Tag Archives: cricket

Sing a Song of Sixpence

1787 Sixpence Size Comparison

1787 Sixpence Size Comparison

This sixpence is one of my favourite coins, and is pictured above with a current penny coin and a US cent for size comparison.

The sixpence was first issued in 1551 – the reign of Edward VI. He was the sickly son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, the King’s third wife. It continued in production in subsequent reigns, though it was not produced every year. One of the issues of George II was designed by John Sigismund Tanner, which is why those of you old enough to remember the 6d coin are all saying “Ah!” at the moment. Yes, that’s why it was known as a “tanner”.

Unfortunately, the Royal Mint website says that the name probably dates from the early 1800s and comes from the Romany “tawno”, meaning “small one”, which confuses things. Why the sixpence should be the small one when we had silver 4d and 3d coins at that time, is not explained, but let’s just say that I don’t consider the Royal Mint website to be 100% correct in all things.

There was a break in sixpence production between 1758 and 1787. This was partly due to a world shortage of silver, and partly due to the madness of King George, who was unable to authorise new issues. This led to the issue of unofficial token coins by local tradesmen, and the use of foreign silver coins as substitutes for the crown (five shillings) and half crown. The Bank of England also issued coins of  3 shillings and 1/6d, selecting these denominations to avoid conflict with the King’s coinage.

The design features a bust of the King wearing Roman-style armour and a wreath of laurels. He was not, as you can see, a handsome man. Looking at him brings stories of Princesses kissing frogs. The reverse has four shields representing the King’s claims to England/Scotland on one, and France, Hanover and Ireland on the others. He’d have been better off forgetting France and hanging on to America.

.

 

In 1787 the average working wage was £15 – £20 a year – or around a shilling a day (working a six day week). A low level domestic servant could be on as little as £3 a year and a footman could earn £8 (about 6d a day) Servants were also given food, lodgings and clothing. It’s never easy comparing the cost of living, but this article is quite interesting.

So, what was happening in 1787?

February – in the newly independent America – Shay’s Rebellion fails. This was a rebellion by Massachusetts residents against government taxation policies. This seems familiar…

There would be two more rebellions a few years later – the Whiskey Rebellion and Fries’s Rebellion. Until I started writing about 1787 I had no idea American history could be so interesting.

On May 13 the Ships of the First Fleet left Portsmouth for Australia with around 700 convicts and 300 crew and guards. Or up to 1,500 people according to other accounts. It took them between 250 and 252 days to reach Botany Bay as they became a little strung out on the journey, though two days after 250 days at sea is still quite impressive.

The First Fleet is commemorated with a memorial, including a garden area with a barbecue. Because I’m trying to be a nice person, rather than a crabby old xenophobe, I will refrain from mentioning how it is typical of Australians to have a barbecue. It is not only their national symbol, alongside the kangaroo and the boomerang, but it is their way of rubbing it in that our weather is not as good as theirs.

Why Australia? Because the newly independent American colonies refused to accept our convicts. If we’d sent them to Canada, which would have been cheaper and less sunny,  I wonder if the Canadians would then have developed a love of cricket.

This mention of cricket is fortuitous as the first cricket game was played at Lord’s in this year and the MCC was founded. It was possibly cricket which killed Prince Frederick, eldest sone of George II and father of George III. He was a great patron of the game and died of an infection of the lung. In one version of the story this was caused when he was struck in the chest by a cricket ball, though others say a real tennis ball, and the dullest version of the story says it was pleurisy.

Also on a topic which has recently become topical, was the founding of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade.  The movement for the abolition of slavery had been inspired by Pennsylvania Quakers and had spread to Quakers in the UK. The society was founded in 1787 because Quakers were prohibited from holding many civil offices and they sought to include Anglicans, who were not disadvantaged by religion, to increase the political reach of the society. (The Test Acts would be repealed in 1828, shortly before the abolition of slavery in British territory).

In 1787 freed slave Ottobah Cugoano published Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species.

170px-Official_medallion_of_the_British_Anti-Slavery_Society_(1795)

Design by Wedgwood for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade – it was on the seal of the society and appears on a number of other titems

 Six men were killed in 1787 when troops opened fire on striking weavers in Calton, just outside Glasgow. The weavers had become accustomed to wages of up to £100 a year (see the link about wages – £100 enabled one of the ‘middling sort’ to live comfortably), due to their skill and demand for their product but mechanisation was making things cheaper, and prices were falling. After a 25% wages cut they went on strike and six were killed when the troops opened fire.

