Now you may not have heard of this lady but what a life she had. She was the second recorded supercentenarian and lived in 3 centuries.
Margaret Ann Harvey was born on the 18th May 1792 in St Peter Port on the Island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. She was the first child and eldest of seven children born to John Harvey and his wife Elizabeth Harvey nee Guille.
Margaret’s father was a shipping magnet and privateer which afforded her a better life than most. She attended school in Bristol followed by finishing school in Brussels. She was a great fan of literature and spoke English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and could read Greek.
On the 18th January 1823 in St Peter Port she married John Neve. The couple lived in England from their marriage until John Neve died in 1849. The couple didn’t have any children so after John’s death Margaret returned to Guernsey and spent the rest of her life living there.
Throughout her life she travelled in Europe. She visited the battle site of Waterloo and throughout Europe including the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She travelled before her marriage and during. In her widowhood her travelling companion was her sister.
It was reported that in 1902 Margaret was found climbing a tree to pick apples at the age of 110. It just shows she never gave up. I couldn’t climb a tree as a kid so full marks to Margaret.
Margaret died on the 4th April 1903 a month before her 111 birthday. She was alive in the 1700’s, 1800’s and 1900’s.
So let’s consider what she was aware of during her life time.
She was alive during the reign of 5 monarchs. When she was born King George III was on the throne and would reign for a further 28 years. Then came King George IV, King William IV, Queen Victoria and King Edward VII was 2 years into his reign when she died. She would have started out life as a Georgian and ended as an Edwardian.
The world changed so much during her lifetime. The industrial revolution was a big part of her life as was the inventions that would change our lives.
Some of the inventions included:
1798. Edward Jenner invented the inoculation for Smallpox.
1804. Richard Trevithick invented the steam locomotive as a form of power.
1837. Samuel Morse develops morse code.
1855. Henry Bessemer develops the Bessemer converter for use in the steel industry.
1867. Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.
1876. Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone.
1879. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb (amongst others).
1901. The first vacuum cleaner was developed.
Also the steamship was developed, steam trains for passengers, the first steps into flight and the development of the car.
There was also so much change in the world. Margaret was known to have visited the battle site of Waterloo in Belgium but she also would have been aware of so much more. She recalled she remembered the end of the French Revolution which ran from 1789 to 1799. This was followed by the Revolutionary wars which ran from 1792 to 1802. Next came the Napoleonic wars which ran from 1803 to 1815 ending with the Battle of Waterloo. The Crimean war ran from 1853 to 1856 and Margaret would certainly have been aware of this. Next was the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The final major outbreak she lived through was the Boer War from 1899 to 1902.
Margaret’s life must have changed so much over her 110 years with so many new developments and inventions, changes in medicine and the world around her.
This week I thought I’d give you a list of all the births, marriages, deaths, burials and coronations that have occurred for the Monarchs and Consorts of England, Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Birth month, or it could be April, of future Queen Margaret of Scotland, 1283, Tonsberg, Norway.
Birth of future Queen Consort Caroline of Ansbach, 1683, Ansbach, Holy Roman Empire. Consort of King George II.
Death of Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, 1619, Hampton Court Palace. Consort of King James VI.
Death of Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, 1619, Hampton Court Palace. Consort of King James VI.
Birth of future King Robert II of Scotland, 1316, Paisley Abbey.
Death of Queen Consort Matilda of Bolougne, 1152, Hedingham Castle, Essex. Consort of King Stephen.
Death of Queen Consort Joan of England, 1238, Havering-Atte-Bower, England. Consort of King Alexander II of Scotland.
Coronation of Queen Consort Phillipa of Hainault, 1330, Westminster Abbey. Consort of King Edward III.
Reign 1 ends of King Henry VI after being deposed, 1461.
Reign 1 ends of Queen Consort Margaret of Anjou, 1461. Consort of King Henry VI.
Reign 1 begins of King Edward IV, 1461.
Birth of future King Henry II, 1133, Le Mans, France.
Burial of Queen Mary II, 1695, Westminster Abbey.
Burial 1 of King Richard II, 1400, Kings Langley. Moved to Westminster Abbey in 1413.
