Sunday, 30 May 2010

Author interview: Katherine Howe

Katherine Howe's debut novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, is a unique tale of the Salem witch trials. Katherine has a fascinating personal connection. She's the descendant of two women tried as witches, Elizabeth Howe and Elizabeth Proctor. I'd like to give her a hearty welcome to Hoydens and Firebrands. Without further delay, I've included Katherine's bio, then on to our intriguing chat behind the scenes.


Katherine Howe is a candidate for a PhD in American and New England Studies at Boston University and the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane." Two of her ancestors were tried as witches in 1692. Elizabeth Proctor survived the ordeal; Elizabeth Howe did not. Katherine developed the idea for her novel while she was studying for exams, walking her dog through the woods between Marblehead and Salem, Massachusetts. She lives in Marblehead with her husband.

Kim: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane uses two time periods, the 1690s and 1990s, why did you decide to write your story in the framework of the past and a relatively modern time? Why the 1990s?

Katherine: For me, the mental world of the Puritans has always been difficult to understand. They are so far away from us in time, and so many of their fundamental views of the world are no longer held, that I felt that the story needed a modern interlocutor to help us access the action that takes place in the past. Of course, for narrative purposes I had to disallow certain elements of modern life: cell phones and internet research especially. So my modern protagonist had to live in a time that felt like the present, but was itself also part of the past.

Kim: On your website, you say the idea for the book came to you while qualifying for your doctoral oral exams. Are you and Connie alike in other ways?

Katherine: Like a lot of first-time novelists, I wrote about a world that I know very well: graduate school in the humanities in eastern Massachusetts. As such, because we have the same job, Connie and I do share a few characteristics. But we are more different than you might expect. For one thing, Connie is older than I am (25 in 1991, when I was 14). She had a completely different upbringing, and as such has different hangups, assumptions, and habits of mind. Also she is working very hard on her dissertation, while I was procrastinating by writing a novel!

Kim: Interestingly, you are a descendant to condemned witch, Elizabeth Howe, and accused witch, Elizabeth Proctor. Why did you choose Deliverance Dane over one of your own ancestors?

Katherine: Well, for one thing, I was attracted to Deliverance because I felt that her name was incredibly evocative. It's so specific to a given moment in space and time. Also, because the story is somewhat fantastical, I wanted to write about a witch with whom we don't already have a relationship. Elizabeth Proctor was dramatized in The Crucible--we feel like we already know her. But also, I didn't want to write about either of the Elizabeths because I didn't really want the story to be about me. I feel that all Americans, related or not, have something to learn from the Salem episode.

Kim: In the postscript, you mention that numerous real people are used throughout your book, but they are represented fictitiously. Can you elaborate on how some of the details have been changed?

Katherine: The most obvious liberties have been taken with Deliverance herself. In effect, this story has nothing whatsoever to do with the real Deliverance, who lived in Topsfield, not Salem, and while she did have a husband named Nathaniel they did not have a daughter named Mercy. Also the real Deliverance was accused near the end of the panic, and her trial ended differently from how it ends in the book. A few other real people appear, including Mary Sibley, who baked the infamous witch cake early in the panic. I invented her personality, along with the personalities of a few others: Robert Hooper, the 18th Century Marblehead merchant, and several Essex County jurymen, all of whose names are taken from the record, but whose personalities I have invented.

Kim: As someone who definitely believes the cunning folk came to North America (I have found women who fit the description in Virginia and were tried as witches in my own research) during the early colonization period, why do you think some historians claim they remained on European shores? Do you personally think some of those tried as witches in Salem might have been cunning folk?

Katherine: I think the anti-cunning folk bias stems in part from an overemphasis on the role in New England in our national founding myths. Most historians agree that New England was in fact a highly anomalous society compared to the mercantile societies in Virginia and the Chesapeake. The Puritans practiced a very extreme form of Protestantism, which disallowed anything resembling pre-Reformation Christianity, with its saints days, feasting, miracles, and prayers of intercession. They didn't even celebrate Christmas! So for a long time it was assumed that Puritans purged their folk magic along with the remnants of Catholic practice. But only a very small--tiny--part of colonial America was Puritan. The other colonies were less austere, more religiously heterogeneous, and so much more likely to have a broad spectrum of folk belief.

