Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Arts      Laughing Matter
Laughing Matter

Bab Ballad
The Mystic Selvagee  (or "Sir Blennerhasset Portico")
 by W.S. Gilbert (Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, 1836-1911)
One of many "Bab Ballads" written by W.S. Gilbert, from 1861 onwards, for the magazine "Fun", under the name "Bab". Some of these ballads became a source of plots and songs for "Gilbert & Sullivan" comic operas.
first published (under the name "Bab") in "Fun", new series vol.9, 22-May-1869.

 collected and published as "The Bab Ballads" and "More Bab Ballads",
with cartoon illustrations, by George Routledge and Sons.
republished as "The Bab Ballads: with which are included Songs of a Savoyard"
by Macmillan & Co., London, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1917
("The Mystic Selvagee" appears on pp.426-430, but with fewer cartoons than the original)
click on this image to read "The Mystic Selvagee"

"Ralph Blennerhassett", a name to start a hare...
Lines from a letter of 2-April-1474 from Sir John Paston (II) to John Paston (III) Esq - two brothers, sons of John Paston (I) - in which he writes mockingly of the name and person of Ralph Blennerhassett, Esquire of Frenze, Co.Norfolk (d.1475)...
"Raff Blaundrehasset were a name to styrte an hare. I warant the[r] shall come no suche name in owre bokys nere in owre howse, it myght par case styrt xxti harys at onys. 'Ware that', quod Perse."
(the name is underlined as in the original letter)
"Ralfe Blennerhassett is a name to start a hare. I say there shall come no such name in our books, or in our house, it might perhaps start 20 hares at once! beware that stingy fellow..."
[DAVIS vol.1 pp.456-7 #273]
[GARDNER vol. 3 pp.81-3]
[MORIARTY/1 vol.98 No.3 July 1944 pp.275-6]

"How the Emerald Isle was turned blue"
copyright © 2008 The Financial Times Ltd
contributed by Mark Humphrys
Since newspapers began there have been people who enjoy the challenge of attempting to "pull-the-wool-over-the-eyes" of newspaper editors, duping them into publishing articles or letters-to-the-editor that have no basis in fact whatsoever...
Here is a splendid recent example, a letter from Mr John Chambers headed
published in the UK "Financial Times" of 22-March-2008.

"Punch", British humourous weekly magazine, 29-Dec-1937, p.705
contributed by Leslie Eric Blennerhassett 

"First ask them to spell 'Blennerhassett'..."
"The Sunday Telegraph" newspaper, London 2-May-1976
copyright © 1976 The Sunday Telegraph 
Judge Frank Blennerhassett of Birmingham (b.1916 d.1993) was Chairman of a British Government committee set up in 1975-6 to review the working of the law on drinking and driving. This committee, known as "The Blennerhassett Committee of Inquiry into Drinking & Driving" (a.k.a. "Blennerhassett Review" & "Blennerhassett Group"), in 1976 produced "The Blennerhassett Report", which proposed the introduction of roadside breathalyzer tests in the UK 

Yo-Yo newspaper advertisement
"The Evening Standard", London newspaper, 26th May 1932, p.10
Beware of Yo-Yo
It starts as a hobby and ends as a habit
William Lewis Blennerhassett (b.1882 d.1958) was the son of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet of Blennerville.
His early career was as Military Intellegence Officer with MI1(C) and SIS during World War I, operating in France & elsewhere 1914-18.  Stationed in Northern Russia & Finland 1919, he retired as Captain 1920, becoming British delegate to the "League of Nations" then working for the Foreign Office as British Consul in Lithuania until 1921.  He worked his experience of revolutionary Russia into material for two novels, "The Red Shadow" (Duckworth 1922)  & 'The Dreamer' (Chapman & Dodd 1922), also contributing to "Encyclopedia Britannica" on Finland & Lapland and writing a letter on Russia to "The Times", published 29-Jun-1920, p.12.
In 1932, as a well established stockbroker on the London Stock Exchange, he took exception to a "Yo-Yo" toy advertisement believing it to be making fun of him personally, and in 1933 sued both "Novelty Sales Services Ltd" and "The Evening Standard" newspaper for libel.  The court refused to take him seriously...
from a family scrapbook started in 1923 by his son
Rowland P. F. C. Blennerhassett (b.1911 d.1993).
the first two appear to be from "The Daily Telegraph" newspaper

Gilbert Ratchet - vulgar comic strip
from "VIZ", issue 222, February 2013, page 9, featuring Mr & Mrs Blennerhasset.
if screen resolution prevents you reading this clearly, consider yourself fortunate...
contributed by Maldwyn Powell
copyright © 2013 Dennis Publishing (UK) Ltd 

Bill Jehan is on LinkedIn 

copyright © 2008-2020 Bill Jehan