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Unusual Source

Unusual Source

Unusual Source

The reverse of the envelope showing the postmarks.

An Important Envelope

One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s. Unfortunately the envelope was empty, but even so, any family historian would understand my excitement when I saw it.

The sender was obviously in mourning, hence the black border, but why?

A comparison of the postmark and my tree showed that a great(x2) great-uncle, Joseph Gillett, had died in the first quarter of that year. His mother, Ann, was living in Bampton at the time.

What was particularly exciting, was that I hadn’t been 100% sure that I had found the correct Gillett relations for my great grandmother, Susan Gillett, as by this time she had been taken in by the family of her stepmother’s second husband, with whom she was living in 1881. The letter had been addressed to her at the address of her paternal aunt where she was presumably visiting her grandfather!

18 February 1882 – Oxford Journal. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Since then, I have found the announcement of Joseph’s death in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.

Joseph died on the 13th February 1882, the letter was sent on 17th February. The collection of postmarks on the back also show the way the letter travelled – postmarked the 17th in Bampton, Oxfordshire, travelling via Brize Norton and Moreton on the Marsh on the 18th to arrive in Maugersbury, Stow on the Wold also on the 18th.

Even though it is ‘only’ an empty envelope it tells me several stories and, more than likely, I also have an example of my great great great grandmother’s handwriting.


The other unusual source which enabled me to track down who was who and how they fitted into my family was The Gillett Spoons.


 

Unusual Source

Unusual Source

One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s.

read more
In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves.

read more
Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time. It features the same families as I described last year.

read more
Namesake

Namesake

I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type!

read more
Beginnings

Beginnings

As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

read more

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves. Kneading was sometimes done with feet, perhaps making for a less-than-clean product. The bakehouse was alarmingly hot as well, up to ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Some bakers had to deliver the bread they made, too. They only had five to ten hours off per day and all but none during the Season. A.N. Wilson says statistics show that London bakers rarely lived past the age of forty-two.
Baking in Victorian England

Bakery at the Rural Life Centre, Tilford.

I don’t have any chefs, or cooks in a stately home as far as I know, but I do have bakers and confectioners in my direct family line. The television programme Victorian Bakers was set in 1837, at the time mine were baking for the residents of Farnham in Surrey and that does a far better job than I could in describing their way of life.

According to the age given on his gravestone in St Andrew’s Churchyard, Farnham in Surrey, Samuel Lewcock, my great (x4) grandfather, was 69 when he died in December 1836. He had outlived all but 3 of his 15 children, at least one of whom was described as a baker in the newspaper announcements of their deaths. One son and two daughters survived him.

Samuel had been born in Odiham where at least of his relations was a miller in the area. He was baptised on 1st April 1772 and his father Richard died in 1783. In 1783 a William Newland, a mealman, a person who deals in meal or flour, took on an apprentice named Samuel Lewcock.

Samuel himself took on an apprentice, a William Blake, on 15 December 1801 in Farnham.

Millers often had a bakehouse attached so it is unsurprising that Samuel became a baker. He had connections with Farnham through his great uncle, Samuel Hare, who had left property in Castle Street.to Samuel’s father Richard. He may well have come to Farnham initially as a miller as there were half a dozen flour mills close to the town as the River Wey passes through the area.

Samuel himself appears in the online records in Farnham when he marries Sarah Taphouse in 1793. Between 1798 and 1800 he was a tenant of William Freeharry at 119 East Street next to “The Unicorn”. He appears in the Jury-Qualified Freeholders and Copyholders listings between 1812 and 1824 and in the Tax records, sometimes as owner and sometimes as tenant although no addresses are given in the listings. According to Pat Heather in “The Town of Farnham. A History of The Borough & Castle Street.”, it was in 1812 that he had bought 32, The Borough and began the bakery, and James later acquired Number 31.

TheGenealogist has the tithe maps for Farnham and there you can see where 31 and 32 The Borough were located – just below the O of Borough.  a wander along The Borough today on Street View shows No. 32 as Vodaphone and No. 31 as Dorothy Perkins.

Pat Heather records a quote about the bakery from Mrs Henry Keary, “Locock’s [sic] with its delicious buns and the round seedy biscuits, and wire baskets, painted green, filled with new laid eggs…

Bakeries were often a family enterprise and so it was with the Lewcocks, albeit only for three generations. When he died in December 1836, Samuel left everything to his wife Sarah. In turn when she died in 1844, the business went to their son James and four years later, it went to James’s wife, Jessamine.

