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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #85

Dear Reader,

Philosophical joke…

A new species discovered in 2020. As mankind goes backwards, the world continues to evolve.

A special week for Eve. Operation Zigzag is #1 while Operation Treasure, published 30 January, is #11 on the hot new releases chart 🙂

You make some interesting discoveries when you delve into the past…

15 August 1944, Allied troops landing in Provence. Colourised.

My 11 x great grandfather, William Hodsoll, was born in Ash by Wrotham, Kent in 1560. A gentleman farmer, William married Ellenor Dudley in Ash in 1587.

Ellenor was a widow. Born in Ash in 1562, she married Henry Parker in 1580 and gave birth to their son, Richard, a year later. Two years after that, Henry died and four years later Ellenor married William Hodsoll. 

South Ash Manor House, the Hodsoll home. From the Kent Archeology website.

In his Will, dated 30 September 1616, William left his wife, Ellenor, a yearly rent of £50 plus his lands, tenements and inherited items.

William also deferred a loan to his wife, a debt accrued by his stepson, Richard Parker. The loan totalled £27 2s 6d, which Richard had to pay to Ellenor, his mother.

William was buried on 5 October 1616, so this Will was just about the last act of his life.

William’s horses also found they way to Ellenor along with his riding furniture. The Will strongly suggests that Ellenor was fond of riding, “furniture wch my sayd wyfe doth vse when shee rydeth or iornyth abroad.” 

Ellenor probably rode sidesaddle, a form of horse riding that developed in Europe in the Middle Ages. Sidesaddle allowed a woman to ride a horse in modest fashion while also wearing fine clothing.

William instructed Ellenor to offer board and lodgings to their son, William, my direct ancestor, and to give their other son, John, £300 “upon condition that, at or on the Feast of St. Michael 1618, he makes release by sufficient conveyance to said “sonne William” of all right and title “of & in all my Mannors, messuages, etc.”

A third son, Hewe, received £300 “at or on” 29 September 1620. While the executor was to pay “my sayd sonne Henry” £10 a year upon his making similar release to “my sayd sonne William”. Daughters Hester and Ellenor, at age 24, were to receive £100 each. 

Much of William’s original Will is damaged, but the pages that remain ofter an insight into his life. Although not as wealthy as his father, John, who outlived him by two years, William was still an extremely rich man who could afford a comfortable lifestyle.

William was a contemporary of William Shakespeare (both died in 1616) and it’s possible that he saw the original performances of the Bard’s plays. Certainly, he was aware of them.

Ellenor’s name is recorded in various forms across a range of documents, including Elianora, but in his Will, William writes her name as Ellenor. She died in Ash on 29 July 1631, aged 69 and survived at least three of her daughters.

– o –

My 10 x great grandfather, William Hodsoll, was baptised on 21 July 1588 in Ash by Wrotham, Kent. A gentleman farmer, he married Hester Seyliard in 1609, in Ash, Kent.

The Seyliards were a noble family that arrived in Britain from Normandy about a hundred years after the Norman Conquest and prospered through to the age of the Hanoverian succession.

Portrait of a Lady, c1600. Emilian School, artist unknown.

William and Hester produced four children, possibly five, before Hester’s premature death in 1623, aged 33. Their eldest son, Captain John Hodsoll, my direct ancestor, inherited the estate.

From 8 May 1598 in nearby Ightham, an example of the incidents that troubled the local court. “William Willmott, yoman, on 7 May, 1598, broke the head of Richard Austin with his dagger and drew blood. Fined 5s.—remitted because he is in the service of the lord.”

The remission of Willmott’s fine looks generous. However, on the same day the court heard that, “Richard Austin, labourer, attached to himself five other armed persons in the night of Saturday, 6 May, 1598, and they assaulted William Willmott in the mansion house called ‘Ightam Courtlodg’, and with an iron-shod stick which he held in his hands he broke the head of William Willmot, and drew blood, against the peace of our Lady the Queen and to the alarm of her people. Fined 5s.”

