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Posts tagged seventeenth century:

Thomas Blood and a Plot to Pilfer the Crown Jewels
As a Roundhead, Thomas Blood was inevitably keen to demonstrate his displeasure following the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, and, it was with a desire to express this discontentment that, in 1671, he plotted to pilfer the Crown Jewels from The Tower of London.

The Jewels could be viewed at the tower and it was under this pretence that Blood, dressed as a parson and accompanied by a woman pretending to be his wife, first observed them. Here, Blood’s “wife” feigned a stomach complaint and begged the Master of the Jewel House, Talbot Edwards, to fetch some spirits. Edwards’ wife invited them upstairs to their apartment to recover. Returning later with a gift of thanks, Blood became gradually ingratiated into the family and eventually an offer was made for a fictitious nephew of Blood’s to marry the Edwardses’ daughter.

On May 9th, Blood convinced Edwards to show him, his ‘nephew’, and two companions, the Jewels. Concealing rapier blades and pistols Blood and two fellow conspirators followed Edwards into the Jewel House, where the Jewels were kept behind a metal grille, whilst the other conspirator stood watch outside. As they entered the room a cloak was thrown over Edwards before he was struck, knocked to the floor, bound, gagged and stabbed, in an attempt to subdue him.

After removing the metal grille, Blood used a mallet to flatten out St. Edward’s Crown so he could hide it beneath his coat. The Sceptre with the Cross was cut in two to fit in their bag, while the Sovereign’s Orb was stuffed down one man’s trousers. Possibly, the disturbance caused by Edwards’ struggle raised the alarm, however, popular reports describe the fortuitous return of Edwards’ son, Wythe, who happened upon the theft and confronted the look-out, who alerted his fellow conspirators to their having been discovered. Ungagged, Edwards was able to sound the alarm with his cries of “Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!”

As Blood and his gang fled it is said they joined the calls for alarm to confuse the guards. They dropped the sceptre and fired on the warders who eventually succeeded in capturing them. Having fallen from his cloak, the crown was found while Blood refused to give up. The orb was recovered, although several stones were missing and others were loose.

Blood refused to answer to anyone but the king so was taken to the palace, bound in chains, and questioned by King Charles and other members of the royal family. He was not only pardoned, but also given land. The reasons for the pardon are unknown though historians have speculated that the king may have feared a revengeful uprising by Blood’s followers, or that the king had a fondness for audacious scoundrels and was amused by Blood’s revelation that he had previously intended to kill the king as he bathed in the Thames but had changed his mind having found himself in “awe of majesty”. Following his pardon Blood became a familiar figure in London and made frequent appearances at Court, where he was employed to advocate in the claims of suitors to the Crown.

Thomas Blood and a Plot to Pilfer the Crown Jewels

As a Roundhead, Thomas Blood was inevitably keen to demonstrate his displeasure following the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, and, it was with a desire to express this discontentment that, in 1671, he plotted to pilfer the Crown Jewels from The Tower of London.

The Jewels could be viewed at the tower and it was under this pretence that Blood, dressed as a parson and accompanied by a woman pretending to be his wife, first observed them. Here, Blood’s “wife” feigned a stomach complaint and begged the Master of the Jewel House, Talbot Edwards, to fetch some spirits. Edwards’ wife invited them upstairs to their apartment to recover. Returning later with a gift of thanks, Blood became gradually ingratiated into the family and eventually an offer was made for a fictitious nephew of Blood’s to marry the Edwardses’ daughter.

On May 9th, Blood convinced Edwards to show him, his ‘nephew’, and two companions, the Jewels. Concealing rapier blades and pistols Blood and two fellow conspirators followed Edwards into the Jewel House, where the Jewels were kept behind a metal grille, whilst the other conspirator stood watch outside. As they entered the room a cloak was thrown over Edwards before he was struck, knocked to the floor, bound, gagged and stabbed, in an attempt to subdue him.

After removing the metal grille, Blood used a mallet to flatten out St. Edward’s Crown so he could hide it beneath his coat. The Sceptre with the Cross was cut in two to fit in their bag, while the Sovereign’s Orb was stuffed down one man’s trousers. Possibly, the disturbance caused by Edwards’ struggle raised the alarm, however, popular reports describe the fortuitous return of Edwards’ son, Wythe, who happened upon the theft and confronted the look-out, who alerted his fellow conspirators to their having been discovered. Ungagged, Edwards was able to sound the alarm with his cries of “Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!”

