William Pulteney Dana, one of my 4th great grandfathers, died at the age of 84 on 29 June 1861, 160 years ago today.
William Dana was the 7th of 13 children of the Reverend Edmund Dana and his wife Helen Dana nee Kinnaird. He was born in Wroxeter, in Shropshire, on 13 July 1776.
Dana married twice, first, in the United States, to Anne Frisby Fitzhugh about 1800. They had two children: a son, who died in infancy, and a daughter, called Anne . When Dana’s wife died in 1804, he returned to England, leaving his infant daughter to be brought up by her maternal relatives.
In England Dana joined the army, serving in the 6th Royal Garrison Battalion in Ireland. There he married again, to Charlotte Elizabeth Bailey in 1812. They had 12 children. In 1815 they settled in Shropshire.
To supplement his Army half-pay William went into business as a printer but was declared bankrupt. He was briefly imprisoned in the jail named after his father.
In later years William Dana lived with his daughter Anna Penelope and her husband W.H. Wood in Shrewsbury.
Captain William Pulteney Dana, who died on the 29th of June last, at the residence of his son-in-law, W.H. Wood, Esq., Holywell-terrace, Shrewsbury, was descended from a family of some eminence which emigrated to America in 1640, and which was among the earlier settlers at Cambridge, in Massachusetts, where many of its members have, from that time to this, held high position in the legal, political, and literary world. His grandfather, the Hon. Richard Dana, and his eldest uncle, the Hon. Francis Dana, were Chief Justices of the State of Massachusetts in the reigns of the second and third Georges. The American branch of the Dana family still resides at Boston and Cambridge, in Massachusetts, and occupies a very distinguished position. Its present representative is Richard Henry Dana, Esq., a poet of note ; and his son, Richard Henry Dana, a leading barrister at Boston, is the author of “Two Years before the Mast.” William Pulteney Dana, the subject of this notice, was the second surviving son of the Rev. Edmund Dana, Vicar of Wroxeter, Shropshire, by his wife, Helen, eldest daughter of Charles, sixth Lord Kinnaird. He was born on the 13th July, 1776, and married, first, Anne, only daughter of Colonel Fitzhugh, by whom he had one daughter ; he married, secondly, Charlotte Elizabeth, third daughter of the Rev. Henry Bayly, Rector of Nenagh, in the County of Tipperary, Ireland (second son of John Bayly, Esq., of Debsborough Hall, in the same county, and a younger branch of the house of Anglesey), by which lady, who died on the 13of May, 1846, he leaves a numerous issue.
Skelly’s journal has the title “A Journal of two Voyages to North America. In his Majesty’s Ship ye Devonshire, From June 1757 to December 1759. Containing the Expedition against Louisbourgh under the Admirals Holburne and Boscowen; with the Reduction of some places of less note after the Surrender of Louisbourgh in the year 1758. The transactions during the winter at Hallifax in 1759–The arrival of Admiral Saunders with a Fleet against Quebec…to the Surrender of Quebec, and our return to England….“. Skelly recorded the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, on 13 September 1759. Just outside the walls of Quebec City, “the whole line of the enemy soon gave way, ours pushing on with their bayonets till they took to their heels and were pursued with great slaughter to the walls of the town.”
Gordon Skelly passed his lieutenant’s examination on 5 August 1761 and was commissioned as lieutenant on 1 October 1761. He served on several ships, among them HMS Baltimore, where from 10 October 1762 to 3 December 1762 he kept the Lieutenant’s logbooks.
On 10 January 1771 Skelly was appointed commander of the Royal Navy 10 gun sloop Lynx, stationed at Shields in north-east England. He and seven others were drowned there when the ship’s longboat was overturned by breakers when crossing the harbour bar.
Gordon Skelly married Dorothy Harrison on 6 June 1766 at Yarm, Yorkshire, the ceremony conducted his father the Reverend John Skelly, Vicar of Stockton.
They had three children:
Dorothy 1768–1840, mother of Sophia Mainwaring née Duff
His granddaughter Sophia née Duff (1790 – 1824) married Rowland Mainwaring (1783 – 1862).
My paternal grandfather’s great grandmother, my fourth great grandmother, was a London woman named Ann Mitchell (1805 – 1831), a missionary’s wife. The bare facts of her life can be established, and it is possible to speculate with some confidence about her immediate family.
Here she is getting married:
On 5 January 1826 Ann Holmes, aged 20, of the parish of Saint George Bloomsbury, married Rev. William Mitchell of the Parish of Saint Mary Islington, clerk, bachelor, full age. William Mitchell had obtained a licence the day before from the Diocese of London. Since Ann was under twenty-one, her mother Susan Holmes, widow, gave her consent to the marriage.
On 7 January 1826 the marriage was noted in the Oxford University and City Herald:
Clergymen married: On Thursday last, at Islington, by the Rev. E. Bickersteth, the Rev. Wm. Mitchell, of Bombay, to Ann, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, of this city.
Soon after their marriage the Mitchells travelled to India, in connection with the work of the Church. There they had three children:
Annie born 1826
Susan Augusta, my third great grandmother, born 1828
William Owen born 1829
Ann became unwell, however, and the Mitchells returned to England.
On 23 March 1831, Ann died, just twenty-six. Her death was announced in the Oxford University and City Herald on 26 March:
On Wednesday evening the 23rd instant, died, after a painful and lingering illness, aged 25 years, Ann, Wife of the Rev. William Mitchell, late of Bombay, and youngest Daughter of the late Mr Thomas Holmes of this city.
What about her parents and siblings?
I looked for other newspaper notices concerning Thomas Holmes and his children. I found a notice for an Alice Holmes, probably Ann’s sister, in the Oxford University and City Herald of 1 February 1834:
On Saturday last was married, at Newgate-street, London, Mr Robert Stuckey, of Cheapside, to Miss Alice Holmes, fifth daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, of this city.”
Sadly, Alice Stuckey died a year later. The ‘Oxford Journal’ of 21 February 1835 has:
On the 2d inst. died, of consumption, in the 30th year of her age, Alice, the wife of Mr. Robert Stuckey, of Cheapside, London, and fifth daughter of the late Mr. T. Holmes. of this city.
It was possibly consumption that also killed Ann Mitchell, Alice Stuckey’s sister.
I also found a notice in the ‘Oxford University and City Herald’ of 19 November 1836 mentioning Ann’s brother-in-law:
On Monday last died, at Walworth, Mr Geo. Stanley, many years clerk in the Bank of England, son-in-law of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes of this city.
George Stanley married Elizabeth Holmes on 5 September 1814 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, England. Stanley was a widower. One of the witnesses was Susan Holmes, probably the mother of Elizabeth and Ann.
In 1852 Ann’s mother died. The ‘Oxford Journal’ of 27 November 1852 has:
Nov. 25, at New-cross, near London, in the 87th year of her age, Mrs. Holmes, widow of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, formerly of this city.
Death and burial records confirmed that this Mrs Holmes was Susannah Holmes aged 86 who died at Newcross Surrey and was buried at Nunhead, Surrey.
I looked at parish records for Oxfordshire and found the baptism for Alice Holmes, daughter of Thomas and Susannah, baptised on 13 January 1804 at All Saints Oxford. There was a baptism for Ann, daughter of Thomas and Susannah Holmes, at All Saints Oxford on 8 January 1806. I found some other baptisms including for a daughter Catharine baptised 11 May 1788. I also found the marriage of Thomas Holmes and Susanna Burton on 17 January 1785 at Saint Giles, Oxford. I believe this is the marriage of Ann’s parents.
I found two death notices for Thomas, one on Saturday 14 March 1812 in the Oxford University and City Herald: “On Thursday died Mr. Holmes, shoemaker, of Bear-lane, in this city.” The other in the Northampton Mercury of 21 March 1812 “Thursday sennight, in the 49th year of his age, Mr. Thomas Holmes, of Oxford.” I think this Thomas Holmes is Thomas Holmes the father of Ann.
