Burntwood Family History Group
   Home      Journal 2011 01-03 Volume 19 Number 2
Extracts from Burntwood Family History Group Journal

Jan - Mar 2011

Vol. 19 No. 2
Contents of this issue.
From the Chair
News from the Secretary
A Humorous Poem
The Dove with the Silver Wings
Arising from Coal Dust, Part 16
Grave Words
Reviews of Guest Speakers
Researching Wills
Recalling Jan – a Researcher’s View
In Memory of Stan Fussell
This Issue’s Cover Photograph
From the Chair...
Hi everybody. Happy New Year! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you. This is my first ‘From the Chair’ since taking over from Jane Leake, and I only hope I can do as good a job. We start the New Year with some good news. Our website won a ‘Highly Commended’ award from the Federation of Family History, and details can be seen on the Federation Website and also our own website. I hope you are all regularly ‘tuning in’, as Alan Betts is doing an excellent job, adding new information and photographs practically on a daily basis. Well done, Alan! We have received a grant from Burntwood District Council towards our ongoing WWI Memorial Project, headed by Pam Woodburn, which will enable us to move forward on this. Please contact Pam if you have any information you think may be appropriate and also if you have any questions. Our Christmas Social on 13th December went down well, with a quiz about the Royal Family, and of course the usual food goodies and lots of raffle prizes. The Christmas Lunch at the Wych Elm was again well attended. Unfortunately, Family History Magazine will no longer be available at our meetings due to a decision by the publishers, but will of course still be available in the shops. We are always looking for ‘snippets’ for our Journal, so if you have an interesting story to tell or have come across something odd or amusing, please share it with us. You may hand this to any committee member who will ensure that it reaches the Journal editor. Also, if you have heard an interesting talk which you think will appeal to our members, please let me know. We shall be visiting the National Archives at Kew in May again this year and look forward to a full coach. The trip is being arranged for Wednesday 11th May. Unfortunately, however, we are having to increase the cost to £17-00 this year, due to rising fuel prices, etc. Please give your details to Jenny Lee if you wish to book a seat (Phone: 01889 586168, email: jenandtomlee@talktalk.net). Times and pick-up points will be arranged nearer the time. Cards listing our speakers and their topics for 2011 are available at meetings on sign-in. Carole Jones
Coach Trip A coach trip to Kew is being arranged for Wednesday 11th May. Unfortunately, we are having to increase the cost to £17-00 this year due to fuel prices, etc. Please give your details to Jenny Lee (Tel: 01889 586168, email: jenandtomlee@talktalk.net) if you wish to book a seat. Times and pick-up points will be arranged nearer the day of the trip.
Questions and Answers It has been suggested that we have a question-and-answer section in the Journal. For example: Why visit Kew; what can I find there? If you wish to access any original documents such as war records you can do so but you will need a reader's ticket. How can I get one of these? You can order it online for collection as soon as you arrive. You will then have to have a photo taken when you arrive (this will be done very quickly). You must take with you evidence of identification, e.g. a driving license, passport, utility bill. If you have a question to submit, please send it to Jenny Lee at jenandtomlee@talktalk.net
News from the Secretary It has been a long time since the material for the October issue of the Journal was prepared and, although that material has appeared in the Journal, it did not reach you until just before Christmas. Sadly, this was due to the untimely death of Jan Green, who was such a valuable link in line of production for the Journal. Our Editor, Brian Asbury, was very close to Jan, and we do appreciate his dedication in finding the time to produce the October–December issue – late though it may have been. Thank you Brian. This issue of the Journal should hopefully reach you in mid-February. For the time being, material for the Journal is being collected and organised by our Chair, Carole Jones, whose contact details you will find in the inside cover. Please keep the articles coming – we can always use more material. If you have any queries or need any advice on how to present your articles, please address them to me rather than to Carole or Brian, as they are both kept quite busy with their commitments to the Group.
