Thursday, 28 February 2013

John Jackson and his uncle, Captain Thomas King (1748-1824)

continued from 'The Jackson family of Lazenby and Lackenby' ...

Thomas King, merchant of Wapping, played a hugely influential role in the life of the Jacksons of Lackenby during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

He was the brother-in-law of George Jackson (1746-1810) of Lackenby.  George and his sister Dinah (1753-1819) had both married members of the King family:  George married Elizabeth King (1752-82) in 1774 at Skelton, and Dinah married Robert King in 1783 at Wilton.  (Elizabeth and Robert King were probably cousins.)

Elizabeth King and her elder brother Thomas were the children of Newark King and Elizabeth Boyes, who married in 1746.  Thomas was baptised on 19 Feb 1748; he left home to go to sea and by 1766 he was second mate of the Royal Charlotte.  He became an increasingly successful London merchant, and left the sea in 1780.  He had a family of his own, but remained a powerful figure in the lives of his relatives in Cleveland.

He invested in property in the area – in 1783 he paid £1,200 for Lackenby Low Farm, which had belonged to another branch of the Jackson family.  This was the year that Robert King married Dinah Jackson, and the farm was to be the home of Dinah King until her death in 1819; Thomas was perhaps coincidentally providing a home for the newly married couple.  At that point his address was George Yard, near Tower Hill, Middlesex.  Five years later, he sold the property to William Jackson of Guisborough for £1,300 [Kirkleatham Hall] and by then his address was Great Aliffe (Ayliffe) Street, Goodman’s Fields.

He would eventually have a counting house in London and a country seat in Wandsworth.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Jackson family of Lazenby and Lackenby

In the 18th and 19th centuries, a family called Jackson farmed at Lackenby and Lazenby, two small hamlets in the parish of Wilton, at the northernmost edge of the North Riding of Yorkshire.  This low-lying land, stretching northwards to the mouth of the river Tees – and later mostly covered by ICI Wilton – was once known as the Lowside.

We are so used to the view of the petrochemical complex that inspired the opening scenes of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner that it is hard to imagine how empty and beautiful the place once was.

Here it is – before the Tees became an industrial river – described by the Revd John Graves in his History of Cleveland in 1808:
The village of Wilton is small, and consists of a few houses, seated on the northern declivity of a hill, the summit of which being nearly level, has been brought into cultivation; while the sides, rising abruptly, are ornamented with young and thriving plantations.   
The grounds on the north from the village have an easy and gradual descent, and the prospect is extensive and pleasingly diversified: near at hand upon the right are seen the hospital and mansion, with the richly cultivated grounds of Kirkleatham, beyond which, tracing the circling line of shore to the left, the town of Hartlepool in a prominent position, with the bold figure of its church, affords a striking object; while the serpentine course of the river Tees, which on its approach towards the sea, expands itself into a fine extensive bay, is seen winding through a tract of rich and fertile grounds beneath, adding greatly to the beauty and interest of the general view. 
It was a small agricultural parish and, in 1801, consisted of 67 houses occupied by 74 families – a total of 328 people.
The lands within the parish consist nearly of an equal portion of arable, meadow, and pasture; and the soil in general a fertile clay; which, notwithstanding its northern aspect, and exposure to severe blasts from the sea, produces crops of wheat and other grain in great perfection, and the harvests in general are as early as in any of the more favoured parts of Cleveland.   
The low grounds near the river Tees are principally in grass; as was formerly an extensive tract, which lay in common open fields, stretching from the village in a direction north and south; but, by the late inclosure, has been brought into a more advantageous state of cultivation.
The Jacksons of Wilton were for the most part yeomen, that hardworking, prudent class that lay between the gentlemen and the petty farmers.

In the mid 20th century, a descendant of the Jacksons of Wilton compiled a family tree covering the 17th to 19th centuries, based on a collection of legal documents, information and artefacts that had remained in the family, and supplemented with research. 

