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Could These Be Alice Mackenzie's Relatives ?

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Jack London uses another Ashe quote further on in the book:

    “Life scarce can tread majestically
    Foul court and fever-stricken alley.”

    Did Ashe have personal experience of foul courts and fever-stricken alleys?

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Looks like Jack London was a fan:

    You do not have permission to view this gallery.
    This gallery has 1 photos.

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    This is a fascinating aerial video of Peterborough (mainly the Cathedral area) from 1947. The open space in front of the magnificent West Front of the Cathedral/Minster, the small area of grass crossed by paths and with a few houses etc surrounding it, was what was called the Minster Close. I’ve yet to establish exactly where the Pitts family lived - the exact building(s) - during their 40+ years residence in the Precincts, or for that matter exactly where Thomas Ashe lived in the Close, but given his ‘tastes’ and the fact that he took Alice’s sister with him when he was granted the curacy of ‘Whittlebury cum Silverstone’, there’s little doubt in my mind that he knew the ‘prepossessing’ Alice.

    https://www.peterboroughimages.co.uk...ial-tour-1947/

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    In one of the poems in Dryope - Leprosy - published in 1859 when he was living in the Peterborough Minster Close, Ashe says I walked tonight in ancient walks (through what was obviously the gardens of the Minster Precincts) and goes on to say:


    74D14DF6-3A83-4D5A-A9F4-D7630946224A.jpeg













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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Thanks for those, Kattrup

    I’ve found quite a lot of stuff about Ashe on Google. One book I’ve ordered is said to contain a lot of biographical material. For obvious reasons, it’s Ashe’s time in Peterborough that I’m particularly interested in.

    He lodged in a couple of rooms in Worcester Street, Pimlico for the last 8 years or so of his life, paying his landlord William Goold 16/- a week for the privilege.

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  • Kattrup
    replied
    Here is Dryope; and other Poems, 1861

    Here is Pictures and other Poems, 1865

    Here is Edith, or Love and Life in Cheshire, 1873

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
    There's a long review of Ashe including some biographical details in The Westminster Review 125-126, 1886: https://books.google.dk/books?id=pzw...0ashe%22&hl=da &pg=PA417#v=onepage&q=%22thomas%20ashe%22&f=fal se

    This is from the Machester Literary Club, 1890:
    thomasAshe1890.jpg

    Talk about damning with faint praise!

    I don't find his poetry about young girls particularly unhealthy, it was an element of Victorian idealisation and not uncommon. Lewis Carroll famously took nude photos of Alice Liddel, for instance.

    But interesting with his links to AM


    His book Poems with the poem Alice, 1859.
    Ah, idealisation. That’s OK then. Grown men taking nude pictures of little girls, speaking of them ‘flirting’ with them, being their ‘lovers’ and arranging secret meetings with them in the undergrowth would count as ‘unhealthy’ in most people’s books, I would imagine. The reverend Francis Kilvert was another such idealist’. His diaries are quite well known but a lot of stuff was omitted from them before they were published.

    Thanks for the links. I hadn’t realised the Alice poem was from 1859.

    I have copies of two books on order. One contains some biographical information.

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  • Kattrup
    replied
    There's a long review of Ashe including some biographical details in The Westminster Review 125-126, 1886: https://books.google.dk/books?id=pzw...0ashe%22&hl=da &pg=PA417#v=onepage&q=%22thomas%20ashe%22&f=fal se

    This is from the Machester Literary Club, 1890:
    thomasAshe1890.jpg

    Talk about damning with faint praise!

    I don't find his poetry about young girls particularly unhealthy, it was an element of Victorian idealisation and not uncommon. Lewis Carroll famously took nude photos of Alice Liddel, for instance.

    But interesting with his links to AM


    His book Poems with the poem Alice, 1859.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    2EABDB51-ABE9-4885-B94B-EF73D33332FB.jpeg

    The evidence is building up to show that during 1859/60 Ashe lodged in a ‘lonely chamber’ in the Peterborough Minster Close where the Pitts family lived. The 1841-71 censuses record lodgers/boarders living with the family, so it is possible that Ashe was part of their household.


    The Sisters

    Two sisters by the embers,
    Watch the fire burn low:
    They both of me are thinking,
    In their hearts, I know.

    And scarce a word is spoken,
    As they sit side by side:
    If they speak, it is only
    Their deeper thoughts to hide.

    They love me both past telling:
    ‘Tis that they muse upon:
    That both should love me grieves me,
    Who can love only one.

    Love is a blessing, surely ;
    It should make us glad :
    Pity, with so much loving,
    Three should be so sad.

    The little heart is breaking
    To lean upon my breast :
    She is but a child, the youngest :
    I love the eldest best.