During William’s lifetime, the Hodsolls ceased to be the only manorial family resident in the parish. Although the family still enjoyed great wealth, there is a sense of slow decline, as a result of turbulent times and the number of progeny produced by each generation.

William lived through the English Civil War (1642–1651) also known as the English Revolution. The war pitted Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, the Parliamentarians, against Charles I’s Royalists, the Cavaliers, which ended with a Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, and the beheading of Charles I.

The Battle of Marston Moor, 1644. Artist, John Barker.

The Hodsolls could trace their family’s roots back to the English royal family, moved in royal circles and later served in Charles II’s navy, therefore it is fair to assume that they supported the Royalist cause. William was probably too old to participate in the Battle of Maidstone on 1 June 1648, but a victory for the attacking Parliamentarians meant that he had to tread carefully.

The Hodsolls did not lose their lands during the English Civil War and therefore it’s possible that they accommodated, and adjusted to, Cromwell’s victory.

St Peter and St Paul, Ash near Wrotham. Picture: John Salmon.

After Esther’s death, William married Elizabeth Gratwick and produced a second family with her. William died on 31 December 1663, aged 75. He was buried not with his predecessors in the nave of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, but in the former Lady Chapel. This chapel became the Hodsoll chancel and many later generations of the family were also buried there.

This week, I added a Canadian branch to my family tree. Meet Elizabeth Dent and family, c1885. More about the Dents in future posts.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #69

Dear Reader,

Where do you get your ideas from? Is a common question asked of authors. My answer is, my ideas always stem from my characters. Where do my characters come from? The answer to that question is various sources, including old photographs. Here’s an example of a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. I don’t know her name or background, but her strong features immediately spoke to me and just by studying the picture a fictional character, Lise Lazard, took shape. You can read about Lise in Branches, book two in The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga. Available soon 🙂

I write, therefore I am…

In September 1953, sugar rationing in Britain finally came to an end. The wartime government introduced it in January 1940. A weekly sugar ration ranged from 8oz to 16oz per week.

Where to collect your ration if you lived in Birmingham. Maybe we’ll see similar Brexit inspired posters in the new year.

Station IX, which developed weapons and gadgets for SOE agents, created a small motorcycle called the Welbike. Although 3,641 bikes were produced they were rarely employed by the SOE. Instead they were issued to the 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions who used them during the Anzio and Normandy landings. The Welbike also featured at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

Bulgarian joke. Red Bull gives you wings. Vodka gives you 4×4 🤣

One for the album. Operation Zigzag has entered the Brazilian chart alongside John le Carre, Tom Clancy and Stieg Larsson 🙂

Eve at #1 for the first time 🙂

Philosophy humour.

I’m reading A Moment of War, Laurie Lee’s lyrical account of his time in the Spanish Civil War.

“Eulalia turned and smiled at me brilliantly, showing her tongue, her face cracking open like a brown snake’s egg hatching.”

Vertigo, what vertigo?! Acrobats do their thing on top of the Empire State Building, 1934.

A lovely weekend for my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series, #1 in America and Britain, and now in Australia 🙂

Fat Banished!

No exercise!

No diets!

No baths!

No ill effects!

No danger!

Easy to swallow!

The solution you’ve been waiting for, sanitised tape worms!

October 1944, the Allies cross the Belgium-Germany border and prepare to write the closing chapters of World War II with the defeat of Hitler’s brand of fascism.

My article about SOE agent Odette Sansom is on page 24 of this month’s Seaside News 🙂

Met a friend on the dunes 🙂

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader # 63

Dear Reader,

During the Second World War when SOE agents parachuted into France they took pigeons with them. Questionnaires from the BBC were attached to the pigeons. The locals filled in the questionnaires and the pigeons returned to SOE HQ at 64 Baker Street.

On 5 September, I publish Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen. It’s lovely to see the book sitting alongside JK Rowling (aka Robert Galbraith) in the top forty. Many thanks to my readers for their support 🙂

Through consumption and entertainment, the slaves would love their servitudes.” 

So much of the 1930s speaks to us today.

