Monday, 31 December 2012

Chapter 21. "My intense exertions"

In Mr Barlow's notebooks we can catch a glimpse of his interests and activities in the latter part of his life. 

In the Middleton Book in his early years in the village he had written out a "Catalogue of Books", which appears to be a record of his library.

It naturally included the classical authors and a range of religious works, such as Hebrew grammars, a Hebrew Psalter, sermons, commentaries, and Waldo on Liturgy [1], but also poetry and French authors such as Pascal, Racine and Mme de Sévigné, together with dictionaries.  There were also works by the Evangelical philanthropist Hannah More, who had sought to counter the arguments of Tom Paine (the author so admired by the radicals of Stokesley) with her Cheap Repository Tracts urging the poor to work hard, respect the gentry and trust in God – views echoed in Barlow's sermon of 1833.

However Mr Barlow, though classically educated, was not interested in the usual pursuits of the scholarly Victorian cleric.

He had little interest in theological debate, and the great questions of his day that had tormented so many – from the Tracts for the Times to Essays and Reviews – seem to have made little impression upon him.

Practical matters and technology fascinated him above all, and, as can be seen in the draft of a letter [2] entitled "Suggestions upon the construction and armour of ships of war", his preoccupations were not those normally expected of Victorian clergy.  The letter must date from the mid-1860s, as the Armstrong gun itself was only introduced in 1859:
My Lord Duke.  Having carefully studied the experiments lately made at Shoeburyness upon the Hercules target which resisted a 300lbs shot propelled by a 60lb charge target coated with 9in armour backed by wood and iron the bolt having merely penetrated the 9in plate … and finding that such target resisted a 300lb Armstrong gun with a charge of 60lbs of powder …
… bearing all this fully in mind I am of opinion that the plan I now submit to your Grace will in several respects be found superior to the Hercules target.  On the other side I give the sketch of a ships side from which it will be seen that my plan is to reduce the vital part of a ship to a minimum and to surround that portion with an impregnable belt …

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Chapter 20. "A very queer chap"

While Robert Barlow contemplated the success of his pamphlet, the nation was horrified to hear of the uprising in India.

In late July 1857 Lieutenant Hector Vaughan sailed with his regiment from Portsmouth on the Champion of the Seas.  She was a clipper charted by the government as a troop transport, and she made the journey in only 101 days.  Lieutenant Vaughan's regiment was to be present at the capture of Lucknow in 1858, and he would later receive the Indian Mutiny Medal.  It was the beginning of Empire.  Meanwhile, the old way of life in Cleveland was rapidly changing. 

Middlesbrough, which had been a farm and a few cottages when Mr Barlow arrived in the area, was made a municipal borough in 1853; ironstone had been found in the Eston Hills.

Railways were spreading across the countryside – the line from Middlesbrough to Guisborough was built in 1853, and on 2 March 1857 the North Yorkshire & Cleveland Railway opened a line from Picton station to Stokesley.

It was an age of technological marvels, which Mr Barlow must surely have enjoyed – the first iron ship built on the Tees was launched at South Stockton in 1854, and in 1858 an iron steamer was built at Middlesbrough. 

Improvements of all kinds were being carried out.

In Osmotherley, the open drain in the middle of the main street was covered over at last in 1852.  By 1856 Yarm's trade as a port had almost entirely disappeared, but they had the railway and gas street lights.  Stokesley had gas lighting, paved streets and a new Town Hall.  The "odious unsightly shambles, situated in the centre of the main street" described by Ord in 1846 had finally been demolished, and neat new buildings erected in their place.  Mr Barlow himself was improving his glebe land, and his notebooks contain records of field drainage undertaken.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Chapter 19. 'The Queen, the Head of the Church'

Mr Barlow had now reached the age of fifty and the full implications of his situation had become unavoidable.

As a boy, he was
ambitious of distinction and learning … content with nothing if anything loftier stood forth for competition. 
As a man, he had an enormous interest in the outside world, and his leisure time was evidently spent in
the profitable perusal of scientific reasoning [1].  
One of his favourite books, referred to in his novel, was Alexander von Humboldt's Cosmos, on which he took copious notes:
The limit of perpetual snow depends not on the mean temperature of the year but of the summer which melts the snow … The Chinese had a waggon with a needle to direct them across the deserts 1000 years before Christ …
Humboldt was a traveller, explorer and mountaineer, father of the earth and life sciences we know today, who conceived of projects unimaginable in his time, such as the Panama Canal and a United Nations. 

Not far from Mr Barlow's own parish, men of enterprise were developing new industries.  People of his own acquaintance made epic journeys.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Chapter 18. The early 1850s

In 1851, some months after her marriage, Marian Digby Beste and her new family left the country.  They sailed for the United States in a large party consisting of eleven children (Beste's eldest son remained behind), several canary birds, a lapdog and a dormouse.  They hoped to find a better future for the boys in the new world. 

Back in Yorkshire, some of Mr Barlow's activities at this time can be traced in his notebooks, and particularly in the one that survived amongst the logbooks for the Hutton Rudby school.  In it he recorded
the beginning of what was to be a long-running boundary dispute with his neighbour, the tailor William Jackson, who lived in the cottage where Drumrauch Hall now stands:
The time when the hedge at the foot of Jackson paddock Jacque Barn was cut by my order and in my presence
after harvest    1850    by Ramshaw
after harvest    1851    by Thos Brown
Some jottings show his open-handedness in giving and lending money to his parishioners, as for example:
Teddy has paid towards his boots    0 – 6 – 7   Decr 27th 1851
Other entries include notes of the number of days worked for him by the Meynells, Hebron, "Joe" and Pat Cannon and details of the substantial sum of £309-19s he had made in 1854 on sales of crops grown on his glebe land.

The 1851 census found Robert Barlow and all his family together in the vicarage: his wife, his three sisters and his nephew Hector.

They had a very suitable complement of servants – cook, housemaid and groom – indicating a well-to-do middle-class household.  The cook and maid were two Hutton Rudby girls aged 20 and 17, Catherine and Elizabeth Bainbridge, and the groom was an Irish lad, John McLaughlin, aged 18.

Hector Vaughan was then 18 years old and must soon afterwards have begun his career in the army, entering the 1st Battalion 20th Foot (East Devonshire) Regiment [1].  At this time an army officer was generally expected to have a private income in addition to his pay.  Hector may have inherited money from his father's family, or possibly his mother passed on to him some of the income from his father's Will and her own marriage settlement.

For this census Mr Barlow gave his age as 47 and reduced his wife's age from nearly 70 to 45.  His two eldest sisters are described as aged 30 and 28 years old, while their younger sister Nanny has a mere fourteen years taken off her age, which is given as 36. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Chapter 17. 1844 to 1851: Changing Times

The parsonage house once completed, Mr Barlow and his household could leave Linden Grove and establish themselves in their new home.

He seems to have been more than usually disorganised at this time.  His brother's death, the building work and the removals must have absorbed much of his attention; probably papers lost in the move contributed to his failure to make entries in the parish registers.  His household may also have been distracted by anxieties for the condition of Ireland, now in the dreadful grip of the Famine.

Possibly he was too preoccupied with these matters to pay sufficient attention to the village school.  However the 1845 report of an inspector visiting the village school may reflect something more seriously amiss in the original construction ten years earlier – he found the condition of the building and especially its roof to be "not good" [1]

In August 1846 Lord Falkland returned from Nova Scotia at the end of his term of office.  He and his wife were to spend less than two years in England, and much of this time will have been spent in London where he had been given the post of Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of Yeomen of the Guard.  In the spring of 1848, he and his household left for India ,where his term as Governor of Bombay began on 1 May. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Chapter 16. Melancholy Intelligence: the death of James Barlow Hoy

Local life at this period is brought vividly to life in the Stokesley press.

The Stokesley News & Cleveland Reporter was launched by the young George Markham Tweddell in 1842.  It was critical of government and an ardent supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League in a time of deepening recession.  Tweddell's employer William Braithwaite had printed the first two issues for him until Tweddell refused to tone down the political content.  The Cleveland Repertory & Stokesley Advertiser was Braithwaite's response – politically conservative and carrying far fewer political items, it was also a more enlivening read [1]

In their pages we find accounts of local events:  births, deaths and marriages, the Cleveland Cattle Show, the Cleveland Agricultural Society, balls at the Crown in Osmotherley and the Fox and Hounds at Carlton, cricket matches, lectures in favour of teetotalism and against slavery, meetings of the local branches of the Oddfellows Society, visiting circuses, agricultural accidents, the Stokesley and Redcar races, police reports and local and national politics.

Mr Barlow can be spotted at the fifth anniversary meeting of the Cleveland District Committee of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, held in the Great Room of the Mill, the Earl of Zetland presiding [2], and also conducting the funeral service of Jeremiah Raney, landlord of the Wheatsheaf.  As Mr Raney was a member of the Oddfellows, this was extensively reported by George Markham Tweddell, himself an officer of the Cleveland Lodge, and was well attended by members "wearing the usual funeral regalia of the Order" [3]

By 1843 Mr Barlow was ready to undertake a new major project in his parish. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Chapter 15. A Skeleton is Discovered

In June 1841 labourers cutting an alteration to the stell, or small beck, that that marked the boundary between the parishes of Stokesley and Seamer, came across a skeleton lodged in the earth of the bank.

The farmer, John Nellist of Seamer, handed the bones and a flat white button that was found with them to the recently appointed police officer for Stokesley, Charles Gernon.  Policing had become a professional matter, and Gernon, who was paid a yearly salary of £105 [1], had been appointed in place of the unpaid parish constables of the past.

It was quickly assumed that the skull was that of William Huntley, because of a protruding tooth in the lower jaw.  The Stokesley surgeon Mr del Strother examined the bones, and identified them as those of a man who had probably died from violence as the skull was "broken in".  He thought they might have lain in the ground some nine or ten years. 

Two days after the bones were found, Police Officer Gernon went to Barnsley to interview Robert Goldsborough at his house.  Goldsborough had remarried, and was living under his mother's maiden name of Towers, but evidently Gernon had no difficulty finding him.

Gernon questioned him first about Huntley's watch and Goldsborough began to grow steadily more anxious – at which point Gernon produced a moment of high drama, as he later told the court:
I then put the skull on the table, and told him to look at it and see if it was not the remains of Wm Huntley.  When he looked round he said – 'I'm innocent,' and then burst into tears.  He seemed agitated, and said 'I’m innocent.'  He also said they might swear his life away if they pleased, but he never had any clothes, or a watch, or anything else belonging to Huntley.
Gernon did not, however, arrest Goldsborough.  The magistrates put out notices offering a reward of £100 to anyone (except the perpetrator) who might give evidence.  Search was also made for George Garbutt, who had gone poaching with Goldsborough and Huntley to Crathorne Woods on the last day that anyone remembered seeing William Huntley.  Warrants were issued for Garbutt, but no trace of him was to be found. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Chapter 14. Deaths, Changes & Recession: 1837 to 1842

On 20 June 1837 King William IV died.  It was a personal grief to his daughter Amelia, Lady Falkland, who had lost her sister Sophia in childbirth earlier in the year, but it was also a blow to her husband's career.

Lord Falkland had been made a Privy Councillor on 1 March, but a new reign brought a new Court and there was no hope of future favour.  His new mansion house at Skutterskelfe was nearly complete, but in the event he and his wife and son had only a short time in which to enjoy it before he left the country.  A career in public service was the answer to his financial problems, and on 30 September 1840 Lord Falkland took office as Governor of Nova Scotia, leaving a steward at Skutterskelfe Hall. 

It is not clear whether by 1840 George Brigham was still acting as Lord Falkland's agent.

His old friend John Lee of Pinchinthorpe Hall had died a few years earlier in 1836, and it is said that he shot himself.  Lee was unmarried but for some years before his death had been paying a considerable amount for the upkeep of an illegitimate child, and his estate was left heavily encumbered with debt [1].  Perhaps the personal and social difficulties arising from the Harker and Powell Chancery case also contributed to his unhappiness. 

In December 1841, George Brigham himself died at the age of fifty-one.  His brother-in-law James Dobbin registered the death, giving the cause as "general debility"; the registrar was Brigham's old enemy Thomas Harker.

George died without making a Will, as he had nothing to leave [2].  His eldest son George, who was only thirteen years old at the time, later became a clerk with Messrs Backhouse & Co, the Darlington bankers.  When asked in 1854 if he would act in the still-continuing Chancery case, in his capacity as his father's heir-at-law, he not surprisingly declined. 

The general depression in trade deepened after 1836, and while Whitby dwindled in importance as whaling declined, Middlesbrough grew ever larger.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Chapter 13. Agitation, Ambition & Education

Mr Barlow, now established in his parish, was eager to make improvements to the church in Rudby.  On 2 July 1833, the churchwardens' accounts record that
At a meeting held this day according to Publick Notice Sarah Hebbron was elected Sexton and to have £2-12 per year for doing the duty of a Sexton to attend to the fires and keep the church clean.  The Churchwardens to see about getting the stove in repair. 
It was signed by Mr Barlow, the Middleton farmer Thomas Righton, the doctor Thomas Harker and John Sidgwick the grocer.

Mr Barlow must have been very anxious to have the stoves in working order – the Primitive Methodist chapel, only ten years old and packed with an enthusiastic congregation, would be much warmer and more attractive in the winter.  Unfortunately the stove could not be repaired and had to be replaced at a cost of £18; the result of the ensuing work – including more than £5 to the stone mason – was an expenditure of nearly £65.

Whilat Henry Bainbridge was happy to assist the vicar with this – perhaps in part because Hutton Rudby Methodists still brought their babies to baptism in the otherwise unheated church – the people of Hilton were not so amenable.  For historical reasons Hilton still paid a levy towards the upkeep of Rudby church, and not surprisingly in 1833 they refused to pay [1].  It was not only Nonconformists who found church rates objectionable.

Stokesley may have become a much quieter town during the previous decade, but it was still very much agitated by political argument on the great issues of the day.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Chapter 12. The Aftermath of the Cholera

After a time, however, legends began to gather round the episode.  The combination of a clergyman and a pestilence naturally brought echoes of the well-known story of the plague-stricken Derbyshire village of Eyam, where the parishioners were persuaded by their vicar to shut the village off from the outside world, so as not to spread the infection to their neighbours. 

By the middle of the 20th century the cholera story had distinct overtones of Eyam.  In fact, by some the cholera mound was believed to be a plague mound, dating from many centuries earlier – which may have further confused the issue.

Doctors Lane was by then assumed to be the place where the medical officers coming out from Northallerton halted to discover the progress of the epidemic, coming no nearer for fear of infection.  In fact the name "Doctor Lane" is to be found in a deed of 15 September 1824 [1], and numerous doctors attended the sick, as can be seen from letters and reports – Mr Allardice of Stokesley, Mr Wisker of York, Dr Young of Yarm, Drs Keenlysides and Cock of Stockton, and the "junior aid" referred to by Mr Barlow, which included Dr Crummey. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Chapter 11. 1832: The year of the Cholera

The year 1832 was one of great political and social upheaval.

