Posts filed under ‘news’

For Sale: “The Cockpit / Pit Ticket” – William Hogarth, original print, hand colouring, 1759

Mrs Molly Joyful is flogging off the crown jewels…

by William Hogarth
Engraving with hand colouring in watercolour on cream wove paper, 1759. 320×385 mm; 12×15 1/4 inches, wide margins.


Very good condition, minor wear and tear around the border (please click on the picture for hi-resolution version). I do not know if this is the 1822 Cradock & Joy reprint or an earlier 18th century one. The paper is 18th century, though.

Interested? Please contact joyful_molly at for questions and price offers; offers start at  £ 280.00/EUR 350.00 (plus p+p, custom fees and possible banking/paypal fees). This is your chance to invite one of Britain’s greatest artist into your house. I hate to see him go, but alas…

26 November, 2014 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

Release the Hounds, Collingwoodites: Thieves Steal a Lock of Admiral Collingwood’s Hair (and more!)

Ladies and gentlemen, your help is urgently needed:

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle’s Mansion in Fernwood Road in Jesmond has been broken into on  1 April. Police believe that  burglars broke in through the cellar overnight between last Monday and Tuesday. The criminals stole

  • a gold Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Labour Party founder Arthur Henderson in 1934 (the medal bears the inscription “Parlimentum Norvegial A Munro Henderson” and is with a presentation scroll in a leather case)
  • a large amount of antique silverware (silver cups dating back to 1919, a set of four Victoria napkin rings embossed with a star from 1875, a William IV snuff box dating back to 1834, a George II mustard pot from 1759 and a Queen Anne silver love cup engraved with two Queen Anne coat of arms)
  • and a lock of hair from Admiral Lord Collingwood. It was kept in a circular oak box with an engraved inscription: “This box which was made out of transform of the Royal Sovereign and enclosed a lock of the hair of the late Lord Collingwood, was presented by Admiral Thomas to the Corporation of Newcastle Upon Tyne.”


These are very distinct items which are almost impossible to sell through “regular” channels (unless the criminals melt the silver down, which I really don’t hope they’ll do), and I don’t think waiting for any of these items to turn up on The Antique’s Roadshow in twenty years is the way to go. So let’s try to do a bit of detective work:

There’s not much we can do about the medal or the silverware, but if anybody, anywhere should try to sell a lock of Collingwood’s hair or inquire about its value, chances are that one of us will notice. So please, keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t hesitate to contact the police if you see somebody trying to sell any of the above-mentioned items!

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.

By the way, former  Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd and technology tycoon Graham Wylie have offered £30,000 for the return of these items.

6 April, 2013 at 9:51 pm 1 comment

St. Osram versus St. Hilarius: The Fight over the Eternal Light has ended

Come one, come all, come in, and welcoooooooooooome to the final fight for the title of Eternal Lightweight Champion 2013!

In the left corner, we have the contender:

St. Osram, Patron Saint of light-emitting Diodes!

Lithe and wiry, this much-celebrated figure of spiritual enlightment knows how to place a punch. He’s bursting with confidence, declaring in a recent interview that he was born to be the LEDer of the spiritual boxing world, and that he’s already made plans on how to spend the purse of £ 950.

And now there’s rattling applause for the man, the king, the champion in the right corner,

St. Hilarius, Bishop of Poitièrs!

Known for his hymn-writing as well as his public discussions, this saint is not to be trifled with! He’s held the title of Eternal Lightweight Champion for 655 consecutive years, and many say that St. Osram doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to win this fight.

But enough with the talking, it’s starting!

Ah, what a sight…

… just look at St. Osram’s footwork, it looks like he’s dancing!

Careful now, St. Hilarius! Now that was a fine hook by St. Osram…

…jab jab jab… cross… what a combination!

But… wow!

That was a completely unexpectedd straight hook, and now he’s out cold!

Was that it? After only a few seconds? Looks like.

Referee Judge starts counting… will he make it?

