A to Z – H is for Hollingbourne

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

H is for Hollingbourne Manor

 

My mother was a Culpepper. I’ve done tons of research on them. I’ve even written four books about my 10th great grandpa, John Culpepper.

 

 

h1John’s uncle owned a house called Hollingbourne Manor in Kent, England – about five miles outside the town of Maidstone – about two miles from another family home, Leeds Castle. The house, and I use that term loosely, was acquired in 1590 by Francis Culpepper of Greenway court. It was bequeathed to his son Thomas the Elder, and later to his son, Thomas Jr. who was a knight. The last owner was Thomas Jr.’s son William. It was in the family for about 125 years.

 

Hollingbourne-Outside-Grave-AreaThomas the Elder built a chapel in the local Hollingbourne church, All Saints Church, as a monument to his wife Elizabeth. In the marble effigy, Lady Elizabeth’s hands each wear a ring tied by a single cord that disappears up the sleeve of her dress. The epitaph written by her husband reads: Optima Faemina, Optima Coniux, Optima Mater, which means: The best of women, the best of wives, the best of mothers.

 

AllSaintsWindowThere are many lead coffins beneath the chapel containing the remains of various Culpeppers. The entrance has now been sealed. The window in the chapel at the foot of Lady Elizabeth’s coffin bears the Culpepper coat of arms. It is the white square in the upper left with the red diagonal line.

 

Some day I shall visit.

 

 

 

 

 

If you love this old England stuff, check out the Culpepper Saga on Amazon.

culpepper saga

A to Z – W (part 2) is for Wolsey

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

W (part 2) is for Wolsey

 

 

 

Since I wrote about Whitehall Palace yesterday and mentioned one of its owners, Thomas Wolsey, I thought I’d stick here in W for a minute and go a little more in depth about Mr. Wolsey, his amazing rise to status and his total and swift downfall.

wolseyThomas was born the son of a butcher in England in March 1473. In his twenties, he studied theology, eventually becoming a priest and a chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1509, he went to work for King Henry VIII. That’s where the fun begins. Keep in mind, young Henry was only 18 years old at the time, and I’m sure the 36-year-old Wolsey figured he’d lead the king in righteousness with his mature and prudent ways.

Things went along rather well for Wolsey. You saw his house in the Whitehall Palace blog. Obviously, he was well taken care of by the king. Having the young king’s ear, Wolsey quickly became the controlling force behind all matters of state, and when Pope Leo X appointed Wolsey Archbishop of York in 1515, he became the second most important cleric in England. Henry even appointed him the highest political post possible – Lord Chancellor – which is the king’s chief adviser.

Things proceeded well for about a decade, but Henry was young, egocentric, and distraught by the fact that his wife Catherine had not delivered him a son and heir. Catherine was older than Henry and nearing forty, Henry didn’t think he’d get a son out of her, and I imagine his bitterness grew. Simultaneously, he met and fell in love with another woman, Anne Boleyn, and he decided to rid himself of his wife. But how? He couldn’t have her killed. He couldn’t just sent the queen away. He’d have to divorce her, but divorcing someone meant you couldn’t marry another. That wouldn’t work. There was only one thing to do. He’d have the marriage annulled. There was only one HUGE problem. The Pope refused to annul his marriage to Catherine on the grounds that one can’t throw away a wife because one desires a different wife.

Well, Thomas Wolsey is so important in the church, let’s let him handle it. Surely he can convince the Pope to grant an annulment, especially for the freakin’ KING. OF. ENGLAND.

The divorce went on for years, and each passing message that Wolsey was getting nowhere with the Pope, enraged Henry even more. All for the love of Anne, Henry decided to split from the Catholic Church and become his own religious leader in his own newly formed Church of England. He would grant his own divorce and get rid of his wife. He also decided to get rid of the useless Wolsey. Anne had convinced Henry that Wolsey was slowing down the proceedings on purpose. In 1529, Wolsey’s fall from grace was sudden and total. He was run out of town and stripped of all his titles except Archbishop of York.

Within the year, Catherine was banished from the court. Wolsey was charged with treason and faced beheading. Fortunately for him, he died of natural causes en route to London to answer to the charges. Henry confiscated Wolsey’s Whitehall Palace and married Anne there in 1533.

If all that isn’t sick and twisted enough, Henry had Anne beheaded three years later.

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 – 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

FREE Kindle just for you!

