SueC's Libertine Tour ~ Part 5 ~ Spelsbury

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:10 am

gilly wrote:suec..that was very touching..Such a peaceful place. :cloud9: You take the most amazing photos..The contrast between his short,sharp life and the serenity of where he lies is poignant :angel: The existence of the yew trees indicate this is probably a Celtic site...these church yards were usually circular.....Now the Latin Question :grin: ...I've never seen the word 'suce' from the Latin I studied at school...It sounds like the French word sucer,which means to suck :-? ...The closet thing I can come up with is maybe it should be a form of succedo,which means to succeed or enter....so it could mean''entering his 10th year''????...I LOVE these puzzles :flirt: .....Lastly thank so much for your wonderfully evocative tour..you write so well and with an obvious feel of the places you visited and great pics too..Fabulous work :bounce:


Never heard of a connection of Yew trees with Celtic sites, though it wouldn't suprise me that it has some pagan connection. Most of our churchyards have yew trees in them because it was the only place that the cows could not get at them and be poisoned as all churchyards were walled.

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Unread postby trinni » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:52 am

Suec thanks again for the great tour and your lovely pictures.
My daughter age 12 is studying Latin. I just asked her help and she did a web search and says that Aetatis suae means "in the year of his age" I wonder if that suce was a spelling error?
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Unread postby gilly » Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:05 am

Trinni...I think your daughter has got it.. :bounce: .
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Unread postby suec » Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:44 am

GG
I didn't go to Ditchley because of the fact that as you say, the house there now was built after his lifetime - though I was tempted any way, in case there was something of the original still there. Sometimes a bit of proper local knowledge or investigation is so much better. Do you know if there is anything of the original still there?

DIDHOT and lizabel
I have read on a website that he is buried in the graveyard, but in fact, he is definitely in the church. I checked with the vicar who told me he is in the vault. I'm afraid I baulked at asking the vicar precisely where though. The church has since produced a booklet about him because of the film being made. It includes a short account of his life and some of his poetry but also information about his coffin being opened:
"The first thing they saw was a small casket which, when opened, clearly revealed it had contained viscera and which gave off a strong scent of the herbs in which they had been packed more than three centuries before. There was no sign of treasure. Instead the searchers found themsleves gazing upon the mortal remains of one of the most complex, talented, wayward and controversial figures of the seventeenth century".
It also gives the date of burial as 9th August.

The booklet contains another tidbit too. It states that he fathered a daughter with a servant girl, before he kidnapped Elizabeth in 1665. I have not read about this in any of the bios I have read, though I am still ploughing through them. My own sig would seem to confirm it but I got that from an anthology of quotations. Does anyone know any more about this?

Gilly
I think that you are right about the Celtic site. I seem to remember that the Saxons often did put burial grounds close by or add to existing ones, though I am not sure. I was struck by the number of yew trees there, so I looked them up. I knew nothing about the Celtic tradition and I hadn't realised that they have a spiritual symbolic significance. Something to do with their longevity, combined with the difficulty of being able to ascertain their real age because of the way they grow, symbolising the soul's immortality, if I remember right?
I don't often see these small country churchyards. Where I live there are municipally -owned cemeteries. I much prefer what I saw at Spelsbury, I must say.

Trinni
Thank you for the translation. It makes sense to me :cool:

Thank you everyone for your very kind comments. What I saw at Spelsbury was very poignant, but my heart was gladdened too. It was worth going there. I got a tremendous amount from the tour overall, as I have tried to convey, but also from the process of recording and sharing it. I was rather daunted by that prospect, to be honest, so your lovely compliments mean that I can now give a big sigh of relief and :chill: And I absolutely must thank DIDHOT and Liz for humouring me through me the flapping, not to mention ignoring deadlines that I had asked for :blush: :grouphug:
Last edited by suec on Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:03 am

to be honest Sue without looking the info up I don't remember much about Ditchley except the huge gardens , but the house does seem to be all 18th Century so I wouldn't think anything of the original is left.
Its now a conference centre and only open by appointment now.
http://viewfinder.english-heritage.org.uk/search/detail.asp?calledFrom=oai&imageUID=46673

I have read on a website that he is buried in the graveyard, but in fact, he is definitely in the church. I checked with the vicar who told me he is in the vault. I'm afraid I baulked at asking the vicar precisely where though. The church has since produced a booklet about him because of the film being made. It includes a short account of his life and some of his poetry but also information about his coffin being opened:
"The first thing they saw was a small casket which, when opened, clearly revealed it had contained viscera and which gave off a strong scent of the herbs in which they had been packed more than three centuries before. There was no sign of treasure. Instead the searchers found themsleves gazing upon the mortal remains of one of the most complex, talented, wayward and controversial figures of the seventeenth century".
It also gives the date of burial as 9th August.

