Celtic Culture & heritage

Selina Cooper – suffragette, first woman to represent the independent Labour Party, pacifist and rights campaigner

Selina Cooper

Selina Cooper was born in Callington, Cornwall in 1864, the daughter of Charles Combe and Jane Combe. Selina's father was a labourer and died of typhoid fever when she was 12 whilst he was working away from home. Her mother was left penniless, and as there was little work in Cornwall she decided to take her two youngest children, Selina and Alfred, north with her, to get work in the textiles mills. Her two elder sons, Richard and Charles, were already there. She settled in Barnoldswick in 1876.

Selina Cooper, who was now 12 years old, soon found work in the local textile mill. She spent half the day in the factory and the other half at school. She worked as a 'creeler' , the person that ensured a constant supply of fresh bobbins. When Selina was 13 she left school and worked full-time in the Barnoldswick Mill. Her wages enabled the family to rent a small house close to the mill.

By 1882 Selina's mother was suffering so badly from rheumatism that Selina now had to leave Barnoldswick to look after her bed-ridden mother. They made clothes at home, and took in washing to make money. Jane Combe died in 1889, and Selina returned to work in the factory. Selina joined the Nelson branch of the Cotton Worker's Union. The majority of members were women, however the union was run by men. Selina found that the union was less than proactive on women's issue, for example toilets did not have doors, and women were sexually harassed at work.

William Gregor – scientist, mineralogist, Clergyman, discoverer of titanium

William Gregor

Born on Christmas Day in 1761, William Gregor was the son of Francis Gregor and Mary Copley of Trewarthenick Estate near Tregony in Cornwall. He studied in Bristol Grammar School, where he first developed his interest in the field of chemistry. He underwent private tutoring and, 2 years later, he entered St. John's College in Cambridge. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in 1784 and Master of Arts in 1787. He later became ordained in the Church of England, hence becoming a clergyman and vicar of St. Mary's Church, Diptford. In 1790, he married Charlotte Anne Gwatkin and they had one daughter.

#Gregor became fascinated with Cornish minerals when he permanently moved to the rectory of Creed in Cornwall. This was the time when he began chemically analyzing the different minerals found in Cornwall. It was in 1791 that he was able to isolate calx, the residual left when a mineral combusts or is exposed to high heat, from an unknown metal. He named this metal ‘manaccanite’ since he got this mineral from the Manaccan Valley in Cornwall.

The Amazing Courage Of Flora MacDonald - 'Preserver of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’

Flora MacDonald

Flora MacDonald (Gaelic: Fionnghal nic Dhòmhnaill; 1722 – 4 March 1790) was born in South Uist (Scottish Gaelic: Uibhist a Deas) in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. She was the daughter of Ranald MacDonald and Marion MacDonald, but was brought up under the care of the chief of the Clan MacDonald of Clanranald her father's cousin.

She is remembered for the help she gave to Bonnie Prince Charlie after he had been defeated at the Battle of Culloden (Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Chùil Lodair) in 1746. Putting herself at awful risk she helped the Prince at a time when he was being hunted across the Highlands and Islands by the forces of the Duke of Cumberland. Cumberland was the third and youngest son of George II of Great Britain known for his brutality after the Battle of Culloden when he ordered his troops to show no quarter against any remaining Jacobite supporters and where his forces roamed the battlefield and stabbed any of the defeated soldiers who were still alive.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, (31 December 1720 – 31 January 1788) The Young Pretender, affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie was the grandson of James VII of Scotland and had led the second Jacobite Uprising of 1745 to overthrow King George II. The Jacobite cause was supported by many Highland clans, both Catholic and Protestant. Forced to flee for his life after his defeat at the battle of Culloden Moor in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie eventually arrived at the island of Benbecula (Scottish Gaelic: Beinn nam Fadhla or Beinn na Faoghla) an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Here he met 24-year-old Flora MacDonald and it is this young Presbyterian woman's heroic efforts to save the young Catholic Prince's life that has resulted in her name being remembered with great respect in Scottish history.