I, John Culpepper” is FREE on Kindle through 4/19. Grab a copy and relax with a good book this weekend. Click here – “I, John Culpepper” at Amazon.

Below is the blurb and a snippet from the book.

51hHerBrPbL._UY250_I, John Culpepper

John Culpepper was born into a privileged childhood, surrounded by abundant wealth, vast land holdings, and stately English manors. As he grew, he was expected to follow family tradition—attend law school and serve in Parliament, following which he would retire to a quiet life as a country gentleman.

John, however, had different desires. He longed to captain a mighty ship, to hear the snap of the sails, to taste the salty spray on his lips. To follow his dreams, John would have to risk being disinherited by his unyielding father. He would have to defy family convention. He would ultimately be forced to choose between the woman he loved and his mistress—the sea.

I, John Culpepper is a work of historical fiction based on the life of the 17th-century man historians refer to as John Culpepper the Merchant. He is believed to be the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

***********************************************

Here’s a snippet from the day John was born. The photo is the replicas of the ships mentioned in the scene. These replicas were built in the late 1900s and are currently docked on the James River in the Jamestown settlement where the original ships were heading. Road trip! Let’s go!

***********************************************

susan constant, discovery, goodspeed replicas on the chesapeake1606, Blackwall, London

“Master Culpepper! Master Culpepper!” the servant boy shouted over the bells clanging from the church steeple. He pulled the scratchy scarf tightly around his neck to ward off the chill as he pushed his way through the masses gathered on the foggy banks of the Thames.

The crowd had been gathering on the wharf for nearly two days to witness the departure of the ships, and they were prepared for a spectacle unlike any they had seen before. When the tide came in, the three ships carrying one hundred forty passengers and sailors would depart England on an exciting adventure. The air smelled of salt and tar and sweat. This was a remarkable place, a magical place, where the preparations were as exciting at the coming voyage. The anticipation in the air was nearly as thick as the fog.

The boy stopped for a moment as a wooden cask was rolled across the cobblestone in front of him. He watched as workers carefully rolled the barrel up the tilted gangplank. He remained frozen in the middle of the bustling crowd, staring at the ship. He had never seen anything so majestic in all his twelve years, and his jaw dropped at her sheer size. She was an enormous castle-like structure, at least eighty feet in length, her belly bulging at the side where the last of the cargo was being loaded in. Crates and boxes were continually being carried up the gangplank, where they disappeared into the ship’s dark interior. The deck above the cargo area was much narrower and the boy imagined that’s where the sailors would remain during the voyage, climbing masts and hoisting sails. Circling the spiderweb of hemp ropes and yardarms, seagulls cawed as if singing along with the rhythmical clanging of a nearby metal object. The boy scanned the scene for the source of the sound and noticed a blind beggar sitting on the cobblestone near the bow of the ship, tapping a stick on a metal bowl.

Behind the ship floated a second ship, nearly as large as the first, and behind that loomed a third. Each hosted its own cast of sailors, supplies, vagrants, and gangplanks. As wavelets gently raised and lowered the vessels, moans of protest arose from the taut ropes, and the weathered wood creaked with each stomp of a sailor’s boot. Nearby, two mangy hounds barked and growled over some fish scraps, bringing the boy’s attention back to his task at hand. Remembering why he had come, he yelled, “Master Culpepper!” He spun around and around looking for the man, weaving between horses, carts, trunks, and sailors shouting commands. He darted in and out of the crowd, making sure he didn’t bump into any wealthy gentlemen, recognizable by their long cloaks adorned with colorful silk threads.

In April, King James had created the Virginia Company, which would finance sailings to Virginia and Plymouth with the aim of settling colonies and profiting from the land’s abundant natural resources. The aristocracy funded the expeditions with the expectation of making an exorbitant profit. The three ships embarking from Blackwall on this day would sail to Virginia and bring back riches. There were rumors of gold, silver, and gems merely washing up on the shore for the taking. If nothing else, there was surely timber to be harvested. The trees in England had long been felled and the rising price of timber would certainly bring the investors a hefty return.

After they finished loading supplies and the morning fog had dissipated, the ships would raise their sails and ride the tide down the Thames. They would enter the English Channel and cross the great ocean and return by summertime.

The boy bobbed in and out of the crowd, searching for his master.

“Who are you searching for, lad?” a man in a ruffled collar asked.

“Master Culpepper,” the boy replied, removing his hat and revealing his dirty blond hair, which was sticking this way and that like a wheat field in a mighty windstorm. He twisted the wool hat in his hands.

