Bitterly cold as we head out of the front door for our 6:30 constitutional. It snows, sleets and hails in quick succession. There is also a lot of freezing rain most of which blows horizontally towards us. Angus is keen to get home. Bob and Sophie are of a different opinion. A morning when those deer and wild boar scents must be lingered over and savoured.
Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse the PONs ( who continue to think this unseasonably cold weather is wonderful ) are towelled dry but not so dry that they don't drip on the carpets.
Angus works through the deeds on the little house in Scotland. What stories are here. He finds documents from a fisherman who loses three sons at sea in the First World War. The father changes his Will each time. Finally, his fourth and much much younger infant son inherits. This son is just old enough to be finished off at sea in 1941. The house passes to his new wife and yet to be born son.
In 1716 a most Latin sounding Jacob and Maria Rob(e)rtson are the owners. By 1776 the documents are in English and Jacob and Maria are translated back as John and Mary. The oldest deed records the transfer of what was the well keepers house at the pre-reformation monastery into private ownership. There is still a well in the tiny back garden. Can it be the same one ?
I'd always thought that stamps were invented by Rowland Hill in the early 19th century. From the 18th century the deeds all have a tiny excise stamp pasted onto to them. Cut off a sheet with scissors and stuck on the vellum with glue. There's a tiny sliver of silver woven into the paper. To prevent forgeries ?
The later deeds have the same excise stamps. William gives way to George who gives way to Victoria. Presumably these are the sort of excise stamps that got Bostonians so exercised in the 1770's. Anglo American law ?
A Valentines Day address in London :