Kim: Magical elements appear throughout the story, and it's definitely true that people of the seventeenth century believed in magic and witchcraft. Why did you decide to show magic the way it was portrayed in the book?

Katherine: I was trying to imagine what magic would look like if it occurred in a real world. In fairy tales or fantasy now we have a very large conception of magic: it deals in gigantic concepts like "evil" and "world domination." But the maleficium that the colonists worried about was very small, very personal, and very tied to the household, and to personal health: beer going bad, a calf refusing to nurse for no reason. So to imagine the magic in this story I borrowed from a few different areas, including New Age thinking about health and healing, some writing on the Tao, and an antiquated notion of the origin of life called "vitalism", which held that life force was akin to electricity.

Kim: What are you working on now and is true you'll be writing a sequel? If so, where does that story begin?

Katherine: I am working on a new book now, the working title of which is The Scrying Glass. This next project is not a sequel, but readers who enjoyed Physick Book will like this as well. It is set in Boston in the 1910s, right after the sinking of the Titanic, and concerns a Boston family that gets caught up in the Spiritualist movement. However, I don't feel fully done with the Dane family. I don't want to give anything away at this point, but I know what I would like to have happen next with Connie and her family, and I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Thank you, Katherine! Be sure and check Katherine's websites to learn more about her or to purchase a copy of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, and

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Above it all: standing (dangerously) tall

While in Toronto last month, I finally went to the Bata museum, thanks to a note from historical fiction writer (and new Hoydens & Firebrands member!) Susan Holloway Scott about a special exhibit:  "On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels." 

What took  me so long? This is a wonderful museum—and this exhibit was fantastic. I  had no idea!

Here are some of the things that struck me.

Slap-soled shoes (shown above): so named because they make a slapping sound. The flat base was created to keep pointed heels from sinking into the mud.

The more impractical something was, the higher the class: for example, shoes of white kid were fashionable because they were so easily soiled they implied a life of leisure.

Chopines (as seen on the book cover above, and which could rise to truly dangerous heights) signified wealth because of the added cost of the expensive material required for the gown to reach the floor. They were especially popular in Spain and Italy, where they were worn by wealthy married women.

 Curiously, at an earlier period in Italy, law required that prostitutes wear chopines. This Bertelli print (above) of about 1588 shows a "cortesan." A flap comes up to reveal her pantalons and chopines. I was surprised to see pantalons at all: generally, women wore nothing under their skirts.

The late 17th century saw a shift toward lower heels. In France, low-platform mules were worn by both men and women "around the house" (read: castle). The mules for women were little jewels, gorgeously embroidered and embellished, with pointed toes and slender heels.

I appreciated seeing the famed red-painted heels of the aristocratic male of that period. It's likely that the paint has faded, but the color looked more like a rich mahogany stain applied to the stacked leather heels. 

Men's wear tended to have an equestrian function: sturdy, heeled, with broad square toes.

The Sun King, of course — who was passionate about shoes, among other things — wore pretty mules with bright red heels.

For more on this wonderful exhibit, see these links:

(Note: this post was originally posted to Baroque Explorations, my 17th century research blog. I'm in Paris right now, at the end of a research trip in France, and so overwhelmed with wonderful findings I hardly know where to turn! More anon ... )


Sunday, 16 May 2010

Lady Mary Villiers

Mary Villiers by Van Dyck circa 1637 before her second marriage
Mary was raised at Wallingford House and later at York House with her two younger brothers, George and Francis, in a climate of sumptuous cultural privilege

When Mary’s father, the profligate George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, bi-sexual favourite of King James I and the young Charles I was assassinated in 1628, her mother, Catherine Manners , lost no time in marrying Randal MacDonal of Antrim.

Charles I was so incensed that such important children would be raised in a Papist household that he ordered that his ‘Steenie’s’ three children should be handed into the care of the court. Lady Mary was only six, and the resulting separation from her mother was traumatic.

As De facto Stuarts, the three Villiers children were the most cosseted orphan-wards of the seventeenth century, educated with the young Stuarts, under the direction of Brian Duppa, later Bishop of Salisbury.

