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Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much ….

The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples’ queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more importantly, how to look.

When I started in late 2002, I was overseas and all my research had to be online – this would have been impossible without the work of transcribers, whether they were paid to do it by subscription sites, or were uploaded for free like FreeBMD. I soon amassed a collection of county indexes on CD and microfiches, all based on the painstaking work of volunteer transcribers. I was so grateful when the next tranche of records would appear.

Alongside the subscription sites grew up a network of forums and online groups and in a small way, I was lucky to be able to pay back some of the help I had had when I joined Family Tree Forum in the first couple of days of its existence in 2006 and let on that I knew about hyperlinks. The forum is typical of the world of family history, it is run by volunteers for fellow family historians and there are many members willing to answer queries and worry away at brickwalls as well as keeping the members cheerful during the current lockdowns.

I would particularly like to thank:

  • The transcribers of wills and other documents who then make them available for the rest of us
  • Those who spend hours and hours in record offices patiently transcribing illegible parish registers
  • All the people who are involved in moderating forums or other online groups and all the members of those groups who use their own time, and money, to help people starting out or to crack a problem
  • The people who know what they are doing with DNA results who pass on their knowledge in a way that the rest of us can understand it
  • The organisers and speakers of online talks especially during 2020

I am sure that I will add to this list over time but in the meantime, please accept this bouquet with my gratitude.

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn’t until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to Leicestershire, by which time I was teaching in Shottermill and living in a bedsit on the London side of the Hindhead crossroads. Although I spent my secondary school years away at school in Lyme Regis and then at college in Chichester, via a “gap year” in Hong Kong, that is the area which I know best and little did I know then, it is the area of a quarter of my paternal roots.

OS Old Series Hampshire 1810s

I had written in my blog about my relocation to West Sussex and the coincidences I have since found with the places where my paternal ancestors lived in Genetic memories …. or just coincidence? As I had got further back in my tree, it looked as though I might have ancestors from the parish of Headley – the Hampshire one – in the late 1600s/early 1700s. The parish includes several hamlets; Standford, Arford, Headley Down, Barford, Wishanger. Sleaford, Trottsford, and part of Hollywater and at that time, also included Grayshott. Lindford and part of Bordon.

Rockdale c1959

While researching for this article, I came across Pat Nightingale’s Memoir. It was fascinating reading since I remember her sister Maureen and their parents very well. We must have moved to Rockdale at about the same time and I am fairly sure that Maureen is in this picture along with me, my brother and two of her brothers. She moved on to secondary school a year before me and soon afterwards we left Grayshott – I have a vague memory of being told that they went to Australia, whether that was before or after we left Grayshott, I don’t remember. In those days we were able to spend all day roaming in the woods, coming back when it was time to eat. The village was surrounded with woods and heathland with ponds and good climbing trees and we could explore for miles, travelling through the Golden Valley and up towards the Devils Punchbowl.

When we first went to the village, I was able to walk up the road to the classroom annexe of the village school in the Village Hall where  Miss Miles was in charge. I have vague memories of long division, lumpy custard, scratchy pens and having to sing with my arms hooked over the back of the chair and Miss Miles always calling me Frances. I wasn’t with that class long and soon after, I was moved to the main buildings of the school at the other end of the village. Many years later as a student summer job, I taught foreign students who had come over to learn English in that same village hall classroom. One of my teachers then who encouraged me to play the piano and started my love for singing and music, later turned out to be my supervisor when I was doing my final teaching practice at The Herbert Shiner in Petworth – a small world!!

One of my favourite places in the village was also in the village hall – the library. There were two halls – the library was in the smaller of the two and The Grayshott Stagers performed in the large hall which had a stage. Both my mother and I appeared on stage with the Stagers. In Surprise match, I have written about discovering lately through DNA that we are distantly related to Les Larkham, one of the leading lights of the Stagers. The village hall was also the focus of organisations like the WI which my mother also became involved with, as well as Brownies and Guides which we were both involved with.

Names which have popped up in my tree are familiar from my time at Grayshott School and later living in Headley. They aren’t uncommon names at all, but maybe one of them will also test out their DNA, although the match will be so far back that with the recent announcement of the changes which Ancestry is about to make, we may never find each other now. They are local names which feature strongly in the parish registers as hosted by John Owen Smith – Boxall, Hawkins, Hudson and Coombs (in various spellings) are names I remember well.

