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  • Napoleon and the Dorset Convent October 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    Beach recently ran with a story that Napoleon was believed to have visited Britain incognito in 1803: Wales to be exact. Here is an annex to that post. The wonderful idea that Napoleon’s brother had holed up in a convent in Dorset at Marnhull no less! These were the glory years when the French were planning a landing, but eventually turned up their noses at the ‘bitter weeds’ that the Brits had waiting for them.

    Some one industriously spread a report that one of his brothers had crossed from France and been hospitably received by the nuns of Marnhull, in Dorset. The supposed object of his visit was to ascertain the true feeling of the English people towards France. A large quantity of fire-arms and ammunition was believed to have been landed at night and smuggled into the nunnery in order to assist the enemy’s army should it effect a landing. It was decided that the matter ought to be investigated immediately, and accordingly the Rev. Mr. Blackburne, a Justice of the Peace, was chosen to superintend operations. Nothing of a warlike character was found, although the reverend gentleman and his attendants minutely inspected the sacred building from garret to cellar. The lady abbess was amazed, not to say alarmed, at the proceedings, and gave vent to her indignation. ‘We were not more surprised,’ she said, ‘when, in the beginning of the reign of Tyranny in France, a domiciliary visit had been paid us at our convent, under the idea that Mr. Pitt, the English minister, was secreted there.’*

    You have to feel for the poor woman. The necessary background to this post is Britain’s awful modern record of anti-catholicism. Just twenty years before the Gordon Riots had seen Catholics butchered in the streets of London. The nuns had fled themselves from France in 1795 and the heat of the revolution. They moved afterwards to Cannington in Somerset, perhaps with the arms carefully packed between their holy tracts?

    Other examples of Bonaparte in Britain or in other places history tells us that he did not visit: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    *Napoleon and the Invasion of England, 40

    31 Oct 2017, Bruce T writes: Reminds of a local tale that the French buried a large cache of muskets across the Ohio from what is now Point Pleasant, WV. at the end of the Seven Years War to retake the continent from their bases in the Louisiana Territory. People have been looking for those damned muskets ever since. It didn’t help that the two earliest settlements along that side of the river were settled by French Huguenots in the late 18th cen. and named Marietta and Gallipolis? There had to be few bad ones sneaking in over there somewhere. You’ll see coots with metal detectors in the fields looking for those guns in nice weather. There is supposed to be a cannon from the same era buried on top of a hill on the WV side, but I’m not saying where, the people who live up there are friends of mine.