Reminiscences of Mary Thompson, daughter of the British Vice-Consul in Livorno Wednesday, Feb 29 2012 

by Piero Posarelli, edited by Matteo Giunti.

On the Internet site www.bristowefamilies.com, we can read the passage Reminiscences of my young days, written by Mary Thompson, daughter of Frederick Thompson who was British Vice-Consul in Livorno from 1839 to 1852. The first part of the Reminiscences speaks about Mary’s memories of that period, when Livorno was full of revolutionary ideas that brought to the battle of Porta San Marco in 1849. On the site we can also find information about her father and her family.

There is little known about the first years of Frederick Thompson’s life. We know that  he was born about 1805 in Maldon, Essex, England, and that for some unknown reasons he went to Malta where he opened a school. In Malta he met and married Mary Ann [Mary Ann Bingham born 1810, NdR], who was born there from English parents [William Bingham and Eleanor Temple, NdR], and had two children: Fred (born in 1833) and Mary (born in 1835). It is from the information that Mary left us in the form of reminiscences written in her later life in Charlcombe, Somerset, England that it is possible to piece together some of the events surrounding the life of this family. (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…)

Montgomery Carmichael on the Old British Cemetery of Leghorn Friday, Apr 9 2010 

The text that follows, written by Carmichael,  is the beautiful introduction to the book “The inscriptions in the Old British Cemetery of Leghorn” by Gery Milner-Gibson-Cullum and Francis Campbell Macauley (1906). I tried to reproduce it here with the notes and some hyper-text links.

To read his monuments, to weigh his dust,
Visit his vaults, and dwell among the tombs.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I widen my horizon, gain new powers,
See things invisible, feel things remote,
Am present with futurities; think nought
To man so foreign, as the joys possest,
Nought so much his as those beyond the grave.
YOUNG.

It was not without considerable diffidence that (more…)

A dispute on Tobias Smollett’s burial in Livorno dated 1898. Wednesday, Apr 7 2010 

 

In the Notes and Queries periodical, year 1898, 9th series, vol.1, p.201, 309 and 510 appeared an interesting exchange between R.N. Captain James Buchan Telfer and the British Vice-Consul at Leghorn Montgomery Carmichael. I thought it would be interesting to offer a copy of the originals (more…)

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