My bedsit from 1972-1976 was above an antique shop, Albany Antiques, on the London Road going towards the Punchbowl. The postcard, from about 1910, shows my dormer windows in the roof quite clearly above the woman standing alone in the centre of the picture. In 1901 and 1911 it looks as though the building was a general store. The building between there and the Post Office was a tea and luncheon room then and was a restaurant when I was there. I would wait for the bus towards Shottermill outside what was then the Hindhead Huts Hotel and buy my magazines in the corner shop which was once the Post Office.

Although the building I lived in is still there today, what was once a very busy and noisy crossroads has changed immensely since the building of the A3 tunnel, as has the whole area.  Instead of the constant background noise of the lorries heading north and south waiting at the traffic lights, the road is now closed off and has been grassed over now.

The crossroads at Hindhead is probably important in my family’s history too. Going north and turning left at the crossroads takes you eventually to Farnham and Odiham and turning right would take you over the border to Sussex where yet more putative relations are to be found. Going south towards Portsmouth, you get to Bramshott and further south to the Clanfield area. One of my direct ancestors, Joseph Hart, was a coachman based in Farnham – he must have known the crossroads well, travelling towards London or Portsmouth many times, braving the highwayman while travelling across Hindhead Common.

In the 17th century, the route around Hindhead was a particularly hazardous one, with highwaymen lying in wait to ambush unsuspecting travellers as they made their way down the Portsmouth Road. Such was the reputation of Hindhead Common in those days, many travellers actually wrote their wills before setting out on their journey.

I had no idea whatsoever when I was living and working there of all these connections with my paternal roots. The people from the villages in the surrounding area met, married and intermarried until their descendant George Albert Lewcock, who was born 1842 in Farnham and was my great x2 paternal grandfather, left for London where he met his wife who was from St Ives, Huntingdonshire.

FURTHER READING

Grayshott Heritage

Wikiwand: Grayshott

Headley by the Wey

Headley Village

Hindhead Crossroads

Hindhead tunnel

Old Hampshire Mapped

The Grayshott Stagers

Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl

 

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Choice or circumstance?

Suie Tompkins and Kate Godfree in Ash Green in the 1920s

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

Whether from choice or circumstance, she never married and didn’t have her own home, but seemed to travel between the various members of the family. She is with a different family group in every census so I wonder how often she would move between them all. It wasn’t unusual to find them not at their own home in the census, so one would assume that they would visit each other often. I hope that my greatx3 grandmother wasn’t another Mrs Bennett, but I am often reminded of Pride and Prejudice when I am trying to find out about the Godfree family with all those daughters that needed a husband!

In 1851, two of her sisters, Rebecca, then 23 and unmarried along with Ann Maria then aged 9 were with their paternal grandmother.  The other girls also appear away from home at school, visiting other sisters or aunts before their marriages. Sarah, my great x2 grandmother was with her paternal grandparents in 1841 and with a maternal aunt in 1851, at home with her own family including her sister Emma, and then visiting her older sister in 1871.

Kate’s father died in 1850 and in 1851 and 1871, she was at home with her mother in Great Rissington. In 1861, aged 16, she was in Fifield, with her brother William. Her mother died in 1873 when she was 28 years old – too old to marry? It rather looks as though she “missed the boat” having stayed to look after her mother as the only unmarried daughter. The other girls had all married by 1867 and Emma was about to marry Sarah’s husband, both of them having been widowed.

She was with Robert & Rose Hambidge, her sister, in Ascott Under Wychwood in 1881. In 1891, she was at Kennersley Manor, Worley in Surrey, a servant in the employment of Edward Brocklehurst. In 1901, she was staying at Moor Place, Stanford Le Hope, Essex with her nephew Edwin Osborne Tompkins, son of Sarah, and in 1911, she was with her sister Annie-Maria Rouse in Fulbrook.

John Manning, her great-nephew, grandson of Emma Godfree, remembers that she always wore Victorian clothing. His mother Kate’s diaries record the frequent visits to them in Essex and she certainly visited Suie and Osborne in Ash Green in the 1920s, as we have pictures from this time.

She died on 5th May 1937 in Farnborough, Kent and her estate was proved on 15th June 1937 in London. One of the executors was Mary Humphrey, her niece, daughter of Anne-Maria Rouse.


