Burntwood Family History Group
   Home      Journal 2015 08-10 Volume 23 Number 3
Extracts from Burntwood Family History Group Journal
 
 
 
 
 
August - October 2015
 
 
 
 
Vol 23.3
 
Contents of this issue.
 

From the Chair 1
Introducing the Group’s new Secretary 2
Minutes of the 2015 AGM 3
Advertisers 8
Transcriptions Update 8
Inspector Haycock Investigates Again! 9
Interesting Medications from the Past 11
BFHG Memorabilia Evening 12
‘Who do you Think You Are’ and an Englishman in France 17
From Burntwood to Waterloo and Back 18
This issue's cover photograph 19
Genealogy Quotes 19

From the Chair
 

A warm welcome from the ‘Big Chair’! Thank you to everyone who voted for me to continue for another year in this important position at our AGM.  We also have a new ‘Vice-Chair’ (Note the Political Correctness there – you can’t be too careful these days!), although it doesn’t seem correct to me and a lot of you, I suspect. Anyway, we have bought a very experienced person back into this important position – Pam Woodburn. As many of you know, Pam has been with the group in one capacity or another from the group’s beginning.  The good news just keeps on coming! At long last, after about 12 months of asking for someone to take over the position of Hon. Secretary for the group, at our AGM we had a willing volunteer! Please welcome Helen Bratton, who has a similar role at the Cannock Wood Gardening Guild. She will bring much needed help to Chris Graddon, our Treasurer, who has been carrying out both jobs during the past year. Helen also organised the trips to Kew for the gardening guild, where we have tagged along and gone to the National Archives.  Burntwood Town Council have taken over the running of the Old Mining College where we meet, and are making improvements. The first noticeable one is the upgrading of the IT Suite upstairs, with new computers and screens. There is now ‘Purple Wi-fi’ in the building (all you techies will now what I am talking about – for the rest of us it is very fast internet, OK?). Hopefully, this should attract more people on Thursday evening research nights. Air conditioning is being planned for the Community Room where we hold our Monday evening meetings, which should be good in the summer months.
 
The Memorial Project continues to grow in popularity, and the group has been asked if we can provide photographs of fallen soldiers for the visual art project taking place during the evening of Armistice Day, on 11th November, at St Anne’s Church, Chasetown. Images of the soldiers are to be projected on the outside and inside of the church, which should be a fitting tribute to the young men who didn’t return home. The light show has been organised by Peter Walker, the local artist involved in ‘Scamp’ (the miner and pit pony at Sankey’s Corner).  We’re on the steep downhill path to Christmas. This year, the Christmas Social Evening will be different from previous years, so I have been told by the organisers.
Not even I know what it is going be, so please come along. Following on from that we usually have a social event away from the Old Mining College between Christmas and New Year. In the past few years, we have had a lunchtime meal at The Wych Elm public house, which is usually attended by about 20 of us. All are welcome; please let the committee know if you are interested.  Good luck with your research.  Steve Bailey, Chairman, BFHG, 2015–2016
 
Introducing the Group’s new Secretary

Hi. I have recently taken on the role of Secretary for Burntwood Family History group, so this is to introduce myself. I moved to Burntwood temporarily 30 years ago, to renovate a house in what was supposed to take two years – it is never-ending! My main hobby is gardening, and I confess I am more attached to the garden than the house.  As a keen gardener, I joined a local gardening club, and some of you may already
know me, as I organised the coach trip to Kew Gardens and the National Archives in the spring. Unfortunately, I failed to organise the weather, and those who went round the gardens in monsoon conditions may just about be dry by now.
 
I joined the BFHG group a few years ago, with the aim of researching my family tree and, although I have done some of that, it wad never as much as I intended, and it has become one of those things I hope to spend a lot more time on when I eventually escape from employment/retire. Although I did have a fantastic day at the Archives!  In the meantime, browsing through the local newspaper one week, I saw an advert for one of the monthly talks (my grandmother was a suffragette) and realised that I might be missing out. I went along and was totally hooked. I have always loved history, and I have really enjoyed these, and now have them firmly in my diary.  Having taken on the role of secretary, I look forward to getting into the role in the coming months.  Helen Bratton.

