The story of our family...for my sons

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

House of Plantagenet

Ingelger, Count of Anjou
, my 33rd great grandfather, (died 888) was a Frankish nobleman, who stands at the head of the Plantagenet dynasty. Later generations of his family believed he was the son of Tertullus (Tertulle) and Petronilla.

Around 877 he inherited his father Tertullus's lands in accordance with the Capitulary of Quierzy which Charles the Bald had issued. His father's holdings from the king included Château-Landon in beneficium, and he was a casatus in the Gâtinais and Francia. Contemporary records refer to Ingelger as a miles optimus, a great military man.

Later family tradition makes his mother a relative of Hugh the Abbot, an influential counselor of both Louis II and Louis III of France, from whom he received preferment. By Louis II Ingelger was appointed viscount of Orléans, which city was under the rule of its bishops at the time.[2] At Orléans Ingelger made a matrimonial alliance with one of the leading families of Neustria, the lords of Amboise. He married Adelais, whose maternal uncles were Adalard, Archbishop of Tours, and Raino, Bishop of Angers. Later Ingelger was appointed prefect (military commander) at Tours, then ruled by Adalard.

At some point Ingelger was appointed Count of Anjou, at a time when the county stretched only as far west as the Mayenne River. Later sources credit his appointment to his defense of the region from Vikings, but modern scholars have been more likely to see it as a result of his wife's influential relatives. He was buried in the church of Saint-Martin at Châteauneuf. He was succeeded by his son Fulk the Red.

House of Plantagenet

The House of Plantagenet ruled the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of France, Lordship of Ireland, Principality of Wales. The House of Anjou was the parent house. Titles Plantagenet's held:

King of England
Count of Anjou
Lord of Ireland
Duke of Normandy
Duke of Aquitaine
Count of Maine
Duke of Brittany
Prince of Wales
Lord of Cyprus
King of Jerusalem

Cadet branches:

House of Lancaster
House of Beaufort
House of Tudor
House of York

The House of Plantagenet (IPA: [planˈtadʒɪnɪt] or First House of Anjou) is a royal house founded by Henry II of England, son of Geoffrey V of Anjou. The Plantagenet kings first ruled the Kingdom of England in the 12th century. Their direct ancestors had ruled the County of Anjou since the 9th century. The dynasty gained several other holdings building the Angevin Empire, which at its peak stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland.

In total, fifteen Plantagenet monarchs, including those belonging to cadet branches ruled England from 1154 until 1485. The initial branch ruled from Henry II of England, until the deposition of Richard II of England in 1399. After that, two Plantagenet branches named the House of Lancaster and the House of York clashed in a civil war known as the Wars of the Roses over control of the house. After three ruling Lancastrian monarchs, the crown returned to senior primogeniture with three ruling Yorkist monarchs; the last being Richard III of England who was killed in battle during 1485.

A distinctive English culture and art emerged during the Plantagenet era, encouraged by some of the monarchs who were patrons of the "father of English poetry"; Geoffrey Chaucer. The Gothic architecture style was popular during the time, with buildings such as the Westminster Abbey and York Minster remodelled in that style. There was also lasting developments in the social sector, such as John I of England's signing of the Magna Carta. This was influential in the development of common law and constitutional law. Political institutions such as the Parliament of England and the Model Parliament originate from the Plantagenet period, as do educational institutions including the University of Cambridge and Oxford.

The eventful political climate of the day saw the Hundred Years' War, where the Plantagenets battled with the House of Valois for the control of the Kingdom of France, related to both claiming House of Capet seniority. Some of the Plantagenet kings were renowned as warriors; Henry V of England left his mark with the victory against larger numbers at the Battle of Agincourt, while earlier Richard the Lionheart had distinguished himself in the Third Crusade and was later romanticised as an iconic figure in English folklore.