Their adoptive parents (or guardians) were Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria; and their new adoptive siblings and playmates were the future Charles II, James II, Mary Princess of Orange, Queen Anne, Henry Duke of Gloucester, and Henriette-Anne, Duchesse d' Orléans ("Minette," the first "Madame").

In 1635, ‘Mall’, as Lady Mary was called, was sent to Wilton House to reside with her future in-laws, the Herberts. She married the 15-year-old Charles, Lord Herbert, eldest son of the 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery. Her young husband died of smallpox within the year and ‘Mall’ left Wilton to reside at Whitehall.

On 3 August 1637, the fifteen year-old widow married the 4th Duke of Lennox, who was created Duke of Richmond in 1641. Mall became Principal Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Henrietta Maria.

They had two children: Esmé Stewart, 2nd Duke of Richmond and 5th Duke of Lennox, and Lady Mary Stewart, who married the 1st Earl of Arran.

Whilst living at King Charles I exiled court at Oxford between 1643 and 1645, Mary was rumoured to have had an affair with Prince Rupert of the Rhine. Sometime before 1664, Mary married Colonel Thomas Howard (d. 1678) about whom little is known.

True to her family name, 'Mall' Villiers was a large, narcissistic personality. She was also believed to be the author of the poems published under the pseudonym Ephelia. Portraits of her by Van Dyck, and descriptions of Lady Mary by contemporaries mention her beauty, hauteur, theatrical personality, and charisma, from her early exposure as a Villiers and then (through marriage) as a Stuart.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Eve of Saint Mark

Saint Mary's Church in Newchurch in Pendle, as spooky a place as any to hold the Vigil of the Eve of Saint Mark.

One of the most intriguing English superstitions was the Vigil of the Eve of Saint Mark. Those of gothic sensibilities take note.

On April 24, the night before the feast day of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the morbidly curious gathered on the church porch between the hours of 11:00 pm and 1:00 am, in hope of seeing the ghosts of all who would die and be buried in the churchyard that coming year. It was believed that those who would die earlier in that year appeared first, following by those who would die later in the year.

Robert Chambers (1802-1871), prolific writer of reference books, recorded this lore in his massive encyclopaedia, Book of Days: A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities, now accessible online.

Chambers cites an account written by Gervase Hollis, colonel to Charles I. Hollis professed to have heard the tale from a minister, Liveman Rampaine, the household chaplain to Sir Thomas Munson, of Burton in Lincoln.

In the year 1631, two men (inhabitants of Burton) agreed betwixt themselves upon St. Mark's eve at night to watch in the churchyard at Burton, to try whether or no (according to the ordinary belief amongst the common people) they should see the Spectra, or Phantasma of those persons which should die in that parish the year following. To this intent, having first performed the usual ceremonies and superstitions, late in the night, the moon shining then very bright, they repaired to the church porch, and there seated themselves, continuing there till near twelve of the clock. About which time (growing weary with expectation and partly with fear) they resolved to depart, but were held fast by a kind of insensible violence, not being able to move a foot.

About midnight, upon a sudden (as if the moon had been eclipsed), they were environed with a black darkness; immediately after, a kind of light, as if it had been a resultancy from torches. Then appears, coming towards the church porch, the minister of the place, with a book in his hand, and after him one in a winding-sheet, whom they both knew to resemble one of their neighbours. The church doors immediately fly open, and through pass the apparitions, and then the doors clap to again. Then they seem to hear a muttering, as if it were the burial service, with a rattling of bones and noise of earth, as in the filling up of a grave. Suddenly a still silence, and immediately after the apparition of the curate again, with another of their neighbours following in a winding-sheet, and so a third, fourth, and fifth, every one attended with the same circumstances as the first.
These all having passed away, there ensued a serenity of the sky, the moon shining bright, as at the first; they themselves being restored to their former liberty to walk away, which they did sufficiently affrighted. The next day they kept within doors, and met not together, being both of them exceedingly ill, by reason of the affrightment which had terrified them the night before.

The manuscript goes on to explain how the men did indeed claim to witness the deaths occurring in their community, including that of an infant newly born. These traditions were most prevalent in the North and West of England, and it was believed that, before the vigil, watchers should fast and circle around the church before taking up position.

John Keats’s poem, The Eve of Saint Mark, delves into this folklore.

