I On Myself Can Live

On the Fringe

Painting Charles II and courtiers walking on Horseguard's Parade with Whitehall in background, by Henrick Danckaerts

The Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary defines "fringe" in its wider use as meaning: "an outer edge or margin of any kind, material or immaterial ... existing on the edge or margin." Some uses are: 1902, D. G. Hogarth, Nearer East: "The density of this fringe population depends on fertility ... It is necessary to detach the Arabs who are found in the Arabian and Mesopotamian Fringe, from the central Semitic group ... The outer desert ring has up to now proved effective to separate this loose unity from the Fringe populations;" 1935, Amer. Speech X: "Information regarding the languages spoken on the fringes of society;" 1945 Times: "Altogether 35 sneak-raiders were destroyed in 'fringe-target' attacks alone during the first half of the year;" 1947, Amer. Speech XXV: "Fringe Parking;" 1951, Electronic Engin XXIII: "He is resident in a fringe area;" 1958, Spectator: "It may have won him a few fringe votes in Rochdale;" 1958, Times: "Certain 'fringe' events arranged in Bath, during the Festival, notably the Festival Ball;" 1960, G. Murray, Spectator: "I have not attempted to assess the merits of the treatments that fringe medicine can provide;" 1962, Guardian: "The posturings of a few fringe-lunatics;" 1966, Times: "Fringe Londoners like to keep the odd pig or two in their outbuildings."

The word "fringer" is "one who is on the fringe," and one quotation: 1952, J. Masefield, So Long to Learn: "There were so many ways, cliques and coteries; there were ... Celtic fringers."

What was it like to be a fringe person "dans le monde" in our two triangles for a nearly a quarter of a century? We take the case of Anne and Heneage Finch.

Back Next

Page Last Updated: 4 January 2003