In the eighteenth century, the Spa town of Bath was bustling with gentry who came to buy luxury goods and specialist services; but until the 1780s, very few of these visitors had been French. In this article, Trevor Fawcett follows the story of the French Courtiers at Bath in 1787, and their connection to a scandal involving Mary Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution.
In the twelfth century, crusader knights took on the mission of protecting pilgrims to Jerusalem and the Holy Land from across Europe. The journey was long and dangerous, but it was widely believed that taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the most sacred form of penance. Pious landowners who could not take the pilgrimage themselves gifted land to the order as an alternative form of penance. One such piece of land sits in the heart of Bristol, in the area which today surrounds Temple Meads train station. Julian Lea Jones tells the fascinating history of the rise and fall of the Knights Templar at Bristol, of their activities at the preceptory and of their thriving trade.
The first recorded Quaker meeting in Wiltshire took place in 1653. From the very beginning, the Wiltshire Quakers were met with staunch opposition from the local authorities of law and order. It was widely believed among the ruling elite that the nonconformist nature of Quakerism would lead to widespread resistance to authority. In this article, Kay Taylor looks into the ways in which Quakerism in Wiltshire was criminalised, how the Quaker community sought to justify their practices, and the phenomenon of martyrdom.