Discovery: Cavour’s maternal grandmother was buried in Livorno. Thursday, Apr 19 2018 

Cavour

Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour (1810-1861)

In Italy, notwithstanding a profound religious culture, cemetery studies are a very understudied subject if one compares what other countries are doing. This is one of the main reasons for which, when analyzing Livorno’s cemeteries and their archives, the potential for discoveries is definitely high as very few researchers have studied many of their aspects in depth; this is also one of the reasons which fueled my curiosity and engagement in this research spanning almost two decades.

I was recently filling some missing data from an interesting register at the AEG (Archives d’Etat de Genève) regarding the baptisms and marriages of Citizens and Bourgeois of Geneva occurring abroad. While scrolling for information of interest to include in my database, I found a reference to (more…)

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The Story of a man, of his diseased body and his grave (including his medallion) Monday, Feb 13 2017 

[The identity of Mr. H will be revealed later in this article]

Mr. H. whose identity will be revealed later.

Born in Edinburgh in 1778, the eldest and first surviving of seven children, Mr. H. was a delicate child. He matriculatd at Edinburgh University and chose to study law, aspiring beyond that to public life, funded by his profession. He also studied political economy and joined several academies and societies. In 1799 he espoused “the ancient Whig politics of England, which are at present so much out of fashion, being hated by both parties”, his mentors being David Hume and the French physiocrats. He passed advocate in 1800, but finding little success he switched to the English bar, entering Lincoln’s Inn in 1802 and becoming, in the meanwhile, acquainted with the whig lawyers and literati Romilly, Abercromby, Mackintosh and Sharp, who welcomed him as a “Northern Light”. In the same period he helped found the Edinburgh Review. He found a place in the Parliament in 1806. He opposed the control of trade by export licence to counter Bonaparte’s continental system in 1808 and, critical of the naval battering of Copenhagen, voted for Whitbread’s peace motion. He supported Catholic relief and his role model Romilly’s bid to reform criminal law. Mr. H. felt he was “made, or educated, for the sunshine of an improving community”. He was a member of the Holland House circle and, in 1810, he clearly displayed his talents in the Bullion Committee, arguing that there had been an excessive issue of paper money since the stoppage of cash payments by the Bank of England in 1797, and that bullion importation was the solution. Later he criticized the East India Company’s trade monopoly, and advocated a presbyterian chaplaincy in India. He supported Whitbread’s peace bid and was a consistent opponent of the protectionist corn laws in 1813–14. He also quizzed Castlereagh on his failure to obtain universal abolition of the slave trade during peace negotiations. The Dictionary of National Biography of 1891 stated that: “H. was a man of sound judgment and unassuming manners, of scrupulous integrity, and great amiability of character. He was a correct and forcible speaker, and though without the gift of eloquence or humour, exercised a remarkable influence in the House of Commons, owing to his personal character. Few men, with such small advantages at the outset of their career, ever acquired in such a short space of time so great a reputation among their contemporaries. As a political economist Horner ranks deservedly high.”

H. suffered from a pulmonary ailment, and during the autumn of 1816, having been advised to winter in a warmer climate, he travelled to Pisa (Italy) with (more…)

History of the Old English Cemetery: a new page of the blog. Wednesday, Feb 22 2012 

Introduction.

The survey of the Old English Cemetery of Livorno which I began in 2009 and my subsequent analysis of the data has revealed an elevated amount of discrepancies. Some examples are: the position of the existing tombstones not matching the complete survey made in 1906 (see below), the great number of missing slabs and tombstones, the astonishing collages of inscription fragments mounted together with no apparent logic, some artistically/historically incoherent monuments, the total loss of the iron railings that were enclosing a number of graves, the mysteriously empty areas, the enormous quantities of debris, dumping material and objects found everywhere, etc…

The very limited local bibliography on the subject lacks any detail on the history of the cemetery, and gives only opinions and hypotheses. It relays unreliable information from previous books and articles and transmits oral statements of unknown origins. Everything about this place has always been uncertain, from the year of its foundation (historians have dated it anywhere from 1594 to 1737), to the events of World War II. On the other hand, Prof. Stefano Villani has provided some very interesting evidence about the enclosure of the cemetery and other documents related to the first hundred years of the burial ground’s existence. I recently discovered the testament of a Leghorn merchant which finally establishes, for the first time, the year of the foundation of this cemetery (see related article on this blog).

Read the new page: History of the Old English Cemetery of Livorno: an outline.

Diplomats buried at the Old English Cemetery of Livorno – Part 1 Friday, Feb 3 2012 

Sir John Dick and his mysterious mausoleum

The choice of this beautiful portrait by Gilbert Stuart of Sir John Dick (1721-1804), British Consul at Livorno from 1754 to 1776, was inspired by the strange fact (as some scholars and historians argued) that, in the Old English Cemetery of this place, one cannot find any burial of the several English consuls who lived here since the beginning of the 17th century, until the cemetery was finally closed in 1840 (we will be talking about the New English Cemetery in a specific article sometime later). This “absence” of consular and diplomatic graves is indeed a fact but, as I will show in the next parts of this article, it’s still not entirely true. Sir John Dick himself, or more precisely his grave, is also protagonist of another strange mystery (more…)

Capt. John Wood, killed in the 1653 Battle of Leghorn and his “forgotten italian grave” Wednesday, Oct 27 2010 



The Battle of Leghorn: Overview

The battle took place on 14 March 1653 (4 March 1652 Old Style), during the First Anglo-Dutch War, in the waters off Livorno. It was a victory of a Dutch fleet under Commodore Johan van Galen over an English squadron under Captain Henry Appleton. Afterward an English fleet under Captain Richard Badiley, which Appleton had been trying to reach, approached but was outnumbered and fled.  Appleton’s squadron comprised two warships: the Bonaventure (44 guns) and Leopard (48), and four armed merchantmen: the Sampson (40), the Mary (30), the Peregrine (30) and the Levant Merchant (30). (more…)

Old English Cemetery: a little boy in a thousand pieces… Tuesday, Jun 1 2010 

A couple of days ago we discovered traces of at least three small graves, probably all belonging to children, given their dimensions. One of them in particular (more…)

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