Remembering Our Ancestors: William Andrews

William came with the company of Rev. Thomas Hooker to the colonies in 1624 and started the Andrews family of (what was to become) Hartford, CT.

1595 and London, England:  That should bring at least two things to mind, Shakespeare and the Black Death.  I guess some people think London was plagued by both – not I!

Regardless, our ancestors where there, in and around London during Shakespeare’s time, and surely they were bothered by the plague, among them our 12th and 13th great-grandfather William Andrews who was born in that year, 1595.  19 years later, however, we find our dear William quite far away from London, in the company of Thomas Hooker (as depicted in Frederic Edwin Church’s painting that you see featured, slightly cropped) in the colonies far west of England, and on their way to what would become Hartford, Connecticut.  William Andrews was one of the founders of that town.

founders monument
Founder’s Monument Ancient Cemetery Hartford, Ct

William married in the New World, as far as we know, and sources differ whether he was married once or twice.  It is pretty sure that he married Abigail Graves in 1632, the year our 11th and 12th great-grandfather John Andrews was born also.  Some sources say William also married Mary Savage (which would have been in the old world) and there is conflicting information because they, too, had a son called John, albeit born a good bit before ‘our’ John.  Chances are more than one William Andrews lived in London at the time, and possibly even made it to the colonies before 1700.

Our William and Abigail had eight children together, if we are correctly informed, firmly establishing the Andrews clan in the Hartford area where they stayed for many generations, until the early 19th century.  We have already portrayed several members of this branch of the family; they must have been an interesting and rather hardy bunch.  Eventually, the Andrews branch of our family tree joins the Christman branch with our (2nd) great-grandparents Dallas Christman and Alice Andrews.

William Andrews passed on at the age of 64, on 3 August 1659, this past week 361 years ago.  His wife Abigail lived on for 22 more years, and as far as we know, she married again, one Nathaniel Bearding.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Andrews.  We do not know where exactly they have laid you to rest, but it is believed than you lie in the Ancient Cemetery in Hartford where the above monument bears your name along with those of other founders.

founders bridge plaque
THE FOUNDERS BRIDGE: This plaque and a second one commemorate the men and women who traveled there in 1636 with the Rev. Thomas Hooker to found the City of Hartford.

Poesie: March Thoughts

Daffy-down-dilly is come up to town, / In her yellow petticoat and her green gown.

When daffodils begin to peer,
With hey the doxy over the dale,
Why then comes in the sweet of the year
And the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.

~ William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

daffodils - Edited

And hark! How blithe the Throstle sings,
He, too, is no mean preacher;
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

~ William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

march eggs

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
The snowdrop and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain wet;
And their breath was mixed with sweet-odour sent
from the turf like the voice and the instrument.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)

violets shelley

All poems and drawings are taken from Edith Holden’s “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”, first published in 1977.  A delightful book!

Remembering Our Ancestors: Jane Playse

Let me take you back to the Elizabethan time.

Our 15th (and 16th) great-grandmother Jane Andrews (née Playse) was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and even lived in London, England, at the latest since 1595.

But she had not been a city dweller all her life, much like The Bard.  Jane Playse was born in 1528 in the East Midlands, more precisely in Northampton, in the shire that bears the same name, some 60 miles north-west of London, and about 45 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon.  There she appears to have grown up, and by the time she was 21, in 1549, she married our 15th (and 16th) great-grandfather William Andrews in Charwelton, a village about halfway between Northampton and Stratford.  There, at least two sons were born to them, William Jr. and Robert, both in 1550.  Since the bubonic plague was ravaging the area off and on during those years (and for many more decades to come until the Great Plague of London of 1665-66 marked the last great epidemic almost 100 years later), we do not know how many more children they might have had and lost, but we do know that Robert lived long enough to become the father of our 14th (and 15th) great-grandfather John Andrews.  John’s own son William, in turn, immigrated to the colonies in 1624 and started the Andrews family of (what was to become) Hartford, CT, and John followed him when he was already 83 and most all his remaining relatives had either died in England or immigrated already.

