Our Royal connection?

My younger brother is a bit of a genealogist and has spent a great deal of time over the past year or so compiling a book about our our recent family background. The idea was to collect and collate the memories of those of us who were still living in order for our future generations to have an interesting record of their forbears lives and experiences, and a general point of reference. My sister Susan was also involved in the printing and binding, and they hoped to have it privately published in time to give copies of it to our three children for Christmas. One of the reasons why it didn't get finished on time, was that I kept remembering little snippets which I thought shouldn't be left out.

When it did, finally, get done; we'd already departed for the foreign shores of our beloved Egypt, so didn't receive our copy until we got back here, just the other week.

I'm really impressed with the end result! Not only is it a great read, but it also looks and feels like a very professional job.

My maternal grandma was a Makepeace, a name which originated only in the English county of Durham. Our family connection to royalty stems from the daughter of our King Edward the second and his French wife Isabella. Born on 5th July 1321 in the Tower of London, she was consequently known as 'Joan of the Tower'. (But also, sometimes, as Joanna.) Joan was eventually married off to the son of 'Robert the Bruce', the King of Scotland as a major part of a peace treaty between the two warring countries. Joan subsequently became known as 'Joan of the Tower, make peace'!   While David (King Robert's son) was held prisoner at Neville's Cross (then a village to the west of Durham city) and presumably during one of her secret visits to him, she conceived a child, the offspring of whom actually adopted the name of Makepeace as their family name.

I'm not sure exactly what it was which was prompting me, around Christmastime, to revisit a rather spectacular grave in the cemetery of St Mary's Church at Heworth (quite near our home), but in the event, I didn't get! As our visit home for Easter neared, I again had this grave on my mind and determined to visit it on this occasion. It's a grave where the 'headstone' is a very elaborate affair, in the form of a four-poster bed with three sleeping children in it, very poignant. I knew that it was a Makepeace grave, but had no idea that our Richard was going to write about that section of the family in such detail, or include the story behind the grave!

I had intended to Blog the story of how the children all died in their bed after a candle had set fire to the bedroom curtains; it's just as well that I hadn't done it at Christmas, or else I'd have had to retract it very shortly afterwards!

I came across the same story in our 'Book', but Richard doesn't just take things at face value, and had therefore corrected this myth! The children actually all died at separate times, thus debunking the tale which had been passed down! Nevertheless, it's still a very sad monument to behold:

A family crest is displayed on the back, rather gruesome with the severed leg etc:

Anyway, seeing as I cannot report on what's going on in Luxor at the moment, I thought I'd just 'blow my own trumpet' a bit. By the way, there's really no need to bow when we next meet! Tarra.  


  1. The monument is VERY impressive, the kids in the 4 poster, maybe old, but it looks if time has been kind to it
    I dont get the coat of arms with a severed leg on it, what does that signify?
    So does that mean you have title somewhere ?
    How long did it take to do all the research on this book ?

  2. I'm not really sure whether I should reply to a commoner like you Derrick? (Hahaha!)
    Brother Richard has been on with the research for 30 years, at least.
    Regarding the title; no, but my eldest daughter is now a 'Lady', if that's any consolation.
    According to W.Cecil Wades "Symbolisms of Heraldry....." a leg signifies - Strength, stability and expedition.
    p.s. Are you off on any more travels soon?

  3. WOW, I have been spoken to by the great and good

    I will, the wife has promised to take me away on holiday, for 2 weeks, nothing strenuous, she said just reading my blog wore her out, so it will just be a lazy holiday, not tent, no bush camps, there will be luxeries like beds, AC,waiter service

    BUT I am hoping to go back to India and be a guide on the safari's with Anand and Deeepti

    just trying to get 'bums on seats'