I also found the burial record for Thomas Holmes, aged 49 on 18 March 1812 buried at St Ebbe’s, Oxford.
Reverend William Mitchell married again, and returned to India. In 1838 he was appointed by the Western Australian Missionary Society to help supply the spiritual needs of the residents of the Swan River Settlement, in what was to become the new colony of Western Australia. The Mitchell family, including the three children by his first wife Ann Mitchell nee Holmes, arrived there in 1838.
Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny, youngest child of Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny (1850-1912), a retired Royal Navy officer, and Annie Rose Charlotte Champion de Crespigny nee Key (1859-1935), was born 12 July 1890 and baptised at Bramshaw, Hampshire, England, on 14 October 1890.
At the time of the 1891 English census Edmund was 8 months old, living at Round Hill, Bramshaw with his parents, two brothers and sister, and two adult cousins of his parents and three servants.
Tne years later in 1901 he was at boarding school at Bramshaw.
Edmund died aged 15 on 29 May 1905 at Cushendun, near Ballycastle, County Antrim, Ireland. The cause of death was a diabetic coma and he had been in the coma for two days.
The death certificate informant was Ada McNeill, a maternal cousin.
At Bramshaw Hampshire there is a memorial for Edmund which states he was buried 30 May 1905.
Some years later an unknown person assumed Edmund’s identity. On 30 December 1919 a man calling himself Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny aged 29 (born 1890) married Elise Emma Richard at Lausanne, Switzerland. He stated he was the son of Philip Augustus Champion de Crespigny and Annie Rose Key and that he had been born at Lyndhurst [less than six miles from Bramshaw].
There have been cases of people assuming the surname Champion de Crespigny, claiming to be an illegitimate child of a member of the family. This was different. This man was not claiming to be an illegitimate child, his claim was to be the son Edmund who had died in 1905. This man died in 1967 and I wrote about him at Edmund Alexander Champion de Crespigny (1890 – 1905 or 1967?)
I have quite a number of Huguenot forebears, among them the Champion de Crespignys and Fonnereaus. Recently, pottering about in a different branch of the family, I came across several more, including a group of gunpowder manufacturers.
One of my 3rd great grandmothers was Charlotte Champion Crespigny née Dana. Her great grandfather was an Irish cleric, the Rev. Dr Grueber. Tracing his family led me to Huguenot refugees from Zurich to merchant bankers of Lyons, and from these to gunpowder manufacturers, with factories near London and in Ireland.
Thus through the Dana line, my eighth great grandfather was a Frenchman called Daniel Grueber, the son of Jean Henry Grueber (1585 – 1683), a merchant banker of Lyons and Anne Grueber née Theze. Jean Henry was the son of Jean Grueber, described as ‘Marchand banquier allemand à Lyon, Bourgeois de Zurich’, who married Jeanne Barrian in Lyons on 22 May 1576.
At Lyons on 3 December 1657 Daniel Grueber married Suzanne de Montginot. Their children, all born in Lyons, were:
Francis Grueber 1658–1730
Anne Grueber 1660–
Suzanne Grueber 1661– 1737
Daniel Grueber 1664–1670
Jean Henry Grueber 1666–
Francoise Grueber 1669–
Marguerite Grueber 1669–
Nicholas Grueber 1671–1743 (my seventh great grandfather)
On 21 November 1682 Daniel Grueber, Susanne his wife, their sons Francis, John Henry and Nicholas, and their daughters Susanna, Margarita and Frances, received formal letters of ‘denization‘, conferring on them the status of ‘denizen’. This was similar to present-day permanent residency. A denizen was neither a subject (with nationality) nor an alien, but had the important right to own land. On the same date Philip le Chenevix and his sister Magdaelena Chenevix also received letters of denization; Philip Chenevix married Suzanne Grueber in 1693.
From 1684 Daniel Grueber was leasing both gunpowder and leather mills along Faversham Creek in Kent, 48 miles east of London. Explosives had been manufactured at Faversham since at least the 1570s. There is a connection between gunpowder and leather: considerable quantities of leather were needed to protect the gunpowder from accidental detonation during its production, transportation and storage.
Daniel had possibly gained experience in gunpowder manufacture in Lyons though his immediate relatives, including his father, seem to have been merchants and bankers, not manufacturers.
Daniel had a contract to provide gunpowder to the British government’s Board of Ordnance, in partnership with James Tiphaine, another Huguenot refugee. Besides those at Faversham, Daniel had mills at Ospringe and Preston, both places within a mile of Faversham.
Daniel Grueber was naturalised on 2 July 1685 together with his three sons. Daniel was described as born at Lyons in France, son of John Henry Grueber by Anna These, his wife. ‘Naturalisation’, requiring an act of parliament be passed, granted all the legal rights of English citizenship except political rights (for example, the right to hold political office).
Daniel Grueber died in 1692 and his will was probated 15 February 1693 by his sons Francis and Nicholas. Francis continued the gunpowder business in Kent. In 1745 his son went bankrupt and eventually the mills were purchased by the Ordnance Board in 1759.
Nicholas Grueber emigrated to Ireland and had arrived by Michaelmas 1698 when he became a Freeman of Dublin under the terms of the 1661 Act of Parliament to encourage Protestants to settle in Ireland.
Nicholas Grueber’s occupation on his arrival was merchant. However, in 1717 he was awarded a 21-year contract to supply gunpowder to the government. In 1719 he established Dublin’s first large-scale gunpowder manufacturing business at Corkagh in south Dublin.
On 19 May 1703 Nicholas Grueber (the record has ‘Grubert’) married Marguerite Moore at L’Eglise Française de St Patrick (part of St Patrick’s Cathedral set aside for the use of Huguenots).
Nicholas was a merchant, son of Mr. Grubert and Madle Monginot, Marguerite was the daughter of the Reverend Moore, a minister of the English church.
Nicholas Grueber and his wife Marguerite had six children baptised at the Nouvelle Église de Ste Marie:
Nicholas Grueber 1704–1705
Elizabeth Grueber 1706–
Susana Maria Grueber 1707–
Nicholas Francis Grueber 1709–
Arthur Grueber 1713–1802 (my 6th great grandfather)
William Grueber 1720–
Of the four sons of Nicholas, one died in infancy, one followed him into business and the other two attended university and became clergymen in the Protestant Church of Ireland.
My sixth great grandfather Arthur Grueber was a pupil of the Anglican divine Thomas Sheridan, one of Jonathan Swift’s friends. Grueber studied at Trinity College, Dublin, gaining his MA in 1737 and DD in 1757. He was ordained as a deacon in 1736.
In May 1795, at the age of twelve, Rowland Mainwaring (1782 – 1862), my fourth great grandfather, joined the Royal Navy as a ‘young gentleman’, an aspiring officer. He was under the patronage of Admiral Sir John Laforey. His first ship was the Jupiter, a 50-gun fourth-rateship of the line commanded by Captain William Lechmere.
In the same year he became a midshipman on the Scipio, a 64-gun third rater, serving on the West Indies Station. He also served for a short while on the Beaulieu, a 40-gun fifth-ratefrigate, and on the Ganges a 74 gun third-rater. In just over a year Mainwaring had served in four ships, ranging in size from 40 to 74 guns. The Beaulieu had a notional complement of 320 officers and men and the Ganges 590 (naval vessels of the period were usually short-handed).
HMS Majestic under Westcott then joined the Channel Fleet, and was present at the Spithead Mutiny in April and May 1797. The mutiny at Spithead (an anchorage near Portsmouth) lasted from 16 April to 15 May 1797. It was one of two major mutinies in 1797. Sailors on 16 ships in the Channel Fleet protested against the living conditions aboard Royal Navy vessels and demanded a pay rise, better victualling, increased shore leave, and compensation for sickness and injury. During the mutiny the mutineers maintained regular naval routine and discipline aboard their ships (mostly with their regular officers), allowed some ships to leave for convoy escort duty or patrols, and promised to suspend the mutiny and go to sea immediately if French ships were spotted heading for English shores. Because of mistrust, especially over pardons for the mutineers, the negotiations broke down, and minor incidents broke out, with several unpopular officers sent to shore and others treated with signs of deliberate disrespect.
