I’ve spent the last week immersed in various “outside” life issues. I’m also trying as you know to complete two years of writing the latest novel, which is especially why I am relatively quiet on here. Blogging has to take something of a back seat.
But I want to share this. History is all around in England. I feel almost foolish; that I should have known this, but somehow I had missed it. I’m at least glad I discovered it now… rather than later.
What I did not know was who was born just down the road from where we live now. I had seen his name on a local street here in Potton, but I had not put two and two together. The penny finally dropped back on Friday, just before friends arrived.
Tacked up in a Market Square shop in Potton, I saw on an advert that his surname is (or was) also the name of a local school too: Burgoyne Middle School. Then it hit me. I didn’t know precisely where he had been born?
To Wikipedia I went and all was quickly revealed. Today’s John O’ Gaunt Golf Club (named for a John of Gaunt), which is just outside of Potton next to the nearby village of Sutton, was in the 1700s his baronet father’s family’s seat: Sutton Park. It sounds like somewhere straight out of Pride And Prejudice… and indeed it looks like it too.
I could have kicked myself. The British general of the American Revolution, General John Burgoyne, was born about a mile or so from where I am typing this post – and finishing this novel. For months I’ve had some of the new book also taking place hereabouts, so I felt I had to slip that discovery into the manuscript and I did so in a way that accurately reflects how I feel in real life about finding that out:
As you may know from the previous novel, “he” is from upstate New York not far from Saratoga. So this to “him” is naturally a big deal. And NOT in a good way.
In 1777, frontier Saratoga, New York was “the edge” of the “civilized world” in many respects to those living in Bedfordshire.
In 2019, the world has become far smaller at least informationally. It is also a LOT easier to travel now from Bedfordshire, England to Saratoga, New York than it was in 1777. What has not changed, of course, is Saratoga remains over 3,000 miles away across an ocean.
Learning of John Burgoyne’s birth nearby was also a reminder to me in this writing sense: a story is not “100 percent” FINISHED even if you may think it may be. Completing a book is never easy mostly because we never know precisely when it is completed. And I’m about getting to that point now. 😉
Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