Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
|Full Name:||James Edward Aloysius Winchester|
|Hair Colour:||Ash Blonde|
|Married to:||Mignonette Winchester|
|Circles:||Scientific, Arts & Proper|
Reputation: «...a man with excessive luck in his choice of a bride, causing whispers of many secret ambitions to hound him. Considered to be a stickler to the truth, sometimes even tediously so, the kind doctor none-the-less holds the affection of many courtiers who consider him a proper and charitable gentleman always ready to help...»
Verging on short and neat in his appearance, James does not immediately catch the eye. Neither handsome nor unnatractive, his pale and unremarkable features are expressive when he wants them to be. He appears younger than he actually is and wears an air of mild innocence, but it is not until you meet his keen grey eyes and glimpse the sharp mind behind them that he seems of any note. His curly, ash-blonde hair is worn tied neatly back, and he has a neat little mustache and goatee. He moves with a certain grace and economy of movement, and yet is rarely still. His recent good fortunes seem to be agreeing with him, as he has become a little plump in recent months.
The first impression:
James appears to be a dapper and diligent gentleman of no small intellect and learning, if sometimes somewhat blunt in his manner.
Doctor James Winchester has a reputation for being a gifted erudite physician, and as such kind and charitable, even to commoners; a solid, dependable gentleman, respected by his peers.
Things that are commonly known about James:
- Is the resident physician at the Royal Veteran's Hospital in Chelsea.
- Appears to be a very popular physician amongst the women at court.
- Married the Lady Mignonette de la Rovere, a previous contender for the King's hand, against the wishes of her aunt, the Duchess of Savoy. They have a daughter, born early April 1677.
- Is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and has close ties to the Royal Scientific Society.
James is the second son of Edward Anthony Winchester and Mary Evelyn Dyson. James’ father Edward is landed gentry, though possessed of no title and little money. The family is distantly descended from the Lords of Winchester, hence the name. He married Mary Dyson, the daughter of a successful merchant, primarily for her dowry. Edward’s sister is considered to have done the best for the family, marrying somewhat above her station to a minor lord at court.
James’ older brother David Angus Winchester joined the military, marking time until he inherits the family land, and earning some money at the same time, as the family are struggling to afford the lifestyle which one would expect.
James’ sister Elizabeth May married John Mainsey from a family in her own class, and they have three children. Eleanor Rose, the baby of the family and James's junior by a full decade has yet to marry.
James himself proved to be quite academic, and gained entry to Saint Johns College, Oxford University where he studied medicine, and proved to be very competent at it. Medicine being a respectable area for a young man of good breeding, and with no inheritance prospects of his own, he had his father’s full encouragement. James continued his studies in Oxford past his initial degree and into post-graduate work, and then into research.
However, he soon found the hide-bound traditionalist nature of Oxford academia stifling, and so he left to seek a career elsewhere. Arriving in London, he became a physician at the Chelsea Veterans' Hospital, and gained the notice of Mrs Nell Gwynn, founder of the hospital.
Christmas in Windsor - Season III
James arrived at court where it was gathered at Windsor for the Christmas-New Year period on the 2nd of January, 1676. Although he was only there for five days, he had a very interesting time of it.
The day he arrived he visited the Frost Fair, where he encountered Mistress Claire Albright, Allan Blacke, Lord Silkstone and Mistress Gwendoline Llewelyn and her little brother Arthur. They visited the fortune-teller’s tent and trailed through the various market stalls, James and Allan particularly interested in the book sellers.
James encountered Lord Silkstone again that afternoon, after he and Anna von der Pfalz were drawn to a ruckus in the Ivy room, where Lord Peregrine Osbourne and Master Jacob Casterbridge were involved in an argument, swords drawn. James’ and Allan’s attempt to break up the impending fight resulted in a messy sword-fight between Lord Silkstone and Lord Osbourne. This was broken up, and James ended up treating Lord Osbourne, the son of Lord Danby, for a nasty stab wound to his arm.
On the 3rd, James encountered Lord Alexander Everhart whilst exploring, and the two spoke of travels and of women, and were caught at the latter by Gwendoline Llywelyn, much to their chargrin.
