25 April 2010

The Physicist & the Actor

One of the things about living in Cambridge is that you quite often get to see famous people; so yesterday, while I was doing my tourist-guide impression, we did. See a couple of famous people, that is. Over the years I've seen more than I can recall in town . . . . no, really, I can't recall them, I only know what today is because I had to look it up before starting this entry :-). Yesterday, my friend Ann and I saw Philip Franks (out of Darling Buds of May, Heartbeat and many others) and then, the piece the resistance (cos it really did feel a bit special), just after we'd come out of King's College Chapel, we were nearly run over by Stephen Hawking!! Well, we were quite impressed.

Moving on . . . . three anniversaries today. The first one goes against my self-imposed rule of not reporting burials (on account of it's a bit morbid) but Archdale Bullard leapt at me for his marvellous name. And then for his terribly short life. Young Archdale was my second cousin five times removed, son of William & Elizabeth (nee Leonard), and lived in the Hertfordshire town of Hitchin. Born, christened, died & buried within the space of five days in April 1812, according to the records of St Mary's church.

Then there's his second cousin, John Bullard who married Mary Sutton today at St Mary, Newington in 1813. John, my first cousin 5 times removed, was the son of John & Ann (nee Cole) and I don't know much about him. I have a date for his christening, but no place, and I know that he and Mary had at least one son, William James born 1820. This one leapt off the page at me because I used to work with a Mary Sutton.

And finally . . . come with me to the village of Sutton (good link, eh?) in Cambridgeshire, for the christening of my third cousin once removed today in 1869. Walter Whiting, son of John & Elizabeth (nee Owen) was the oldest of six children and moved with his family to Bedford around 1876. He became a harness maker, married Carrie Haynes in 1899 and two daughters were begat. And, having just looked him up in the 1911 census, we can also add two sons. As there is a five year gap between second daughter Ethel and oldest son Owen, it's likely that Walter & Carrie lost a child - and this is confirmed by the census return which, apart from telling us that they've been married for 12 years, also shows that there were five children of the marriage, of whom four are still alive and one has died.

That was quite a useful addition, genealogy-wise, to the census but I can't help wondering what future genealogists will make of the thousands of Jedi in the 2001 census!

Did I mention that I saw Stephen Hawking yesterday . . . .

More soon.

23 April 2010

Comings & Goings

St George's Day today and I thought I'd look up a few other famous anniversaries. So . . Roy Orbison was born today in 1936; Rupert Brooke died today in 1915; and William Shakespeare did both - he was born and died today.

Roy Orbison? Famous for "Oh Pretty Woman" and he joined the Travelling Wilburys. Rupert Brooke? Quite appropriate, really, that he should die (of sepsis, on his way to Gallipoli) on St George's day. A few years ago I was wandering around Grantchester, as you do, waiting for the pubs to open and so went to look at the War Memorial in the church yard. I was initially surprised to see Brooke's name there . . . . how stupid can you get! And then there's Will. Surely everyone's heard of him! Must have written very quickly . . .

Anyway, on to today's excerpt from the family file: the marriage of Elizabeth Bigley (my first cousin three times removed) and Matthew Wadlow, in 1855 in Chatteris. He & Elizabeth produced eight children over the next 22 years, all the while remaining in the town. In common with so many in the file, Matthew worked on the land and he died in 1917.

Of their children, I have found that eldest son Henry married Isabellina - isn't that a wonderful name - in 1882 and had begat four children by 1901. His brother David, living just up the street from Henry in 1901, was married to Mary Ann, with two children. Third brother Fred married in 1892 but I don't know who to . . . . sorry, to whom, and the others resolutely elude me after 1891. C'est la vie, I guess, but I shall continue looking.

That's all for today as I need to prepare for "Tourist Guide" mode tomorrow.

More soon.

20 April 2010

The inscription . . .

We can't know why the lily

has so brief a time to bloom

in the warmth of sunlight's kiss upon its face

before it folds its fragrance in

and bids the world good-night

to rest its beauty in a gentler place

But we can know

that nothing that is loved is ever lost

and no-one who has ever touched a heart

can really pass away

because some beauty lingers on

in each memory in which they've been a part

New Picture

This morning I rediscovered the photo on the left. No words are necessary from me.

More soon.

