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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

June 7th



Born this day in 1662, Celia Fiennes,travel writer?, the first tourist of England?
Fiennes never married and moved into the London home of her married sister in 1691.
But, Fiennes traveling began in 1684,riding side-saddle and why,"to regain my health by variety and change of aire and exercise"
Now, don't think about sweet little paths and winding roads and villages...at this time, England's country side was still quiet wild. A narrow dirt road and exposed to the elements. But, Fiennes joy and enthusiasm kept her going. And the concept of traveling just to travel was not at all common. She kept a journal of her adventures, not with the idea of publishing, but for her family's entertainment.
She wrote about the great houses that were just being built, and the castles she stayed in- this was a time if a lady or gentleman showed up at your castle door, room was made for them. Fiennes wrote about her mis-adventures her interest in the funtion of bridges, and any manner of new structures of the times, that she found along the road. A fall here or there, but she was never injured.
Some travel was with relatives, but in 1698, Fiennes made her, "Great Journey to Newcastle and Cornwell" which she made by still riding side saddle "with only a servant or two". Her travels winded down by 1712, Fiennes travels took her to every county of England. Making Celia Fiennes the first woman to acommplish this feat!
In 1812, Robert Southey published extracts from Fiennes travel journals. Then in 1888, a more complete edition came out.
In 1947, Christopher Morris published "The Journeys of Celia Fiennes".
Fiennes travel journals have continued to stay in print in one form or another.
Oh and the nursery rhyme, Banbury Cross is about Celia Fiennes

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes


On this day in Mary Terrell wins the stuggle to end segregation in Washington D.C. restarants.