Minutes of the 2015 AGM

This year’s annual general meeting was held on Monday 14th September 2015, at the Old Mining College Burntwood, at 7.30pm.

Chairman’s Welcome - The Group’s chairman, Steve Bailey, welcomed the members present.
 
Minutes of the 2014 AGM - The minutes of last year’s meeting were unavailable.
 
Chairman’s Report - Steve thanked Jane Leake and Pam Woodburn for the work they have undertaken for the group – Jane for organising the speakers, and Pam for the Memorial Project. We have had another successful year. The Monday meetings have been well attended, with a variety of speakers. The Thursday meetings, where members can use the on-site computers, our resources, and get help with their research, have not been so well attended. Steve reminded us that since Burntwood Town Council has taken over the running of the centre, Purple Wi-Fi has been connected, so members might like to take advantage of the faster broadband which is available throughout the building and bring along their own laptops to the Thursday meetings. He has heard that some time in the future, Burntwood Town Council may wish to use the building as their offices, in which case we would need to look for another venue.  Last year we used the grant of £120 from Burntwood Town Council to provide a projection screen to be used at the Monday meetings. As an application form has been received for the coming year, Steve asked for suggestions for an item for which we could apply for a grant. He suggested an adjustable stand on which speakers could rest their laptops or computers; one is available for around £60. Chris Graddon suggested a cupboard, which is needed to house the extra resources and books that we now have. Any other suggestions would be welcome. Last year we received a grant of £600 from Staffordshire County Council. Jenny Lee agreed to deal with the application form and application, as she did last year. Forms are usually sent out after Christmas.
 
As webmaster Alan Betts was unable to attend the AGM, Steve reported that our website is working well and now has a link to the separate site which deals with the Memorial project and the biographies of the soldiers. Pam Woodburn said that she had purchased a new projector for use in the Memorial Project, using money from the Lottery Grant.  Trips undertaken this year included a day out at the ‘Who Do You Think You. Are’ show at the NEC. A minibus was hired, and members enjoyed the time trying to add to their family histories. The only downside was the heavy traffic on the return journey. The London trip was undertaken in collaboration with The Gardening Guild. It was possible to visit the National Archives or Kew Gardens, or to visit other parts of London.
 
Social events were the Christmas Social and pictorial quiz at the Mining College, and the lunch at the Wyche Elm, which provides a reasonably priced meal in relaxed surroundings. This year, Jane said that the Social would be slightly different, but a picture quiz was requested, too.  Finally, Steve thanked other members for their contributions; Bernard Daniels for all the detailed work he has done over the years on the Transcription Project; Brian Asbury for editing the Journal; the Honorary Treasurer, and temporary Honorary Secretary Chris Graddon; and the Minutes Secretary, Sheila Clarke.
 
Honorary Secretary - At long last we have an Honorary Secretary, as Helen Bratton has agreed to take on the role. Chris Graddon is going to show her what the role entails. It is, he feels, a much less onerous task than formerly, and it is now mainly concerned with liaising between the Editor and the printing of the Journal, Journal distribution, and dealing with correspondence.
 
Honorary Treasurer’s Report - Chris Graddon presented the Balance Sheet from 1st August 2014 until 31st July 2015, audited by Vic Vayro, whom Chris thanked. Chris reported that the finances are extremely healthy. However, we must take into account that a large proportion of the money is from the Lottery grant for the Memorial Project. Chris had also produced some eye-catching fliers which members could display in advertising spots in public areas such as shops, leisure facilities, etc. to publicise the group.
 
Election of Officers and Committee - As no other nominations had been received, the present Chairman, Steve Bailey, Treasurer Chris Graddon, our newly appointed Honorary Secretary Helen Bratton and the present committee have agreed to serve for this coming year. Jenny Lee proposed Pam Woodburn as Vice-Chairman. This was seconded by Sheila Clarke and agreed by the members present.
 
Thanks to the Committee - Steve Bailey thanked the committee for their contribution to the running of the Group. John Hodgson, on behalf of the members, thanked Steve Bailey for his Chairmanship.
 
Thanks to the Auditor and Appointment of Auditor - Chris Graddon thanked the Auditor, Vic Vayro, on the Group’s behalf. Vic agreed to serve as Auditor again.
 
