The Dregs of British History

This is a blog about ordinary people. History remembers the famous, but what about the rest. There have been billions of people on the planet. There is a good chance that those that I write about may even have existed, and if they had, they would certainly have deserved their place floating face-down in the dregs of history. The updated and Complete Dregs of History book is now available at Amazon and Createspace, both in hard copy and as an ebook.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I think it's time to officially finalise the Dregs of History.  The new edition of the The Dregs that, of course, includes all characters, is called The Complete Dregs of History. The updated and Complete Dregs of History book is now available at Amazon and Createspace

1.   Duplicutas (210 – 147BC)
2.   Sercuetas (35 - 75)
3.   Tincomorus (105 - 139)
4.   Vercingetorix of Verulaneum (124 - c.159)
5.   Blodeuedd of Ynys Mon (191 - 226)
6.   Mathilda of Eboracum (214 - 269)
7.   Eogan mac Bogan 'the Negotiator' (315 - 362)
8.   Crappogus (347 - 381)
9.   Morcant the Frozen (423 - 470)
10. Effluvia of the Rivers (478 - 534)
11. Elfaddw the Agreeable (497 - 536)
12. Athelbald of Wessex (527 - 579)
13. Cynan the Mapmaker (613 - 651)
14. Osric the Distracted (623 - 656)
15. Thuggus (710 - 739)
16. Sister Cynalot (715 - 756)
17. Oshere the Hwicca (733 - 790ish)
18. Gunna Gareth (796 - 821)
19. Justinius the Comedian (814 - 839)
20. Olaf the Consultant (819 - 851)
21. Wurzel of Clutton (952 - 1000)
22. Promising Beatrice (953 - 988)
23. Ivanhoe the Expert (986 - 1029)
24. Eric the Depressor (1005 - 1042)
25. Ethelred the Uneasy (1015 - 1066)
26. Hengist (1047 - 1096)
27. Agatha of Anjou (1132 - 1177)
28. Bartwald the Brain-damaged (1152 - 1184)
29. Eusrace the Convoluted (1163 - 1215)
30. Egbert of the Schoolhouse (1166 - 1217)
31. Simon de Mentle (1170 - 1220)
32. Attila the Enlightened (1213 - 1275)
33. Geoffrey the Sodslopper (1215 - 1245)
34. William McSweeney (1281 - 1334)
35. Colin Almugs (1288 - 1357)
36. Joan of Aarrgghh! (1297 - 1357)
37. Sister Melodius de la Rhium (1307 – 1398)
38. William of Zennor (1327 - 1379)
39. Facility Cropper (1333 - 1369)
40. Suffering Mervyn (1369 - 1415)
41. Lady Josephine Chuntley-Boor (1378 - 1428)
42. Louis de Fishent (1431 - 1497)
43. Arnold Codwallingham (1437 - 1467)
44. Helen of Tintagel (1437 - 1485)
45. Abbot Thorsten Quietly (1446 - 1511)
46. Constance Kunchbrakken (1515 – 1568)
47 Faultless Rufus (1544 1599)
48. Paranoid Boyd (1559 - 1590)
49. Motivating Melissa of St Helier (1569 - 1448)
50. Quivering Edward (1579 - 1611)
51. Arthur Crottingwart (1586 - 1638)
52. Armageddon Shillingford (1587 - 1630)
53. Tapscott 'Twinge' Turner (1611 - 1646)
54. Annie Johnson (1628 - 1666)
55. Corporal Ebenezer Scumme (1628 - 1677)
56. Littlecock Larfington Bastard (1673 – 1707)
57. Phillip of Bradfield (1674 - 1741)
58. Cathcart Jones (1679 - 1728)
59. Soporificus Pitt (1679 – 1728)
60. Hampton Y. McCoy (1694 – 1708)
61. Ronald ‘Hopeless’ Terwatt (1704 – 1725)
62. Douglas Douglas (1713 - 1764)
63. Sawbones Fotheringham (1750 - 1818)
64. Vasco d'Zarstir (1757 - 1827)
65. Dai Laffin (1759 - 1809)
66. General Diligence Dumphuk (1769 - 1809)
67. S.F. ‘Shit-faced’ Wilkins (1770 - 1814)
68. Could’ve Been Hawkins (1770 - 1832)
69. Sudo Kamikaze (1780 - 1835)
70. Rumleigh Materson (1792 - 1845)
71. Lawrence of Algiers(1802 – 1880)
72. Padraig O'Reilly of Cork (1809 - 1834)
73. Buckley 'Nine-Lives' Cartwright (1815 - 1884)
74. Charlotte Dunne-Knightley (1817 – 1864)
75. Fitzherbert Hobson (1829 - 1861)
76. Algernon Entwhistle (1831 - 1856)
77. Sir Francis de Nighle (1840 - 1914)
78. Urban Petersen (1844 - 1885)
79. Cardinal Slumberus Drone (1859 - 1932)
80. Spooner Read (1844 - 1885)
81. Drake O'Hanlon (1893 - 1933)
82. Albert Scrungel (1908 - 1945)
83. Henri de Floric (1911 - 1979)
84. Double-billing Doris Downsborough (1925 – 1964)
85. Samuel Hackett (1937 - 1998)
86. Fulton Farnsworth Fletcher (1944 - 1989)
87. Ginger Nutjob (1960 - 1985)
88. John Smith (1969 -present)
89. Numbing Jane Thackery (1980 - 2009)

