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Long Reads

‘WANTON WENCHES’ AND ‘INCORRIGIBLE ROGUES’ CHAPTER 3: The Bristol First Fleeters

The majority were young men all convicted by the Bristol courts for (usually) petty thefts committed in the city. Most had waited years in Newgate gaol, and suffered further imprisonment and hard labour in...

More of the Peters family story

The history of Jimmy Peters, the first black man to play Rugby Union for England, and the sketchy life of his father George is told in a previous blog. In this post, I return...
Cap badge of the Gloucestershire Regiment

‘Uncle Norman’: Perrett Park Keeper and veteran of ‘the Forgotten War’

We had it pretty sticky for a few days – our casualties up to Wednesday were approximately a thousand, The Gloucesters were over 600 and the other two battalions about 150 each.”    ...
Newgate Gaol, Bristol: ‘White above and foul below’, John Howard, prison reformer

‘Wanton Wenches & Incorrigible Rogues’ Chapter 2: The inmates of Bristol’s Newgate Prison, 1783-1787

In 1761, John Wesley who was interested in prison reform noted that Bristol’s Newgate Gaol was lately wearing ‘a new face’ and had changed for the better from ‘the filth, the stench, the misery...

‘Wanton Wenches’ and ‘Incorrigible Rogues’ Chapter 1: Two Mutinies: a Horrid set of Miscreants

Peace with the infant republic of America was declared in August 1783. With the small detail that Britain had lost the war apparently discounted, it appears that the arrogant assumption was made that everything...

Harriet Bumford – Another Victorian Girl – Revisited

It is often the case that the very next day after you have committed something to print more information will come to light. So it is with the family of Harriet Bumford Darke. When...
A A 19th century street-seller

Hard Times: Another Victorian Girl – Harriet Bumford Darke, c1831-1895

Harriet’s Story Thomas Bumford and Amelia Evans were married on 3rd August 1828 at Abergavenny, a small Welsh market town on the river Usk about six miles from the border with England. This is...
Aboard a Hulk

A Sea-Faring Family – the PINES of Bristol, Liverpool and Australia

A large part of the fun of family history is making contact with distant relatives that you never knew you had. This is especially so nowadays with the joys of the internet and this...

Sarah Matthews: A Poke from the Psychic Facebook

“Overture and Beginners Please” Miss Sarah Matthews was a surprise package. I had never heard of her before. She had a life of two halves: an actress from our Theatre Royal, Bristol who was...
College Green, Bristol ca 1830

Mrs Frances Ruscombe and her maid, Mary Champness, otherwise Sweet: A double murder at College Green

On Thursday 27 September 1764, a spinster in late middle-age, Miss Jefferies, went to her sister Frances’s house on College Green where she had been invited to dine at 12 noon. It appears the...