As Blood and his gang fled it is said they joined the calls for alarm to confuse the guards. They dropped the sceptre and fired on the warders who eventually succeeded in capturing them. Having fallen from his cloak, the crown was found while Blood refused to give up. The orb was recovered, although several stones were missing and others were loose.

Blood refused to answer to anyone but the king so was taken to the palace, bound in chains, and questioned by King Charles and other members of the royal family. He was not only pardoned, but also given land. The reasons for the pardon are unknown though historians have speculated that the king may have feared a revengeful uprising by Blood’s followers, or that the king had a fondness for audacious scoundrels and was amused by Blood’s revelation that he had previously intended to kill the king as he bathed in the Thames but had changed his mind having found himself in “awe of majesty”. Following his pardon Blood became a familiar figure in London and made frequent appearances at Court, where he was employed to advocate in the claims of suitors to the Crown.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask is a name given to a prisoner arrested as Eustache Dauger in 1669. He was held in the custody of the same jailer for 34 years. His identity has been thoroughly discussed because no one ever saw his face, which was hidden by a mask of either black velvet cloth or iron. What facts are known about this prisoner are based mainly on correspondence between his jailer and his superiors in Paris.
The first surviving records of the masked prisoner are from July 1669, when Louis XIV’s minister sent a letter to the governor of the prison of Pignerol informing him that a prisoner named Eustache Dauger was due to arrive in the next month or so. Historians have noted that the name Eustache Dauger was written in a different handwriting than the rest of the text, suggesting that while a clerk wrote the letter under dictation, a third party, very likely the minister himself, added the name afterwards.
The governor was instructed to prepare a cell with multiple doors, one closing upon the other, to prevent anyone from the outside listening in. The governor himself was to see Dauger only once a day in order to provide food and whatever else he needed. Dauger was also to be told that if he spoke of anything other than his immediate needs he would be killed. According to many versions of this legend, the prisoner wore the mask at all times. 
The prison at Pignerol was used for men who were considered an embarrassment to the state and usually held only a handful of prisoners at a time, some of which were important and wealthy and granted servants. One prisoner, Nicolas Fouquet’s valet was often ill and so permission was given for Dauger to serve Fouquet on the condition that he never met with anyone else. The fact that Dauger served as a valet is an important one for whilst Fouquet was never expected to be released, other prisoners were, and might have spread word of Dauger’s existence. 
In time the governor was offered positions at other prisons and each time he moved Dauger went with him until he died in 1703 and was buried under the name of Marchioly. Though she may merely have been repeating rumours In 1711, King Louis’s sister-in-law stated in a letter that the prisoner had “two musketeers at his side to kill him if he removed his mask”. 
In 1771, Voltaire claimed that the prisoner was the older, illegitimate brother of Louis XIV but other theories include that he was a Marshal of France; Richard Cromwell; or François, Duke of Beaufort; an illegitimate son of Charles II, amongst others.

The Man in the Iron Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask is a name given to a prisoner arrested as Eustache Dauger in 1669. He was held in the custody of the same jailer for 34 years. His identity has been thoroughly discussed because no one ever saw his face, which was hidden by a mask of either black velvet cloth or iron. What facts are known about this prisoner are based mainly on correspondence between his jailer and his superiors in Paris.

The first surviving records of the masked prisoner are from July 1669, when Louis XIV’s minister sent a letter to the governor of the prison of Pignerol informing him that a prisoner named Eustache Dauger was due to arrive in the next month or so. Historians have noted that the name Eustache Dauger was written in a different handwriting than the rest of the text, suggesting that while a clerk wrote the letter under dictation, a third party, very likely the minister himself, added the name afterwards.

The governor was instructed to prepare a cell with multiple doors, one closing upon the other, to prevent anyone from the outside listening in. The governor himself was to see Dauger only once a day in order to provide food and whatever else he needed. Dauger was also to be told that if he spoke of anything other than his immediate needs he would be killed. According to many versions of this legend, the prisoner wore the mask at all times. 

