31 January 2010

Two pubs & a windmill

Today's anniversary takes place in 1831.

That's the year James Clerk Maxwell (physicist) was born, as was Mr Studebaker (he of the American car); Charles Darwin started his voyage on HMS Beagle and the French Foreign Legion was founded; Coal miners rioted in Merthyr Tydfil and Victor Hugo published The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

So, now we're deep in context, let me introduce you to great-great-great-great Uncle Thomas Lowton who married Ann Craft in the small Cambs village of Boxworth today. 180 years ago. The couple settled in Dry Drayton (just down the road) and proceeded to produce four children in the next twelve years. In 1841 James was an ag lab and was similarly listed in 1861; however, he is an invalid in 1851 . . . seems he recovered, so that's good! Mind you, I think he was living in the Black Horse pub in 1861 so maybe that helped!

Moving on, the other significant moment today (in my family history) is an 1811 advertisement in the local paper and reproduced in the Stretham Chronicle, telling us that "Francis Langford, Red Lion, wanted to put a youth as apprentice carpenter, joiner or coachman."

The aforementioned Francis Langford was, like Thomas Lowton, my 4xgt uncle and he was married to Ann Riddle. They had had eleven children by 1811 and managed one more in 1813. I didn't discover whether Francis got his apprentice but there was another advert in 1820: "Windmillers could contact Francis Langford for details of four good mill sails carrying upwards of 9 yards of cloth, five and a half feet wide with the leading board to the left."

Ten years later, and another advert: "Francis Langford, Red Lion, advertised for journeyman miller to take charge of a post windmill."

And the final one: 1839 - "Red Lion: Sale of a well-situated and old-established Red Lion pub in extensive trade for 100 years, containing dining and sitting rooms, tap room, bar, kitchen, airy bedroom, arched ale cellar holding 20 barrels, liquer cellar, good dairy, backhouse and cottage, large stables, blacksmiths shop, barn and outbuildings, yard and bowling green. Has good frontage next to the street through which the Lynn to London mails and coaches pass and repass daily, a good water supply with springs ten feet from the surface; proprietor for the last 70 years was Francis Langford."

I have to say that the last bit about Francis being the proprietor for the last 70 years is a bit misleading. That would be quite clever since he was only 75 when he died two years later. It is, though, a clever piece of phraseology as, you've guessed it, Francis succeeded his father . . . whose name was also Francis.

More soon.

25 January 2010

Smiths & Basketmakers

A cold January day, particularly where I was in the county, so snuggle up to your nice warm computer . . . .

And let me introduce you to my first cousin four times removed Jane Smith. The daughter of Canham (Can to his friends) and Mary, Jane was born today in 1829 in the small Fen town of Chatteris and christened on 22 February the same year. In the 1841 census she is, inexplicably, staying with (or possibly living with - who can tell) the Stocks family in Slade End, Chatteris . . . . and that's all I know about her. I've tried to find her again but, let me tell you, there are quite a few Jane Smiths in the area! I'll put her on the infamous "To Do" list.

I know slightly more about the next couple, John Bullard and Maria Robb, who married today at the Baptist Chapel in St Ives in 1854. John, who had previously been married to Susan Wignall (she died in 1851), was one of the basket-making Bullards and he & Maria went on to produce six children in the next eleven years. They stayed in St Ives; in 1871 John was a "basket maker & fancy repository, employing 4 men and 18 boys" and he continued in the trade until his death on the last day of 1893.

Maria lived on in Crown Street in St Ives until at least 1901; and I found her in the 1911 census with her daughter Emily & family. She died in May 1914 and, like her husband, is buried in Broadleas Cemetery in St Ives.

John & Maria's two sons, John & Charles, emigrated together, arriving at Ellis Island in 1885. John stayed there and was last seen in the 1900 US census in Montana, a dealer in musical instruments; Charles appears to have returned by 1896 and was back in St Ives, in Campions Yard, in 1901, listed as as osier grower & basket manufacturer - sucked back into the family trade!!!

More soon.

18 January 2010

One and a bit

I had two people lined up today but, as I just checked to see if I could update either of them, I found some contradictory info about one of them.

So, let's start instead with Ellen Lowton who was another one to be related to me twice; as my great-great-grandmother's daughter by her first husband (not my gt-gt-grandfather), she is my gt-gt-aunt. But, as I've probably said before, gt-gt-grandma married her first cousin (once removed) so Ellen is also my second cousin four times removed. Easy, innit!

Anyway, today we mark Ellen's christening at the church of St Mary & St Benedict in Huntingdon. She was the daughter of Ellen Layton (gt-gt-grandma) and Thomas Lowton and when her father died (in 1860) Ellen & her younger brother Henry moved to their mother's home town of Cambridge. In 1861 they were staying with their aunt Sarah Layton who was a shopkeeper in Bradmore Street - now right on the edge of Anglia Ruskin University's Cambridge campus.

Ten years later, Ellen was in service - a kitchen maid in St Paul's Terrace, still in Cambridge - and by 1881 she was a servant in the household of W Eaden Lilley. Now there's a name guaranteed to warm the hearts of anyone who used to shop in Cambridge - used to be a family-owned department store, which left Cambridge about ten years ago and only recently closed down its shops in St Ives & Saffron Walden.

But I digress, again, when I should be talking about Ellen . . . . but that's where her story seems to stop for the moment. It's not for want of trying, dear reader, but I simply cannot find her after 1881. I've tried Lowton, Lowson & Loughton; I've even searched for Ellen, born in Huntingdon in 1856. So, any lateral thinking ideas gratefully received!

