Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings."
A verse from the Walrus and the Carpenter - Lewis Carroll
Don't worry, I'm not going to cover all of these....ummm...'interesting' topics, just the sealing wax bit, and there's a little mention of a king too.
Like all good things, the little wax seal that I use on my packaging has a story. And here it is....
1649 Cangort Castle, the Parish of Shinrone, Kings County, Southern Ireland. Civil war is raging in England, Scotland and Ireland between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. Charles I has been beheaded.
Contemparary German print of Charles I's beheading, taken from Wikipedia.
A woman runs from room to room, shouting rushed instructions to the servants who are hastily removing tapestries and paintings. She sweeps into the great hall and as she heads for a large dark carved cabinet, gathers the front of her long dress in her hands. She wrenches open the heavy doors and reaches for the silver tableware within, throwing it hurriedly into the pocket that her dress has made.
With both hands now clutching the hem of her dress she runs from the castle past heavily loaded wagons and people rushing to and fro, the sliver clattering around unceremoniously.
At the end of the garden is a muddy pit with a small sapling growing next to it. She stands at the edge and releases the hem of her dress, watching as the silver tumbles into the hole. Grasping the spade next to her she shovels the rich, dark soil piled around the hole onto the silver. With her pale and now blistered hands she reaches for the soft sods of turf at her feet and places them over the broken earth hiding the hole.
As dawn breaks the following day an eerie stillness hangs over the silent castle. It's broken by the sound of horses hooves as Cromwell's forces appear through the morning fog. The castle is stripped of anything that remains and razed to the ground. The only thing left standing is one solitary tower. The little sapling goes unnoticed as it guards it's secret treasure.
Image from Pinterest, pinned from https://uk.pinterest.com/source/salixj.tumblr.com
Not really....but we do now move away from my artistic license and back to the realms of reality. In essence this is a true story, the details have been lost in time. The woman in the story was one of my ancestors; Oliver Cromwell did send his forces to destroy our home and there is a story that one of the Atkinson (my maiden name) women took all the family silver and buried it somewhere in the garden. After the civil war, the family returned to Cangort and it was rebuilt as a fortified Jacobean Mansion but the family silver has never been found. There is however a tree in the garden which at some point in time has been given the name, 'The Money Tree'. Because of the family loyalty to the royal cause, we were granted a coat of arms, a double headed eagle with the motto, 'Deo et regi fidelis' (faithful to God and King).
This is one of many family stories which gripped me as a child. My fascination with our family history has endured and I use the Atkinson family crest as my logo and stamp the little wax seals on my packaging with my signet ring.
I love the little wax seal and it's associations so much that I've turned it into a pendant. If you'd like to own a little bit of the story, you can find them HERE.
They're small and subtle with a historic air about them and they come in Silver, Vermeil or solid gold.
"Beautiful, sometimes eccentric jewellery for beautiful, sometimes eccentric people."