Sunday, November 7, 2010

Admirable Women: Mary Hawtrey/Lady Bankes

Scanned my England pictures today. The binder broke, and so has my memory of some of the stories. Before the stories are lost, I'll write them here. My father's family is English, and live in Dorset, from Lyme Regis to Weymouth, Bournemouth and Christchurch. Cousin Charles has passed on, and the stories are shared in his memory. A marvelous host, we saw places we would not have without his gracious guidance. This picture is of Corfe Castle, which was the backdrop to the murder of Edward the Martyr in 978. His stepmother had him killed and his body tossed in a well. In 1643 Cromwell's Parliamentarians laid siege to Corfe Castle for 13 weeks. Lady Bankes resisted this attack, and more through 1644, 1645. On February 27, 1646, the castle fell to the treachery of Lieutenant Colonel Pittman, who let Cromwell's troops into the castle in the dead of night. In March 1646, the House of Commons raised a levy for mining and gunpowder to "slight" the Castle, reducing it to the ruinous state we see today. Cromwell features prominently in much of the destruction we saw in Dorset. I laughed out loud picturing Lady Bankes thumbing her nose at the Parliamentary troops. Good on 'ya, Mary! Cousin June told a story of taking visiting relatives to the Castle for a visit. There was a dense fog as the car slowly approached the high street in the only gap in the Purbeck Hills. Out of the fog emerged a company of Roundheads. It was a National Heritage reenactment the group had wandered into, but June said it established the time/space enough that all were swept back to the 17th century for a day.

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