A to Z – Whitehall Palace or How Many Bathrooms Does One Need?

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

W is for Whitehall Palace or How Many Bathrooms Does One Need?

 

 

 

2006_tud_whitehall_1In the 11th and 12th centuries, the center of the action in London was Westminster Palace. Since 1049, the king had lived there, and subsequently, government held their operations there. As you can imagine, the surrounding neighborhood became too expensive for any normal person to afford. So, in 1240, the Archbishop of York bought a more affordable piece of land a little further away and called it York Place. He built a pretty nice house on the 23-acre property. So much so, that King Edward I stayed there while Westminster was being rebuilt to accommodate his large entourage. It must have been a large and splendid house. The photo is a depiction of the property from the show Tutors.

Years later in the late 1400s, Cardinal Wolsey owned the property (confiscated and passed down through a couple wars), and he expanded and expanded and expanded it. For some reason, this guy wanted bigger and bigger. In 1530, Wolsey got on the wrong side of the king, and King Henry VIII removed Wolsey from power and confiscated his house. It is suspected that Henry’s girlfriend Anne Boleyn wanted the house for herself and had something to do with Wolsey’s downfall. Neither here nor there, Henry married Anne Boleyn in 1533, and the two lovebirds moved into the house. Due to the building stones being white, they renamed it Whitehall.

anne and henry monogramHenry expanded the house even larger than York and Wolsey had done, adding a bowling green, indoor tennis courts, and a full tiltyard for jousting. After dumping beheading Anne, Henry married Jane Seymour in the house in 1536. Masons spent the next few years removing Anne’s monogram from all the woodwork and stonework as embroiderers replaced it in the needlework. A decade and much drama later, Henry died within the walls of the great estate in January of 1547. By then, the palace had grown to 1500 rooms, overtaking the size of the Vatican.

Following Henry’s death, the palace passed from his children Mary to Elizabeth, to their cousin James, who in 1622 constructed the Banqueting House, and finally to Charles I who was beheaded on the lawn of the Banqueting House by Parliament during the English civil war, and to his son Charles II, who also died in the house, but of a stroke.

This brings us to 1691. On April 10, a fire broke out and destroyed much of the living quarters and damaged much of the rest. In 1698, a second fire took what remained. Sadly, it is said that Michelangelo’s Cupid, a mural of Henry VIII, and a marble sculpture of Charles I was also lost in the fire.

The only thing left today is the Banqueting House.

A to Z – Valentine’s Day or Slap Me with a Goat Hide

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

V is for Valentine’s Day or Slap Me with a Goat Hide

 

 

 

 

heartAs with most holidays, Valentine’s Day is nested in pagan roots. February 15 was the pagan festival of Lupercalia. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci (an order of Roman priests) would gather at a sacred cave and sacrifice a goat which represented fertility. They would then cut the goat’s hide into strips and dip the strips in blood. (Romantic so far, no?) They would then march through the town, gently slapping women with the goat hide. Instead of beating the priests to death with rocks, women actually welcomed the slap of the hide, believing it would make them more fertile in the coming year.

Fortunately for us girls, in the 5th century Pope Gelasius replaced the pagan goat-hide-slapping celebration with a Christian holiday – St. Valentine’s Day. It was still a celebration of love and fertility, but without all that goat nonsense. I’m sure the goats were happy about it, too.

Today, 150 million Valentine’s cards are exchanged every year, and not one goat hide in the bunch!

goat

 

 

 

A to Z – United Daughters of the Confederacy

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

U is for United Daughters of the Confederacy

 

 

 

 

udc2The UDC, without the name, began before the civil war as quilting circles and hospital associations that aided the soldiers throughout the war. After the war, they continued their work in cemeteries, veteran’s homes, and other such organizations.

Today’s UDC was officially founded in Nashville, TN in 1894 by Caroline Goodlett and Lucian Raines and grew out of the original sewing circles.

The organization finally incorporated in 1919, and its bylaws state its objectives are historical, benevolent, educational, memorial and patriotic. Its goals are as follows:

  1. To honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States.
  2. To protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor.
  3. To collect and preserve the material for a truthful history of the War Between the States.
  4. To record the part taken by Southern women in patient endurance of hardship and patriotic devotion during the struggle and in untiring efforts after the War during the reconstruction of the South.
  5. To fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivors and toward those dependent upon them.
  6. To assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing proper education.
  7. To cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Organization.

 

culpepper Joel B CulpepperI joined the UDC in Meridian, MS under the service of my great, great grandfather, Joel Bluett Culpepper (photo). He is only one of eight (that I’m aware of) of my grandfathers who served. The others were 2nd great William Henry Blanks III, 3rd great Rice Benjamin Carpenter, 3rd great Rev. Joseph M Culpepper, 3rd great William Thomas Fisher, 3rd great William Lafayette Brown Jr, 3rd great George Washington Spencer, 3rd great James C Howington. I am very proud of the Confederate blood that runs through my veins and always will be.

 

A to Z – Tattoos

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

T is for Tattoos.

 

 

 

 

tattooTattooing is widely practiced today, and some folks say it’s desecrating God’s work, but this blog is not an argument about their merit or lack of. It is about the history of tattoos. When and where did they start…and why?

The oldest discovered tattoo is found on the body of Otzi the Iceman and is dated between 3370 and 3310 BC.  Otzi’s frozen mummy was discovered in the Alps in 1991 and it is said that he died about age 45. He had 61 tattoos created from fireplace soot or ash. His tattoos may have been related to pain-relief treatments such as those used in acupuncture, for the radiological examination looked as if he suffered from knee and ankle problems as well as problems with his lower back.

India – tattoos were used as cultural symbols among tribes.

Egypt – tattoos were found on women and indicated their status. They were used for healing, religion, and as a form of punishment.

China – tattoos date back to 2100 BC and are possibly related to the art of acupuncture.

Japan – tattoos were used for spiritual and decorative purposes and date back to 10,000 BC.

Siberia – Mummies from 500 BC are tattooed.

Europe – Tattoos date back 40,000 years.

Greece and Rome – Tattooing was common among religious groups for a while but eventually was only used in Greece on slaves.

Persia – Tattooing is mentioned as far back as 550 BC.

The first documented professional tattoo artist in America was Martin Hildebrandt who arrived in Boston in 1846. He tattooed men on both sides of the Civil War 1861-1865. In the early 1800s, tattoos were painful (still are) and expensive (still are) and were a mark of wealth.

tattooNo matter what people say about tattoos, I find them fascinating. I have two tattoos (below) and hope to get a third someday. Mine are in commemoration of my ancestors, the first being the Culpepper family crest on my back honoring my mother’s family, and the second being the Choctaw Indian crest on my leg honoring my great, great grandmother and my Indian ancestors whose way of life was destroyed when the Culpepper part of the family moved to America. I also have Irish ancestors and hope someday to get a claddagh to honor them.

culpepper tat

howington tat

A to Z – Statue of Liberty

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

S is for Statue of Liberty

 

 

 

 

StatueofLibertySmMost people around the world know the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of American freedom. Most Americans know it was a gift from France, but it wasn’t…more on this later.

The statue was completed in France in 1884 and arrived in NY Harbor in 1885 in 350 pieces packed in 214 crates. It took four months to reassemble her, and on October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland performed her dedication in front of thousands.

Here’s the stuff you may not know…

…her dedication was protested by women who as of 1886 did not yet have the right to vote. In their eyes, raising a statue of a woman as the symbol of freedom was absurd.

frederic-auguste-bartholdi…she wasn’t originally supposed to come to America. The designer Frederic Bartholdi (photo), originally proposed that she stand at the entrance of the Suez Canal as a lighthouse, but the deal fell through, leaving Bartholdi to find another home for her.

…she was supposed to honor American freedom and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American Revolution of 1776. She finally arrive in 1886, a decade late.