Death of King William III, 1702, Kensington Palace.
Reign begins of Queen Anne, 1702.
Reign begins of Consort Prince George of Denmark, 1702.
Marriage of King Edward VII to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, 1863, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Death of Queen Consort Anne Neville, 1485, Westminster. Consort of King Richard III.
Death of King Lulach of Scotland, 1058, Essie.
Birth of future King James IV, 1473, Stirling Castle.
Death of King Alexander II of Scotland, 1286, Kinghorn Ness, Fife.
End of reign of Queen Yolande of Dreux, 1236, consort of King Alexander II of Scotland.
Reign begins of Queen Margaret of Scotland, 1236.
Divorce of King David II of Scotland from Margaret Drummond, 1370
Reign ends of Scottish Queen Consort Margaret Drummond, 1370.
Death of King Henry IV, 1413, Westminster.
Reign ends of Queen Consort Joan of Navarre, 1413. Consort of King Henry IV.
Reign begins of King Henry V, 1413.
Death of former King Henry VI, 1471, Tower of London.
Coronation of Queen Consort Matilda of Bolougne, 1136, Consort of King Stephen.
Birth of future Queen Consort Margaret of Anjou, 1430, Pont-A-Mousson, Lorraine, France. Consort of King Henry VI.
Death of Queen Elizabeth, 1603, Richmond Palace, Surrey.
Reign begins of King James VI, 1603.
Reign begins of Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, 1603, Consort of King James VI.
Death of Dowager Queen Consort Mary of Teck, 1953, Marlborough House, London. Consort of King George V.
Approximate start of the reign of King Malcolm II of Scotland 1005
Reign begins of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, 1306.
Reign begins of Queen Consort Elizabeth de Burgh, 1306, Consort of King Robert I.
Coronation of King Robert I, 1306.
Coronation of Queen Consort Elizabeth de Burgh, 1306, Consort of King Robert 1.
Coronation of King James II of Scotland, 1437, Holyrood Abbey.
Burial of Queen Consort Anne Neville, 1485, Westminster Abbey. Consort of King Richard III.
Possible birth date of the future King Malcolm III, 1031, Scotland.
Coronation of King Robert II of Scotland, 1371.
Coronation of Queen Consort Eupemia de Ross, 1371. Consort of King Robert II.
Burial of King Richard III, 2015, Leicester Cathedral.
Death of King James VI, 1625, Theobalds House.
Death of King James VI, 1625, Theobalds House.
Reign begins of King Charles I, 1625.
Reign begins of King Charles I, 1625.
Burial of King Alexander III, 1286, Dunfermline Abbey.
Death of Dowager of Queen Consort Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, 2002, Royal Lodge, Windsor.
Burial of Dowager Queen Consort Mary of Teck, 1953, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
So that’s March covered for you.
Know I bet your thinking what is she on about? Who is Isabella Mayson? Well you may know her better by her married name of Isabella Beeton.
Isabella Mary Mayson was born in London on the 14th March 1836 to Benjamin Mayson and his wife Elizabeth Jerrom. She had 2 younger sisters and a younger brother. When she was 4 her father died and she went to live with her grandfather. She eventually went back to live with her mother. When she was 7 her mother married Henry Dorling the clerk of Epsom race course. Henry had 4 children of his own so it was a large family living at the race course. It got even bigger after Elizabeth and Henry had 13 more children. This taught Isabella a lot about running a large household and raising a family. To be honest most days must have been crowed control in the Mayson Dorling household. Isabella spent time at boarding schools in London and Germany and it was in Germany she began an interest in pastry which continued when she returned to Epsom.
Isabella married Samuel Orchart Beeton in July 1855 at St Martin’s Church, Epsom. Samuel was a publisher who made his fortune publishing Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Samuel encouraged Isabella to write for the women’s magazines of the day including The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. It was in the magazine that she encouraged women to send in their recipes which they published, usually unsourced. Isabella also translated French texts and had a cooker column. Isabella also had a column in the new magazine The Queen, The Ladies newspaper.