    That may or may not be about the Pitts sisters, but by 1861, Martha, Alice’s older sister, was living in Ashe’s household in Silverstone, a few miles from Peterborough and Alice, aged 16, was 40 miles away in Leicester.

    It’s obvious that Ashe had an unhealthy interest in little girls. He wrote about them frequently. He described himself as the ‘lover’ of one who was just 4 years old.

    I wasn’t expecting this rather unpleasant turn in Alice’s story. As well as a poem about a ‘Marit’ (Martha) Ashe wrote one about an ‘Alice’ who failed to turn up for a clandestine meeting.

    I’m on the look-out for more detailed information about Ashe that might confirm that he was briefly part of the Pitts household. He was a graduate of St John’s College, Cambridge and in his last year there he and another undergraduate founded the college magazine ‘The Eagle’. This image above is an extract from an article printed in the Eagle after his death. It’s clear that the ‘favourite field’ referred to is his obsession with young girls.

    In another poem, ‘The Pleiads’, he writes of leaving his chamber in Minster Close and passing through the Minster gate into the market where he encounters ‘wicked women, Two by two, who whisper low;’ and describes their ‘soft good nights, that shame’.

    Was Alice groomed by Ashe when she was in her mid-teens?

    In 1851, Alice’s eldest sister, Ann, was in service in the household of a farmer named Wright Crane in Thorney, Cambridgeshire. There were other servants in the household and Crane’s wife was the daughter of a Peterborough butcher - it all seems very respectable and geographically close to Peterborough (8 miles or so). And on the face of it Martha’s residing in the household of a curate and his spinster sister in Whittlebury (also Cambs & within the Diocese of Peterborough) also seems rather respectable. Alice’s being placed in the household of a master brazier in Leicester seems slightly less so (?).






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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
    A4CA2F97-166F-4326-B317-A20F4842790F.jpeg

    Ashe was a very odd bod, it would seem.

    He wrote a set of lyrics with the title ‘Marit’ that were described as ‘fanciful love-poems addressed to a child of thirteen or so’. The image above is an extract from ‘Marit’.

    As I say, he was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough in 1859/60 when Alice Pitts would have been 14/15 and Martha 19/20.

    And what does ‘Marit’ mean?


    “Marit is a girl's name meaning "pearl", "lady", or "mistress of the house" that comes from the Greek name Margaret and the Aramaic name Martha.”
    A reviewer in 1879 said the Marit lyrics were ‘fanciful love-poems to a child of fourteen or fifteen’ and then immediately followed that by saying, ‘It may be that the great majority of the poems are dramatic only, and arose from no incident in their author’s own life; but very many of them impress one so vividly with their truth that one is obliged to imagine - perhaps quite wrongly - that “these things were”.’


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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    A4CA2F97-166F-4326-B317-A20F4842790F.jpeg

    Ashe was a very odd bod, it would seem.

    He wrote a set of lyrics with the title ‘Marit’ that were described as ‘fanciful love-poems addressed to a child of thirteen or so’. The image above is an extract from ‘Marit’.

    As I say, he was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough in 1859/60 when Alice Pitts would have been 14/15 and Martha 19/20.

    And what does ‘Marit’ mean?


    “Marit is a girl's name meaning "pearl", "lady", or "mistress of the house" that comes from the Greek name Margaret and the Aramaic name Martha.”

    Leave a comment:


  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    FB6CBD20-99F0-40F8-B975-005F8E4F389C.jpeg

    This is Thomas Ashe, a minor Victorian poet who was the Mathematics and Modern Form master at the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Ipswich when Henry Rider Haggard, the author of King Solomon’s Mines and She, was a pupil there.

    In addition to being a poet and a schoolmaster Ashe had been ordained as a Deacon in 1859 and as a Priest in 1860 by none other than the Bishop of Peterborough, and he was for a time the curate of the church at Whittlebury cum Silverstone in Northamptonshire.

    Between 1879 and 1881 he lived in Paris, and towards the end of his life he became something of a recluse living in an apartment in St George’s Square, Pimlico. He spent the last ten years or so of his life in London.

    He died in December, 1889 after an illness of some three months - consumption, I think.

    AND, in 1861, Alice Pitts’ sister, Martha, was his household servant.

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Looks like Ben Jr married Fanny Bennett in Stepney in 1889. His father was recorded as Benjamin (Deceased)

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
    I came to the conclusion that Jane may have been Ben’s common-law wife (i.e. not his wife at all). I think her maiden name may have been Ingram, but I can’t find a marriage between the two.
    There was also a Sarah in 1861 who was supposedly Ben’s wife. Then there’s Alice in 1871 and ‘Mrs Palmer’ in 1881.

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    I came to the conclusion that Jane may have been Ben’s common-law wife (i.e. not his wife at all). I think her maiden name may have been Ingram, but I can’t find a marriage between the two.

    Leave a comment:

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