John Smith (1969 - present)

There is nothing at all special about John Smith, other than that he is from a long line of John Smiths. He is also the only person in this book who is not yet dead. His lineage stretches back to 976AD, allegedly. It is his claim that all his ancestors were named John Smith and that he is descended from the original John Smith.

John Smith, his father (John Smith Snr), and his grandfather (John Smith snr snr) currently have a claim soon to go before the House of Lords, that they are owed over ten billion pounds in unpaid royalties for the use of the name John Smith over the last one thousand years.

This claim has been active for over one hundred and fifty years and was started by (you guessed it) John Smith (great, great, great, great grandfather, born in 1805) in 1819. It has been through various levels of the legal system, including, for the last thirty years, the High Court, pending the availability of a judge who did not laugh hysterically every time they read the case notes. John Smith is currently considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, despite advice that would be wasting his time and that he should ‘get a life’.

Eminent Queen’s Counsels and experienced lawyers are rumoured to have a picture of John Smith (and living relatives) on their walls and their relevant phone numbers memorised.  They have been known to run faster than an Olympic sprinter on hearing that John Smith has been sighted in the vicinity.

 Collectively, John Smith and his ancestors currently hold a number of world records.

 1)                  The shortest ever recorded judgement by a high court judge: - ‘Get out of here you imbecile’. 

2)                  The record of the shortest ever case in the high court: - 43 seconds. 

3)                  Most number of claims in a single case of unpaid royalties: - 10472, all against John Smiths. 

4)                  The most number of law firms that have refused take a case – 589. 

5)                  The most unimaginative family for naming their offspring that has ever lived.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Padraig O’Reilly of Cork (1809 – 1834)

Padraig was only fourteen years old when he was transported to Australia as a convict in 1823. He could consider himself unlucky as he had never done anything illegal in his life. He had come to London with his parents two years previously when the family decided that the city would offer better employment prospects.

Padraig became obsessed with organisational systems, in particular the legal system, which fascinated him. He spent a lot of time in the public gallery of the Old Bailey, until one fateful Tuesday when, during a case concerning petty thievery, Judge Tobias Truncheon looked up and didn’t like what he saw.  He commented, ‘I don’t like the cut of your jib you young scallywag,’ and sentenced Padraig to transportation on the spot for looking at me in a funny way. Having no lawyer to represent him he stood no chance and was taken from the court to the docks and onto a waiting ship. His parents thought he’d just had enough of the poverty they lived in and had run away.

What followed was a vomit filled voyage to the Colony of Tasmania. He was sent to the Macquarie Harbour Penal Station on the west coast, located on Sarah Island in the middle of a treacherous harbour with unpredictable currents. This was a bleak place usually saved for the worst offenders and serial escapees from other colonies, but Judge Truncheon was a vindictive old bastard and had insisted, with a smirk, that Padraig was sent there.

 Once there he met Alexander Pearce and, quite out of character, agreed to join him in an escape attempt. However, his obsession with organisation meant that he never got around to finalising his itinerary in time and they left without him. This was a stroke of good luck as Pearce ended up eating some of his fellow escapees. Thinking that he could get in on the next escape, this time with Mark Jefferies, he once again went into planning his escape and once again was left behind due his lack of readiness – Mark Jefferies also ate one of his fellow escapes (another lucky escape for Padraig).

 He was eventually released in 1825 when, to his surprise, and the surprise of the government, nobody could find any record of what he had done to deserve such a harsh period of incarceration in the hell-hole that was Sarah Island. It turned out that Judge Truncheon had only been joking and had not meant any action to be taken. However, some overzealous bureaucrat with no sense of humour had taken him seriously causing Padraig to be transported.

Upon his rather belated release, Padraig decided not to go back to England and instead decided to go to New South Wales to begin life as a wine producer. He began working on a colour-coded plan to methodically clear and cultivate his land out in the Hunter Valley. Once at his property he erected a tent and began to plan. Six months later he had just about finished his plan when he realised a major flaw – he had used his date of arrival as the start date, and he was now 6 months behind. He revised his timetable and then set about doing his budget. This did not go well.  In the previous six months he had spent so much time planning, rather than growing or hunting anything, that he had run out of food and was now seriously undernourished and incapable of rational thought.