Friday, 7 May 2010

May 1660 by Gillian Bagwell

Gillian Bagwell is the author of the upcoming novel The Darling Strumpet, a novel based on the life of Nell Gwynn, who rose from the streets to become one of London’s most beloved actresses and the life-long mistress of King Charles II.

This is the first in a series of monthly articles chronicling the events from May 1660 through January 1661, in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Restoration of the English monarchy, the reopening of the playhouses, which had been closed for 18 years under Cromwell, and the first appearance of an actress on the English stage, in contrast to the old practice of boys playing women’s roles.

For further information about the articles and Gillian’s books, please visit her website,

May 1660

May, 1660 was one of the most eventful months in English history, as it was on May 29 that King Charles II rode into London on his thirtieth birthday to claim his throne after years of exile during the civil war and the subsequent rise to power of Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth government.

This restoration of the monarchy – The Restoration – gave its name to the years that followed Charles’s return, including the new era in English theatre that dawned along with the return of the King.

Charles’s father, Charles I, had become involved in acrimonious dispute with Parliament over their respective powers. This disagreement developed into civil war, and on January 30, 1649, the unthinkable happened – Charles I was executed on a scaffold outside the Banqueting Hall of Whitehall Palace in London.

The royal family had scattered as the situation worsened, young Charles accompanying his father, but after the war began to go very badly for the Royalists, he left England, going first to Jersey, then to France, then to Holland, and in 1650, to Scotland, which had promised help in taking back his throne. In early 1651 he marched into England with a mostly Scottish army, hoping that English supporters would flock to join him.

On September 3, 1651, Charles’s badly outnumbered forces met Cromwell’s army at Worcester, suffering a disastrous defeat. Charles barely escaped with his life, and after a desperate six-week odyssey (the subject of my next novel, The Royal Miracle!), finally escaped to safety in France.

After Cromwell died on September 3, 1658, his son succeeded him. But Richard lacked the military experience and other qualities that had enabled his father to rule, and he was forced to resign in 1659. England was disillusioned with the experiment of a country run without a king, and the officers of the army were growing increasingly wary of the government. In January 1660, General George Monck, the commander in chief of the Parliamentary forces, marched to London and forced dissolution of the “Long Parliament.”

The rumors of the King’s return sparked cautious hope and veiled excitement. Cromwell and his harsh and repressive government had not been popular. Diarist Samuel Pepys noted on February 7, 1660 that “Boys do now cry ‘kiss my Parliament’ instead of ‘kiss my arse, so great and general a contempt is the Rump [Parliament] come to among all men.” On February 11, he wrote “I saw many people give the soldiers drink and money, and all along in the streets cried, ‘God bless them!’…. In Cheapside there was a great many bonfires, and Bow bells and all the bells in all the churches as we went home were a-ringing…. But the common joy that was everywhere to be seen!”

Events moved rapidly, and on May 1, 1660 the newly convened Convention Parliament formally invited Charles to return. Almost unbelievably, his restoration to the throne would be accomplished without bloodshed. Pepys marveled “It was past imagination both the greatness and the suddenness of it.”

Maypoles rose for “the happiest May Day that hath been many a year in England…. At night more bonfires than ever and ringing of bells and drinking of the King’s health upon their knees in the streets, which methinks is a little too much.”

“The King’s letter was read in the House,” Pepys wrote on May 2, “Wherein he submits himself and all things to them…. The House … return an answer of thanks to His Majesty for his gracious letter.” Better yet, they sent the impoverished King a chest containing £4000 in coin – the first installment of a £50,000 grant. Ed Pickering told Pepys “in what a sad poor condition for clothes and money the King was, and all his attendants … and how overjoyed the King was … so joyful that he called the Princess Royal and Duke of York to look upon it as it lay in the portmanteau.”

Pepys was part of the deputation that went to The Hague to bring Charles home, and had a close-up view of the historic events. On May 23, the King came aboard the ship Naseby with his brothers the Dukes of York and Gloucester; his sister Mary, the Princess Royal and the widow of William of Orange, with her young son the Prince of Orange (who, as William III, would later rule England with his wife Mary); and the King’s aunt, Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia.