Silver Jubilee Year The Group was formed in 1986, but the exact date of its formal constitution depends on whether it is placed at the time of the initial meeting at Pam Woodburn’s home or the first formal gathering of members at the Methodist Church Hall in Chasetown. One thing we do know is that several people who were there in 1986 are still with us in 2011. Most notable of these is our former Chair, Jane Leake. Jane retired from the Chairmanship of the Group (but not from membership!) at the AGM in 2010, having occupied the chair on several occasions during the previous 24 years. The Committee have already voiced their appreciation of Jane’s dedication and will be providing a permanent record of her service to the Group by making a presentation to her at the Monday meeting nearest to the 25th Anniversary of the Group’s formation. The Group will also be starting a new project to commemorate our Silver Jubilee. We already have some suggestions as to what it might be but, if anyone wishes to put forward their ideas, please write or email me with them.
Meeting Dates Some errors crept into the list of meeting dates given on the back cover of the last issue of the Journal. These have now been corrected on this issue’s list, but please check before coming to a meeting that the date given is always the second Monday or fourth Thursday of the month.
A Humorous Poem An oldie but a goodie, submitted by Alan Betts
Many, many years ago When I was twenty-three,
I got married to a widow Who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a daughter Who had hair of red
My father fell in love with her, And soon the two were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law And changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother, For she was my father’s wife.
To complicate the matters worse, Although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father Of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became A brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle, Though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle, Then that also made him brother
To the widow’s grown-up daughter Who, of course was my step-mother.
Father’s wife then had a son, Who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson, For he was my daughter’s son.
My wife is now my mother’s mom. And it surely makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife, She is my grandma too.
If my wife is my grandmother, Then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it, It simply drives me wild.
For now I have become The strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa!
The Dove with the Silver Wings - Mary Mary Pochin
My ancestor, Thomas Dove, was made Bishop of Peterborough in 1601. Before that, he had been Vicar of Walden in Hertfordshire, of Framlingham in Norfolk, and then had become Dean of Norwich and Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth I. The Queen was very attracted to his fine speaking voice and his oratory and she called him ‘her Dove with the silver wings’. In this year, which is the 400th anniversary of the printing of the King James Authorised Version of the Bible in 1611, I am remembering Thomas Dove because of his small part in this event. King James I came to the throne of England in 1603 and found a country simmering with religious distrust between the Anglicans and the Puritans. He commanded nine of his bishops and some deans, together with some of the Puritans and also the King’s Privy Council, to attend a conference at Hampton Court to try to find peace within these conflicting factions. Bishop Dove was one of those nine bishops at that meeting on January 14th to 19th, 1604. The three days of talking did not achieve any agreement between the Puritans and the Anglicans, but they did agree to a new translation of the Bible. This was not actually on the agenda, but it was the most important outcome of that conference, and Thomas Dove was part of it. Bishop Dove was not one of the translators who worked on it over the next six years, but perhaps it is good that a fine orator, who must have loved words, had some part in the decision to create a translation that has had such an impact on the English language, and whose phrases are still part of our everyday speech. When Bishop Thomas Dove died in 1630, a very fine and ornate monument was erected to his memory in Peterborough Cathedral. His daughter, Elizabeth, had married George Pochin, my 9 x great-grandfather, and they had eleven children. When the Civil War started in 1642, the Pochins were on the Parliamentarian side. Their eldest son, Thomas (who was probably named after his grandfather, Thomas Dove) was later a colonel in Cromwell’s army. It is ironic that it was a section of that army that destroyed Bishop Thomas Dove’s fine monument in Peterborough Cathedral. The description of the monument says that it had ‘the portraiture of the Bishop lying in his Episcopal habit with a library of books about him’. I wonder if that is where I got my love of books from, which was why I became a librarian.