Proposal of Life Membership for Bernard Daniels for Long Service and Work on The Transcription Project - Jane Leake told members about how the transcription project began. Many years ago, the Group was involved in the national programme transcribing the 1881 census. When this was complete, it was decided that the Group would transcribe the Births, Marriages and Deaths registers from our local churches, being careful to follow the 100 years rule.  Bernard Daniels has been involved with the project from the beginning, first producing booklets and, as technology advanced, floppy discs, and now CDs. He has often worked on the project from morning until night. He will not, in future, be able to carry on transcribing, though he will, at the moment, be able to reproduce CDs from our existing transcriptions. We have sold these CDs all over the world. We have transcriptions from 22 local churches, but there are several churches in the area whose records have not been transcribed. It is hoped that, in the future, a member will set up another group of stalwarts to carry on with this worthwhile project. All volunteers are welcomed!  Jane proposed that Bernard Daniels should be given Life Membership of the Burntwood Family History Group in recognition of his long service and outstanding contribution to the Transcription Project. The group unanimously agreed to this.
 
Any Other Business - Pam Woodburn told the story of how The Burntwood Family History Group was formed. In 1986, three teachers working at a local school would spend their lunch hours discussing their burgeoning hobby of tracing their family history. In their favourite programme on television at the time, Gordon Honeycombe was showing viewers how he was using the resources then available to trace his ancestors.  They decided that many other people locally would also be interested, so Pam placed an advert in the Lichfield Mercury for a meeting to be held at her house, with the aim of forming a family history group. The response was amazing, and her large sitting room was filled to overflowing with interested people.  The rest, as they say, is history. Two of the founder members, Pam and Jane Leake, are still with the group. The third had to move north with his job.
 
The meeting closed at 8.41pm.
 
Advertisers

Burntwood Family History Group currently has 14 advertisers. Of these, four advertise on the BFHG Website and 13 advertise in the BFHG Journal. Our printers, Colour Graphics, advertise only on our website.  We lost one advertiser this year but gained a new one, so all the advertising space in our Journal is now filled.
 
Transcriptions Update

You will be pleased to know that, after a lot of hard work by all our transcription team, our latest transcription has been completed – Cannock, St Luke:

Baptisms, 30th September 1744 – 31st December 1914
Baptisms Index, 1st January 1915 – 25th January 1928
Marriages, 8th October 1744 – 31st December 1914
Marriages Index, 1st January 1915 – 3rd March 1929
Burials, 22nd November 1744 – 31st December 1914
Burials Index, 1st January 1915 – 9th March 1928
 
The transcription, on CD, is now available for purchase as CD22. To obtainyour copy, go to our webpage: www.bfhg.org.uk/Publications-For-Sale.php  Happy hunting, Alan Betts (BFHG Webmaster)

Inspector Haycock Investigates Again! by Pam Turner

Below are some more transcriptions of newspaper reports from the Walsall Observer involving my great-grandfather, Alfred Haycock, who was the Inspector in charge at Bloxwich Police Station 100 years ago. Some of the reports concern crimes by children and, in light of what some kids get up to today, they seem very trivial. Like previous reports, some are quite amusing but, back in Alfred’s day, the antics and misdemeanours were obviously deemed serious enough to warrant fines, probation and a report in the local newspaper.

24th FEBRUARY 1914 -TILL ROBBERY AT BLOXWICH - At a Children’s court at Walsall yesterday, James Thomas Smith (15), pit boy, Elmore Row, Bloxwich was charged with stealing 4d and a counterfeit 5s piece belonging to Richard Lane, of the George Inn, High Street, Bloxwich on Friday. It was stated that prosecutor had been missing money for some time past, and his total losses had amounted to several pounds. He communicated with the police and Inspector Haycock place several marked coins and a counterfeit 5s piece in the till. Police-constable Smith kept watch and saw the boy enter the outdoor department, raise a window and lean across the counter. In this way he managed to reach the till. Smith intercepted him as he was leaving the premises and found he had rifled the till. The lad pleaded guilty. He was placed on probation for 6 months.
 