The mutiny ended with an agreement that saw a royal pardon for all crews, reassignment of some of the unpopular officers, a pay raise and abolition of the purser’s pound. Afterwards, the mutiny was to become nicknamed the “breeze at Spithead”.
The Battle of the Nile was fought from 1 to 3 August 1798 at Aboukir Bay, on the Nile Delta, 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Alexandria. The British fleet, led by Nelson, decisively defeated the French under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d’Aigalliers.
At this time Rowland Mainwaring was 15 years old. He never forgot the experience and frequently mentioned the anniversary in his diary entries. In later years he commissioned the marine artist Thomas Luny to paint the battle, himself sketching what he remembered of the scene, in particular the terrible moment when the flagship of the French Navy, L’Orient, was hit by a cannonball in her gunpowder magazine and exploded. The painting by Luny showing the battle at 10 p.m. on 1 August 1798 still hangs in Whitmore Hall.
Although it was late afternoon and the British fleet had no accurate charts of the bay, Nelson ordered an immediate attack on the French who were unprepared and unable to manoeuvre as the British split into two divisions and sailed down either side of the French line, capturing all five ships of the vanguard and engaging the French 120-gun flagship Orient in the centre. At 21:00, Orient caught fire and exploded, killing most of the crew and ending the main combat. Sporadic fighting continued for the next two days, until all of the French ships had been captured, destroyed or had fled; eleven French ships of the line and two frigates were eliminated.
Majestic was towards the rear of the British line, and did not come into action until late in the battle. Together with HMS Bellerophon, Majestic, passed by the melee and advanced on the so far unengaged French centre. In the darkness and smoke Majestic collided with the French ship Heureux and became entangled in her rigging. Majestic then came under heavy fire from the French ship Tonnant. Unable to stop in time, Westcott’s jib boom became entangled with Tonnant‘sshroud. Trapped for several minutes, Majestic suffered heavy casualties. The captain of the Majestic, George Westcott was hit by a musket ball in the throat and killed. Lieutenant Robert Cuthbert took command and was confirmed as acting captain by Nelson the day after the battle.
The Battle of the Nile was a great defeat for the French. The Royal Navy lost 218 killed and 677 wounded; the French losses were 2,000–5,000 killed and wounded, 3,000–3,900 captured, 9 ships of the line captured, and two ships of the line and two frigates destroyed.
The strategic situation between the two nations’ forces in the Mediterranean was reversed, and the Royal Navy gained a dominant position that it retained for the rest of the war.
A medal was issued for those who took part in the Battle of the Nile. Rowland Mainwaring claimed his medal only in 1847 and received it in 1850 with a medal for the Siege of Copenhagen. I am not sure why he left it so late to claim these honours.
In 1826 the English poetess Mrs Felicia Hemans wrote her well-known ‘Casabianca‘, which begins:
The boy stood on the burning deck Whence all but him had fled; The flame that lit the battle's wreck Shone round him o'er the dead.
The poem commemorates the young son of the commander of the French ship L’Orient who refused to desert his post without orders from his father.
(I will write separately about the rest of Rowland Mainwaring’s career.)
Parallels with the fictional Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey
Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey are fictional Royal Navy officers of the Napoleonic war years. Hornblower is the protagonist of a series of novels and stories by C. S. Forester published 1937 to 1967; Jack Aubrey is a fictional character in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O’Brian published 1969 to 2004. Hornblower and Aubrey are both a little older than Rowland Mainwaring.
In Forester’s novel ‘Mr. Midshipman Hornblower‘ his hero has that rank between 1794 and 1799. In his fictional career Hornblower served under the famous admiral Sir Edward Pellew; Mainwaring also served under Pellew, evidently with respect and admiration, for he christened his second son ‘Edward Pellew’.
In ‘Master and Commander‘ O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey, at the time lieutenant on HMS Leander, earns a silver Nile medal. The medal is mentioned every time Aubrey puts on his dress uniform.
Sources and notes
O’Byrne, William R. A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy, from the Rank of Admiral of the Fleet to that of Lieutenant, Inclusive. 1849. Page 711. Retrieved through archive.org.
Marshall, John. Royal Naval Biography : Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and Commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted, Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes … with Copious Addenda: Captains. Commanders. 1832. Pages 126 – 130. Retrieved through Google Books.
Cavenagh-Mainwaring, James Gordon. The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford; an account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent, with special reference to the manor of Whitmore, with appendices, pedigrees and illustrations. 1934. Pages 104, 114, and 115. Retrieved through archive.org
Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Christine and Britton, Heather, (editor.) Whitmore Hall : from 1066 to Waltzing Matilda. Adelaide Peacock Publications, 2013. Page 82.
Note: Although the birthdate of my fourth great grandfather Rowland Mainwaring is usually given as 31 December 1783, he was baptised at St George, Hanover Square London on 18 January 1783 and thus his date of birth is actually 31 December 1782. [City of Westminster Archives Centre; London, England; Westminster Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: SJSS/PR/5/16 retrieved through ancestry.com]
The genealogy company MyHeritage recently announced it had refreshed the data for its ‘Theory of Family Relativity™’, a tool that computes hypothetical family relationships from historical records and DNA matches. It does this by ‘…incorporating genealogical information from [its] collections of nearly 10 billion historical records and family tree profiles, to offer theories on how you and your DNA Matches might be related.
In yesterday’s webinar I looked at a MyHeritage theory of the relationship between my husband Greg and his cousin Pearl. MyHeritage suggests that Pearl is Greg’s second cousin once removed. This is confirmed by the historical records. Greg and Pearl have well-developed and reliable family trees, so it wasn’t difficult to calculate the relationship.
It’s hard to say what’s new in MyHeritage’s new Theory. It’s possible that new ways of massaging the data have been developed, but it seems more likely that, with larger volumes of data being processed to develop Theories, ‘new’ simply means more, as in ‘newly-added’.
Anyway, I thought I’d give it a try.
MyHeritage’s announcement included a note advising users that ‘If we have found new theories for you in this update, you’ll see a banner about the Theory of Family Relativity™ at the top of your DNA Matches page. Click “View theories” to see all the theories we’ve found, both old and new.’
I couldn’t find this banner, but I eventually found my way to the filters on the DNA results page where by using the “All tree details” filter, I could select “Has Theory of Family Relativity™”
My husband Greg has 14 matches with theories. Back in March 2019 I counted 7 matches with theories so I looked at this list of matches again to see if I can learn anything new. In March 2019 Greg had 4313 DNA matches at MyHeritage. Now he has 6399, 50% more.
Several of the 14 matches in the list were matches I had not previously reviewed. I decided to look at S, whose DNA kit is managed by T from Canada.
Greg and S share 35 centimorgans across 1 segment. MyHeritage estimates them to be 3rd to 5th cousins. S appears in a family tree with 250 people. S is the 4th cousin of Greg according to the Theory of Family Relativity™. Ancestral surnames appearing in both trees include Dawe; Daw and Smith. Ancestral places common to Greg and S include Great Britain and Ireland.
I clicked on View Theory which I have highlighted with the green arrow.
There are three paths to support the theory that Greg and S are 4th cousins.
The first path uses 3 websites: my tree, a tree by B R from Australia and the third website the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S. MyHeritage states “This path is based on 3 MyHeritage family trees, with 55% confidence”
The link is William Smith Dawe (1810-1977), Greg’s third great grandfather. I have on my tree that he is married to Mary Way (1811 – 1861). B R’s tree has William’s dates (1819 – 1877) and has William’s wife as Elizabeth Hocken 1821 – 1884 and the daughter of William and Elizabeth as Thirza Dawe 1824 – 1891. Thirza is the great great grandmother of S.