The battle for the Reform Bill – witnessed close at hand by Lord Falkland, who was given a peerage of the United Kingdom by his father-in-law that May, and keenly followed by James Barlow Hoy in Hampshire – led to riots in many areas.

The citizens of York burnt the Archbishop in effigy outside his palace when, through a misunderstanding, he voted to defeat the Bill [1].  In the pocket borough of Northallerton there were lively scenes in support of reform, with a great open-air party at Brompton.

When the Bill was finally passed, the change in suffrage necessitated another general election, and in December 1832 James Barlow Hoy stood again as candidate for Southampton, this time successfully.

It was also the year that established Mr Barlow in the affections of his parishioners and made his reputation for posterity.  This was the year of the cholera.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Chapter 10. 1831: Mr Barlow's first year in Hutton Rudby

The area around his new home would have had much to interest Robert Barlow's lively mind.  He had a great interest in the physical world and delighted in technical and practical matters – as can be seen in his decision to design the village school himself, his appreciation of Humboldt's Cosmos, and in the surviving draft of his letter to the Lords of the Admiralty suggesting improvements in warship design.

He cannot but have been fascinated by the Mandale Cut, built in 1810 to take two miles from the distance between Stockton and the sea, and the Portrack Cut, opened only days after his arrival in the village.

He may have been less than impressed by the railway bridge over the Tees, which Isambard Kingdom Brunel described as a "wretched thing".

By the time of his arrival, ninety-five lots in the planned new town of Middlesbrough had been sold – the Revd Isaac Benson had bought two, and two men from Hutton Rudby, the builder Thomas Davison and the yeoman William Scales, had also been among the purchasers.

Mr Barlow's parishioners were people with a keen interest in matters beyond their village, and the arrival of Lord Falkland will have given them a gratifying feeling of being part of the new reign of his father-in-law King William IV.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Chapter 9. Mr Barlow & his Neighbourhood

Robert may have already visited his brother James in Hampshire, but it is possible that he had never set foot in England before his arrival in early 1831.

He was instituted vicar of Hutton Rudby on 3 January [1], and arrived in the parish a short while later [2], a young and energetic man dressed in the usual clothes of a gentleman – it was not then customary for clergymen to wear clerical dress. 

There was no parsonage house at Hutton Rudby.

Mr Grice had lived in Hutton and purchased property of his own in the parish, and Mr Shepherd seems to have rented Hutton House from Lady Amherst.  An earlier vicar, George Stainthorpe, had lived in Rudby "in a house which I farm of the Honourable Colonel", George Cary. 

Accompanied by his wife and possibly one of his spinster sisters to keep her company, Mr Barlow settled into a comfortable house a little way outside Enterpen.  This had previously been known as Suggitt's Grove, and had been the home of Benjamin David Suggitt, the gentlemanly yeoman farmer who had built the Primitive Methodists their chapel.  The planting of an avenue of lime trees had given rise to a new and more genteel name, Linden Grove, and it now belonged to Suggitt's nephew, Dr George Merryweather of Whitby.  Merryweather, who was the inventor of the  Tempest Prognosticator, a device using leeches in jars to forecast bad weather, let the property, with some additional farmland, to Mr Barlow.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Chapter 8. The Living of Rudby-in-Cleveland

The patronage of the living of Rudby-in-Cleveland went with the ownership of the manor of Rudby, but for a time in the early 19th century the advowson of Rudby was in other hands.

Lady Amherst had sold the rectorial rights of the parish to three gentlemen, Edward Wolley or Woolley of York, William Drinkrow of Great Driffield and Thomas Kendall of Gate Fulford [1].

Edward Wolley was an influential York solicitor, Undersheriff of York and Grand Master of the York Grand Lodge of Freemasons.  On coming into a family inheritance, he later changed his name to Copley.  By 1808 he had purchased the manor of Potto, which adjoins Hutton, and also the advowson for Rudby and East Rounton.  He predeceased Lady Amherst by some years, dying before 1819 [2] leaving a young son to inherit his property.

However, it appears that his estate had become the subject of a Chancery case [3], which delayed the grant of Probate for a considerable time.  By 1830 his son Edward Thomas Copley [4] was twenty-eight years old, and may by then have taken charge of his inheritance. 

The Revd Richard Shepherd had come to Hutton Rudby as curate to Mr Grice, and had evidently decided that he would like to stay.  A relation or friend would then have approached the owners of the advowson to buy the next presentation for him.

His sudden illness ten years later at the age of forty-two must have put young Mr Copley and his advisors in a delicate position, because to advertise the failing health of an incumbent was to invite an accusation of simony.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Chapter 7. Robert Barlow & his family

 Into this lively township came the young Irish clergyman, Robert Joseph Barlow.  He must have carried with him a slight aura of exoticism, coming as a prosperous outsider from across the Irish Sea into a small Yorkshire community, and he would naturally be the object of great curiosity.

It cannot have been long before his parishioners realised that this was indeed an unusual man from an unconventional background.

The only surviving photograph of him, taken in about 1865, shows an alert and humorous face with wildly curling dark hair and beard, and light-coloured eyes – so it seems he inherited from his father the black curly hair and blue eyes that he described in his lightly-fictionalised account of his family's history, written in old age [1] .

Robert Barlow was Anglo-Irish, born into the Protestant Ascendancy that had ruled Ireland for centuries.  Divided by religion and language from the native population, they also seemed half-foreign to their counterparts in England.

The novelist Anthony Trollope returned from his time in Ireland with a noisy, boisterous social manner that was often commented on [2], and Jane Austen once described an Anglo-Irish family as "bold, queer-looking people" [3].

Robert was born in Dublin in about 1804 [4], just after the great events that were to determine the course of Irish history in the 19th and 20th centuries – the Rebellion of the radical United Irishmen in 1798 and the passing of the Act of Union in 1800.  Parliament House in Dublin, which had been the first purpose-built parliament house in the world, had been sold to the Bank of Ireland, and Dublin would soon sink into the long decline that would last until 1922. 

Robert was the youngest child of John Barlow, gentleman, and his wife Ann.  He loved and admired his mother, and in his novel told her story with the greatest sympathy and affection.  She in turn was devoted to him – he "was a prime favourite" with her, "and used to be called her white-headed boy" [5].

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Chapter 6. 1830: Suspicions of Murder

The summer of 1830 had been an eventful one in the village.  Not only had old Lady Amherst died and the vicar fallen seriously ill, but in August the inhabitants of Hutton had been shaken by the disappearance of one of the weavers.

The people of East Side were absorbed with the affair for weeks – and their memories of the time were to be revived unexpectedly when the discovery of a skeleton eleven years later led to a murder trial.

In the newspaper reports of the trial [1] we can hear the actual voices of the villagers themselves, and their testimonies reveal a vivid picture of life at the time – lived under the scrutiny of close neighbours, often outside the houses, in the street.

The past is brought alive: rising at dawn; shared loomshops in the yards; men drinking late at night in the kitchen of a public house; a labourer breaking stones at the roadside in return for parish relief; the local habit of poaching in the Crathorne game preserves; the little shops run by the women of the village in their own homes; the long distances people were accustomed to walk; the clothes they wore; how the village governed and policed itself; the emigration ships sailing from Whitby.

The missing man's name was William Huntley.  He had a very odd appearance, his head being large and strangely-shaped.  William Jackson, draper and hatter, said of him:
he had rather a particular shaped face, and a large head.  He took a very large hat, and the last time he came to me I had some difficulty to fit him.
Mr Garbutt, the solicitor, gave this description to the court:
Very low between the eyes; very long behind in the head; his head sloped off particularly from the forehead.
A tooth protruded from his bottom jaw and pushed out his lower lip; the village boys used to make fun of him.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Chapter 5. The Brighams & the Harkers

A significant figure in the village was the agent in charge of Lord Falkland's estates.  George Brigham, a man of forty [1], had taken over from his father Robert some fifteen years earlier.

Born near Slingsby, Robert Brigham had been Lady Amherst's steward and agent for many years.  His abilities had brought his family prosperity and prominence in the village, and he had held the posts of High Constable and churchwarden of Rudby.  He farmed at Rudby Farm as a tenant of his employer.  His daughters married prosperous local men:  Elizabeth was the wife of the miller at Leven Bridge, William Simpson, and her sister Mary had married his brother Robert, miller at Newport, whilst Isabella was the wife of the Stokesley saddler, Ralph Watson.  Ann had made the best match socially, when she married the Revd Richard Shepherd, vicar of Rudby. 
George Brigham is said to have acted as one of the surveyors of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and became Lady Amherst's agent when only in his twenties.  By 1823 he was working as a land agent and valuer, and held the offices of coroner for Cleveland and chief constable for the west division of Langbaurgh.  He farmed at Windy Hill, Rudby, paying Lady Amherst a yearly rent of £265 [2].  
Unfortunately George was not as capable as his father, and his rather uncertain grasp of his duties is revealed in the letters of his good friend, John Harker.  The story of the troubles that beset the Brigham and Harker families reveals a vivid glimpse of life in Georgian Stokesley – and resulted in repercussions which were to have an effect on events in Hutton Rudby.  

Monday, 10 December 2012

Chapter 4. The Nobility

While the lands of the village of Hutton had belonged for generations to a number of freeholders and there was no major landowner to impose his authority on the villagers, the nearby hamlets of Rudby and Skutterskelfe were the property of the owners of the great house.

In the first half of the 18th century this had been Rudby Hall, standing opposite the church beside the river, but after the manor of Rudby was inherited by Isabella Ingram, her husband General George Cary purchased the neighbouring manor of Skutterskelfe and there he and Isabella made their home.  Rudby Hall appears to have been dismantled or allowed to fall into decay [1].

By 1830 the estates had belonged for some thirty years to their daughter, Elizabeth, Lady Amherst.  She was the widow of Jeffery 1st Lord Amherst, commander-in-chief of the army and much favoured by George III.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Chapter 3. The Village & its Vestry

Village affairs in England were run by the Parish Vestry, a parish meeting that had developed over the centuries largely unregulated by legislation.  It took its name from the church ante-room in which it was held.

The Vestry officials, elected or appointed, were unpaid – the constable was responsible for law and order, the overseers for the poor relief, the surveyor of the highways for the upkeep of the highways and bridges in the parish, and the churchwardens for the upkeep of the church and a varied range of duties from the baptism of foundlings to the extermination of vermin.  The funds for the churchwardens' duties were provided by the church rate, set by the Vestry.

Each township was responsible for the care of its poor and sick, who were given relief in money or kind from the parish rate, and the Vestry could engage the services of a medical man to attend their poor.  Hutton township had adopted the 1819 Sturges Bourne Act, which enabled it to elect a committee, the Select Vestry, to administer its poor relief.

Very few records from the early 19th century have survived, the most significant being the overseers' accounts for Rudby township between 1779 and 1830, and the churchwardens' accounts from 1787 onward.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Chapter 2. Linen Weaving & the Paper Mill

In 1831 the population of Hutton Rudby was at its 19th century peak of 1,027 and the township was dominated by linen weavers [1].

In the early part of the century there was a significant linen industry in the Cleveland area (though on a minor scale compared to Nidderdale and Knaresborough) and neighbouring villages such as Osmotherley and Brompton were also weaving communities.
Linen had long been used for many products from fine fabric to canvas, but it would soon face serious competition from light cottons, which would eventually force linen manufacturers to concentrate on the heavier cloths – in Hutton, this was to be sailcloth. 
From the harvesting of the flax to the woven linen cloth lay many stages of production and a great deal of time, and this long interval between the initial investment and the finished product created a natural division between the flax preparation and spinning, and the weaving and finishing.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Chapter 1. Hutton Rudby: a North Riding Township

Revd R J Barlow c1804-78
Very early in January 1831, a young Irish clergyman named Robert Joseph Barlow arrived in the Yorkshire village of Hutton Rudby where he was to be vicar for the next 47 years, until his death in 1878.

He would be remembered above all for his devoted service to his parishioners in October 1832 – the time of the cholera.

Hutton Rudby was the largest township of the parish of Rudby-in-Cleveland.  His new home lay in the North Riding of Yorkshire, some six miles south of its northern boundary, the River Tees.

Had Mr Barlow cared to look up the North Riding in the recently published Clarke's New Yorkshire Gazetteer (1828), he might have found the description rather uninviting. 

The coast is described as "hilly, bleak and cold" and
the interior part of the moorlands is bleak, dreary, and destitute of wood, where the traveller sees nothing but a few small sheep.  
The writer conceded that "the climate admits of some variety", but generally, he declared, "it may be called severe", with the moorlands "enveloped in fogs and chilled with rain". 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Remarkable, but still True: a Note regarding money

I have not attempted to give modern equivalents of the money of the day, but rather to place it in context to give an idea of value.

It was generally estimated at this time that a yearly income of £150 was the bare minimum for middle-class life, and that a family needed £300 to live respectably in a town, where expenses were higher.  A good urban artisan's wage in 1835 was round about a pound a week.  An income of £1,000 put a man at the top end of the middle class.

For those unfamiliar with pre-decimal coinage:-
  • 12 pence (12d)  =  1 shilling  (1s. or 1/-)
  • 20 shillings  (20s. or 20/-)  =  £1
  • One pound and one shilling  (£1-1s or £1/1/0)  =  1 guinea (1 gn.)
The penny was subdivided:-
  • One-quarter of a penny  (¼d)  =  1 farthing
  • Half a penny  (½d)  =  one halfpenny
(pronounced "haypny" and sometimes written "ha'penny")

A half-crown, or half-a-crown (mentioned in Chapter 6) was a coin worth 2s 6d

The suffix "-pence" is now usually pronounced as it is spelt.  This practice only began after decimalisation, when for a time "pence" was usually prefixed by "new".  Previously, "-pence" (in compound words) was always shortened to something nearer "pnce".

For example, in "threepence", the ee and e were pronounced short ("thrupnce" or "threhpnce").

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Remarkable, but still True: Foreword

This book is dedicated to the memory of Dr Geoffrey Stout and Miss Grace Dixon, to whom I owe many thanks for early encouragement and support.

The original research into the Hutton Rudby cholera outbreak of 1832 was done by Dr Stout.  He and I then collaborated on further work, which we wrote up for the Teesside and North Yorkshire Archives, but never published.  After his death, I presented our findings to the Hutton Rudby History Society in a talk in his memory.  Margaret Brabin of the Society urged me to write up the information – but first I thought I should complete the research.  This took several years longer than I had expected and led to many unexpected discoveries.

I would like to thank the many people who helped me on the way.

I was particularly well-served by the many sources now available on the internet and by the help of several librarians – particularly Nigel Prince and the staff of the Northallerton County Library, Jenny Parker of the Middlesbrough Reference Library, Penny Rudkin of the Southampton Reference Library, and Michele Lefevre of the Leeds Local Studies Library, who in response to my request for copies of items in the Leeds newspapers relating to the cholera in October 1832 found the letter written by Mr Barlow to the Leeds Mercury.  The Borthwick Institute and the Cambridge University Library were also most helpful.  I owe a great deal of information to Jacky Quarmby’s work on the Brigham family and to a most fruitful collaboration with her over this interesting episode.

Many thanks to Kate Milburn and Julia Weeks for their helpful comments over the years, to Beryl Turner, and lastly to my proof-readers Margaret Brabin, Shirley Storey and above all Lynda McPhie.

Finally, my grateful thanks to my husband and children for their support during the research and writing of this book.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Remarkable, but still True: the story of the Revd R J Barlow and Hutton Rudby in the time of the cholera

Over the next weeks, I am going to be posting the full text of my book, Remarkable, but still True.

Published in 2007 by Westgate Publishing of Guisborough in a limited edition, copies can be found in libraries and second-hand.

I think it needs to be available online in full for several reasons.

Firstly, Hutton Rudby was a village through which many people passed, and many of their descendants – as I know from contacts through my previous website, – are in search of their family history.  There are many local people named in the book, with stories and details that would be very hard to find elsewhere.

Secondly, the story told in the book isn't only relevant to the Hutton Rudby area.  The Revd Barlow's family came from Dublin.  Mr Barlow's brother, James Barlow Hoy, became a Hampshire landowner and MP for Southampton.  His daughter Louisa Barlow Hoy lived in Italy, where she married a Florentine nobleman, the Marquis Guadagno Guadagni – and it's likely that the only surviving descendants of the Barlows are amongst the Guadagni family.

Thirdly, it's a very good story!

As reading online is a different experience from reading a book, I shall break up the longer paragraphs to make it easier.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Literary Wars in Whitby: 1825 to 1833

Whitby harbour: from a papier mache tray
As my post of 19 November explains, in the early 1820s Stokesley seethed with political controversy.

Young men and women horrified their elders by buying radical literature from Mr Armstrong’s shop and the 'Stokesley Paper War' between Armstrong and the Methodist businessman Thomas Mease polarised opinion in the town.

In 1825, the year after Thomas Mease published the last edition of The Extinguisher in triumph over his now absent adversary, a new monthly magazine began to appear in Whitby.

Before long, Whitby would have its own paper war.

But there the debate was not political – Whitby had little by way of radical tradition.  Instead, the factions came from different Nonconformist churches, and the arguments were literary and personal.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Whitby in 1823

Extracts from the description of Whitby in Baines' Directory 1823:
The town stands on two opposite declivities at the mouth of the Eske, by which river it is divided into two parts, which are connected by a draw-bridge so constructed as to admit vessels of 32 feet wide …
Owing to the northern aspect of the district and the rising of the land to a considerable distance into the country, the sun beams fall so obliquely on the town and its immediate vicinity, that its climate may be considered nearly on an equality with Shetland and the Orkneys.
It is closely and irregularly built, though the houses of the opulent inhabitants are large and commodious; the streets in general are narrow and inconvenient, and the act obtained for paving, lighting and widening them has been very imperfectly carried into effect …

The ruins of the once famous abbey stand on a high cliff south-east of the town near the parish church, and the ascent to it from the town is by a flight of two hundred steps.  A small distance south of the abbey Mr Cholmeley has a splendid mansion, built probably with the materials from the monastery …

if the situation [of the abbey] is bleak the prospect is commanding and presents a view of the town and port of Whitby, with the frowning heights of the black moors rising in the horizon in front, while in the rear is the vast expanse of the ocean, and the tout ensemble is truly magnificent …

When the abbey of Whitby was in the zenith of its glory, the town was little more than a small fishing station … the important discovery of the alum mines at the close of the reign [of Queen Elizabeth] raised Whitby from its obscurity … and elevated the town to a degree of maritime consequence … two great branches of trade were opened at the port of Whitby – one for supplying the works with coals, the other for conveying the alum to distant parts.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Anne Weatherill's diary: Guisborough 1863

This is the diary of Anne Weatherill of Guisborough, written when she was 22 years old.

It was written in a small notebook, measuring six inches by four inches and records her activities between January and September 1863.

She began the little diary soon after returning from a visit to London.

Back at home in Guisborough, she records attending impromptu dances and invitation balls, she visits Redcar and stays with friends in Stockton and Carlton-in-Cleveland.  She takes part in a choir festival and lends a hand in local festivities.  A constant feature through the months is her response to the changing seasons and the beauty of the countryside.    

Anne lived in Northgate in Guisborough with her family: her father Thomas, a prosperous brewer, landowner and businessman, her mother Margaret, her 20 year old sister Kate, and her brothers William and Herbert, aged 18 and 14.

Downstreet – going west along the High Street – her Uncle William and Aunt Ann Weatherill lived in Westgate with their younger children.  The children were cousins to Anne twice over, as their fathers were brothers (Thomas and William Weatherill) and their mothers were sisters (Margaret and Ann Jackson).

Friday, 30 November 2012

Rev Malcolm Buchannan (1880-1954)

Malcolm Buchannan was one of Whitby's characters. 

An energetic High Church Anglican priest, his obituary from 9 July 1954 gives a full story of his remarkable life.  I am not sure where, in his far-flung ministry, this photograph was taken – possibly the Transvaal.

Rev Malcolm Buchannan
Rev M Buchannan's Notable Life

By the death of the Rev Malcolm Buchannan, which occurred on Sunday night at his home, St Hilda's Terrace, Whitby, the town lost a man who defied ill-health to continue his vocation almost to the end. 

A native of Whitby, Father Buchannan was educated at Hallgate's School at Whitby, and subsequently attended Durham School and Durham University, where he gained prominence as an oarsman, rowing in representative events for the Varsity. 

He was a son of Mr Charles Buchannan, and a grandson of Mr George Weatherill, the famous artist, and he felt the call to the work of the Church, and as a priest of the Church of England did an outstanding service to his fellow men, not only in England, but in Canada, South Africa and Trinidad.

A man of great personal charm, Father Buchannan's chief characteristic was his sincerity.  He was ordained curate in 1903 at Durham and his first appointment was as a curate at St Mark's, South Shields, where he remained for three years, being priested in 1904. 

'George Weatherill – his family, and their art' by the Rev Malcolm Buchannan

This is the text of an address given by the Rev. Malcolm Buchannan, M.A., grandson of George Weatherill on October 7th, 1949.

It is a delightful talk, particularly such stories as his grandfather walking from Yarm to York as a teenager to attend a court case for his employer, and walking back again the next day – and how he used to get up at 5 o'clock in the morning to paint the sunrise from East Cliff.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The artist George Weatherill (1810-90) and his children

George Weatherill was born in Staithes in 1810 and died in Whitby in 1890.  His delicate, subtle watercolours of the Whitby area have always been widely known and loved he has been called the "Turner of the North".

One of the largest and most important collections of his work was that of County Alderman Robert Elliott Pannett (1834-1920).  His devotion to the welfare of Whitby and its people led him to many acts of generosity, and in 1902 he bought land near the centre of the ancient, crowded town because he believed that both residents and visitors would benefit from a park where they could enjoy fresh air, trees and flowers.  He bequeathed the land to the town – it is now Pannett Park.

There you will find the Pannett Art Gallery.   This was another gift to Whitby from Mr Pannett, built to house his art collection.  It opened on 1 August 1928, with one gallery devoted entirely to the display of 148 paintings by George Weatherill.  (I think the Art Gallery website is very new and still under construction – I look forward to more appearing on their Galleries page.)

George taught all his children to draw and paint, but their work is less widely known. 

The Weatherill family tree: compiled by Richard Weatherill (1844-1923)

Excerpt from Richard Weatherill's manuscript

Richard Weatherill (1844-1923) compiled a family tree from the memories of his father, the artist George Weatherill (1810-90). 

He supplemented it with further research, particularly in the Parish Registers of Easington and in the Easington, Whitby, Hinderwell and Guisborough churchyards.  A copy of his manuscript (missing one page) is held by the Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society.

Another copy is owned by descendants of the Guisborough Weatherills; this copy has later amendments by Charles Buchannan (Richard Weatherill's nephew) and others.

The information below is taken from both manuscripts.  Passages marked in quotations are taken directly from Richard Weatherill's manuscript. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Changing Guisborough market day: 1813

From the Day Book of Thomas Jackson (1775-1834), farmer of Lackenby:
June 10th 1813    I was sumas [summonsed] to appear at Guisbro on the Above Day a few Days before as a Jury man upon altering Guisbro Market Day from Friday to Tuesday when after hearing witnesses on boath sides the Jury came to give there Verdict out of 18 Jury Men 9 was for Friday and 9 for Tuesday they sat 16 Hours upon it and neither party would give way.  It was agreed upon Thos Rood of Marton for Tuesday men and Thos Nesham of Stockesley … on Friday Men to [de]cide the [Business] Thos Nesham return and said they had agreed for it to be altered to Tuesday to which where all sd to agree by us passing our word before whe would agree to what they did
        Thos Jackson
Guisborough Priory

This text, of the last known market charter of Guisborough, seems to be the charter issued as a result of that acrimonious meeting:

Markets and Fairs
Notice is hereby given, that Robert Chaloner, Esq. Lord of the Manor of Guisbrough, has obtained His Majesty's Letters Patent, licensing him to hold a Public Market in Guisbrough aforesaid, on TUESDAY in every Week, instead of Friday in every Week: And also Two Public Markets annually, one on the Last Tuesday in the Month of June in every Year, for the buying and selling of LONG WOOL; and the other on the Last Tuesday in the Month of July in every Year, for the buying and selling of SHORT WOOL.  Also a Public Fair on the several Days following:-
The Last Tuesday in APRIL instead of The Third Tuesday after 11th Apr
The Tuesday before WHIT-SUNDAY instead of Whit-Tuesday
The THIRD Tuesday in AUGUST instead of 27th August
The THIRD Tuesday in SEPTEMBER instead of 20th September
The SECOND Tuesday in NOVEMBER instead of The First Monday after 11th Nov
And a Public Fair on the Last Tuesday in the Month of March, annually.
The FIRST FAIR, agreeable to the above alteration, will be held on Tuesday, the 26th of APRIL; and the FIRST MARKET, on Tuesday the 3d of MAY, 1814
Christopher & Jennett, Printers, Stockton

The late Miss Grace Dixon noted that later in the 19th century the question of the market and fair dates
"became much less formal and the town made various alterations of dates as it suited them.  The dates of fairs remained in spring and autumn until mid 20th century"

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Mrs Lydia Metcalfe of Yarm, in 1784

Yarm Town Hall, built 1710
A Deed donated to the Hutton Rudby History Society may be of interest to people looking for ancestors in Yarm and to members of the Metcalfe family.

The Deed, dated 10 July 1784, records the repayment of mortgages by Mrs Lydia Metcalfe of Yarm.

The main points are as follows:

In 1745 Lydia Smith owned property in Yarm.  On 7 December 1745, shortly before her marriage to Henry Loughhead, she settled her property on trustees to hold it on her behalf, free from the control of her husband.  (It was not until the Married Women's Property Act 1882 that married women could hold property in their own right.)

Her trustees were Jonathan Hedley and Benjamin Flounders.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Tom Brown of Kirkleatham & Yarm, hero of Dettingen

William Hutton, in his A Trip to Coatham, gives a wonderfully vivid account of the story of Tom Brown, the hero of the battle of Dettingen 1743. 

While he was at Kirkleatham in 1809, Hutton went to find the site of Tom Brown’s birthplace and to visit the hero’s nephew (see p 166 of the scanned book):
It never occurred to my thoughts, when Tom’s exploit blazed over the world, that, sixty-six years after, I should see his portrait, handle his sword and record the fact.
Tom Brown was born in Kirkleatham, apprenticed to a shoemaker at Yarm, and enlisted in the Inniskillen Dragoons. 
He was five feet eleven, and well made, rather bony.  At the battle he was twenty-eight years old.
He served with outstanding valour at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743 in the War of the Austrian Succession - the last battle when British forces were led into action by their King.

Tom was terribly wounded – as can be seen from his portrait (to be found in this full account of the battle)

As William Hutton observed, the portrait
exhibits two wounds in the face; one is a cut, seemingly with the point of a sword from the top of the forehead to the corner of the left eye.  The other, across the upper part of the nose, which obliged him to wear a plate of silver; now lost.
He retired to Yarm with a pension of £30 a year from the King, and died there in 1746.

His grave is marked by a memorial erected by the Queen's Own Hussars in 1968. 

Do see Bob Scotney’s account, with details of the painted sign that used to be attached to Tom Brown’s house in Yarm – and a transciption of the Song of the Silver Nose.

Kirkleatham in 1809

Kirkleatham, as described by William Hutton in his A Trip to Coatham 1809:
Three thousand five hundred acres, the property of Sir Charles Turner.  I am now in the centre of this most delightful valley.  Sir Charles, it is said, wishes to part with this estate, which proves that even beauty itself cannot always please; were it mine, it would cost a tear at parting.  The eye dwells upon the view, but cannot be satisfied.

The village is a groupe of Palaces, fit for the reception of Royalty.  The church is neat, and what a church ought always to be, not tawdry.  The organ is rather too strong for so small a place. 

There is an hospital which brought to mind an expression of King William’s, when he saw Greenwich, “There are, in England, Cottages for Princes, and Palaces for Peasants.”

This superb building was erected and endowed by the Turner family, with lands, said to be worth £1500 a year, for the support of ten old men, ten old women, ten boys and ten girls, with proper officers.  In the centre is a most elegant chapel, in which is a transparent painting, of great value, representing the first founder, who was Lord Mayor of London ...

Hutton continues his account (on p165 of the scanned book), marvelling at the “collection of rarities” in the “shew-room” and the library:
I cannot think its value less than seven or eight thousand pounds.  I saw many books worth twenty or thirty guineas each …

Saturday, 24 November 2012

More about Thomas Atkinson, surgeon, of Kirkleatham

Thomas Atkinson, the writer of the whaling journal, was a young man of 21 when he made the voyage to Davis Straits.

He was born in the spring of 1753 in Kirkleatham, a North Yorkshire village a couple of miles from the mouth of the River Tees. 

His father Thomas was Master at the Hospital founded in Kirkleatham in 1676 by Sir William Turner for the relief of ten "poor aged" men and women and the relief and upbringing of "ten poor boys and ten poor girls". 