It was subsequently examined and extended by the late Miss Grace Dixon, local historian of Guisborough, with assistance from the Kirkleatham Museum, and then Grace Dixon and I worked on some specific areas of the story. 

The early parts of the family tree remain imperfect, but nevertheless useful (perhaps particularly to those trying to disentangle the many Jacksons of Cleveland), and the later developments are very interesting.  Where I can, I indicate sources; it is obviously open to correction, but will at least point to areas of investigation.

Monday, 25 February 2013

People of Hutton Rudby in C18/19: Calvert to Chipchase

... from my working notes ... accuracy not guaranteed ... for explanatory note, see post of 14 Feb 2013


Robert Calvert was a previous occupant of property on East Side, bought by Joseph, Thomas & William Whorlton in 1808

Stephen Calvert is a Wesleyan class leader in 1836, 1838 and 1839 and was a subscriber to the Youth’s Instructor in 1840
He was the agent in Hutton for subscriptions to Cottager’s Friend in 1840: ordering “14 Nos at 1/1d”
He was the Steward for Hutton Rudby in 1840
He was the agent in Hutton for subscriptions to Cottager’s Friend in 1841, ordering 22, and for Child’s Magazine in 1841, ordering 3.  He ordered 3 of the Missionary Notices.
Mr Calvert was a subscriber to the Shilling Magazine, Christian Miscellany, Early Days, Juvenile Offerings, and Missionary Notices:  no date, apparently 1859

1851 Census:  North End:  Stephen Calvert single 57 handloom weaver linen b Hutton lodging with Ann Elliot 63 schoolmistress b Ayton Bank, Durham


Campion is listed in “Recpts for 1854” – Barlow’s Notebook

29 Apr 1841:  Rudby church:  Margaret Dobbin 35 spinster of Rudby, dau of William Dobbin farmer, married William Campion 40 bachelor, gentleman of Kirkleavington, son of John Campion Coates gentleman:  witnesses Thomas Righton, John Dobbin
1851 Census:  Ober Green farm:  William Campion 49 farmer 75a, 3 labourers, b Whitby:  Margaret Campion 42 b Picton:  children:  Ann 7 and William 8 both b Kirkleavington;  with Margaret Dobbin 5 niece and visitor b Kirkleavington;  servants: Catherine Christelor 14 b Harlsey, William Hedley 20 b HR, Robert Weatherill 16 b Hornby

Friday, 22 February 2013

Snowstorms in 1900

With snow still lying on the moors and in the hedge-backs, and flakes of snow in the wind today, I thought now would be a good time to post this – which I found quite by accident yesterday.

In the first half of February 1900, Britain was hit by severe snowstorms causing great disruption for days. 

On Friday 16 February, the Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough had the headlines:

An Unparalleled Storm of Wind and Snow

On Saturday 17 February, the report began:

Further Stories of Adventure and Suffering
Trains Fast in Snowdrifts
One effect of the snowstorm is found in the delay to which news for Middlesbrough is being subjected.  All telegrams are being sent by train.  This accounts for the fact that the news of the relief of Kimberley, which was handed in in London yesterday morning to be sent over the wires in the usual way, has only been received by us to-day.  We are in the appalling position, that, with the exception of a telegraph wire to West Hartlepool, there exists no other communication with anywhere, either by telephone or telegraph.  We have been besieged by the elements, and are almost as completely isolated from the outside world as Ladysmith at the present time, or Kimberley until yesterday.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

People of Hutton Rudby in the C18/19: Bousfield to Busfield

... from my working notes ... accuracy not guaranteed ... for explanatory note, see post of 14 Feb 2013


Oddfellows Board:  Bro:  P Bousfield, Hutton, 22 Apr 1853, a57 [farmer, JBTurner]


Roger Bowes owned property on East Side:  deeds of 1817 and 1830

EC 354:  30 Oct 1817:  James Bainbridge bricklayer (1) William Richmond of Stockton mercer & draper (2):  2 houses with garden behind, occ by James Bainbridge & John Simpson:  bounded by messuage & garden of Roger Bowes to E, by messuage & garden of Edmund Taylor to W, by street to N, by Thomas Passman to S