5th DECEMBER 1914 - BOY’S BAD LANGUAGEA Bloxwich youth was summoned for using indecent language in Station Street,
Bloxwich, on November 24. Police Inspector Haycock said he heard the defendant make use of an obscene expression outside the police station and when he warned him, he repeated it. An elderly woman was passing at the time and would have heard it but for the fact that she was a bit deaf (laughter). The boy was discharged with a caution.
 
24th JULY 1915 - SELLING CIGARETTES TO A BOYAnnie Mann, 127 Sneyd Lane, Bloxwich, was summoned for selling cigarettes to a person under the age of 16 years. Samuel Aldridge (13) stated that on the 10th inst. Inspector Haycock met him smoking a cigarette, and he told him he had purchased them from the defendant. Mrs Mann said she was not aware of the age limit, and the lad was supplied by her daughter. A fine of 7s was imposed.
 
9th JUNE 1917 - ATTACKED A SCOUT - Three Bloxwich Boys Charged with Theft.  Tantamount to highway robbery was the charge preferred at the Guildhall on Monday against three Bloxwich boys, two aged 14 and the third 15, of stealing on May 26 three pennyworth of chocolate from Arthur Forrest, a boy scout living at 5 Reeves Street, Bloxwich.  Forrest stated that he and other scouts had been camping out at Bentley and on
May 26 in the evening, he was returning to the camp from High Street, Bloxwich where he had purchased four shillings worth of sweets. When passing the spelter works he met six boys, three of whom were defendants. One of them seized him by his scarf and threw him to the ground, and some of the sweets were taken and shared by the defendants. Companions came to his assistance in response to his whistle, but the defendants had by then run away.  Another scout, Harold Gill of Parker Street, Bloxwich, who was with Forrest at the time, said one of the defendants asked for “Dudley’s Sweets”, Dudley being another scout, but Dudley had not in fact ordered any. Forrest got away after being caught by the scarf but another boy jumped on his back.  Sidney Gill, aged 14, corroborated his brother’s evidence and Inspector Haycock spoke of the arrest and admissions of the boys.  One of the defendants said “They only did it for fun.”  The Clerk said “Did you eat it for fun?”  Another: “We did it for spite because they drove us off with poles.”  The Clerk: “That’s more like it.”  Inspector Haycock stated that there was trouble when the three defendants got together.  The Chairman remarked that there seemed to be a great deal of trouble among children of this age, and the bench placed the three defendants on probation for six months.
 
14th JULY 1917 - “SNIP THAT FAILED” “It would have been a snip to have rescued the man,” was a remark alleged to have been made by Leroy Gallier, Green Heath, Hednesford, who was summoned at the Guildhall on Wednesday for obstructing the police on July 1. The defendant interfered when Inspector Haycock was dealing with another man at Bloxwich, the officer stating that defendant obviously intended to effect a
rescue, and that he afterwards boasted that he was an expert in wrestling and fighting. Gallier was ordered to pay a fine of 10s.
 
22nd SEPTEMBER 1917 - A “ROUND OF BOTHERS"“Ever since my husband was killed, this man has been against me!” declared Mrs E. Whitehouse, 23 The Flats, Bloxwich, who, at the Police Court yesterday, summoned Frederick Cakewell, 33 the Flats, Bloxwich, for assault on September 17. The complainant alleged that the defendant caught her by the throat and threatened her. Defendant totally denied the assault, saying that he only asked complainant to correct her child, whereupon she said she would summons him. “There is one continuous round of bothers in this neighbourhood,” remarked Inspector Haycock. The Bench dismissed the case.

Interesting Medications from the Past

The old folks used to say ‘We were poor but we were happy’. Now we know why. Some of these treatments from back in time were very effective – if rather dubious – medication!
 
Bayer’s Heroin - Between 1890 and 1910, heroin was sold as a supposedly non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with a strong cough!
 
Coca Wine - Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment. Small wonder!
 
Opium for Asthma - No comment!

BFHG Memorabilia Evening - Held at the Old Mining College, Chasetown, on Monday 10th August, 2015 - Reviewer: Sheila Clarke

 Those members who were unable to attend this meeting missed a very entertaining evening. Five members brought along interesting and variedmemorabilia connected to someone in their family, and each gave short talks about the items.