The prison at Pignerol was used for men who were considered an embarrassment to the state and usually held only a handful of prisoners at a time, some of which were important and wealthy and granted servants. One prisoner, Nicolas Fouquet’s valet was often ill and so permission was given for Dauger to serve Fouquet on the condition that he never met with anyone else. The fact that Dauger served as a valet is an important one for whilst Fouquet was never expected to be released, other prisoners were, and might have spread word of Dauger’s existence. 

In time the governor was offered positions at other prisons and each time he moved Dauger went with him until he died in 1703 and was buried under the name of Marchioly. Though she may merely have been repeating rumours In 1711, King Louis’s sister-in-law stated in a letter that the prisoner had “two musketeers at his side to kill him if he removed his mask”. 

In 1771, Voltaire claimed that the prisoner was the older, illegitimate brother of Louis XIV but other theories include that he was a Marshal of France; Richard Cromwell; or François, Duke of Beaufort; an illegitimate son of Charles II, amongst others.

Fore-Edge Painting

Fore-edge paintingis the technique of painting the edges of the leaves of a book. From 1650 onward
binders practiced a new decorative method of fore-edge painting: floral scrolls or scenes were painted upon the fanned-out fore-edge of the leaves and concealed by a normal gilt edge when the book was closed; 
they became visible only when it was opened. This decorative device was continued 
in the 18th century, but by the late 19th century had begun to wane in popularity. 

Thomas H. Horne, in his 1814 “Introduction to the Study of Bibliography,” gives credit to the Edwards of Halifax bindery for creating a “method of gilding … and decorating the edges of the leaves with exquisite paintings.” The Edwards firm was founded by William Edwards (1723-1808) and Horne says that he has seen “landscapes thus executed with a degree of beauty and fidelity that are truly astonishing, and when held up to the light in an oblique direction, the scenery appears as delicate as in the finest productions of the pencil.”

There were also the more elaborate double fore edge paintings, in which the fore edge hides not one but two paintings, one appearing when the leaves are fanned to the left, the other when they are fanned to the right. The split fore-edge painting reveals both scenes at once when the volume is laid open at the middle, as in the central image above.

Stately homes and ruins – whether classical or medieval – were popular subjects [then] Later in the 19th century, fore-edge artists turned to more natural, everyday scenes, such as views of docks or harbor fronts, busy with activity and enlivened by the presence of workers. Less common were scenes like the winter scene, bare branches being much more tedious to paint than green, leafy clouds of trees. The imaginative design[s], rich detail, and expert execution indicate artist[s] of the highest skill. [Source]

(Source: dictionary.reference.com)

Physiognomy with Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun was a French painter and art theorist. Declared by Louis XIV ”the greatest French artist of all time”, he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art. He also established a correlation between the human face and that of the animal whose spirit characterises a particular emotion.

The goal of physiognomy is to judge character according to features of the face. Le Brun studied the lines linking different points of the head in a complex geometry which revealed the faculties of the spirit or character. Thus, the angle formed by the axis of the eyes and the eyesbrows could lead to various conclusions, depending upon whether or not this angle rose toward the forehead to join the soul or descented toward the nose and mouth, which were considered to be animal  features. Here are some of the many drawings by Charles Le Brun which concern the correlation between the human face and that of the animal.

Image one, for instance, shows the relationship between human features and that of a camel.

[Images Source]

(Source: charleslebrun.com)

Urine Wheel
Back in the day, the medical analysis of urine relied on, well, a doctor’s five senses and superstition. But sometimes physicians needed a little extra help in divining the ramifications of some dubious tinkle.
Enter the urine wheel, a diagram that doctors consulted to determine what maladies corresponded with the cloudiness, bouquet, and taste of the afflicted’s golden outpourings.
Even though uroscopy was far from an exact art, it did get some things right, such as diagnosing diabetes mellitus. It also got many things wrong, occasionally in downright Pythonian ways. As the magazine Doctors Review elaborates:

One of the rare instances in which uroscopy was dead-on came in diagnosing diabetes by a sweet taste to the urine. In 1674, English physician Thomas Willis (1621-1675) was the first in modern medical literature to observe this relationship. He may have enjoyed the sampling process a little too much, stating that the pee on his palate was “wonderfully sweet as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.” His taste test led him to add the term “mellitus” to this form of diabetes, from the Latin word for honey.


