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December 3rd, 2015
13 Random Travel/History Facts from Britain

Thursday Thirteen

Recently, I’ve been reading editions of Britain, one of my favorite travel magazines. It’s full of articles about different places in Britain and covers heritage, culture and various happenings in the UK. It’s a great magazine to read when planning a visit, which is why I’m busy reading back issues at present.

Here are thirteen random things that grabbed my interest:

1. In the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the car flew for the first time when it fell of Beachy Head.

2. The 3rd Earl of Egremont had 42 illegitimate children and the “Wyndham nose” can still be spotted in the streets of Petworth.

3. Every coronation since 1066 has been held in Westminster Abbey. William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Christmas day, 1066.

4. The Scottish people celebrate Burns Night on 25 January to commemorate the life of poet Robert Burns who was born on this day in 1759. Lots of traditional foods such as haggis, neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes), whisky and shortbread are served during the celebration.

5. Mary, Queen of Scots, was fond of a crisp, buttery shortbread made with caraway seeds.

6. In Norman times the word “forest” referred to a legal system in place to protect the venison.

7. While in prison in England, Mary, Queen of Scots, became adept at secret handwriting to communicate with the outside world. She used alum dissolved in water as invisible ink and wrote messages on bills. Recipients dropped the paper in water and the writing appeared.

8. There is no single copy of the original Magna Carta document. Multiple copies of the charter were distributed throughout medieval English towns.

9. The Magna Carta documents were written in Latin on parchment made from dried sheepskin.

10. A first edition of the novel Emma by Jane Austen was dedicated to the Prince Regent.

11. The term “livery” has come to denote the uniforms of certain servants, but in medieval times it meant a living allowance that included food, money and other rewards.

12. A tax on male servants started in 1777, raised to help fund British fighting against North American colonists after their declaration of independence, lasted until the 1930s.

13. John Russell, a servant to the Duke of Gloucester, wrote advice for servants in the book “The Book of Nurture.” Would-be servants were given the following advice – Do not pick your nose or let it drop clear pears, or sniff, or blow it too loud, lest her lord hear. Do not retch, nor spit too far.

I don’t think a servant’s life would have worked for me, but I’d love to attend Burns Night, and I’ve never met a piece of shortbread, I didn’t like. Caraway seeds would totally work for me. What say you?

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