James Benjamin & Charles Collie Butler: Soldiers of WW1 – Part 2

What then happened to Charlie? Charlie had concluded his letter of 22 October 1915 by informing his parents from Plymouth that “we are going at 12 o’clock this morning”. We learn later that his Unit had been posted to Egypt. He sent to his young brother Jack a Christmas card showing camels and a desert oasis but it is not until 1 March 1916 that we find in the Collection a letter from Charlie in Egypt. He is now 16 and has just heard from his father that his brother Jim has been killed. He replied:   Trpr C. C. Butler, No 2563 Squadron, Berks Yeomanry Base Post Office, Alexandria.  Egypt March 1st 1916 Dear Father  I received your letter containing such bad news on 27th Feb. You must know how I feel but I try to think as little as possible about it. It must have been an awful shock to you and Mother but it is the most noble death anyone…

A Witchcraft Accusation in 17th Century Reading
Daimonomageia (Wellcome Collection (CC-BY-4.0))

A Witchcraft Accusation in 17th Century Reading

In 1634, Reading was a medium sized town well positioned for trade with good water and road transport links. Woollen cloth production employed nearly one third of the town in the early 17th century and some people made a lot of money. There was a decline in this trade over the century with depressions in the 1620s and 1630s. The town population was growing rapidly from the late 16th century, and the housing was crowded. There were tensions between generations of the ruling elite in Reading as the same families had been in charge for many years and new members of the local elite wished to gain political power. The Borough of Reading in 1634 was tense and subject to internal and external pressures.   Edward Bonevant claimed William and Edith Walls had made him ill by witchcraft.  This grave accusation was made in a troubled town at a time when witchcraft was believed to be real and causing harm by witchcraft was…


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