Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dartmoor. Saxon Roots. Widicombe; Widukind?

1.  Widecombe.  An old town of Devon, Dartmoor. Spelling sometimes Widdecombe. Inspiration for the jolly rouser about Uncle Tom Cobley and all, perhaps on the gray mare at the Widecombe Fair, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16chelA5pTc. There is apparently a traditional Saxon Well nearby; the area was a Saxon administrative center centuries ago, see http://www.moorlander.co.uk/about_dartmoor.html

The area's inhabitants resisted William the Conqueror in his push westward, requiring William to build several castles (not seen by us) to establish his domains. 

2.  Saxons. Where is the research about them in particular, not just the Domesday or general Old English ideas?

Our understanding is that Saxons arrived along with or not long after the first Angles, when the Romans left.  See http://historymedren.about.com/od/sterms/g/Saxons.htm. Angles and Saxons intermarried apparently, or at least did not severely conflict with each other, and voila, Anglo-Saxons.  The royal mints for Saxon Kings Ethelred, Harald, Edward, were located at Dartmoor.  See Moorlander.  Widecombe-in-the-Moor: a topic of great tomes, see this 1865 Google Book, Western Antiquary.  There was an Anglo-Saxon settlement at Dunstone, see http://www.widecombe-in-the-moor.com/about.php, and the word root dun itself as Saxon, see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dun

3.  Venture farther back than Saxons already in the British Isles.  Move to their own source, many in Saxony.

In Saxony, pursue a famous chieftain of the Saxons, Widukind, who harried Charlemagne for some 30 years before forced to capitulate, as he did in part.  See Germany Road Ways, http://germanyroadways.blogspot.com/2010/12/enger-widukind-saxon-bane-of.html.  A church dedicated to him, and containing bones said to be his (no comparative DNA?) behind the altar are at Enger, Germany.  See http://germanyroadways.blogspot.com/2010/12/enger-sudden-saint-widukind-and-church.html. 

The fine statue of Widukind at Enger, a pride of the town, was melted by the Nazis for war materiel.

Some spellings, some phonetics, are so close as to suggest a connection between otherwise separate-looking ideas, places, histories.  After finding Widicombe Fair in an old piano book of folksongs, listen to it at youtube again, above, and then think of the Saxons, some migrating peaceably to the British Isles in the course of things; others forced out by Charlemagne after Sachsenhain's slaughter, numbers may vary but the impact on the population did not, see http://germanyroadways.blogspot.com/2011/02/sachsenhain-saxons-grove-charlemagnes.html

4.  Widukind's folk to Widecombe?

Saxon Widukind's kin to live on, in a way, in Dartmoor? That is up to the venerables on the moor:  can you check for us?  The root "wid" also is of Scandinavian-Saxon origin, do a search on Google Images for Runes Widing for an example of an amateur etymological sleuth enjoying life, and matching an old family story with old runes.  WID.

Runes.  Here experts are needed.  Our look into runes WID and runes produces fun, but little to withstand a serious researcher on the root wid, as it is also found in old incantations.  See http://swedenroadways.blogspot.com/2010/07/anglo-saxon-runes-ingwaz-moves-widing.html

The surprise is finding so little about Saxon roots in the Dartmoor materials.  Spur on. Inform us all. Please.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rochester, Charles Dickens, Kent

Charles Dickens and Rochester

Rochester was founded by the Romans in some 53 AD, but often that would have been on a site earlier used by others.  Charles Dickens' moved there when he was a child, and his father was struggling to support the family.  He, the father, was constantly in debt, and in and out of debtors' prisons until he lucked out on one job -- found his employer a cheat -- blew the whistle, and then could move elsewhere for a fresh start.   The senior Mr. Dickens was the model for Mr. Micawber, one of the characters in Great Expectations.
Joseph Clayton Clarke illustrated much of Dickens, here Mr. Micawber,  fair use.  Smithsonian magazine has a fine article on Dickens, at Going Mad for Charles Dickenshttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Going-Mad-for-Charles-Dickens.html
Mr. Micawber, from David Copperfield:

Our additional Kyd illustrations are still framed, so a little dark.  Enjoy!
The Artful Dodger, from Oliver Twist:

Sam Weller, from The Pickwick Papers:

Uriah Heep, from David Copperfield:
Mr. Pickwick, from The Pickwick Papers:
Charles Dickens' life was complex, as anyone's.  Meet Ellen "Nelly" Ternan, at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Dickens-Secret-Affair.html?onsite_source=relatedarticles&onsite_medium=internallink&onsite_campaign=SmithMag&onsite_content=Dickens'Secret Affair

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rule, Rhubarbiana. West Yorkshire M1 and M62.