It’s a story with many echoes through history, including the Luddites, the Peterloo Massacre, and the Scottish Insurrection.

That is probably enough for now. It has now run to over 1,000 words, and I have only kept it so short by cutting several hundred words. The trouble with the internet is that it makes it so easy to keep finding more and more information.

Wwood Slave

Wedgwood jasperware plaque, also made as a pendant and a brooch.

Wilting…

I have a report to write on yesterday’s Afternoon Tea and a brief biography of Private Dunkerley, the man commemorated on the memorial plaque I pictured yesterday.

Both things will take some concentration to do properly and, to be honest, after a day of high temperature and poor ventilation I’m not feeling up to the job. Tomorrow will be soon enough.

Meanwhile, here is Julia at the specially painted post box in the Market Square. It celebrates England winning the Cricket World Cup.

IMG-20190827-WA0000.JPG

I’m guessing they won’t win it again in my lifetime.

She was in cheerful mood after eating an Afternoon Tea in the company of her brother and sister-in-law.

Tomorrow we are lunching with both brother and sisters-in-law, plus niece and great-nephew. It’s an important time in the child’s development as his father is a great football fan and we are just waiting for the right time for granddad and the wicked uncles to nip that nonsense in the bud and get him playing with a rugby ball.

I’m going to have to keep an eye on Julia as seeing so much family at one time could lead to all sorts of jovial consequences. I have to be constantly on my guard against outbreaks of cheerfulness, as you never know what it can lead to.

 

 

A Very Annoying Woman

It’s tempting to say today was more of the same…more of the same…

Tedium echoes down the empty hallways of my life…

In fact there was slightly more pressure than a normal day because I have a leisurely breakfast with Julia on Saturdays and generally get to work with minutes to spare, rather than the normal hour I get when dropping her off at work and going to work from there.

We had more parcels than usual today, and quite a few phone calls, including one from a woman who said she had “done the research on the internet” because she “wasn’t stupid”.

The coin in question is the Sherlock Holmes 50p, which has just been released.We have 200 in stock and charge £3 each. She says they are very rare, and her implication was that I was lying to her in order to gain pecuniary advantage by deception (she didn’t actually use those words, but that was what her tone implied).

Unfortunately, when I checked after she put the phone down, the mintage figure of 210,000 she gave did not apply to this coin but to the famous Kew Garden 50p, the one they all want. We buy several of them every month, pay good money for them and sell them for around £100. That’s the only one that makes three figures. Most 50p coins, even in mint condition, only make £3.

The Royal Mint won’t even release the mintage figures for a year or two, so we won’t know what the figure is. Here are the figures up to 2017. They haven’t released the 2018 figures yet, and certainly not the 2019 figures.

I checked on the internet myself, and in an article comparing Kew Gardens and Sherlock Holmes they said the Kew mintage was 210,000. That’s what happens when greed and stupidity meet the Internet – false hopes, shoddy research and an outpouring of ignorance.

Just for the record, because I’m still annoyed about it, despite what she said, she didn’t really do any research worthy of the name, and she IS stupid.

After that I put some more School Attendance medals on eBay, went home, took some blurred photos of Painted Ladies in the garden and carried on with my nightly routine of napping, eating and blogging.

I did get a pointless answer on Pointless Celebrities (Burt Lancaster in Field of Dreams) then wondered why there has never been a decent film about cricket. To say it’s one of our national games, and it altered the course of one of our royal dynasties, it’s made little impact in books and films. Raffles was a cricket player, but that’s as close as we get.

If we could make a film like Field of Dreams about cricket I’m sure the nation would return to normal after all this Brexit nonsense and electing a clown as Prime Minister. Whether we stay or go, we need to return to a state of affairs where politicians at least put up some sort of pretence of being sensible and running things properly.

The Peacock is from our visit to Gigrin Farm as few years ago, as is the picture of kites. I feel a bit like that peacock, constantly attacking the mirror, though I’m constantly attacking life rather than a reflection.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red Kites at Gigrin Farm

The Carus Brothers at War (Part 2)

I didn’t really know anything about the rest of the Carus family – my Grandmother had been brought up by her mother’s family after she was orphaned and her uncles had all  died before I was born.

