Saturday, November 27, 2010


Recently watched a tape of Who do you think you are, featuring the actor Kevin Whately. He discovered his one of his forefathers had been a 'turkey merchant', which all thought meant a trader in turkey (birds) and was considered with some disdain.

The synchronicity?  Not long after I came across the same term in the book "Strange Blooms - The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants" by Jennifer Potter.

So - what was a turkey merchant?  Well, they were Turkey merchants - Turkey, as in the country.  There's a good description of the Levant Company, or Turkey Company on wikipedia.  The Levant Company came into being in 1580, and went into decline in the early 18th century (when Kevin Whately's ancestor was working for the company) and was finally dissolved in 1825.  What an exciting time!  Think of all those exotic goods being discovered in the Levant.

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