The name Plantagenet itself has its origins as the nickname of Geoffrey V of Anjou. The name is derived from the plant common broom, which is known in the Latin language as planta genista. It is most commonly claimed that the nickname arose because he wore a sprig of it in his hat. Its significance has been said to relate to its golden flower[3] or contemporary belief in its vegetative soul.[3] The surname Plantagenet has, since the 15th century, been only retroactively applied to the descendants of Geoffrey of Anjou, and was not used as a contemporary term, as the house itself used no surname until the legitimist claimant Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, father of both Edward IV and Richard III, assumed the name about 1448.

...the eyes have it in Ireland

Monday, October 29, 2012

Indians in the fields...

In September, 1697, one of the greatest calamities that ever befel the town of Lancaster, Massachusetts, was experienced. And the event seems doubly sad because peace had already been declared between the great belligerent parties (French and English) in Europe. Before dawn, on the eleventh of September, the treaty had been signed. But in those days of slow communication, war, like a wounded serpent, though killed in the head, could continue to strike with its far-reaching extremities. The good news of peace was many weeks in coming to our shores.

On the twenty-second of September, eleven days after the signature of the treaty, and eight days after London had hailed the event with bon-fires, bell-ringings and general rejoicings, the Indians entered Lancaster under five leaders, but one chief. They had been lurking in the woods for some time, sending in scouts by night to observe the posture of the town.

"Having done this, they determined to begin the attack on Mr. Thomas Sawyer's garrison." This was near the barn of John A. Rice, in South Lancaster. The firing there was to be a signal to all the other divisions "to fall on in their respective stations" When the inhabitants, on the morning of the twenty-second, "suspicious of no enemy," says Harrington, from whom we often quote, "were gone out to their labor, they came in several companies into the town, and were very near surprising said Sawyer's garrison, both the gates being left open; but that Mr. Jabez Fairbank, who was at his own house half a mile's distance, and designing to bring his little son from said garrison, mounted his horse which came running to him in a fright, and rode full speed into the gate, but yet nothing suspicious of an enemy."The Indians, who were just ready to rush through the open gates into the garrison, supposing they were discovered, desisted from their design upon Sawyer's garrison, but in their retreat, fired upon the people working in the fields.

Detached parties seem to have made havoc in different parts of the town, to such an extent, that at no time, according to "Willard, "excepting when the town was destroyed, was ever so much injury perpetrated, or so many lives lost." The Rev. John Whiting was met at a distance from his garrison, by the enemy, who surprised and killed him. He was offered quarter, but chose rather to "fight to the last than resign himself to those whose tender mercies are cruelty."

At the same time, twenty others were killed; two were wounded, but not mortally, and six were carried away as captives, of whom five returned. Here follow the names of those who were killed. Rev. Mr. Whiting, Daniel Hudson (my 9th great grandfather), his wife and two daughters (luckily my 8th great grandfather, Nathaniel, his son, was spared); Ephraim Roper, wife and daughter; John Skait and wife; Joseph Rugg, his wife and three children; the widow Rugg; Jonathan Fairbank and two children.

The captured were the wife of Jonathan Fairbank, widow Wheeler, Mary Glasier, and a son each of Ephraim Roper, John Skait and Joseph Rugg. The names indicate that the larger part of those killed and captured belonged to South Lancaster. At the same time two garrison houses and two barns were burned. "On this sorrowful occasion," says Mr. Harrington, "the town set apart a day for prayer and fasting." There was mourning in many households, and sympathy in all; and doubtless as the people crowded their house of worship, on that day, and joined with some neighboring minister who stood in their beloved pastor's place, leading them in their devotions, their tears fell fast. Their only comfort was unfaltering faith in God.

...will it happen?

The Treasurer and history...

Jamestown resident Captain John Thomas Clay was my 9th great grandfather. In Feb 1613 (6 years after the founding of Jamestown), John Thomas Clay arrived in Jamestown aboard the Treasurer. John was called "The English Grenadier". His wife, Anne Nicholls, did not join him until August 1623, when she arrived on the Ann. John probably travelled back and forth from Virginia to England during this ten years before Anne joined him in Virginia. John and Anne were married about 1612 in England.

