Posts Tagged ‘19th century’

Dad’s notes on relatives from Butley

June 23, 2016

Butley is in south Suffolk, not far from Woodbridge.

I came across a note dad had made back in 1968. He visited Butley with his mum. Butley had been the childhood home of her mum – my great grandmother. Her maiden name was Sarah Ann Crosby.

Back in 1968 he knew very little. I’d have been a teenager and probably not much interested.

Here’s the first part of his note.


Dad’s writing never was that easy to read so I’ll transcribe.

Butley – 11-7-68

A woman named Crosby is remembered by the village shopkeeper. She married Charlie Mann the village cobbler. They had a daughter, Mary Ann whom my mother remembers visiting them at Isfield. Mary Ann went to Canada or America. There was also a son, Harry, killed in World War 1.

None of the children at the village school knew the name Crosby.

We now know a bit more than this. Eliza Crosby did marry Charlie Mann, We know of five children. Charles was born in 1888, Mary Ann in 1890, William (sometimes George) in 1892, Harry in 1894, and Edward in 1896.

There is a second part to dad’s notes.


Aunt Ellen married a Snowdon in Sussex and later he died and she married Huntley. It was this aunt who took charge of Sarah Ann. Sarah Ann worked at Gibraltar Farm.

There was an Uncle Ted and Uncle Jack.

In fact my gran had nine uncles and aunts called Crosby as well as her mother, Sarah Ann. Gibraltar Farm appears to be in Firle. I know my dad always thought that Sarah Ann moved to Sussex when she was a girl. I think from census records she was over 20 so being looked after by her big sister Ellen may not have been day to day care, but maybe helping her find a place to work.

It was interesting to find Dad’s note – largely correct but written on spoken testimony from his mum only.

Different ways of displaying data

March 5, 2016

I’m talking genealogy here.

I’m not a great fan of the traditional descendant family tree because they get unmanageable so rapidly. For example, if I take my great grandfather – he has 64 known descendants in my generation and far too many to work out in the next couple. A huge width of paper is needed to print this out – and not much height. I find it hard to work out what is what on large sheets of paper.

Ancestor trees are easier to cope with for the number of ancestors only doubles with each generation but I have a taste for the time line, like this one.


With this it is easy to see who was alive at the same time and my eyes are drawn to a collection of five (these are ancestors of my wife) all born in the 10 years between 1869 and 1879

Joseph Lomas married Betty Brindley so they obviously knew one another. It’s pretty likely they knew Henry Fisher. The two families were joined by their grandchildren.

They probably all knew Noe Rathbone whose daughter married Henry Fisher’s son – they all lived in or around Gawsworth in Cheshire. Noe married Elizabeth Pownell about whom we know very little but she’d have lived in Gawsworth with Noe so she’d have been known to the others

The youngest of this group, Robert Mottershead was another Gawsworth person. His son married the daughter of Joseph Lomas and Betty.

It is interesting to realise that all these ancestors knew one another. The time lines show how much their lives overlapped. In my imagination I can see them together celebrating the coronation of Queen Victoria, albeit some of them didn’t live much longer.

By the way, the names here had some well-known relatives. Betty Brindley had an Uncle James who was the canal engineer. Other researchers suggest that Noe Rathbone is related in some way to Sherlock Holmes actor Basil Rathbone, but I reckon that’s a tenuous link

Great Grandad’s chair

August 22, 2015

In the back of the photo I took for yesterday’s post about a repaired chair I can see a little bit of another chair. This other chair has family history for it belonged to my great grandfather. Here is that chair.

image002This is a good, sturdy cottage style chair and presumably dates from the 19th century. Great Grandad died in 1913 and he had been crippled with arthritis for years. My grandfather, born in 1889 couldn’t remember his dad being fit for work. In fact at the time of the 1901 census great grandfather had been away from his Sussex home and was actually in Bath, hoping the waters of that town would give him some relief.

My dad, writing about the family in 1978 had this to say.

My grandfather was crippled with arthritis before the turn of the century. Dad could barely remember him working. Eventually he was confined to a chair (now possessed by my daughter) with his hands and legs permanently bent so that he was buried in a deep coffin with his knees up. Evening and morning he was carted up and down stairs in the chair. He was in permanent pain and sometimes wished to die, eventually succumbing through weakness to a respiratory infection.

Some years ago my sister passed the chair to me.

Oddly, the picture I have of great grandfather clearly shows him in a different chair.


He looks like a man in pain and arthritic.

In his younger days he had a reputation as a fiery Baptist preacher. Presumably those days were over when this photo was taken. But at least here he has got outside in the sunshine.