Wikipedia: Pride and Prejudice

Failures: Spinsters & Old Maids in Victorian England

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more

Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

Catherine Grey Whitehill

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

For a long time, we weren’t sure who her parents were as they are given at her marriage as John Whitehill lithographic printer journeyman decorator (deceased) and Elizabeth Whitehill M.S. Christie (deceased) but she grew up with the mother and children of Catherine Grey and Alexander Whitehill and was known as Catherine Grey Whitehill. Alex had died in the cholera epidemic in December 1848 when she was less than two years old and her mother had died ten years before the marriage, so maybe they didn’t know or maybe there was an error recording the parents’ details … maybe confusion as her brother John was a printer … then the appearance online of the Old Parish Registers showed up her birth registration.

Catherine grew up in Rottenrow, her father was a weaver and her mother a yarn winder. Catherine is listed as a muslin warehouse girl aged 13 in 1861, was a steam loom weaver in 1871, and when she married James Simpson in 1873, she gave her occupation as a woollen power loom weaver. Her address in 1871, where she was a boarder, was 174 Main Street in Calton. There are several textile factories close by as well as several potteries.

Power loom workers were usually girls and young women. They had the security of fixed hours, and except in times of hardship, such as in the cotton famine, regular income. They were paid a wage and a piece work bonus. Even when working in a combined mill, weavers stuck together and enjoyed a tight-knit community. The women usually minded the four machines and kept the looms oiled and clean. They were assisted by ‘little tenters’, children on a fixed wage who ran errands and did small tasks. They learnt the job of the weaver by watching. Often they would be half timers, carrying a green card which teacher and overlookers would sign to say they had turned up at the mill in the morning and in the afternoon at the school.

 

At fourteen or so they come full-time into the mill, and started by sharing looms with an experienced worker where it was important to learn quickly as they would both be on piece work. The mill had its health and safety issues, there was a reason why the women tied their hair back with scarves. Inhaling cotton dust caused lung problems, and the noise was causing total hearing loss. Weavers would mee-maw as normal conversation was impossible. Weavers used to ‘kiss the shuttle’, that is, suck thread through the eye of the shuttle. This left a foul taste in the mouth due to the oil, which was also carcinogenic.

Tarbet Street

James married Catherine Gray Whitehill at 116 Rottenrow Street after banns – according to the rites of the United Presbyterian Church. This is the same address as that of her older brother John in 1871 and 1881 so maybe the source of the possible confusion over her father’s name. Both bride and groom gave the same address – 24 Bluevale Street. One of the witnesses had the same name as James’s first wife. I found the marriage fairly early in my research and it was the first time I had found a widower among my ancestors. When I found James’s first marriage to Isabella Chalmers, I was very sad as she had died in childbirth aged 21 just four months after their marriage but then it struck me quite forcefully that had Isabella not died, I would not be here!

Two months later, the first of their 9 children was born – my great grandmother Catherine Grey Simpson. They were living in David Street in Bridgeton at the time, very close to Annfield Pottery. James and Catherine moved around every couple of years but more or less stayed in the same area of Glasgow until they appear in Edinburgh and then later in Clerkenwell.

While writing this article, I wanted to check something, so randomly wandered around google and came across Scottish Indexes, and put Catherine’s name into the search box – and found she had twice been in the City Poorhouse Asylum, Glasgow. Admission Records will be sent for to find out more detail when it is possible to get them, but her first admission was on 9 July 1869 while still single, aged 20, and her second was ten years later, six months after the birth of her fourth child. At the time, Catherine, the oldest was 5 years old and they were living close by in Tarbet Street.

Move to Edinburgh

Sometime between the summer of 1883 and the summer of 1887, when her son John was born, the family uprooted themselves and went to Edinburgh.

Annfield Pottery was founded by John Thomson in the East End of Glasgow sometime between 1816 and 1826, and managed by himself and his three sons. John Thompson died in 1873 and the sons continued the pottery until it closed down between 1883 and 1887. 

This would fit in with the dates of them moving to Edinburgh. Hugh, Catherine’s older brother was already living in Edinburgh. When John was born they were living at 51 Arthur Street, Canongate and James was recorded as working as a printer (glassworks). They were not far from the Holyrood Glassworks.

Moving on again ….

Corner of Rottenrow and Taylor Street c.1891

By April 1890, the family had moved on again and were in Clerkenwell, where they had two more sons, Andrew and William. Travelling south with 7 children, the youngest was 3 and the oldest about 15 years old, would be pretty daunting these days, but then? How did they travel? Did they walk? Or were they able to afford to take the train? The route between Edinburgh Waverley and London King’s Cross was well established by then. The journey took about 8 and a half hours by then, travelling at around 50 mph. This was the time when the Flying Scotchman offered travel for 3rd class passengers, as until 1887, there was only 1st and 2nd class available.

Railway rugs were needed by train travellers, usually on their legs or shoulders, to protect them from draughts in the carriages. While first class passengers rode in enclosed carriages, second and third class passengers could have no such assurance. Indeed, most third class carriages were completely open to the elements, save for the carriage roof.

In April 1890, they were living at Dundee Buildings in Clerkenwell where Andrew was born. The Survey of London describes the buildings as ‘rough’ at that time, quoting Booth’s notebooks. The buildings were on the south corner of Berkley Street and St John’s Lane, just south of St John’s gate. (I was in the vicinity in January 2020 and had no idea how close I was to where they lived – unfortunately I was late for where I was going in one direction and then rushing to get a train when I returned later that day, so didn’t even stop to take a picture of St John’s Gate.)

…. and the building of private model dwellings (Dundee Buildings, described as ‘rough’ in the 1890s) on the south corner [of St John’s Lane] with Berkley Street. Contrasting with the small shopkeepers in the lane were the denizens of the increasingly run-down and crowded backland: by the 1890s typically costermongers and unskilled labourers. In the summer of 1898 Charles Booth’s investigators found it rather squalid, noting a ‘fearful stench’ from a Gorgonzola factory as they walked up the lane, and a man in Francis Court toting a bloody bag of sheep’s necks, which he was off to hawk at twopence a pound.

Compton Buildings, Goswell Road, c. 1910 Survey of London: Volume 46, South and East Clerkenwell

Model dwellings were “buildings or estates constructed, mostly during the Victorian era, along philanthropic lines to provide decent living accommodation for the working class. They were typically erected by private model dwellings companies and usually with the aim of making a return on investment hence the description of the movement as “five per cent philanthropy.

In July 1893, when their youngest child, William was born, they were living in the newly built Bartholomew Buildings and by 1901, the family had moved to another model dwelling in the area, 343 Compton Buildings, on the corner of Compton Street and Goswell Road. They were still living in the buildings in 1911, at number 306, along with the 3 youngest boys, Elizabeth and Margaret. The others were all married by this time. Booth’s maps at the time show that the area was probably less “rough”.

James died in 1st February 1918 aged 71 from bronchitis and a cerebral embolism at 305 Compton Buildings, his son David, who was living at 190 Compton Buildings, being the informant.  Catherine died on 20th May in Archway House, Archway Road, Upper Holloway of arteriosclerosis. Her usual address was 188 Compton Buildings. Again, David was the informant. Archway House was the hospital which was previously known as The Holborn Union Infirmary.

 

TIMELINE

DATE EVENT ADDRESS  
7 June 1872 Marriage 24 Bluevale Street (both) 116 Rottenrow Street, Central
6 September 1872 Catherine 10 David Street, Bridgeton near Annfield Pottery
24 April 1874 David 10 David Street, Bridgeton  
3 May 1876 Alexander 102 Rottenrow, Blackfriars  
8 May 1878 Elizabeth 5 Tarbet Street, Blackfriars  
4 January 1880 Margaret 5 Tarbet Street, Blackfriars  
26 July 1883 James 76 Rottenrow, Blackfriars  
2 June 1887 John 51 Arthur Street, Canongate, Edinburgh  
1890 Andrew 11 Dundee Buildings, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England  
April 1891 Census 10 Dundee Buildings, Clerkenwell  
1893 William 216 Bartholomews Buildings, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England  
March 1901 Census 343 Compton Buildings, Clerkenwell  
April 1911 Census 306 Compton Buildings, Clerkenwell  
February 1918 Death of James 305 Compton Buildings, Clerkenwell  
May 1927 Death of Catherine 188 Compton Buildings, Clerkenwell  

SOURCES

British History Online – London Survey:

Charles Booth’s London

Wikipedia: Model buildings companies

Wikipedia: List of existing model dwellings

Wikipedia: Race to the North

Mee-mawing was a form of speech with exaggerated movements to allow lip-reading employed by workers in weaving sheds in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The noise in a weaving shed rendered hearing impossible so workers communicated by mee-mawing which was a cross between mime and lip-reading. To have a private conversation when there were other weavers present, the speaker would cup their hand over their mouth to obscure vision. This was very necessary as a mee-mawer would be able to communicate over distances of tens of yards. It was said that each mill had its own dialect.

