The 18 kings of England who ruled from 1066 to 1485 fathered more than 40 illegitimate children. Henry II is out in front with at least 20. Genealogists have calculated that every living person with English ancestry is descended from one of these medieval kings.
In Newmarket there was once a law against blowing your nose in public, while ‘persons going about the street with a head cold’ were subject to a fine. This was not to prevent locals from catching a cold, but rather to protect the valuable race horses that lived and were trained in the town.
Winston Churchill had a tattoo of an anchor on his arm, while his mother, Lady Randolph, sported a tattoo of a snake around her wrist, which she slyly covered with a bracelet when desired.
During the early 19th century hat makers used mercuric acid to finish off their headgear. Workers were exposed at length to this toxic chemical, causing them to twitch, jabber and lurch. Victorians thought they were insane and the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ entered the language.