Happy New Year, AKA Lady Day, AKA 25 March!

March 25 is one of the quarter days that once marked the English year, called Lady Day (Our Lady’s Day) after the Virgin Mary. It was a very important in the Middle Ages, and was considered New Year’s Day for centuries (although New Year’s presents were typically given on the 1st of January, that was… Read more Happy New Year, AKA Lady Day, AKA 25 March!

The Death of Catherine the Great’s Heir, on 23 March 1801

Empress Catherine II of Russia didn’t earn the title of “the Great” by being a sweetie. She was, like almost all successful rulers, capable of playing hardball and cagey about maintaining her power. She was determined to make Russia a world power, and force Europe to give it the respect she believed it deserved. Catherine… Read more The Death of Catherine the Great’s Heir, on 23 March 1801

King Wilhelm I of Prussia, First Ruler of a Unified Germany

Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig,  the future King of Prussia and first German Emperor, was born on 22 March 1797 in Berlin to Prince Frederick William and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Wilhelm was a second son, and was steered toward a career in the military since he wasn’t expected to inherit the Prussian throne. The young Wilhelm took… Read more King Wilhelm I of Prussia, First Ruler of a Unified Germany

Was Eliza Hancock the Model for Mary Crawford?

Eliza Hancock was Jane Austen’s cousin and future sister-in-law, and many speculate she was also the model for some of Austen’s most vivacious characters, including my perpetual favorite — Mary Crawford. If so, it seems to indicate that Austen both loved her cousin and was also jealous of the attention the sparkling Eliza could command… Read more Was Eliza Hancock the Model for Mary Crawford?

Sheela-na-gig and Cultural Function

The sheela-na-gig, once seen, are hard to forget. These carvings can be found on medieval churches and buildings across Northern Europe, but more frequently in the British Isles and in the greatest numbers in Ireland. A popular hypothesis is that sheela na gigs represent a pagan goddess, but academics believe the situation was more complex,… Read more Sheela-na-gig and Cultural Function

Happy Birthday Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey!

Charles Grey, future Prime Minister and progressive hero, was born on 13 March 1764 to General Charles Grey, who was created Earl Grey and Viscount Howick in 1806. A genius, Charles Grey wowed his way through Trinity College, Cambridge and: was elected to Parliament for the Northumberland constituency on 14 September 1786, aged just 22.… Read more Happy Birthday Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey!