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).