Time travelling via wifi, between The Putney Debates, London (1647) & Canberra Parliament 2016

A principle of our inherited Westminster system of government is that Ministers of the Crown receive impartial, fearless advice.

CSIRO provides Scientific evidence to guide our policies for making our Commonwealth of Australia a better place, but in recent times the Government has shown a distinct lack of respect for the institution. gw-virus

  • There is a career public service which impartially serves the government of the day.

On this day in 1647, in the midst of the English Civil War, between the Monarch and Parliament the so-called “Putney Debates” began in the church of St Mary The Virgin Church, Putney. The debates, Chaired by Cromwell and attended by officers.

Source: The Putney Debates (1647) It was the dawning of the Age of Enlightenment.

Ideas, creativity, invention was flowering. Communications technology such as accessible printing presses had a double-edged sword for those who wanted to promote new ideas and information to those who didn’t want them to be disseminated. Knowledge was Power, and it empowered the New Model Army.

Colonel Thomas Rainsborough and his brother William of Wapping were well loved in their seafarer and merchant community.

LIke their father who was honoured by the Crown for his prowess with the King’s ships, the sons inherit the wise, learned non-conformist gallantry which resonated with the populace.

Today we would call them “Champagne Socialists”.

When I hear our current Members of Parliament (in the Commonwealth of Australia) “verballing” the most vulnerable who depend on the safety net of welfare, targeting cuts to income and services – taxing the poorest and subsidising the richest, I think of the power of those words recorded at the Putney Debates 400 years ago, which is as relevant today:

“ … [T]he poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee … ”. I’m going to borrow that for personally political purposes!    BOOK REVIEW

rainsborough

 

TIME – TRAVELLING

THAT MAN OF BLOOD WIK_Charles-I_by-Daniel-Mytens_1631 KING OF ENGLAND

WOULD MURDER HIS OWN SUBJECTS IN OUR BEDS? PEOPLE SHOULD SHUT THEIR FUCKIN’ MOUTHS, SPEAKING TREASON – I DON’T WANT YOU GOING DOWN TO THAT DEVIL’S TAVERN ANYMORE THOMAZIN! I’ll GET MY JUG OF ALE ELSEWHERE.

devil's tavern

It’s no easy task to write A CHAPTER in the imagined life of your 12 x removed Great Grandparents! Yet it is my exquisite obsession, my job to tell this story to my grand-children, students, and general readers.

The English Civil War (1642-49) was not something I learned in my English education between 5 to 14 yrs or 1967-77 in Birmingham. My husband didn’t learn about it during the 1950’s in Leeds.

Was Westminster afraid we would turn against the Status Quo, become rebel rousers?No our History lessons were like a scratched, repeating record of the War of the Roses and Henry’s Tudor wives.

cropped-tower-hamlets-militia.jpg

So I’ve been learning at home via the wifi internet  of this amazing period which was the beginnings of the British Commonwealth Parliament, the cornerstone of our system of Government today.

By this generosity of shared knowledge in the global village I can see and hear my New Model Army lovers who bear witness to the King’s head being chopped off by Parliament,  and M.P. Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the British Isles.

In fact they were the first REDCOATS, the initiative of Cromwell and Fairfax to create a professional national Army. I aim to bring my cross-dressing Tom-boy Gran out of the closet of obscurity. Somehow they survived the onslaught of Cromwell leading them to victory in Ireland, Scotland and finally the battle of Worcester where my Mother lives!

To flesh out my 17th century ancestral characters I trawl through the academic research, go back to virtual Sunday School to read their favoured Geneva Bible, imagine so many Pub-crawls and Church pilgrimages of East London in a constant background of Wars.

Like an Olympian I needed a Coach…  It was opportune to see on facebook, the James Patterson Masterclass for Writers for an affordable $90.00. The number one author said I needed an OUTLINE – but first a plot in 2-3 sentences:

12 Generations ago, close to 400 years my Great Grandparents Clark had an intriguing entry in a London Baptism register for July 1655. The new parents were “Souldiers” in Cromwell’s New Model Army. 

It wasn’t long before a ballad was sung about the wife who cross-dressed to be a man and be revealed as the “Famous Woman Drummer”. How did this happen? Wasn’t it a hanging offence? 

My Great Grandmother 12 generations past.

