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Dusty Deeds & Docs Blog

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


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 »

Puritan Lockdown

On this day … “23 CAR. I.  … Die Sabbati, 16 Octobris, 1647.  … Suppressing Stage Plays, &c. For the better Suppression of Stage-plays, Interludes, and Common Players; It is this Day Ordered, by the [blank space] and Commons, in Parliament assembled, That the Lord Mayor, Justices of the Peace, and Sheriffs of the Cities… Read more »

A Tale of Two Halls, part 2

A Tale of Two Halls, part 2 – read part 1 here The structure known since the early nineteenth century as Brearley Hall is in fact the younger of the two, having absorbed both the title and legend of the elder via custom and practice.  This may be a chance legacy of its most recent… Read more »

A Tale of Two Halls, part 1

PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTË d. 24 Sept. 1848 Despite the notoriety surrounding Patrick Branwell Brontë’s year in Luddenden Foot, which culminated in – and resulted from – his summary dismissal by the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company, surprisingly little is known of the time he spent there.  Speculation has crystallized into fact, with distorted anecdote, rather… Read more »

Minions of the Moon, part 1

To celebrate tonight’s Full “Red Moon”, I pre-ordered another alchemically themed document to view in the Map and Large Document Reading Room of The National Archives at Kew, which recounts the misfortunes of a Practitioner claiming to have made an elixir with the power to transform base materials into Silver. Filed within TNA’s Special Collections… Read more »