Information from: The Bishops of Peterborough 1541 to 1991, by Geoffrey Carnell. ISBN 1872665 012. In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible by Alister McGrath. ISBN 0340 785608
Arising from Coal Dust Part 16: Clem’s daffodils - by Alan Brookes
A spring source of income for my brothers and I was selling daffodils. The wild, smaller variety grew profusely in Clemence Robinson’s daffodil wood off Cumberledge Hill, Gentleshaw, in the same location that Neolithic flints were found in 1910 and marked on the Ordnance Survey map as ‘Court Banks Covert’. To gain access to the private woodland meant crossing Robinson’s fields, which at that time of the year would be showing fresh, succulent, new green wheat or barley in neat rows about three feet tall. Clemence Robinson, the farmer, was a fierce-looking man who also owned the butcher’s shop in Rugeley Road, Chase Terrace. He lived at number 39, The Crescent, Boney Hay. Peter and I knew that if we were caught crossing his fields, we would be in deep trouble. When the time came to pick the daffodils, we used to check the whereabouts of Mr Robinson before we visited the daffodil wood, to ensure that he would be at home or at his farm and not working in his fields. Trekking in the soft ploughed earth alongside the wheat fields, we went to the woodland armed with lots of string to tie the daffodils into bunches, and hessian sack bags in which to carry them home. We tried our best to avoid the growing crops and not to cause damage to Mr Robinson’s regimented cultivations. There were so many daffodils to pick that we made three or four trips to the woodland each day. Afterwards, visiting door to door each house in Chase Terrace and Boney Hay, we sold the daffodils at 6d for each bunch, which meant that we could easily earn about £2 a day between us. On the last day of our hawking the daffodils far and wide, we had a few bunches left, so we thought we would try selling them where we lived, at The Crescent. We started at house No.1 and progressed along the street. Without thinking, I knocked at number 39, but as soon as Mr Robinson’s stern face appeared around his door, I realised what I had done. Before I had time to react he shook his fist at us and shouted, “Clear off, you scoundrels, I know where those daffodils have come from! You think you’ve been clever, don’t you, but I’ve had my eyes on you pair. If you’ve trodden down one blade of wheat in my field, I’ll have your guts for garters!” “Shut up, Clem!’ his wife interrupted, as she appeared at the door beside him. Elbowing her way past her irate husband she continued, ‘Oh, those daffodils are beautiful, son! Here’s your sixpence.’ With that, she closed the door between her now furious spouse and us. As Peter and I walked down their path, pocketing our sixpence, we heard Mr. Robinson bellowing at his wife, “You know what you’ve just done, don’t you? You’ve only bought our own daffodils from those monsters!” “Just you be quiet, Clem,’ we heard her respond, her voice fading as we walked further away from their house – each of our steps quicker than the previous one!
Grave Words Here is a collection of some weird but genuine inscriptions found on gravestones:
The chief concern of her life for the last twenty-five years was to order and provide for her funeral. Her greatest pleasure was to think and talk about it. She lived many years on a pension of 9d per week and yet she saved £5, which at her own request was laid out on her funeral. (Martha Broomfield, died aged 80 in 1775 in Macclesfield, Cheshire)
Near this place lie the bodies of John Hewett and Sarah Drew, an industrious young man and virtuous maiden of this parish contracted in marriage who being with many others at harvest work, were both in one instant killed by lightning on the last day of July 1718.
In loving remembrance of Alfred Jopling Cooper, who passed away Nov 16 1923 on the eve of his 76 th birthday. He discovered the solectric theory which enables us to understand the forces which are acting to cause natural phenomena, earthquakes, violent storms, tornadoes etc. The negative circle of intense solectric force has a radius on earth’s surface of 57½ degrees: the positive circle has a radius of 88 degrees. He predicted the Valparaiso earthquake of Aug 16 1906 and he also predicted the Valparaiso Mercurio of Oct 10: as confirmed in page 7 of 
The Times of Dec 7 1918, the day and hour of the Chilean earthquake of Dec 4 1918. Hence 8 weeks before its occurrence. (In the RC cemetery, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire – how on earth did they fit it all on the headstone?)