The "poor boys" and "poor girls" usually entered the Hospital at the age of eight and left at sixteen.  At this time most of the boys came from the North Riding, from Scarborough to Askrigg, but some came from much further afield – from Ticknall in Derbyshire, Bristol and Hertfordshire.  They included the sons of a local clergyman, a Darlington bookseller and a Northallerton attorney, which may indicate that the founder's intentions as to the children's circumstances were not being strictly followed in this period.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Whaling Journal of Thomas Atkinson of Kirkleatham, 1774

In 1774, Thomas Atkinson was a young surgeon of twenty-one when he took ship in the Hope of Whitby, on a whaling voyage to the Davies StraitsThis is a fair copy of his journal, full of accounts of the fish, the wild cold weather, and his first encounter with the Inuit:

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Aerial photos of Stokesley in 1929

The new website, Britain from Above has 4 aerial photographs of Stokesley in 1929.  They centre on the church, West Green, the Market Place and Commercial Row.

The site was launched in June 2012 and is part of a programme to conserve, catalogue and digitise the Aerofilms Collection of images.  The team running the programme wants plenty of input from the public: 
The Britain from Above website features a high degree of interactivity and is designed to encourage wide public participation. Users can download images, customise their own themed photo galleries, share personal memories, and add information to enrich the understanding for each of the images. They are also invited to identity the locations of a number of “mystery” images that have left the experts stumped.

The number of images available to view on the website will continue to grow, and by 2014, some 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 will be visible online.
It's very easy to use, especially through the map on the advanced search option.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Stokesley station & a Skutterskelfe farm: 1950

On 31 December 1950, the coldest day of the year, the entire stock of a Skutterskelfe farm was moved by railway from Stokesley station to Hartfield in Sussex - and it was recorded on film.

Farmer Moving South is a beautiful British Transport Films short movie, lasting 16 minutes.  It's now on youtube, but I find (on revisiting this post on 1 March 2013) that the version I originally uploaded is not available.

It's a great pity, because it was the best quality version on youtube - instead, I shall insert another version.  This one is in two halves.

The farm's name is recorded as Skutterskelfe Hall Farm - we now know it as White House Farm, Skutterskelfe.  The farmer was a son of the Ropner family, who owned the Skutterskelfe estate in the first half of the 20th century.

A time line for Stokesley

I've taken some dates from my notes to make a time line for Stokesley (which is pronounced Stowsla or Stowsley in the Cleveland dialect). 

Quite a few of the sources are now available online, so I have added links to them - and also some extracts, to inform or amuse!

1086 Domesday Book
before 1066
Stokesley had a mill and a church.  Hawarth was its lord.  Value of manor: £24

Uhtred, the King’s thegn, held the manor.  Value of manor (after the Harrying of the North): £8
Balliol family hold the manor

granting of the right to hold a yearly fair on the eve and day of St. Thomas the Martyr
(presumably 7 July the Feast of the Translation of St Thomas the Martyr marked the day when the bones of the newly canonized Thomas à Becket were moved to a shrine in Canterbury Cathedral)

1497  Testamenta Eboracensia p 128
June 23, 1497.  I, Nicolas Conyers, being in gude and clene mynd, ordeyn and makes my testament in this wise.  To be beried in the qwer of Stokesley kirk, at the grece befor Saint Petyr.  To the high alter ij torchis, price vj s. viij d., to be lightid at the lavacion tyme while they last; and upon my herse v serges of thre pownd wax ...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Wars of words in Stokesley in the 1840s

In the 1840s, another print war broke out in Stokesley - and this time it was a war of newspapers.

The political opponents were George Markham Tweddell with his Stokesley News & Cleveland Reporter and his former employer William Braithwaite with The Cleveland Repertory & Stokesley Advertiser.

Visit the Tweddell history website and the George Markham Tweddell hub for more on the fascinating life and works of George Markham Tweddell and his wife Elizabeth, whose poetry appeared under the pseudonym Florence Cleveland.

You will also find there information on George Markham Tweddell's link to Hutton Rudby - the Rudby schoolmaster, William Sanderson, was his inspirational teacher.

Well worth a look!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Radicalism in Stokesley in the 1820s

In the turbulent 1820s, Stokesley was riven by a bitter debate between radicals and traditionalists.  Admirers of the revolutionary activist Tom Paine were at loggerheads with local conservatives and clerics.  It culminated in a war of pamphlets - the Stokesley Paper War.

The opening salvo of the Paper War

On Monday 2 June 1822, the Stokesley tradesman and employer Thomas Mease gave a speech at a Wesleyan Methodist Missionary meeting in which he attacked (without naming him, but quite unmistakably) one of the town's booksellers, Robert Armstrong.

Mease was so pleased with the reception of his speech by his fellow Methodists that in spite of his "secret feelings of considerable reluctance" he gave in to their "earnest and repeated solicitations" and arranged for it to be printed; it appeared as The Substance of a Speech soon afterwards.  The "few satyrical remarks" he had made at Armstrong's expense probably appeared to even greater advantage in the published text.
"I was exceedingly amused, Sir, by the way in which the birth-day of Paine was lately kept in this Town,"
Mease declared, comparing the usual celebratory banquets of the day with Mr Armstrong's tea party.
"What abstruse and pithy subjects were discussed on the occasion, or what powers of elocution were displayed by the motley speakers, I have not been told, nor have I given myself any trouble to learn.  The principal objects embraced by their vain, but anxious wishes, it is probable, were, the subversion of Christianity and Monarchy, and the substitution of a Republican government, together with what they strangely reckon a scientific morality.  Now, to think of such a Tea-sipping assembly of pompous literati, so tenacious of the dignity of human nature, and meditating purposes so vast, is almost enough to produce a smile of contempt in pouting melancholy herself before she is aware. And are these pedantic things to be our guides instead of Priests, and our rulers instead of Kings?"
The Stokesley Paper War had begun. 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Stokesley in 1823

As described in Baines' Directory of 1823 (the 16 pubs are listed near the end of this blog post):-

Stokesley in the wapentake and liberty of Langbargh: 9 miles from Guisborough; 9 from Yarm; and 16 from Northallerton. 

A small market town of Cleveland, consisting chiefly of one broad street, running east and west, and washed on the south by a principal branch of the river Leven, which is a remarkably fine trout stream. 

The buildings are neat, and for the most part in the modern style. 

The market is held on Saturday, and is plentifully supplied with provisions on reasonable terms.  Of the fairs which are held here, an account will be found appended to the first volume. 

The lands near the town are chiefly in grass, and occupied in small allotments.  The surrounding lands are rich and fertile, and being a fine sporting country, the situation possesses all the advantages of rural sports and agreeable retirement. 

The beautiful and majestic chain of mountains, called the Cleveland hills, including Roseberry Topping, range at a distance of from four to six miles from the town, with a peculiarly bold and romantic outline, and form a sort of semi-circular amphitheatre, of which Stokesley is the centre. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Live Bait Squadron 1914 - survivors from Whitby

This photograph was printed in the All Our Yesteryears section of the Whitby Gazette on 31 August 2001.  It had been brought in by John Hartley of Hinderwell, who hoped to find out more about the men pictured.  I am posting it here because I don't think this report, or the photograph, are available online.