That afternoon James responded to a call for a doctor from the stables, where a stableboy by the name of Will had managed to impale his leg on a rusty nail, and the wound had become corrupted. Amputation is the usual treatment lest the infection spread and claim the patient’s life, but James embarked on an unorthodox treatment plan which saved the boy’s leg. Over the days spent treating Will he came to know the stableboys quite well.
On the morning of the 4th James shared a very pleasant breakfast with Gwendolyn Llywelyn, the two fast becoming friends in spite of their differences, or perhaps because of them. James sent Gwen a bunch of yellow roses to thank her for the pleasant morning.
Later that morning James met with several physicians including Dr Brouncker, President of the Royal Society, over his intrusion on their professional territory. An agreement of boundaries was made, and James promised to apply for membership to the Royal College of Physicians. That afternoon James attended the closing of the Frost Fair and watched the ice-skating.
Attending the Twelfth Night Ball, James was somewhat taken aback by the libertine nature of the game introduced, but that did not stop him from enjoying the company of a lovely Irish lady. After the Ball he paid a visit to Gwendoline Llywelyn, concerned that she had left the Ball very early despite having told him she was previously looking forward to it. After he was satisfied that she was well James sought his own quarters, knowing the next day would be busy packing.
On the 6th James paid a final visit to Will the stableboy, received an unexpected professional call from Lord Mountjoy who wanted his injured arm seeing to, and rode into Windsor in the snow to see Mrs Nell Gwynn. He left Windsor early the following morning.
Once court closed, James travelled north past Glasgow, at the suggestion of Adam MacGregor, Lord Alyth, to seek out a lay healer called Desmond who had taught Adam something of medicine and treated the local community and their livestock for all of his long years. It wasn't the most obvious of places, but following Adam's careful instructions, James found Deep Hollow and Desmond the lay healer, and spent a month there learning all the man was willing to teach him, and showing him some things from his university education in turn, though Desmond was less interested in these things.
Following his interesting and educational visit to the lowlands of Scotland, James made a brief visit to his father's estate outside Oxford to see family and hear the latest news. His sister Elizabeth is pregnant again, and his brother David had recently received a promotion. His mother Mary wanted to know when both he and David were going to get married and settle down, while his father Edward told her not to be silly, they were but young men yet. The usual family goings-on.
Leaving the family estate, James returned to London and the Chelsea Veteran's Hospital, and continued his work there as one of the resident physicians, keeping his medical skills honed as always. However, he vowed that when court re-opened in London, he would make himself a presence there.
Reputation: Doctor James Winchester has a reputation for being a gifted erudite physician, and as such kind and charitable, even to commoners; a solid, dependable gentleman, respected by his peers
Saint Georges day Awards 1676
Dr James Winchester, in recognition of his work at Chelsea Veteran Hospital given Baronetcy.
Received a Medal of Charity for his efforts at the Saint Marks Disaster
Season IV ended early for James Winchester when, following his musket wedding to Lady Mignonette de la Rovere - previously a contender for the King's hand in the so-called Princess Race - he and the lady retired to his father's estate of Moulsford, near Oxford. Ostensibly to enjoy a honeymood and some quiet time away from court, this also served to remove them from possible courtly repercussions, given that Lady Mignonette, a cousin of the King, married well below her station and without her family's consent.
This also provided an opportunity for James's family to meet Mingonette, for given the hurried manner of their wedding the Winchesters had not been able to attend. James's father Edward and older brother David were pleased for him if slightly bemused by James - always the quiet academician - suddenly pulling off such a political coup de grace. His mother Mary, delighted that one of her sons had finally married, took Mingonette under her wing, and his baby sister Eleanor immediately adopted her as kin. Only James's elder sister Elizabeth Mainsey seemed to have misgivings, but they were quashed by the rest of the family.
It was an idilic time for the couple at Moulsford, and James endeavoured to see that Noni was happy and wanted for nothing. He resolved that as soon as he returned to court he would Lord Mountjoy about securing Noni's inheritance, so that he could keep her in the manner to which she was accustomed.