FC 147:  14 Nov 1825:  James Bainbridge bricklayer (1) Hutchinsons & Place bankers (2) William Richmond of Stockton mercer & draper (3) Richard Nightingale the younger of Middleton St George (4):  2 houses, lately in 3 tenements, with garden behind, formerly occ by James Bainbridge, Richard Wood & Thomas Almond, then by James Bainbridge & John Simpson, now by James & John Bainbridge; and also 2 new erected houses now in 3 tenements lately erected by James Bainbridge in the garden, now occ by George Harker, Alice Pedlar & Ann Rudd:  all bounded by messuage & garden of Roger Bowes to E, by messuage & garden of Edmund Taylor to W, by street to N, by Thomas Passman to S

FL 58:  13 May 1827:  East Side, judging by occupants & boundaries:  2 houses lately used in 3 tenements with garden behind formerly occ by James Bainbridge, Richard Wood & Thomas Almond, then by sd James Bainbridge & John Simpson, then by sd James Bainbridge & John Bainbridge:  and the 2 houses used in 3 tenements “newly created” and “lately erected” by sd James Bainbridge in the sd garden, then occupied by George Harker, Alice Pedlar & Ann Rudd:  bounded by house and garden bel to Roger Bowes to E, by Edmund Taylor to W, by street to N, by Thomas Passman to S:  parties:   Richard Nightingale the younger late of Middleton St George gent and George Stanger of Pickton farmer:  reciting indre of 14 Nov 1825 to which James Bainbridge, George & John & Henry Hutchinson, Thomas Place, William Richmond and said Richard Nightingale were parties

Monday, 18 February 2013

People of Hutton Rudby in the C18/19: Barker to Blacksmiths

... from my working notes ... accuracy not guaranteed ... for explanatory note, see post of 14 Feb 2013


Yorkshire Poll Book 1807:  Ayton:  Mark Barker 

Mark Barker benefited under the Will of Thomas Wayne of Angrove Hall (1727-1806). 

EB 102:  11 & 13 May 1816:  Hutton manor & mill:  assignmt to Barker

EX 146:  26 & 27 Nov 1823:  Hutton manor, mill and [Manor House] farm

FQ 249:  13 & 14 Mar 1829:  exors of Wayne to Barker:  the Carpenters Arms with the cartwrights shop and stable on the west end thereof, the garden and the privy on the south & backside of the premises, bounded by road to East Rounton to E, by Mrs Elizabeth Hildreth to W & S, by road to East Rounton, John Robinson and Mr Farnaby to N – occ by Edward Meynell;  the garth occ by Edward Meynell, bounded by Elizabeth Hildreth to E, by John Burdon to W, by Thomas Passman, Elizabeth Hildreth, Mr Kendall & William Spence to N, by road to East Rounton to S; the site where buildings lately occupied by John & Hannah Kay & taken down by Mark Barker stood; the garth now used as garden ground to the E & backside of the sd site;  the new houses built by Mark Barker on the site and part of the garth: some of the houses and the garden ground “at present unoccupied”, the others occupied by Robert Hall, William Souter, George Sanderson, John Kay, Mary Lamb, Jackson Richardson, John Wild and Thomas Shaw:  bounded by house & lands bel to Rev Richard Shepherd to E & S, by Arthur Douglas and townstreet to N & W

FT 30:  12 & 13 May 1830:  East Side:  John Kay of Hutton cartwright & others to Mark Barker & trustees:  house heretofore used as a coachhouse & formerly occ by James Ingledew, Mary Collyerson & Diana Swales, then by Elizabeth Farnaby, then by Charles Hall, then by Hannah Best, & now by Matthew Garbutt:  bounded by street to E, Mark Barker to W & S, Arthur Douglas to N