Rosamunde Pilcher – top selling author, writer of ‘The Shell Seekers’ read by millions, incredibly popular in Germany

Rosamunde Pilcher

Rosamunde Pilcher was born 22 September 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall and is a Cornish novelist with many of her books based in Kernow.

Her first school was St. Clare's Polwithen, Cornwall. When the school later became co-educational in 1995 it was renamed Bolitho School and is still going strong affiliated to, but independent of, the Woodard Foundation. Rosamunde Pilcher in her televised novel ‘Coming Home’ depicts life at the school in the inter war era. Much has changed since those days but the caring family ethos portrayed in her book - continues to be a dominant feature of the School today.
She then moved away from Cornwall, attending Howell's School Llandaff, followed by Miss Kerr-Sanders' Secretarial College.

She served with the Women's Royal Naval Service 1943-46 as a secretary including top secret work at Bletchley Park.

She married Graham Hope Pilcher in 1946. They have two daughters and two sons. She moved to Dundee, Scotland, where she continued to live.

 

Remarkable Story Of The Imprisoned Lady of St Kilda

Lady Grange

Kidnapped and imprisoned on a remote and lonely Scottish island the story of Rachel Chiesley, or Lady Grange (1679–1745) as she was known is a remarkable one.  It takes us back to the dangerous period of the Jacobite risings when those that sought the restoration of the Stuart monarchs to the throne took arms against the British government on a number of occasions between 1688 and 1746. A cause to which the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highland clans were linked and one whose defeat resulted in misery, persecution and would ultimately have a devastating impact upon Gaelic culture and clan society in the Highlands of Scotland.

Rachel Chiesley was one of ten children born to John Chiesley and Margaret Nicholson. Her father was convicted and hanged for the murder of George Lockhart, Lord President of the Court of Session, who was murdered in Edinburgh on 31 March 1689. Rachel Chiesley was described as very beautiful and in about 1707 married James Erskine (1679 – 20 January 1754),  who took the title Lord Grange and was the younger son of Charles Erskine, Earl of Mar. Her husband was a lawyer, who became Lord Justice Clerk in 1710. The marriage produced nine children but then descended into trouble, partly it seems due to his infidelity. The bad relationship that developed between them eventually became public knowledge and led to the remarkable events that saw her abduction and banishment to the remote Scottish islands where she would end her days.

Richard Lower – Royal physician, first physician and scientist who conducted transfusion between animals and animals and also between animals and human beings, philanthropist

Richard Lower

Richard Lower was born in 1631 in St. Tudy in Cornwall, to Margery Billing and Humphry Lower. He completed his education from Westminster school and Christ Church, Oxford. In Westminster, he got acquainted with John Locke and in Oxford he met Robert Boyle and Thomas Wills, who founded the Royal Society in later years. John Locke and Robert Boyle became his companions in research. Under Thomas Wills, he started his medical career and research.

He completed his B.A in 1653 and M.A in 1655.

At Oxford, Richard Lower worked under Thomas Wills. Lower collaborated with him to conduct research on the nervous system. In the meantime, he also did some research on the functioning of the heart and studied the circulation of blood when it passes through the lungs. Here, he came up with some ground-breaking concepts and showed that it is possible to transfuse blood from one animal to another or from an animal to a human being. He successfully performed his first transfusion in 1665 at Oxford where he transfused blood from one animal’s artery to the vein of another animal. After receiving a medical degree in 1665, he relocated to London in 1666, where Thomas Wills had already relocated.

Jan Harvey – TV personality, actress

Jan Harvey

Jan Harvey was born on 1st June 1947 in Penzance.

She is possibly best known for her starring role as Jan Howard in the British TV drama Howards' Way, from 1985–90, in which she ran a fashion boutique named Periplus.