Using census records I was able to reconstruct the family – Susannah (b 1872), Thomas (b 1876), Isaac (b 1879), Walter (b 1882), Albert (b 1884), Harry (b 1887) and Charlotte, who seems to have become Margaret (b 1890). I must spend a few minutes sorting out her details. There were also three children who died in the gaps between censuses. In the 1911 census they asked how long a couple had been married, how many children they had had and how many of the children were still living.

30850_A000296-00834

Because Isaac was Isaac Newton Carus and Walter was Walter Dugdale Carus, which were both distinctive, I checked them out through the army records – there were only 16 entries for Carus in the medal record cards so I thought I had a good chance. Isaac N Carus popped up – entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal with the Lancashire Fusiliers. There was a note on his card that he had enlisted on 8th December 1915, several months before conscription, and had been discharged on 12th September 1918 under King’s Regulations 392 xvi. This is a catch-all regulation – “No longer physically fit for service”. It could be through wounds, disease or other causes. The next step was to check what they call the Silver War Badge Roll – it provides the additional information that I N Carus served overseas, was 39 on discharge and was issued with badge number B6.

wo329_3077-00072

The Silver War Badge was first issued in September 1916 to servicemen who had left the service for a variety of reasons and was meant to show that they were not shirkers, deserving of a white feather. The first 450,000 men were given badges with no prefix, then they started the badges with the B prefix. Great Uncle Isaac was 6th on that list.

That was where I had to leave Isaac for the time being.

I was, however, able to pick him up quite easily when I took a look at the papers as he was the first Carus reference to come up. He died in Blackburn Royal Infirmary on 17th May 1947 at the age of  68. He is called “one of the best known Clitheronians” and had been badly disabled after being wounded with the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1917.

He worked as a printer, ending up with the Clitheroe Advertiser, but had to retire in 1925 due to his war injuries. He was active in the Oddfellows, the Weslyan Church (a Sunday School teacher for over 20 years) and the cricket club. He played football in his youth and was a regular in the cricket team (mainly as wicket keeper for the seconds) until his wounding, after which he became scorer and joined the committee.

He was survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. The sons both served in the Second World War and survived to play in many post-war cricket matches.

Unfortunately I have no photographs, but am working on that.

 

I Can’t Think of a Title…

Where to start?

I’ve had a bad day. I won’t bore you with the details, but it culminated in a parking fine for failing to display the car park ticket clearly. It seems to have flipped over when I shut the car door. This could end up with a £25 fine (or £50 if I fail to pay in 14 days).

I’m going to write and apologise and tell them what a good man I am. I will then ask to be let off.

It may work, but if it doesn’t all I will have lost is half an hour writing a persuasive email. If I don’t send the email I’ll spend the time whining anyway, so I’ll have lost nothing.

We’re seeing my brother-in-law tonight, It’s fair to say that he had a bad day yesterday. After travelling from Lowestoft (just over 150 miles) to watch England play the West Indies in a One Day International at Trent Bridge.

Due to the rain they only managed 2.2 overs. That’s fourteen balls. With England on 21 for no wicket the game was abandoned. They started just after twelve and came off at 12.43. After a long wait the match was finally abandoned at 4.20. A long, wet day. The good news is that he should get his money back.

 

The Kings We Never Had (Part 4)

James II had 27 children by two wives and two mistresses. The only one we need to mention is James Francis Edward Stuart, also known as the “Old Pretender”. He was born in 1688, shortly before his father was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, lived in France and assumed the title  James III (or VIII of Scotland) on the death of his father in 1701.

In 1714, with Queen Anne nearing the end of her life, he was offered the throne if he would convert to the Protestant religion. He refused, and landed in Scotland in 1715 in an attempt to depose George I. Unable to secure military success he left for the continent a lived in Rome for the rest of his life. When he died in 1766 his “reign” had lasted 64 years, 3 months and 16 days, compared to  63 years, seven months and two days for Queen Victoria. Only the current Queen has reigned longer.

Next in this line is Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender. He tried to take the throne in 1745, coming as far south as Derby, before retreating to Scotland, where the Battle of Culloden became the last battle fought on British soil.

His brother Henry, a cardinal, became Henry IX of England and I of Scotland and was, in his later days, supported financially (to the tune of £4,000 a year) by George III. He died in 1807 and was the last Jacobite to claim the throne.

