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Tony Grist

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Goudhurst [Jun. 18th, 2008|11:30 am]
Tony Grist
Now that I've got all that off my chest I'll return to posting pictures from last week.

This is the village of Goudhurst, Kent. In the early 18th century these parts were as lawless as the Wild West, with criminal gangs roaming about more or less unchecked. Smuggling was at the heart of their business (which made them popular) but they also went in for racketeering and murder (which had the opposite effect). The most famous of these crews was the Hawkhurst gang. 

Goudhurst formed a local militia to oppose the gang, under the leadership of a former soldier, Corporal William Stuart.  This infuriated Arthur Kingsmill, the gang's leader- who posted notice that he and his men would attack the village on April 20, 1747- burn it to the ground and slaughter all its inhabitants. The men of Goudhurst sent their women and children away and took up defensive positions in the churchyard. The smugglers duly turned up, heavily armed, were met with a barrage of hot lead, suffered casualties and fled. This pretty much ended their reign of terror. Arthur Gray, the gang's former leader, was hung in 1748- and Kingsmill in 1749.









The people on the tomb are Thomas Culpepper- 16th century iron master- and his doll-like wife. Their Elizabethan descendants supplied guns to the fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2008-06-18 11:34 am (UTC)
Thank you so much - that was just the break I needed.
Gutsy guy, this Bill Stuart. I wonder what he was like as a person.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 11:54 am (UTC)
I'm afraid I know nothing more about Bill Stuart, not even his age at the time of the battle- but I've always throught that this is a story that's crying out to be filmed.
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[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2008-06-18 01:31 pm (UTC)
I agree
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-06-18 05:14 pm (UTC)
but I've always throught that this is a story that's crying out to be filmed.

By John Sturges or Sergio Leone . . .
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 05:50 pm (UTC)
Yes, it would be an 18th century English western.

I favour John Ford, myself- but then I always favour John Ford.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-06-18 05:55 pm (UTC)
I favour John Ford, myself- but then I always favour John Ford.

Heh. John Ford was the first director I thought of; and then I thought, well, he didn't only do westerns . . .
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 06:49 pm (UTC)
But then, again, his westerns are almost certainly the best.

For me, Ford and Sam Peckinpah rule the roost between them.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-06-18 12:06 pm (UTC)
These are lovely pictures -- thanks.

Who are the early 16c effigies?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 12:56 pm (UTC)
Ah, sorry, I've put the caption in the wrong place. I'll move it. The effigies are Mr and Mrs Culpepper.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-06-18 02:49 pm (UTC)
His effigy looks like a likeness, and hers looks like a stylization of female beauty c 1506. Perhaps she had been long gone when he or his family commissioned the effigies.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2008-06-18 01:24 pm (UTC)
I'm sure daily cloud cover like that can wear on one's mood, but for someone who lives in blast furnace heat and more than 300 days of sunshine a year, it looks glorious.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 01:43 pm (UTC)
I don't mind the British weather. Sure I complain about it (it's the national pastime) but really I love how varied it is. And I adore clouds. For one thing they're so photogenic.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2008-06-18 02:06 pm (UTC)
This would be just the book for you: A Pig With Six Legs :)

The Cloud Appreciation Society's Manifesto states: 'We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul. [...] It is a proud celebration of the carefree, aimless and endlessly life-affirming pastime of cloudspotting.

Edited at 2008-06-18 02:07 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 03:07 pm (UTC)
What an extraordinary image!

I totally subcribe to that manifesto.
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From: algabal
2008-06-18 01:29 pm (UTC)
I lover her face and oversized hands..
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 01:41 pm (UTC)
His effigy seems to be a portrait, while she's just a generic pretty face. My guess is that she died before him and the tomb wasn't made until memories of what she looked like had faded.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2008-06-18 02:50 pm (UTC)
Ha! I should have read further in the comments. Great minds. Although I imagine your former feminist friends would have a slightly different interpretation -- woman as object and the privileging of male identity, etc.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed.

She's young- ageless- and he's a grey old man. I find that rather touching.

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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2008-06-18 03:08 pm (UTC)
I love it when you travel!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 03:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

I love doing it.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2008-06-18 03:17 pm (UTC)
You have this offbeat, but somehow entirely English POV that I always find interesting.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 03:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I take that as a great compliment.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2008-06-18 03:31 pm (UTC)
There's a gang problem in parts of my beautiful city, and it seems that the authorities are powerless to stop the reign of terror under which the inhabitants live. From the gist of this post it looks like the locals would have a better shot at eliminating gang terror, if only they were allowed to do it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 03:38 pm (UTC)
Of course 18th century England didn't possess a police force...

The story of the battle of Goudhurst is so like the plot of a western- a cross between The Magnificent Seven and Gunfight at the OK Corral.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-06-18 07:53 pm (UTC)
The Culpepper tomb effigies are fantastic. Her hands are inordinately large compares to her face or is that just the perspective of the photo?

The second last picture is perfect with the dark clouds behind the church and the patch of blue sky to the right. I like that one very much.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-06-18 08:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think you're wrong about her hands. I didn't notice the discrepancy at the time so I can't be sure, but I believe it's more than a trick of perspective.

I'm glad you like that second to last one- it's my favourite too.
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