Friday, August 22, 2008

She got what she sought

This is the haul from my kitchen garden last Sunday: golden beetroot, ordinary beetroot (tiny!), round courgettes, broad beans and gooseberries. The golden beetroot were a revelation: baked in foil in the oven, the skin rubbed off easily to leave a vibrant delicious root - mmm!

I have almost finished the first long long lacy glove. Pictures soon, because Aunty C is away in Japan and won't be checking my blog!

I have also been deep in the archives, researching very local history. Yesterday I found a fantastic account of a 1704 divorce case to rival the more recent Heather Mills / Paul McCartney debacle. I didn't think they "did" divorce in 1704, but believe me, nothing much has changed in 300 years!

The female was described by the writer as "bred to wigmaking", bringing no "position" to the marriage. She "showed her gratitude" by applying for a divorce "on the most frivolous grounds" of her husband's "Inactivity and Carelessness". When the aliment granted was not high enough, she pleaded that she had 3 daughters to support: "at the same time clamouring and crying out that [her husband] was the most profligate and wicked wretch upon earth, and none of these alleged being contradicted, she got what she sought." Wow! I do feel quite sorry for the man, who appears to have been a gentle dreamy soul who collected fiddle music manuscripts and wrote poetry. She, on the other hand, was a fierce business-woman who managed to run up huge debts in his name and continued collecting rent from tenants after selling the land to someone else! The said tenants almost certainly included the people who lived on my farm, who were in "Double Distress" as a result, with debts recorded against TWO landlords. What a mess! I am looking forward to reading the husband's essay on "The state of marriage today", written in the year of his divorce!

The purpose of me reading this document was to discover the source of my Australian lady's ancestor's legacy. I haven't found it yet, but there are lots of clues. If nothing else, it has uncovered the web of debts against property which were sold off to others in return for relief against other debts. (The equivalent of using credit cards to pay off credit cards!) Every time a supposed land-owner died, it took YEARS to sort out their financial affairs and establish who actually owned the land and pay off their outstanding debts. Only then could their successors receive their inheritances.

Back to the archive at lunchtime today to find out what happened next!

1 comment:

RooKnits said...

Yummy yummy veg!
Fascinating story from the archives, looking forward to part 2. Have a lovely weekend.