Urine was also used as a way to identify pure evil. As the witch hunts of Europe reached a fever pitch in the 16th and 17th centuries, self-proclaimed witch-hunters and appointed tribunals determined the guilt of countless “witches” based on whether or not the cork popped out of a bottle containing a combination of their urine and metal objects like pins and nails.

Urine Wheel

Back in the day, the medical analysis of urine relied on, well, a doctor’s five senses and superstition. But sometimes physicians needed a little extra help in divining the ramifications of some dubious tinkle.

Enter the urine wheel, a diagram that doctors consulted to determine what maladies corresponded with the cloudiness, bouquet, and taste of the afflicted’s golden outpourings.

Even though uroscopy was far from an exact art, it did get some things right, such as diagnosing diabetes mellitus. It also got many things wrong, occasionally in downright Pythonian ways. As the magazine Doctors Review elaborates:

One of the rare instances in which uroscopy was dead-on came in diagnosing diabetes by a sweet taste to the urine. In 1674, English physician Thomas Willis (1621-1675) was the first in modern medical literature to observe this relationship. He may have enjoyed the sampling process a little too much, stating that the pee on his palate was “wonderfully sweet as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.” His taste test led him to add the term “mellitus” to this form of diabetes, from the Latin word for honey.

Urine was also used as a way to identify pure evil. As the witch hunts of Europe reached a fever pitch in the 16th and 17th centuries, self-proclaimed witch-hunters and appointed tribunals determined the guilt of countless “witches” based on whether or not the cork popped out of a bottle containing a combination of their urine and metal objects like pins and nails.

Defenestration of Prague
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. Although defenestrations can be fatal the act of defenestration need not carry the intent or result of death. The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War [Source].
Then, after Roman Catholic officials in Bohemia closed Protestant chapels in 1617, violating the guarantees of religious liberty laid down in the Letter of Majesty of Emperor Rudolf II, defensors, appointed to safeguard Protestant rights, responded by calling an assembly where the imperial regents were tried and found guilty of violating the Letter of Majesty. They, along with their secretary, were then thrown from the windows of the council room of Prague Castle on May 23, 1618. Although inflicting no serious injury on the victims, that act, known as the Defenestration of Prague, was a signal for the beginning of a Bohemian revolt against Ferdinand II, marking one of the opening phases of the Thirty Years’ War. [Source]
These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept, though, one may read about other notable defenestrations in history here.

Defenestration of Prague

Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. Although defenestrations can be fatal the act of defenestration need not carry the intent or result of death. The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War [Source].

Then, after Roman Catholic officials in Bohemia closed Protestant chapels in 1617, violating the guarantees of religious liberty laid down in the Letter of Majesty of Emperor Rudolf II, defensors, appointed to safeguard Protestant rights, responded by calling an assembly where the imperial regents were tried and found guilty of violating the Letter of Majesty. They, along with their secretary, were then thrown from the windows of the council room of Prague Castle on May 23, 1618. Although inflicting no serious injury on the victims, that act, known as the Defenestration of Prague, was a signal for the beginning of a Bohemian revolt against Ferdinand II, marking one of the opening phases of the Thirty Years’ War. [Source]

These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept, though, one may read about other notable defenestrations in history here.

Grýla
In Icelandic mythology Grýla is a terrible mountain-dwelling monster and giantess who ventures down from her lair at Christmas time in search of naughty children to cook in a stew and eat, with the vain hope of remedying her insatiable appetite.
According to the legend Grýla has been married three times and her current husband, Leppalúði, lives with her and her their sons, the Yule Lads - mischievous and criminal Santa-type figures who also torment the Icelandic people by harassing sheep, stealing food, and window-peeping - in their cave in the Dimmuborgir lava fields, along with the black Yule Cat.
The legend dates back to the 13th century, though it didn’t become associated with Christmas until the 17th. In 1746 a decree was issued banning the use of Grýla and the Yule Lads to scare children.
[Written with the help of Wikipedia. Image: Grýla by Þrándur Þórarinsson]

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 19th

Grýla

In Icelandic mythology Grýla is a terrible mountain-dwelling monster and giantess who ventures down from her lair at Christmas time in search of naughty children to cook in a stew and eat, with the vain hope of remedying her insatiable appetite.