When the Nazis captured SOE agent Odette Sansom they placed her in the dark for three weeks believing that would break her. However, Odette didn’t mind the total darkness because as a child a serious illness had blinded her for three and a half years.

https://hannah-howe.com/eves-war/odette-sansom/

This is a 393 year old Greenland Shark. The oldest living vertebrate known on the planet, it’s been swimming in the ocean since 1627.

Researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the shark. A possible explanation for this species’ longevity is that they spend their lives 2,000 metres down, where the water temperature is around 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme cold is associated with slow metabolism and maturation – Greenland Sharks don’t reach adulthood until age 150 – as well as long life spans.

Photo by Julius Nielsen.

2020

“I Facebook, therefore I am.”

When captured by the Gestapo, SOE agent Alix d’Unienville pretended to be mentally ill. In reality, she was very strong and this enabled her to escape while in transit to a concentration camp. She fled into a wood, hid, then returned to Paris in a Jeep.

https://hannah-howe.com/eves-war/alix-marrier-dunienville/

The battle for Paris began on the 10 August 1944 when railway and Metro staff went on strike, an example followed by policemen and postal workers.

The strike became general on the 18 August and by the 19 August fighting had broken out across the city. On that day 3,000 police officers invaded the Préfecture de Police, which became the first building to be officially liberated.

With the Allies advancing, the Nazis retreated. Those who remained sought to defend and destroy until forced into surrender on 25 August 1944.

August 1944, Allied soldiers greeted by young Parisian women as they enter Paris during its Liberation. (Photo by AFP)

What’s your emotion right now?

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #26

Dear Reader,

This week I wrote chapter twenty-two of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. In this chapter Sam wanders on to the beach and sees bioluminescent plankton, a phenomenon caused by tiny organisms that produce a chemical called luciferin as a defence mechanism to draw predators towards the creature trying to eat the plankton.

Very proud to be a member of the Mom’s Favorite Reads team. Our magazines have proved popular throughout the year and with our December edition I believe we have produced a cracker 🙂

🎄🎄🎄Our Christmas edition! 🎄🎄🎄

In this edition…articles, short stories, recipes, travel, interviews, young writers, poetry and activities for all the family.

Read or download your copy FREE.

Readers familiar with my Sam Smith Mystery Series will know that the stories are based on psychological and sociological issues. Therefore, I’m delighted that blogger and YouTuber Anna Grace agreed to discuss a range of psychological issues in a guest post for my website. If you haven’t seen Anna’s post you can view it here 

https://hannah-howe.com/2019/12/04/anna-grace/

Some political pictorials that caught my eye this week…

Mom’s Favorite Reads‘ charity of the month is Christmas for CAMHS, a charity that supports children and adolescents who will spend Christmas in hospital, often away from their families, because of mental health issues.

The gifts on their wish list are inexpensive, no more than a cup of coffee, so please support this great cause by either: following their Facebook page, sharing their web links, donating via their gift page or by sending gifts. Thank you.

https://www.christmasforcamhs.org.uk

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/9A29RCVE11LW

https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasForCAMHS/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Recommended Reading

Sylva Fae

I first met Sylva Fae around three years ago in a Facebook author group run by a mutual friend. We interacted in that group, on occasion, and became casual friends, as you tend to do in Facebook groups.

At that stage, I didn’t know much about Sylva or her books. However, as our Mom’s Favorite Reads project developed we interacted more often and I did get to know Sylva and her books. In a short space of time, she became a key member of our team producing beautiful graphics and supporting other authors in tireless fashion.

The first thing to say about Sylva is she is a beautiful person. And that cannot be said of everyone in the world these days. She also writes and produces beautiful children’s books. These books are amongst the finest on the market and I highly recommend them. Her books are a joy to read. Sylva’s books not only entertain and educate, but they are items that children will treasure and look back on with great affection.

Sylva also writes a lovely blog about life in her woodland. If you have an interest in nature and the outdoor life there is much to enjoy by visiting and following her blog.  https://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/about-sylva-fae/

Most writers write for the love of the story. Along the way they hope to establish a readership. And, if they are lucky, they connect with fellow authors like the talented Sylva Fae.