They “dined in a great deal of state … which was a blessed sight to see. After dinner, the King and the Duke altered the names of some of the ships, viz, the Naseby into Charles, etc….. The Queen, Princess Royal, and Prince of Orange took leave of the King … which done, we weighed anchor, and with a fresh gale and most happy weather we set sail for England – all the afternoon the King walking here and there, up and down … very active and stirring. Upon the quarterdeck he fell in discourse of his escape from Worcester. Where it made me ready to weep to hear the stories that he told of his difficulties.” (Many years later, in 1680, Charles and Pepys spent two three-hour sessions together in which Charles told the full story, Pepys noting it down in his famous shorthand. He edited it and bound it into a volume with other contemporary accounts, thus preserving for history the astonishing story of “The Royal Miracle,” as it came to be called.)

On May 25, the King’s ship reached England. Pepys went on shore in a boat with others including one of the King’s footmen “with a dog that the King loved (which shit in the boat, which made us laugh and me think that a King and all that belongs to him are but just as others are).” The King “was received by General Monck with all imaginable love and respect upon the land at Dover. Infinite the crowds of people and the gallantry of the horsemen, citizens, and noblemen of all sorts…. The shouting and joy expressed by all is past imagination.”

Charles journeyed from Dover to Canterbury and then to Rochester, to the accompaniment of celebratory firing of cannons and more bonfires. At Rochester he forsook his coach for a horse, and at Blackheath, near Greenwich on the south bank of the Thames, and long used as a gathering place for both happy and rebellious crowds, the King greeted the army, who accompanied him as he rode on through Deptford and Southwark, and finally crossed London Bridge into the City.

All of England, it seemed, thronged London’s streets to welcome Charles back. Diarist John Evelyn described “above 20,000 horse and foot, brandishing their swords and shouting with inexpressible joy, the ways strewn with flowers, the bells ringing, the streets hung with tapestry, fountains running with wine…. I stood in the Strand and blessed God.”

King Charles, flanked by his brothers, finally arrived at Whitehall at seven in the evening, where he was addressed by the speakers of both houses and others, attended a thanksgiving service in the chapel, and dined ceremoniously in public before he could finally make his way to bed. Legend has it that he spent that night in the arms of his mistress Barbara Palmer, and her first child by him was born almost exactly nine months later.

Among the King’s subjects overjoyed at his restoration were the actors. Cromwell had outlawed performances and torn down many of the old playhouses, and the disbanded companies of professional actors had turned to clandestine performances, which were frequently raided, with the actors suffering arrest, the theft of their costumes, fines, and whipping. The news of the impending return of King Charles encouraged the actors to be daring. By February or March 1660, three companies had formed in London, Rhodes’s company at the Cockpit in Drury Lane (, Michael Mohun’s at the Red Bull in St. John Street near Clerkenwell Green (, and Christopher Beeston’s at Salisbury Court off Fleet Street ( But theatre performances were still not authorized, and on May 12, 1660, Henry Eaton, Anthony Turner, and Edward Shatterell of the Red Bull were charged with putting on plays illegally. Very soon, however, the actors’ fortunes would change, much for the best.

The Diary of Samuel Pepys

Met Office Hadley Center Observations Datasets


1660: The Year of Restoration, Patrick Morrah (Beacon Press, 1960)

The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, Leslie Hotson, (Cambridge Harvard University Press, 1928)

The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. Guy de la Bédoyère (Boydell Press, 1995; First Person Singular, 2004)

The London Stage, 1660-1800, A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments, and Afterpieces Together with Casts, Box-Receipts, and Contemporary Comment, Part I, 1660-1700, ed. William Van Lennep et al. (Southern Illinois University Press, 1963)

Pepys’s Diary, Volume I, selected and edited by Robert Latham (Folio Society, 1996)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

"A Holy, Vertuous, Honourable Life..." Lucy Hutchinson on the subject of her husband.

In 1670 Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, widow of Colonel John Hutchinson, set about the task of writing what is, in effect, an apology for her husband who had died in prison four years after the Restoration; his imprisonment being for his part in the execution of Charles I. The resultant “Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson” is more revealing about the strong willed and intelligent Lucy, than it is about her dour puritan husband to whom the book is devoted.