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

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Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

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Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

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Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

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Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

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Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

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Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

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Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

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Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

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Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

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Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

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Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

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Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

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Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

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Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

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Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut (cf. tinsmith). Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils and weapons. The place where a blacksmith works is called variously a smithy, a forge or a blacksmith’s shop.

 

While there are many people who work with metal such as farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers, the blacksmith had a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails or lengths of chain. Wikipedia

Blacksmiths and gunsmiths

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

Of those, 4 of the blacksmiths, and one gunsmith, are my direct ancestors from the Hampshire/Surrey/Sussex border, more or less following the route north along today’s A3 and A31 from Westbourne near Havant via Bramshott to Farnham and south from near Odiham to Farnham.

Molly Elkins, my 4x great grandmother, was the only child of a gunsmith, himself the son of a blacksmith, Charles Elkins, who married Mary Hudson, the daughter of a blacksmith, in Wrecclesham near Farnham.

Not only Mary’s father was a blacksmith but so too were her maternal great grandfather and great great grandfather,  George and John Hawkins who came from South Warnborough near Odiham. Her grandfather is described as a yeoman in land records but perhaps he was also involved in the smithy work too.

It may be that Mary’s Hudson line extends further back, but I’ve not found any evidence of that yet. John Hudson’s first wife was the daughter of Raphael Boxall, yet another blacksmith, of Headley in Hampshire.

Molly’s paternal aunt Ann married a blacksmith, James Varndell, in Odiham, and her cousins either married into or were smiths and in related occupations. Varndell, Hounsom and variants, Elkins, Hudson, Boxall and Hawkins are names frequently associated with smithing in the area and their families were very interlinked. I wonder if it was a case of propinquity, pre-arranged marriages, or as simple as falling in love with the boss’s daughter. My “plan” is to see how they were linked to me, if at all, but big families and repeated forenames will probably make it impossible to ever be 100% accurate or even finished.

As I was living overseas, when I started investigating my roots seriously in 2002, I could only research by using what was available online and by buying CDs and fiches. Thanks to online will transcriptions and the IGI on familysearch, I came across my Elkins ancestors very early and West Surrey FHS was already publishing CDs which took me further. I had added information to my direct line over the years but when I came to write this article, I realised that I hadn’t kept up to date with the details of all the descendants of Charles and Sarah Elkins as all the census returns and other records for Surrey and Hampshire became available online – and there are a lot, so my current task is to get up to date and I shall keep an eye open for anyone in smith related occupations.

A casual remark from my brother led me to ask why there seemed to be so many blacksmiths in this area – I know that horses were important and they would have made tools as well as some fancy work, but there just seemed to be too many trying to earn a living doing only that in the area, so I started to explore the iron industry in that part of Sussex.

The iron industry in Sussex

Waggoners Wells in Grayshott. Believed to have been created as hammer ponds for Bramshott, aka Wakeners Wells, but never used as such.

Modern West Sussex consists of a flat area next to the sea, with the South Downs behind and then flattish areas north of that going into Surrey with heathland to the west going into Hampshire. Farming, fishing and smuggling are common occupations among the other usual local occupations in the towns and villages, but I wouldn’t really have thought of it as industrial.

I have come across possible distant links to glassmakers in the same area and on the same paternal lines, but generally, the occupations I had come across were mainly involved in feeding and clothing the population.

In fact, the Sussex Weald was the centre of the iron industry, peaks arising first in Roman times and then again in the 15th century. There was ironstone available, water for running the bellows and copious amounts of wood for making of charcoal for the smelting. There was competition for the wood with the glass industry and shipbuilding and the amount of wood was finite so that laws were passed to stop more new ironworks in Sussex in 1581 and the use of wood for glass furnaces was banned in 1615.