They settled at Jordan's Journey in Charles City, 21 Jan 1624/25. Together, John and Anne had eight children. A soldier in the British Army, John gained the rank of Captain by the age of 21 and was sent to Virginia to control problems that were developing. John was placed in charge of the fifty Muskateers aboard Captain Samuel Argall's ship, the Treasurer, which was sent to protect the settlers at Jamestown.

The "Treasurer" aka "The African Mayflower"

We are all taught the story of the Pilgrims and the ship, the Mayflower that brought them to Plymouth Rock in late autumn of 1620. The following year, the Governor of the Plymouth colony proclaimed a day of "Thanksgiving" to celebrate their first harvest in America.

On the other hand, little is known or taught about the Africans who arrived in the Jamestown Colony in 1619, more than a year before the arrival of the Mayflower in America. Jamestown, which was established in 1607, was the first permanent English Colony in North America. Although there were already blacks living in Jamestown prior to 1619, the arrival of approximately 20 Africans in 1619 marks the official beginning of slavery in what would become the United States of America.

In April of 1619, the Governor of the Jamestown colony, Sir George Yeardley, sent an English ship named the Treasurer on a supposed "routine trading voyage." The Treasurer was accompanied by a Dutch "Man of War" ship. The Captain of the Dutch ship was named Jope. In fact, the Treasurer's true purpose was to act as a privateer and raid Spanish shipping and the Dutch ship was to cover its activities. Both ships were owned by an Englishman, Robert Rich, the Earl of Warwick, my 11th great granduncle.

While on their joint voyage in the West Indies, the two heavily armed vessels captured a Portuguese merchant-slaver ship named the San Juan Bautista. Included in the plunder taken from the Portuguese ship were approximately 100 Africans. The Dutch ship returned at the end of August of 1619 to Old Point Comfort (near Jamestown) with approximately 20 of the Africans. The Dutch sold most of the Africans to Governor Sir George Yeardley and the colony's wealthiest resident, a merchant named Abraham Peirsey. Smaller vessels smuggled the stolen Africans from Old Point Comfort to Jamestown.

The Portuguese had considered the Africans to be slaves. However, because slavery had been eliminated as a classification in English law, the Africans had to be legally classified as "indentured servants". Based on a census taken in March of 1619, there were already 32 blacks (15 men and 17 women) "in the service" of Jamestown planters prior to the August arrival of the Dutch ship.

There are indications that, after years of servitude, some of the 20 stolen Africans brought to Jamestown eventually obtained their freedom. However, unlike most white indentured servants who voluntarily contracted their services for a specific period of time, these Africans were not given such options and most of them probably remained in servitude for the rest of their lives. Indeed, by 1625, the Jamestown census listed ten "slaves." Over the next decades, the number of African slaves in the colonies would increase by the thousands.

Shortly after the return of the Dutch ship to America in late August of 1619, the Treasurer also returned to America and dropped off an African slave woman named Angela. She was the first African-Virginian whose name is known. The Treasurer then set sail for Bermuda with 29 of the original 100 Africans stolen from the Portuguese ship.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

...the Botelers (Bulters) did it

Sir Almeric Alberic Lord Warrington Le Boteler, my 20th great grandfather showed that there was practically nothing known about the early history of the town or the family. The Romans formed a camp at Wilderspool called Veratinum in the year AD 79. Excavations on the site of the encampment have revealed the foundations of a great rampart which is supposed to have been destroyed in 607 by Ethelfrith the Saxon King of Northumbria and also the remains of iron and glass makers’ furnaces and potter’s kilns of a very primitive type. In those days the main road to the north and a road from Chester met at Latchford and led to a ford by which the Mersey was crossed at a point opposite the Parish Church and Wash Lane. This ford and a ferry which was subsequently added, served for many centuries as the only means of crossing the Mersey between Liverpool and Manchester, and as the key to Lancashire it was of great importance.