In 1841, Sarah was listed in the Borough with daughters Ann and Jane, a male servant aged 10 and a female servant aged 20 and a journeyman baker, Henry Worsam. In 1841 James and his family were in Castle Street. They moved to The Borough in 1844 after Sarah’s death.

The oven from the Bakehouse from Newdigate. Weald and Downland Museum.

Although James died young aged 38, he died of Scarlatina and not necessarily the respiratory ailments and exhaustion suffered by other bakers at the time. Jessamine was left with the business and 5 surviving children under 11 years old, the youngest daughter had died earlier in the year, also of Scarlatina. Within a year of James’s death, she remarried, to a man seventeen years her junior, Edmund Mason. He was 25 and she was 41. That marriage did not last long as he died of “pulmonary consumption 1 year certified” four years later in 1853. I’m waiting for a certificate as we have never really tracked down who Edmund Mason was and how he ended up in Farnham marrying Jessamine so I will update the article then. We know he came from Buckinghamshire and that there were other Masons in Farnham.

Jessamine gave up the premises and the business in The Borough in 1861, “Jessamine Mason of Farnham, widow, and Charles Andrews of Farnham, gent (her mortgagee), conveyed the premises formerly known as ‘The Swan’ inn, with all associated buildings and land (see plan in -/1), situated in The Borough High Street, Farnham, to William Hazell of Farnham, draper.” exploring surrey’s’ past

In the 1861 census, she was living in Castle Street with Henry, Jessie and Agnes, listed as a house proprietor. Henry was listed as an apprentice, but not as what occupation although he did eventually become a draper, so maybe was apprenticed to William Hazell. She went to live in Kingston-on-Thames with Henry and Agnes. Following her death in 1876, they both married.

None of James and Jessamine’s family went into the baking business – the oldest son, Kenric, went to sea, George became a compositor and did his apprenticeship in Chatham, later settling in Islington. Jessie Ann, the “pianoist” ended up married to an innkeeper in Eccleshill Yorkshire. Henry was a draper and travelling salesman and stayed in the Kingston area and Agnes married a carman and went to live in Battersea. There is no trace (yet) of Lewis the second son after 1851.

The Weald and Downland museum have recently added a new building to their site – the Bakehouse from Newdigate. There were Lewcocks in Newdigate and the surrounding area at the same time as their appearance in Odiham in the late 1600s/early 1700s. As yet, we have found no connection between the two families, but who knows!

 

Delivery bike from Worsam’s bakery. Rural LIfe Centre.

Although the family did not eventually carry on the business, one of their work people did. In 1851, Henry Worsam, baker, who was listed in the Lewcock household in 1841 is running his own business round the corner in Downing Street, listed with his wife and a journeyman baker, John Mileham. Pat Heather notes that he had married the owner of the Downing Street bakery in 1846, following the death of her husband.

In 1861, Henry had his nephew William working alongside him and by 1871, William had taken over the business and Henry had gone back to his place of birth, Basingstoke. Worsam’s bakery remained in Downing Street for many years and eventually closed in 1983.

The Rural Centre at Tilford has many implements and a delivery cart from Worsam’s bakery among its exhibits. When I went there about ten years ago, I took pictures of the bakery area, knowing about having a local baker in the family history, but at the time I did not know of the connection with the Worsams.


SOURCES

Wills of Samuel, Sarah and James Lewcock.

Will of Samuel Hare.

exploring surrey’s’ past

Baking in Victorian England

Video: Victorian Bakers Episode 1. – set in 1837. (The mill in the programme is at the Weald & Downland Museum.)

BOOKS

The Town of Farnham. A History of The Borough & Castle Street by Pat Heather.

I was very lucky just before Christmas to come across this set of books by Pat Heather during a random google search. Being in lockdown caused us some hiccups but their arrival was very exciting..I had managed to work out a great deal about the Lewcocks in Farnham but her research not only confirmed that I was on the right lines, but I was able to find out more. At the time I had no idea I would be using them to research this article. Now to find out more about my other Farnham Families.

Farnham Buildings and People by Nigel Temple

SUBSCRIPTION SITES

TheGenealogist

Census returns

Surrey, England, Jury-Qualified Freeholders and Copyholders, 1696-1824

UK, Land Tax Redemption, 1798

Surrey, England, Land Tax Records, 1780-1832

UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 1710-1811

OTHER SITES

Assize of Bread and Ale

Mills on the River Wey and its tributaries

Oast and Hop Kiln History – Surrey and Hampshire: Farnham

 

Unusual Source

Unusual Source

One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s.

read more
In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves.

read more
Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time. It features the same families as I described last year.

read more
Namesake

Namesake

I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type!

read more
Beginnings

Beginnings

As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

read more

Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time.