Reviews of Guest Speakers’ Talks - Reviewer: Sheila Clarke
October 2010: Roger Knowles on ‘Fleshing out the bones’
Then tracing our ancestors, we often concentrate on researching as far back in history as we can. Roger Knowles suggested that we should really aim to flesh out the bones of our research by collecting ephemera relating to the time a particular ancestor lived. Collecting items illustrating events occurring during a lifetime can create a more vivid portrait of an ancestor’s life. It could also include an account of the conditions prevalent at the time. We need to show how simple life was, the further back in time we look: no internet, phones, air travel, cars, railways, public transport, electricity or gas, medicine for the poor – and no clean piped water or sewage system. Lack of clean water was the cause of many cholera outbreaks when people began flocking to the towns. Roger suggested several avenues to explore: Collect and preserve newspapers reporting important events occurring during an ancestor’s life. Richard had copies of a newspaper reporting Churchill’s funeral, for example. He suggested that we should do the same during our lifetime and attach a note to say where we were at the time and how the event affected us. Richard pointed out that many of our ancestors could not afford to buy a newspaper – hence the introduction of reading rooms at public libraries. Crimes are reported in newspapers, and a forebear may either have been a perpetrator or a victim. Roger Knowles talked about ‘Dr. Palmer the Poisoner’ of Rugeley, whose crimes caused a change in the law. He had been able to insure the lives of patients and had subsequently murdered them for the insurance payout. Now one can only insure the life of a family member or a business partner. Special editions of newspapers published to commemorate an event such as a royal wedding or a coronation are national events that a forebear may have witnessed or celebrated. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, some newspapers contained wonderful engravings. Roger showed us one showing miners hewing coal, a useful addition to illustrating a miner ancestor’s work. Apart from births, marriages, deaths, and census records, Records offices hold other material which can tell us more about a person’s life. School records (both local day and boarding schools) and reformatory establishments may be housed there. The first reformatory school was opened in Birmingham in the 1850s. Many of these schools were run by charities, who, being were voluntary organisations, could refuse to accept an inmate if they wished. Papers from charitable organisations have often been deposited in records offices. In the days before the welfare state, many friendly societies were formed to help individuals and families save, so that money would be available during times of need, such as paying for the doctor or a funeral. Many charities arose because people dreaded having to go into the workhouse, where severe rules meant that members of a family were put into different sections and might never see each one another again. Charities set up soup kitchens, where tickets were issued so that soup could be purchased for 1d, thus enabling many to survive outside the workhouse. The Watts charity, for example, was set up in Rochester in 1579, but was still enabling the homeless during the 19th century to obtain a night’s lodging for 4d. Even landowners set up an association which would offer rewards for information about rural crimes. A reward of ten guineas was offered for the apprehension of someone maiming a horse. A Truss Society was set up in both Dudley and East Anglia, because hernias were a hazard for men who worked on the land and in heavy industry. One may be lucky to find the papers at the record office of a firm, no longer in existence, at which a forebear worked. Also, inquest records, where available, are invaluable. They used to take place literally over the body of the deceased, by twelve villagers who had to ascertain the cause of death. Examples of printed matter which can be picked up from car boot sales and antique fairs include old birthday, Christmas and post cards. Photographs on postcards may show a place where our ancestor lived. Adverts from local shops giving prices, or leaflets advertising local events such as concerts or celebratory dinners, may be of use. Roger showed us an advert for Wormwood (Absinth) costing 3s 6d a gallon, and a bill from 1852 from a builders’ merchants for 29ft. of lead piping costing 2s 6d. He also had a funeral bill from 1852 for a six week old boy, listing among other things a stout elm coffin with brass furniture and satin lining; carriages with horses; and two men to walk in front and behind. The whole cost £3 2s. Brochures were printed to advertise the many private schools available in Victorian times, informing parents of the charges. Roger Knowles had one booklet from a girls’ school which charged 35 guineas per annum, with French and music an extra 4 guineas each. Another from 1829 is for the Aldridge Free Grammar school. Local printers recorded ‘Gallows Literature’, purportedly giving the last words of the publicly executed. These pamphlets were very popular, as were the public executions, to which thousands of men, women, and children flocked. Other street literature included adverts for bare knuckle fights. One in Roger’s possession reports a fight which took place in 1833, and it takes the form of a poem. He also showed us a leaflet requesting donations after the Walsall Hospital disaster of 1895, when the hospital was wrecked by a gale. £1,800 was needed for the restoration. Drawers, attics and cellars can be a rich source of information. Roger has a bundle of summons found in the cellar of a solicitor’s office, still tied with their original string, that he has yet to open. Roger was also able to get the complete file of the Birmingham Mail Disaster fund, which was launched after the Grove Colliery Disaster of 1st October, 1930. It lists the names of those who donated money, however small, and those who received relief. A dog licence from 1810 was for 11s 6d. A bill for window tax shows that this was still in operation in the mid-19th century. Roger Knowles showed us the value of obtaining material which places our ancestors in their historical context. However, unless we have huge storage facilities, most of us will have to be selective, otherwise we may find that there is no room for us in our homes!