Bramshott is on the western edge of the industry, just over the Hampshire border, north of Fernhurst in Sussex where there are still visible remains of the North End furnace. At the time when the Elkins were there in the early to mid-1700s, the iron-making industry was still active, making cannon for the Seven Years’ War, but by the end of the century, most of the Wealden area’s ironworks had closed following a cut in the prices paid, which forced many ironmasters into bankruptcy. The use of coal elsewhere in Britain had also made using charcoal for the smelting furnaces too expensive as well as the competition from imported pig and bar-iron.

Charles Elkins (1727-1790) Blacksmith

Charles Elkins, son of Nicholas Elkins who was described as an innkeeper in the administration of his will, and Elizabeth Burgess(?), was baptised on 29 January 1727 in Westbourne, Sussex. He had had four older siblings, three of whom died as infants before he was born. His parents, Nicholas and Elizabeth Elkins were in Bramshott by 1733 where they had two further children. Elizabeth was buried in Bramshott in February 1739 and Nicholas in December of the same year.

The oldest child, Elizabeth was 19 when her parents died and had had her own daughter two years before so presumably, she took on the responsibility of looking after her siblings, the youngest of whom, Myrtilla, was 4 years old. Charles was about 11 at the time – I haven’t managed to find out yet if he had already been apprenticed to a blacksmith by then. A bond for the administration of Nicholas’s estate had been awarded to a Thomas Elkins cordwainer of Winchester on the 29 February 1740. If I have the correct person, Nicholas’s brother John had also been buried in Bramshott in July 1739. There are several Elkins families in this area of Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire and I’ve not managed to find a connection between Nicholas and Thomas as yet.

Blacksmith shop – Rural Life Centre, Tilford 2010

Tilford is in the area where my blacksmith families lived and worked.

Charles married a Sarah, but as yet I have not found a marriage for them. For a brief time, I speculated that her name might have been Diggins but having now seen a better image of the marriage on familysearch, this is clearly not the correct Sarah. Unfortunately, many people have assumed that I was correct and had copied the wrong bride all over ancestry without the messages and question marks after the surname. Others have speculated that she was Sarah Allen. That surname does show up several times in the other relationships, so maybe, but as yet I have found no evidence of this.

Charles and Sarah’s oldest son, also Charles, was baptised in Bramshott in 1751, and by 1753 the family were in Farnham where their first daughter, Sarah, was baptised. They went on to have another seven children. Charles senior was buried on 2 June 1790 in Farnham, Sarah was buried in Farnham in 1798 having outlived her oldest son who had died in 1792.

The younger Charles married Mary Hudson on 30 November 1775 at Saint Andrew’s in Farnham, Surrey. They had one child, Molly. Molly married Joseph Hart, a coachman in and they went on to have nine children: seven girls and two boys of whom one boy died in infancy. Molly’s son Charles was described as “Ironmonger, Tinman, Brazier, Cutler, Gasfitter, Bellhanger etc.” at 117 West Street in the heading of a receipt in 1889. (Exploring Surrey’s Past). Mary outlived her daughter Molly.

Blacksmiths of Wrecclesham

Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland. Map images website.

One of the Charles is listed from 1780 until 1790 in the Surrey, England, Land Tax Records, 1780-1832 and thanks to Wrecclesham History Project Briefing Notes: Wrecclesham Forge and  Wrecclesham Maps, it is possible to make an educated guess at where in Wrecclesham the forge will have been located: “There had earlier been a Forge, at a house called the Link, which was behind the Bear Inn ( now known as the Bear and Ragged Staff).”

In 1780, Charles is listed as the occupier but in following years he is listed as owner-occupier. It isn’t clear which Charles this would be, but in 1789, a Charles is listed as owner-occupier and another is listed as an occupier, with the owner being John Cook who is listed as the owner.  Surrey Quarter Sessions records that in 1766,  “George Millams was accused of stealing an iron ‘Beck’ the property of John Novell of Wrecclesham, Farnham, labourer, from the hop ground of Charles Elkins where he was working.”