‘Grandma’s Basket’ by Barbara Williams

The basket in question is a small work basket woven of plaited wicker or straw with a padded lining. It is now in her sister-in-law Iris’s possession. Originally, it belonged to her husband’s grandmother, Harriet. Harriet Birch married Richard Williams on March 3rd 1903 and the couple had eight children, born between 1903 and 1917. Unfortunately, in 1918, Richard was killed by a roof fall at the Grove Colliery where he worked, aged only 44. Harriet never remarried.  In the following years the children gradually left home. The two eldest boys were Tom, born in 1903, who married later in life, and Richard, born in 1904, who lived with his mother all his life. Barbara has Harriet and Richard’s marriage certificate. When shown a family Bible, in which Richard and Harriet had entered the birthdays of their children, Barbara was surprised to see that the marriage date was given as 1902. On closer inspection, it could be seen that the original entry had been altered from 1903 to 1902. Barbara knew that Tom, Harriet and Richard’s eldest son, was born four months after the marriage; the ‘forger’ obviously did not like this! How sensibilities have changed. Barbara made sure that the ‘mistake’ was rectified.  Iris always coveted her grandmother’s basket and it passed to her on Harriet’s death. She has preserved the ephemera of a bygone age that it contains. Barbara took out each item and we were able to examine them. There was a crochet hook slotted onto the lining of the lid, and embroidery yarn. There were original packets of hooks and eyes; keys, and buttons; and earrings of little value, with etched birds. Along with a box of pen nibs, there were two tiny bottles with cork stoppers. Each had contained ink – one black and one blue. A rubber stamp that would print ‘Birch’ may have once belonged to Harriet’s father, a farmer. He would have needed the inks to use with the stamp.
 
Why did Harriet keep a blue 2½d stamp with Queen Victoria on it? A white choker made of material with a flat bow at the front, reminiscent of the ones Queen Alexandra made popular, was intriguing, too. Could Harriet have worn it round her neck on her wedding day in 1903? A Christmas card sent from Sheffield in 1918 was from a relative living there. This was the year of her husband’s death. She had also kept Barbara’s father-in-law’s Driving Licence from 1929, though no test was necessary to obtain this. Compulsory testing of new car drivers began in 1935. People already driving, cars or motorcyclists were exempt.  Two small books were in the basket – one a Holy Communion Book, presented
to the communicant by the priest, and the other a prayer book, signed inside by ‘Polly Garretty’. Barbara has managed to trace the birth of Polly, after she realised that Polly is often used by women who have the name Mary. However, she is yet to find her connection with the Williams or Birch families.  There were newspaper cuttings, complete with adverts, and household and health and beauty hints. A leaflet containing a multi-choice personality questionnaire had been answered, possibly by Harriet. Some of the questions were very amusing.  ‘Grandma’s box’ was a very intriguing, and encouraged much debate among the members.

‘Anecdotes of a Lichfield Family’ by Jenny Lee

Jenny feels fortunate that most of her family roots are to be found in the Lichfield area. She has a Bible given for regular attendance in 1895. She herself was educated at Friary school, which had, before the 1944 Education Act and Jenny’s time at the school, been a private school. Jenny’s Priest family forebears had lived at Friary cottage in 1851. This cottage was tied to the gardener’s job at the Friary. The Friary was occupied by a doctor and his family at the time. The gardener’s wife also worked for the doctor’s family as cook.  One of the Priest family girls, Jenny’s grandmother, married into the Rigby family. The 1901 census showed that the eldest child, known to the family as Jack, and born in 1892, was listed as a ‘cripple’ on the census. Jenny remembers him propelling himself around Lichfield in his wheelchair. As well as having to use a wheelchair, he was also only able to use one of his arms, and his speech was rather slow and indistinct. Jenny is mortified now because, as a child, she always hoped that if she met her uncle on the way to school, none of her school friends would see her talking to him. Her uncle took such a long time saying ‘Jennifer’, and this embarrassed her. We have all felt embarrassed by various family members when we were children, I’m sure.  When Jack’s Obituary appeared in the Lichfield Mercury on 25th November 1950, young Jenny found out just how well liked Jack was. The Mercury piece stated that readers would be sad to hear of the death in the Victoria Hospital, Lichfield of Percy John Rigby at the age of 68. He lived in St. John’s Street with his wife, and was a well-known figure around the town, always cheerful and willing to stop and pass the time of day.
 