The boutique specialised in the sale of après sail wear (and was also the first UK headquarters of the German mail order franchise, Die Spitz). Subsequently a partnership, Howard Brooke, was formed which ran multiple boutiques as well as producing its own designs. There followed the launch of an internationally renowned couture house (with attendant fragrance and cosmetics lines), the House of Howard, which was successfully floated on the stock exchange.

During the 1990s, Harvey appeared in the action series Bugs, and more recently was a regular cast member in the Five soap opera Family Affairs (in which she played Babs Woods). She has also guest starred in many other high profile British dramas including A Touch of Frost, Inspector Morse and Lovejoy.

Christopher "Chris" Morris - professional footballer who played for Scotland’s Celtic, played for the Republic of Ireland against England, now a businessman in Cornwall’s pasty industry

Chris Morris

Christopher "Chris" Morris was born 24 December 1963 in Newquay, Cornwall.

He is a former professional footballer who made his name as a defender with Celtic in Scotland and Sheffield Wednesday & Middlesbrough in England, among others. Chris also had a successful playing career with the Republic of Ireland national side during the Jack Charlton era.

Chris first began his career in 1982, signing for Wednesday under ex-England international, Jack Charlton, in the old Division Two. He won promotion to the First Division with Wednesday in 1984. He made seventy-four appearances between 1983 and 1987, scoring one goal along the way. He then moved north of the border to Celtic, signing for £125,000 on 10 August 1987.

He made his debut in the 4-0 win over Morton, at age 23. Between 1987 and 1992, He was the regular right-back for the Bhoys, with 160 appearances and 8 goals to his name. He then moved on to Middlesbrough on 14 August 1992, where he remained for several seasons as a first team regular without ever becoming a crowd favourite. Troubled by an anterior cruciate ligament injury, he retired at the end of the 1996-97 season, when Boro were runners-up in the FA Cup and Football League Cup, but a 3-point deduction for postponing a match at short notice had caused them to be relegated from the Premier League.

Susan Penhaligon – stage, TV and movie actress, author, proudly and outspokenly Cornish

Susan Penhaligon

Susan Penhaligon was born on 3 July 1949 and is a Cornish actress probably best known for her appearances in the controversial 1976 drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire and for playing Judi Dench's sister in the 1981 sitcom A Fine Romance. She also played a British military officer in Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange.

Although born in Manila, both her parents were Cornish and there can be little doubt of her being Cornish with a fine Cornish surname like Penhaligon! She returned with her family to Cornwall, aged 6. She spent her formative years living in St. Ives and Falmouth.

Aged 11 she was sent to boarding school in Bristol where her acting ambitions were encouraged. She has two brothers and a sister in the U.S.A. After her parents divorced, her father went to live in San Francisco and worked as a private detective.

She is a cousin of the late David Penhaligon MP, a former Liberal member of parliament in Cornwall.

While training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art,Penhaligon shared a flat with soon-to-be rock star Peter Hammill. Tagged the 'British Bardot' in the 1970s, Clive Aslet in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Penhaligon ‘was the face of the decade’.

John Passmore Edwards – journalist, campaigner for the working people, chartist, pacifist and anti-war campaigner, philanthropist, he twice refused Royal recognition

John Passmore Edwards

John Passmore Edwards was born on 24th March 1823 in Blackwater, between Redruth and Truro, Cornwall, the son of a carpenter.

After an education at the village school, he became a journalist and by the early 1840s was working as a free-lance writer in London.

During this time he became an activist and served on several committees. These included such causes as the abolition of capital punishment, the suppression of the opium trade and the abolition of flogging in the services. Passmore Edwards also helped direct the Political Reform Association.

From 1848 onwards, he attended various peace conferences in Europe as a delegate from the London Peace Society. He also published and edited various magazines, promoting such things as peace and temperance. Over the following years, he purchased several successful publications and in 1876 bought the ‘Echo’, the first London daily halfpenny paper.

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