MyHeritage thinks the probability that the two William Smith Dawe’s on my tree and B R’s tree is 100% despite the differing birth dates. MyHeritage thinks the probability that Thirza Daw on B R’s tree is the same Thirza Daw on T’s tree is only 55%. I clicked on the small 55% immediately above the green letter b and got the following pop-up.
There are several problems with this first path of the theory calculated by MyHeritage. I don’t believe our William had two wives and Thirza born 1824 would have been born when William and Elizabeth were extremely young. I know this family does have common names and these are repeated across several generations. There are also several cousin marriages in this branch of the tree.
I looked at the second path to see if it is more plausible. MyHeritage states “This path is based on 4 MyHeritage family trees, with 70% confidence.”
The four trees are mine and the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S plus a tree by JS from Australia and a tree by MT from Australia.
This path goes from Greg’s great grandmother Sarah Jane Way (1863 – 1898) to her mother Sarah Way née Daw (1837 – 1895). The Daw surname sometimes is spelt with an extra e as in the tree by J S. From Sarah Dawe on J S’s tree we go to Sarah Ellen Dawe (1837 – 1895) on the tree by M T. I am not sure where the middle name came from. I don’t recall it on any document. I will check the documents I have.
M T’s tree has the parents of Sarah Ellen Dawe as Betsey Metters 1792 – 1863 and Isaac Smith Dawe 1795 – 1851. From Isaac we link to T’s tree. He shows Isaac Smith Dawe 1797 – 1851 and Betsy Metters (Matters) 1792 – 1863 as the parents of Thirza Daw 1824 – 1891, the great grandmother of S.
This theory seems more plausible to me, but I need to verify this against source documents. At the links between the trees MyHeritage assigns a confidence level. Most of the links are 100% but MyHeritage is only 70% confident that Sarah Dawe in J S’s tree is the same person as Sarah Ellen Dawe in the tree by M T.
I clicked on the 70% and got the popup showing the comparison which gives additional detail from both trees. The difference is that the tree by J S has no parents has no parents but the tree by M T has Sarah Ellen Way’s parents as Isaac Smith Dawe and Betsy Metters. M T’s Sarah Ellen Daw has the same dates and places of birth and death as the Sarah Daw in my tree. I have plenty of documents to back up that sarah’s parents were not Isaac and Betsy but instead Isaac’s brother William Smith Daw.
This theory almost but not quite adds up. The need to go across several surnames is because of the spelling variations between Daw and Dawe. In my tree I have spelled the surname without a final ‘e’. I think MyHeritage has placed too much emphasis on the surname variation and not enough on other variations.
The third path “…is based on one community tree and 4 MyHeritage family trees, with 52% confidence”.
This path uses our tree, the tree by Greg’s cousin Pearl, a tree managed by S R from Great Britain, Family Search Family Tree, and the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S.
Pearl’s tree provides the link between Sarah Daw on our tree spelt without an e to Sarah Dawe with an e and from there to her father William Dawe – surname with a final e. From there the link is to S R’s tree with William Smith Dawe (1810 – 1877), MyHeritage are only 72% confident they have the right man. William Dawe is not a direct forebear of Pearl and she has not provided many details for him in her tree.
S R shows Thirza Dawe (1824 – 1891) as the daughter of William Smith Dawe. From there the link is to FamilySearch Family Tree but with only 52% confidence. I clicked on the 53% to find out why MyHeritage is not confident they have the same person.
There are some important differences. The dates are the same and the place name variations are minor. FamilySearch, however, has Isaac Smith Dawe as the father of Thirza, not William Smith Dawe.
This path is rated 52% confidence by MyHeritage. The level of confidence is determined by its assessment of the weakest link.
I don’t think this path is correct. S R’s tree shows William Smith Dawe fathering Thirza when he was only 14, which is unlikely.
Of the three paths I think path 2 is most plausible but even then it is not quite right as it relies on the wrong father for Greg’s great great grandmother Sarah Way born Daw and does not fit with known records.
The next step is to review records and update my own tree using those records. After all, the Theory of Family Relativity generated by MyHeritage is meant to be a hint and not a proven conclusion.
I did not have Thirza Daw(e), the great great grandmother of S in my tree.
I have Isaac Smith Dawe (abt 1797 – 1851) and his wife Betsy Metters (1792 – 1863) in my tree. They show as Greg’s 4th great uncle. I have only one daughter showing for that marriage, the forebear of another match. Because Isaac is off to one side I have not researched all that family.
Isaac Daw appeared on the 1841 English census as a 40 year old miller living at Newton Mill, Tavistock, Devon. In the same household was Betsy Daw aged 45, and four children Betsy Daw aged 15, Honor aged 9, Jane aged 8, David aged 4.
On the 1851 census Isaac S Daw is a 54 year old miller employing 4 men and 1 boy living at Lumburn, Tavitock. In the same household are his wife Betsy aged 58, a niece aged 15 and a servant, a miller’s labourer, aged 30. All children have left home.
At the time of the 1841 census there may have been other children who had already left home.
Research by another cousin Lorna Henderson which she shared to Wikitree showed “entry in Beer Ferris in Tavistock parish register for 25 Aug 1818 shows Isaac Smith Dawe as sojourner of this parish, and Betsey Metters of this parish spinster, “married in this church by banns with the consent of their parents” by Harry Hobart, Rector. Both signed: Isaac Smith Daw and Betsey Matters. Wit: Humphrey Roberts, Mary Box (neither of whom witnessed other marriages on the page)”. I navigated to the Wikitree entry from MyHeritage when I searched Isaac Smith Dawe (Daw)/Dawe in All Collections. MyHeritage has 13,676,346 results for Isaac Smith Dawe (Daw)/Daw – far too many, the problem with a common name – they would of course be reduced as one narrowed down the search parameters.
I have been in correspondence with Lorna Henderson before and I know she is a most conscientious researcher and that Isaac is her direct forebear. She has a website for her family history at http://LornaHen.com and the details she has researched about Isaac Smith Daw are at http://familytree.lornahen.com/p28.htm . Lorna records there that in his will of 1847, William Smith Daw mentions his daughters: “My Daughters Names are as follows Mary Cook Betsey Bennett, Thirza Daw, Honor Daw and Jane Daw” and also his sons “my too sons Isaac Daw and David Daw”.
I could not find a baptism record for Thirza Daw in the MyHeritage record collections. On Wikitree cousin Lorna recorded that Thirza Daw was baptised 5 APR 1824 Tavistock, Devon, England. I found an image of her baptism in 1825 at FindMyPast. She was the daughter of Isaac Smith and Betsy Daw. Their abode was Newton Mill and Isaac’s occupation was Miller. I have updated Wikitree with the slightly revised date.
I am confident that Thirza is the daughter of Isaac Smith Daw, Greg’s 4th great uncle. Thyrza Daw shows up on the 1841 census as a female servant in another household. She married in 1850.
I traced down to S through English and Canadian censuses and other records. I found that she was Greg’s 5th cousin. S and Greg share 4th great grandparents Isaac Daw(e) 1769 – 1840 and Sarah Daw née Smith 1774 – 1833. Greg is descended from William Smith Daw 1810 – 1877 and S is descended from his brother Isaac Smith Daw 1797 – 1851.
I will update my family tree at MyHeritage. The Theory of Family Relativity won’t update straight away but at least I know that the next time it updates it may use the opportunity to trace a more accurate path.
As mentioned above I feel the algorithms MyHeritage used placed too much emphasis on the variation between Daw and Dawe and not enough emphasis on the parents named in the trees though there was obviously some weighting for variations in parents.
Nothing has changed about the MyHeritage theories particularly that I can see although I had not noticed previous theories that I reviewed making use of the tree at FamilySearch.