It was in 1861 that Isabella published her most famous work the Book of Household Management through her husband’s publishing house. The book was 1112 pages long and in the first year sold over 60,000 copies. All the aspiring women wanted a copy. The book held a wealth of information in it. The book held around 900 recipes most of which were the ones that were sent into The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. The book also gave information on how to run the household including how to manage the servants and look after the animals of the house. She also advocates the use of in season produce. There is also information on basic first aid and poisons. I’m not sure if it’s how to uses them or how to avoid them. Mind you the way I cook if it explained how to survive my food then it could help. Later editions of the book included pictures and the book is still in print today.
Isabella continued her work in the magazines and with her book throughout her marriage as well as being a mother. She gave birth to 4 sons and had several miscarriages. Her first son Samuel Orchart Beeton was born in May 1857 but he died in August the same year. Her second son Samuel Orchart Beeton was born in September 1859 and he died on New Year’s Eve of the same year. The couple’s third child was born in December 1863 and he was named Orchart Beeton and he lived until the age of 83 in 1947. Their final child was Mayson Moss Beeton who was born in January 1865 and he also died in 1947 aged 82. It may be that Isabella’s husband had syphilis when the couple married and it was this that caused the miscarriages.
Isabella died on the 6th February 1865 aged 28 just 9 days after giving birth to Mayson. She died from puerperal fever or childbed fever. This is a bacterial infection and is similar to sepsis. It’s the same thing Queen Jane Seymour died from.
So just think how many of your ancestors have read this book since it was published in 1861. Did my great, great grandmothers pick up a book? I can just see Charlotte Weeds nee Voyce in her cottage in Norfolk with the book or Louisa Dent nee Payling in the Red Lion in Wisbech. How about Jane Jessop nee Wood cooking up a storm in Barnsley waiting for her slater husband to come home. How about Grace Elshaw nee Moor cooking for her family and running the household waiting for her forger son in law to come home. I may never know if they read it but maybe they did.
Today is world book day to promote reading especially in kids. These days we pick up our e reader and download the latest books or go to the book shop and get our hands on a proper book. We have books everywhere from the libraries to the shelves at home. We read everything from a good murder mystery to a political thriller to a good paranormal book. But what were our ancestors reading?
Now for me it would be a great paranormal book full of werewolves and vampires. But then there are the great books that combine genealogy, history and mystery. I love 2 series of these book, the Morton Farrier books by Nathan Dylan Goodwin and the Steve Robinson series based around Jefferson Tayte. There are more series out there but these are my favourite. Then there’s a good history book whether fact or fiction. I’m a fan of anything by Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir.
In 1950 one of the best selling books was Animal Farm by Orson Wells (I prefer Orson’s farm the cartoon series). The book is basically a look at what was happening in 1940’s Europe told through the eyes of animals portraying the main political figures. For the younger reader the frankly excellent The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis was published. This is the story of 4 evacuated children who enter another world through a wardrobe and the side of good under the command of Aslan the Lion take on the evil side of the Witch.
If we go further back to 1900 the grownups could pick up a copy of The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud and for the kids it was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. I’ll admit I’ve never read either but they were all the rage at the time. Maybe my Great Grandparents or Great, Great Grandparents picked up a copy.
In 1890 you could read the latest Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (he wasn’t knighted until 1902) or for the kids there was English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs. This was a collection of fairy tales including some well-known ones such as Jack and the Beanstalk and less known ones such as The Fish and the Ring. If you’re interested you can read the book here: https://archive.org/details/englishfairytale00jaco
Let’s go back to 1880 where our ancestors may have settled down to read the latest Mark Twain A Tramp Abroad or for the little ones Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Now in 1870 one of the most famous nursery rhymes was written in the Owl and the Pussycat. For the older reader they could read the latest by the French writer Jules Verne. They could descend under the waves on board the Nautilus and attempt to find the sea monster through Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.
The 1860’s saw Wilkie Collins publish the novel the Woman in White which was a good old who done it. If this wasn’t our ancestor’s bag then maybe they would have reached for the new novel by George Eliot The Mill on the Floss which follows the lives of 2 siblings as they grow up.
1850 would have seen people reading for David Copperfield (the book not a person) by Charles Dickens and in 1840 Edgar Allan Poe published his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque which was a collection of short stories.