November 2010: John Yates on ‘Another Funny Thing Happened at the Register Office’
John Yates again entertained us with tales from Birmingham Register Office. His amusing illustrated talk not only gave us a potted history of the development of register offices, with emphasis on Birmingham, but also delved into the more unusual entries to be found in the pages of births, marriages and deaths. Civil registration began in 1837, and the first office in Birmingham was at 30 Bennett’s Hill, in a building also occupied by a bookseller, a broker, the ‘Deaf and Dumb Institute’ and a Friendly Society. The first Superintendent was William Pare a tobacconist linked to Robert Owen and the Cooperative movement. Questions were even asked in Parliament as to his suitability for the post because of his politics. He resigned in 1840 and was succeeded by Henry Knight, a clock maker. Since 1837, the Birmingham office has been housed in nine different premises, including Newhall Street and Broad Street. In 2006, it moved to Holliday Warf on Holliday Street. In the early days, registrars were paid by the number of entries made. Some were prosecuted for adding fictitious births to supplement their income. The ink used in the registers will not fade, but gets darker with age. However, the Registrar now dips a pen in the ink and hands it to each person signing the register in turn. This is because there was a spate of people writing comments and drawing graffiti on the cover of the register. We were shown entries registering the births of celebrities born in the city, including Julie Walters, Martin Shaw, Toyah Wilcox and the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter films who were born in Sutton Coldfield. George Kynoch, the industrialist, born in the city, supplied the cartridges used by Annie Oakley in her Wild West act. A letter from Annie Oakley praising these items was good publicity for the manufactory. Dirk Bogarde’s father was born in the city, as were Rolf Harris’s grandfather and Steve Redgrave’s grandfather. The name James Hudson may not immediately be recognised, but he invented the Acme Thunderer, the whistle still used by referees. Names given to children often follow fashion or celebrity. One girl was recently registered as Lady Gaga, and there are several children with the name La-la from the Tellytubbies, and even one Po. Some time ago, a girl was given twenty six middle names representing the letters of the alphabet, because her parents thought it would help the child with her letters when she started school. Even today children are given names starting with Lady, Sir, Lord, or Prince, in the hope that this will give them a good start in life (though the last may be more to do with the singer of that name). One boy was named Rio, another given the middle ‘name’ the initials A.V.F.C. One Villa supporter whose twin daughters were registered just before the match between Chelsea and Aston Villa called one Chelsea Elizabeth and the other Maria Aston Villa. Unfortunately Villa lost, so he has a constant reminder of Villa’s defeat. Names follow events. There were a number of ‘Mafeking’s after the relief of that town, and ‘Jubilee’s at both of Queen Victoria’s Jubilees, and children were even called Somme and Ypres in 1916. Staff are always on their guard that the initials of the names chosen do not spell an offensive word. John Yates said this happens too frequently for it to be coincidental! Names often reflect an occupation, such as Edwin Cake the baker and Samuel Boot the shoemaker. Some obscure occupations can be found in the registers. One woman was registered at her death as a Bible Woman, which at the time was not accepted as an occupation. Later however it was found that this was an occupation, as the woman worked as a Bible reader, and an amendment was entered in the margin of the certificate. A man’s occupation was recorded as a ‘higler’ – someone who buys and sells by bartering. One unpleasant occupation listed was that of a floater. This man had worked at a sewage farm, skimming effluent. Fraudulent marriages have decreased significantly at register offices, because so many documents giving proof of identity are now required. A scandal has recently surfaced because some suspect marriages are believed to have taken place in churches. It is thought that less stringent checks were being undertaken there. Many couples choose to have a themed wedding. Among those mentioned by John Yates were Star Wars; Batman and Catwoman; The Flintstones; and Dorothy and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. The only music not allowed are hymns, the register office ceremony being secular. Certain dates are popular: 09/09/09 was chosen by a number of police officers. The office was closed on 10/10/10. In 1838, only 1.4% of marriages were performed at the register office. By 2006 marriages at the Register Office accounted for 45% of marriages in the district. On one Saturday in 1967, 207 marriages took place. Today there are three rooms and the maximum number of weddings per day is restricted to eight per room. Some Registers were damaged by fire during the WWII but have later been conserved and scanned. After the November raid on Coventry in 1940, five or six Registrars went to Coventry from Birmingham to help with recording the deaths there. Between 1962 and 1963, an Accident Book was introduced. The first entry concerns a ceremony where the bride, at the last minute, said that she could not marry the groom and ran from the room. The groom was so distraught that he threw himself onto the floor, banging his head and knocking himself out. An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital. At the end of the talk John Yates handed out leaflets giving us pointers on starting our family history, including ordering certificates and important dates in Civil Registration.
