BENSOZIA/ON THE DEAD

Thoughts, Ideas, Observations


The Faithful Wife

An excerpt from the Patent Rolls (Royal Letters) of King Edward IV, 1461

The King has ordered that Bokenham Castle, county Norfolk, which he had granted to John Knyvet, be taken back into his hand:

The king accordingly, by letters patent ordered Gilbert Twyer, John Twyer, and William Harleston, esquire, escheator of Norfolk, to take the same into his hands and remove the said John and William and their adherents; and the said Gilbert, John and William have certified in the Chancery that on Tuesday before St. Mathew last they entered the outer ward of the castle, to the foot of a "draght brigge" across the water and found it raised so that they could not enter, and Alice wife of the said John Knyvet appeared in a little tower over the inner foot of the bridge, assisted by William Toby of Old Bokenham, gentleman, and others to the number of fifty persons, armed with slings, swords, glaives, bows and arrows, and she addressed them as follows:

Maister Twyer, ye be a justice of the pees and I require you to kepe the pees for I woll not leve the possession of this castell to dye therefore, and if ye begyn to breke the pees or make any warre to gete the place of me I shall defend me, for lever I had in suche wyse to dye than to be slayne when my husbond cometh home, for he charget me to kepe it.
so that they were unable to take the castle into the king's hands.

* * *

The Planters Name their Lands

The English settlers of Maryland in the 1600s all gave names to the properties they claimed, and these names by themselves tell a story of the settlers, their circumstances, and their ambitions.

Many of the names testify to the hardships of clearing the first European settlements in the wilderness:

Struggle, Poverty, Cow Graveyard, Maddox's Trouble, Ford's Hardship, Longest Day, Desolation, Makeshift, Poor Hope, Dear Bought, No Gain

Others clue us in to the attitude of the settlers toward their venture:

Risk, Come by Chance, All That's Left, Sothoron's Chance, Grub's Venture, Barber's Hazzard, Little Chance, Iron Intention

Because of the inaccuracies of the surveys on which these grants were based, they resulted in legal wrangling that went on for decades, as some of the names remind us:

Ill Will, Strife, Clear Doubt, Bone of Contention, Hamill Outwitted,  Lawyers' Delight

What kind of person set out to become a planter in Maryland?

Neighbors Alarmed, Thief Keep Out, Bargainupzone, I Don't Care What, Whores Harbour, Whiskey Alley, That's It, Let Me Alone

Some of the names seem to hint at a lost story:

Guardian's Neglect, Mistake in Friendship, Retaliation, Joseph's Shirt, Anderson's Third Beginning, Drunkard was Mistaken

Some bring the landscape to our minds:

Grubby Thicket, Stumpdale, Jones Swamp, Wet Work, Buzzard Point, Polecat Hill, Rutting Spring, The Gore, Miserable Swamp

And sometimes the names are just plain weird:

Hawkins Merry Peep a Day, Fellfoot, Quilting Frolic, Pash Asshur

All of the names are taken from the tax rolls of Charles County.


From the 
Commonplace Book

"Without knowing the
force of words it is
impossible to know men."

--Confucius

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The Faithful Wife
The Duel
Fables
The Parents
Witchcraft
Peasants' Revolt
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