Some time ago, it became apparent to me that there was a fair chance that any research-related keyword trawl of old newspapers would bring up results relating to horse racing. I suppose it’s not particularly surprising – there are lots of horse races and racehorses, and the equines can’t all be called Dobbin or Silver, so owners use whatever daft word or couple of words that may pop into their heads.
Today, I did an idle search for ‘Petty Treason’ in a newspaper database, just to check there wasn’t anything more I should be adding to my current project, and was interested and surprised to see quite a few hits from the 1960s and 1970s. I had forgotten the whole horse thing, but, as it turned out, most of the hits were, in fact racing results or lists of runners. It would seem that there was a filly called Petty Treason, which ran in races all over the country for a period in the early 60s. I rather like the fact that she was a lady horse (yes, that is the technical term) certainly resonates with my project, and its subject matter of women killing their husbands as petty treason. I also like the fact that Petty Treason’s sire [horse daddy – see, I know some of the words] was called High Treason.[i]
Petty Treason does not seem to have been massively successful – I have only seen one victory so far – but at least she did not follow the path of her namesake-offence and end up being burnt at the stake. She seems to have become a brood-mare [yes, again, note horsey vocab – crushing this!] and produced some offspring, with different stallions [and I am remembering more horsey vocab – that’s called ‘covering’ the mare, isn’t it … resonances with ‘coverture’ …?] though sadly they did not get treasonous or criminal names. Poor show.
Now – how on earth am I going to get this into the paper I am writing, on petty treason, for a conference in a few weeks? Stakes, that’s the link, isn’t it? Needs some thought. Giddy up!
[i] See, e.g., Times 14th Sept 1960 p 14, and, for her win see Times 13th June 1961 p.4.
Image: Photo by Daniel Bonilla on Unsplash See if you can get it – yes that’s right, it’s a horse! See, this equestrian stuff is easy. Off for a bit of dressaging now. What, you don’t dressage? Oh, you must …