Anonymous writer identified: a new source about Tuscan life in the 1840s Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

Few days ago I stumbled upon a curious and intriguing citation on the “Church of England Magazine” issue for October 31st, 1857, p.287:

“NOTICE OF BOOKS:

AMONG the books which have lately reached us are the following: 

The Bow in the Cloud a Memoir of MEH. By her Sister, London: Hatchard, 1857. This is the account of a young lady who lived, for the most part of her life, and ultimately died, abroad. The pity we feel for those, whose lot it is to dwell far from their fatherland, augments the interest with which we peruse such records. The disadvantages, social, political, and religious, of the continent, are obstacles and stumbling-blocks which to many have proved of ruinous effect. And yet, in spite of them, God has often been pleased to cherish the spiritual life of his people, and render such sojourners the means of usefulness to those around them. Thus it seems to have been with the subject of this memoir. An accident in early life destroyed the sight of one eye; and subsequent ill-health was a continued chastening from the Father of her spirit. She was brought into believing union with the Saviour; and the copious extracts from her journal depict very touchingly the working of her inner life. Her last hours were peace; for Christ sustained her; and she sleeps (having died in her 27th year, a few weeks after her father, and a few months before her mother) with her parents in the British cemetery at Leghorn, in sure and certain hope of joyful resurrection. We cheerfully give our testimony to the value of this little volume; and we think it likely to be acceptable and useful, especially to young persons.

I was not yet sure whether this information on the author and her family was true or invented and I went (more…)

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Gould Francis Leckie (c.1767-1850): the rediscovered grave and a biography. Sunday, Mar 4 2012 

In 2009, during frequent email exchanges with Professor Michela D’Angelo and Dr. Diletta D’Andrea of the University of Messina I was informed that Dr. D’Andrea was carrying out a research on an English Esquire named Gould Francis Leckie. He was a classic scholar and a publicist who lived in England between the end of the XVIII century and the beginning of the XIX. As Dr. D’Andrea had found out, he had also spent some years in Sicily and, later on, had moved to Tuscany where he had probably died, though nobody had ever known where or when exactly, so I was asked by them to check my sources for any further information.

Checking the Chapel Register vol. 2 (1784-1824) and the inscriptions at the Old English Cemetery of Livorno did not reveal any trace of his. Next possibility was to check the Registers of the New Cemetery. Indeed, I felt a strong emotion when I read “Leckie, Gould Francis, 4-9-1850” in the Burial Register kept by the caretaker of the New English Cemetery in Livorno. I made copies of the whole register and wrote down the reference to the location of the grave.

This happened in the winter 2009. The cemetery was completely overgrown. My first attempt at finding the grave ended as soon as I arrived close to the relevant section, where the tomb should be: the whole area was totally covered with brambles to a height of 7-8 feet.

I immediately advised (more…)

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.

Baron Seymour Stocker Kirkup: grave found! Sunday, Aug 29 2010 

A couple of days ago I went back to the New English Cemetery of Livorno to do a quick survey after the extensive cleaning carried out in the last two months. I took several pictures while wandering around and discovered a few things, as I had expected…

In section DII I stumbled upon a tall monument shaped like a rocky hill with two (more…)

Burials at the New English Cemetery of Leghorn (Via Pera) Saturday, Jan 16 2010 

Here is a list of all the burials of the new English Burial Ground at Livorno, transcribed from the cemetery’s register. This cemetery was opened in 1839, when the older cemetery was closed. This “English garden” is, as well as the older one, in a (more…)

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