Howard Simmons on Devotion, Lust & an Exploding King

A talk hosted by the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society

A print of Syon House with a walled garden. Picture: BCLHS

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The Brentford and Chiswick Local History Society

January 9, 2024

The next lecture to be hosted by the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society will be on the subject of Devotion, Lust & an Exploding King: stories of love & death from Medieval & Tudor Syon Park.

This illustrated talk will be given by Howard Simmons, a professional guide at Syon for 10 years. He will describe the Bridgettine nuns' love of God, Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, his love of money and power and the marriages, births and deaths associated with his six wives, plus the strange account of his corpse exploding in Syon’s crypt.

It takes place in the usual venue of the Chiswick Memorial Club on Monday 15 January at 7.30pm as as well as online via Zoom.

An increasing number of people have been joining the society’s talks using this hybrid mode. It sends members an email reminder for each talk with details of how to book a Zoom place so do make sure it has your current email address.

A modest donation from visitors (non-members) is always welcome.

Future Lectures in this season’s programme

Monday 19 February 7.30pm Neighbours of the more famous Lord Burlington: the walled gardens of Sir Stephen Fox (1627-1716) & Spencer Compton, 1 st Earl of Wilmington (1674-1743) While Lord Burlington's Chiswick gardens are amongst the most famous in the country what do we know of the gardens next door which were later acquired, adapted and incorporated into the present estate? Much new information that has recently come to light in the archives at Chatsworth and elsewhere will be revealed by Dr Sally Jeffery, architectural and garden historian, in this illustrated talk.

Monday 18 March 7.30pm Who lived at Boston Manor House in the 17th & 18th centuries? This illustrated talk by Steph Hagan will focus upon its occupants as a private home and what we know about their lives, including Lady Mary Reade who completed it in 1623 and the Clitherows who owned it from the 1670s. Steph was the principal researcher on the history of Boston Manor for the recent refurbishment of the estate.

Monday 15 April 7.30pm The local historians of Brentford & Chiswick. A variety of authors have researched and written the history of our area since the 18th century. Members who missed James Wisdom's lively talk at the Chiswick Book Festival in 2023 have asked for it to be given again in our programme, with the addition of the historians of Brentford

Monday 20 May 7.30pm Annual General Meeting The business meeting will review the year and receive the financial report. It will be followed by an illustrated talk by Brentford historian Janet McNamara who is a Hounslow Heritage Guide and the society’s Vice-Chairman. It will celebrate the centenary of the opening of the 20-acre Boston Manor Park by the local authority in 1924 and mark its major refurbishment in 2022-3.

You may also be interested Angus Vine's talk about the Clitherow family's library at Boston Manor House on 22 February. Book via this link.

The society’s new membership year started on 1 January 2024. If you do not already pay by standing order you are asked to consider doing so. As a paid-up member you will receive the annual Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal. The 33rd edition will be published at the AGM in May; it will be posted to all members unable to attend in person. The society is still looking for an Honorary Secretary to join its sociable committee. Contact the Chairman on 020 8994 4231 if you are interested.

Membership of the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society ensures that you receive details of the Society’s programme of talks and outings and entitles you to a copy of the annual Journal. From time to time there are opportunities to join a small research group or assist with a local history project.

Meetings, usually on the third Monday of the month, take place at Chiswick Memorial Club, Bourne Place, off Dukes Avenue opposite Chiswick Library. The membership year runs from January to December and the annual subscription costs £9.00. If you wish to join, either come along to one of the meetings, or print off, complete and send the membership form with your details and cheque for payment, or if you wish to use your credit or debit card through PayPal, click here but also send an email to giving your name, address, phone number, and confirmation that the society may contact you by email in the future.


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