After the departure of the Romans, Warrington fell into the hands of the Saxons who invaded this country in 449 and they named it Werington. Before the Norman Conquest it became the head of a hundred.

Warrington is mentioned in history for the first time in the Domesday Survey of 1086, where it states that Edward the Confessor held Waluntine with three berewicks and one hide of land. St Elphin, the patron saint of the Parish Church, held one carucate of land free of all tax except the gelt which was the amount usually given for the erection of a church. The whole manor with the hundred rendered to the king a farm rent of £15 less 2s, and the population of all the parishes including Warrington, Prescot and Leigh was only 340, .most of whom were dependent on agriculture.

William the Conqueror bestowed the land on one of his followers, Roger of Pictou on the understanding that he should support and defend it. Unable to do this, Roger transferred the manor and hundred on the same terms to Paganus de Villars. First Lord of Warrington, Paganus was the ancestor of the famous Boteler family who figured prominently in the life of the town for four hundred years. To Matthew, the son of Paganus, Henry II ascribed the gift of the Parish Church of St Elphin, then a humble structure of wood, dating probably from the seventh century. According to Beamont the local historian, it continued to be the only place of worship until the middle of the thirteenth century. About that period Sir William Boteler, the seventh Baron, brought to Warrington a body of hermit friars of the order of St Augustine, gave them a small endowment and built them a house on Friars Green. The house was dissolved in 1539 and was sold by the Crown. The buildings subsequently fell into ruin.

The Botelers made a better access to the town by erecting a wooden bridge to take the place of the ferry. In 1322 William le Boteler was enabled by charter to levy tolls towards paving the town and in the time of Henry VIII Leland mentions as a peculiarity of Warrington that it was a paved town and had a better market than Manchester.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

...two families are one from the beginning...

Photo: Great Grandparents James Ira Stewart and Elizabeth Allen

The Stewarts and Allens/FitzAlans have been together since the beginning of the House of Stewart. Our heritage goes back to the beginnings of time and history, with a long line of warriors and royalty. Both lines were brought together through the Scandinavian blood of the Goths, Franks, Saxons, and Normans (Northmen), thanks to the "conquest" in 1066. But before that our Viking blood was beings mingled and spilt across world.

Alan FitzFlaad (1078 - 1114) was a Breton knight who held the feudal barony and castle of Oswestry in Shropshire. His duties as a "valiant and illustrious man" included supervision of the Welsh border.

Alan was the son of Flaad, who was in turn a son of an Alain who had been the crusader (in 1097) who was Dapifer to the Archbishop of Dol, which is situated near Mont-Saint-Michel. "Alan, dapifer" is found as a witness in 1086 to a charter relating to Mezuoit, a cell of St. Florent, near Dol.EnglandFlaad and his son Alan had come to the favorable notice of King Henry I of England who, soon after his accession, invited Alan to England with other Breton friends, and gave him forfeited lands in Norfolk and Shropshire, including some which had previously belonged to Ernulf de Hesdin and Robert de Belleme.Religious notices"Flaad filius Alani dapiferi" was present at the dedication of Monmouth Priory in 1101/2, and his son Alan was a witness to two charters of Henry I confirming the foundation of Holy Trinity Priory, York, as a cell of Marmountier. Alan also founded Sporle Priory on land he held in Norfolk (probably at Sharrington), as another cell of St. Florent.MarriageAlan FitzFlaad married Ada (or Avelina), daughter of Ernoulf de Hesdin (killed on crusade at Antioch). Their issue was: William, eldest son (d. 1160), made High Sheriff of Shropshire by King Stephen of England in 1137. He married a niece of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. His son William (d. c1210) acquired by marriage the Lordship of Clun and he became designated "Lord of Clun and Oswestry". William is ancestor of the FitzAlan Earls of Arundel.