The Theories of Family Relativity generated by MyHeritage are just that, theories or hints. But they did point me in the right direction to make the connection between S and Greg and build my tree a little further.
Recently I’ve been doing a bit of research about Greg’s 3rd great grandfather James Cross (c 1791 – 1853). I have been greatly helped by contributions from several of Greg’s cousins who are also interested in their Cross ancestors. Here’s what I’ve turned up.
On 28 December 1819 James Cross married Ann Bailey (1791 – 1860). At the time he was employed as a brewer. He lived at Penketh, about ten miles east of Liverpool.
Between 1820 and 1822 James and Ann had seven children, two girls and five boys:
John Cross 1820–1867
Thomas Bailey Cross 1822–1889
Ellen (Helen) Cross 1824–1840
Ann Jane Cross 1826–1827
James Cross 1828–1882
William Grapel Cross 1832– 1876
Frederick Beswick Cross 1833–1910
James and Ann’s third child, the eldest daughter, was called Ellen. She was born 9 February 1824 and baptised in the Chapelry of Hale on 22 August 1824. The baptism register records James’s occupation as road surveyor and their abode as St Helens. Ellen Cross was Greg’s 3rd great aunt.
On the 1841 census James Cross, occupation farmer, was living with his wife Ann and three of his five sons: Thomas, James and Francis. There is no mention of daughters.
The eldest son, John, was a surgeon’s apprentice on the 1841 census living with Thomas Gaskill surgeon in Prescott.
James and Ann’s son William Grapel Cross was possibly at school. He was then about ten years old but ten years later he was with the family on the 1851 census. There is a William Cross at a grammar school in Whalley in 1841. The age and Lancashire location seem to fit, and the fact that he later got a job as an Admiralty clerk indicates he was well educated.
Ellen and her sister Ann Jane who was born in 1826 were not with the family.
Ann Jane Cross was born 28 June 1826 and baptised 16 July 1826 at St Helens, Lancashire. There is a burial on 14 May 1827 at St Mary, Hale, Lancashire, England of an Anne Jane Cross with Age: 1 Abode: St Helens. She seems likely to have been Anne the daughter of James and Ann.
There is a marriage of Ellen Cross daughter of James Cross, husbandman of Eccleston, in 1842. Ellen was a minor and this is consistent with the 1824 birth-date as she would then have been 18. A husbandman’s status was inferior to that of a yeoman. The latter owned land; the former did not.
Ellen could not sign her name, nor could her husband and the witnesses. From what I know of the family of James and Ann Cross it seems unlikely that Ellen could not sign her own name. I am also not able to identify the witness Elizabeth Cross.
I found an 1840 burial at St Thomas Eccleston for a Helen Cross. Her age is given as 16. This is consistent with Ellen’s 1824 year of birth. Her abode is recorded as Eccleston. There are no other clues to suggest that this Helen Cross was indeed Ellen the daughter of James and Ann Cross.
To confirm my hunch that Ellen daughter of James and Ann was Helen who was buried at Ecclestone in 1840, I ordered the death certificate of Helen Cross from the UK General Register Office.
Helen Cross, aged 16 years 2 months, daughter of James Cross, clerk, died of consumption on 10 April 1840 at Eccleston. This Helen’s age matches that of Ellen born February 1824.
Different documents give different occupations for James Cross, but I believe that for each of the instances that it is the same person.
Consumption, now more commonly known as tuberculosis, is an infectious bacterial disease, usually affecting the lungs. A common symptom is a persistent cough, which in later stages brings up blood. The patient, with no appetite, loses weight. Other symptoms include a high temperature, night sweats, and extreme tiredness. Tuberculosis was usually a slow killer; patients could waste away for years.
An 1840 study attributed one fifth of deaths in England to consumption. It has been claimed “Tuberculosis was so prevalent in Europe and the United States during the period comprising the end of the 18th century through the first half of the 19th century that almost every family on the two continents was affected in some way by the disease.”
In 1838 the death rate in England and Wales from tuberculosis was around 4,000 deaths per 1 million people; it fell to around 3,000 per million in 1850. The improvements in the death rate have been attributed to improvements in food supplies and nutrition as the improvements are before knowledge of the cause of the disease or any treatment was available.
The World Health Organisation reports that today tuberculosis is still one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent. Worldwide 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018; over 95% of cases and deaths are in developing countries. The WHO estimated 58 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2018 and the WHO hopes to eliminate TB by 2030.
Scrimshaw, Nevin S. Integrating nutrition into programmes of primary health care, Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 10, Number 4, 1988 (United Nations University Press, 1988, 74 p.) retrieved from http://preview.tinyurl.com/lyodwzf
William Barnston (1592-1665) of Churton, a village some seven miles/twelve kilometres south of Chester, was among the royalist defenders of that city against the attacks of parliamentary forces and the final siege of 1645-1646. He was imprisoned for a time after the Civil War and was obliged to pay a fine to the Interregnum government before he could return to his estates. The area had suffered heavy damage during the war, but soon after the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 Barnston was able to rebuild his parish church of St Chad at nearby Farndon, and he added a chapel with a memorial panel to his experience of the war and a window commemorating his comrades of Chester.
After general conflict in Cheshire between royalists and parliamentarians, the parliamentarian forces under Sir William Brereton (1604-1661) established supremacy in the county. Chester, held out as a royalist stronghold, however, and was important as an entry-port for troops from Wales and Ireland. After some early attacks in 1643 and 1644, full siege was laid in September 1645. The city held out for several months, repelling many assaults, but as supply lines were cut the people were faced with starvation, and the garrison surrendered in February of the following year.
After three and a half centuries it is not surprising that the Farndon window has suffered damage and decay: one panel at the top is missing and many details are blurred. By good fortune, however, a coloured copy was made in the early nineteenth century and an engraving of it was published in Ormerod’s History of Cheshire:
In the Barnston chancel …[is] a curious historical subject, which was rescued from a state of extreme decay, and repaired at the expence of the late dean of Chester. It is represented in the attached engraving, on a scale reduced about two-thirds from a fac-simile drawing, which was executed under the inspection of the dean, when the glass was in his possession.
The Dean of Chester was Hugh Cholmondeley (1773-1815), who held that office at Chester Cathedral from 1806 until his death, four years before Ormerod published his History. In the engraving, the blank panel at the top is occupied by a title sheet with an attribution to his patronage.
The engraving is presented on a two-page spread-sheet. It is certainly clearer than the photographs, and given that it was prepared under supervision we may accept it as a fair reproduction. A full copy appears at the end; details are used for comparison and clarification in this essay.
The window is divided into four registers, with four larger panels in the centre, four each across the top and bottom, and four each again in column on either side. Since the overall measurement is no more than 28 inches/72 centimetres high and 18 inches/46 centimetres wide, the twenty pictures are all quite small.
The four central panels have a display of arms, armour and other equipment, and the one in the upper left also shows an officer standing outside a tent and carrying a baton of command. From the shield part-hidden behind him: or, three mallets sable [yellow, with three black wooden hammers], he can be identified as Sir Francis Gammul (1606-1654). A former mayor of Chester, when King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham and issued a call to arms in August 1642 he raised troops in the city and brought a contingent to join him. He played a leading role in the defence of the city and was made a baronet in 1644.
Eight small pictures on either side of the window show figures of armoured infantrymen with muskets and pikes, and in four larger pictures across the base there are a pikeman, a junior officer bearing a flag, a flute-player and a drummer. In his discussion of the window, Colonel Field notes that the figures are based upon contemporary drawings published in France by the engraver and water-colourist Abraham Bosse (c.1604-1676): styles were the same on both sides of the Channel.
Like Sir Francis Gamull, the flag-bearer can be identified by the shield in the corner of his picture: the shield is black, with three white greyhounds, surrounded by a white border [sable, three greyhounds courant argent, within a bordure of the last]. This was the insignia of the Berington family of Cheshire, and the top of the shield has a “label of three points” – a bar with three pendants – indicating that he is an eldest son whose father is still living.