The article stated that he had been educated at St. Chad’s and Beacon St. School, and at a school in Sussex. It also observed that Jack was an intrepid traveller, taking his wheelchair on trains all around the country, and he had even experienced aeroplane travel.  Although Jenny does not have a copy of Jack’s will, she has a list of bequests. The amount of cash left was £689 16s. Rings were valued at £35 (he was involved in the jewellery trade); insurances totalled £11. The bill from Waite, the Lichfield Funeral Directors, was £28 19s. 6d. Several other bills had to be settled, and part of his disability allowance returned. Apart from his wife, and an Isobel Rigby, whom Jenny has yet to investigate, his nieces and nephews were left a small amount of cash each. Jenny’s mother, being a niece, received this bequest, which Jenny said her mother found useful as the family were in the process of moving house.  We were able to read a copy of Jack Rigby’s obituary and look at the research and memorabilia Jenny had brought with her.

‘Characters from the Jennings Family’ by Mike Jennings

Mike Jennings’s father was the youngest of seven children, whose birthdays spanned 23 years from 1884 until 1907. Mike’s aunt Mabel was born in July, 1899. At an early age she entered service with a family in Wales and in Chepstow, and stayed in their employment for 55 years. She remained a spinster, as many did who were in service. Mike can remember her coming to stay with his family for two weeks each year. The family she worked for were coal mine owners and were related to Richard Meade, the Olympic equestrian and triple gold medallist, who was a friend of Princess Anne.  Mike has a series of certificates awarded to Mabel from the Girls Friendly Society. These spanned her life; for example, the 1926 certificate was for 14 years membership, the 1956 for 40 years membership, and so on. Mike can remember going, as a child, to Merrick House in Chepstow, where she worked. He said it seemed a vast house to him, full of antiques, not at all what he was used to. He remembers her as a very small woman, showing us a photo of her with him, and one of her as a small child.
 
Mike had several other diplomas to show us. They were awarded to his uncle, Roland Jennings, from a Technology College. We could see that he excelled in the practical side of plumbing and passed his practical exams with flying colours. Although he passed the theoretical part, too, he did not get such high marks for the written work. His father was also a plumber and, because they used lead, they were able to produce a small stained glass window, which was a memorial for a member of their family and was installed in the church in their village under the hills between Monmouth and Herefordshire.  In 1917, Roland joined the army during WWI. After the war, he went to Australia. Members of the family say it was because he was badly gassed during the war, and the climate out there was more suited to his health. He left behind his plumbing diplomas. Mike showed us a large photograph of Roland – a head and shoulders view of a smart young man. Roland spent the rest of his life in Australia. He married, but he and his wife had no children.  Mike turned to another member of his family, Emily Jennings, born in 1897, who was a musician and an ALCM. She married a farmer, and became Emily Ferneough. In 1930, she composed a hymn to be sung by the Mothers Union. This was approved by Queen Mary and is still sung today. Mike showed us the published score, and said that the hymn is also sung at family occasions where a hymn is appropriate.

 
‘The Coronation’ by Steve Bailey

Steve began by showing six photographs of a ‘very young lad’ holding a flag taken outside a house in Union Street Walsall. The baby was Steve, and he was around a year old at the time the photographs were taken. Although he does not remember the event, he was told that he was given the flag to hold because it was 2nd June, 1953, the Coronation day of Queen Elizabeth II.  Steve has been researching ancestors who lived in the village of Rocester, near Uttoxeter, before they moved to Walsall. He has never found out why they moved. On day trips to the village, he and his wife had wanted to go into St. Michael’s church, but it had always been locked. Recently, on one of their expeditions there, they were looking after their young grandson. As they reached the church, they realised the baby needed changing. Fortunately, the church was open and a friendly parishioner led them to the baby changing room they have in church. Steve mentioned that some of his family had come from
the village, and the woman suggested that they came along to the garden party scheduled to take place the following weekend, which they duly did.
 