January 2011: Patsie Jarman on ‘There’s a Bit of a Stink’
Corruption in the parliamentary elections of the 18th century was the theme of Patsie Jarman’s interesting and amusing talk, focusing on the 1847 Lichfield election. First she gave a brief history of the city. The 18th century was the age of enlightenment and polite society, and Lichfield became a meeting place of the literati. A picture, available from the Samuel Johnson Museum, shows some of the famous people of the time, including Johnson himself, David Garrick, Erasmus Darwin and Anna Seward (later called ‘the Swan of Lichfield’). Dr. Johnson said that the citizens of Lichfield were the philosophers, while the boobies of Birmingham toiled for them. Originally, Lichfield had been a place of pilgrimage to St. Chad’s tomb and relics. There were no political parties. Parliament was not there to serve the people but to raise taxes for the King. To this end, the King used the Star Chamber. Although understanding that taxes need to be raised for war and defence, the citizens of Lichfield balked at the imposition of a Ship Tax, as they felt that they were as far from the sea as it was possible to be in England, so should not have to pay. After the Reformation, fewer pilgrims came and the fortunes of Lichfield faded. The Civil War contributed to a further decline. Lichfield was a Royalist city and suffered three sieges, extensive damage to the Close and the Cathedral, and the destruction by fire of many houses in the town. Under Cromwell, the city failed to recover, but after the Restoration rebuilding began, and the Cathedral was rededicated on Christmas Eve 1669. As coaching routes were established, Lichfield became a turnpike hub. During this time, political parties evolved. The Whig party stemmed from the rebel Covenanters who wished to exclude James, Duke of York from becoming James II, because he had converted to Catholicism in 1671. They also pushed for the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when William of Orange was invited to take the throne and James II fled to France. The bulk of their support came from tradespeople and nonconformists. The Tory party was by and large the party of squire and parson, but originally the name ‘Tory’ was used for Irish guerrillas who attacked the English. The name was first insultingly applied to Royalists who opposed the Exclusion Bill, which aimed to exclude Roman Catholics from office. Although Tories largely supported the 1688 revolution, they were suspected of Jacobite sympathies even after the Hanoverian succession, and were out of power between 1714 and 1760. Elections were the butt of cartoonists’ mockery as corruption was rife, involving bribery, gerrymandering and coercion by both parties. Voting took place in public and the votes were recorded in poll books. One cartoon depicted two towers of stinking chamber pots representing the corruption, presided over by two devils representing the Whigs and the Tories. Lichfield sent two members to parliament. The incumbents at the time of the 1747 election were Tory. John Leveson Gower of Trentham had the task of choosing one candidate, and traditionally the other candidate would be nominated by the citizens who were entitled to vote. Gower was one of the richest men in England and had been a Tory. However, his wife was the daughter of the Duke of Bedford, a Whig, and the promise of high office for his son may have persuaded him to change his mind and become a Whig. Later, when he was compiling his dictionary, Samuel Johnson used the word ‘Gower’ as the definition of the word ‘renegade’. He was persuaded by powerful booksellers of the time to change the definition or they would not stock his books. Gower’s plan was to put forward two candidates himself for the Whig party. One was his son, Richard, and the other was to be the very rich George Anson of Shugborough. The powerful Duke William (‘Butcher’) Cumberland was also a backer. £300,000 was reputedly spent on the election – an astronomical amount then. Those able to vote were resident freemen, traders, residents, those