The senior lineage of the Berington family had held the estates of Bradwall and Moores-barrow, a short distance southeast of Middlewich in Cheshire, but they passed by marriage to the Oldfield family in the late sixteenth century. A cadet branch, however, still held property at Warmingham, some five kilometres/three miles south of Middlewich, and Hugh Berington was baptised there in 1626. In 1644 Hugh would have been eighteen, and Ensign – equivalent to a second lieutenant at the present day – was an appropriate rank for a young gentleman.
The shield of the Grosvenor family, blue with a yellow sheaf of grain [azure, a garb or] is marked at the top by a label of three points, indicating that – like Ensign Berington above – Richard Grosvenor is the eldest son and his father is living.
A label also appears on the shield of William Mainwaring. In his case, however, his father Edmund was a second son, so the family shield of two red bars on a white ground [argent, two bars gules] is also differenced by a crescent for cadency.
The Barnston shield is complex: blue with an indented bar of speckled with black across the centre, and six complex yellow crosses [azure, a fess dancettée ermine between six cross-crosslets or (ermine is a formulaic rendering of the animal’s fur)]. It does not, however, have any marks of difference, so William Barnston was the head of his family.
The colours in the window have been affected by age and in several places they are uncertain. Where the Cholmondeley copy, for example, has sashes in differing colours and Gamull and Grosvenor with yellow coats, Field argues that all the sashes and the senior officers’ jackets were originally red. With the handsome headgear, this was parade dress; Barnston, however, was wearing the long, close-fitting “buff coat” of heavy leather, often made from buffalo- or ox-hide, which gave basic protection in combat.
As pictured in the side columns of the window, some pikemen bore half-armour of metal plate over the leather. Such corselets, however, were heavy to wear and were going out of use, while musketeers had sufficient problems with their weapons. Two shown in the side panels are holding “matchlocks,” dangerous and erratic and requiring a pole to rest upon, but even the new, lighter “firelocks” shown in the other pictures were awkward to manage. Horsemen, like William Mainwaring’s cousin Philip, carried pistols and swords and were often armoured, but the soldiers in the Farndon window were defending a city and had no use for cavalry.
William Barnston, who had the Farndon window made in the early 1660s, has already been discussed, while nothing more is known of Ensign Berington – even his identification as the Hugh Berington baptised at Warmingham in 1626 is uncertain. We can, however, offer a brief account of the other officers shown in the window:
Following the surrender of Chester in 1646, Sir Francis Gamull was able to compound for his estates, but in 1654 he joined a rising against the newly-established Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The rebellion was defeated and Francis Gamull was executed. He left no sons, and the baronetcy was extinguished.
The Grosvenor family of Eaton Hall in Eccleston, just to the south of Chester, were leading gentry of the county. As a member of Parliament in the 1620s, Sir Richard Grosvenor (1585-1645) had been a strong supporter of the royal interest, and he had been made a baronet by King Charles in 1622. His son, also Richard Grosvenor (c.1604-1665) was High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1643 and raised troops in the royal cause.
Richard Grosvenor succeeded to the baronetcy at his father’s death in 1645, and later generations of the family became increasingly successful and prosperous. The present-day Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, one of the wealthiest men in England, is a direct descendant, and Eaton Hall in Cheshire is his country house.
William Mainwaring (c.1616-1645) had been a Sergeant-Major of the troop brought by Sir Francis Gamull to join the king’s forces when he raised his standard at Nottingham in 1642. William took part in the campaign which led to the battle of Edgehill on 23 October, first engagement of the civil war, and he was knighted by the king at Oxford in January of the following year.
William’s father Edmund (1579-c.1650) was a younger son of Sir Randle Mainwaring of Over Peover (d.1612), some fifty kilometres/thirty miles east of Chester. While many gentlemen of the time determined their allegiance in the war through family interest and local alliances rather than by any political or religious conviction, the Mainwarings were divided. Philip Mainwaring of Over Peover, whose armour is shown above, was a son of Sir Randle and first cousin of William, but as William defended Chester for the king Philip was commanding a troop of cavalry in the parliamentary army.
Sir William Mainwaring was killed in October 1645, fighting on the walls of Chester. It was reported that he had been wounded by musket-shot under the arm and died on the following day. His widow Hester was left with two daughters and an infant son, who died a few months later. The elder daughter Hester had no children, but Judith married John Busby, who was knighted by Charles II in recognition of the service given by his father-in-law, and their daughter Hester married Thomas Egerton of Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire; her descendants became barons and earls.
 There is a general history of the war in Cheshire in The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester: compiled from original evidences in public offices, the Harleian and Cottonian mss., parochial registers, private muniments, unpublished ms. collections of successive Cheshire antiquaries, and a personal survey of every township in the county; incorporated with a republication of King’s Vale Royal, and Leycester’s Cheshire Antiquities, by George Ormerod (1785-1873), 3 volumes, Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor and Jones, London 1819 [archive.org] Ormerod, History I, xxxv-xxxviii, and a modern account in “Early Modern Chester 1550-1762: the civil war and interregnum, 1642-60,” 115-125; digitised by British History Online [BHO] from A History of the County of Chester, Volume 5 Part 1 “The City of Chester: General History and Topography,” published by Victoria County History, London 2003; online at british-history.ac.uk/vch/ches/vol5/pt1/pp115-125.
 After the victory of Parliament in the civil war, gentlemen who had fought on the royalist side did not suffer a direct confiscation of their estates, but had to pay in order to keep them. The process was known as “compounding.”
 The window is discussed, with photographs, at the following websites:
There is also an article on “Army Uniforms in a Stained Glass Window in Farndon Church, Cheshire – temp Charles I,” by Colonel C Field, in Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research V.22, 174-177 [https://www.jstor.org/stable/44227597].
I also acknowledge the most impressive and helpful site cheshire-heraldry.org.uk, described as “A web site dedicated to the art and science of heraldry in the County Palatine of Chester.” It provides a quantity of information, with excellent sources, and has impressive illustrations.
Ormerod, History II, page 408. This introductory paragraph is followed by another with a description of the contents, which has been drawn upon for some of the discussion which follows.
 His dates of appointment are given by Ormerod, History I, 221. Reproductions from the engraving are referred to below as the Cholmondeley copy.
 Ormerod notes disagreement whether Sir Francis received a baronetcy or only a knighthood, and the shield in the window is unclear, but the Cholmondeley copy shows the red hand, insignia of baronetcy, in the centre of his shield.
 “Army Uniforms,” 175. He suggests that five bars [Gamull and Grosvenor] may have indicated a colonel, four [Mainwaring] a lieutenant-colonel, and three [Barnston]
 “… two men of Captain Mainwaring:” Alice Thornton, quoted in Roger Hudson [editor], The Grand Quarrel: from the Civil War memoirs of Mrs Lucy Hutchison; Mrs Alice Thornton; Ann, Lady Fanshawe; Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle; Anne, Lady Halkett, & the letters of Brilliana, Lady Harley, Folio Society, London 1993, page 92.
 Summary accounts of weapons, armour and tactics at this time appear in Austin Woolrych, Battles of the English Civil War, published first by Batsford, London 1961, then by Pan 1966, at 100-101; and William Seymour, Battles in Britain and their political background, volume 2 (1642-1746), Sidgwick and Jackson, London 1975 and Book Club Associates 1976, at 26-27.
England has so many people waiting for other people to die.”
Kathleen Cavenagh Symes nee Cudmore (1908-2013)
On 4 January 1901 Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana, then living at Beaufort in Victoria, wrote to her daughter Ada in Melbourne with news of their English cousins and a letter describing their sad disappointment:
I send you poor Gwen’s letter… I am so sorry for them and it is very hard to lose so much money. Y[ou]r Uncle G[eorge Blicke] thinking Harry provided for by this wealthy man who adopted him, and Harry Trent, his godfather, left him nothing, Georgina getting George’s money.
