October 14

Barking Abbey, artist's reconstruction

Amber pages

Battle of Hastings, the founding of Norman England, the conquest of the Anglo-Saxons, the final defeat of the Celtic Britons, today in 1066.

And wondering how to green this amber note, there is an interesting coincidence (you will have worked out, if you have read as far as October 14, that I hunt down and even invent coincidences wherever I can accidentally chance upon them because I am fated and destined so to do): while William was waiting for the White Tower of London to be built as his palace-fortress, he stayed for several months at Barking Abbey. Half a millennium later, when Henry VIII was in process of transforming Norman-Plantagenet-Catholic Britain into Tudor-English-Protestant Britain, it was precisely Barking Abbey whose stones he carted, all the way to Greenwich, to build his own "White Tower" in Dartford, and its lead to re-roof the bigger and grander "Placentia Palace" in Greenwich, establishing between these two the centre of British naval dominance for centuries to come.

Barking Abbey today
William Penn, English Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania, born today in 1644

√Čamon de Valera, Irish political leader, born today in 1882 - see April 24

Katherine Mansfield, short-story writer par excellence, born today in 1888

e.e. (edward estlin) cummings, US POeT, wRitER anD PainTer, born today IN 1894

Hannah Arendt, born today in 1906 - see January 11

Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th US president, born today in 1890

Palace of Placentia, Greenwich

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