with freeholds worth 40s per annum, and anyone holding a burgage (tenure from a lord or the king given in exchange for a service). Bribes of £50 were offered to 200 voters. Vouchers for drink were given. There were riots before the poll took place, and supporters of Gower and Anson were driven from the town, with bloodshed on both sides. The poll took five days from the 2nd until 7th July, and Gower and Anson were victorious for the Whigs. The poll books show that many people who turned up to vote were rejected, because their tenancies or freeholds had been acquired by those ready to vote for the Whigs before the day of the vote. David Garrick, although long professing to be Tory, voted Whig, and from then on was referred to as David Garrick, gentleman. This meant that he had become of independent means. At the popular Whittington Heath race meeting held later that year, the Duke of Bedford decided to hold an election victory parade. This caused a riot at which the duke was hit by Heston, an attorney, and his son and other gentry were injured in the fracas. Thirteen rioters were later found guilty and seven released. Until 1754, separate race meetings were held at Whittington, one for the Tories, and one for the Whigs. Elections continued to be corrupt, and in 1755, Hogarth’s series of pictures on election bribery show the extent of the problem. The Representation of the People Act of 1832, and the later 1872 Act introducing secret ballots, went some way to clean up the problem. But even today, vigilance is needed. Patsie Jarman quoted Samuel Johnson when he said, ‘Politics are now nothing more than means of rising in the world’.
All-Time Greatest Genealogical Movies
How many of these Oscar-winners have you seen?
Census and Sensibility
A Fiche Called ‘Wanda to Zelda’
Lost in Transcription
All About Eve [parents not found]
Good Will Hunting (Wrong Will Finding)
Honey I Shrunk the Kith
Ryan’s Daughter [allegedly]
Researching Wills - by Barbara Williams
My 4 x great-grandfather Peter Taylor the elder was a farmer of Danesmoor in the parish of North Wingfield, Derbyshire. Peter was baptised on 30th July, 1752; he married Jane Allen at Ashover, Derbyshire, on 19th December 1779 and they had ten children: Elizabeth, Ann and Anthony (birthdays not known); Peter the younger (my 3 x great-grandfather), bapt. 16th January 1782; Joseph, bapt. 29th May 1785; Jane, bapt. 21st February 1790; Charlotte, bapt. 12th August 1792; Henry, bapt. 18th December 1794; John, bapt. 12th May 1799; and William, bapt. 11th April 1802. Peter’s wife and all his children, except for Jane are mentioned in his will dated 1833, so I am presuming Jane was deceased by then, but I have yet to find this out for certain. Upon his death, Peter bequeathed all his household goods and furniture to his wife. His farming stock and implements, tillages and whatsoever belonging to the farm went to his gentleman friend Benjamin Booth and his son William ‘upon trust’, providing his wife be allowed to have the use and enjoyment of the farm until her decease, whereupon the real estate should be sold as parcels of land by private auction or private contract. William, his son and executor, was to receive £150 at the end of twelve months after the decease of his wife. William was also bequeathed tenancy rights for buildings and farm land which his father rented from Mrs Elizabeth Tunbutt. Elizabeth, his daughter, was to receive £100 under the same agreement. His other sons and daughters were to inherit the remains of monies left after the sale of his ‘real estate’. I acquired Peter’s will (and others for Peter’s ancestors) from Lichfield Record Office, as Derbyshire is within the Lichfield Diocese, as are Warwickshire and Shropshire. Their address and telephone number can be found on the inside back page of this Journal. Next time I will write more about Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the younger, who was my great-greatgrandmother and who died tragically in a house fire (a story which I told in a previous Journal). As we shall see, Elizabeth lived a very eventful life.
