“Da Vinci Code” Style Forensics: Symbols and Secrets Lurking Within the Pages of an Ancient Law Book (Part I)

I was surprised when the staff at the Middle Temple Archives office introduced me to the obscure craft of papermaking, and the hidden signatures that lie within the pages of old books…

 

The invention of the printing press in the middle 1400’s may have “unlocked the door” to the information age, but it was decidedly NOT flung open.  It required the long, slow process of building the components of the publishing industry and markets to pry that lumbering retardment from its casings!  Continue reading ““Da Vinci Code” Style Forensics: Symbols and Secrets Lurking Within the Pages of an Ancient Law Book (Part I)”

The Dramatic Life of Sir Richard Lane’s Eldest (and Only Surviving) Son

Sir Richard Lane had a large family – 12 children.  But as I am discovering, many children did not survive to adulthood in the early 1600’s.  Although he had 4 sons in total (Richard, Parvulus, Bryan and one unnamed) only one  – Richard – lived beyond his first year.  What I have found out about Richard Lane the younger tells a dramatic story, but one that may explain some of the historical obscurity of his father, Sir Richard Lane.  I recently discovered the will of Richard Lane the younger, and it appears he was the last in his line to carry his father’s name…

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Discovery – Regnal Dating Conventions of the 1600s Legal World…

Like any of the great professions, the domain of law is it’s own world within the larger world. Its interesting how often I had looked at the odd notations at the top of each page within Lane’s Reports without realizing what I was looking at…

Continue reading “Discovery – Regnal Dating Conventions of the 1600s Legal World…”

An Important Find! A 1953 Academic Analysis of “Lane’s Reports”

The “billiards-like” trajectory of progress in this quest continues! Somehow, surprising outcomes seem to regularly come about when one line of inquiry turns up a thread leading down some new path…  I’ve been “offline” for a few weeks now because I have been back in research mode – following up on an important new lead I was given by a law professor at the University of Richmond.

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The First Special Exhibition of National Portraits of 1866 – Richard Lane’s Last Public Appearance?

One key artifact gives a clear account that a portrait of Sir Richard Lane once existed – a copy of a “catalogue” of the portraits available to visitors of the 1866 Special Exhibition of National Portraits in London.  Interestingly, I have recently come across evidence indicating this “catalogue” wasn’t originally planned to be provided by the organizers of the event!  If it hadn’t been, I suspect his portrait (and with it any chance of knowing what the man looked like) would have been truly lost to the larger world…

Continue reading “The First Special Exhibition of National Portraits of 1866 – Richard Lane’s Last Public Appearance?”

The “Lost” Portrait of Sir Richard Lane

The satisfying thing about Richard Lane as a subject of historical research is that although his early life was one of obscurity, the political drama he was swept into brought about a fair number of useful historical artifacts related to him.  Perhaps in the end, those bits and pieces will yield a rich and tangible sense of who he was.  But, this isn’t Hollywood – history is about building knowledge based on facts, very much like building a legal case. And sometimes, the facts you need simply may not exist. What can really be known about a man who lived 400 years ago?  Who was he really? What was important to him?  And if you could have met him, what would he have looked like?

Continue reading “The “Lost” Portrait of Sir Richard Lane”

Richard Lane: Ancestor of Thomas Jefferson!

Yes, that’s right.  Maybe you’ve heard of him?  Our 3rd President and author of the Declaration of Independence?  I knew Richard Lane’s sister married a man named “Randolph”, and that some of their sons had helped found early Virginia, but I didn’t expect this… Continue reading “Richard Lane: Ancestor of Thomas Jefferson!”