Walter Fitzalan, second son, became 1st hereditary High Steward of Scotland.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red Bull Rampage 2012 USA Full Recap

Spainish Street Art

By Borondo, born 1989 is a Spanish street artist .
Graduated in art college IES Margarita Salas Madrid, he continues his fine arts studies in Madrid Complutense University. In 2012 he lands in Roma, Italy for an Erasmus cultural exchage program at Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma”. More information about him at Gallery 999Contemporary.

...back to Kapoho and off-the-grid

Heading back on December 9th...

The Patron Saint of Cabin Porn

Of all the many cabins I seen and read about, Richard Proenneke’s is the king. In 1968, at the age of 51, Dick left a life of ranching, carpentry and heavy machine repair to retire to Twin Lakes, Alaska in what is now Lake Clark National Park. Deposited by float plane, and carrying only the simplest of tools, he set out to build a homestead and survive the winter, alone in the wilderness.

Proenneke documented his efforts and experiences exhaustively, through both journals and hundreds of hours of 16mm film, and his actions and words embody the highest virtues of cabin life: ingenuity, patience, vitality, reflection and craft. Ultimately, he would spend the next 30 years living in his remote and challenging paradise. single unbroken bloodline...Allen

I've traced one unbroken male family line back to King Walterus of the Franks (54th Great Grandfather), about 200 AD. This was done through my great grandmother, Elizabeth Allen, who was married to James Stewart. This line is important because it goes back to FitzAlan/FitzFlaad, which is the beginning of the House of Stewart. So both my great grandmother and great grandfather are of the same "house"...Stewart. All of the Franks were the 14% Eastern European in my DNA test.

The Franks (Latin: Franci or gens Francorum) were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as occupying land on the Lower and Middle Rhine. In the 3rd century some Franks raided Roman territory, while others joined the Roman troops in Gaul. The Salian Franks formed a kingdom on Roman-held soil that was acknowledged by the Romans after 357. After the collapse of imperial authority in the West, the Frankish tribes were united under the Merovingians. During the 6th century they succeeded in conquering most of Gaul. They were active in spreading Christianity over western Europe and had created one of the strongest and most stable 'barbaric' kingdoms.

The Merovingian dynasty, descended from the Salians, founded one of the Germanic monarchies which replaced the Western Roman Empire. The Frankish state consolidated its hold over large parts of western Europe by the end of the eighth century, developing into the Carolingian Empire. This empire would gradually evolve into the state of France and the Holy Roman Empire.

The term Frank was used as a synonym for 'Roman Catholic' in the Middle Ages, as the Franks were rulers most of western Europe and were closely affiliated with the Church in Rome.

King Waltherus Walter de Franks
King Dagobert I, The Franks
King Genebald I, 1st Duke of the Sicambrian Franks
King Dagobert II, Sicambrian Franks
King Clodius I, Sicambrian Franks
King Marcomir de Franks
King Pharamond, King of the Franks
King Clodius "Long Haired" , King of West Phalia Merovee
King Merovaeus "the Young" , King of Franks Mérovée
King Childeric I de Franks
King Clovis I France
King Clotaire I "The Old" de Meroving Franks
Guntram (Gontran) de Franks
Garnier De Bourgogne
Ansound DeTreves
Bodilon De Poitiers
Guerin De Autun
St. Lievin Bishop Of Treves
Gui Du Franks
Count Lambert von Hornbach
Comte de Nantes Gui I Guido Graf von Hornbach
Lambert I Comte De Nantes
Paskwitan (Pasquite) I Count of Vannes DeBretagne
Ridoredh Vannes, King De Bretagne
Alain LeGrand DeBretagne...the first "Alain/Alan/Allen" appears...
Matuedo Depoher DeBretagne
Alain De Bretagne
Hamon De Dinan
Flaald de Dol
Alan Senescal
Fledaldus Senescal
Alan of Lochabar, Baron FitzFlaad...the start of the Stewart Clan...
William I, Lord of Oswestry FitzAlan
William II FitzAlan
John FitzAlan
John, Lord of Clun and Oswestry, FitzAlan
John FitzAlan
Richard FitzAlan
Edmund, Earl of Arundel FitzAlan
Sir Richard "Copped Hat", 10th Earl of Arundel & Earl of Warenne FitzAlan
John Lord Arundel, Sir 1st Lord 1st Earl of Arundel & Surrey FitzAlan
John FitzAlan (Allen)
Thomas Allen
Thomas Allen
Richard Allen
Ralph Allen
George Allen
Ralph Allen
Zachariah Allen
William Allen
Zachariah Allen
William Allen
Robert H. Allen
Elizabeth Allen, wife of James Ira Stewart
Fred Uriah Stewart
Dwight Fred Stewart
Ronald Mason Stewart
Aaron & Joshua Mason Stewart