Even saints have their limits…


…. 10 …
… 9 …
… 8 ….
… 7 …
… 6 …
… 5 …
… 4 …
… 3 …
… 2 …
… 1 1/2…
… 1 …


Ladies and gentlemen, the new Eternal Lightweight Champion is


The crowd goes wild, some fans are fainting! I wish you could see these triumphant scenes!

While the new champion is celebrated by his team, the members of the consistory of the St. Hilarius church in Näfels have fainted. I wonder whether that’s due to the devastating defeat of their champion or because the referee just informed them that they’ll have to pay £ 6’000 in legal fees and compensation? But no need to worry, I see that their lawyer is approaching with sel volatile to revive their spirits.

Ah, I just hear our reporter is having some interviewees… over to you, John!

“Test… test… are we on air? Yes? Good. Well, I’m standing here with St. Hilarius, who lost after a short, but dedicated fight. St. Hilarius – what was this fight really about?”

“Uhm… it was never about the money, you know, but about traditions. Traditions are important.”

“If it wasn’t about the money, why did your management turn down all volunteers who offered to spring in? Including your own bishop?”

“What bishop? I’m the bishop! I’m the biggest! I’m the greatest! I’m the-“

“Ahem, yes, thank you for your time.”

Selected comments of the public on this fight:

“I’d demand a payback of all the fees paid through the years! With interest!”
“Do you still have the receipts?”

“This farmer sold his soul for £ 950 silverlings.”
“Yeah, what an idiot. He should have tried on ebay.”

“A contract is a contract, even if it’s 650 years old. The farmer should have been made to pay.”
“The lawyers of the House of Habsburg just called. They demand compensation for their fallen kinsmen in the battle of Sempach back in 1386.”


The consistory of the church has accepted the judge’s decision. The farmer is happy, traditionalists are disappointed, the judgement, for once, was just. The Eternal Light will shine on, sponsored by a number of volunteers. However, we shouldn’t forget that this story began with a murderer and his victim. I can’t help but wonder if a prayer for their souls wouldn’t be more in the spirit of the whole thing than going to court or buying bottles of lamp oil. But hey, what do I know. I use oil only for salad.

9 January, 2013 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

Update on the Strange Case of the Land Owner who Refuses to pay the Church for a Murder back in 1357

The strange tale of a church in Switzerland demanding that a farmer is paying for a murder which happened in 1357 (1357. 1357!) was one of your favourite stories last year. You’ll be pleased to hear there is an update – the plot thickens, my friends!

A short summary: in 1357 (1357. 1357!) one Konrad Müller allegedly murdered one Heinrich Stucki. To avoid being executed for this crime, he promised to provide the Eternal Light of the aptly named St. Hilarius church in Näfels for all eternity with oil from his walnut trees.

655 (655. 655!) years later, the trees have long gone, and the current farmer refuses to pay about £ 950 for 20 years of Eternal Light Maintenance. Alas the church insists that the current owner of Müller’s land has to pay. While any person with some common sense and decency would think this to be a no-brainer, it’s serious business for the church, and they announced that they’ll take the farmer to court.

But now it looks like Konrad Müller wasn’t a murderer in the first place!

— Theme from Twilight Zone —

Just like in the story of Cain and Abel, old papers talk of a man called Tschudi murdering his brother to claim their father’s land.


Was it fratricide then?

Did Heinrich Stucki live happily ever after and somebody else was murdered?

Are the grumpy ghosts of the Tschudi brothers haunting the church of Näfels?

Or wasn’t there a murder case in the first place?

Saint Osram weeps!

And so did the Bishop of Chur Vitus Huonder, we may assume. He’s responsible for the Näfels sheep of his flock, and offered to pay the bill himself to settle the case peacefully. That came as a surprise, as Bishop Huonder was stuck in 1357, mentally. But be that as it may, neither the president of the church commission nor its lawyer deemed their bishop worthy of a reply. They also refused an offer by the farmer’s neighbour to transfer the “duty” to his own land, and even the judge was ignored when he asked for some common sense.

The church wants its blood money, period.

