Happy 4th Blogiversary to me!

Four years ago this week, I started this blog.  So it’s my Blogiversary! And time for me to indulge a little by reflecting back on the last few years of this blog.

Way back when, the purpose of my blog was to write about my research into the Essex town of Great Dunmow during the turbulent reigns of Henry VIII and his three children.  I had spent the previous two years pouring over documents written five hundred years ago looking at religion and society in this rural parish within Essex in order to achieve my MSt Local History from Cambridge University.

Great Dunmow's churchwarden accounts
A page from Great Dunmow’s churchwarden accounts. This is the main source used in my dissertation for Cambridge University’s Master of Studies in Local History.  The title of my dissertation was  the not-so nattily titled “Religion and Society in Great Dunmow, Essex circa 1520 to circa 1560

I decided on my blog’s name, Essex Voices Past, because I wanted my readers to be able to engage in the past and hear (figuratively speaking!) voices from the towns and villages of Essex.  However, since those early days of my blog, I now seem to be writing about towns in other counties within the East of England, such as Hertfordshire and Suffolk.  Perhaps I should have called my blog “The East of England Voices Past“!

Since I first started my blog back in 2012, my writings and my research have changed direction. Long before I started to research Tudor history, I had a lifelong passion for genealogy, local history, the First World War and vintage postcards.  I am very fortunate that over the last couple of years I have been able to professionally indulge in those passions and combine my obsessions to produce a number of history books for Amberley Publishing.  Unfortunately this has meant that my posts on this blog have decreased dramatically.  I still spend all my time researching and writing, but now my output is in book format.

To-date, I have three local history books to my name.

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

This year, I am in the process of writing three further books for Amberley Publishing.  One book on the messages written on postcards from the First World War, and two more books on towns and villages in Essex.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
– Billericay and Around Through Time
– Brentwood and Around Through Time

My 10 most viewed posts over the last 12 months are as follows:-
A pinch and a punch for the first of the month, and no returns
Witchcraft and Witches in Elizabethan Essex
School Trip Friday: Of cabbages and kings
The sugar beet factor of Felsted/Little Dunmow
Reformation wills and religious bequests
Thomas Bowyer, weaver and martyr of Great Dunmow
Bringing home the bacon – the Dunmow Flitch of Bacon Factory
Images of Medieval Cats
The Hidden Treasures of Essex
Berbice House School, Great Dunmow

I will be continuing to write on this blog, but, as I said this time last year, probably not as frequently as previously.

Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to reflect on my year’s writing.

Kate Cole – The Narrator
Essex Voices Past
January 2016

© Essex Voices Past 2012-2016.

Happy New Year 2016

Wishing all my readers a Happy New Year

1st January

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2016.

Personal reflections on New Year’s Eve 2015

2015 has been an incredibly strange year for me. Joyful and traumatic in equal measures. It started in February with new life; my first (totally adored) grandchild. But then just days after his birth, the death of my much loved mother-in-law. With the birth of my grandson, and just hours before the death of my mother-in-law, came the news that my family has a ticking time-bomb of an extremely rare, but very dangerous and serious life-long genetic condition. MCADD. It is a sobering thought that if my grandson had been born just 6 years ago, he would not have survived his birth because the condition has only been tested on the UK’s newborns during the last 6 years. I have witnessed my wonderful daughter and her equally wonderful husband rise to the challenge of coping with a child with this condition. I have been both awe-inspired and totally humbled by the love, strength and courage they have shown this year towards their baby son. Britian’s health care service, the NHS, is often maligned and verbally abused by many; but in the case of my grandson, we have seen the NHS at its best. They have all been first-class, from the specialist consultants at Great Ormond Street, to the nurses and doctors in the A&E and children’s wards at Addenbrokes Hospital in Cambridge.

Along with this, in February I somehow managed to fit in a down-sizing house move from Great Dunmow to Maldon. My year has also been filled with first the hospitalisation of my elderly father in May and his eventual move to a permanent nursing home in July. This has also brought its own trauma as my father, my brothers and I finally come to terms with our own past and the reconciliation and atonement between the four of us. I could write an entire book on our shared past. If I did, it would probably be called “Mommie Dearest”. But no book can be written yet, as there is still more pain and torment lurking around the corner, the final chapter in the sorry story has yet to happen.

In between all of the above, I personally researched, wrote and photographed two local history books; Sudbury, Long Melford, and Laveham Through Time and Saffron Walden and Around Through Time. When I look back and reflect on writing these two books, I wonder how I did it. I finished the Sudbury book the day before my mother-in-law’s funeral, and started photographing my book on Saffron Walden the day after her funeral. I finished writing my book on Saffron Walden during a traumatic few weeks when it looked like my father would not survive his illness and I was driving hundreds of miles weekly to be by his bedside. I am glad to say he survived his illness, and has been well enough to read and enjoy both books.

Sadly my year ended just as it started; with death. My December saw two horrific and tragic (but unconnected) deaths. If you are an online FaceBook or personal friend of mine, you will know some of the sadness of my December with the death of a life-long friend, killed instantly in a horrific car crash three weeks before Christmas. But you wouldn’t know all the tragedy of December; the death of one of my dearest friend’s child happened just days before Christmas. The tragic untimely death of this promising young man has devastated not just his family and friends but also his entire community. No parent should ever have to bury their teenage son. No school should ever have to host the funeral service of one of their pupils.

So, on New Year’s Eve, whilst you enjoy the fun of your evening’s celebrations, and the new beginnings and resolutions that each New Year brings, please spare a thought for those who we lost in 2015. Sleep tight to my friends and family who didn’t make it to the end of 2015. You will be forever in my thoughts.

In loving remembrance of Nonna, Alison and Cameron.
Taken far too soon in 2015 from those who love you.

© Essex Voices Past 2015

Christmas Advent Calendar: 24 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
Dear Maggie, I am very pleased to hear you enjoyed your holidays & had a good time. I have never received the card you sent me. I am afraid it has got lost. With a bit of luck I may be home sometime next month so don’t be surprised if I come into the shop. Yours sincerely Bert.

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

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My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

Christmas Advent Calendar: 23 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

Christmas Advent Calendar: 22 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

Christmas Advent Calendar: 21 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

Christmas Advent Calendar: 20 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

Christmas Advent Calendar: 19 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
10 June 1916 – This is the fiddling animal about which I told you. I that it doesn’t claim to be so old as I thought but it is quite old enough to be respectable. I got back here yesterday, feeling very sad. But I enjoyed every hour of my all to short leave and both D and I were very glad to see you all & most grateful for all your many kindnesses.

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

Christmas Advent Calendar: 18 December

To celebrate my forthcoming book, Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919 (due out next Spring), each day from now until Christmas, I will be posting on this blog, postcards from the First World War with their messages home.  Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of First World War interest. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
What’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above. When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.
Postcards from the Front: 1914-1919
.. Quite a warm time of it. I can tell you; was brought down a few miles from here, we hear. We had a beautiful storm again yesterday & I mingled with the Guns, this music & effect was not at all comfy, still one must always look out from some wet apparel in the Country. Its a good job you make yourself satisfied with these postcards, cos I’m thinking it almost impossible to write a letter, as we are so handicapped in the newsvendor line. Best love Frank xx

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

My books
You may be interested in purchasing my local history books. They make ideal Christmas presents!

Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book
Saffron Walden and Around Through Time by Kate Cole
Click on the picture to purchase my book

You may also be interested in
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2015
– Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
– Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
– Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
– Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
– Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
– Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.