I was so pleased to see that many of my friends were named amongst the medallists and ‘top tens’ of the ‘Genealogical Rockstars’ poll. Congratulations to all the winners, nominees and to those who weren’t nominated but none the less play a vital part in keeping the wheels of the family history world rolling. The list of nominees gets more and more impressive by the year and I am always awed and slightly puzzled as to how my name gets included on a list that contains the big names of the genealogical community. Although I was just out of the medals this year, I was humbled and honoured to be 4th in Britain and the Commonwealth and 5th in Europe. Thank you to John Reid for organising this and for being so restrained in the face of those who chose to throw brick-bats rather than bouquets. Thank you so much to anyone who voted and helped to make this a representative and valid exercise and thank you especially if I was amongst those who you felt deserved your vote.
Now for the Family Fun, with apologies to those who also follow Swords and Spindles’ blog. In my guise as Mistress Agnes, along with my Swords and Spindles colleagues, I will be giving those of you within traveling distance the chance to enter my world. On Monday 24 October we will be turning the clock back to Bideford’s hey day. Mingle with Sir Francis, friend to John Davie, Bideford tobacco merchant. Try on our armour, dress as we do or play with the toys of the time. Would you cope as a Tudor housewife? Just how heavy is that bucket of water, how difficult is it to card wool, or to churn butter? The Parliamentarians are building Chudleigh Fort, come and train as a pikeman and help to defend the town – we will not ask questions about which side you are on. Take part in our craft activities. Plague is threatening Bideford, you may see rats and plague masks. Do you know what food we would have eaten or how we ‘cure’ you when you are ill? Master Christopher will be available for consultations. If the weather is fine Master Christopher will even be shooting people. This event is ideal to keep your descendants happy over half term but it is for folk of all ages. Anyone who is interested in family, local or social history will be able to find out more about life in the 1600s. We will be at The Pollyfield Centre, Avon Road, East-the-Water, Bideford from 10.30-4.00. Entrance is free for children, with a suggested donation of £2 for adults. Please ‘express your interest’ to ensure that the event goes ahead. This is being run by Bideford Creatives as part of The Way of the Wharves project. You can also visit the event page on Facebook.
Apart from a flurry of seventeenth century talks to adults and coping with the responses to our Swords and Spindles mail shot, I have been showing people round the local area, enjoying their reactions as they revisit the homes of their ancestors. Add to this, listening to a fascinating local history presentation about fifteenth and sixteenth century recusants in my home parish and it has been a very full week. It is always a pleasure when my audience enters into the spirit of the presentation, so I was amused to receive a thank you message that read, ‘I am sorry that you could not come to give your presentation to us this week. You will pleased to know that Mistress Agnes, who you sent in your place, gave a very entertaining and informative talk.’
One Pharos course has come to an end and I look forward to starting to tutor another (that is a sell out) next week. There are however spaces on Devon History Society’s day course that I am conducting at The Plough in Torrington on 18 October. This is a course for anyone who is studying people and places of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Non-members of the society are welcome. A booking form, which also covers other October events can be downloaded from their website.