This will be another odds and sods, so brace yourselves...
I found a thoroughly unpleasant ancestor today...though when I looked him up, the reports about the events vary wildly so perhaps it wasn't really true after all...his name was William de Talvas and he lived 995-1052 in France...and there's the first hurdle...there were three William de Talvas's so 'my' bloke might not even be the right one...
He didn't much like his first wife, so he arranged for her to be strangled on her way to church...he deliberately mutilated a peasant who'd somehow displeased him...had eight or nine sons who took after him...described as 'evil personified', but his various daughters were 'gracious ladies of a kindly temper ant' ...another marriage was arranged with a woman much older than himself in the vain hope she wouldn't have children...she did, she had a daughter who was plain horrible and had her head cut off while lying in bed after her yearly bath...she must have been the exception to the other daughters I suppose. One of Williams sons was also strangled to death and most of the others met with untimely ends...
Makes one quite nostalgic for an Ag Lab in Victorian Britain...
I've concentrated most of my research into the lives of the poor Irish peasants living in the countryside under the heavy hands of the English landlords and haven't thought much about the tenement buildings and their occupants in Dublin...then I came across a site which features the folk-lore and lives of those people.
There was the saddest story...a little boy living with his siblings and his Mother in a Dublin tenement caught the scabies...as did his brothers and sisters...so his Mother kept him away from school because scabies is highly contagious. The school truant officer called to ask...why wasn't he in school...and the Mother explained why and the truant officer said that was fine...the following day court officials called to take the little boy to court for non-attendance...the judge asked him...was he still itching? The child said, he was Sir...so the judge said he'd stop his itching...he sent him to the Ardcane Industrial School for Boys for two and a half years...the Ardcane School was run by evil and plain wicked priests who abused and ill-treated, to death, many of the boys in their so-called care. There is an on-going court case now to try to get some form of compensation for the lads who suffered a living hell when they were sentenced to spend time there...
The boy is now an old man...he managed to somehow survive his time in Ardcane...his is just one voice...there were hundreds more.
I caught scabies when I was working in the Birmingham slums...the only treatment at the time was to use copious amounts of Gentian Violet which I'm sure did nothing whatsoever than colour your skin a fetching shade of purple...when the boy I've written about had the scabies, his Mother took him and her other children to the sulphur baths at the Mater hospital...but she couldn't make the long journey there often enough...
When I get a case of the grumps because my cooker needs cleaning and I don't want to do it...when it's raining...again...when Eilis barks at nothing...when my laptop decides to sulk...perhaps those are the times when quietly remembering little boys hauled before a judge in a court of law and sentenced to spend time in the most notorious of all Industrial schools in Ireland for no crime other than suffering from 'the itch'...
That little boy is my age now.