A fellow settler, James King, claims to have been the last person to see Padraig alive - sitting atop a rock outcrop and muttering to himself about spreadsheets, budgets and the lack of a good red pen. When King offered to take him home to feed him, he was told that there was no space in his timetable for such an activity and that King should make an appointment. King could not persuade him to move and reported that he most likely organised himself to death.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gunna Gareth (796 - 821)

Gareth was born in the hamlet of Piggshite near Llandudno on the Welsh north coast in the kingdom of Gwynedd. He grew up on stories of how the area used to be one of the major copper mining centres in Europe.

From an early age, Gunna was convinced that he was going to make his fortune through re-opening the mines and once more putting Gwynedd back on the map. He was definitely, he told everybody, gunna get out of Piggshite and into a better area. However, to do this he needed to get some money together. He became a bit on an entrepreneur. He was gunna start a business trading in used vegetables.

The used vegetable business failed take off, so he tried another idea – he decided that he would become a professional boat cleaner, scraping the barnacles off the bottom of the various vessels along the coast. His lack of swimming ability eventually led to him giving this up, particularly after a couple of near-drowning experiences. He bit the bullet and decided that he was gunna buy the copper mines and re-open them.

He needed more money, so he approached Hywel the Hangman, who gave him a loan on vary reasonable terms. Gareth assured him that he was gunna pay him back. But then again, he was also gunna pay Crusher Mason back for the boat cleaning loan, and he was gunna pay Vicious Victor back for the used vegetable business loan.

Gunna Gareth actually managed to extract some copper from the Great Orme mines and was seriously thinking about export opprtunities to europe through the contacts he'd made in his boat-cleaning venture. And he was actually committed to paying back his loans. He might even have kept up with the punitive interest rates. His real problem was that he kept promising himself that he was gunna stop shagging other people’s wives, most notably those of Vicious Victor, Crusher Mason, and Hywel the Hangman. Gunna Gareth was found out by all three.

He was gunna run away, but they found him and he was last seen being dragged into the tunnels of his copper mine. Nobody wanted to go down to see what had happened to him and mine once again fell into decay.

The Great Orme copper mines eventually came back into production in 1692 for the next 200 years, but nobody found any evidence of what happened to Gunna Gareth. Both the hamlet of Piggshite and his family have vanished from  recorded history.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Phillip of Bradfield (1674 - 1741)

Phillip Pherklewit lived a next door to Jethro Tull in Bradfield in Berkshire. He was in fact born on the same day but, unlike Tull, faded quickly and never made it into the history books. This is a great shame as his fellow townsfolk agreed he was an inventor of rare quality. They said one of him was quite enough for the world. Jethro Tull even remarked, ‘They broke the mould with Pherklewit, and then they made sure they ground it into the dust just to make sure.’ 

While Jethro Tull spent his time working improving the efficiency of agriculture and came up with the Seed Drill which was first used in 1701, Phillip spent his time how to make money out of the humble potato. In between failed innovations, such as potato football, potato paperweights, and potato as projectiles for battle, he subsisted with his family on a barley and beer, more often the latter.

Then, in 1702, he came up with the invention that release him from poverty and send him up onto easy street. He combined his crop of potatoes with printing and came up with the first large scale potato printing press. He was convinced that the easy manipulation of the potato and its capacity to work with most inks would see him and his family right for the rest of their lives. His work quickly became popular as he produced the first church sermon produced by potato. Then he began to promote the seed drill, using potato-printed paper posters. Then he realised the potential for expansion and wrote to the King, William III, who agreed to give him the contract for royal printing (his advisors were on holiday at the time).

Phillip then gave over all of his fields to the production of the potato to make sure he could keep up with the demand. What Phillip failed to realise was that his potatoes would quickly rot and became useless. Despite his large potato crop his potato presses began to fall apart and lose its shape. Added to that, his livestock had a nasty habit of breaking in and eating his printing supplies. In 1702 King William died and the new monarch, Anne, was having nothing of the potato revolution and cancelled the contract.

Phillip was left with a useless mountain of potatoes. Jethro Tull suggested he sell them for food, but Phillip was unconvinced. Who would want to eat potatoes? Phillip Pherklewit eventually recovered and through the charity of his fellow townsfolk managed to re-sow his fields and get back on his feet. He gave up inventing and settled to mediocrity. Phillip of Bradfield died on the same day as Jethro Tull in 1741. The potato printing press died with him, although after looking at the print quality of many books recently, I have my doubts that it has totally disappeared.