There were times of course when James left Noni and his mother and sisters to their own devices, and sought shelter from the overwhelming femininity in his father's study, or out on the grounds. Quiet moments like these were put to use tying up loose ends. He wrote to Dr Whistler of the Royal College regarding the body-snatching that he had been asked to investigate. He had followed the trail until it led to one Dr Mertens. James included the man's name and the list of evidence in the letter, along with the recommendation that given that the body theft appeared to have stopped and the evidence led to one of their own, Mertens should be quietly de-registered and the matter quietly dropped.
Sir James and Lady Mignonette Winchester planned to return to London, but they received an unexpected but hardly unwelcome surprise, in the form of the midwife's announcement that Mignonette was pregnant. James was nearly beside himself with surprise and delight. He would have dearly loved to be able to attend court as a couple, but Noni's delicate constitution and James's unwillingness to do anything that might risk either her or the baby saw her remain at Moulsford under his mother's care whilst James returned to court alone for the Royal Wedding.
Reputation: «...is widely admired as a friendly and upstanding man of science, easily earning the trust of those he meets...»
Following the closure of court, James returned to Moulsford to be reunited with his beloved Mignonette, whom to his eyes seemed sweeter than ever. The two quickly set their few servants to packing, for as James's letters from Windsor had revealed, they would be moving to London, (possibly renting accomodation, possibly Dulwich House), whilst their own house was being built. Noni seemed delighted and much as he loved his family James had to admit that he would be glad to be back in London. Once James returned from Savoy they would be moving, and James entrusted the organisation of the packing to Noni as he took his leave and headed to Savoy.
It was James's first ever trip abroad and he was both eager and nervous, and also found himself missing George, for he had anticipated their adventures together. Going alone made him focus far more on the purpose of the trip, at least until he boarded the boat. Then his attention was rather occupied as James was heartily sick all the way from London to Calais. Never had he been so glad to find firm land beneath his feet.
The trip to Savoy was brief, and it was all too soon that James was once more back aboard a boat bound for England. Happy to stand once more on England's shores, James vowed never to get on a ship again. Rejoining Noni at Moulsfored the two headed for London and their winter accomodations. James settled into a routine over the winter, resuming his duties at the Veteran's Hospital in Chelsea, a return to normalcy which James found soothing to his nerves after the trip abroad.
A pleasant surprise was the visit of his old friend Gwen whom James introduced to Noni and happily talked over the events of his trip with. The news of the loss of Gwen's daughter saddened the doctor greatly, and gave him more cause to worry about Noni and their unborn child. True to his word James supported his friend to the best of his abilities through her difficult time, and Gwen became a regular visitor with the Winchesters. Sensing that she might benefit from some purpose in her life, James suggested that she volunteer at the Hospital as had become fashionable, knowing that the gentlemen always responded positively to company. To his surprise Gwen took to the place with gusto, to the extent of learning some nursing skills and taking on duties that James would have protested were beneath her, were it not for the solace that she obviously took from them.
The Christmas period was spent with his little family, a cosiness that James had not had before, enjoying the simple pleasures such as sitting by his wife in front of the fire, glass of port in hand as she sewed baby clothes. They were moments of immense peace and contentment, and James considered that he had never been happier. James and Noni joined the inhabitants of Alyth House and a motley collection of London's courtiers to celebrate Christmas itself, which was a pleasantly laid-back affair, and a nice opportunity to catch up with friends before the turn of the year.
In late March the couple moved into their newly built house in the pleasant village of Chelsea, and in April Noni went into labour. James had employed the services of the best midwife he could find, but being a doctor and expectant father he kept dithering in and out of the birthing room until the midwife chased him out, although not without acceeding that if something went wrong he would be summoned before the doors were shut behind him. James wore a path in the shiney new wooden floor of the study, refusing to touch a drop of drink, his medical bags by the door.
His worries were for naught however as Mignonette delivered a healthy little baby girl, petite and perfect just like her mother; James was instantly entranced. With his wife and his new daughter in their own home in Chelsea, life suddenly seemed quite complete and James enjoyed a deep feeling of contentment. He viewed the arrival of the new season with a quiet optimism.