But back to Jane and William.  How long they stayed in the area of Charwelton we are not sure, but the year 1596 finds them in London, where William died, his burial being recorded in the church books of St. Giles Cripplegate.  This church lies about a 15 minute walk from St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate where Shakespeare resided during the same year.  Presumably, Jane and Andrew lived somewhere in the vicinity as well.  St. Giles is also the church where, 15 years later, Jane’s burial is documented.  According to the records, she was buried 24 January 1611, that’s today 409 years ago.

I still remember just how exciting it was to realize that Jane and William lived in Shakespeare’s London, and at least Jane had the (theoretical) possibility to go and see a play in the original Globe Theater which was build in Southwark, on the other, as yet barely developed and quite disreputable side of the river, in 1599.  Maybe Jane would never have dreamed of going to the playhouse!  But maybe she did!  We cannot be sure either way.

Jane’s son Robert did not live in London either for the most part, but married and settled in Coventry in Warwickshire, just north-west of his hometown.  Chances are that Jane and William moved to London only after their son had left their home to raise his own family.  Interestingly enough, however, Robert, too, died in London, at the St. Bartholomew-the-Great hospital, and his burial is recorded in the books of St. Martin, Ludgate.  All these places, St. Giles, St. Bartholomew and St. Martin are less than a mile away from each other.

It does make you wonder if people came to London from the countryside to die and be buried there, or if spending a part of your life in the countryside and a part in the big city, like we know Shakespeare did, was quite common back in the day, at least for a certain social class.

In any case, history comes alive when direct ancestors were part of it and no mistake.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Jane Andrews.  We envy you.  A little.

The_Swan performance
A 1596 sketch of a performance in progress at The Swan, a theater much like The Globe that was built in 1599.

SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

~ William Shakespeare

Featured: John Norden’s map of London in 1593, cropped

Classical Sunday: Tchaikovsky’ Tempest Overture

Much like Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet Overtures, this was also inspired by one of Shakespeare’s plays:  The Tempest.  Just so happens that Prospero is my favorite Shakespearian character.

Tchaikovsky – The Tempest – Fantasy Overture

The featured image shows Marc Rylance as Prospero at the Globe Theater in London, UK, during the 2005 season.  A very impressive performance and no mistake.

Happy 127th Birthday, J.R.R.!

Raise a glass to the Professor in honor of his 127th birthday.

What can I say?  Our world would be poorer without what your imagination and wisdom gave us.  Immortality?  Let’s quote The Other Bard on the subject:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Happy 127th Birthday, dear John Ronald Reuel.  Wish we could have a pint together at the Bird and Baby and drink to your health this day.

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Classical Sunday: Music from Shakespeare’s Time

Have you ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe (Theater) in London?  This is the kind of music you are likely to hear there.

English Renaissance Music

Have you ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe (Theater) in London?  This is the kind of music you are likely to hear there…  Enjoy!

Playlist:

01.What If I Never Speed?
02.Weep You No More Sad Fountains
03.Can She Excuse My Wrongs
04.Come Heavy Sleep
05.Pavan XI
06.Fine Knacks For Ladies
07.Go Crystal Tears 08.If my complaints
09.Come again
10.A shepherd in a shade
11.Rest awhile you cruel cares
12.Allemande
13.Clear or cloudy
14.Say,love
15.Shall I strive with words to move
16.Praise blindness, eyes
17.Dear, if you change
18.Sleep wayward thoughts
19.The lowest trees have tops
20.Unquiet thoughts
21.My heart and tongue were twins
22.Now O now I Needs Must Part
23.Flow my tears
24.In this trembling shadow
25.Queen Elizabeth’s Galliard
26.Captain Dignore’s Piper
27.Fantasia
28.Feigh on This Failing
29.Time Stands Still
30.Pavan XXI
31.Melancholy Galliard

Mark the Music

Tell me what music you listen to, and I tell you…

“The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.”

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, V, 1

Enjoy.

Incidentally, the whole first scene of Act V of the Merchant is interesting in the above mentioned respect.  So why not dust off your Collected Works, grab a cup of tea and enjoy some more…

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