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

13,000+ twigs on the tree...

...taking it up the arse...ouch!

Edward II was King of England from 1307 until he was removed and murdered in 1327. John de Maltravers, my 15th great grandfather, was part of the plot to remove and imprison the King.

Edward II was not a well-liked King. By all accounts, he was nothing like his sure and confident father, Edward I. When Edward II left England to marry Isabella of France, he left his friend, Piers Gaveston to enforce his rule. The land barons of the time detested Gaveston, and had him banished from the country. When Edward II returned to his throne, he recalled Piers Gaveston back into his favor. However, Earl of Lancaster and his baron allies, executed Gaveston before he could return. Edward II was determined to cause much grief to the barons. He began to confiscate land and give it to Gaveston's relatives, increasing the anger of the barons. In 1322, Edward II attempted to strike down all laws that limited his power.

France became increasingly irritated with Edward II, because he refused to pay France for land that the King had occupied. Edward II's wife, Isabella of France, returned to her home country to forge a peace treaty. However, while in France, she formed an alliance with Roger Mortimer to overthrow Edward II on their return. When Edward II learned of the plan, he summoned up his great army to fight Mortimer's troops, but Edward's army refused to fight for him. The King fled, but Henry of Lancaster, part of Mortimer's forces, caught him and taken to Kenliworth. Edward's supporters were executed, but the King remained a prisoner. Isabella and Roger Mortimer did not know what to do with him. Laws prevented them from executing a King without a trial for treason. However, they both thought that Henry of Lancaster was too accomodating of a jailer for Edward II, so they turned over the responsibility of imprisoning the King to Sir John de Maltravers, for the purpose of using whatever means necessary (torture) to drive the King mad.

He was held by both John de Maltravers and Lord Berkeley in Berkley's castle. However, the population seemed to side with Edward. Religious sermons condemned the actions of Isabella and Roger Mortimer, and they knew that their assumption of the King's powers could be rightfully challenged at any time. On October 11, 1327, two officers from Isabella's and Mortimer's forces entered the castle where Sir John de Maltravers and Lord Berkley were guarding Edward II. That evening, screams from the King's chambers were heard by people outside of the castle. The next morning, Edward II was dead. The prevailing rumor was that the King was killed by the insertion of a red hot metal rod into his rectum. This was accomplished by the insertion of a tube into the King's anus, and then a red hot rod was inserted through the tube into the rectum and intestines, which would have left no burn marks on the outside of the King's buttocks. There was no official investigation of the death, and Edward II was quickly interred in the abbey church of Saint Peters, Gloucestershire.

Eleanor Plantagenet...15th Great Grandmother

Directly back through the Stewarts and Allens we come to the House of Plantagenet, a royal dynasty that produced the fourteen Kings of England who ruled England for the 331 years from 1154 until 1485. The male line Plantagenets descended from the Angevin Counts of Anjou. It is claimed the name arose because Geoffrey V of Anjou wore a sprig of the common broom in his hat, this became his nickname Plantegenest [1] derived from the broom's Latin name Planta genista. His nickname was not an hereditary surname and only began to refer to the dynasty from the mid-15th Century.