Great Grandad’s memory lingers on and his old chair is in daily use now.


Kit Williams

May 23, 2015

Christopher Williams was the brother of my wife’s great grandmother which must make him a great great uncle. He was a Cornish man from the Redruth area and an extremely elusive man to find.

He was known as Captain Kit. We don’t think he was a military captain, but rather a mine captain. And like many a Cornishman he travelled, not just within Cornwall or England, but all over the world.

He was born in about 1853 in Hayle but being part of a mining family would mean he moved around.

In 1861 he was with his family in Camborne and in 1871 he was with the family in Redruth. He married Mary Harry in 1879. She had been born in Australia but was part of a Redruth mining family.

In 1881 Christopher was described as a shopkeeper at 8 Fore Street in Redruth.


We have copied examples of adverts he placed in the Cornubian newspaper. Above is 1882 and below is 1883


We rather think it was his wife who ran the shop for Christopher was managing a mine in India for much of the time, but got home enough to father four children between 1880 and 1891.

Mary appears on the 1891 census but Christopher must have been away from home.

Neither Mary nor Christopher were blessed with long lives. Mary died in 1896. Christopher died in 1900


The newspaper carried this notice.

In 1901 the three younger children, Thomas, May and Christopher lived with an Aunt. Edward can’t be found and by 1911 all four of Kit’s children seem to have vanished.

Of course, we’d love to know more.

James Crosby and Family

March 8, 2015

This maintains a Blythburgh theme for it is the family of James Crosby and Mary Ann (Cullingford) Smith. She was born in Blythburgh as was oldest daughter Ellen. The little bit of family tree I have included (click it to see it at a readable size) was produced before I knew much more about this family. I see I didn’t know how to spell Blythburgh when I did this bit of tree!


Let’s look at James – the dad of this family. He was my G G Grandfather and was born in 1815, the year of the battle of Waterloo. He was born in Butley in Suffolk. We do not know when or why he moved up to Blythburgh which was also in Suffolk but is some 17 miles from Butley, in a straight line. Perhaps he was selected by a Blythburgh farmer at a hiring fair.

He married Mary Ann in Blythburgh in 1840. Ellen was already born by then. The next four children were born at Tunstall in Suffolk and then James got back to his home parish of Butley in time for my Great Granny, Sarah Ann to be born there.

James died in 1865 and we have a memorial card.


We also have a memorial card for Mary Ann


She died in 1888.

Once again, I feel really lucky to be a descendant of hoarders. My great gran must have kept these cards and they have passed through my gran and my dad to me.

Mum’s oil lamps

March 22, 2014

I find it interesting that I recall my mum loved a pair of oil lamps which I now have. Mum died way back in 1967 when I was a teenager but I still think of these lamps as ‘mum’s’.


The lamps have a clear glass window at the front and a red glass window at the rear.


There’s a small green window at the side and a clamp for fastening on the other side.


I do not know for sure what they were used for but almost certainly they were for bikes. Most similar lamps seem to have the fastening bracket at the back.

The base of the lamp is the paraffin tank and the lamp is a simple wick lamp so there is a wheel adjuster to control the flame.

The clear glass front opens so that the inside can be cleaned if it gets sooty.


The lamp was made by a Birmingham firm.


P H stands for Powell and Hanmer. I think they made their ‘Demon’ lamps towards the end of the nineteenth century or possibly early in the twentieth. I have had them lit in the past.

Lovely items – I am very fond of them as lamps but mostly for memories of mum.


Ann Scrace

February 13, 2014

Meet the Relative

Actually, there is no photo of this relative that I have. But who knows, putting her on this blog might just bring one to me.

Ann Scrace was a cousin three times removed. That means her grandfather was my great great great grandfather. She’s a cousin, but three generations older than me.

Ann was born in about 1837 in the parish of Frant in Sussex. It is her 1861 occupation that fascinates me. Her address was given as Bayham Abbey. She was housekeeper for the Marquis Camden but where he was in 1861 I don’t know. It seems that 24 year old Ann was in charge of Bayham Abbey. She had a housemaid with her and they were the only occupants.

I have tried to gather together postcards and images of places where family lived. Postcards are obviously much more recent so they don’t show an 1861 version of the abbey. Here is the Bayham Abbey card I have.


Now I rather like these artist created cards but was Ann really housekeeper of these ruins?

Probably not for there is also a Bayham Abbey House. A grand country pile and Ann was the singularly youthful housekeeper there.

Ann married John Batemen in 1865. They had two sons, William and Charles. By 1891 Ann was widowed and was living with her very aged parents back on the Bayham estate.