1830 saw the publishing of the novel The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck by Mary Shelley which considered that Perkin Warbeck was actually Richard of York the second son of King Edward IV. For the children why not the Chronicles of a School Room by Anna Maria Hall.
Back in 1820 the novel of the year was Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott which is set in medieval Scotland in the 12th century. 1810 could have seen your ancestor’s reading the latest by Percy Bysshe Shelley entitled Zastrozzi which is a romance set in Germany.
Now some of these books are still loved today by some even if they just know the books by film and TV adaptations but they do still live on and can be read by us today.
I suppose what we should remember in all this is that we have access to books and we can all read them when we want. This wasn’t a luxury our ancestors may have had. They may not have been able to read and books would have been too expensive for them to buy. The central library in Sheffield didn’t open until 1934 so before then you would have to buy your books. So this world book day why not settle down with a book you’ve being bursting to read and lose yourself in the pages. Now will it be Freddy the Frog, Don’t Forget the Bacon or Eric Carle’s seminal work The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
February may be the shortest month of the year but for the history of the Monarchy it was quite busy.
1st February 1327 was the coronation of King Edward III. He came to the throne following the death of his father Edward II. He came to the throne aged 14 on the 25th January 1327 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
2nd February 1626 was the date of the coronation of King Charles I. His reign began on the 27th March 1625 when his father James VI (under the new convention) died. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey but his wife Henrietta Maria of France was not crowned alongside him as she was of the Catholic faith and as such could not be crowned in a Church of England ceremony.
6th February 1685 saw the death of King Charles II at Whitehall Palace several days after he suffered a seizure. Charles and his wife Catherine of Braganza didn’t have any children, although Charles was rumoured to have had as many as 14 illegitimate children, so he was succeeded by his brother James as King James VII (under the new convention) whose reign began on this day. It was also the date of the birth of the future Queen Anne in 1665. She was born at St James Palace to the future King James VII and his first wife Anne Hyde.
7th February 1102 was the date of birth of Matilda, the daughter of King Henry 1. She would later become the Empress Consort of the Holy Roman Empire and then Lady of the English during the Medieval Anarchy. She was also the mother of the Plantagenet dynasty in England through her marriage to Geoffrey Plantagenet and their descendants. The 7th of February also saw the marriage of King Henry IV to Joanna of Navarre, the daughter of the King of Navarre, at Winchester Cathedral. It was the Kings second marriage and produced no issues.
9th February 1649 was the burial date of King Charles I following his execution for treason on the 30th January 1649. Charles was not allowed to be buried at Westminster Abbey so he was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
12th February 1554 was a black day. It was the date that Queen Jane was executed at the Tower of London and then buried within the Tower at St Peter ad Vincular. She was executed on the orders of her cousin Queen Mary as she feared Jane would be a focal point for a Protestant uprising. Jane’s husband Guildford Dudley was also executed on the same day.
14th February 1400 is the date when it was believed that King Richard II died at Pontefract Castle. He may have starved to death, although no one is really sure. Richard had been force to abdicate the year before in favour of his cousin King Henry IV. This date was also the date of the burial of King Charles II in 1685 at Westminster Abbey.
15th February 1516 saw the future Queen Mary enter the world at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London. She was the only surviving child of King Henry VIII and his first wife Queen Catherine of Aragon and would become Queen after the death of her half-brother King Edward VI in 1553.
16th February 1547 was the burial day of King Henry VIII. Henry had died on the 28th January at Whitehall Palace in London. His body was transferred to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where he was buried alongside his third wife Queen Jane Seymour.
20th February 1547 was the day King Edward VI was crowned King at Westminster Abbey. He ascended the throne aged 9 after the death of his father King Henry VIII. He would reign until his death in 1553.
25th February 1308 saw another coronation in Westminster Abbey. It was on this day that King Edward II was crowned. He became King after the death of his father King Edward I on the 8th July 1307. Edward was crowned alongside his new bride Isabella of France.
So lots happen in the monarchy in February. Why not try coming up with a similar list for your own family.
This week the new £20 note enters circulation in the UK, but did you know that on the 26th February 1797 the first £1 was issued. The bank of England did this as a result of the panic the Invasion of Fishguard created. But what was the invasion of Fishguard?
