Just listening to Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth doing a podcast. The 21st Century isn’t all bad, I suppose. That probably means nothing to overseas readers, so I have added links.
I was pondering the blog in bed this morning, in the gap between dawn and getting up. At this time of year that’s quite a gap. It has moved from being about our group on the farm to being a general blog to being a dull diary of a man who is pottering about on the downward journey into dementia. Sadly, I couldn’t raise the energy to be concerned, so that’s how it’s going to stay for now. I sometimes feel a stirring of ambition, wanting to blog about writing or collecting but I find if I lie don and have a nice cup of tea the feeling usually goes.
Gyles Brandreth once claimed to be from the family of Jeremiah Brandreth, leader of the Pentrich Rebellion, but this has been withdrawn, though it does still appear in the Wikipedia entry. It is often claimed that Brandreth and his co-conspirators were the last men to be beheaded for treason in the UK. This isn’t true as Thistlewood and the Cato Street Conspirators were beheaded in 1820, three years after Brandreth.
They were dead by the time they were beheaded, having been hanged first. The beheading was the last vestige of the old punishment of hanging, drawing and quartering, which was thought to be too barbaric by that time. Because mutilating a corpse after death is so much more civilised, isn’t it?
What seems to be the case is that Brandreth and his two companions were the last men to be beheaded by axe. Thistlewood was beheaded with a knife, which broke, so the executioner borrowed the carving knife from the dining room of the prison governor to finish the job with the other four.
I find the civil disorder of the 1780s through to the early 20th Century to be a fascinating subject, though I suspect I am one of only a small number who do.
Anyway, those are my thoughts this Sunday morning.
The picture is me, as I could have looked if I had pursued a career in the academic sphere.