Recalling Jan – a Researcher’s View - by John Gallagher
I first met Jan Green in 2004 when we discovered each other on Thursday evenings at Lichfield Record Office. I ws researching my book, and block-booking the time between 5–7pm to cram as much use of the microfiche reader as possible, and over this subject we became fellow historical research pals. She was using this time to review and read old stories, especially any relating to Fradley. Alas, it was hard going at times, with so little reporting of village life, but we reached a fine balance of alternate Thursdays and assisting each other whenever a subject arose. As she was working at George Robinson & Partners, Chartered Surveyors, at this time, and she was instrumental in providing an opportunity to interview her boss Peter Robinson about the history of the business and other Lichfield matters. For this I was very grateful, and secondly I was pleased that she was also interested in my task. Not long after I had produced my book, her retirement approached and she began to research and concentrate with the intention of producing a muchneeded book on Fradley. Now I wonder how near she was completion. I do recall her discussing with me the thoroughness of the task and it was clear that her passion would produce something worthwhile. Over the years, we regularly caught up with each other and I supplied numerous small news items from the Lichfield Mercury that related to her village or towards the book that she was researching. This year I was able to use some of her knowledge about the old pubs in the village for a question on a family history website. This led, in turn, to promoting the said book and its future release. It was heartening to know that buyers were already there on the World Wide Web awaiting her history. I recall with pride that she had an article accepted by a family history magazine for her work, and then a far larger piece for the Lichfield Gazette about the suspected murder of a young girl in 1885 in Fradley. In the last few years, I have contributed a few articles towards the BFHG journal, and was always pleased that her reaction to my writing was positive, knowing her awareness and journalistic skills were watching. I’m glad that I can put a few words together that hopefully befit the few years I knew her via our collective interests.
In Memory of Stan Fussell - by Betty Fussell
Stan Fussell was born in Kingstanding, Birmingham, on 10th October 1931. He attended Peckham Road School and Aston Technical College, Perry Barr. He joined the RAF when National Service was due and signed on for 20 years to train for aircrew duties. We met shortly before his call up when he was 18. I was 16 and it was love at first sight. Stan must have loved me more than his aeroplanes, as he only did his two years National Service, and when he was demobilised he joined the City of Birmingham Police Force. Stan and I were married when he was 21, but he found that the police force life was not for him and, after trying various other jobs, he spent most of his working life at Fisher & Ludlow, Castle Bromwich (now the Jaguar factory), in the drawing and planning office. We moved to Burntwood from Great Barr so that we could have a nice big garden for our children. Our happiness was complete when first Simon and then Tracey arrived – two wonderful children. We felt that our life was complete, but we didn’t realise that our children would have it even better. Like most families, we had our worries and problems, but our life was always full of love. Stan’s last working years were spent at Cannock Technical College, completing his service there as a Special Needs Placement Officer where he was in his element helping the youngsters he loved. In retirement he became interested in family history and joined the Burntwood Family History Group, where he involved himself in all their activities. For a time, he served as Chairman of the Group, before health problems enforced his retirement in 2004. Stan became seriously ill but never let that defeat his spirit in his last four years. He died on 22nd October 2010, just three days before our 58th Wedding Anniversary, but he still lives on in our hearts – and in our conversations. A kind, loving and gentle man, a true gentleman who will be loved forever. One day we shall be together again.
This Issue’s Cover Photograph - Hednesford War Memorial, Rugeley Road, Hednesford (photograph by Alan Betts)
Following the end of the First World War, on 31st May 1920, a public meeting was held to discuss the question of providing a town war memorial. A committee was formed and various schemes and locations for the memorial were put forward and discussed. On 7th June 1920, it was decided that a public memorial would be built and the Marquis of Anglesey would be approached for the necessary land on the Hednesford Hills. The Marquis generously gave two acres of land off the Rugeley Road on the Hednesford Hills. At a cost of £1,125, a grey granite monument was commissioned, with bronze embellishments and bronze panels for the names of the fallen to be inscribed. On 9th November 1922, the War Memorial was opened by H.R.H. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, accompanied by her husband the Earl of Athlone. The names of 234 local men who fell during the First World War (1914–1918) were recorded on the bronze panels. Following the Second World War (1939–1945), the names of 72 local men who fell were added on a granite stone, and following the Korean War (1950–1953), another local name was added. The Memorial and names of all those who fell can be found on the BFHG website at: www.bfhg.org.uk/W-Hednesford-Rugeley-Road.php
Slogans for Genealogists
Wise mottos that we could all adopt...
A new cousin a day keeps the boredom away.
A miser is hard to live with, but makes a fine ancestor.
Any family tree produces some lemons, nuts and a few bad apples.
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