FU 487:  16 May 1832:  South Side, tithe map 194-6:  John Passman of Hutton yeoman (1) James Robinson of Whorlton yeoman (2) Robert Pulman of Stockton gent [solicitor] (3):  building with cowhouse & premises adjoining, and garth of 2r adjoining to the N:  bounded by Jane Farnaby to E, by Mrs Hildreth to W, by street to N, by Mark Barker to S:  occ by John Passman & James Harrison & Mary Kingston;  and the house with garden adjoining, bounded by street to E & N, and by above prems to W & S

1805:  4 Oct:  murder of Margaret Barker:  a spinster of Hutton Rudby aged about 46, who made a living for herself and her aged parents by travelling in the neighbourhood with housewife cloth for sail, she was staying at the house of Thomas Wilson, journeyman smith, in Stockton, when he murdered her in the night, apparently in mistake for his stepdaughter

1823 Baines:  Hutton:  Joseph Barker, farmer & gamekeeper

Mark Barker leased the site of the National Schoolhouse to the trustees for 5/- p.a [Lease for 999 years 10 Mar 1836]
Mark Barker made his Will on 18 Aug 1838, and was bur 24 Jan 1839 a72 at Stokesley [NBI Beryl] [HR Wills]

Tithe Map:  Edward Meynell occupied the Carpenters Arms, owned by Mark Barker
Tithe Map:  William Meynell and others occupied Barkers Row
Tithe Map:  Mark Barker owned Manor House farm, occupied by James Longstaff

Mark Barker named Edward Meynell the younger, weaver, and William Passman farmer of Carlton as his executors;  Meynell renounced probate.

1841 Census:  William Barker 75 linen weaver and Margaret Barker 30 linen weaver, South Side
1841 Census:  Mary Barker 30 and children, South Side
1841 Census:  Thomas Barker 40 linen weaver and Jane 35, South Side
1841 Census:  Butter Hill:  Dorothy Barker 75 in household of John Garfat

1851 Census:  North End:  Thomas Barker 53 hand loom weaver linen, b Hutton, Jane 50 b Liverton, niece Elizabeth Barker 12 house servant and uncle William Whorlton single 80 hand loom weaver linen, both b Hutton

1859 Whellan:  Hutton Rudby:  Mr Mark Barker is Lord of the Manor and resides in the Manor House, a small farmhouse, situated about a mile west of Hutton
1872 Post Office Directory:  Hutton Rudby:  William Barker, butter dealer

Saturday, 16 February 2013

People of Hutton Rudby in the C18/19: Bage to Bainbridge

... from my working notes ... accuracy not guaranteed ... for explanatory note, see post of 14 Feb 2013


John Bage occupied a house and garth or yard on East Side, bought by Joseph, Thomas & William Whorlton in 1808 [East Side deeds]

FS 461:  2 & 3 Feb 1831:  Thomas Bage had been a tenant of Rudby estate

1841 Census:  Jane Bage 11 and younger siblings, Enterpen

George Davison (1790-1860) shoemaker, Rudby, married Ann Bage (1780-1853).  He left £450 on his death.  Buried in Rudby.  Their children were Ann and George.  Ann  (1816-1855) married Thomas Stringer.  George (1817-1871), shoe maker, Rudby, married Mary Ann Mundell (1817-1882)  Buried in Rudby (issue).

Thursday, 14 February 2013

People of Hutton Rudby in the C18/19: Ableson to Ayresome

from my working notes ... accuracy not guaranteed, and for explanatory notes see my earlier post ...