Geoffrey married the Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I of England, who vied with Stephen of Blois for the English throne for a twenty-year period in what became known as the Anarchy. After Stephen's death in 1154 the English crown passed to Henry II, Geoffrey and Matilda's son, under the terms of the Treaty of Winchester. By this and his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine Henry accumulated a vast and complex feudal holding, the so-called Angevin Empire, that at its peak stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland and the border with Scotland.

The Royal House ended in 1399 as the dynasty splintered into two competing cadet branches: The House of Lancaster and The House of York. Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and the legitimate male line became extinct with the execution of his nephew, Edward, Earl of Warwick in 1499.

The era was typified by intermittent but frequent conflict between the Plantagenets, Roman Catholic Church, the English Barons, the Kings of France, the Welsh, Scots, Irish and in later years a developing middle class. This included what is now called the the Anarchy, First Barons' War, the Second Barons' War, the Hundred Years' War, the Peasants' Revolt, Jack Cade's rebellion and the Wars of the Roses. To be a successful Plantagenet monarch required military success and some of the Plantagenets were renowned as warriors. Richard I of England had distinguished himself in the Third Crusade. Edward I of England was known as "Hammer of the Scots". This comes from the Latin inscription on his tomb, which reads Edwardus Primus Scottorum Malleus hic est, 1308. Pactum Serva ("Here is Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, 1308. Keep the Vow").[2] Edward, the Black Prince gained fame at the fields of Crécy and Poitiers, but died on campaign before succeeding to the crown. Henry V of England left his mark with a famous victory against larger numbers at the Battle of Agincourt.Out of this conflict largely driven by the English Barons' reluctance to support the Plantagenet's personal continental ambition developed lasting social developments sector such as Magna Carta. This was often driven by weakness in the Plantagenet position forcing them to compromise in accepting constraints on their power granting rights and privileges in return for financial and military support.Winston Churchill, for example, argued that "[w]hen the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labours of virtuous sovereigns".[3]

The reign of the Plantagenet Kings saw a re-adoption of what was to become the English language. The Norman and Angevin aristocracy had little or no understanding of the language of the greater part of the population. They spoke Norman French or the Langues D'Oc and Latin was the language of record. In 1362, at the high point of the Plantagenet kingship Edward III made English the official language of royal courts and parliaments with the Statute of Pleading.[4] English was transformed from the language of serfs into one fit for poetry and scholarship. Among others the Pearl Poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower and William Langland created a distinctive English culture and art.

The Plantagenets transformed the English landscape with significant building and patronage of the arts. Westminster Abbey, Windsor, York Minster, the Welsh Castles and the golden age of cathedral building in the Gothic style are the most significant examples of this. Richard I foundered Portsmouth as a military town, King John Liverpool and Henry III Harwich. London prospered and brick building was reintroduced for the first time since the Romans

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

...the Ulfberht Viking sword...

Watch the video at:

Viking warriors like other people have a love of life, lore and weapons. We all know of Thor's Hammer in Viking mythology but it turns out Vikings were Masters of the Sword. Not just any sword - The Ulfberht. Best sword made at the time who's technology is rivaled only 1000 years later.

A Ulfberht is a sword made with superior steel. It has a very even carbon distribution to make the iron strong, it has very little slag which could cause a sword to break, it was flexible and could hold it's edge. The sword is made to be as light weight as possible yet as strong as possible without breaking due to it's unique fluted design. The Ulfberht swords were inscribed with the word +vlfberh+t. Only the best warriors could afford a Ulfberht. This sword helped make the Vikings the elite warrior conquers they are known to be. These swords were produced between 800 AD to 1100 AD. But until recently, it was unknown how Vikings actually made them - seeing as they did not possess the technology to produce one! This technology would not be rediscovered for industrial use for 1000 years.

