From Newcastle to Versailles

With at least three inspiring women!

Wednesday Wanderings

Last month I asked people to share with me their favourite place and promised to blog about it this month. Louise was one of the people who replied but was undecided as to whether The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle was her favourite place or whether it was The Hall of Mirrors in Versailles!

So, I set about researching both, and this is what I found out!

There has been a bridge on the site of the Tyne Bridge since 122AD, built by the Romans and originally known as Pons Aelius. At that time, Versailles hadn’t even been thought about, and wouldn’t be for another one thousand, five hundred and one years when a hunting lodge was built in 1623 on the site of what would become Versailles.

Back in Blighty in 1623, Margaret Cavendish was being born in Essex. She grew up to become the Duchess of Newcastle and was a true character! According to the University of Nottingham she was rather eccentric. She was extravagant and flirtatious and was known to swear a bit! She also had an unusual sense of fashion and even today is widely referred to as Mad Madge or Mad Meg! However, despite the suppression of women in the 1600s she was a prolific author, poet, playwright and literary critic and wrote under her own name rather than a male pseudonym. She was born untitled, but met her husband in Paris which gained her the title.

Maybe she would have given Louis XIV a run for his money, but at the time he was busy creating the palace of Versailles which he moved into in 1661. At exactly the same time, Margaret’s husband, the Duke of Newcastle was being invested with the Garter back in Newcastle and would have used the bridge, by then made of wood and stone to cross from Newcastle to Gateshead.