“Johannes or Tom?”

“Johannes Culpepper, sir.”

“I saw him down by the front ship—the Discovery—only moments ago. He was standing right on the dock.”

“Thank you.”

The boy nodded, replaced his cap, and shoved through the workers and onlookers toward the front ship. As he passed the first ship, he looked at the name written on her side and sounded out the letters. He couldn’t make any sense of the words Susan Constant, but when he reached the second ship, he could read God…speed. He wondered if the Godspeed was true to her name. If he were to sail, he would rather sail on the Godspeed and get there faster. From what he understood, it was a two-month voyage if the weather was bonny, maybe four months if the ship ran into rough seas.

He had once spent a morning in a small fishing boat and instantly became green with sickness that lasted for days. He didn’t think he would be able to survive the time it would take to sail to Virginia. He gawked at the bow of the Godspeed as he ran past, witnessing a young lad about his age. The sailor dripped with sweat, even in the chill of the damp morning air, as he coiled ropes and folded sails. What a great adventure it would be to sail to Virginia, but alas, the boy would never get to do such amazing things. He was a servant, a gift from His Majesty King James I to Johannes Culpepper. He would always be a servant, but perhaps someday he would be fortunate enough to serve the king. Even though Master Culpepper was good to him, he wished to someday live at court and be somebody. At least he had the slimmest of chances. His sister had been placed in the kitchen of some castle in Wales. She would never be anything more than a scullery maid. Women would never hold a place in society. They were not welcomed on this voyage, either.

He hopped up and down, unsuccessfully trying to look over the crowd. “Master Culpepper!” he called.

A man turned and pointed. “Culpepper is right over there, son.”

“Thank you, sir.”

The boy sprinted in the general direction, and when he pushed through a couple workers conversing on the dock, he saw him.

“Master Culpepper!”

The boy ran up behind Johannes Culpepper and patted the back of his master’s arm, hopping up and down. “Master Culpepper!”

Johannes turned and looked down at the boy, his square jaw set and his blue-gray eyes burrowing into the lad. “What is it, boy? Why are you making such a commotion?”

The boy panted, out of breath from running. “Master Culpepper, m’lady is havin’ the baby, sir!”

Johannes’s face turned red as he glanced around the crowd to see if anyone was eavesdropping. When he saw no one was, he folded his arms across his chest and stroked his beard. “You came all this way to tell me that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Very good, boy. You run along home now.”

The boy didn’t move. How could his master not be excited about this news? Did he not want to return home and see his wife and child? Was there anything the boy could say to convince the man to accompany him back to the house?

“Go on. Run along.” Johannes waved the boy off with a flip of his ringed fingers and abruptly turned his back.

“Yes, sir.” The lad backed up, keeping his eyes on his master, wondering what he would tell the governess when he returned home without his master in tow. He had ridden nearly four hours to get to Blackwall this morning, most of it in the dark as the sun had not even risen when he left. He would have a four-hour return trip to think of something. He turned and walked back in the direction from which he had come.

*******************************

Get your FREE copy by clicking HERE.

A to Z – Culpeper Garden at Leeds Castle

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

C is for Culpeper Garden at Leeds Castle.

 

 

 

,

Leeds-CastleLeeds Castle is located in Maidstone, Kent, England. It was a Norman stronghold in the 11th and 12th centuries, a royal palace in the 13th through 15th, and a Tudor palace in the 16th century. It was also owned by my family at one point. The Culpepers (my mother’s family) owned the castle before the English civil war in the early 1600s. They lost it due to being on the wrong side of the war. If you’re not familiar with the outcome of the war, the king was beheaded and the royalist Culpepers fled to the new colonies to escape the same fate.

In the mid-1600s, the royal family was returned to the throne, and the Culpepers got their house back!!

culpeper_garden_originalWhat is now called the Culpeper garden was originally a kitchen garden and nothing more, but in 1980, a designer transformed it into a cottage garden. It has an informal layout with low box hedges bordering Roses, Lupines, and Poppies. It is said to be named after herbalist Nicholas Culpeper, who is a distant cousin of mine. Nicholas transcribed the pharmacopoeia from Latin to English “so that all men may prescribe for themselves.” He ended up dying in the war mentioned above, but as far as I know, he never lived in the castle. It is still nice that they honored the family hundreds of years later by naming something after them.