Ulfberht swords are made from Crucible steel. Crucible steel is a manufacturing process that gets the steel hot enough to effectively separate slag (impurities) from the molten iron. The iron and carbon combined to produce steel was smelted inside of a crucible (sealed tight container) in an almost 3000 degrees oven. A technology the Vikings did not posses. But this technology was used by others at the time in the form of Damascus steel from swords in India. However the Damascus swords and the Ulfberht bear little resemblance

Monday, October 8, 2012

...40th Great Grandfather

Ivar Vidfamne or Ívarr inn víðfaðmi (Ivor Widefathom), my 40th great grandfather, was a Danish and Swedish king hailing from Scania. He may have died c. 700. According to the Heimskringla and the Hervarar saga, Ivar was also the king of Norway, Denmark, Saxony and parts of England.

Ivar in the Sagas

He began as king of Scania and conquered Sweden by defeating Ingjald Illråde. He is then said to have conquered all of Scandinavia and parts of England. Because of his harsh rule, many Swedes fled west and populated Värmland under its king Olof Trätälja. His last campaign was in North Eastern Europe where he died, defeated by Odin in disguise. (Another source claims he took his life by drowning himself in the Gulf of Finland.)

According to both Ynglinga saga and Sögubrot, his homeland was Scania, but according to the Ynglinga saga, he had to flee Scania when his uncle Guðröðr of Scania had slain his father Halfdan the Valiant. The Ynglinga saga, Historia Norvegiæ, Hervarar saga and Upplendinga Konungum tell that Ivar conquered Sweden after Ingjald's suicide, and later returned to take Denmark.

According to Hversu Noregr byggdist and Njal's Saga, he was the son of Halfdan the Valiant (also given as his father in the Ynglinga saga and the Hervarar saga), son of Harald the Old, son of Valdar, son of Roar (Hroðgar) of the house of Skjöldung (Scylding). According to Hversu, Njal's saga, the Lay of Hyndla and Sögubrot, Ivar had a daughter named Auðr the Deep-Minded.

Sögubrot relates that when Ivar was the king of Sweden, he gave his daughter Auðr the Deep-Minded to king Hrœrekr slöngvanbaugi of Zealand, in spite of the fact that she wanted to marry Hrœrek's brother Helgi the Sharp. Hrœrekr and Auðr had the son Harald Wartooth. Ivar made Hrœrekr kill his brother Helgi, and after this, he attacked and killed Hrœrekr. However, Auðr arrived with the Zealand army and chased her father Ivar back to Sweden. The following year, Auðr went to Gardariki with her son Harald and many powerful men and married its king Raðbarðr. This was the opportunity for Ivar to conquer Zealand.

The Hervarar saga does not mention any daughter named Auðr. Instead it mentions an Alfhild. Ivar gave her to Valdar whom Ivar made subking of Denmark.

However, when Ivar learnt that Auðr had married without his permission, he marshalled a great leidang (army) from Denmark and Sweden and went to Gardariki. He was very old at the time. However, when they had arrived at the borders of Raðbarð's kingdom, Karelia (Karjálabotnar), he threw himself overboard. Harald then returned to Scania to become its ruler. In the Lay of Hyndla, Ivar, Auðr, Hrœrekr and Harald appear. Raðbarðr also appears, but there is no information about his relationship with them.

...blows my mind...

This is one of those "small world moments" that seem to come to me every so often. The top photo is of a patch that identifies the Department of Alaska (Alaska before it was a state). The middle picture appeared in the LA Times in the winter of 1947 and shows my sister (Toni) and I in our snow suits getting ready for a day on the slopes at Snow Valley in Southern California (notice the patches on our suits). The third photo was taken in my son's (Josh) bar in Kentucky. He bought it at a garage sale in Carson, California years ago from a Filipino. I didn't put it all together until last month when I was trying to remember where I've seen that image. I thought it had something to do with Alaska, but couldn't remember where I've seen the image. I had been looking at old family photos for about 2 days. In the middle of the night I woke up suddenly, went to a photo album and pulled the picture of my sister and I, and there it was...the patch. Genetic memory, coincidence? I don't know, but it is weird...

Spider man in Seattle... this stuff, real art for the masses...