17 April 2010

Oh heck . . and phew!

This time last week I was happily reporting that I'd found a solution to the conundrum that was Harriet Furniss/Braybrook/Culpin. And I then went on to boast about the information I'd found and finally updated my database with.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I really really hate my computer.

Because I was trying to be clever in the way I transfer the information to my website (www.praeteritus.co.uk lest you forget!) I managed to confuse the database so completely that I had a few moments where I thought I'd lost the lot. The few minutes when I couldn't get the backup version to open were particularly scary . . . anyone in the area listening very carefully would have heard some quiet whimpering (well, it's not as though there are any aircraft to drown out the noise . . . !).

However, I'm pleased to report that all is well and I have now managed to get everything working again. But I have lost a few days worth of input.

So, lesson to be learnt: keep more than one backup copy and don't try to be too clever with new gadgetry.

Must go, as I have to re-input all that lovely detail about Harriet and her families.

More soon.

14 April 2010

Mended it!

Talking about the Webbs yesterday reminded me that my computer program took against George Webb a few weeks ago; that is, his name and all his details disappeared when his reference number reset itself to 0:0. Bizarrely tho, his info all printed out in the report I used last night!

So, having tried a couple of potential cures, I gave in to the inevitable, created a "new" George Webb and have disconnected his alter ago from the family. Heaven only knows how I delete the shadow copy properly . . !

Rather than let that effort go to waste, let's meet George. I just asked the machine how he's related to me and you won't be surprised that it's "more than once". Pin your ears back for this one . . . . he's: 1) my great-great uncle, 2) the husband of my 2nd cousin twice removed, 3) my 2nd cousin 3 times removed AND 4) the husband of my 4th cousin once removed. Phew!

Interesting bloke, tho, as he was a farmer in Swaffham Prior, then Reach and then Burwell. With his second wife Ivy, he begat seven children, and his death in 1934 merited a front page article in the Cambridge Daily News of 2nd April:

Well-known Farmer & County Councillor.
Many people in town and county will learn with regret of the passing of Councillor George Webb, of Burwell. He had not enjoyed good health for some time, but with constant care and attention he had partially recovered. On Friday he was taken suddenly ill and his condition rapidly became serious, and he passed away at his residence, Berkeley House, Burwell, on Saturday evening. Mr Webb, who was in his 80th year, was a typical British farmer of the bluff old school and one of the oldest members of the Cambs County Council. He was a native of the county, having been born at Landbeach. Of a genial and kindly disposition, he was much liked and respected. As a great supporter of the Congregational Church, he will be greatly missed. On the County Council he was not given to much talking, but on occasion expressed his views vigorously and his shrewd remarks were always listened to with respect. He was never a dull speaker, and generally contrived to put the Council in a good humour by his lively sallies and interjections. He was a strong supporter of the Liberal cause in the days of the late Mr E S Montagu. He leaves a widow, fours sons and two daughters.