The booklet contains another tidbit too. It states that he fathered a daughter with a servant girl, before he kidnapped Elizabeth in 1665. I have not read about this in any of the bios I have read, though I am still ploughing through them. My own sig would seem to confirm it but I got that from an anthology of quotations. Does anyone know any more about this?


Did it say when they opened the coffin or why they thought it contained something valuable.I wonder if they put the herbs in there because of the syphalis.
I may try and look at the registers of the church of Spelsbury it might reveal something or nothing. Most of the Parish Registers of Oxfordshire are transcribed and held in the Library in Oxford so easy to check out, although I doubt it will say if the servant girls child was his so it may be a pointless excersie, but may say something about his burial.

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Unread postby suec » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:08 am

They opened it about 25 years ago because of a rumour that had existed for centuries that riches were buried with him and the vicar of the time wanted to put a top to the rumour. Strange, it isn't something that is lightly done. When I spoke to the (curent) vicar about it, he said they were looking for papers - but that was before this booklet was produced.
The vicar told me also that there is a local Rochester society, but alas, no information on how to contact it.
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Unread postby Jackslady » Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:30 am

suec wrote:GG
I didn't go to Ditchley because of the fact that as you say, the house there now was built after his lifetime - though I was tempted any way, in case there was something of the original still there. Sometimes a bit of proper local knowledge or investigation is so much better. Do you know if there is anything of the original still there?

DIDHOT and lizabel
I have read on a website that he is buried in the graveyard, but in fact, he is definitely in the church. I checked with the vicar who told me he is in the vault. I'm afraid I baulked at asking the vicar precisely where though. The church has since produced a booklet about him because of the film being made. It includes a short account of his life and some of his poetry but also information about his coffin being opened:
"The first thing they saw was a small casket which, when opened, clearly revealed it had contained viscera and which gave off a strong scent of the herbs in which they had been packed more than three centuries before. There was no sign of treasure. Instead the searchers found themsleves gazing upon the mortal remains of one of the most complex, talented, wayward and controversial figures of the seventeenth century".
It also gives the date of burial as 9th August.

The booklet contains another tidbit too. It states that he fathered a daughter with a servant girl, before he kidnapped Elizabeth in 1665. I have not read about this in any of the bios I have read, though I am still ploughing through them. My own sig would seem to confirm it but I got that from an anthology of quotations. Does anyone know any more about this?

Gilly
I think that you are right about the Celtic site. I seem to remember that the Saxons often did put burial grounds close by or add to existing ones, though I am not sure. I was struck by the number of yew trees there, so I looked them up. I knew nothing about the Celtic tradition and I hadn't realised that they have a spiritual symbolic significance. Something to do with their longevity, combined with the difficulty of being able to ascertain their real age because of the way they grow, symbolising the soul's immortality, if I remember right?
I don't often see these small country churchyards. Where I live there are municipally -owned cemeteries. I much prefer what I saw at Spelsbury, I must say.

Trinni
Thank you for the translation. It makes sense to me :cool:

Thank you everyone for your very kind comments. What I saw at Spelsbury was very poignant, but my heart was gladdened too. It was worth going there. I got a tremendous amount from the tour overall, as I have tried to convey, but also from the process of recording and sharing it. I was rather daunted by that prospect, to be honest, so your lovely compliments mean that I can now give a big sigh of relief and :chill: And I absolutely must thank DIDHOT and Liz for humouring me through me the flapping, not to mention ignoring deadlines that I had asked for :blush: :grouphug:


With reference to Rochester's having fathered a daughter prior to his marriage with Elizabeth Malet, the only book I have that makes reference to anything of this sort is the romantic novel "Young Rochester" by Joan Ruddell - in her story Rochester has a son with a young actress. Joan's book is very well written and researched, so perhaps there is some evidence he had another child. However, I have to say I am now starting my seventh biography of the earl, and no other books have mentioned this subject, I wonder if it is simply hearsay. Most of the books I've read are obviously highly researched, I would have thought it if there were any truth to this, information on it would be more freely available. Can anyone else help?