Rhubarb country.  Food alerts. The Rhubarb Triangle.  An inauspicious-looking triangle where the M1 and the M62 motorways intersect. The Financial Times zeroes in.  See the highways at http://www.motorwaycameras.info/.  That would be West Yorkshire:  bounded by Wakefield, Rothwell, Morley.  Go from Manchester to Wakefield, and continue south to Nottingham, perhaps. 
Why?  Because rhubarb is a metaphor for the dedicated, stubborn life, growing where little else of value will. Bad climate, lots of waste from wool industry waste known as "shoddy", but good roads for transport.  See Fool's Paradise, on our US paper edition, The Rhubarb Ruse, at http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/2db41de4-4c88-11e1-b1b5-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1nV2gxhkV.
What else but rhubarb: it takes a ruse.  Kid the plant into thinking spring has sprung. Leave the root out during fall; let it feel the sharp frost. Then take it indoors where it is warmer, and it will think it is okay to grow. Or, if it is too mild, apply an acid. See details. 

Rhubarb poisoning. Do not eat leaves.  We did, nice and chopped and sauteed, but it did not taste tastey. Hop on the internet: poison. Rhubarb info, poison! Fast to poison control at the drugstore, call Poison Central. Everybody fine.  Noone seems to post the antidote process, so just remember to call.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cumbria, Sheffield, Mormon History. Mormon Convert Immigration 19th C. Coming to America

Mormon History
Convert Immigration from England
19th Century
Perpetual Emigrating Fund

Mormonism.  Converts. History. The fast rise of a religion. Here, the impact on historical interest triggered by a Mormon candidate for the presidency of the United States/

1.  Roots of Mitt Romney.  Cumbria.  Dalton?

The current American presidential election process includes a Mormon candidate, whose forbears are traced, apparently, to 1837 or so, to Cumbria, Dalton in particular, see  http://www.in-cumbria.com/white-house-hopeful-s-connection-to-furness-1.908148?referrerPath=news-archive.  This is an area that includes the Appleby Horse Fair, held 2011 on June 3-5.  This event attracts thousands of people of Traveler, Gypsy heritage, see http://www.applebyfair.org/
Interest simmers, not a big deal, on the ethnic roots of the candidate:  Mitt Romney, with Romneys in England for several centuries.  And in the process of Mormon conversions and financial support for converts.  See http://martinlutherstove.blogspot.com/#!/2012/01/mormon-converts-19th-c-owned-by-company.html.
With a name, Romney, so like Roma, Rom, Romany, we looked around. 
2.  Are there roots in Romney Marsh of Kent.

And, the closest connection for Romney with Romany or Roma or Rom (Travelers, Gypsies) is in the Romney Marsh of Kent.  This is specifically stated also as the Romany Marsh, see http://www.infobarrel.com/History_of_Romney_Marsh_kent.  A smugglers' haven -- wool, brandy, tea. Special breed of sheep that do well in the wet. The identification by surname and ethnic name is tenuous to be sure, and certainly in the dimmer past, but not so far fetched.  Will our Mitt Romney take an interest, ever, in migration, ethnic groups, and their opportunities.
3.  The rise of Mormonism

Mormonism, properly known as Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints, or LDS, began formally in America in 1830 by a previously unknown person, one Joseph Smith.

The religious sytem rapidly spread by means of LDS missionaries abroad, particularly in England. This activity resulted in a large migration of newly converted believers, thousands from the mainly industrial cities and worker neighborhoods (is that so?). These new Mormons emigrated to harbor areas in America from Boston to Louisiana, and then to gathering points to Utah by wagon train, see the BBC overview of basic beliefs at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/mormon/ataglance/glance.shtml.

Our candidate's family in Dalton was apparently converted in 1837. Who were they, to take on something so new? Are there any birth or death records prior to 1837, land holdings.  Or were they, as so many of our own forbears, not within the established cultural system.