THOU SHALT NOT KILL said the God of Abraham, but DEATH and DYING, AND BRUTAL MURDER WAS ALL AROUND. EVERYWHERE THE CHILD WALKED WITH OR WITHOUT HER MOTHER there was usually heads of traitors atop pikes at the different Gates around the city of London walls, and Bridge.

The twin girls’ mother, would introduce herself to strangers as Goody Thomasine Cannaday , wife of a Wapping Mariner, going on to explain how clever he was with his hands. It had only taken a morning to build the twins a push-cart so they could all get out of the house, see the sights of London.

Dutifully she would never fail to inform her three year old twin daughters under the gruesome faces of men, this is what happens to you if you’re caught murdering and pillaging and raping and spying, and rebelling.

If you stay out of trouble from God and King life wouldn’t be so bad living in the best city and country of the world. It was a bit alarming when she saw how her borough was changing day by day.

The Tower Hamlets was semi-rural, so the family could walk around the corner and find a milk dairy, and horses being shoed, fishing boats traffic and the increasing wonder of sailing ships bringing in cargo from foreign and newly discovered countries.

Blessed to be born, Praise the Lord! and they would all laugh, and she would shed a tear. Thomasine had it on good authority – her Father, Thomas Bond a Victualler of Gracechurch Street would send a message when their Royal Majesties Charles 1  and retinue had planned to Parade the regular route between the White Tower and Whitehall.

Crowds of thousands would witness pomp and tragedy along the way to the Tower gates.

Roaming animals were part of the throng of daily Life on a diet of unwanted scraps of butchered flesh and gristle. There was no waste left when dogs cleaned up body bits and pieces of  an unforgivable noble whose head was severed by the axe man at Tower Hill.

Thomasine senior was doing her motherly duty showing the raw facts of Life in it’s Judgemental element. The girl’s mother would counteract this dark side with the experience of watching the magnificence of a Royal entourage. It was always a spectacle, from the glorious white horses with shiny reins to the splendid military uniforms flash with feathers.

Even her mother’s delight failed to quell the moans about her  husband, HUGH when he was off sailing the ocean, fearful of him finding somebody he liked to fuck better than she.

Her daughter  also named Thomasine  reminded her of how she complained when there was no ship and he took on jobs as a Roper, and they saw each other every day she was not entirely happy. Thomasine the younger had worked out why she was unhappy with most things – it was her baby’s dying. Her mother’s desire to bear sons, and the loss of her favourite daughter, Tabitha, twin to Thomasine, her beautiful, graceful sister who should have lived instead of her.

God had visited the plague on their house, taken the most important thing a woman could give her husband, a son. And she did, but then the Lord took them away? Why would HE do this to her?  It was hard to suppress her tears.

Mummy can be a cry-baby, he had said one day when she was taking a piss outside. The Rector at St. Dunstans suggested prayers but Thomasine had a better idea. She would be healed by the King.

TO TAKE HER MIND OFF HIS ABSENCE THERE WAS ALWAYS THE LONELY BUT FAITHFUL MARINER’S WIVES OF THE THE TOWER HAMLETS.

They met in a different Tavern each week, sometimes twice, bring the kids to share stories, sing ballads and support each others grievances and oft times, grief.

Bills of Mortality

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL was the next COMMANDMENT, but at the Stepney Parish Sunday school Thomasine and her twin sister Tabitha said they knew Godly people who stole stuff all the time.

My ancestors are recorded in the registers of St. Dunstan Stepney East in the 1600’s. Puritan Preacher William Greenhill was the preacher aswell as active with the Independent Meeting House, non-conformist and attracted people like Oliver Cromwell.

Stepney Meeting House was an independent church in Stepney, East London, founded in 1644 by Henry Barton and his wife, William Parker, John Odinsell, William Greenhill, and John Pococke, in the presence …Wikipedia

It was true said Rev. Burroughs, but if they were not caught, hung by the Law, or transported as white slaves to the NEW WORLD, there was no escaping the real torment of HELL.

God of course in the body of Jesus Christ our Saviour on the Cross would see into the SOUL of the person and forgive them for what they did.

secretlondonexecutiondock3

CHAPTER 1. THE KING THREATENED HIS OWN PEOPLE, HIS CAVALIERS WERE GOING TO RIDE DOWN FROM THE ROYAL BASE AT OXFORD, AND MURDER HIS OWN SUBJECTS FOR SIDING WITH PARLIAMENT.