According to the legend Grýla has been married three times and her current husband, Leppalúði, lives with her and her their sons, the Yule Lads - mischievous and criminal Santa-type figures who also torment the Icelandic people by harassing sheep, stealing food, and window-peeping - in their cave in the Dimmuborgir lava fields, along with the black Yule Cat.

The legend dates back to the 13th century, though it didn’t become associated with Christmas until the 17th. In 1746 a decree was issued banning the use of Grýla and the Yule Lads to scare children.

[Written with the help of Wikipedia. Image: Grýla by Þrándur Þórarinsson]

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 19th

Father Christmas and the Coca Cola Company
Father Christmas dates back at least as far as the 17th century in Britain, and pictures of him survive from that era, portraying him as a jolly well-nourished bearded man dressed in a long, green, fur-lined robe - something like the 19th century image above.
Contrary to popular belief The Coca-Cola company did not invent Father Christmas’ red suit:

Urban myth has it that the red suit only appeared after the Coca Cola company started an advertising campaign depicting a red suited Father Christmas in the 1930s. Though images of Santa Claus were popularised through depictions of him for The Coca-Cola Company’s Christmas advertising in the 30s, Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilise the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had already used a red and white Santa in 1915 and 1923 advertisements. 
Earlier still, Santa Claus had appeared dressed in red and white on several covers of Puck magazine in the first few years of the twentieth century, whilst cartoonist Thomas Nast had portrayed Santa Claus in red in an 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly.

The Wikipedia for Santa Claus is actually a pretty interesting read if perchance you’re interested in the evolution of the character.

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 17th

Father Christmas and the Coca Cola Company

Father Christmas dates back at least as far as the 17th century in Britain, and pictures of him survive from that era, portraying him as a jolly well-nourished bearded man dressed in a long, green, fur-lined robe - something like the 19th century image above.

Contrary to popular belief The Coca-Cola company did not invent Father Christmas’ red suit:

Urban myth has it that the red suit only appeared after the Coca Cola company started an advertising campaign depicting a red suited Father Christmas in the 1930s. Though images of Santa Claus were popularised through depictions of him for The Coca-Cola Company’s Christmas advertising in the 30s, Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilise the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had already used a red and white Santa in 1915 and 1923 advertisements. 

Earlier still, Santa Claus had appeared dressed in red and white on several covers of Puck magazine in the first few years of the twentieth century, whilst cartoonist Thomas Nast had portrayed Santa Claus in red in an 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly.

The Wikipedia for Santa Claus is actually a pretty interesting read if perchance you’re interested in the evolution of the character.

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 17th

Fur-Bearing Trout
The fur-bearing trout is a fictional creature native to northern regions of North America. The basic claim is that the waters of lakes and rivers in the area are so cold that a species of trout has evolved which grows a thick coat of fur to maintain its body heat. 
In reality, a possible source may have been a simple misunderstanding. A 17th century Scottish immigrant’s letter to his relatives referring “furried animals and fish” being plentiful in the New World, followed by a request to procure a specimen of these “furried fish” to which the mischievous Scotsman readily complied by making one up, is often cited. In fact, the “cotton mold” Saprolegnia will sometimes infect fish, causing tufts of fur-like growth to appear on the body. 
The hoax can be unequivocally documented to go back to at least the 1930s. Following is an excerpt from an article in the Pueblo Chieftain dating back to November 15, 1938:

“Old-timers living along the Arkansas River near Salida have told tales for many years of the fur-bearing trout indigenous to the waters of the Arkansas … Tourists and other tenderfoot in particular have been regaled with accounts of the unusual fish, and Salidans of good reputation have been wont to relate that the authenticity of their stories has never been questioned—in fact, they’re willing to bet it’s never even been suspected.Then, last week, out of Pratt, Kansas, where water in any quantity large enough to hold a trout—fur-bearing or otherwise—is a rarity, came an urgent request for proof of the existence of the furry fin flappers. Upon the sturdy shoulders of Wilbur B. Foshay, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, fell the delicate task of informing the credulous Kansan, without detracting from the obvious tourist-attracting qualities of the pelted piscatorial prizes. With admirable diplomacy, and considerable aplomb, Foshay dispatched posthaste a photograph of the fish, obtained from a Salida photographer and told the Kansan to use his own judgment as to the authenticity of the species. The photograph sent has been available in Salida for some time.”*

Stuffed and mounted specimens of these fish can be found in a number of museums of curiosities. These are made-up; the Saprolegnia ”fur” cannot be preserved by taxidermy. [Source]
* The use of the English language in this paragraph is beautiful!
[Credit MUST be given to The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things for this, an impeccable blog filled with all kinds of ridiculously interesting things..!]