“Gwen” was Gwendolyn Blanche Champion de Crespigny nee Clarke-Thornhill (1864-1923), who was the wife of George Harrison CdeC (1863-1945), known as Harry; they had married in 1890 and had three children. Harry was the son of George Blicke CdeC (1815-1893), an elder brother of Charlotte Frances’ late husband Philip Robert (1817-1889), so he was Charlotte Frances’ nephew by marriage.
The indication from Charlotte Frances letter is that since Harry CdeC was expected to receive a considerable legacy, his father George Blicke had bequeathed his own property to his daughter Georgina Elizabeth, Harry’s sister. She duly inherited after his death in 1893, but when Harry CdeC’s godfather Harry Trent died in 1899 it turned out that he had left nothing to his godson. So Harry CdeC and Gwen gained nothing from either source.
Gwen’s original letter has now been lost, however, and without its guidance Charlotte Frances’ text is misleading as it stands. The facts were a good deal more complex.
George Blicke ChC (1815-1893) second son of Charles Fox ChC (1785-1875), joined the Twentieth Regiment of Foot in the British army and rose to be Paymaster in the School of Musketry at Hythe in Kent, retiring with the rank of Colonel; he died at neighbouring Folkestone in 1893. In 1851 he had married Elizabeth Jane Buchanan, daughter of a leading lawyer in Montreal, Canada. Of their three children, Julia Constantia was born in 1852 and died in 1876, and Georgina Elizabeth was born in 1856 and died in 1938; neither married. George Harrison was their third child and only son.
In 1890 George Harrison CdeC married Gwendolyn Blanche Clarke-Thornhill. They had one son, George Arthur Oscar (1894-1962), and two daughters: Mildred Frances (1892-1946), who would marry a Major Harold Cartwright; and Gwendolyn Sybil (1900-1967), known as “Guinea,” who never married. Charlotte Frances had received photographs of the two elder children in February 1900, but Gwendolyn Sybil was not born until the following December; the letter from Gwen which Charlotte Frances discusses on 4 January 1901 must have been written in the last weeks of pregnancy.
The godfather of George Harrison CdeC was Harrison Walke John Trent (1830-1899); both godfather and godson were known as Harry.
Harry Trent was the son of Francis Onslow Trent (1797-1846) and the grandson of John Trent (1770-1796) of Dillington House in Somerset. Eliza Julia, wife of Charles Fox ChC, was the daughter of John Trent and the sister of Francis Onslow, so her three sons George Blicke, his elder brother Charles John and his younger brother Philip Robert, were Harry Trent’s first cousins. Harry’s grandfather John Trent had held property in Barbados, both in his own right and through his wife Judith nee Sober, but very little money had passed to later generations: a court case in 1804 found that the Dillington estate had limited value, and when Harry Trent’s grandmother Judith died in 1871 her property was less than £2000.
Harry Trent had joined the Sixty-Eighth Foot – the Durham Light Infantry; he was awarded medals in the New Zealand wars of 1864-66, and became Colonel in command of the School of Musketry where George Blicke ChC had been Paymaster.
Harry Trent did not marry until 1889, when he was aged fifty-nine. His wife Rose nee Plunkett was a sister of Frances the third wife of Charles John CdeC, elder brother of George Blicke, so there was already a family connection.
Rose had previously been married to Anthony Stoughton of Owlpen House in Gloucestershire, a wealthy landowner, Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. He died in 1886, leaving an estate probated at more than £14,000, and his widow received the bulk of that property. When Harry Trent married Rose three years later he obtained royal licence to take the name of Stoughton-Trent – a mark of the importance of the Stoughton inheritance – and when he died in 1899 his personal property was valued at just £1400, with his wife as executor and principal beneficiary. Rose had no children by either marriage, but lived a presumably wealthy widow until 1926.
Since most of the money was his wife’s, it does not appear that Harry Trent had a great deal to leave his godson. There may have been a token of goodwill, but nothing substantial.
While neither the Trent nor the CdeC families were particularly well off at this time, Harry CdeC’s wife Gwendolyn came from a prosperous background.
Gwendolyn’s father, born William Capel Clarke, married the heiress Clara Thornhill in 1855 and added her surname to his own. Their first child, Thomas Bryan, was born in 1857, and five more followed in the next six years. Gwendolyn, the youngest, was born at Eaton Square – a good London address – and her mother Clara died three months after her birth.
William Capel Clarke-Thornhill inherited his wife’s estate, which included the very large Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire with other properties in the country and in London, and he was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. Gwendolyn went to a private school at Brighton, and in the census of 1881 the staff at Rushton Hall numbered eighteen, while two porter’s lodges and other houses on the estate gave accommodation to gardeners, labourers and other servants. The house remained in the family until the 1930s, then became a school and is now a hotel.
Harry CdeC himself, moreover, may fairly be said to have had great expectations, for he had been adopted by Oscar William Holden Hambrough, the owner of Pipewell Hall, which was close to the Clarke-Thornhills’ property at Rushton Hall in the parish of Desborough. It is not known how Harry became acquainted with his patron, nor why the arrangement was made. It may have been through neighbourly connection, but it happened that the Hambroughs were linked by marriage to the Windsor family which held the earldom of Plymouth – and the baronet lineage of the Champions de Crespigny had also married with the Windsors. Though the connection was distant, Harry CdeC was considered to be a cousin.
Oscar had been born in 1825 on the Isle of Wight, where his father John Hambrough built Steephill Castle in Victorian baronial style. John died in 1863, leaving the castle to the family of his eldest son Arthur, who had died two years earlier, but Oscar received Pipewell Hall. As a leading landholder of Northamptonshire he became a Justice of the Peace and served a term as Deputy Lieutenant of the county.
In 1859 Oscar had married Caroline Mary Hood, daughter of the third Viscount Hood and descended from a noted admiral of the eighteenth century. The couple had no children, and Caroline died in January 1890.
In 1864 Oscar obtained royal licence to take the name of Holden Hambrough. His grandfather John had married Catherine Holden, daughter of a Lancashire family, and combined their surnames, but his son had chosen to drop the addition. Oscar now revived the connection, no doubt in part to distinguish himself from his brother’s lineage.
For his part, George Harrison CdeC was listed with the surname Champion de Crespigny in census records until 1881, but when he married Gwendolyn Clarke-Thornhill at Rushton on 18 December 1890 the parish recorded his surname as Champion Holden de Crespigny. We may assume that the adoptive relationship had been established in the course of that year, and George Harrison took the additional surname – albeit in curious and clumsy fashion – as acknowledgement of his new patron. Harry and Gwen’s only son, born in 1894, was christened George Arthur Oscar with the surname Champion-Holden de Crespigny.
A newspaper entry of 1893 summarises the situation, commencing with Dudley Arthur, the son of Oscar’s elder brother:
…Mr Dudley Arthur Hambrough … represents the elder branch of the Hambroughs of Steephill Castle, Isle of Wight, and Pipewell Hall, near Kettering, Northants. Mr D A Hambrough’s great-grandfather [John (1754-1831)] married into the good old Lancashire family, the Holdens of Holden, and added their surname to his own; but this distinction was dropped by Mr Hambrough’s grandfather [John (1793-1863)]. The latter, however, bequeathed the Pipewell property to his younger son, who revived the double patronymic, and still survives as Mr Oscar William Holden-Hambrough. He is married to the only daughter of the late Viscount Hood and sister of the present peer, and, having no issue, he is understood to have adopted as his heir Mr George Champion de Crespigny, a remote cousin of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, the Essex baronet.