Lucy (born 1620) began her life in the Tower of London where her father was Sir Allen Apsley, the Lieutenant of the Tower. Unusually for a girl of her time, her parents “...applied all their cares and spar’d no cost to emproove me in my education...”. At one time she had 8 tutors, outstripping her brothers in Latin and a devoted book worm. As for music and dancing “I profitted very little in them...and as for my needle, I absolutely hated it...”. Instead she strongly applied herself to the study of “God”. However it would appear young Lucy was not entirely without a passionate nature and alludes to several youthful dalliances before meeting the great love of her life, John Hutchinson.

To read John's “vertues”, which go on for page after page of the introduction, you would think Lucy had married a saint! Number one in the endless list is his commitment to Christianity (both Lucy and John were puritans). He was just, honourable, loyal to his friends, loved his enemies, loved his wife, pious, free from avarice, ambition and pride ...and so the list goes on.

At 18 they met and it was, apparently, love at first sight although Lucy coyly passes over “all the little amorous relations” as “vanities of youth, not worthy of mention among the greater transactions of life”. They married in 1638 and in 1641 moved to the Hutchinson family home, Owthorpe in Nottinghamshire but their dreams of a peaceful family life were shattered by the onset of the English Civil War.

In August 1642 Charles I raised his standard at Nottingham (In a dreadful, portentous, thunderstorm) and summoned the nation to war. Hutchinson declared his loyalty for Parliament early in the war and by the middle of 1643 he had been given the role of Governor of Nottingham Castle, a formidable task for a young man of no military experience. Lucy moved into the run down castle lodgings where she would spend the next few years. In September of that year, the town was overrun by royalist forces and the inhabitants of the castle besieged. Lucy came into her own, attending to the wounded with her “excellent balsoms and plaisters” (they all recovered). Seeing wounded Royalists being taken down into the castle cells, she ordered the men to be brought to her and dressed their wounds. When chided by one of the fanatical Puritan officers for doing favours “to the enemies of God”, she responded “...she had done nothing but what she through was her duty in humanity to them, as creatures, not as enemies...”
Nottingham Castle

John and Lucy remained at Nottingham until 1647. On their return to Owthorpe, they found their home had been looted and damaged beyond repair. John had been elected to Parliament as the member for Nottinghamshire and , taking his family with him, went up to London to serve in the Parliament. He was named as a Commissioner to sit upon the trial of Charles I and “...upon serious debate, privately and in his addresses to God, and in conferences with conscientious, upright and unbiassed persons...”, signed the King’s death warrant. Although he was rewarded for his action by becoming a member of the Council of State, he rapidly became disenchanted with the new regime and in 1651 retired to Owthorpe where Lucy returned to the life of a seventeenth century housewife. They had 8 children, only one of whom did not survive infancy.

John Hutchinson
Happiness was not to last. In 1660 Charles II returned to England and John Hutchinson, as a regicide, was exempted from the general amnesty of the Declaration of Breda. Despite Lucy’s personal plea to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the intervention of friends and family, John was imprisoned at Sandown Castle in Kent in 1663. Lucy and the family followed him. She took lodgings in Deal and every day they would walk to the Castle to take him food. After sending Lucy back to Owthorp, he became ill and died on 11th September 1664. The grief stricken Lucy strongly suspected poison, as the two men who had been drinking with him just before his illness, also died within a short time. (Well, it was either murder or the “evil spirits” who had not been heard before but suddenly appeared to be very busy in the kitchen for the fortnight before his death!)

Lucy herself died in 1681. She wrote her book for her family and it was not published until 1806. She is a superb chronicler of the events of the time, in so far as they impacted upon her. In her acute and, at times, satirical, observations of the people around us she paints a very different picture of the “puritan”. She was appalled by the zealots “affected habitts” of cutting their hair, which was to spawn the “ of roundhead...the scornfull terme given to the whole Parliament party”. It was she writes “...ill applied to Mr. Hutchinson, who having a very fine thicksett head of haire naturally kept it cleane and handsome without any affectation, so that it was a great ornament to him...”!

All that education was not wasted and what Lucy gives us is one of the best first hand descriptions of the life of a woman of the English Civil Wars. If she comes across as rather priggish and a bit of snob, we can forgive her!

Lucy Hutchinson “Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson”
Alison Plowden “Women All on Fire”