It’s the year 1797 and Britain is about to be invaded for the last time by a foreign force. The location, the towns of Fishguard and Goodwick in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The invaders, the French.
Now anyone who knows the area will tell you it’s a quiet place with a nice walk along the parrog at Goodwick and the old harbour of Fishguard. At the time of the invasion the area was deeply agricultural (as it is today) and small fishing vessels would have been out and about.
So how did this come about? Well it’s was a kind of past time that the French had a go at the British and we had a go back. On the 22th February 1797 it was the French’s turn. They thought if they invaded the people of Britain would join forces with them against the nobility and land owners in an attempt to gain more rights. The French people had successfully done this in the late 1780’s early 1790’s during the French Revolution.
The French were under the command of Colonel William Tate, who incidentally was of Irish American ancestry, and disliked the British as some of his family were killed during the American Revolution. What better way to get back at us than to invade. He had 4 ships loaded with around 1400 soldiers, around 600 regular troops and the rest were ex and part time soldiers as well as criminals. He anchored his ships 2 miles from Fishguard and the landing parties began.
There was panic amongst the people as you can imagine. They took up arms under the command of Thomas Knox who was a local landowner. They used any weapon they could find including the scythes from the land and what guns they had.
The French were busily looting in the surrounding areas and farms where their main target so they could get food and steal what valuables they could find. In one instance a French soldiers shot a grandfather clock thinking it was a person. As a side note the clock still exists with its hole. By the second day of the invasion it was reported that many of the French soldiers were rather merry on the wine and beer they had found.
The locals had had enough and moved to where the French were with their makeshift weapons and began capturing them. It’s said that the local shoemaker Jemima Nicholas who was in her late 40’s captures 12 soldiers using only a pitch folk and marched them back to Fishguard. She allegedly later brought 2 more to the town, one under each arm (well she was described as a well-built lady).
Now Colonel Tate was at an impasse. His ships had returned to France as he was convinced of his success, but the locals were closing in on them. He then got the shock of his life when he saw British armed soldiers heading in his direction. What he actually saw was Welsh women in the traditional costumes who from a distance could be mistaken for soldiers by their hats (there is some debate about whether this is true but I love the story).
As a result the Colonel surrendered that night to the British commander Lord Cawdor. The next day the people of the town gathered to watch the capture of the remaining soldiers. So by 4pm on the 24th February 1797 it was all over. The jovial French set off to walk to Haverfordwest and the prisons and churches (which were used as an overflow prison). The prisoners remained in the area until the following year when they were returned to France, Tate included, under a prisoner exchange.
So in just 3 days the last invasion of Britain was over. The French were defeated and no one would try and invade our lands again. Jemima Nicholas was the heroine of the day and she lived until 1832 when she died aged 82.
If you go to Fishguard there is a tapestry depicting the events of the invasion. It was made in 1997 and is designed along the same lines as the Bayeux tapestry. It can be seen in Fishguard town hall. There is also a video made of the recreation of the capture of the French which was done in 1997 (I’ve seen some of it, but homework called!), the lady playing Jemima certainly gave it her all.
So we can really thank the French for giving our ancestors a new currency note. Mind you most probably never got to see them.
This week sees the anniversary of Malcolm Campbell breaking the land speed record again. It got me thinking how different the speeds he was achieving were from those of the general public.
Malcolm Campbell was born in 1885 in Kent. He first took up motorcycle racing in the 1900’s and then cars as well in the 1910’s. It was with the cars that he started to call them Blue Bird. During WW1 he started out as a dispatch rider and was then in the Royal Flying Corp as a pilot.
It was in the 1920’s when he began taking on speed records, as well as Grand Prix racing. In 1927 and 1928 he won the French GP. Campbell first broke the land speed record in 1924 on Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, Wales when he achieved 146 mph in a V12 Sunbeam beating Ernest Eldridge’s record of 145mph. He then broke this record again in 1927 at 174 mph in the Napier Campbell Blue Bird also at Pendine Sands beating Parry Thomas’ 170mph record set on the beach. For his next 2 records he took to the USA. In 1931 on Dayton Beach he achieved 244mph beating Henry Segrave who achieved 231mph. The result of this record earned Campbell a Knighthood from the King. He continued getting faster and faster but when he moved the attempts to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and with his car Blue Bird he achieved 301mph beating his own record he set on Dayton beach of 276mph.
