Saturday, 18 May 2019

Sins of the father


My first consciously brother-free weekend begins today. When I die, our family name dies with me. If I had a title, that would die too, but 'Mr.' isn't going anywhere.

Today we are meeting a dear friend and her two adult children to celebrate her birthday with lunch. When his uncle dies, her son will inherit the title of 'Lord' from one of the oldest families in Britain. So old in fact, that they were well-established when Shakespeare mentioned them in one of his Henry plays.

The above image is the heraldic device for my family name (no, not Stephenson), but I can only think that it is associated with distant relatives who did rather better than my lot, who emanated from the East End of London some time in the late 18th, early 19th century, having founded a brewery which still flourishes under a different name today. It was absorbed by one of the giants quite recently.

My Great Grandfather gambled the family business away in one bet on one night, then spent the rest of his life drowning his sorrows in someone else's beer.

I think I see a pattern of family traits emerging...

21 comments:

  1. As their son will become a Lord, does that mean they know a lot of the upper crust ? Maybe they could put some work your way or is it a bit ‘off’ to ask them ?
    Love the way that surnames reflected people’s occupations as does yours !
    Have a lovely lunch. XXXX

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    1. Unfortunately, he and his mother run a large and successful stone conservation company with many employees...

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  2. Can one presume that the original family name was Cherub?

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  3. I do know your real surname Tom but cannot for the life of me how your surname bears any relation to your occupation.

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  4. Your ancestors profession not yours.XXXX

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    1. That name with one L is a unit of measurement by volume which applied to all sorts of things. What were you thinking about it?

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  5. Not Cherub, but image search turns up only a small number of suggestions.

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    1. There is only a small number of us left. Me.

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  6. I have a brother from whom I am estranged. His last words to me 5 years ago were "if I can't get you now, I will get you from the grave". This also of course concerns money, fuelled a lifetime of hate, and he also stole the family medals which I only found out about six months ago although I wasn't surprised.

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  7. The British class system (and all those titles like Lord and Lady and such) is interesting but somewhat inscrutable to me. Of course, we have a class system here too it's just not so rigidly defined.

    I like your cherub device. Family crests seem like something out of a novel, not real life.

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    1. Basically, the closer you can attribute your family to the royal one, the more important you used to be - with emphasis on the words 'used to be'. I have known so many aristocrats without money here. These days the snobbishness which used to go with it has almost disappeared from all but the richest ones. All of these titles were given to warlords and landowners who could not be trusted to serve far-off London without bribes. It was far from noble unless they took care of those under them. Noblesse Oblige.

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  8. I can imagine your great grandfather spent the rest of years mired in regret.

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