There are records of releases of messuages and mortgages by Mary and her brother-in-law William in the papers from Crowley’s Brewery, Alton. (Hantsweb)

Bundle of deeds and papers relating to a tenement, orchard and blacksmith’s shop in Wrecclesham, Surrey.
Owners and occupiers include: John Robinson of Binsted, yeoman, 1754; Charles Elkins of Wrecclesham, blacksmith, 1754; Charles Elkins of Farnham, gunsmith, 1790; William Elkins
1: release of a messuage, blacksmith’s shop, etc, by Mary Elkins (widow of Charles Elkins of Farnham, gunsmith, who was son of Charles Elkins of Wrecclesham, blacksmith) and others to William Penfold of West Chiltington, Sussex, yeoman (the premises are described as having been successively occupied by John Robinson senior, John Robinson junior, William Hammond and Charles Elkins senior), 1799
2-3: lease and release and assignment of a mortgage term in the property by George Charman of Earnely, Sussex, husbandman, and others to William Elkins of Wrecclesham, baker (one of the sons-in-law of William Penfold), and his trustee (reciting Penfold’s death in 1801), 1819
4-5: mortgage by William Elkins to William Varndell of Crondall, bricklayer, 1819

Will of Charles Elkins the younger – 1792

Later, Mary is listed as being in Farnham in the land Tax records, firstly as an occupier with different owners, but latterly as owner until her death in 1839.

47 Castle Street, Farnham on the left.

In the tithe map records for Farnham, a property in Castle Street, Farnham is listed as:

Landowner Party: John Macdonald & Mary Ann Hart
Relationship to Landowner: Executors of landowner Mary Elkins
Occupier: Mary Ann Hart
Parish: Farnham, Surrey
Original Date: 22nd October 1840

Mary Ann Hart was her second oldest granddaughter and John Macdonald was the husband of her older sister Harriet. A comparison of the tithe map and modern maps would indicate that the left-hand building in the picture left would be the house. They were the daughters of Joseph Hart, coachman, of Farnham and Molly Elkins who was the only daughter of Charles and Mary. The families’ properties, and those of their descendants, are documented in “Farnham Buildings and People” by Nigel Temple. Another granddaughter, Jessamine, my direct ancestor, was living there in 1861 with her three youngest children.

This house had been owned by Samuel Hare until his death and was willed to his nephews, Richard and George Lewcock sons of George Lewcock and Barbara Hare of Odiham, in 1758. In 1812 it was sold by John Newell. Perhaps sold to Mary – this would fit with the dates when she was listed as an occupier. Jessamine’s father-in-law, Samuel, was the son of Richard. Samuel’s son, James, his wife Jessamine and family were living there in 1841 and Jessamine lived there in 1861.

 

Sources and further reading

The picture on the right is a moving model of a Wealden post-medieval blast furnace based on the excavated site of Fernhurst Furnace, Fernhurst, West Sussex, England. It has twin overshot waterwheels powered twin bellows to provide the air blast. Wikimedia

The videos below show the process.

BOOK: Scenes Of Rural Life In Hampshire Among the Manors Of Bramshott – W.W. Capes.

Wikipedia: Gunsmith

English gunmakers

19th Century gunsmiths

Wealden iron – a brief history

The Sussex Weald iron industry

Archaeology of the Wealden Iron Industry

Sussex Archaeological Collections Relating to the History and Antiquities of the County, Volume 2.

Wikipedia: Ludshott Common and Wakener’s Wells

Wikipedia: Wealden iron industry

The Iron Industry of the Wea1d

Fernhurst Society 

The Fernhurst Furnace Preservation Group

Facebook: Fernhurst Furnace

Bloomery furnace

Early iron smelting

South Downs Way

Surrey’s Industrial Past

Wealden Iron at the Rural Life Centre

Making Iron In The Woods – Bloomery Furnace

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

read more

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

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Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

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Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

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Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

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Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

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Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

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Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

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Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

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Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

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Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

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Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

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Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my “hand-me-downs”, so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history!

The Gillett Spoons

Since I wrote this article, originally  for the Family Tree Forum Online Magazine I have also inherited this photograph of Suie (according to her daughter, with her nurse).

The photo will date from 1863 when Suie was born and is on glass which has been coated with black varnish on the back which has some scratches on it. This has a thin metal oval surround, set behind more glass and it is all in a metal frame which is beginning to come apart.

According to  Colin Harding’s website  it is a collodion positive or ambrotype. We don’t have a case, just a rather elderly envelope!!

 

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

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Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

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Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

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Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

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Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

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Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

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Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

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Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

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Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

read more

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

read more
Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more

Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

read more