Campbell then moved to the water and took on the water speed record which he achieved in 1939 on Conniston Water in the lake district of England when he achieved 141mph in Blue Bird K4 beating his own record of 126mph he achieved in Blue Bird K3.
Sir Malcolm Campbell died in 1948. Unlike most of his fellow speed men he died as a result of a stroke and not behind the wheel of a vehicle.
So how did these speeds compare with what regular drivers were achieving? Well despite what you might think drivers never had to have someone walking along with a flag in front of them and it was the technology of the day that limited the speed, to an extent.
In the UK until 1931 the speed limit was 20mph, so when Campbell broke his first record at 146mph he was 126 mph faster than he could drive on the roads. Admittedly when he broke the records between 1931 and 1935 there was actually no speed limit in the UK. You really could go as fast as you wanted. Let’s put that into perspective. In the 1920’s the fastest production car in the world was the American Dusenberg Model J which could achieve 119mph. The UK Government decided this was daft as people were speeding along and unfortunately hitting people. So in 1935 they introduced a speed limit of 30mph in built up areas but else where you could still go as fast as you wanted. Thus on the early motorways car companies used them as test tracks late at night. It wasn’t until 1965 that the 70mph limit was introduced. But if you think about it the last speed record set by a car with an internal combustion engine was in 1947 at 394mph. That’s 324mph higher then we can do now.
Can you imagine the speed in the 1920’s at 20mph. Your ancestors would have been astounded if they could go in a car, as unless they had gone on a train or had a really fast horse they wouldn’t have known such speed. These days 70mph is the norm on motorways and 125mph on the trains. Planes are a little faster at around 500mph so when you jet off abroad you are faster than the land speed record of an internal combustion engine but not as fast as Wing Commander Andy Green who hold the record in a jet powered car of 760mph.
Me, the fastest I’ve gone is 125mph on a train, although I swear when I fell down the stairs as a kid I was going much faster! I have driven along Pendine Sands in a car and a mobility scooter but I didn’t achieve Malcolm Campbell’s speeds. That was back when you could still take your car on the beach and drive along.
So in December there are many birthdays of people who influenced our lives and those of our ancestors.
Let’s start on the 17th December 1778. Grace Davy nee Millet the wife of Robert Davy a wood turner from Cornwall goes into labour. She eventually gives birth to her first child, a boy she names Humphrey. Humphrey Davy became an apprentice to an apothecary and developed a keen interest in chemistry. By 1801 Davy was working at the Royal Society in London. Via his experiments and research he discovered many chemical elements including sodium, barium, magnesium, potassium and strontium. Davy also discovered that diamonds are just carbon and not something more mystical. One of Davy’s most famous discoveries was the miner’s lamp around 1815. This stopped the methane from the flame from setting fire to the gases in the pits and leading to explosions. Just think how many lives this saved. As the descendent of miner’s then there is a chance I wouldn’t be here without Sir Humphrey Davy.
In Preston, Lancashire on the 23rd December 1732 Richard Arkwright was born. He started out as a barber and wig maker. Arkwright was an inventor though and began working on a machine to spin cotton. This would greatly speed up the process and mean more cotton could be produced. Arkwright initially powered his machine using horse power at his works in Nottingham but soon went into partnership with wealthy Derbyshire mill owners and build Cromford mill which was powered by water from the river Derwent. The mill was so successful Arkwright was able to build his workers homes in the village of Cromford. He also built a second mill in nearby Matlock Bath (which is now a shopping centre and heritage centre as is Cromford Mill). Arkwright also had mills in Wirkworth, Chorley and New Lanark. Arkwright was hit by riots as the mills didn’t need as many workers to run them as he developed his water power and steam power and the mill in Scotland was destroyed by the rioters. He did employee hundreds of people and developed fabric manufacture which meant our ancestors could potentially get cheaper clothes for them and their families all thanks to Sir Richard Arkwright.
