Egg hunt: seven Imperial Fabergé Eggs are missing

Russian master goldsmith Carl Fabergé (1846 – 1920) became a household name through his exquisite Easter eggs made of precious metals and opulent jewels. Fabergé was descended from Huguenots on his father’s side, and exemplified the Huguenot contribution to...

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How can I keep from singing?

Why they called me Joy I don’t know. When the midwife asked my mother for my name, she thought she heard the reply “Joey”.  If only.  They needed a boy, to inherit the family butcher business.  I was the last in a string of girls born to the extended family, six...

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“My two lovely girls”

February 22 is never a good day for me – it’s the anniversary of my mum’s death, and I ignore it at my peril. Better to acknowledge it than have things go wrong all day as the subconscious wreaks havoc. My mother’s was a life of anguish, but before her death –...

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Sanctuary – an ancient promise

Canterbury Cathedral is clearing its nave for a special contemplation of the meaning of Sanctuary. Such an event seldom happens in Canterbury Cathedral.  Churches and cathedrals have always been places of sanctuary, but it’s a particularly pertinent theme in...

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Hooray! It’s Bedfordshire Day!

Bedfordshire, where I grew up, is a dull county of no note in the middle of England.   It probably does deserve its own day to give it a boost, especially since Northamptonshire – another dull county in the middle of England – has its own day: 25 October, the...

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Treason season: people, power and plot

A new exhibition at the National Archives in Kew, Treason: People, Power & Plot, opens today. It explores how the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, the establishment of the Church of England, the creation of the United States of America and even the...

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Huguenots – the very first refugees

On World Refugee Day – 20 June -  it’s worth remembering that the word “refugee” was coined to describe the Huguenots in their flight from religious persecution in France. The countries to which they fled offered them refuge and thus they became, in their own...

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