The Bostock family (for I feel comfortable enough with you all now to reveal my true identity) made their fortune through land ownership. Thomas de Gront was a Royal Bodyguard to the king who was knighted for his services in 1430. The town of Bostock and the surrounding realms were also gifted to him. Thomas liked the name so much that he took it for his own. He also subjugated local farmers and peasants, forcing them to build him a grand stately home.
Things were fairly quite for the next few years and we dwindled away our fortunes until it ran out completely in the 1990s. Bostock Hall has now been converted into one and two bedroom flats for the “upwardly mobile”.
There are many twisting branches on the Bostock family tree, my own branch residing within 2 or 3 miles of the same town since the 1600s.
My favourite leaf down a strong tree branch was Frank Bostock who left Staffordshire in the late 19th century with a menagerie of animals including elephants and tigers before setting up zoos and animal arenas.
He travelled Europe, Australia and America with his now-questionble troupe, building a huge arena on New York’s Coney Island.
Despite the way his shows appear to us, Bostock was a great advocate of animal welfare, massively improving the treatment of animals in zoos and circuses around the world. He also saved the lives of several of his keepers, supporting them into their dotage and welcoming them into his family.
Travelling shows in America mimicked the elaborate designs of his wagons and copied his ideas about showing extraordinary humans, leading to the birth of the freakshow tradition.
Sadly, that’s all you’re getting for now- it’s way past my bedtime.