It’s Christmas day 1642 and in Lincolnshire Isaac Newton was born. Now he is most famous for discovering gravity, but he was also worked in the fields of maths, mechanics and optics. He realised that light was made up of different colours and that if you put light through a glass prism it splits into the colours of the spectrum. He is most famous for sitting under an apple tree and seeing an apple falling and this lead him to formulate that there was an invisible force acting upon us, i.e., gravity. So thanks to Sir Isaac Newton we know why we don’t fly into space.
On Boxing Day 1792 Charles Babbage entered the world in London. Now Charles Babbage was a genius of his time. He was a mechanical engineer and mathematician who became professor of mathematics at Cambridge University. He also helped found the Royal Astronomical Society. He is probably best known for his work on the Difference Engine. This was a calculating machine he began working on in 1822. He never completed it but it has since been built by the science museum and it would have worked. Through his work Charles Babbage is known as the father of computing and his work in the early Victorian era lead to you being able to use anything computing based.
Now onto one of my favourite inventors who was born on the 27th December 1773 near Scarborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was the son of a baronet and developed an interest in aviation and engineering. He developed the self-righting boat, seat belts and the glider. He was Sir George Cayley. In 1804 he flew his first model glider that looked like the layout of a plane. He developed his design and by 1853 his glider was flown by a member of his staff in front of Waydale Hall his country seat. Some accounts say the employee, possibly his coachman resigned afterwards. It was the early 1900’s before true flights began, but every time you get on a plane to go on holiday think of Sir George Cayley and his terrified coachman.
So it could be said all these inventors changed the lives of our ancestors as well as ours.
November is a busy month for anniversaries of the Royal Family of England/Great Britain. So what happened this month?
The year is 1035 and Canute is King after leading a Viking force in 1015 against the English and defeating King Edmund Ironsides forces. Edmund had died soon after and so Canute was King. He reigned until the 12th November 1035 when he died and the crown passed to Harold Harefoot, Canute’s second son. He acted as regent for his younger half-brother Harthacnut but decided to keep the throne for himself.
1321 saw the birth of a little baby boy named Edward occurred at Windsor Castle on the 13th November. He was born to King Edward III and Isabella of France. His grandparents were King Edward I of England, King Philip IV of France and Queen Joan I of Navarre. Young Edward would become King Edward III of England in 1327. He married Philippa of Hainault in 1328 and had 14 children by her, including Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt (who attempted to populate the world single handily with 14 children by 4 women). 2 of his grandsons would become King, Richard II and Henry IV.
In 1429 King Henry VI was crowned King of England on 6th November aged 8 months and 27 days. Henry was the son of King Henry V of England and Catherine of Valois and the grandson of King Henry VI of England and King Charles VI of France. Henry inherited the throne of France on the 21st October 1422 when he was 11 months and 16 days old through his mother. He was just 8 years old when he was crowned in England and 10 years old when he was crowned in France. Henry was King of England for around 39 years over 2 periods during the Wars of the Roses until his murder in 1471 and around 31 years in France although many did not acknowledge his rule in France and favoured his maternal uncle Charles VII. Henry was half-brother to Edmund and Jasper Tudor and their siblings and the uncle of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII.
On the 17th November 1558 aged 42 of probably cancer Queen Mary died. She was childless and so the crown passed to her half-sister Elizabeth. Mary was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Katherine of Aragon, this made her the granddaughter of King Henry VII, King Ferdinand III of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn and the granddaughter of King Henry VII.
It’s the 19th November 1600 and in Dunfermline Palace in Fife, Scotland a little boy named Charles took his first breaths. He was born to King James VI of Scotland and his wife Anne of Denmark and was the grandson of Mary Queen of Scots and King Frederick II of Denmark. In 1625 Charles became King Charles I of England and Scotland and would rule until his execution for treason in 1649.
In the Hague on the 4th November William Prince of Orange was born to William II, Prince of Orange and Mary, Princess Royal of England and Scotland. This made young William the grandson of King Charles I. William married his maternal cousin Mary, the daughter of his mother’s brother’s King James VII. William ruled jointly with his wife as King William III and Queen Mary II of England and Scotland.