Fur-Bearing Trout

The fur-bearing trout is a fictional creature native to northern regions of North America. The basic claim is that the waters of lakes and rivers in the area are so cold that a species of trout has evolved which grows a thick coat of fur to maintain its body heat. 

In reality, a possible source may have been a simple misunderstanding. A 17th century Scottish immigrant’s letter to his relatives referring “furried animals and fish” being plentiful in the New World, followed by a request to procure a specimen of these “furried fish” to which the mischievous Scotsman readily complied by making one up, is often cited. In fact, the “cotton mold” Saprolegnia will sometimes infect fish, causing tufts of fur-like growth to appear on the body. 

The hoax can be unequivocally documented to go back to at least the 1930s. Following is an excerpt from an article in the Pueblo Chieftain dating back to November 15, 1938:

“Old-timers living along the Arkansas River near Salida have told tales for many years of the fur-bearing trout indigenous to the waters of the Arkansas … Tourists and other tenderfoot in particular have been regaled with accounts of the unusual fish, and Salidans of good reputation have been wont to relate that the authenticity of their stories has never been questioned—in fact, they’re willing to bet it’s never even been suspected.Then, last week, out of Pratt, Kansas, where water in any quantity large enough to hold a trout—fur-bearing or otherwise—is a rarity, came an urgent request for proof of the existence of the furry fin flappers. Upon the sturdy shoulders of Wilbur B. Foshay, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, fell the delicate task of informing the credulous Kansan, without detracting from the obvious tourist-attracting qualities of the pelted piscatorial prizes. With admirable diplomacy, and considerable aplomb, Foshay dispatched posthaste a photograph of the fish, obtained from a Salida photographer and told the Kansan to use his own judgment as to the authenticity of the species. The photograph sent has been available in Salida for some time.”*

Stuffed and mounted specimens of these fish can be found in a number of museums of curiosities. These are made-up; the Saprolegnia ”fur” cannot be preserved by taxidermy. [Source]

* The use of the English language in this paragraph is beautiful!

[Credit MUST be given to The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things for this, an impeccable blog filled with all kinds of ridiculously interesting things..!]

Sir Arthur Aston: Death by Wooden Leg
Sir Arthur Aston (1590–1649) was a lifelong professional soldier, most noted for his support for King Charles I in the English Civil War, and in folklore for the gruesome manner of his death.
In 1648, whilst the war raged, Aston was made governor of Drogheda, a vital strategic port. The, in 1649, Oliver Cromwell's forces attacked the town in the Siege of Drogheda, one of the most vicious episodes of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. When the town was stormed, the garrison and many civilians were massacred by the victorious Parliamentarian soldiers. 
Aston agreed to surrender after a parley on the bridge but Cromwell’s officers were ordered to put the entire town to the sword. It is widely believed that the Parliamentarian soldiers killed Aston by dashing his brains out with his own wooden leg, which they believed to conceal gold coins.
Image: The offending prosthetic.

Sir Arthur Aston: Death by Wooden Leg

Sir Arthur Aston (1590–1649) was a lifelong professional soldier, most noted for his support for King Charles I in the English Civil War, and in folklore for the gruesome manner of his death.

In 1648, whilst the war raged, Aston was made governor of Drogheda, a vital strategic port. The, in 1649, Oliver Cromwell's forces attacked the town in the Siege of Drogheda, one of the most vicious episodes of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. When the town was stormed, the garrison and many civilians were massacred by the victorious Parliamentarian soldiers.

Aston agreed to surrender after a parley on the bridge but Cromwell’s officers were ordered to put the entire town to the sword. It is widely believed that the Parliamentarian soldiers killed Aston by dashing his brains out with his own wooden leg, which they believed to conceal gold coins.

Image: The offending prosthetic.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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