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Sir James Tillie

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annis
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Sir James Tillie

Post by annis » Wed February 13th, 2013, 7:10 am

A wonderful true story about a 17th century braggart who weaseled his way into a knighthood and a cushy position at the Cornish estate of Sir John Coryton. Before too long he also weaseled his way into the arms of his employer's wife. Said employer conveniently died quite suddenly, and behold, Sir James is left in possession of the not-particularly-grief-stricken widow and also his former employer's estate, where he built a grand home called Castle Pentillie.

This guy thought so much of himself that he believed death couldn't possibly apply to him and he would be resurrected within two years of dying, but as you might expect, it didn't turn out that way. The twists and turns over the generations of the family fortunes, the castle's fate and the search for Sir James' body make for a fascinating tale of the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction sort, and just recently, during renovations, the errant remains of Sir James have been found.

Full story here:
Sir James Tillie’s body IS in Sir James Tillie’s tomb
http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/23439

An earlier post is equally interesting, and covers Sir James' upwardly mobile career and the eccentric dispositions following his death:
http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/20537

Loved the bit about the reclusive Coryton who "went full Miss Havisham" :)
Last edited by annis on Thu February 14th, 2013, 4:25 am, edited 15 times in total.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Wed February 13th, 2013, 7:31 am

What a story! The Corytons who now own the estate - descendants, or at least relations, of the murdered employer - sound like delightful and very forgiving people.

Annis's excellent summary necessarily leaves out some amazingly juicy details - the referenced blog post is worth reading!
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annis
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Post by annis » Wed February 13th, 2013, 7:09 pm

I couldn't find out anything much about Lady Elizabeth Coryton, faithless wife of the unfortunate victim, Sir John Coryton, but I did find a portrait of her which can be seen here (there's some sort of restriction that prevents me from copying it). We do know that she was a daughter of Sir Richard Chiverton, who was the first Cornish Lord Mayor of London.

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/explore ... oid=155928
Last edited by annis on Thu February 14th, 2013, 4:24 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Thu February 14th, 2013, 2:19 pm

the blog articles are great, written with a nice wry sense of humour too. Glad that the new people have brought it back to life, I prefer the old house though! Gorgeous views.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Fri February 15th, 2013, 8:25 am

Lady Elizabeth Coryton, faithless wife of the unfortunate victim, Sir John Coryton, but I did find a portrait of her
She looks like she could be one of Charles II's many mistresses!
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annis
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Post by annis » Mon February 18th, 2013, 7:07 am

Posted by Margaret
She looks like she could be one of Charles II's many mistresses!
Those portraits of 17th century ladies (some of easier virtue than others :) ) do have a rather generic look, don't they? It's noticeable how the perceived ideal of beauty specific to any given period tends to flavour women's portraits, even where the actual resemblance is captured faithfully.
Last edited by annis on Mon February 18th, 2013, 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Wed February 20th, 2013, 2:42 am

I love that they found the body exactly where one might expect it to be if one didn't know the story behind the search.

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Post by annis » Wed February 20th, 2013, 7:20 pm

What astonished me was that someone responded to the original post with a story about what appears to have been yet another bizarre 17th century burial!

"Back at the end of the 19th c. my husband’s great grandfather was given the job of demolishing an old house at Beenhams Heath in Berkshire. There was a cellar but it had been bricked up long before. On breaking into the cellar they found a finely dressed skeleton with wig, plumed hat, long boots and sword sitting on a throne like oak chair. The story went round the village that he had hidden there during the Civil War and had never been let out but I always reckoned that it was a former owner of the house with a rather eccentric idea of where he wanted his last resting place to be."

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