Before I go much further, here’s a photo of Emma after her visit to Kate. She wasn’t happy that I included one of Freya and not her yesterday.
Today I was going to go to work, it being a Friday, but firstly I was rather reticent to leave the girls on their own again. I say ‘again’ because they’ve spent an awful lot of time alone since my return from Oz. Sue is in France so she couldn’t take them. It was just easier to work from home…which I did.
Secondly, I had to be home to take charge of a very important delivery. The chap arrived nice and early and, between us, we carried in the precious cargo. He was no sooner with us than he’d hopped back into his van to his next stop, an auctioneer.
And what was the delivery? Well, it’s something I’ve been suggesting ever since the extension was finished. Something that will help me immeasurably. Something that Mirinda bought while I was away. And, I’m very happy to say, it is not invisible any more…Denise will be relieved to hear.
While it started life on a farm somewhere, cutting up chaff (or some such) it will now be somewhere for me to put things down before removing (or putting on) my shoes. Talk about first world problems!
So I worked from home discovering all about the remarkable James Canby Biddle-Cope. James was the father of one of my fallen soldiers, Anthony Cyprian Prosper Biddle-Cope, a second Lieutenant in the Shropshire Light Infantry who died a bit of a mad hero. While Anthony’s army career is quite remarkable, it’s his father that I enjoyed discovering.
To start with there was the difficulty in finding either of them (and Anthony’s two brothers and mother). On the war memorial, Anthony is merely noted as being ‘A Cope’ which isn’t a lot to go on with. Still, with a bit of investigation which lasted quite a few hours, I managed to unravel the family story.
James was born in Philadelphia, the son of shipping magnet Alfred Cope who, with his brother, owned the H&A Cope Shipping Company, which ploughed the oceans between Liverpool and Philadelphia in the days before aircraft. James seemed to have moved between the US and the UK frequently during his life – I assume he didn’t have to buy a ticket. He studied in Pennsylvania before heading to Oxford for his Masters. He eventually married an American, Marie Louise Saunders (obviously of the Pennsylvania Saunders).
James fancied himself as a bit of a novelist. Which bit I’m not certain because I’ve read a few reports that his work was not exactly read-worthy. He adopted the double barrel surname Biddle-Cope following his father’s marriage to his second wife, Rebecca Biddle. Though his actual name was Cope, which explains why I had a bit of difficulty finding them all.
James had strong Catholic connections and a big love of the pope. For this reason (possibly) he was named a marquis in the Holy See of the Vatican and the King of Italy made him a baron. I haven’t been able to find anything that suggests he spent any great time in Italy however, in one English census his name is in Italian – Giacomo de Biddle-Cope – as are the names of his three sons. Also Anthony studied in a university in Florence.
James and Marie Louise settled on a big estate in Shropshire for a while where they employed about 12 servants. It was all very Downton if you ask me. Then, at some as yet undiscovered time, James died and Marie Louise moved to Farnham with the children…except for Anthony because he was away at war. They lived in a big house, probably with servants up until at least 1915 when news of her son’s death reached her.
The Farnham Herald ran a story on it, also mentioning the fact that the family was well attached to the local Catholic church and priest, Father Robo. A requiem service was held for Anthony in St Polycarps, the Catholic church in Farnham.
And that was my very productive day of research. Starting with just ‘A Cope’ and his regiment and a short piece from the paper, it may have taken me quite a while to ferret out the truth but I managed to drag it kicking and screaming to the surface and now have breathed new life into the bones of 2nd Lieutenant Anthony Cyprian Prosper Biddle-Cope.
Finally, ahead of creating audio podcasts for Karen, this is a test. It is a story piece from a book about dogs.