Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Accident at Earsdon

Robert Barrass died in March 1897. He was the elder brother of my 2x Great Grandmother, Jane Barrass Rudd. Robert was a blacksmith by trade, although he was later a tenant of the Duke of Wellington public house in East Howdon.

It was decided he was to be buried in the family grave at St Alban's, Earsdon. Robert was a popular man, and so a number of coaches were supplied to take mourners to and from the church.

"Everything went well until the vehicles started on the homeward journey, after the interment. Whilst turning the curve at the Earsdon bank top it is stated that one of horses attached to the covered-in conveyance stumbled, causing the brake to sway from side to side and then turn over. The crash of breaking glass, of which the sides of the brake were largely composed, the shouting of the frightened occupants, and others, caused the horses to plunge and struggle for liberty, with the result that the overturned vehicle was dragged for some distance down the bank before the horses finally broke loose."

Fifteen people were in the coach at the time of the accident, and all received injuries in one way or another. A crowd gathered around, the soon everyone was taken to the nearby Red Lion Hotel to recuperate. The majority of injuries sustained were minor cuts and bruises. After being attended to by three doctors, the injured funeral party were taken back to their homes. 

"That nobody was more seriously hurt was considered marvellous, after being dragged about the road by the frightened horses in an upturned conveyance."

John Collins of Seaton Terrace was said to be the worst case, having sustained severe injury to one side, and cuts and bruises elsewhere. 

"The names of the injured are: - John Collins, Seaton Terrace; Isaac Bewick, New Hartley; Michael Gleghorn, Newsham; George Elliot, Newsham; Edward Rudd, New Hartley; William Rudd, Cambois; Thomas Rudd, New Delaval; Mrs T Rudd, New Delaval; and Thomas Sample, New Hartley. James Graham, Blyth, the driver of the vehicle, had his shoulder dislocated."

William Rudd mentioned above is my 2x Great Grandfather, a brother-in-law of Robert Barrass. Edward Rudd is William's son. Thomas Rudd is William's younger brother, and obviously he attended the funeral with his wife. Isaac Bewick is a cousin-in-law of the deceased, Robert Barrass

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Countess and the Coachman

Following on from my posts about Cresswell village, I thought I'd share the connection and context of a scandalous tale reported in the newspapers in the early 20th century. 

Emma Sophia Georgiana Denman was born on 22 June 1845 at Torrington Square, London. Her mother was Emma Jones, and her father the Honourable Richard Denman, a son of the first Baron Denman of Dovedale. Emma's father was a barrister.

In October 1872 the engagement was announced between Emma and Captain Oswin Cumming Baker-Cresswell. The couple went on to marry on 31 October of the same year at Singleton, a village outside Chichester, Sussex. There was a great celebration throughout the bridegroom's native Northumberland, and flags were shown all over his family's estate. There was rejoicing at the Baker-Cresswell's family home of Harehope Hall also.

The engagement announcement of Oswin C. Baker-Cresswell
 and Emma S. G. Denman
Emma gave birth at Harehope Hall on 8 November 1874 to the son and heir, Addison Francis Baker-Cresswell. Only a few years later the family moved to another of their homes; Cresswell Hall, just outside the village of Cresswell, Northumberland.

There was much sadness for the family in February 1886 when Emma's husband, Oswin, died whilst staying in London. 

In September 1892 Emma married again, to Henry George Liddell, 2nd Earl of Ravensworth. They married at St Bartholomew's church, Cresswell, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion. The married couple went to Eslington Park, near Whittingham, Northumberland for their honeymoon. Emma was now styled the Countess of Ravensworth

The marriage announcement of the 2nd Earl of Ravensworth,
to Mrs. Baker-Cresswell.
The Earl of Ravensworth sat in the House of Commons for a period of time, as one of two representatives for Northumberland South. He was a Conservative politician. At the death of his father, Henry succeeded to the earldom and entered the House of Lords.

The 2nd Earl of Ravensworth died on 22 July 1903 at Eslington Park, after having been in failing health for some months. Only three weeks before, he had left the family seat of Ravensworth Castle with Emma, for a short stay at Eslington Park. After Henry's death, Emma, now the Dowager Countess of Ravensworth, returned to Cresswell to be with her children. 

In April 1904, Emma married at St George's, Hanover Square, for a third time, to James William Wadsworth. Mr. Wadsworth was Emma's coachman. James was said to be a handsome young man of 28 years, and Emma was 60. After the wedding it is thought James resumed his duties as coachman to Emma

The Scandalous Lady R.
Emma and James spent many happy years together, but due to objections and pressure from family, they eventually separated. James emigrated to America and became a butler. 

Emma died in early 1939 at the grand old age of 93. She was still holding parties only weeks before her death. The social scandal was resurrected by the British media at her death. Emma still styled herself as the Dowager Countess of Ravensworth, and insisted on calling her car a "carriage".

The death of the Countess of Ravensworth.

Perhaps Downton Abbey isn't as far-fetched as first thought.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Cresswell Postman

A few weeks ago I wrote about Cresswell village and my family's association with the place. In 1820 Isabella Storey was born. She was the daughter of my 4x Great Grandparents, Adam and Hannah Storey

On 20 February 1846 Isabella married William Summers at St Mary the Virgin, Woodhorn. This was obviously a 'shot-gun' wedding as their son Matthew was baptised in April of the same year. Rather than the baptism taking place at Woodhorn, Matthew was baptised at St Bartholomew's, Cresswell, perhaps to spare possible embarrassment.

St Mary the Virgin, Woodhorn.