THOMASINE Cannaday is TWELVE, yet her father allows her to dons the clothes of her dead brother to dig the fortifications commissioned by Parliament to protect the Tower Hamlets against the King.

On 7th March 1643 the people of Stepney Parish pray to God to protect them against the crazy, stubborn, selfish, Stuart King, Charles 1st who is threatening his subjects a bloody attack by his Cavalliers coming from the Royal base at Oxford.

During this great anxiety and shock, Thomasine is made aware of her destiny. John Clark appears by her side and their souls fate become intertwined. God is Love.

Forts 1642

My journey writing is a long journey, with many diversions, like today  I’ve been cleaning out the pantry because a mouse died in it…pong, leaving its shit everywhere..I think about the filthy hovels and slum tenements which my ancestors survive, and those who don’t.

I clean and disinfect then find a wonderful article about early modern vermin! It’s not the mouse shit the people are so concerned about, but the competition for their scarce food! The Details are important. It is the real truth revealed, physical, political, spiritual.

My 17th century Tom-boy is part of my inner-life, has been for at least 3 years now. I see her like in a movie at the end of Gun Alley opposite Wapping Wall with her Mother, Thomasine (popular Christian name in East London).

I’m hooked in to imagining and re-creating their working-class drama because it has all the topics I love and my Nan didn’t – Religion and Politics!

When she was a child Tom would go down to EXECUTION DOCK to see the Pirate hanging over the river. If the tide was out she’d sit under the body, thinking.

The neighbourhood was always out in force, for the Parade – cheering as the High Court Admiralty Marshall approached on a beautiful, majestic horse along the narrow street front of the River Thames. He held a tall silver oar, symbol of the Sea where crimes were committed by the prisoner – a pirate – made to stand aboard a cart.

There were hisses, and boos, and mad cheers.  Old rubbish was flung at him for a laugh. Dogs barked. Tom studied it all; to from the hooves to the tail to the Pirate standing proud as he can before he is hung by a short rope.

Mongrel dogs take part, wagging tails, sniffing bystanders, scrounging for edible scraps. Vermin rats and mice were part of the scenery, and they were hard to catch too.

Wappinglink to all about Fortifying London
Wapping Warehouses, 17th century view.

 

FIXATED on ANCESTOR’S EARLY MODERN LONDON.

A SUPERSTITIOUS AGE, encouraged by JAMES V1 Scotland and 1st of ENGLAND. He Wrote and Reigned by Fear and Favour, 1597-1625.bonfire nightGunpowderPlot WP_Fax_of_a_Woodcut_in_the_Cosmographie_Universelle_of_Thevet_in_folio_Paris_1574 In 1597, James published Daemonologie, his rebuttal of Reginald Scot’s skeptical work, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, which questioned the very existence of witches. Daemonologie was an alarmist book, presenting the idea of a vast conspiracy of satanic witches threatening to undermine the nation. In 1604, only one year after James ascended to the English throne, he passed his new Witchcraft Act, which made raising spirits a crime punishable by execution.

A Royal Headache

King James 1st Stuart King of England, b.Edinburgh 1566-England 1625 . Married to Anne of Denmark and blamed witches of Berwick for their stormy voyage from Norway, overseeing torture and trial and execution of over 70 “witches” 1590-1592.

St Catherin's

Home Territory of the Clark & Cannaday families.

Wapping wallSTEPNEY ACKERSJohn Clark Ratcliff 1554clarke will 1666

RED COAT CLARKS

Ireland with Cromwell

Roundhead Silent Drum photo (c) Iain at flickr

8 pence a day – NEW MODEL ARMY Training – 1649

EIGHT WEEKS OF TRAINING AT THE OLD ARTILLERY GROUND WAS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE & TRIUMPH FOR THOMASINE CANNADY WHO HAD DECIDED TO RISK ALL AND JUMP THE WALL TO SIGN UP WITH HER BOYFRIEND. THEY WERE SICK OF HOME, BORED BY THEIR USUAL ROUTINES, SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF THE TOWER HAMLETS.

Spitalfields-Map-1720 artillery ground

Ever since they were kids they’d grown used to pirates hanging at Execution Dock, bodily excretions and carcasses of human and God’s other creations swept away down the Thames River or along the alleys and roads around the Tower Hamlets.800px-Demi-culverin-circa-1587

see sections of my familial, novel in progress here:

http://newmodelclarks.wordpress.com