Moving on . . . . . to the "bit" of the title. I started this evening believing that another member of that side of the family, with a similar dual-relationship to me, was born today in 1895. But then I discovered that Florence Mary Morris Webb might equally be Florence May M Webb; I have her death in 1937 but it's occurred to me before that this didn't really tie in with my uncle's memories of meeting her fairly regularly - he wasn't born until 1930 - so maybe she was the Florence May M Webb who died in 1983.

But, if t'was her, then she was born on 18 July 1895, not January. Then again, where did I get Florence Mary Morris from? I've got a christening date for her, so maybe that's it? I'll have to go back to the Records Office and look it up again - it's going to nag at me.

Hey ho. Think I'll go and have a coffee instead . . . .

More soon.

13 January 2010

Forgotten Hammer

In my last entry I promised more details on Victor Watson, so pin back your ears because I've finally gathered those details . . . . .

Victor Martin Watson, my fourth cousin twice removed, was born in Girton (small village just outside Cambridge) on 10th November 1897, the tenth child (of 12) of Philip & Alice (nee Howe). According to the report in the Cambridge News & Crier on 17th December 2009, he lived in Girton nearly all his life - but in 1901 the family was living in Oakington Road, Histon (just up the road).

Victor served with the Cambridgeshires & the Northamptonshires during the Great War; he enlisted in autumn 1914, with his papers showing him as 5 feet 6 inches tall and 18yrs 11 mths old. However, a quick bit of adding on your fingers will tell you that he was, in fact, two years younger.

I can't help but wonder if he was "found out" as he remained in Home Service for some time; his records suggest that he was finally sent to France in 1918. Unsurprisingly, given his future occupation, he fortunately avoided any major injury and also maintained a perfectly clean disciplinary record! When he was demobbed in June 1919, he returned home to Girton and, in 1923, married Kathleen Smith.

He played football for West Ham United in the 1920s and 1930s, scored 326 goals in 505 games, won seven England caps and played in the "White Horse" FA Cup Final in 1923 (West Ham lost 2-0 to Bolton).

There was a photo of Victor in the paper but I think I'd be pushing my luck to reproduce it here . . . . . so I won't!

Hope it was worth the wait.

More soon.

3 January 2010

Wing-ing it

A nice bright, cold day outside so snuggle down and read about my great-grandfather's half-sister. Emma Bigley, daughter of my gt-gt-grandmother (ahem, father unknown) was born today in 1842 in the small town of Chatteris in the Fens. In 1851 she's in the Workhouse at Doddington with my gt-gt-grandparents and her siblings (full and half) and in1860 she marries William Wing back in Chatteris.

She and William went on to have eight children before 1876; they then go missing from the 1881 census - well, I haven't found them yet - and then Emma turns up in Narrow Street, Nottingham, as a widow of 48 yrs, with four children living with her (by then, there is also Ellen, born around the time they go missing). It's interesting to contemplate the fact that Emma has, by this time, lost five members of her immediate family: her husband William (presumably), oldest two sons, both John, and oldest daughters Rebecca & Catherine. The former married James Langham in Nottingham in 1887 and died three years later - in childbirth, I guess, as it was very common.

The Wings are very good at hiding from me as I can only find one of Emma & William's family in the 1901 census - John, their oldest living child - and have had similar results in 1911. Where are they all????

So, in a fit of pique, I'm going to leave them hovering in the Nottingham area and move on to the other anniversary.

Meet Elizabeth Flavel, my first cousin five times removed, who was christened today in 1803 in Landbeach, in Cambs. I was going to wish her Happy Birthday, but then I looked more closely and I saw that I had arbitrarily decided that she was born on the day of her christening. I don't suppose I'll get any closer to her actual birth date as the vicar wasn't kind enough to write it in the register but I'm surprised I made that assumption. So, excuse me while I go back and correct it . . . . . .

Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas & Martha (nee Webb) and married Thomas Wolf in Landbeach in 1822. They then settled down in Girton, a few miles away, and produced eight children before Thomas's death in 1844. Elizabeth lived on in High Street, Girton, until her death in 1890, having played her part in quite a bit of begatting.

Back in April last year I wrote about Frances Wolf who, with her husband John Watson, started a dynasty of 10 children, 33 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Elizabeth was Frances's mother, so we can now start with 8 children before moving the others all down one generation!

Point of interest, which I shall expand on in my next entry: one of Elizabeth's great-grandchildren was Victor Martin Watson who became a very well-known footballer locally and even played for England! Exciting . . . . and I'll tell you about him next time.

More soon.

1 January 2010

Oh look, a new decade!

I thought I’d start this year with my gt-gt-gt-grandparents George Frederick Brown & Ann Moore, who married today at Thorpe Episcopal in Norfolk in 1851, but then I noticed that I’d given them the full biog. treatment on George’s birthday.

So, scrub that idea. A brief mention, then, for Gladys Emily Culpin who married Percy John Stubbings 90 years ago at St Andrew’s church, Swavesey. My first cousin twice removed, she was the daughter of Millice Charles & Emily (nee Armes), and she and Percy may have had a son Charles in 1920. I say may because Gladys’s sister Florence married Percy’s brother Reginald three years previously, so it’s anyone’s guess whose child is whose!

Moving on . . . . let me introduce you to my gt-gt-gt-uncle William Cherry, born today in 1807, the son of Thomas & Sarah (nee Bennington). And that’s all I know about him – he’s the first onto this year’s To Do List!

So, short & sweet. A Happy & Healthy New Year to you, dear reader.

More soon.