On Matthew's baptism, it was revealed that William's occupation was 'Messenger'. Only two years before William had been appointed the postman of the area by Addison John Baker Cresswell, the local esquire. Sadly, Matthew died when he was only 14 months old. 

Isabella and William went on to have another son in March 1848, whom they named Adam after Isabella's father. By this time the family had moved to nearby Ellington, and now William was being referred to as a 'postman'. When young Adam Summers was only 7 months old, his mother Isabella sadly died. 

Adam then went to Cresswell to be raised by his grandparents, aunts and uncles. Soon after, his surname was changed from Summers to Storey. 

The next year William Summers married Sarah Swinhoe and went to live at Morpeth. Sarah already had an illegitimate son named Isaac. Together she and William went on to have at least four children. 

Sometime in the 1850s William became Morpeth's town crier, or bellman. A report published in the Morpeth Herald in November 1860 stated that William received 1 shilling for this role. He was Morpeth's town crier for many years, but this was clearly not a very lucrative profession. In March 1881 William applied to receive an annuity from the Hollon Annuity Fund.

The Mary Hollon Annuity Fund was set up in October 1880, by Richard Welch Hollon Esq. as a tribute to his late wife. Mary Hollon was a charitable woman in her lifetime, and it was Richard's wish that a charity should be formed in her name to help the elderly poor of Morpeth. However there were conditions.

"Thirteen women and twelve men, not under sixty years of age, are to be elected on the annuity fund, and to receive £2 10s each, payable on the 5th November, 5th February, 5th May, and 5th August. Each person elected must be honest, sober, and of good moral character, and who has not been an inmate of a poor-house, nor received parish relief. The charity was intended for the benefit of honest poor people, or those who have been in a better position in life, and reduced to penury by unforeseen circumstances, and not in any manner to relieve the duty of the poor-law guardians in giving the customary relief. All candidates must have resided not less than fifteen years in the municipal borough of Morpeth, the annuity to cease, and the vacancy to be filled up at the ensuing quarter-day."

Every year on 5 November those selected by Morpeth Town Council were welcomed to a "liberal tea" at a "good hotel" at the cost of Richard W. Hollon. The 5 November was a special day for Richard, as this was his wedding anniversary. 

William's application to receive the funds was brought into question, as he apparently lived with one of his sons for a period of nine months, away from Morpeth. The case was dropped as William was still technically a house-holder in Morpeth at the time. He was considered along with the other applicants, but another candidate was selected. By this time William was in his seventies, and now without an occupation. 

The Mary Hollon Annuity Fund is still in existence today.

There was more sadness in William's life when in 1884 his grandson was killed. The poor boy was trampled by a horse and cart in one of Morpeth's busy streets. The verdict was that there was to be no blame attached to anyone, as the boy walked out onto the road himself. The owner of the horse and cart couldn't stop the accident, as he did not see the boy approaching from the other side. 

In 1889 William's sons, Adam Summers or Storey, a fishermen who was now living in Amble, and Joseph Summers, a plate-layer of Hull were called up in the Morpeth Petty Sessions. They were each charged with not providing necessary means of maintenance for their father - effectively making him chargeable to the Guardians of Morpeth Union.

John Dowson, the relieving officer said that William was currently residing in Morpeth Workhouse and all they wanted was one shilling per week from each of his sons. Only Adam appeared in the court, and said he could not pay anything. However the bench ordered that they each pay. 

William Summers died on 1 January 1892 at age of 83. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

On This Day - Adam's Birthday & Storey Wedding

On this day in 1919, my Great Grandparents Robert Mavin Storey and Minnie Metcalf were married at the Primitive Methodist Church on Howard Terrace, Morpeth. The witnesses were Ralph Shields and Nellie Metcalf, Minnie's sister. Ralph Shields was to become Robert's brother-in-law the following year.

The Storey - Metcalf marriage notice
which appeared in the Morpeth Herald
a week later.
Also on this day, Robert's father Adam Storey was born in 1853 at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. It is not known whether this was a factor in the choice of date for the wedding. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


When my 5x Great Grandfather Charles Clementson was around 15 years old, his mother gave birth to his sister, Abigail. She was born when the family lived at Lumley Park, Durham and was baptised at Chester-le-Street on 23 February 1783. The Clementson family then went to live in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and some members of the family later moved to Tynemouth.

On 22 August 1807, a notice was printed in the Newcastle Courant on the front page in the 'General Hue And Cry' section.

"ABSCONDED, on Monday Morning, 17th instant, from Easington, County of Durham, WILLIAM COLLIN and ABIGAIL CLEMENTSON, both hired Servants to T. Hunter. William Collin has left his Wife and Child, is about 27 Years of Age, 5 Feet 9 Inches high; had on when he went away, a dark double-breasted Coat, a patent Cord Waistcoat, and had with him a short blue Coat and a Pair of Trowsers. Abigail Clementson is a good looking Woman, pitted with the Small Pox, is about 25 Years of Age, speaks the Newcastle Dialect, and has taken away with her a Quantity of her fellow-servant's Cloaths. Whoever will give information of one or both of the Offenders, so that they may be brought to Punishment, shall receive a Reward of TWO GUINEAS for each, on application to the Rev. A. Garthorne, Treasurer to the Easington Association.
N. B. It is supposed they are gone South, for the Sake of working at the Harvest."

Abigail gave birth to an illegitimate son the following month, although his birthplace is unknown. He was baptised in October 1808 at Tynemouth. She gave birth to a second illegitimate son in 1812 and he was also baptised at Tynemouth.