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Dusty Deeds & Docs Blog

Random musings on curiosities encountered in archives and beyond,
not forgetting the dust …


All That Glisters …

This Hallowmas, as a time for remembering all the faithful departed, known and unknown, I salute John Colyns, Mercer and Bookseller of London, and the anonymous Mediӕval Artisan whose recipes for glues, dyes, and pigments he faithfully transcribed in Middle English during the early 16th century. While exploring his Commonplace Book in the Manuscripts Reading… Read more »

Too Many Gunnings, part 5

Too Many Gunnings, part 5 – read part 4 here The extensive will of Gunning Bedford’s great-great grandfather Aman Bedford, dated 10 March 1639/40 (proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 09 February 1640/41), offers no further clues to his ancestry, other than the mention of sisters Coleman and Joane Bateman, who have not… Read more »

Too Many Gunnings, part 4

Too Many Gunnings, part 4 – read part 3 here Few clues exist as to the parentage of Gunning Bedford’s great-great-grandfather Aman and his brother Amos, the first represented by an early 17th century entry in the Heyforde Register,* “Brygett Bedford als Addams a verye olde woman was buryed the / 4th of Julye” 1606… Read more »

Too Many Gunnings, part 3

Too Many Gunnings, part 3 – read part 2 here Gunning Bedford’s and Mary Hutcheson’s mutual ancestor – the father of Thomas junior, Aman, and John Bedford, Elizabeth (Bedford) Hutcheson, et. al., – “Thomas Bedford[,] the sonne of Aman Bedford clarke & parson of Heyforde / & Barbara his wife[,] was baptised the xj daye of… Read more »

Too Many Gunnings, part 2

Too Many Gunnings, part 2 – read part 1 here According to the Parish Register of York St Crux, Gunning Bedford’s father “Willm, the sonne of Thomas Bedford,” was christened “the ixth of November” 1653. His marriage to first wife Jane, whose maiden name may have inspired the given name with which their eldest known… Read more »

Too Many Gunnings, part 1

There are two ‘truths’ universally acknowledged in pedigrees of the Gunnings Bedford: that there were five early members of the family who shared the distinctive given name Gunning – the latter three figures of some consequence in the physical building and political development of the American Congress during the 18th century, “Gunning Jr.” having been… Read more »

Minions of the Moon, part 2

Minions of the Moon, part 2 – read part 1 here My New Year’s Resolution was to hunt for my hapless alchemist within Chancery Certificates of Statute Merchant and Statute Staple during my first visit of 2019 to the Map and Large Document Reading Room of The National Archives at Kew, but work intervened —… Read more »

Wassail, wassail, all over the town …

I ordered up a festive document to read in the Map and Large Document Reading Room at The National Archives, to celebrate today as the first day of Winter and toast Yuletide in style: a Tudor-Stuart era Recipe for “Eppocras” (a mulled wine, more usually spelled as Ypocras or Hippocras), sized to fill the largest… Read more »

Lincoln’s Voice

Guest Blog by Ken Ross Twenty years or so ago, when I was working as an audiobook producer, I got to know an actor in his mid-sixties. At the start of his career, in the nineteen-fifties, he had worked with a veteran American actor who told him the following story. In the mid-thirties Roosevelt had… Read more »

Remember, Remember

I had intended to commemorate Guy Fawkes Night by translating an Elizabethan Recipe for Fireworks held in the State Papers Collection of The National Archives at Kew, but it turned out to be more Molotov Cocktail than Sparkler – arguably appropriate to the historic events of the day, but not so much for a how-to-make-this-at-home… Read more »