Dalton is eager to claim Mitt Romney, see http://www.daltonlocal.co.uk/us-republican-politician-mitt-romney-s-dalton-heritage-goes-back-to-1642-1.907821?referrerPath=home.  See all the connections with family that that site lays out, tourists ho. An interest remains in photos, birth records, gravesites, documentation, of Church of England or Roman Catholic heritage, or other mainstream British Christian.  This documentation of Romney heritage would offset the clear suggestion that, at some point, a Romani family assimilated. All we need are the documents, the vetting.

The BBC identifies working class British as the primary converts, as industrial conditions were so harsh on laboring people. And there were also the poor, no resources. The BBC identifies Sheffield in particular as a human tragedy, for whom an alternative, a religion that welcomed them and would help them get to America, was a magnet.  See "social misery" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/immig_emig/england/south_yorkshire/article_1.shtml

4.  Financial help to converts.

Cash offered help to the poor and middling in their conversion.  The Mormons' Perpetual Emigration Fund or Perpetual Emigrating Fund, see Google Book Journal of Discourses of Brigham Young1854, on the establishment of it: reasons, methods.

The Perpetual Emigration Fund, or PEF, accordingly, was set up as a corporation by the Mormons in 1849, by which converts got free passage to America in exchange for repaying the amount (how much? was there interest? were fortunes made on a profit between passage costs and amount charged) -- a kind of indentured servitude a the American end? Or a huge student loan idea -- could the people get out of it if they changed heir minds?  In either event, it was a helping hand, get people over here, get them started.  Some, of course, never repaid; but benefited nonetheless.

Brigham Young was eloquent on the need, and the results, see http://scriptures.byu.edu/jod/jodhtml.php?vol=02&disc=14.  There is much on the subject, see another Google Book, Western Lives, a Biographical History
5.  Romney: Long history after emigration.

5.1.   Does length of residence mean superiority:  look at emigration through current lens.
Does emigration prior to 1900 or so mean superiority.  It means more time to amass wealth before income taxes, to exploit before the rights of others gained acceptance, but individual merit? Does any brilliant person pass those genes or influence on beyond the second generation?  Experience says, after the second generation, people become hangers-on.  Who left in immigration waves:  the successful, or the seeking.
5.2  If Romney has other-ethnic roots, different from pure "English" in the cultural tradition sense, that should help in his tolerance of other immigrants.  The Romany Archive and Documentation Center in Austin , Tx, would also like to know, we think.  See RADOC at http://www.radoc.net/radoc.php?doc=presentation&lang=en.

Why care?  Immigrants and immigrant rights (some would say there are no rights if persons enter without advance documentation) are in hot issue in America.
If this candidate knew that his heritage at some point was not English Upper, or even Middle, but even Traveler; or, English working class, would he be more amenable to human aspirations.  If his forebears were laborer, those who may not have been in misery, but had advancement roads blocked in the 19th Century, would he be more willing to stand up for those similarly disadvantaged, who don't have a handy Mormon conversion in their own country to help them. 

Or is Mitt Romney of the Dalton Romneys now just another profit-obsessed CEO:  if capitalism allows the big to swallow the little, why fuss?  That is an election issue.

6.  Other possible roots:

The name "Romney" suggests Romani, Romany, Roma, etc. but whether his forebears were Travelers will take someone simply looking up where the birth and grave records are.
The name itself, may even be Welsh, http://gypsiesroma.blogspot.com/2011/04/candidate-romney-immigration-policy-of.html, but there were Travelers and Tinkers in Wales, and also in Ireland, so it is an open issue until we learn more. If the family assimilated before the 1600's or even 1700's, no trace would remain, except the name, is that so?
7. Suppose Romney has Roma or Travelers roots.

How are Travelers, Gypsies, doing here?  They are exploited in the United States, stay under the radar when possible, just as in Europe.  See Gypsies, Roma, Romani. See also an overview as to Texas at at http://www.hellofodderhellobuyer.blogspot.com/#!/2011/12/candidates-and-their-own-minority-roots.html; or at  http://www.radoc.net/radoc.php?doc=art_b_history_romanireligion&lang=en&articles=true; or  http://sciway3.net/clark/freemoors/roma.html