The final Culpeper owner of Leeds was Catherine Culpeper. She married Thomas Fairfax in 1690 and the property then transferred into the Fairfax family. Below are photos of Catherine and Thomas. Since their grandfathers were bitter enemies during the war, I’ve always wondered if the families condoned the marriage, if Catherine was being rebellious by marrying the enemy, or if the Fairfaxes were simply out to take everything from the Culpepers. I’m currently writing a story about it called “The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal.” I’m not set on the end yet, so we’ll see where the characters take me and which scenario plays out.  At some point in the story, I need to include a stroll through the garden.

LadyCatherine

Thomas_Fairfax 5th baron of cameron, catherine culpeppers husband

Saturday Snippets – Coming Soon – Culpepper’s Rebellion

Culpepper4I’m finishing up the final revisions of the fourth book in the Culpepper Saga, Culpepper’s Rebellion.

In the first book of the series, John Culpepper struggles to realize his dreams, never seeing eye-to-eye with his father. His dad sends him to law school, and John hates every moment of it, wishing instead to own a ship and become a merchant between London and the colony of Virginia.

In the second book, the English civil war breaks out, and John’s ship is the only lifeline that saves the family from certain execution.

In the third book, John becomes the patriarch of the family, struggling to hold his family together on two continents.

In this final book, John finds himself in the middle of  Bacon’s Rebellion in Jamestown, Virginia. He is so wrapped up in the Jamestown drama, he doesn’t realize his youngest son is beginning his own rebellion in Carolina. When all is finally calming down in Virginia, John’s son is arrested in London on charges of treason. John’s law training, which he so desperately despised in his youth, becomes the only thing standing between his son’s life and death.

Here’s the first chapter of the new book. Culpepper’s Rebellion will be released October 31, 2015.

***************************

CHAPTER 1

1680, The Tower, London

John followed the guard down the winding hallway. It was narrow and dark with only the light of an occasional torch resting in its iron holder, flickering shadows on the stone walls. Where John could see, the walls looked dark and damp, covered with a slimy layer of green mold, but the musty smell didn’t mask the overwhelming stench of urine and feces. He shook his head and wrinkled his nose at the insult.

As he passed intermittent arched doorways, prisoners yelled at him through small, bar-covered windows and pounded their fists on the wooden doors. Some begged for mercy, others pleaded for food and drink. The desperate voices echoing off the walls should have made John uneasy, but he only felt sheer hopelessness for those imprisoned. He didn’t look up when they called to him. He walked behind the guard with his head down, his heart heavy. How could any man endure this dreadful place? He remembered his older brother serving a short sentence within these walls during the civil war more than thirty years earlier, but in all of John’s seventy-four years, he had never seen the inside of the Tower. The unfortunate occasion that had brought him all the way from Virginia to be here on this day was more terrifying than the actual place.

The guard slowed when he rounded the corner, reaching inside his tunic pocket and noisily producing a ring of iron keys. John waited while the man found the appropriate key and placed it in the keyhole. When he turned it, there was a loud metallic snap. The guard pushed open the door, which moaned softly on its rusted hinges, and John entered.

The small room was lit by only a sliver of a window placed so high on the wall that none could see in or out. As the guard closed and locked the door behind him, John’s heart melted at the sight of the figure lying in a ball on a wooden platform, facing the moldy wall. John assumed the platform was a bed, but there was no blanket, no warmth, no comfort. A mouse scampered across John’s boot and disappeared into the tiniest of holes in the wall. At least the prisoners didn’t have to sleep on the floor with the mice.

“Johnny?” John said quietly.

Johnny sat up and spun around. “Father! What are you doing here?”

“I came to see to your welfare.”

“They’ve charged me with treason.” He ran his fingers through his disheveled curls.

“I know. That’s why I’m here.” His son looked so thin and worn. “You need a lawyer and I know of none better than myself.”

“You hate practicing law.”

“I’d hate it more to see your head on the scaffold.”

“I don’t think you can prevent it. They believe I embezzled the king’s funds.”

“Did you?”

“Of course not.”

“Then we’ll find a way out of this. Your mother will be very displeased with me if I allow you to lose your head.”

Johnny rose and wrapped his arms around John. “Thank you for coming, Father. I hate to admit it…” He paused and swallowed hard. “But for the first time in my life, I’m truly frightened.”

“I am too, son.”

************************************

The first three in the series are available at Amazon. After you read them, please stop by the Culpepper Saga Facebook page to see pictures, paintings, and documents from the real history of John Culpepper.

culpepper saga-001