The CDN of 6th April gives us even more good stuff:
The funeral of Mr George Webb, of Berkeley House, Burwell, took place at Burwell on Thursday afternoon. Mr Webb was a well-known agriculturist and Cambs. County Councillor. The funeral service was held in the Congregational Chapel, of which Mr Webb was a great friend, and the interment followed in the chapel yard. The Rev R C Jude officiated, and the hymn “Give me the wings of faith to rise” was sung. Mrs Percy Doe was at the organ. In the course of some remarks, the Rev R C Jude said, “We are suffering a great and deep sense of loss today in the departure of our beloved friend. I am sure there is not one here but what has some reason to regret his loss from our midst. We who belong to this Christian fellowship and church in Burwell, and the friends who are associated together at Reach, feel we have lost one who has been a great friend and helper during the greater part of his life. He went in and out among us with his good feelings and sympathies and wise advice, always in his place on the Lord’s Day, constant in attendance and devotion to us in all our efforts and organisations, taking a great interest in us all personally, always meeting us with cheer, always looking on the bridge side of things, and always ready to encourage us on our way. The members of the Church, and the children in the Sunday School looked upon him with very real affection. They had cause to be grateful that God had spared his life so long. He was always ready to help all denominations and to recognise all Christian efforts. They felt his loss would be felt far beyond anything they could measure. Within the sphere of business life they had lost one who had been known for his industry, uprightness and consideration for those dependent on him. He had been taken to God like a shock of corn gathered in due season. They all joined together in the true sympathies to his wife, children and members of his family. The coffin was of polished oak, with oxydised silver fittings, and bore an engraved plate with the inscription: “George Webb, died 31st March 1934, aged 79 years.” The brick grave was lined with evergreens and flowers. The immediate mourners were: Mrs Webb (widow), Mr George Webb (son), Mr Fred Webb (brother), Miss Webb (niece), Mr and Mrs W D Greenall (nephew and niece), Mr and Mrs Herbert Webb (nephew and niece), Mr and Mrs Ernest Webb (nephew and niece), Mr W Greenall (nephew), Mrs Stokes (niece), Mr Albert Orpwood (nephew), Mr F Greenall (nephew), Mr L Greenall (nephew), Mrs Johnson and Mr Driver. Six employees, Messrs S Millard, C Fletcher, G Bowyer, S Sturgeon, T King and C Millard, acted as bearers, and other employees, headed by two foremen, Messrs H Bowyer (Kirtling) and F Bowyer (Reach), followed the cortege to the church. The Burwell branch of the British Legion was represented by Messrs P Grainger, J Clack, B Warren and W Fuller. Among others present at the church were the following: Mrs J Avis, Mrs C Adams, Miss Adams, Mrs Audley, Mr C R Bennett (County Agricultural Officer), Mrs H R Buck, Mr and Mrs W Blackwell, Miss Bourton, Miss Bowyer (Reach), Mrs O Badcock (Reach), Mrs Burrell, Mrs Bonnett, Mr and Mrs G Blackwell, Mr and Mrs E Butler, Mrs Black, Mrs F Blackwell, Mr E Bond, Mr W Clark, Mrs EW Cornwell (Reach), Mr L J Chater (Cambridge), Mrs J Dunn (representing Senior School Managers), Mr W Dunn (superintendent of Swaffham Commissioners), Mr and Mrs A Deny, Mrs Dean, Mr EWH Diver (Isleham), Mr G Edwards, Mr C Edwards (Hauxton), Councillor EO Fordham, Mr J Fuller, Mr and Mrs WP Fuller, Mrs H Fuller, Mr G Fuller, Mr J Friend (Cambridge), Mr and Mrs A Fuller, Mrs Flack, Councillor HW Game, Miss O Game, Mr DB Ginn (Cambridge). Mr and Mrs W Hales and Mr Hales jun (Linton), Mrs J Hatley, Mr H Howard (Newmarket), Mr I Harries, Mr C Hawkes, Mr S Holttum (Linton), Mrs G Heaton. Ald WC Jackson (Chairman, Cambs County Council), Miss Jennings, Mrs A Johnson (Reach), Mrs King, Mr T Lawrence, Mr Lenoir, Mrs Mole, Mr and Mrs G Mansfield, Mrs T Martin, Mr W Mason, Mr B Murfitt (Impington), Mr O Mason, Mr and Mrs BC Mitcham, Mrs Neale, Mrs Nunn, Mrs R Palmer, Mr H Peachey, Mr and Mrs FG Parker (Mildenhall), Mr GE Palmer, Mrs Parr, Mr and Mrs G Parr, Mr R Ready, Mrs Redgell (Reach), Mrs Rose, Mrs H Roe (Reach), Mr F Sayers, Mr JG Sayers (Cambridge), Mrs E Stinton (Reach), Mrs N Saunders, Miss Stevens, Mrs W Stevens, Mr J Turner, Mr Ashley Tabrum (Clerk to Cambs County Council), Mrs Treleven, Mr F Thompson, Mr Vincent, Mr W Varney Webb (Chief Constable), Mr M Warren, Mr Healey Wilson, Mrs Ephraim Warren, Supt. W Winter, Mr J Wilson, Mr and Mrs FG Watson, Mr EP Wedd (Meldreth), Mr and Mrs J Wheeler (Newmarket), Mrs J Watson.

Stunning turn-out, you have to agree.
I'm glad I put him back in properly!

More soon.