Now November was fairly quiet until 1841 when another boy was born, this time to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Albert Edward was born on the 9th November in Buckingham Palace. He was go on to become King Edward VII of Great Britain from 1901 until his death in 1910.
On the 20th November 1947 King Edward VII great granddaughter Princess Elizabeth married her distant cousin Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. They were second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. They were married at Westminster Abbey. The following November on the 14th Elizabeth and Philip’s first child was born, a son named Charles who would later become Charles, Prince of Wales after his mother’s accession to the throne in 1952.
So as you can see November has been an extremely busy month for the Royal Family with lots of events to remember.
So this week I thought I tell you all about my home city of Sheffield, and the past residents who are still living there.
Growing up I always heard the stories of ghosts related to the city as 2 haunted places were within a few miles of where I lived. The first was around Beauchief Abbey a former monastery and the hall just up the road. There is a white lady who is associated with the grounds of both locations has been seen on the road and also on the golf course which is now on the land the monastery once stood on. There are also sightings of the monks still going about their daily lives.
So let’s move up to Norton and the second location I knew about as a child, Bunting Nook. This is a small road by the church which has at least 3 ghosts. Firstly is another grey lady who has been seen but she may be part of the second haunting which is supposedly a couple who were eloping to the church to marry and fell from their horse and died (Norton Church was well known for not asking any question and marrying people even if she was pregnant). Then there is the demonic dog that has been seen as just eyes or even a black mist.
Fancy wandering around the area surrounding the Cathedral? Voices are heard and faces seen. Is it the dead whose graves were moved in the 1990’s protesting?
Off to Mosborough now and the old hall which is a hotel these days. The grey lady governess can be seen here and the argument between her and her employer can be heard as she threatens to tell his wife of their dalliance. It’s alleged he murdered her to keep her quite.
Now fancy a visit to a haunted pub, Sheffield has you covered. There are several pubs in the Darnall area where apparitions are seen. In the area of Sheffield I’m from the Woodseats hotel is haunted by a man who has attacked staff. Or how about the former Old Harrow where apparitions were seen and things went missing and then reappeared sometime late. You could always try the Queens Head Inn, possibly the oldest building in Sheffield. You may come across the dog who likes sit by people, the white lady who sits and watches people, the civil war era solider who sits by the fire or even hear the voice of a little girl. Fancy a coffee from a chain then I dare you to try Carbrook Hall near Meadowhall. It’s though Oliver Cromwell’s close ally Colonel Bright can be seen on the stairs as well as another roundhead soldier. Also a spirit likes to throw things around. It may be worse now as it’s well documented that spirits don’t like change and renovations of their space.
Now do you fancy visiting the National Emergency Services Museum in the city? I’ve been years ago, I got a plastic fireman’s helmet. Many groups have been to the venue and seen and heard many unexplained phenomena. Things are thrown when there is no one else around, voices are heard and many believe there is a negative entity who has taken up residence, is it Charlie Peace who was hung for murder?
So do you want to meet Mary Queen of Scots then you need to go to Sheffield Manor Lodge. This is where Mary was held on and off for years. She is seen in a flowing black gown and appears to walk through walls.
Now no discussion about hauntings in the city would be complete without a mention of the Stocksbridge bypass just outside the city. It’s not the road that’s haunted but the land. Even when the road was being built in the 1980’s things were seen. Children where heard playing at night when the site was closed. They were sometimes seen to disappear right in front of people’s eyes. A figure was seen on the bridge being constructed over the road that again just disappeared. 2 policemen witness the torso of a person against the side of their car which move extremely fast to the other side of the car and then vanished. As they drove away the car shook and things were thrown at it but there was no one around. Others have heard what sounds like someone on the roof of the car as they drive along. Finally how about seeing the torso of a monk crossing the road, no legs just a torso, as they walk along at the height the land was at during their lifetime.
So how about a visit to Sheffield? I’ve never seen anything in city but I’m not visiting the locations at night. I’ve seen things in Derbyshire though.
So happy Halloween and goodnight out there whatever you are! (If you know where this quote came from then you had an awesome childhood).
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my Family History Ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!