It features the same families as I described last year.

Osborne and Suie, Nellie and Thomas had been married from Aveley Hall in 1890 and the group photograph was taken in more or less the same location as this picture. The expressions on their faces are great, with only one person looking at the camera and the others either smiling or looking bored and fed up. It’s definitely a family snap rather than a posed formal portrait.


 

From L to R standing: (Edwin) Osborne Tompkins and his half sister Kate Tompkins, later Manning.

From L to R sitting: Susan “Suie” Tompkins née Gillett, wife of Osborne, Louisa Tompkins, later Ruddock, Edwin’s paternal first cousin,  Rosa Ellen “Nellie” de Fraine née Tompkins, sister of Osborne and Kate.

From L to R sitting on ground: (Thomas) Leigh de Fraine, son of Nellie and John Godfree “Jack” Tompkins, son of Osborne and Suie.


 

My grandmother had named everyone in the picture – her parents, her future mother-in-law and her future husband appear in it, along with one of her brothers.

Dating and placing this picture was interesting. Location was straightforward, but there were enough clues to date it within a couple of years to approximately 1905/06.

The families all visited each other regularly so there may not have been a specific occasion for them to be together. In fact Kate was with Nellie and Thomas in Chartridge in the 1891 census.

The boys were both wearing sailor suits though Jack is in long trousers.

Aveley Hall was the home of John Tompkins, father of Osborn, Nellie and Kate. He lived there with his second wife Emma and their two surviving daughters, Kate and Florence. Emma was Suie’s step-mother from her first marriage.

John Tompkins died in 1907 and Emma moved to Cranham Lodge in Aveley, where she died in 1910.

Osborn and Nellie lived locally, they were tenant farmers of Moore Place in Stanford-le-Hope from 1891 until just before 1911 when they went to Horndon House Fam in Horndon on the Hill, and later to Ash Green in Surrey.. Suie and Osborne’s oldest children were Bert and Marjorie, also born in 1891 and  1892. Their youngest child, Molly, my grandmother, was born in 1898 and Jack was born in 1895.

Nellie and Thomas de Fraine were living in Chartridge, Buckinghamshire at this time. Their two oldest children, Dorothy and Henrietta “Queen” were born in 1891 and 1892 then Leigh, my grandfather, in 1899 . Their second son, John, was born in 1905.

I wonder if any of the other children were also visiting.

At a guess, the photographer might have been Thomas de Fraine, Nellie’s husband. He, and later, Leigh were keen photographers and we have several examples of pictures taken by them both. It doesn’t look as though Leigh is enjoying the experience and I’d love to be able read Nellie’s mind as she smiles down at him.

 

Unusual Source

Unusual Source

One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s.

read more
In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves.

read more
Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time. It features the same families as I described last year.

read more
Namesake

Namesake

I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type!

read more
Beginnings

Beginnings

As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

read more

Namesake

Namesake

Namesake

Names which appear just once.

I am not named after anyone and none of my direct female ancestors are called Caroline. My brother has the same name as our paternal uncle, and by coincidence the first name of four of our very distant great grandfathers. Our mother shared her name with her maternal aunt.

I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type! Out of interest I decided to work it out and, after a painful morning of relearning how to use charts in Excel, discovered that there were three times as many Johns as there were Georges and that Mary was the next most popular name, followed by William and Elizabeth.

The graphs below show the names where there were more than one occurrence. I combined the variants of the names – these were more common among the females, in fact only Humphrey needed combining among the men. Some line only go back as far as the early 1800s and I have several cousin marriages in my direct lines, so only 430 names are represented here.

Although it can only be speculative, I did explore why the names might have appeared when they did. Some of my lines go back, tentatively, as far as the mid 1500s and the earliest male names to appear in the tree are Robert, Peter, Anthony, John and Richard, while their wives were named Ann, Joan and Alice. This fits with the name usage as described on Historic Names. Corinna, Barbary, Jessamine, Dawson, Edwin, Jessamine and Lancelot are unusual names which appear in the late 1700s/early 1800s. Unsurprisingly, Elizabeth was most usual in the 1600s while my Georges and Williams began to appear in the latter part of the century.

