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Assassination And A History Of Violence

“There is no place in America for this kind of violence.”

The words of President Biden yesterday following an attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump ring hollow to those whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence in the US in recent decades.

One only has to say the words “Sandy Hook” to understand how gun culture and gun violence leave a dark stain on an American society determined to cling to its guns no matter how many school children have to pay the price.

Indeed the conspiracies around that one event – Sandy Hook – are enough to sicken even the most questioning of individuals. It is something that it’s taken twelve years for political broadcaster and commentator Alex Jones to be held fully to account for peddling lies that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged and that the parents of the murdered children were, in reality, actors helping create a fake event, the aim of which was to extend further gun control throughout the United States.

There has always been a place for violence in American politics. Their relatively short history is dotted with assassinations and assassination attempts at both the highest levels of politics and the lowest. Here’s a look at some of the more notable ones over the last 200 years.

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St Etheldreda

Saint Æthelthryth, or Etheldreda. of Ely23rd June, marks the feast day of St Etheldreda, a saint associated with Ely Cathedral who died in 679AD. jon rosling

Etheldreda, also known as Æthelthryth, is particularly significant to the Anglican tradition due to her association with Ely Cathedral, which remains a key site of pilgrimage and historical importance within the Church of England.

St. Etheldreda, sometimes also known as Audrey, was an Anglo-Saxon princess, abbess, and saint who lived in the 7th century. She was born around 636AD in Exning, Suffolk and was one of the four saintly daughters of Continue reading

What’s In A Name? Thomas Rotherham … alias Scott? Pt II

This is part two of an article an article I wrote for  Blanc Sangliers, the quarterly journal of the Richard III Society Yorkshire Branch.

You can read part one here. jon rosling

Cover page of JR Scott's Memorials of the Family of Scott, of Scott's Hall. Image sourced by John Rosling

Cover page of JR Scott’s Memorials of the Family of Scott, of Scott’s Hall.

In his book Memorials of the Family Scott of Scott’s Hall in the County of Kent, JR Scott ascribes the parentage of Thomas Rotherham to Sir John Scott, the son of Sir William Scott of Scott’s Hall in Kent.

However, the providence of this is so dubious as to bring to question JR Scott’s reason for doing so in the first place. Although JR Scott gives no date of birth for Sir John, other historians do, having him born in or around 1423 – the same year that Thomas Rotherham himself was born.

That there is no record of Sir John holding any office until the late 1430s lends credence to the assumption that he was born around the same time as Thomas Rotherham and therefore

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What’s In A Name? Thomas Rotherham… alias Scott? Part I

This is the first part of a long article on the fifteenth-century Archbishop of York, Thomas Rotherham, which I recently wrote for  Blanc Sangliers, the quarterly journal of the Richard III Society Yorkshire Branchjon rosling

Lincoln College portrait of Thomas Rotherham

Thomas Rotherham (1423-1500), Bishop of Lincoln (1471-1500), Second Founder of Lincoln College; Lincoln College, University of Oxford

Hanging above the high table of Lincoln College Hall in Oxford is a portrait of a man regarded as the second founder of the college[i], Thomas Rotherham, one-time Bishop of Lincoln and at the end of his life, Archbishop of York.

With its pious gaze and prayerful hands, the portrait has looked down on generations of Lincoln College students, overseeing their daily affairs in much the same way the Archbishop himself oversaw the running of England during his time as Lord Chancellor and confidante to the kings and queens of the late fifteenth century.

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The Ruins of Recusancy

The Babington ConspiratorsAmidst the steep, tree lined hills hills and chalky paths around Grindleford in Derbyshire lay the ruins of Padley Hall. I have written previously how this ancient manor  passed through the hands of various families from Norman lords to Tudor Elizabethan knights. jon rosling

But throughout the twists and turns that litter the history of Padley Hall, nothing quite matches the betrayal, deceit and darkness that followed after 1588.