Thomas Ableson was the first schoolmaster of the Bathurst school, died in 1750 and was succeeded by his son William [Hastings]

William Ableson d 1782 a 63, Master of Rudby School, d of asthma [PRs]

10 Oct 1789 William Ableson admitted and licensed to teach a Petty or English School in Hutton Rudby [Borthwick faculties etc 1768-1793]

Yorkshire Poll Book 1807:  Hutton Rudby:  William Ableson schoolmaster

GG 130:  31 Oct 1835:  Thomas Spence of Hutton weaver & Dorothy his wife (1) Henry Collins of Stokesley gent (2):  2 houses now used as one, the weaver’s shop adjoinging & the garden or orchard of 1r behind, occ by Thomas Spence; the butcher’s shop adjoining the weaver’s shop occ by William Sherwood:  bounded by Lord Falkland to E, street to W, Mrs Kingston to N, Edmund Taylor to S; also Gowdie/Gowlay Hill Garth 1a with cowhouse occ by Thomas Richardson:  bounded by John Charlton to E, by Francis Stainthorpe to W, by street to N, by Jane Willans & Edward Meynell to S; also house with garden & garth behind 2r, occ by William Merrington:  bounded by street to E, William Wood to W, John Seamer to N, John Rymers & Francis Stainthorpe to S; also 3 closes formerly 2 closes called the Cottager 7a, previously occ by William Braithwaite as tenant to William Spence decd:  bounded by Robert Halliday Dobson to E, George Hunter & William Ableson to W, by Rounton road to N, by Richard Johnson to S; “& all other the messuages lands tenements and hereditaments formerly belonging to Thomas Smith late of Hutton yeoman decd and comprised in his Will”

People of Hutton Rudby in the C18/19 - explanatory note

As I work through my archives, I thought I would post some more information from my working notes ...

While I was working on Remarkable, but still True I amassed a great deal of information about inhabitants of Hutton Rudby in the C18 and C19.

I can't guarantee accuracy, but I know from experience that people researching their family history have found these notes useful, so I will reproduce them on this blog.

There is a certain fascination in browsing through them, as they include information from a variety of sources and build up a unique picture of village life in the past, but they are really intended for reference.  They consist mostly of surnames but also include general categories such as Skutterskelfe workers, blacksmiths and parish clerks.

They may appear slightly cryptic - they were only intended for my use.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Christopher Rowntree of Middleton-on-Leven

My post of 8 February mentions Christopher Rowntree, who went to court to prove he was a gentleman.

The story is told in The Church & Parish of Rudby-in-Cleveland by the Rev Arthur Eddowes (1924):
The following account of a Middleton "worthy" is copied from one of the many interesting "sporting" articles contributed by Mr Fairfax Blakeborough in the Darlington and Stockton Times:–
Mr Rowntree, – a famous Cleveland fox-hunter and racing man, – is perhaps the only man in England who had a trial at law to prove that he was a gentleman.  He won a gentleman's race at Stokesley and the prize was withheld on an objection being raised that he was not eligible for the race, not being, – it was argued, – a gentleman according to the general acceptance of the term and meant to be implied in the conditions of the race.  The trial took place before Mr Baron Thompson at York in 1803 and the following is an account of it written at the time:–
“At an Assize trial held at York to decide whether one Christopher Rowntree, of Middleton-on-Leven, the celebrated fox-hunter, was a “gentleman," the only evidence against him was that he was blind of one eye, wore leather breeches, and when he came to Stokesley market dined at an ordinary with the farmers at one shilling or eighteen-pence a head, – the best joints of meat there never being sold by butchers at more than fourpence a pound, and eggs being retailed in our market at twopence a dozen during the season. 
As to his worldly wealth, and unblemished character, these were fully admitted by his opponent (though they doubted whether he could be said to keep a pack of foxhounds, as each of his tenants fed a few, and the horn was blown to gather them together when they had to assemble for a hunt). 
The counsel on behalf of Christophr. Rowntree declared that a gentleman remained such wherever he dined.  Those wishing to hold from him that title to which his client possessed every just claim ought to prove, – not where he dined and paid, but whether he dined and left without paying, then, – guilty of such an act as that, – he would have lost all right to have been considered a gentleman.  They, – his opponents, – should have proved not that he went about in leather breeches, but without any at all, then that truly would have stamped his client as no gentleman.”

Sunday, 10 February 2013

"Hooivver did oor farms get t'neeams ther've got?"