Sorry I've quoted your entire post, SueC, I still can't work out how to quote only a section of a post!! :blush:

Again, thank you for sharing your moving experience with us.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:41 am

Jackslady wrote:
suec wrote:GG
I didn't go to Ditchley because of the fact that as you say, the house there now was built after his lifetime - though I was tempted any way, in case there was something of the original still there. Sometimes a bit of proper local knowledge or investigation is so much better. Do you know if there is anything of the original still there?

DIDHOT and lizabel
I have read on a website that he is buried in the graveyard, but in fact, he is definitely in the church. I checked with the vicar who told me he is in the vault. I'm afraid I baulked at asking the vicar precisely where though. The church has since produced a booklet about him because of the film being made. It includes a short account of his life and some of his poetry but also information about his coffin being opened:
"The first thing they saw was a small casket which, when opened, clearly revealed it had contained viscera and which gave off a strong scent of the herbs in which they had been packed more than three centuries before. There was no sign of treasure. Instead the searchers found themsleves gazing upon the mortal remains of one of the most complex, talented, wayward and controversial figures of the seventeenth century".
It also gives the date of burial as 9th August.

The booklet contains another tidbit too. It states that he fathered a daughter with a servant girl, before he kidnapped Elizabeth in 1665. I have not read about this in any of the bios I have read, though I am still ploughing through them. My own sig would seem to confirm it but I got that from an anthology of quotations. Does anyone know any more about this?

Gilly
I think that you are right about the Celtic site. I seem to remember that the Saxons often did put burial grounds close by or add to existing ones, though I am not sure. I was struck by the number of yew trees there, so I looked them up. I knew nothing about the Celtic tradition and I hadn't realised that they have a spiritual symbolic significance. Something to do with their longevity, combined with the difficulty of being able to ascertain their real age because of the way they grow, symbolising the soul's immortality, if I remember right?
I don't often see these small country churchyards. Where I live there are municipally -owned cemeteries. I much prefer what I saw at Spelsbury, I must say.

Trinni
Thank you for the translation. It makes sense to me :cool:

Thank you everyone for your very kind comments. What I saw at Spelsbury was very poignant, but my heart was gladdened too. It was worth going there. I got a tremendous amount from the tour overall, as I have tried to convey, but also from the process of recording and sharing it. I was rather daunted by that prospect, to be honest, so your lovely compliments mean that I can now give a big sigh of relief and :chill: And I absolutely must thank DIDHOT and Liz for humouring me through me the flapping, not to mention ignoring deadlines that I had asked for :blush: :grouphug:


With reference to Rochester's having fathered a daughter prior to his marriage with Elizabeth Malet, the only book I have that makes reference to anything of this sort is the romantic novel "Young Rochester" by Joan Ruddell - in her story Rochester has a son with a young actress. Joan's book is very well written and researched, so perhaps there is some evidence he had another child. However, I have to say I am now starting my seventh biography of the earl, and no other books have mentioned this subject, I wonder if it is simply hearsay. Most of the books I've read are obviously highly researched, I would have thought it if there were any truth to this, information on it would be more freely available. Can anyone else help?

Sorry I've quoted your entire post, SueC, I still can't work out how to quote only a section of a post!! :blush:

Again, thank you for sharing your moving experience with us.


Mind you that sort of thing was so common that I am not really suprised its not mentioned. Many servant girls became pregnant by their masters and if it were true it would have been nothing out of the ordinary.
Thanks again Sue for the reply about the coffin.