The court decision is expected any day now. In my opinion, we need neither lawyers nor bishops here, though. We need Sherlock Holmes.



6 January, 2013 at 1:57 am 1 comment

Join the Collingwood Society – your Admiral needs you!

Read all about it over at Old Cuddy:

What better time to join the Collingwood Society than Christmas?

Newsletter, programme for 2013, constitution, membership application form – it’s all there, so what are you waiting for?

You admiral needs you!



24 December, 2012 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

The Strange Case of the Land Owner who Refuses to pay the Church for a Murder back in 1357

I know, I know, 1357 is about 350 years too early for 18th century, but this story will hopefully make those among you who still nurse a headache from headdesking over the decision by the CoE not to appoint female bishops feel a little better about their church. Because it’s always nice to know that God’s Ground Staff is just as ridiculous elsewhere.

Let me take you to the beautiful Church of Näfels, Canton of Glarus, Switzerland. Glarus is one of those places where Switzerland is at its “swissest”, in lack of a better word. Cows, green lands and lots of stubborn people. It was in Glarus where the last “witch” in Europe was executed, the unfortunate Anna Göldi. (To be fair, they did rehabilitate her soon after – in 2008. After refusing a rehabilitation in 2007.)

The French tried without much success to implement new regulations during the occupation of Glarus in the late 18th century; people simply refused to accept the newfangled nonsense. So, considering that we’re dealing with people who are very proud of their traditions, you won’t be surprised that the Church of Näfels is taking a land owner to the cleaners for refusing to pay a fine dating back to 1357. 1357.

In 1357 (have I mentioned it was 1357 already?), one Konrad Müller, murderer and owner of various walnut trees, committed to donate an Eternal Light to the church of Näfels and provide the oil to keep it running. In return, he would not be executed for his crime. After his death, the owners of his land were supposed to deliver the yearly Eternal Go Go Juice, courtesy of the above-mentioned walnut trees.

Fast forward to 2012 (655 years later. 655.), and Konrad Müller’s house has long gone. So have his walnut trees. His land has been split into two lots, and the owners are neither relatives of Mr. Müller nor involved with murder or oil trade. And yet – yet each of them has to pay the church CHF 70.00 a year (that’s about £ 47 or EUR 58) due to lack of walnut trees.

One of the land owners had enough of this deal, and refused to pay for the sins of some bloke who had made a deal with the church centuries ago. “That’s it, I’m not going to pay for this anymore!” he declared, and that was not it, of course, because this is Switzerland, and Glarus, and the Church, and Oh My God TRADITION, so the resident will now have to appear in front of a judge and make his case.

As you can imagine, there are two camps here:

Team “if he didn’t want to pay he shouldn’t have signed the contract, and it’s tradition, what’s been good for 655 years will be good for another 655”


Team “21st century, wtf selling of indulgences, contract is not legal, waste of money and resources”.

Personally, I’m Team “thanks for providing me with something to write about”, but considering that, through the years, the church has earned thousands of Francs with the sin and soul of Konrad Müller, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t make more sense to get the Eternal Light electrified. I’d be willing to donate 24 energy saving light bulbs to the church in Näfels, if that could help restore peace.

May St. Osram provide some enlightenment.

27 November, 2012 at 3:34 pm 3 comments

Bounty a Victim of Hurrican Sandy, two People missing

It’s with great sadness that we’ve learned of the sinking of the Bounty off the coast of North Carolina, making her a victim of Hurricane Sandy. Fourteen people were rescued by the Coast Guard; two, Capt. Walbridge and Claudene Christian, are unfortunately still reported missing.

Bounty was a replica of the famous original HMS Bounty built in 1784, and was featured in both the 1962 movie with Marlon Brando and in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Everybody sailing on the Joyful Molly is sending out much love to the brave people of the Bounty; we hope with all our hearts that the two people missing will be found and returned to their loved ones safe and unharmed.

Please stay safe, everybody in the path of Sandy.

29 October, 2012 at 7:28 pm 2 comments

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