According to the Whitby Gazette:
On 2 August 1914, a great send-off was given to the men at Whitby and news that some of them were missing plunged the fishing community and the town into grief.
A number of Naval Reservists had left town to join the Navy and 28 were believed to be on the cruisers torpedoed by submarines.
James Hall was one local man saved from the Aboukir and other men rescued were brothers Thomas, George, Harry and James Murfield, William, George and Matthew Winspear, James Wood and Thomas Dryden. 
Four brothers from one family and three from another escaped the sinking.
Mr Hall said afterwards: "I saw a lot of the Whitby lads when I was in the water and they were all right.  We were floating for about six hours but I'm no worse and I thank God for it.  We will be ready for the Germans again shortly and they will get hit back."

The following week, All Our Yesteryears was able to publish the names of the men in the picture, identified by Syd Barnett, Whitby Museum's head librarian.
From left: back, TB White, JW Hill, G Walker, G Gash, J Murfield and JR Hind; middle, G Winspear, J Hall G Murfield, W Winspear, J Wood, S Eglon, W Dryden, T Murfield; front, J Elders, H Murfield, W Hodgson, R Ventris, H Harrison and W Hall.
Matthew Winspear, another survivor, was in hospital at the time of the photograph.
I understand that reservists, including some of the Whitby men, who were posted to Chatham at the outbreak of War were followed by their wives and families, who moved to the town to be able to see more of their men when they were not at sea.  The women were able to get well-paid (though dangerous) work in the munitions factories there - this was to prove of enormous value to those who found themselves widowed and struggling to bring up their families alone.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Live Bait Squadron, 1914

Midshipman Duncan Stubbs
Major Stubbs' fifteen-year-old son Duncan died on 22 September 1914.  There is a brass tablet in his memory in St Cuthbert's, Ormesby, and he is commemorated on the Nunthorpe War Memorial.

Duncan and fellow naval cadets had been taken out of Dartmouth Naval College at the outbreak of war and posted to armoured cruisers patrolling the area of the North Sea known as the Broad Fourteens.  When HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy were torpedoed by a German submarine in an action which lasted only 75 minutes, 13 of the 28 cadets lost their lives.

Survivors from the cruisers were picked up by Dutch and British trawlers - 837 were rescued, but 1,459 died.

Many of the men who died that day were reservists, who left young widows struggling to bring up small children.  Their families were to feel their loss for many years; indeed, in some cases the difficult circumstances they suffered left effects that are still felt today.

The wreck sites of the three cruisers are now highly valued, not only by the families, maritime archaeologists and historians but also by divers and ecologists, as they provide a vital habitat for sea life.

There was great concern recently when it was realised that the wrecks were under threat from salvage companies, sparking outrage and a protest campaign from the public in Holland and Britain.

The wrecks are also vulnerable to the debris left by fishing, and divers working with the Dive The North Sea Clean project regularly visit the wreck sites to rescue crabs, lobsters and fish trapped by fishing lines and nets.  A film showing their work can be seen here.

In September this year, Dutch author Henk van der Linden's excellent new book on the disaster Live Bait Squadron: Three Mass Graves off the Dutch coast was published in English and the book launch was held at Chatham, following a memorial service in Rochester Cathedral.  A very moving occasion.

And now a documentary film is being made about the wrecks, their history and their ecological importance today - visit the facebook page for details!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Nunthorpe-in-Cleveland War Memorial

The First World War Memorial for the village of Nunthorpe, south of Middlesbrough, stands near the Stokesley road.

It was unveiled on Saturday, 27 August 1921 by Sir Hugh Bell, Bart., C.B., the Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding.

The pencil notes in the right hand corner were made by Mr T.D.H. Stubbs, who had served as a Major during the War and lived with his family in Nunthorpe.  He was Company Secretary of Dorman, Long & Co and a friend of Sir Arthur Dorman.

He has sketched the positions to be taken by those participating.  Guides and Scouts were to stand on the left.  'Buglers' is written beside the small square.

Prayers were led by the Archdeacon of Cleveland, and Sir Arthur Dorman and Mr Burton spoke.  Another prayer followed the Unveiling by Sir Hugh Bell - and a prayer was inserted into the order at this point, according to the pencil note.  Buglers of the 4th Yorkshire Regiment played the Last Post.  

The hymns were 'O God, our help in ages past' and 'Onward, Christian Soldiers'.  The Rev. J. W. Roberts gave the blessing.  The buglers played the Reveille and the assembled company sang the National Anthem.

On the back of the service sheet, the names of the dead are listed.  They include Major Stubbs' 15 year old son, Midshipman John Duncan Stubbs.

Northumbrian (North Riding) Heavy Battery RGA

More snapshots from Major Stubbs' album:

Aldershot 1917

Major Stubbs was posted at Aldershot for some months in 1917 and 1918
RAMC Newcastle 1915
RGA 4,7 gun 1915

RGA in training 1915
Major Stubbs, Newcastle 1915

Major Stubbs i/c Siege School, Aldershot c1917
'The Silver King', Eastbourne 1915

Trumpeter Jones on Taffy

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Northumbrian (North Riding) Heavy Battery RGA before the War

Snapshots from Major Stubbs' album.
Unfortunately they are not dated and only a few names are recorded, but they are thought to be from a pre-War Camp some time in 1913 or 1914.

George W.W. Barnley (Middlesbrough solicitor) is second from left.
Francis Dalrymple (adjutant) is seated on the gun

Major Stubbs' daughter has added (years later) a note to this photograph:
"The Hairy Heels" (Horselines) (eight of these to each gun)

Monday, 12 November 2012

War Horse

Major Stubbs' horse, Jess.

Jess joined the North Riding Heavy Battery August 1914 at Monkseaton as the Battery Commander's Charger at the outbreak of war.
She went overseas with the Battery in April 1915.
She was wounded by a splinter of shell in May 1918.
She died at the Veterinary Clearing Station in May [or June, according to the note on the reverse of the photo] 1918.
Photo was taken at St Omer, February 1917

Driver J.F.S. Wallace was her groom.  He took her down to the Clearing Station and stayed with her till the end.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Nunthorpe in the early 20th century

Photographs and a sketch map of old Nunthorpe (Station - not old Nunthorpe Village) can be found on the Nunthorpe History Group website.

The sketch map identifies the houses of Duncan Stubbs and Gerald Cochrane, while the surrounding area can be seen more clearly on the old maps page of the site.

War begins - Nunthorpe, 1914

Thomas Duncan Henlock (“Duncan”) Stubbs was a 42 year old Middlesbrough solicitor when war broke out.  He lived with his wife and family in the little rural hamlet that had grown up around Nunthorpe railway station.  As a Captain in the Territorial Army in the Northumbrian (Heavy) Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, he was called up immediately.  

He began to keep a diary.  It begins on Tuesday 4 August 1914 and it is written in ink and pencil on lined foolscap paper.  It appears to be a fair copy, with additions and alterations, presumably (given the detail involved) from notes made at the time.  He was a methodical man.

Extracts from the first ten days of the diary follow.  They give a vivid picture of public reaction at the beginning of the War, on Teesside and Tyneside.

It begins with a summary of events in Europe:
Tuesday 4th August

For a week past there has been talk of war.  Austria’s declaration of War against Servia has started the ball rolling […]
Britain calls upon [Germany] to declare that the neutrality of Belgium shall be preserved.  Germany declines stating that to do so would disclose an important part of her plan of campaign […] 
The British fleet is fully mobilized, the reserves, even the Dartmouth cadets, are called up and about 7pm on Tuesday 4th August 1914 the order goes forth for the general mobilization of the whole British Army.
and then Duncan Stubbs begins to document his own experiences:

This is a purely personal account of my own doings as Captain in the Northumbrian North Riding Heavy Battery, which Battery I have had the honour of commanding for about 12 months past.