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The Duke of York Memorial, Wakefield


The Richard III Society 's annual commemoration of the death of the Duke of York in 1460. Photo by John Rosling

The Richard III Society Yorkshire Branch holds a small memorial service to remember those killed in the Battle of Wakefield each year on it’s anniversary.

It was a cold, damp and grey Saturday, the weather typical of England in the middle of winter, when I gathered with other members of the Yorkshire branch of the Richard III Society to remember those killed during Battle of Wakefield, in particularly Richard, third Duke of York (and, some would argue, King by Right) and his son Edmund Rutland. jon rosling

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Earl Grey’s Tower, Stanton Moor



Earl Grey's Tower

A view of the tower.

Earl Grey’s Tower, also known as the Reform Tower, stand on the edge of Stanton Moor in Derbyshire was built as a monument to the 1832 Reform Act. I passed it on my second history hike on Sunday, completely unexpected and somewhat awe inspiring given it’s history. jon rosling

The tower was built by the Thornhill family to commemorate Early Grey, a Whig Prime Minister who supported the passing of Great Reform Bill of 1832, thus creating an “Act to amend the representation of the people in England and Wales”.

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Padley Hall


Ruins of Padley Hall. Photo by John RoslingAmidst the rolling hills and occasional leafy glades of the Peak District, I came across Padley Hall, a once great Elizabethan manor house, now nothing more than the foundations of it’s stone walls, ruined and broken. jon rosling

But these stones have the history of Padley written into them – an altar stone hidden for three hundred and fifty years, the hearth stones of a great fireplace, the steps, the foundations.

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Ellen Lancaster (1837-1887)

Photograph of Ellen Lancaster from the 1870s. Photo sourced via Ancestry by John Rosling

Ellen Lancaster, my 3rd great grandmother.

This fine looking lady is Ellen Lancaster (nee Bridgett), who is my great-great-great grandmother. Ellen was born in 1837, a few months after Queen Victoria came to the throne the previous May, and she passed away on this day 28th May 1887 in Longton. jon rosling

I can trace her back through my mother’s side of the family. Her daughter, Mary Emma, married Eli Wootton in the 1890s or early 1900s and her son Thomas, who was born in 1905, was my maternal grandmother’s father. Continue reading

The Rudston Monolith Pt III

This article is the third part of three on the Rudston monolith in the East Riding of Yorkshire. You can read Part I here and Part II here.

I have transcribed the informative leaflet by W. W. Gatenby, which I acquired some years ago during a visit to the monolith and the Church of All Saints at Rudston in North Yorkshire. I’ll transcribe the leaflet exactly as is, which means that some of the phrasing and language reads quite dated, but I will look to re-paragraph some of it for ease of reading.

Rudton monolith and Celtic Cross

Photo Credit: Chris Collyer at stone-circles.org.uk. Used with permission.

An account of the manner in which Christianity came to Rudston in 615AD was recorded by the Venerable Bede of the Abbey at Jarrow-on-Tyne. In scholarly monastic Latin he describes how following the appointment of Edwin as chief of the Celtic tribe of Parisii, to take the place of his ageing father, Edwin had earlier visited the home of the tribe’s leader in Kent where he had asked permission to marry the Chieftain’s daughter, Ethelburga.

The tribe had been visited by by St Augustine some years earlier, and all members had embraced Christianity. Edwin was told that Ethelburga would marry him if he and all his tribe in Yorkshire embraced Christianity too.

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The Rudston Monolith Part II

This article is the second part of three on the Rudston monolith in the East Riding of Yorkshire. You can read Part I here…

I have transcribed the informative leaflet by W. W. Gatenby, which I acquired some years ago during a visit to the monolith and the Church of All Saints at Rudston in North Yorkshire. I’ll transcribe the leaflet exactly as is, which means that some of the phrasing and language reads quite dated, but I will look to re-paragraph some of it for ease of reading.

Rudston Monolith at night

Photo Credit: Chris Collyer at stone-circles.org.uk. Used with permission.

Returning to our thoughts on the Rudston monolith, we can imagine this being loaded on some very well dried beech trees with maximum buoyancy, and taken down either by the River Derwent or the River Rye to the Vale of Pickering, much of which was still under a very considerable depth of water at some seasons of the year, and brought to the foot of the Woldsat some place like Muston. Then the hard work really began to get it as far as Rudston. jon rosling

It is much less likely that they would attempt the sea journey from the River Esk down the coast. The tide rips at Flamborough Head would cause an extreme hazard to the people attempting to move by hand paddles a 50 feet raft of that weight.

Furthermore, any attempt to take it up the Gypsey Race, which could be dammed in sections, would be foiled because with the length of at least 50 feet, the torturous bends of some parts of the Race would present an impassable barrier.

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The Rudston Monolith Part I

This article transcribes the informative leaflet by W. W. Gatenby, which I acquired some years ago during a visit to the monolith and the Church of All Saints at Rudston in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I’ll transcribe the leaflet exactly as is, which means that some of the phrasing and language reads quite dated, but I will look to re-paragraph some of it for ease of reading. jon rosling

Rudston Monolith

Photo Credit: Chris Collyer at stone-circles.org.uk. Used with permission.

The Rudston Monolith, reputedly the tallest standing stone in Britain, is sited a few yards from the north eastern corner or Rudston church, standing some 26 feet above the ground, with an unknown depth below the ground surface, possible equal to three quarters of the above ground height. This, a hewn stone of a rough conglomerate moor grit, set in a precisley vertical position, and obviously placed there by the hand of man.

Its presence there raises several questions: Why was it put there, where did it come from, and how was it transported there?

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Southwell Minster and The Architecture of the Ages



Southwell Minster and churchyard

The Minster’s west front and north porch.

Southwell Minster – The heavy walls, sharp corners and definitive rounded arches peered out from the pages of a book I was reading – or was it an on-line, social media post? – late last year, drawing me in with it’s grand, austere Norman architecture and emitting an aura of the medieval times in which it was conceived.

The plain simplicity of it’s Romanesque west front reflects the piety and devotion to a Higher Power of those who built it. But in it’s simplicity the building’s architecture  serves another purpose – a projection of power and authority, a domineering fortress to protect against an oft anarchic age.

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Is Deep Nostalgia Really Like Bringing Back The Dead?

Deep Nostalgia My Heritage logoI stumbled across the #deepnostalgia hashtag on Twitter this morning and was instantly curious, so went to take a look at what it was all about. Deep Nostalgia is offered by the online genealogy website MyHeritage, and uses Artificial Intelligence licensed from D-ID to create the effect that a still photo is actually moving.

But Deep Nostalgia can take photos from any camera and seemingly bring them to life.

The program has a store of pre-recorded driver videos of facial movements and it takes uploaded photographs and applies the one that works best for Continue reading

Rotherham Minster Anglo-Saxon Ghosts

Rotherham MinsterAbsent from work today – not because of the snow but because of a  middle of the day appointment – and I’m chasing ghosts from the very distant past in my local area. Sadly for ghost hunters and Most Haunted aficionados, I’m not after the spiritual or ethereal kind but more the traces of an Anglo-Saxon past, buried beneath the fabric of the current Rotherham Minster. jon rosling

John Guest’s voluminous book Historic Notices of Rotherham gives little indication of the pre-Norman history of Rotherham’s main church, now Minster, beyond indicating that there was a church on the current site prior to 1066. Continue reading

THE DIG on Netflix


THE DIG movie posterMuch publicised over the last few weeks has been Netflix’s original movie offering, THE DIG, based on the John Preston novel of the same name. The Dig stars Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes and tells the story of the discovery of a burial ship, probably that of King Raedweld of the Anglo Saxons,  in the mounds of Sutton Hoo during 1938 and 1939. jon rosling

The real dig itself was massively important in the history of archaeology in the UK and globally. It shed a light on a period about which there was little known and was key in establishing the history of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia and the early Anglo-Saxon period. It also uncovered some stunning examples of Anglo-Saxon metal work, most of which are Continue reading

A Dive Into Heraldry

Looking over the pictures at St Leonard’s that I took in January, I became interested in the heraldic family crest that sits atop the memorial to Sir John Reresby (1634 – 1689). Crests and coat of arms like this were quite common on memorials to individuals with some rank or title. Sir John, as I explain here, was a member of the Baronetcy, the only British hereditary honour that is not a peerage. jon rosling Continue reading

Sir John Reresby (1634-1689), the South Yorkshire Scrapper!

Nave and chancel featuring the Sir John Reresby family monuments at St. Leonard's, Thrybergh. Photo by John RoslingThis January, I finally managed to get inside St Leonard’s Church at Thrybergh to take some photographs of the inside of the building and of some of the quite grand memorials and monuments that can be found in there. Most of these memorials are linked with the names of families from the local area throughout the long history of the place and include the Fullertons and Reresbys. jon rosling

The Reresby family came by the estate at Thrybergh in 1316 when it passed from it’s previous owners, the Normanvilles. They – the Reresby’s – held it in an unbroken line for around the next four hundred years, with Sir John Reresby (1611 – 1646) becoming the first Baronet of Thribergh in 16421.

However, it’s not that Sir John Reresby that this blog piece concerns itself but his son, who became the second Baronet in 1634 on his father’s death. Continue reading

Whitby Abbey: The Illuminated Abbey


Halloween is always an atmospheric time of year – glowing pumpkins, roasted chestnuts, Yorkshire parkin and faces painted in a myriad of ghoulish disguises. But this year was made all the more so by spending Samhain in the Gothic surroundings of Whitby and it’s wonderful illuminated abbey ruins. jon rosling

English Heritage‘s Illuminated Abbey event in 2019 was a week of activities at the abbey that sits in a prominent position on the headland overlooking Whitby’s ancient harbour. The abbey itself is, of course, a ruin – years of neglect after the violence of it’s dissolution in 1540 left it a shell. The bracing wind, rain and salt spray  from the North Sea have also taken their toll on the stonework and an attack by German battle-cruisers in December 1914 did further severe damage.

Wide angle photograph of Whitby Church of St Mary's and Harbour. Photo by John Rosling

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A Rosling Family History Anniversary … of Sorts



Rosling is not an uncommon name where I find myself writing this blog and Lincolnshire is a place my own little Rosling clan visit as a family often. It’s also somewhere that my own family hails from in the dim and distant past. While I’ve been aware of this association in my family history since I first started researching it in 2001, it was only last year that I actually found myself with the time to spare and in the right place to be able to visit the church at Tallington, where the earliest record of my direct line comes from. jon rosling

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The Legend of St Leonard of Reresby Pt II

Correggio's image of Saint LeonardMy earlier blog posting considered the legend of a local saint, Saint Leonard of Reresby, one about which I had never come across until I researched the medieval stone cross at St Leonard’s Church in nearby Thrybergh. jon rosling

It’s unsurprising that I’ve never come across the legend before as it seems the first time anyone has put any coherent research together is John Doxey’s website on the local area.

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The Legend of St Leonard of Reresby Pt I

Etching from 1817 of the stone cross at it’s original location on East Hill (now the cemetery) in Thrybergh.

I wrote in a previous blog about the stone cross that can be found at St Leonard Church in Thrybergh and while researching that post I came across the legend of St Leonard of Reresby and the various stories and myths associated with it. It was a story I was unfamiliar with even though I’m more than familiar with Thrybergh and the church itself. Thanks go to John Doxey, among others, for providing some of the background information to my own search on his own website. jon rosling

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