13 April 2010


Let me introduce you to my great-great-great grandfather James Webb. He was the son of Thomas & Mary (nee Gunn) and was born in the Cambridgeshire village of Landbeach in 1814. In 1841, he and his brother Charles married on the same day at the parish church, to Hannah Lowton and Ann White respectively.

And, yet again, this complicates my family tree. He's another one who is related to me twice - in his own right and as his wife's husband or, more correctly, as my great-great-great grandmother's husband. But before you start worrying about this family, we're almost sane . . . . .well, no-one has a certificate to prove otherwise!

Moving on . . . James appears in the 1851 and 1861 census returns as a publican, then moves across to Burwell as a farmer of 147 acres, which he increased to 177 acres by 1881. He and Hannah produced nine children between 1842 and 1864 and Hannah died in 1886. She's buried in Landbeach.

Leaving a reasonable time, James remarried in 1889 - this time to widow-woman Sophia Levitt, who happened to live just up the High Street in Landbeach. They married at the Register Office in Cambridge, both giving the same address in Thompson's Lane in the city. Why? Maybe the locals, back in Landbeach, weren't terribly keen on the idea? Who knows?

Interestingly, though, for a man who had been a blacksmith, farmer and publican, he doesn't appear to be able to sign his name as that part of the marriage certificate bears his mark X. Amazing the things that leap at you from a piece of paper!

Of his offspring, oldest son James moved to Cambridge, became a blacksmith, married his first cousin once removed and produced five children; Frederick, born in 1845, died at the age of twelve; Henrietta married blacksmith Walter Greenall and had seven children - including one who was born four years after his father's death (good trick if you can do it!); Susan married farmer's son Jabez Peachey who became a missionary after Susan's death in 1885; Walter, born 1853, seemed to spend his life as "lodger" or "boarder" in and around his siblings, and died in 1916; George (1855-1934) married twice - first to Rose Peachey (1856-1916, quite possibly the sister of the aforementioned missionary Jabez) with whom he doesn't appear to have had any children, and then to Ivy Greenall , with whom he has eight. Oh, and just to complicate the tree further . . . . Ivy was George's great-niece.

Back to James and Hannah's children - Ann (1859-1916) married Henry Orpwood who was a prison officer and, four children later, they're in Shepton Mallet in 1901, returning to Cambridge by 1911. Her sister Ellen had the shortest life, being born in 1861 and dying 2 years and 11 months later in Landbeach. And finally, the youngest child, Frederick, was born in 1864, married Mary Ann Thulbourn and followed his father's trade of brewer/farmer in Landbeach. In 1929 Kelly's Directory lists him as a farmer, living at Glebe House in the village.

So, there you have a potted guide to James Webb and offspring; I think I managed to mention twenty three people by name and referred to a further twenty four. Not a bad few minutes work!

More soon.

10 April 2010

Harriet alert!

With all due respect, there isn't much happening in my family file today so I thought I'd ramble about my recent researchings, brought about by looking for something to ramble about!

So, let me introduce you to Harriet Furniss, the wife of Harold James Culpin who was my 1st cousin twice or three times removed. That's not me being vague, he really was related to me twice - because both of his parents were related to me before they married; for those of you who weren't taking notes, his mother was Lydia Freeman (my gt-gt-grandfather's sister) and his father was James Culpin (my gt-grandmother's brother).

Anyway, back to Harriet. I got mightily confused about this lady because she was also Harriet Braybrook. I know now that she was born Furniss, in Bourn, and married Frederick Braybrook in 1910. He & Harriett had three sons and a daughter before he died in 1916 (during, but not of, the Great War). I believe that F&H's daughter died as an infant, but at least two of the sons grew to old age.

Harriet Braybrook, as she was, married Harold Culpin in 1921 in the St Neots area. Two daughters were begat of this marriage before Harriet died, in the village of Therfield, in 1949. She was buried in Fen Drayton and the report in the Cambridge Independent Press caused me to do a lot more searching.

These subsequent discoveries included the info that Haz and Haz's elder daughter Betty (1921-2002) married Thomas Hays; their younger daughter Marjorie (1924-2004) married Kenneth Hadden. But these marriages paled into insignificance (no offence intended, ladies) when I finally found the Hannah family who were named in Harriet's funeral report. The "children" are still living so I shall give no more details, but I was mighty pleased to lay that conundrum to rest . . . er, so to speak!