Oscar Holden Hambrough had properties in London and elsewhere, and in the census taken on 5 April 1891 Harry and Gwen are recorded at Pipewell Hall with the surname Champion Holden de Crespigny. There were five servants in the house: a butler, a lady’s maid, a cook and two housemaids, with other workers on the estate housed separately. Though adequate for a new family, this was a much smaller establishment than the one maintained by Oscar Holden Hambrough ten years before: the census of 1881 had listed a staff of fourteen, including kitchen, laundry and scullery maids supervised by a house-keeper, together with footmen, a coachman and grooms – almost as many as the complement of eighteen at Rushton Hall.
Some time later, Oscar returned to Pipewell, and Harry and Gwen moved to the Manor House in Desborough itself. Now known as the Old Manor House, it is a substantial building of the seventeenth century, and though smaller than their previous accommodation it was not inappropriate to their needs and could be regarded as a place in waiting for the future residents of Pipewell Hall.
When Oscar died in 1900, however, the provisions of his will were somewhat unexpected. They were summarised by the Northampton Mercury:
Whereas Harry and Gwen had evidently believed that he would be the chief legatee, he now received only a life interest in some furniture – whatever that may have meant in practical terms – and a pension from the income of the lands at Desborough. It was not ungenerous, but it was not what they had hoped for and – allowing for the time that letters took to reach Australia by ship – Gwen was writing to Charlotte Frances quite soon after the provisions of the will were known.
The will itself must have been prepared some time earlier, for Oscar’s younger brother Windsor Edward, a clergyman, had died in November 1899. He was not wealthy – his estate was probated at just £156 – so the pension of £1 a week was not generous, while it appears that Oscar had no interest in his two nephews and a niece.
At the same time, the appointment of Otho as residuary legatee was a reasonable balance between Oscar’s obligations to his adoptive son and to his natural family. Otho was the fourth son of Oscar’s brother Albert John, but two older brothers were dead; by this means, once the life interest and trust had expired, all property would revert to the Hambrough lineage. In the event, Otho died in 1925, leaving no children, but George Harrison CdeC lived until 1945.
In immediate terms, the will must have been a disappointment: a life pension and a collection of furniture is not the same as full ownership of a large house with extensive grounds. Two further blows came at much the same time. Harry’s godfather Harry Trent died in August 1899, one month before Oscar Holden Hambrough, and he too left no substantial legacy – he had, as we have seen, limited money of his own; and Gwen’s father William Capel Clarke-Thornhill had died in June the year before, leaving an estate valued for probate at more than £100,000. Most of that property was real estate and the principal legatee and executor was naturally his eldest son Thomas Bryan; Gwen would already have received a marriage settlement, which meant she had small claim to more – and Harry’s expectations would have meant that her father, like Harry’s, felt there was no need. It must nonetheless have been galling to see her family home so near and yet so far removed.
On the other side of the family, when Harry’s father George Blicke CdeC died in 1893, his estate was passed for probate with a value of just £25; one must assume he had already passed most of his property to Harry’s sister Georgina. She died unmarried in 1938, with rather more than £11,000, and the major beneficiaries were her two nieces, Mildred Frances and Gwendolyn Sibyl, the daughters of Harry and Gwendolyn.
So Gwen and Harry had not done badly, but their immediate situation was disappointing. When the census was held on 31 March 1901, six months after the death of Oscar Holden Hambrough, the family was living at a house in Kettering named Bryher on a street named Headlands: husband and wife, three children – one aged three months – and three servants: a cook, a parlourmaid and a nurse for the baby. This was surely not the accommodation or the circumstances which they had expected. Not entirely surprisingly, the surname has reverted to Champion de Crespigny, without the Holden, while the six-year-old boy is listed as George A, with no mention of his first baptised name of Oscar; he would later be known as Arthur.
At the same time, however, by one route or another – possibly as a non-valued item in his father’s deceased estate – Harry had obtained the portrait of Dorothy nee Scott, mother of Charles Fox CdeC, which had been painted by the noted artist George Romney in 1790, and on 27 April 1901 the painting was sold at Christies for £5,880. Such an amount would have purchased a large house and land, and the proceeds were used to lease the Hall at Burton Latimer, a fine Elizabethan building in a village just east of Kettering. In another letter, written on Boxing Day 1902, Charlotte Frances expressed surprise that Harry had sold [the portrait of] his great-grandmother, but she admired the photograph of their house.
The staff now included a proper complement of servants, including a butler, a governess, a cook and maidservants, and three gardeners to keep the grounds in trim. Harry was a justice of the peace and an honorary colonel in the local militia, while Gwen – short and stout, with a formidable personality – was an energetic lady of the manor, holding garden parties for the aristocracy and gentry and quarrelling with the vicar of the local church.
So – with a little help from Harry’s great-grandmother – all ended well.
After the departure from Burton Latimer of the Villiers about 1904, the Hall was leased to Colonel and Mrs. George Harrison Champion de Crespigny who had three children, Arthur, Mildred and Gwendoline.
Col de C, a tall handsome man with a distinguished military bearing, was later appointed a magistrate for the Kettering bench. His wife was a short stout lady of very strong character who had been born a Clark-Thornhill of Rushton Hall.
Life at the Hall in those days was kept up in style, with a butler, two cooks and several house and parlour maids. Three gardeners maintained the grounds in a beautiful state – the lawns velvet smooth, the yew hedges clipped and the long herbaceous borders a riot of colour. The gardens were often opened for parties and charitable events.
Arthur was a Lieutenant in the Northamptonshire Regiment during the first world war and at home he had a favourite King Charles spaniel named “Pincher”.
Mildred was very fond of painting and about 1907 a well known artist, a Mr. Stannard stayed at the Hall to give lessons to the young ladies: some of their friends were also invited to join them at classes, and one was Mabel Talbutt the baker’s daughter from Church Street. Several of their paintings have survived, also Mildred’s easel.
Mrs. De C had her own little buggy or trap drawn by a brown pony which would take her into Burton or Kettering . Canon G.L. Richardson (Rector 1911-1920) incurred Mrs. De C’s displeasure one Sunday morning at Matins when he criticised in his sermon, people who preferred to be in their potting sheds rather than at church.
Col de C was fond of plants and also was not a regular churchgoer – so his wife took this as a personal slight – standing up in her pew she glared at the Rector and marched out of the church to the surprise and awe no doubt of the congregation.
Another unfortunate occasion in church – Mrs. De C arrived for service and was very annoyed to see a strange woman sitting in her pew. Not saying a word she sat very close to the unsuspecting visitor, but every time it was necessary to stand up to sing or kneel to pray, the “interloper” was gradually eased out into the aisle, until she had to find herself somewhere else to sit.
The great blizzard of March 1916 brought Mrs. De C out of doors on foot to make a call in Church Street, being heavily clad in furs and a cape, not to mention the large hat, she was probably not easily recognisable to the cheeky young machinists at Hart and Levy’s factory in Bakehouse Lane, who called out of the windows and poked fun at her. But the furious lady stopped in her tracks and let forth such language that the windows were hastily closed.
 His obituary was published by the Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser on 8 July.
 His obituary was published by the Bristol Times and Mirror on 5 August 1899.
 Wikipedia mentions a claim that Charles Dickens was a friend of Clare Clarke-Thornhill, that he visited Rushton Hall on several occasions, and that it became the model of Satis House, the residence of Miss Havisham in his novel Great Expectations.
However, since Dickens was born in 1812, he was twenty-four years older than Clara, and she was married at the age of nineteen. It is doubtful that her wifely and motherly duties would have allowed her much time to make his acquaintance, so the story is unlikely. Restoration House in Rochester, Kent, is a more convincing candidate for the original model.
 The house was demolished in the early 1960s and the land is now a housing estate: see Wikipedia and also “The Forgotten Castle” by David Paul (originally published in Wight Life, August/September 1973) at round-the-island.co.uk.
 The name appears sometimes with a hyphen – as Holden-Hambrough – and sometimes without: e.g. Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, 1898 edition at 717; and Kelly’s Directory of the same year, cited in note 9.