” in the UK, the day when Britons everywhere set fire to massive piles of flammables, light fireworks, and host parades. Straw dummies representing Fawkes, as well as those of contemporary political figures, are tossed into the bonfire. Why, you may ask? Well, here is a bit of history– The beginnings ~ Guy… Continue Reading

Dashing David Lyon

Dashing David Lyon

I love this portrait of David Lyon. Isn’t he dashing? Possibly a bit Darcy-esque? He has the refined air, proud stance, slender musculature, and elegant, chiseled face we all imagine when envisioning Mr. Darcy. His richly nuanced clothes, from the fur lining his coat to the slim cane and dandyish handkerchief, the gentleman in this portrait screams high position and… Continue Reading

Harwick Hall: An Elizabethan Masterpiece

Harwick Hall: An Elizabethan Masterpiece

Hardwick Hall, which is located in Derbyshire, is the former home of Elizabeth Shrewsbury, also known as Bess of Hardwick. It was built between 1590 and 1597 and designed by architect Robert Smythson. Of humble origins, Bess of Hardwick married four times, gaining power and wealth with each marriage, and eventually became one of the… Continue Reading

Lord Nelson’s Love Letter

Lord Nelson’s Love Letter

The notorious love affair between military hero Horatio Nelson and already married Lady Emma Hamilton was the scandal of the 18th century. They met for the first time in September of 1793. Horatio Nelson was a 35-year-old captain and Lady Hamilton was the 28-year-old wife of Sir William Hamilton, the 62-year-old British Envoy to Naples. A noted… Continue Reading

Isabella Mary Beeton

Isabella Mary Beeton

Isabella Mary Mayson is best known by her married name: Mrs. Beeton. She was born in Cheapside, London on March 12, 1836. Her father, Benjamin Mayson, died when she was four, leaving her mother Elizabeth pregnant and with four young children. Three years later Elizabeth married Henry Dorling, a widower with four children of his own. The blended family, which… Continue Reading

Tipu Sultan’s Tiger

Tipu Sultan’s Tiger

For those who have read my novel The Passions of Dr. Darcy, you likely recall an encounter Dr. George Darcy and his mentor Dr. Kshitij Ullas had with Tipu Sultan, the infamous ruler of the Indian Kingdom of Mysore. My two characters are the product of imagination. Tipu Sultan, however, was real… and a very scary… Continue Reading

Vocabulary Rocks! Eponyms

Vocabulary Rocks! Eponyms

A true eponym is an ordinary common noun derived from the name of a person or place. The important, defining property is that the word does not refer exclusively to the person or place named by the proper noun, as does Marxism or Christian, but is used to refer to a general category. Even if you don’t… Continue Reading

Quoting Shakespeare

Quoting Shakespeare

April 23rd is generally considered to be a good day to celebrate the birth of England’s greatest poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. This is partly because there are no records of his birth—although he was baptized on April 26—and partly because he died on April 23, so there is a pleasing, almost poetic symmetry about… Continue Reading

Anne Seymour Damer

Anne Seymour Damer

Born the only daughter of Field-Marshall Henry Seymour Conway and Lady Caroline Campbell daughter of the 4th Duke of Argyll, Anne Conway spent much of her childhood at Park Place, Remenham near Henley-on-Thames. Her parents being abroad for much of the time, her cousin Horace Walpole assumed some responsibility for her care as guardian. Walpole was very… Continue Reading

Underappreciated Poets

Underappreciated Poets

John Clare 1793–1864 John Clare was born into a peasant family in Helpston, England. Although he was the son of illiterate parents, Clare received some formal schooling, but it ended when he was eleven years old. This child of the ‘unwearying eye’ had a thirst for knowledge and became a model example of the self-taught… Continue Reading