I think she died in 1898.

Map cover art – alive and well

February 10, 2014

A couple of days ago I featured A Christmas 2013 present I received about map cover art. I’m now pleased to report that the art of map cover illustration is alive and well.

Here is another of my Christmas presents from December 2013. It is a map. It covers an area where I live but is an updated version of a 19th century map.


What Cassini, the publishers, have done is taken the old survey which dates from the early 19th century and enlarged the scale so that it  can precisely match the current Landranger series of OS maps. And as they say, you can discover the landscape of the past.

And yes, an interesting picture has been put on the front, this time showing Salisbury Cathedral.

Actually, the old series maps of the 19th century were always something of a nightmare. They lacked colour and used shading to try to indicate hills. The contour lines used now are much easier to cope with.

Here is a section of the map.


I have deliberately chosen what might be called a quiet area of the map. The Salisbury or Hampshire River Avon is running more or less south through the map. On either side of the valley we rise up onto Salisbury Plain. Busy areas, like Salisbury itself are very crowded and would have been even worse at the original one inch to one mile scale.

George Clarke

December 6, 2013

A slightly better off ancestor

Most of my ancestors were labourers. They led little more than a hand to mouth existence. Some of them spent time in workhouses because they had been unable to sell their labour for some reason. Most were reasonably honest although some undoubtedly stole things in an attempt to assuage hunger.

A few, though, in times past, were a tad richer. Take, for example Great Great Grandfather, George Clarke. In 1841 he lived here.


This is Barelands Farm in the parish of Frant in Sussex. What a fabulously delightful location!

In 1844 he married Mahala Scrace whose family had Leafwood Farm in the same parish.


These two farms look across what might be a deserted village – a humpy-bumpy field – at one another. This became the home and working the farm became the livelihood for George and Mahala.

Later, George and Mahala moved to Cross-in-Hand, parish of Waldron, where they continued to farm. They had the less lovely sounding name of Back Lane Farm.

When George died he left a will.


So George left £231/11/3d in 1891. In labour terms, that’s worth about £100000 today. George and Mahala were not poor but we wouldn’t want to live a life, today on a mere hundred thousand pounds. On what is now regarded as the living wage, that sum of money might last about seven years.

Mahala didn’t have seven years for she died in 1895.

The Tile Hunter

December 3, 2013

I have commented before on this blog that I like the simple things made from baked clay – like bricks and tiles. But one item I have I think rather beggared the belief of my wife.

We were in France on a brief holiday. I ought to explain here that my wife is actually pretty good at French. She’ll say she isn’t, but she actually did languages at uni – including French so she isn’t bad.

Mine, on the other hand is not good. Back when I was a teenager there were very few universities that would take you on any course without a modern foreign language ‘O’ level. I struggled. I guess the nerd brain likes things to be logical. Languages have some rules, but words lack logic. This probably applies to English more than French and of course, I learned English with no problems. But French was a nightmare for me. I took O level and failed badly. I took it again and failed narrowly. But by the time I had a girlfriend (now wife) who was good at it and she gave me lessons and confidence and I managed a pass. But it gives you the idea that really I was not good at coping with French. And with a competent wife, I tended not to even try to use it – unless I went off alone.

So one evening I went out for a solo walk around the village we were staying in and I returned to our bed and breakfast base with a tile.

I had engaged a man, out in his garden, in conversation and had blagged a tile off him. This man was a huge bloke and he was, whilst not chatting with me, wielding a hefty axe. He was quite scary looking really. But I was determined to try a bit of French – and one of the words I knew was the word for ‘tile’ and so I commented on the heap of them he had in his garden. And soon I was on my way with a tile tucked under my arm.

It has been an ornament at home ever since, so here it is.


This might have been deemed a decorated pan tile in England, but of course it is French. It was made by ‘Legros et Fils.


They come from Dieppe and this is their number 2 tuile.


I can’t find much about Legros, but this name appears on web site – an alphabetical list of the famous people of Dieppe. I have machine translated it from the French.

Legros (Etienne-Isidore) Born in Rouen on 3 Jan 1811 and died at Dieppe on 10 Oct 1889. Founder Dieppe an important ceramics factory. In 1870 rendered immense services to the city. Dieppe Mayor from 1871 to 1879 President of the Tribunal of Commerce, Member of the Chamber of Commerce, Knight of the Legion of Honor.

Of course Dieppe was a far-away place, across the ocean when I was a child and we watched the ferries to-ing and fro-ing from Newhaven. And my tile, given by the garden axeman, came from there.