…she was supposed to be a lighthouse, thereby eliciting government funding, but the powers-that-be decided to place her too far inland to do any good as a beacon. She was also supposed to be gilded with gold, but after how much money it took to erect her, the people with the deep pockets decided against it.

SOL_scaffolding_overhead1…okay, back to the France part. She was built in France, and Bartholdi did everything he could do to get government funding, but they refused. Finally, through fundraisers and donations, the people of France put up $250,000. That’s about $2.5 million in today’s money. Bartholdi spent a decade raising money to finish her, but Joseph Pulitzer, the American newspaper magnate, is the one who finally raised enough money from his American newspaper readers to have her shipped and erected.

A to Z – Royalty. What’s in a Name?

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

R is for Royalty. What’s in a Name?

 

 

 

What's My Name- (1)Royals have no surnames. That’s right. Queen Elizabeth is Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth. Period. Her family’s name is Windsor, but she doesn’t use it. She doesn’t have to.

She’s married to Prince Philip. Period. He doesn’t use the Mountbatten part of his name.

Their son Prince Charles was born His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George. His father’s name of Mountbatten is not included. Not even the formal Mountbatten-Windsor is used.

Isn’t that strange?

It gets weirder.

If a Royal does need a last name for anything, he or she uses the title of their parents. Prince Charles’s father is Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, so Prince Charles used Charles Edinburgh. Prince Charles is the Prince of Wales, so  his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, use the last name of Wales when at work with the Royal Air Force.

Prince William’s son, George, can use Prince William’s title of Duke of Cambridge and be known in the real world as George Cambridge. Later, if Prince Charles becomes king and the title of Prince of Wales passes to Prince William, George can change his every-day name to George Wales. I guess that’s better than Mountbatten.

And, a very happy birthday to the Queen – 90 years old today – April 21st.

birthday

A to Z – Quilting

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

Q is for Quilting

 

 

 

 

Photographs for the book "Teach Yourself Visually: Quilting" by Sonja Hakala. (Photo by Geoff Hansen)

(Photo by Geoff Hansen)

Most people think of quilting as making a bed cover, but it’s so much more. Quilting is a sandwich – a top layer of cloth, a layer of padding, and a bottom layer of cloth. It can be as thick and as intricate as one wishes.

Quilting dates back to ancient Egypt. As far back as the 12th century, quilting was used to make garments worn under armor. One of the earliest surviving quilts was made in Sicily around 1360. Pieces of it are in museums in London and Florence.

Quilting in America began in the 18th century. Women spun, weaved, and sewed clothing for their families. Quilts for beds were also made out of necessity. Until 1840, looms were not large enough to produce a piece of cloth that would cover a bed, so strips of cloth needed to be sewed together. Using the same cloth was known as ‘whole cloth’ quilts. Contrary to what many of us would think, quilts were not made of left-over scraps of cloth and old pieces of clothing. They were instead examples of the fine needlework of the quilter.

Once looms were large enough to produce large pieces of fabric and became common enough and cheap enough for the average person to afford, women didn’t have to spin and weave anymore. Readily made fabrics changed the look of quilts. They began to contain different fabrics and the ‘block’ quilt was born.

During the 1850s, Singer mass produced a sewing machine and made it affordable with payments. By 1870, most homes owned one. This was a huge time-saving tool that made clothing one’s family easier and afforded women more time to quilt.

The art of quilting was once an important part of a woman’s life, but over time, it has become mainly a hobby. The amount of time and materials that go into a quilt make it very expensive to produce, so most quilts are passed down through families.

vin du jour pinwheel quiltI love quilting, though I admit, I’m not very good at it. My grandmother was a professional seamstress, but I didn’t inherit that ‘fine needlework’ gene. Regardless, I enjoy it, and I’m currently working on the quilt pictured here. It is a Vin Du Jour pinwheel quilt, if you’d like to know. I got all the pieces cut out and you can come back in a couple million years and see the finished product. There are about 600 pieces in this darned quilt. If anyone out there has a smidgen of time to help me, that would be great!quilt pieces