But, a few more of that line of the dynasty to find so you'll have to excuse me while I go back into search mode.

More soon.

4 April 2010

A man of Kent

A trawl through the database brought forward a few anniversaries on 4th April but the one that caught my eye was a newspaper report from the Oxford Journal (I think, it came via someone else and I may not have transcribed that bit perfectly). Before I launch into it, let me introduce you to one of those mentioned:

My g-g-g-uncle William Staden was born in Sundridge, in Kent, in 1813, the eighth of nine children of Thomas & Sarah (nee Dodd) and joined the army as a young man. But not for long . . . . thanks to the Manchester & Lancs FHS, I was able to find that his name came up in the Army Deserters (1828-1840) database.

It appears that he was in the 11th Light Dragoons and, presumably, decided he didn't like it. His trade is listed as "Coachman" so I presume that was his civvie job (altho', as ever, I'm open to opinions).

Then William disappears for a few years - although I might have found in 1841 but I have no point of reference and the info is not enough to claim him - and reappears at the Cavalry Barracks, in Norwich, in the 1851 census. Back in the Army?? I suppose it's regular work. In 1864 he married Eliza Searle in Windlesham, Surrey, and together they bring up Eliza's daughter Clara. A farm labourer in Lewisham in 1871, he's moved . . . er . . . up in the world by 1881 when he's become the valet to Colonel Peel, an army pensioner.

But then, we come to that 4th April anniversary and the newspaper: under the heading "Suicide of Colonel Peel", it transpires that the said Colonel, formerly of the 11th Hussars, shot himself whilst severely depressed. William, his valet and servant, had the misfortune to be the one to find him. If you're eating, I'd look away now . . .

"Wm Staden, servant and valet to the deceased, stated that Colonel Peel seemed nervous and spoke but little on Wednesday morning. He rose shortly after eleven o'clock, and did not go out for a walk at one o'clock as was his usual custom. Just before four o'clock in the afternoon witness entered his room and found him dead, with a pistol-wound in his forehead. He was reclining against a chair, and near his body was en open despatch-box containing his will and other papers. The box was bespattered with blood. His right hand grasped a double-barrelled pistol, and his finger was on the trigger. One chamber of the weapon had been discharged and the other was still loaded."

Don't you just love "bespattered" - they didn't mince their words, did they!

Anyway, after that bit of excitement, William and his wife Eliza removed themselves away from the posh bits of London (Westminster) back to West Ham/Poplar and remained there until William's death in 1894. Eliza, together with granddaughter Minnie, moved even further out of London, back to her old stomping ground of Frimley, in Surrey, and she died in the Farnham area in 1925. I've just discovered that Minnie married Samuel Abbott, a fireman, in 1902 and was living in Shepherd's Bush in 1911.

Minnie is, of course, no relation to me whatsoever, being William's wife's granddaughter, but I still like to know what happened to her.

More soon.

2 April 2010

Is this a spanner I see before me?

Good morning! Before I launch into Hot Cross Buns and chocolate, I thought I'd share an intriguingly well-placed spanner thrown into the Culpin-works by a new correspondent.

The lady in question discovered the grave of Mary Culpin in West Deeping in South Lincs and rightly questioned the info she found on my website. After a bit of corroboration (long word for this time of the morning), I agreed and will shortly publish the corrected version, with one Mary, now re-allocated to a different set of parents, marrying *Robert* Mears (not Thomas); and, incidentally, this suggested that the Elizabeth who married Mr Mears' witness Robert Webb was probably Mary's sister . . . so I swapped her over too. Hope you're paying attention, I shall be asking questions later.

All this happened in the Huntingdonshire village of Elton (the marriages, I mean, I didn't nip off there to do the changing around) and Maggie (my new correspondent) noticed not only the early death of a Mary who I had getting married, but also the helpful hint that next door (in the graveyard) was someone named Boyall. This pointed to the correct Mary as her both her sister and brother married Boyalls. The clues are all there, if only we link them together!

So, many thanks to Maggie, not only for her clues and info, but also for taking the trouble to find me and pass on the info. It's very exciting that she found my website - a bit of a thrill that I've made it onto Mr Google's radar!!

Guess you know what I shall be looking into this weekend . . . . well, the forecast is for rain!

More soon.