JANUS – JANUARY 2014
There is one story about Cromwell and his Roundheads which you may not realise you know.
The nursery rhyme
Goosey goosey gander,
Where shall I wander,
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by the left leg
And threw him downstairs.
This refers to “goose-stepping” Roundheads who would search houses for Royalists. Anyone who refused to accept Puritan ways was arrested and thrown in jail.http://www.hinchhouse.org.uk/civilwar/oliver.html
When I was a little girl walking home from primary school I wished I could explore my family tree. What triggered this desire has vanished, but being 51 now with adult children flown and nests of their own, I have my PC and wi-fi of my own, plus a home of my own(though not a house-keeper like Virginia Woolf).
The Past and Present have are aligned with my desires and scientific applications. Dr. Who and I time-travellers in t.v. 51st year!
THE OBSESSION LANDED AT THE FEET OF MY 11th Great Grandmother Thomasine Cannaday born in the Parish of Stepney, baptised at St. John of Wapping C of E 11 March 1632. Daughter of Hugh, a Mariner and Rope Maker. Resident at Gun Alley.
Then the first civil war began. The separation of powers was fought in blood and mayhem. The East London folk built barricades in 1642 to defend themselves against their own King – Charles 1st…
This was where she first met John Clark.
A Novel project for 2013. A year gone by already and what have I done? I must stop pressuring myself – allow the characters to live within the context of the times. January or Janus reminds me I am looking back and realising we are still dealing with the same issues – control – power – justice….
MY ANCESTOR THOM CLARK RELATES HER STORY of when the wars were won.
My Faith was shaken to the core.
A black disease had been released by a demonic dagger. My breath became laboured. I needed Johnny. He was my Rock, but I couldn’t desert my Post outside the rooms of General Cromwell. This was a test of my character. God knows why. It didn’t sound like the General was battling with his conscience!
Thou Shalt not commit Adultery! It had been drummed into us at many chapel meetings. We had fought and won a Holy war for a better society. We were New Model soldiers singing Psalms in unison with the vision and power to create a better world to live in.
The first Acts of Parliament struck the tone. The penalty of adultery was death. It seemed a bit harsh to me and John afterall you would be killing off most of the population of Sailor-town like my dad in Stepney after he’d had too many ales..
We trusted our superiors to know what they were doing. They had a higher calling. My loyalty ran deep to General Cromwell.
Confusion knawed at my insides. Cromwell was my Commander, yet God, through the Lord Jesus Christ was Supreme Commander in this world and the next.
I wish I hadn’t said I would be honoured to fill this guard in the Palace this evening. It was obvious Providence had placed me here. I prayed to be relieved of my duty.
Perhaps I was imagining things? It was worse than if my own Father, had been fornicating with another woman and I as witness. When a rumour of his infidelity reached my long suffering Mother she told me the betrayal might hurt, but adultery always ended up being hung around the woman’s neck in any coupling.
Another time Mother came home from Church and said she’d thought long and hard about the Fall and how God had cursed Mother Eve for the want of learning and then Father arrived with his drunken mates he’d met down the tavern and slapped her on the arse and told her to get some cooking for our good friends.
“Help your good mother cater for our guests, Thomasin” and he winked and took out his mouth organ to incite them to sing some of the old sea shanty’s. It helped us perform our duties to everybody’s satisfaction.
When later I met John at Ratcliff Stairs I asked him. Would he commit adultery on his wife. He shook his head and I believed him.
“Such questions from a young maid” he exclaimed as if he was ancient! Would you John. Will you make a trust worthy, Godly husband? He blushed. Why was he blushing? That was a whole other life-time. We had been through wars together, witnessed far worse atrocity against the Almighty than sticking the cock in a woman when she wanted it.
Even with these thoughts I, Private Thom Clark was bitter walking back to the billet later that evening. She could tell her soul to John and he would listen. Thankyou God for providing such a godly man. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou. Amen.
Dear Jesus, what would you do finding your apostle breaking your Father’s commandment; Thou shalt not commit adultery.
That is what was going on, wasn’t it? Adultery? I had heard the Lord Protector talking so familiar to a woman in his room. I thought it was his wife. It was nice to hear him laugh, but I grew uncomfortable as the voices sounded flirtacious. You would expect it of course, except when Private Hubbard broke from his stern demeanour and mouthed to me, it’s not his wife – and typical of a soldier, even most Puritan ones, he lapsed into a rude gesture suggesting he approved of what his Lord was doing.
The image of the Lord Protector in the front of my eyes. His laughter delighting her, his mistress?
He shouldn’t be laughing like that, nor she! Where was
At the very beginning of the Commonwealth, when we signed up for a Puritan society grown to it’s natural grace there was an Act of Parliament imposing the death penalty for incest and adultery and 3 months for fornication.
John and I agreed it would save the sacred institute of Marriage between a man and a woman and make is sacrosanct. It protected the integrity of the family. Though John had some doubts some men couldn’t control their urges and you’d kill half of the men in the land for being too weak to walk away from temptation.
You have to take charge of your manly tool as much as a soldier maintains his weapon. You saw secret men’s exercising their birthright to self-release. Girl, your name is Eve! God wanted to protect his children as a good Father.
Tears were running down my face. John, I wouldn’t be without you! Perhaps that’s what our Lord Cromwell thinks about his Mistress. She is his relief from ravages of war so he has a clear head to command. Afterall we are no persons to judge our superiors when we ourselves are trespassing the codes. If found out we would surely swing by the rope, even without fornication.
I sat on the edge of the camp bed. So it’s all right to make the Law and not obey it? What is the word John? To describe it?
John shrugged. You can go. I want to be alone.
You are right. Let this remain between them and God’s will. We are humble servants and soldiers. I will pray for guidance John. I will lay my head and rest. Tell the lads I am recovering from some rum.
She lay her head and the word sprang to mind – Hypocrite – her most admired man in this world was an adulterer. God had revealed this fact to her. Why?
Would she be an accuser and have him held up as an adulterer? John had told her sincerely, it was not her job to save Cromwell. Then why was she a witness to his sinning?