Frederick, Prince of Wales, was the son of George II; when the family left for England, he was left in Hanover and did not see his parents for 14 years. This may be why he was a difficult child and opposed his father in most things, even going so far as to secure the release of Flora MacDonald from the Tower after she was imprisoned for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape after the 1745 Rebellion.

He was a great cricket fan and supported the game financially as well as playing for the county of Surrey. In the 1733 season he presented a silver cup to the Surrey and Middlesex team that beat Kent – the first recorded cricket trophy. He died in 1751, probably from a pulmonary embolism, though some sources say it was a lung abcess caused by a blow from a cricket ball.

Fredericksburg, Virginia, Prince Frederick, Maryland , Fort Frederick, Maine, Fort Frederick, South Carolina, Fort Frederick, New York, Fort Frederica, Georgia, Fort Frederick, Maryland, Point Frederick, Ontario, Fort Frederick, Ontario and Fort Frederick, New Brunswick are all named after him.

We can only speculate what would have happened if he had lived to succeed his father, some historians suggest that the future of America might have been very different. Well, the place names certainly would be. However, he didn’t, and his son eventually became George III. George III was suceeded by two of his sons – George IV and William IV. William had no legitimate children but ex-Prime Minister David Cameron is descended from one of the illegitimate ones.

That brings us in orderly fashion to Queen Victoria and then Edward VII. Edward nearly became a King we didn’t have, suffering from typhoid (the disease that killed his father) whilst staying near Scarborough in 1871, being shot at by a Belgian student in 1900 and finally going down with appendicitis in 1902 just two days before the Coronation. He survived (and made surgery for appendicitis more popular – until that point they just tried to nurse people through it).

The oldest son of Edward, Prince Albert Victor was at the centre of many stories concerning him contracting embarrassing diseases, fathering illegitimate children and even being Jack the Ripper. He was also rumoured to be a visitor to a homosexual brothel. Despite all the accusations nothing was ever proved. In fact the Ripper allegations can be absolutely disproved by a record of his movements and engagements. He could even count the German Royal Family amongst people able to provide an alibi.

He died from influenza in 1892, though there were even rumours about this. His bride to be, Princess Mary of Teck, was recycled by his family and married his brother, the future George V. (Not the first time we’ve heard this during this series of posts).

Really that’s the end of the story. It’s tempting to add Edward VIII to the list but as he became King, even if it was just for a short while, he doesn’t really count. The Abdication, to be honest, was a good thing, as a King who supported the Nazis would not have been an asset in wartime.

 

 

 

Politics and Cricket

If I was more skilled, I would weave together a story about cricket and elections.

Or, to put it another way, an archaic game of complex strategy, which uses words never heard elsewhere, has just come to a conclusion nobody understands using an arcane method that many people find hard to accept.

Yes, England just beat Australia by 40 runs (calculated by the Duckworth Lewis method.

In another example of cricket mirroring life, Afghanistan just handed out a spanking to a more established country, beating the West Indies by 63 runs. I use “country” in the cricketing sense rather than  “a sovereign state and a member of the U.N in its own right.”, as they say on Pointless.

Sadly, I’m not that skilled and that’s as far as it goes.

Really I’d like to add a homilly on  walking, as it’s something some politicians could learn from cricket.

And finally, an off-colour joke about googlies and I’m done…

 

The lead picture is a Roesel’s Bush cricket. We spotted one last year in a cosmos flower and this one (as you may be able to tell from the pipe and water droplets) was disturbed as I watered the polytunnel.

If you go to Resources then Insects, there’s a link if you want to find out more. There’s also a picture and a link to something that scared the life out of me. We have a feverfew plant growing from a pile of tyres by the verandah at the back. There seems to be a wasps nest in it, judging from the number of wasps disappearing into it and I was checking it out as it will have to go. I’m all for biodiversity (even if it does sting) but there’s a limit, and the limit comes when wasps build a nest with a flight path that crosses a wheelchair ramp.

Anyway, there I was, with wasps flying past me and disappearing into the tyre stack, when I saw something decidedly scary. It was at least twice the size of a wasp, with red eyes and an air of menace. You can see a picture of it and find more details on the Insects page.

Meanwhile the group progressed with their task of measuring 53 trees and, as you can see from the pictures, found a broken bird-scaring kite. I know that birds are scared of snakes, but I’m pretty sure it only works if the snake is on the ground.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA