Archive | February RSS for this section

13th February 1788. Mughal Influence.

One of the turning points in British India rule resulted from the trial of Warren Hastings, India’s first Governor-General who was impeached on the ancient charge of high-handedness and corruption.

The trial of Warren Hastings.

The trial opened in Westminster Hall Today in 1788 which was set to last seven years after when he was acquitted and retired to private life.

From now no longer would the chief power in British India be grasped by a relatively obscure official but by elevated personages in their own right: the Marquis Cornwallis, Marquis Wellesley, Marquis of Hastings, Lord William Bentinck and Lord Dalhousie, people of the ruling class, in effect they were Viceroys not yet in name, but untempted by financial gain.

‘John Company’, (the East Indies Company) had been effectively the private ruler of much of India before the 1857 Mutiny after which control was assumed by the British Government along with supporting baggage of the Indian Army, judges, administrators and revenue collectors. In the process many adopted the lifestyle of their Mughal predecessors in a process called ‘going native’.

Samuel Pepys Cockerell.

One of the results of our contact with the Mughal Empire was the importation of that native architecture notable at Daylesford, Gloucestershire which was remodelled to the design of Samuel Pepys Cockerell (employed in 1806 as surveyor by the East India Company), for the retirement of Warren Hastings, in the neo-Mughal/Indian style. (1)

In the church of St Peter’s Daylesford there is a memorial to Rev. TB Woodman, ‘Rector of this parish and vicar of Brackley in the county of Northants’. His remains are interred in the same vault with those of his uncle the Rt. Hon. Warren Hastings. He [Woodman] died May 30 1825 aged 65 years(2)

(1) Cockerell was great-great nephew of Pepys the diarist. Sezincote the inspiration for the later Brighton Pavilion of George IV, was also the 19thc interpretation of the 16/17thc Mughal Empire, designed by Cockerell.

(2) Hastings died 22nd August 1818. The present owners of Daylesford is the Bamford Family of JCB fame.


Dayleston House.







Paul F. Norton 1963. Daylesford.

Howard Colvin 1995. Biographical Dictionary of British Architecture. 1600-1840.


12th February 1766. Church Reactionary.

If anyone represents the power and influence of the Church of England in the early 19th century there is no better example than William Howley born Today in 1766. (1)

Educated at Winchester and New College Oxford he became chaplain to the Marquis of Abercorn in 1792 constituting a great career boost.

Howley in full fig.

One aspect of senior clerics then was how effortlessly they moved between the ecclesiastical  and Halls of Academe for by 1809 he was Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, previously a Fellow at Winchester and Canon at Christ Church Oxford in 1804. A devotee of secret societies he was also a Freemason.

In October 1813 consecrated at Lambeth as Bishop of London he was a natural to acquire the Province of Canterbury which he held between 1828-1848.

Being Archbishop at a vital time in political history, that of the repeal of The Test and Corporation Act 1828; Catholic Emancipation 1829, and The Great Reform Act 1832,  Howley led opposition to any reform. Not surprisingly he was attacked by the disenfranchised in the streets of Canterbury.

Like other bishops at the time he was an old High Churchman with traditional views of the sacraments of the Caroline divines, holding catholic beliefs but essential anti-Roman, views which were was despised by the Newman Tractarians.(2)

Effigy (sarcophagus) of Howley at Canterbury, though he was buried at Addington near Croydon.

Howley presided over the 1831 coronation of William IV and at 5am on 20th June 1837,  accompanied by the Lord Chamberlain, Marquis Conyngham, he was despatched to Kensington Palace to tell Princess Victoria she was queen of the UK of Great Britain and Ireland.

Howley was last of the ‘Prince Archbishops’ controlling Church income until the Church Commissioners took over in 1836. One of the last to wear a wig he drove a carriage with 6 black horses. (3)

(1) He died in 1848.

(2) Caroline: reigns of Charles I and II. Tractarians were followers of Anglo-Catholics.

(3) He spent £60,000 on the renovation, by Edward Blore, of Lambeth Palace.

Victorian addition to Lambeth Palace by Blore.



10th February 1905. Early Motors.

‘Not since shields and lances nothing has satisfied a man’s ego but an automobile’: Lord Rootes who in 1964 had forty models for sale according to a Punch Magazine advert.

Today in 1905 the Prince and Princess of Wales had a preview of the Olympia Motor Show which with Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour‘s visit next day helped to counter a wide-spread anti-motoring prejudice.

The motor industry grew particularly in Coventry, where precision skills were available from previous industries. These had come with the Jacquard machines, jewellery and cycles whose manufacture had started in 1869 as the Coventry Machinists Company established by Josiah Turner to produce bikes for France.

But exports ceased with the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, forcing the company to look at home markets. Daimler was to first make cars in a disused Coventry silk factory.

The first Rover complete with Viking ‘Longship’ badge was produced in Coventry after starting as Starley & Sutton Company, the Rover 8 was a two-seater with no windscreen. Success was boosted in 1948 when the Land Rover with the Series 1 which bridged the gap between tractors and light trucks and became the firms biggest seller. (1)

The Rover name (implying it could rove round country) was first used on an 1884 Rover tricycle, the Rover Cycle Company starting in 1896, moved into motor cycles in 1902 and cars; in 1904. Sunbeam cars were to begin in the same way.

In 1905 Vauxhall had moved to Luton from South London, but unlike many other previous cycle companies had in 1897 developed a single-cylinder petrol engine initially for marine work but adapted it to power a small tiller-steered car in 1903.

Oldest Vauxhall delivered in 1903.

Vauxhall was a company whose roots go back to 1857 when the Vauxhall Iron Works, London, makers of marine engines with its founder Alexander Wilson a Scottish engineer taking the heraldic griffin as the company insignia, the device of the original de Vaux family.

Vauxhall’s prestige was to be boosted with the D-type which became the standard Army staff car of World War I boosted when General Allenby swept into Jerusalem after its capture from the Turks and in carrying George V through Flanders displaying the famous fluted bonnet trade mark.

In 1895 Fred Lanchester produced the first English four-wheeler and later Herbert Austin designed a car built by Wolseley’s sheep shearing company in Birmingham. Herbert, later Lord Austin, built on a site he had discovered on his bike travels at Longbridge in 1905 to produce the Austin open-seater 18/24 model.

He saw the site as convenient for the railway and offering fresh country air it would dry enamel quickly. By 1921 the Austin 7 was selling for £225, which by the 1930s was being churned out at 1000 a week to the Vivian Ellis unity song sung at the plant

Fords had moved into Trafford Park, Manchester in 1911. By 1913 they turned out over 6,000 compared to Wolseley’s 3,000, Humber 2,500, Sunbeam 1,700, Rover 1,600 and Austin 1,500. Morris had barely started with 500.

Ford Anglia E494A 1949-53.

In 1913 Ford followed US practice with the first moving track assembly varying between 90min and 50mins to complete its course. In 1929 Fords moved to Dagenham.

Dagenham 1973

In 1921 William Morris decided to slash the price of his already cheap Cowley and more up-market ‘Bullnose’ models and in 1927 he took over Wolseley Cars. By 1924, the Model T Ford was overtaken by Morris; in 1925 sales, helped by acquisitions, were 54,151. (2)

By 1913 the British Motor industry built 25,000 cars and 9,000 commercial vehicles (3rd place in the international league) way behind America’s 461,000 (cars) and France’s 45,000. Whilst Ford made twenty cars a day, it took Morris a week to turn out the same number.

By 1929 the US exported about three times as many as Britain, France, Germany and Italy together. Britain’s output rose to about 180,000 cars and 60,000 commercial vehicles before the great slump, more, than doubled in the 1930s, figures not to be repeated until 1948/9.

(1) Until the 1970s when the brand was sold to Ford in 2000.

(2) In 1931 a Morris Minor cost £100 (£3342 at 2009 prices).

Ref: William Rootes and other info.

8th February 1960. Architects of the Gothic.

The architect Giles Gilbert Scott died today in 1960 notable for having followed in the footsteps of his grandfather Sir George Gilbert Scott in setting the Victorian trend for the medieval Gothic.

Albert Memorial, Kensington.

George had been inspired by Pugin in a quest for buildings fit for what was styled the ‘true religion’ and by the 1840s, the Gothic was winning the battle of the styles as at the Midland Railway, Grand Midland Hotel, St Pancras, London of 1868.

Font at St. Clement’s Terrington.

This return to Medievalism was also pursued by Butterfield, Street, Bodley and Pearson, the guiding lights of a building renaissance which looked backwards to the golden age not just in architecture but in its being allied  to ancient patterns of worship known in the 19thc as High Church. It was by these inspirations that the Tractarians hoped to restore the English Church to it roots, which was felt to have been lost in the apathy of the 18th century.

The range of Gothic ranges from a font cover of St. Clement’s Church, Terrington, Norfolk which typifies the movement where above a stone pedestal soars a pinnacled Gothic wooden cover reaching as high as the nave arches, and to the monuments of Sir George Gilbert Scott, notably  the Gothic Albert Memorial. (1)

However though Gothic was the preferred style of Anglicanism and the new Board Schools, there were other influences as many of the great public buildings of the 19thc were in the Greek, Roman and Italian tradition. (2)

Giles was to continue in his grandfather’s tradition in the design for his red sandstone Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool in the early 1900s and which constituted the last and biggest Gothic building to be built in England and not to be dedicated until 25th October 1978.

Old Bankside Power Station now Tate Modern.

Giles’ other buildings include Cambridge University Library of 1931-34, the New Bodleian Library in Oxford (1936-46), described as being neo-Jacobean, and the new Waterloo Bridge 1939-45.

Exterior of New Bodleian which since being re-vamped internally is now the Weston Library.

Giles Gilbert Scott’s London, Bankside Power Station, opened in 1963 after much criticism, only escaped demolition by the recession of the early 1990s, but is now the Tate Modern.

(1) which was completed on 1.7.1872 and unveiled in March 1876.

(2) Scott considered the Decorated Style or Middle-Pointed to be perfection, lying as it did between the simple Early English and flat-arched Perpendicular.

Ref: Chris. Howse. End Column. Sacred Mysteries. D Telegraph. Sat. June 25th 2011.

Ref: uk.

Ref: flickr.




7th February 1462. Arbitrary Justice.

By the time of Henry II in the 12th century  justices were accustomed to asking ‘jurors of presentiment’ about points of fact; the next step was to ask whether they were ‘guilty as charged’.

Dates from Assize of Clarendon of Henry II 1166 which established ‘Trial by Jury’ by an assize of twelve knights and provided justice in land disputes. Prior to the Magna Carta, Writs of Assize were tried at Westminster or had to wait for Septennial Circuits of Justices in Eyre (or circuit).

As time went on the liberties of the Magna Carta were being ignored particularly with the ‘Star Chamber’ being set up to deal with people in high position who might well have considered they were above justice. However there was abuse as no jury was present and trials were often brutally arbitrary especially in the period of the 15thc Wars of the Roses which saw the start of harsh justice for cases of political libel and treason.

The 13thc Magna Carta said that: ‘No freeman… captured, imprisoned…but by lawful judgment of his peers’, a time when Trial by Battle had given way to lawyers who served the King as judges and serjeants-at-law as with the growing complexity of law, officials were now permanent, hearing cases at Assize, delivering county gaols on eyre, acting as Commissioners of Array and attending the royal council.

The Jury by John Morgan. 1861. Buckingham County Library.

It was the Yorkist Edward IV who Today in 1462 appointed as Constable of England, John Tiptoft (1427-1470) later Earl of Worcester, who would begin trying all treason cases without a jury.

By 1470 in a further term as Constable, Tiptoft ordered that twenty members of the disaffected Clarence faction be hanged for Treason. His sentences were deemed extreme earning him the name of ‘The butcher of England’. When the Lancastrians regained power, Tiptoft son of the Commons Speaker in 1406 was executed on Tower Hill on 18th October 1470.

Another weapon against any opposition was the Star Chamber set up in the Palace of Westminster composed of Privy Counsellors and Common Law Lawyers and supplemented the Common Law and Equity Courts in criminal matters to ensure enforcement of law against prominent people and evolved from the King’s Council.

Henry VII used the Court to break the power of the landed gentry after the Wars of the Roses and in the reign of his son Henry VIII the Court became a political weapon against opposition to Henry’s Ministers and parliament and was used by Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor, and Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Abolition of the Star Chamber took place on July 5th 1641.

In 1730 Parliament passed a Bill for the better regulation of Juries which meant all were liable for service to be selected by lot or ‘Sortition’, as too many had bribed the under-sheriff to avoid duty at the Assizes.

The right to Trial by Jury has been enshrined over centuries, but until the 1855 Administration of Justice Act, Petty Larcenies were denied this right.

‘5th February in 31st Year of Reign of Henry VI’. 1453.

Bell Sauvage Inn at time of Shakespeare. Walter C. Hodson, showing in-yard stage 1585. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Today John Frensh gave to his mother Joan for her life the Bell Sauvage Inn on Ludgate Hill, London: ‘all that tenement or inn with the appurtanences called the Sauvage Inn otherwise known as the Bell on Hoop in the parish of St Bridget in Fleet Street to have and to hold … with impeachment of waste’.(1)

Emerging coach from inn (after John Pollard). 19thc.

The owner in 1380 was one William Savage, thus the pub became later known, among many others, as the Savage Inn, The Bel Savage (or Savauge) Inn, The Bell on Hoop etc.

La Belle Sauvage post-Great Fire of London. 1782.

The Bell and the Hoop were common inn names with the hoop being a garland often of ivy which was commonly placed outside to denote a public house.

By 1420 Reginald Broke was still keeping potables, ‘atte belle vocata sauages Inne fletestrete’. (sic)

La Belle Sauvage entrance 18thc.

Maggs, John Charles; ‘La Belle Sauvage’ Inn, Ludgate Hill, London; The British Postal Museum & Archive;








The Inn was one of four to serve as Shakespearian playhouses in the 16thc and is also recorded in 1554 when Sir Thomas Wyatt rebelling against Queen Mary: ‘came to Bell Savage an inn nigh Lud Gate’. On 2nd August 1589 there is an entry in the Stationers’ Register referring to the actor Richard Tarlton at the Bel Savage.

In 1666 the inn was burned to the ground in the Great Fire and was to experience varied fortunes especially with the beginning of the railways which put paid to the once coaching house; in 1852 it became the home of Cassells the Publishers..

The Bell Savage has been well represented in drawings and paintings and was noted in many works of literature including Dickens’, Pickwick Papers and Walter Scott’s, Kenilworth.

(1) The original was in Latin.


Chambers Book of Days. Original drawing in Crace’s Collection.

art uk.



4th February 211.CE. Septimius Severus.

Roman Empire after conquests of Severus, in 210. Dependencies in light purple.

Edward Gibbon said the decline of the Roman Empire began with the Emperor Septimius Severus and Dr. Birley described Severus as ‘the first truly provincial emperor’, though he never made much headway in his invasion of Caledonia (Scotland).(1)

Aureus of Septimius Severus minted 193.

Septimius Severus born in Leptis Magna in present day Libya of an important Punic (Carthaginian) family reigned from 14th April 193 and died at Ebor (York) aged 65 Today in 211 CE.

Arch of Severus at Leptis Magna.

After securing the loyalty of 16 Legions of the Rhine and Danube, Septimius marched into Italy to be recognised by the Senate as Emperor after contenders, including Julianus who was executed in June 193 after 9 weeks as Emperor, the eventful year being known as that of the five emperors.

Alabaster bust of Severus at Musei Capitoline, Rome.

Septimius reformed the Roman military by replacing the powerful Praetorian Guard a group of high ranking military officers who had the task of defending and protecting Rome.

He was deified as was then customary with Emperors, and with the succession of his sons Caracalla and Geta began the Severan Dynasty, the last of Emperors of the Principate from 27 BC (Caesar Augustus) to the 3rd century crisis (235-284 when Diocletian began the Tetrarchy.

The Empire was divided formally into East and West after the death of Theodosius the Great in 395, though not before Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, which had the dubious distinction of institutionalising that religion to the present.

(1) Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

References/Pics. Richard Cavendish 2.2.2011.