My last post about Middleton-on-Leven, with its mention of Goslingmire farm, reminded me of some verses from Bill Cowley's delightful book Cleveland Calendar: Seasons of the Year in North-East England.  

 It is illustrated with evocative line drawings by Bernard Fearnley; it can be bought second-hand.

Here are the lines:

Hooivver did oor farms get t'neeams ther've got?
High Paradise, Holme, Slapewath, Seldom Seen,
Steeanstoup an' Goslingmire – a canny spot –
Spyknave, Stank, Hesketh, Raikes – an Gowton Green.

Friday, 8 February 2013

St Cuthbert's church, Middleton-on-Leven

On 22 & 23 June 2002, a Flower Festival was held in St Cuthbert’s church at Middleton-on-Leven.

Refreshments & light lunches were on offer, and the weekend finished with a Thanksgiving Service at 5 o’clock followed by a barbecue.

The flower displays and information boards on show around the building reflected aspects of the church’s history and current life in the community; proceeds were to the church fabric and the new carpet.

The explanatory leaflet included a brief history of the village and church.  I feel sure it was written by the vicar, Canon David Lickess (now retired), and hope he will not mind me reproducing it here, as there is so little information on Middleton available online.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The 'Skirt Dance' of the two Savile Clarke girls

When I finished work on the articles on the Savile Clarkes, I contacted Leeds Art Gallery, who own J-E Blanche's painting of Maggie and Kitty.

I wasn't sure how much information the Art Gallery had on the sitters, as both the Public Catalogue Foundation's book and the BBC Your Paintings website record the title simply as The Savile Clarke girls.  The curator tells me that they did indeed know of the painting as The 'Skirt Dance' of the two Savile Clarke girls, but my additional information will be added to the files (as it's interesting and useful – what more could I ask?!)

If you have a longing to see the beautiful sisters, they are currently on show at Lotherton Hall.

Update 4 July 2014: for information on Jacques-Emile Blanche, see Artist in Focus (July 2014) on the Public Catalogue Foundation website

Update 26 November 2019: the Public Catalogue Foundation and BBC Your Paintings website is now Art UK, and the Savile Clarke girls can be found here

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Helen Savile Clarke and her daughters

Continuing the story of Henry Savile Clarke and his family ...

When Henry Savile Clarke died in 1893, his wife Helen Weatherill was 53 years old.  During the 1880s, she had developed an artistic career of her own.

By 1880, when Helen reached the age of forty, her family had become sadly diminished.

Helen Savile Clarke with one of her daughters
Her brother William had died at school in London when she was eleven.  Her younger sister Clara (after whom she named her eldest daughter) had been fatally injured in a fire caused by a candle igniting her clothing in the year before Helen married.

Her eldest brother George Jackson Weatherill had died in 1872, the year of her daughter Kitty’s birth; his conduct had brought his married life to an end when his wife divorced him and he seems to have died in Australia.  Her father died the following year, and her mother in late May 1880.

It seems that her younger sister Emma, who had never married, then came to London – she died at Helen’s house on 26 September, aged 38.  Her elder sister Anne Louise, whose first marriage had been to Henry Savile Clarke’s father, was to die in Guisborough in 1882. 

There was a younger brother, John Charles Weatherill, of whom little is remembered or known.  He seems to have encountered difficulties, as their mother had left to Helen the “Prize books” given to him by the Corporation of Plymouth and £5 to be given to him at Helen’s discretion.  Anne Louise’s Will, made in 1881, left £1,000 in trust for John Charles “for his personal enjoyment and not to become the property of his alienees or creditors”, so possibly he was a bankrupt. 

Three of Helen’s four close cousins in Guisborough (their mothers being sisters, and their fathers brothers) had died, and her cousin Kate was to die leaving three small children in 1884.  Only Helen’s eldest sister Margaret Elizabeth survived into the 20th century.

