“The History of York is the History of England.” ~ King George VI
With the coming of dusk and the door of an atelier closed for the day – it is possible to catch a glimpse of a celebrated miniaturist and storyteller clad in her distinctive black feline boots wandering through the snickelways and secret passages of York in a quest to wake the dead.
And for those of a curious and hardy temperament – why not come along and listen to the Lady Brigante as she shares with you the tales of the illustrious, the miscreants, artists, misfits and those ordinary folk who have ALL been lost to history – until now!
However, for those of a sensitive nature who are averse to real stories of tears, heartache and tragedy – a meander through the fascinating streets of York with Lady B may NOT be to your taste.
For all of the ‘ChocBox’ gossip, exciting discoveries AND the dates of Lady B’s unique walks, place of rendezvous AND ticket availability – subscribe to the Brigante Chronicles to bring forth EVERY snippet of chatter direct to your inbox.
Or, if you would prefer to talk to an actual human – that’s fine too!
Welcome to Death in a Chocolate Box!
Having returned to British shores only the previous month – on a chilly January morning in 1889 a soldier with the 10th Hussars was found hanging from a pole in the stable block of the York Cavalry Barracks.
On the day following Private Dalby’s death the city coroner opened the inquest at the military hospital and as a succession of witnesses stepped forward to offer testimony – the tragic story unfolds…
The ONLY clear picture history accords Ms Smith is that of her death by poisoning one morning in May.
A scroll though our parish records and census returns have only added to the mystery of WHO Mary was, WHERE she came from and HOW she had managed to live independently well into her sixth decade!
The Lady Brigante loves nothing more than shocking unsuspecting folk with the tale that she was abandoned at birth by gypsies and raised en famille with kindly mice in the crypt of an old church.
Alas! The truth is altogether more unremarkable for although blessed with an illustrious and extensive lineage – Lady B was in truth raised in genteel affluence in the shadow of the ceremonial stone gatehouse of Micklegate in the ancient City of York.
A dreamer from birth with a taste for history and the irresistible urge to create – Lady B’s natural milieu within the sanctuary of a library, pacing the floors of an art gallery or gazing in wonder at some breathtaking architecture has always been in opposition to the frills, frivolities and fripperies of the fashionable society to which she grew accustomed.
And yet despite this nonchalance for politesse – Lady B has been known to glide effortlessly to the year 1815 and among the Ton of Regency society as she enjoys the confidence of a frustrated Lady Ph, takes tea with the celebrated Countess of Melbourne or reads with the poet Lord Byron at his grand home in Piccadilly Terrace.
However, within the old walls of a small atelier among the shelves of weird creatures, baskets of sumptuous silks and lace perched upon an antique dresser, the tubs of delightfully named paints, the odd pot of glue, stacks of parchment paper, exotic woods and other strange looking implements – we truly discern the essence of Lady B!
For it is from within this atelier in which Lady B’s passion bursts forth in the design of an eclectic and unique array of miniatures created for her fellow humans who relish the appeal of the macabre or those who boast of an imagination of the fantastical bent.
However, as Lady B weaves her idiosyncratic talent in the design of tiny things – she does so under the watchful eye of Miss Minnie B, a black feline of irascible temperament who also shares a talent of moving between different worlds and who on occasion has been quick to cast a disapproving look over the more mundane creations.
And as the sun falls on yet another day and with the messy apron discarded and the door to the atelier closed – Lady B goes in search of the dead.
For if she’s not wandering through a cemetery, musing upon the discovery of a mysterious bundle of ephemera, poring over the details of a tatty burial record or recording her exciting discovery of an elusive ancestor in an old notebook – she will be leading unsuspecting folk through the snickelways and secret passageways of York as she shares the tales of the illustrious, miscreants, artists and misfits who have all been lost to history – until now!
Although it has long been rumoured that the very name of Brigante is of notorious origin signifying rascals and bandits and that our Lady B herself shares the blood-line of a famous outlaw – it is also a truth universally acknowledged that this familial connection has offended the more delicate sensibilities of the Brigante clan in the years following and as such we must speak of it no more.
‘Between Two Worlds Life Hovers Like a Star, ‘Twixt Night and Morn…
How Little Do We Know That Which We Are!’