Lady Louisa Tenison ( John Phillip )
Louis Mary Anne Anson Tenison was born in 1819. In 1843 she visited the Middle East with her husband, Edward King-Tenison where she produced a series of watercolour sketches which were later drawn on stone and published in 1846 in a book called Sketches in the East.
She was also the author of Castile and Andalusia which was published in 1853 and also contained several of her sketches albeit with additions and help from others including John Frederick Lewis. ( see LINK ).
Although it is obvious from her various anecdotes that she must have spent some time in Gibraltar, she only mentions it indirectly in her book. Nevertheless those few times that she does are probably worth quoting and I have done so below.
Castile and AndalusiaOn emerging from the valley, the road crosses over bleak, high ground covered with the low fan palm. This plant which grows to such perfection on the Rock of Gibraltar, is rather stunted here; it is however, converted to some use, the root of it being eaten as an esculent by the peasantry.
Despite the blockade and the lack of food during the Great Siege - and the constance references throughout the literature about the many unlikely things people were driven to eat throughout the hostilities, I have never come across a reference to the roots of this particular plant - Chamcerops humilis - having been used as a source of food.
The apes and Chamaerops humilis ( 1854 - E. Widick )
. . here and there a beautiful statice, called the Blue Everlasting from the crispness of its bright flowers are much used in Gibraltar to ornament the fireplaces during the summer months.
If she is right, this was a tradition of the upper classes. The house of the ordinary people in Gibraltar almost certainly did not have any fireplaces as such.
One day when I was on the roof of the tower (in Granada) I overheard . . . the matter of fact confessions of a Gibraltar courier, who had decoyed thither two unhappy Englishmen, and was confiding in the old keeper of the tower that he knew there was nothing to see but he always made a point of bringing travellers, that she too might benefit by their pesetas; and with many a prayer that he would not forget her, and many a promise to return, he led away his admiring victims, who in the innocence of their heart, had been doing the view rendered them quite unconscious of the bye-plot which was acted in their presence. The wretched huts around are chiefly inhabited by gipsies and people of low description . . .
It has ever been so - the knowledgeable but cynical tourist guide and the innocent sucker. It is nevertheless odd that one from Gibraltar would have been as far afield as Granada. Slumming it, of course, might have been exactly what the Englishmen had been looking for.
Mariana de Pineda . . The history of this unfortunate lady is one of the many tragic episodes with which the revolutions in Spain have abounded. Residing in Granada . . . she was suspected of maintaining a secret correspondence with refugees at Gibraltar, by the assistance of one of her servants . .
The charge was never brought home to her, and suspicion died away; but she was again implicated in the escape of one of the political prisoners Fernando Sotomayor, who left his prison disguised as a Capuchin friar. The discovery in her house of a revolutionary flag, which was said to have been embroidered by her orders, afforded sufficient pretext for her being thrown into prison.
Mariana de Pineda ( Unknown )
Helped on by Garcia Lorca's play on her life, Mariana de Pineda has much to do with the traditions and folklore of Spain - but little or none with that of Gibraltar. Nevertheless it is interesting to hear confirmation of the role which the Rock played during these turbulent times when many of the more important characters involved where either refugees on the Rock or visitors preparing their plots, coups and countercoups from there.