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Unread postby dharma_bum » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:55 pm

Hope you don’t mind suec, but I’ve decided to be a bit of an accomplice as thanks for the wonderful journey. Greene show a photo of the family vault, describing family as "obscurely buried:"

Image

Rochester's deathbed at High Lodge:

Image

Rochester's deathbed "conversion":

Image

I went back and included a few of the Greene engravings to each of your stops. I didn’t want this to end!
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Unread postby johnnycake » Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:30 pm

I'm coming in kind of late here, but SueC I really can't thank you enough for all the work you did in putting this together! This really makes Rochester's story come alive for me in a way that nothing else could (except going to England myself, and that's not exactly in the cards for me, lol!) I'm going to pour over this tour and I know I'll return to do the tour again once I've seen the film. And thank you dharma bum for adding the Greene pics/engravings, and thanks to all of you for all your thoughtful insights you've added in your posts on these threads. You are all amazing!!! :bounce:

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:59 pm

Thanks, db! When I heard vault I was thinking something inside the church.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Unread postby gilly » Sun Dec 11, 2005 3:48 am

GG..love to hear the results of your searching the parish registers and whether there was an another daughter,that he acknowleged.....beautiful pics db...can you refresh my memory..is the bed still there?.....I know they used to open coffins in the past,but to do it so recently seems almost a sacrilege.To my mind ,if he was buried with any books/papers,that's where they should lie..undisturbed..If there were papers and they were removed,it's like theft..just seems do distasteful.....suec..it would be interesting to talk to the local Rochester society..they might know about the unknown possible daughter....Thanks so much again for all your work..a true labour of love...I love this stuff and it reminds me of how much I miss the English countryside.. :cloud9:
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Unread postby suec » Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:39 am

dharma_bum, I love that you are an accomplice. Thank you. I have no memory at all of some of these - I am going to have to see my friend and look at my edition of this book. The picture of his deathbed definitely stands out and I am really glad I have seen this. It is in quite a state, isn't it? I sure hope it is being looked after. But as for the grave... :-? In his 1998 book A Martyr For Sin, Kirk Coombe stated that no reliable biography of Rochester existed yet. I begin to see his point. Just to pull together uncertainties that have cropped up just here:
This picture shows the grave in the graveyard. Lamb states in his book that he is in the church under a plain stone. I asked the vicar straight out if he was in the graveyard or the church and he replied straight away with no hesitation at all, "He is in the church". I thought that resolved it, but now I don't know. I see that I myself have provided 2 different dates for his burial. It may well be that I copied the information incorrectly from the plaque - or that the church itself has provided 2 different dates. So, there is conflicting information about where and when he was buried. I can see that I am going to have to go back to check. This is all giving me a :headache:

Then there is the matter of the (possible) 6th child. Wouldn't my own sig quoting Rochester confirm it? I begin to think not. After all, there is still uncertainty over whether he wrote some poems, or not. My anthology, which is the David Veith one, I think, contains a number of poems which may be attributable to him, but the scholars aren't sure. Yet I noticed that Lamb calls into question his authorship of one poem that is not in the doubtful section in the Veith book. :-/ One obvious possible course of action here is to contact the person who wrote the booklet in the church, to find out where they got the information. I will see what may be achieved.

GG I also would love to hear the results of the parish records search.

gilly, I also think it was distateful to open it, but they may have felt it necessary, to protect it from someone else who may have been tempted to look for the supposed wealth? I guess you are right, it is a labour of love, but it is becoming something else I think. I hate leaving a job half done.

johnnycake, thank you for your lovely comment. I'm glad that it had that effect for you.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:50 am

suec wrote:GG I also would love to hear the results of the parish records search.



As I said it might be a wild goose chase, most parish registers will just state the mothers name and the fact it has no legitimate father somehow I doubt if a child was born of a servant of Wilmots we will find any evidence to suggest it in the registers. We also do not know for sure where the servant was she may have been at his London house rather than at Adderbury.
More interesting will be to see if they have the burial recorded and how its recorded. If I get any time within the next week and can pop into the Library I will check it out and see.
Does anyone know why Spelsbury Church was chosen to bury him in rather than Adderbury?Maybe answer my own question as Spelsbury is closer to Woodstock :-|
Last edited by Gilbert's Girl on Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby lizabel » Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:51 am

SueC - thank you for your reply about the grave - I am really sorry I can't substantiate the part about his body being 'cut up' - I KNOW I have read it, and recently too - it shocked me to the core. Once I have my saved info back on my PC (my PC crashed last w/end - long story) I am hoping it will be there! I shall keep trying to find out where I read it - sorry to have dumped that on all of you and not being able to clarify it further.. I know it is irritating when that happens.

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