I had a brief look at the geographical and religious significance of the names as well as when they were first used. The majority of my known ancestors are from England, with a smattering from Scotland. My only David came from Lanarkshire as did my Alexanders and all but one of my Catherines.  Most of the less common names are from my paternal side which has roots in Sussex/Hampshire/Sussex as well as the Black Country and Scoltand.My mother’s side were from in and around the Cotswolds and the Chilterns. and had most of the Sarahs, Elizabeths and Anns. John and Mary were from both sides. Dawson seems to have come from Suffolk – he was illegitimate. Was this his father’s surname? Jessamine was from a large family in Surrey and her siblings had more “ordinary” names. Corinna was from Shropshire.

Although I have one known non-conformist family, they used common names for all their children. I have several people who have surnames as their second name, and this has helped me track lines back, but generally the surnames have been reserved for after the first name, apart from possibly Dawson..My Scottish families have used the traditional naming patterns sometimes, but were inconsistent.

These female names appear only once: Abigail, Molly, Deborah, Dorothy. Henrietta, Edith. Marjorie, Corinna, Barbary, Clase, Phoebe, Kathleen, Rosa, Lucy, Amy, Ursula, Jessamine, Agnes. Clase is probably a mistranscription, although she has been transcribed as Clase in two different parish registers. I do have a copy of her father’s will and though fairly illegible, it does look more likely to be Clara.

These male names appear only once: Samuel, Godfrey, Matthew, Jacob, David, Moses, Dawson, Edwin, Lancelot, Anthony, Laurence, Stephen, Levi, Henry, Luke, Abraham.


If you are interested in finding out more about names, their historical use, distribution and meanings, these are useful websites:

 
 

Unusual Source

Unusual Source

One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s.

read more
In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves.

read more
Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time. It features the same families as I described last year.

read more
Namesake

Namesake

I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type!

read more
Beginnings

Beginnings

As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

read more

Beginnings

Beginnings

Beginnings

As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

I am very good at beginnings and fairly good at the middles but not so good at endings!

Last year I set out to write weekly for 52 Ancestors and I am pleased that I did as I wrote far more, and more often, than I would otherwise have done, but there are still more gaps than finished articles. The trouble is, I get bogged down in the research for the middle and disappear down various, I think very necessary, rabbit holes – my own school reports used to comment that I could be easily distracted (talked too much) so not much improvement there then.

I learned a lot along the way and become immersed in the person and their life, and incidentally can add detail to my tree, but as I am doing this, I know that much of it will not end up in any article. However, I am mainly doing this for myself, and whoever falls over it online, so it really matters not but it make sense to complete what I started.

So this year’s plan is to join in again and at least try to keep up!

Writing the articles generates another problem which I hope to begin to solve this year.

Like many other people I am not so good at keeping track of my research – the thrill of the chase meant I was sloppy about recording sources – I was generating piles of paper though at the beginning! I had copious scraps of paper and Post It notes none of which made sense when I came back to them. Over the years I have added the information to my choice of desktop software so that is not an issue, but I never really recorded what I had done, when and where so end up repeating things. I have various fancy note books around, none of which have been kept up to date and all suffer from the same randomness of notes which made sense when I wrote them …..

My main concern now is not so much recording sources or even knowing what I had but keeping a log and cross referencing it to everything else especially now I have added exploring DNA matches for 5 kits. This is a daily task done first thing in the morning and I often have little time to check thoroughly there and then, so last year I got hold of some A4 size indexed exercise books and when I come across a DNA match which needs further investigation I record them in there by surname and go back to them when I have the time.

This year I’ve got myself an A4 hard back page-a-day diary to go alongside this. My thinking is that that will be a quick record of what I did on any one day, with notes to tell me what will need recording where so for example, a note to say which DNA surname match appeared would go in there along with whatever follow up I managed to get done..

I will also briefly record any research for individuals or articles I make both online and from my growing library of books. It’s not going to be as grand as a research journal at least to start with, more like a to-do-list cum I-did-list in one place which I can go back to and check off when it’s done, but I’ll see how it goes.

I need to include email correspondence in this as well, as I am one of those dreadful miscreants who does not instantly reply to queries and spends time checking before replying and then yes, sometimes I forget to reply for ages.

Since I wrote this article, I have decided to revamp the layout of this site, so am keeping a record of this too.

This post could equally well have fitted the last prompt for 2020, Resolution, but in the spirit of new beginnings I shall post it for 2021!

Unusual Source

Unusual Source

One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s.

read more
In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves.

read more
Favourite photograph

Favourite photograph

For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time. It features the same families as I described last year.

read more
Namesake

Namesake

I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type!

read more
Beginnings

Beginnings

As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

read more