It must have seemed to Helen all the more important to follow and develop her own talents as an artist while she could.  Perhaps she took advice on her plans from her relatives, the artists Mary and Sarah Ellen Weatherill [cf blog post of 29 November 2012].  They were five or so years older than she, and they both studied in London.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Henry Savile Clarke (1841-93)

Henry Savile Clarke was the eldest child of the Rev Henry Clarke of Guisborough (1813-61) and his wife Catherine Dawson (c1819-52).  Baptised by his father on the day of his birth, 14 February 1841, he spent the first months of his life at the house then called Long Hull.  At that time there was no parsonage house for the vicar of Guisborough, and Henry Clarke must have rented Long Hull from the Chaloner family.  We know it now as Gisborough Hall.

By 1842, the Clarkes had moved to Sunnyfield House on Westgate, with ample room for the five children who followed – four sons and a daughter – before the untimely death of their mother in 1852 at the age of 33.

Henry’s brother “Jock” Clarke [1] (baptised John William), was a year his junior.  He became agent for the Guisborough estate and was well known for his rather malicious wit.  Arthur Dawson Clarke was born a year later.  He became a clergyman, lecturer and tutor, writing books on geography and mathematics for candidates for Army, Woolwich and Civil Service examinations.  Francis Savile Clarke was the next child; he studied music in London and returned to Guisborough to teach.  Cecil James Clarke was born in 1846; he became an estate agent and lived in the South of England.  Lastly, there was the only daughter, Kathleen Ann Augusta Clarke.  She left the North East and married Arthur Edward Prescott, a land agent.  She was left a widow with four children at the age of 40.

Henry Savile Clarke was blessed with good looks, energy, ability and a private income from his late mother.  He went to Edinburgh to study medicine and there became caught up in the world of journalism. 

Guisborough’s link to Lewis Carroll: Henry Savile Clarke (1841-93) and his family

While my original piece on Annie Weatherill’s 1863 diary (for which, see my blog post of 1 December 2012) was to be found on my previous website ( I was contacted by Dr Tony Nicholson of Teesside University.

Tony provided me with fascinating information regarding Henry Savile Clarke, the husband of Annie’s cousin Helen Weatherill.

In particular, he told me of Lewis Carroll’s correspondence with the Savile Clarke daughters, and of the further connection that linked the Savile Clarkes to President Franklin D Roosevelt.

This was such exciting news!  I have at last been able to complete my own research on it, which I'm going to start posting. 

I think it is a story especially worth telling because there are inaccuracies in some already published accounts – in particular, writers have confused Helen Weatherill with her daughter Clara Savile Clarke – and also because Clara deserves wider notice.

All the family – including the younger sisters Maggie and Kitty – attracted press attention in their day, but with Clara's early death, a promising literary talent was lost.

Certainly a great deal of research remains to be done into the Savile Clarkes, and I hope someone will do it – my work has been done from the warmth of home and the comfort of the sofa, and largely limited to internet resources.  In particular, I have found the British Newspaper Archive very useful.

(Subscribers to have access to the archive, but a much better search facility is available through a subscription to the archive’s own website.)

My account includes numerous hyperlinks, and I hope you find them useful.

I think they are especially valuable in linking to work by Clara Savile Clarke that would otherwise be hard to find, but I have also made full use of them to reduce the number of footnotes, and to convey a wider picture of the times to readers who perhaps may not be familiar with the period.

Part 2 of this series of posts is here


Friday, 1 February 2013

Violent robbery on the footpath from Seamer to Stokesley, 1806

Having read how Thomas Wilson and William Orton escaped hanging in 1805 and 1821, the result of this local crime may come as a surprise.

The report gives a vivid glimpse of life in Cleveland during the Napoleonic Wars.

It is very likely that the victim of Thomas Richardson's assault was Matthew Milburn, rather than Melbourn, and that the place recorded by the reporter as 'Life' is in fact Lythe.  Similarly, 'Kilden' is probably a mishearing for Kildale (the final syllable of Kildale being unstressed in the dialect).

Country bank notes (that is, local bank notes) again feature in this story ...