At the garden party, there were also stalls set out. On one of these, Steve found an original souvenir programme of the Queen’s Coronation in very good condition. Inside the programme, along with a history of the Royal Family with a family tree, were photographs of the Royal family. There was a route map and a processional itinerary, an order of service, and a list of all those invited to the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. Steve purchased the booklet for £5. The original price had been 2s 6d (12½p). He mentioned that online, these souvenirs are priced from £10 upward, but he commented that he couldn’t imagine the one he saw on EBay priced at £100 would ever be sold! We were able to look through the booklet and, for those of us who can remember Coronation Day, it brought back many memories.
 
‘The Terracotta Monk’ by Chris Graddon

Chris has in his possession a figurine of a monk made from terracotta. Unfortunately, it was too fragile for him to bring along to the meeting, but he had a large colour photograph to show us. The figurine is in the region of 40 cm high, and once belonged to Chris’s father.  Chris Graddon’s father was born in Winchester. He worked for the Council there, and joined the Civil Defence during WWII. He moved to London to the Royal Borough of Kensington Public Cleansing Department, which organised street cleaning, etc., ‘just in time for the Blitz’. He often spent his leisure time exploring Petticoat Lane market, and Chris thinks that he may have purchased the monk from there. When Chris’s father died, Chris acquired the figurine, which had always intrigued him, until he happened to visit The Black Friar in London. The Black Friar is a pub which specialises in good food and real ale. It was built in 1875, and is now 174 Queen Victoria Street, EC4. In the 13th century, a Dominican Friary occupied the site. The building now is an odd wedge shape, slotted into a corner plot. After 1903, Herbert Fuller Clark, the architect, began remodelling the pub. This was carried out over the next few years. Individual sculptors were also involved, including Nathanial Hitch, Frederick Callcott and Henry Poole.
 
The interior is a riot of multi-coloured marble, mosaics and figures in copper relief. There are exhortations to behave well, such as ‘finery is foolery’, carved into the marble. Jolly-looking monks around the walls and in stained glass are shown frolicking, singing, and collecting alms; one relief in copper on marble shows a monk with a saucepan, and it looks as though he is about to boil an egg. Chris saw that the monk with the saucepan was very similar to his terracotta figure. He realised that his figurine had a signature which had been written in the wet clay before it was fired. The signature is that of Frederick T Callcott, the sculptor, who had executed the monk in copper relief.  We were all intrigued to know why and when the sculptor made the terracotta monk. To see more photographs of this unusual building and its interior, go to www.thevictorianweb.org/art/architecture/pubs Among the photographs of the interior of the Black Friar is one taken by Jaqueline Banerjee of a copper relief showing the friar ‘about to boil an egg’. The design is remarkably similar to Chris Graddon’s terracotta monk.

‘Who do you Think You Are’ and an Englishman in France by Sheila Clarke

In 2014, we finally found out what had happened to my husband’s great uncle, who left home in 1899, aged 14 to be ‘a jockey in France’; as far as we knew, he never made contact with his family in England again. A French woman, Elise, emailed me out of the blue last year, and confirmed that Leo Bernard Philip Clarke was her 2× great grandfather and had, indeed, joined the Lamorlaye Stables in Picardy. She emailed me several photographs, one of which showed Leo in a British Army uniform of World War I.  We were unable to see the cap badge clearly, so we had no idea which regiment he joined, nor whether he came back to England to join up. Then my husband and I joined the Burntwood Family History Group’s trip to the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ show at the NEC this year, and we took the information and the photograph of Leo with us. There were several stands which dealt with the armed forces and WWI, and we were fortunate to find an expert who immediately recognised the cap badge as being the Royal Veterinary Corps. Of course – what other regiment would he wish to join? We were told that Leo would be able to join the British Army in France, and would have had no need to return to the UK to do this.  I passed the information on to Elise, and she quizzed an older uncle who she knew had some family documents, to see if he could remember more. He said that he had the original photo of Leo. It was on a post card. On the back of the card was a date, 1914, and the place, ‘Le Havre’. Elise found that there was a base veterinary hospital there during WWI. The uncle told Elise that he had two medals presented to Leo – the Victory medal and the British War medal, on which could be read ‘SE-33142 PTE. L.P.B. CLARKE. A.V.C.’ This matched the information I had emailed to her.
 
Leo had left his French wife and young daughter to serve in the British Army during WWI. Fortunately, he survived and was able to return to them. However, through information we later gleaned, Elise and I believe that Leo was interned by the Germans during WWII because he was a British subject. But that’s another story.  We enjoyed the show at the NEC, not only because we were able to forward not only our research into Leo’s life, but research into other members of the family, too. However if any of you are thinking of going to the next show, book early for any talks you wish to hear, as the most popular ones get booked up quickly. Make a list of the information you hope to find with copies of photos and any relevant dates you already have. Many larger family history groups from other areas of the country had stands this year, though some complained that the cost was high. If you are looking for information on the military, there were several organisations and interest groups there.
 
From Burntwood to Waterloo and Back by Gail Fynes

 Private James Robinson, 1793–1878, buried at Christchurch, Burntwood.
 
I recently enjoyed winning a ballot to be able to attend the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June, 20 15 – the first thing I have ever won! I feel so lucky to have been sent a newspaper clipping of his funeral, which describes his Waterloo experiences at Hougoumont. I had already discovered that he had been shot through the left eye with a musket ball and, one of my contacts with the Friends of Waterloo being a retired surgeon, he not only sent me a musket ball picked up from the battlefield but, when I sent him a copy of the newspaper article, he also explained what had happened to him.  James was thought to have been killed and, when the bodies were collected the day after the Battle, they found him, still alive, under an oak tree where he had crawled. Amazingly he survived, and had six children. Apparently, the only lasting inconvenience was a perpetual noise in his head, as of a watermill. I am so grateful to Joanna Legg, who is a descendant of one of his daughters, for sending me a copy, which really makes everything come alive.  The service in St Paul’s Cathedral was magnificent. Standard bearers were there, dressed in uniforms as at Waterloo. Everybody was shown to their seat and given an Order of Service, plus a book on The Battle of Waterloo. What was really impressive was that, at intervals, various people read out a short personal account of their experiences and explained that they were either a descendant or belonged to the same regiment. The service finished with trumpets from the gallery and, all in all, I do not believe that anyone there remained untouched with emotion. It was brilliantly organised – to the minute. I was so impressed that the service recognised the efforts made on both sides, and was not at all triumphalist in nature.
 
Despite the fact that I knew my 4× great grandfather fought in the Battle of Waterloo, with such a common name as his, I didn’t know how much I would be able to find out about him. The Battle of Waterloo is the first battle where everyone who fought was entitled to a medal, and I only wish I knew who had it. It would be wonderful just to see it. Unfortunately, his gravestone is now breaking up, so I am glad that I took a photo of it and sent his details to the Friends of the Waterloo Committee, who have put together details of where everyone involved in the Battle is buried. The Lichfield Mercury carried the following piece about James Robinson on January 3rd:
 
1979: On this day, the death was announced of James Robinson of Chasetown, near Lichfield, a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Robinson had been a private in the Coldstream Guards and on that fateful day had been one of the defenders of Hougoumont – a fortified farmhouse in the centre of the battlefield where the fight was long and fierce and many died. Robinson himself was hit by a bullet which entered his left eye and lodged in his jaw. Left for dead among piles of bodies, it wasn’t until the next morning that someone noticed him moving and he was taken to the surgeon. The operation, in the days before anaesthetics and antibiotics, was deemed too risky and so the musket ball remained with him until his death. Robinson was known to remark that, apart from the loss of his eye, the only inconvenience that resulted from his injury was ‘a perpetual noise in his head as of a watermill’. He was, apparently, in all respects a model soldier – his proud boast being that he ‘never had a black mark against his name’. He died, well into his 80s, as a result of ‘taking his last cold’.
 
This Issue’s Cover Photograph - Hammerwich Windmill. Photograph: Alan Betts

Hammerwich Windmill is the earliest windmill to be recorded in Staffordshire. In 1300, it is recorded as belonging to Henry Wymer. The current circular tower-style windmill, known as Speedwell Windmill, was built in the late 18th century by Squire Speedwell. It is three storeys high and of rendered brickwork, with an ogee roof capping. In its heyday, it was reputed as being the largest working mill in Staffordshire. It stands in Mill Lane and, in the mid-20th century, it was converted into a dwelling. In 1973, it became a listed building.

 Genealogy Quotes

 A few wise words spoken concerning family history:

 You live as long as you are remembered – Russian Proverb
 
He who has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family was begot by a flash of lightning. – Old English Proverb