Broad Street Wrington ARCHIVE
Personal Quest -
William Hardwick
Will Hardwick of Edinburgh, Scotland - here with his sister Marg - was tracing his ancestors in this area, and e-mailed for information to the website.

This gave him a contact with Eddie Hardwick in Langford, and the rest is history ... !
6th March, 2004

Many thanks for your note giving me Edwin Hardwick's address. You asked me to let you know what the outcome was and this is why I am replying.

I have been looking into my family roots for about two years now and every now and then find a web site that contains a snippet of interest. Yours was one of them - an excellent site and one of the best of its kind, I think.

I knew there were a lot of Hardwicks in North Somerset but until about a year and a half ago didn't know that my family came from the Gordano valley(at least the line goes back to Clapton and a Richard Hardwick who farmed there in the early 1600s). With a lot of assistance from other Hardwick descendants who I have found on the Net I have also discovered that there are still Hardwick relatives still living in the area which I am able to link up to my own family-George Hardwick of Kingston Seymour left for London in 1832 or 1833. He was my great great grandfather.

I had never been to this area of England so last month my wife and I decided on making a short visit from Scotland just to get a picture in my mind of where we all came from. Visiting the area made all the hours in front of lists and other documents and in front of the computer 'real' and with your information I was able to meet Ed, have afternoon tea with him and his wife and exchange information about our family - he invited me to come along to the next Hardwick 'gathering' which is sometimes held at the farm of a Hardwick descendant who still farms in Clapton in Gordano. For me this is quite exciting and almost like a 'homecoming'. The visit was a great success.

The small bit of information that started this line of interest and which I found in your Wrington site concerned Abel Hardwick. I have still not found conclusive proof that he is a relative of mine but feel sure he must be . The information has expanded though and I have the following:

Abel was the eldest son of William Hardwick (b 1791) and Susannah (b 1794) and was born in Congresbury. He may have married a Jemima Hassell, but the date of 1879 seems a bit wrong. In the 1881 Census he was a farmer with 125 acres.

I also have a photograph from a London descendant of the Stuckey family showing Abel and Jemima as part of a wedding photograph showing a group with their daughter and (a) son in law (Mark Lock) and two of his sisters, one apparently married an Albert John Rowles. I believe all these names to be local to this part of the county.

I wonder if you are able to solve where Abel fits into my family. Also, I wonder of you have records or information where the following might be discovered:

An old copy of the Weston Mercury relates a story about a Mrs Martha Peters (93 at the time) talking about her father, a Yatton policeman called William Hardwick marching those he arrested at a local 'ox roast' in 1886, all the way to Shepton Mallet gaol, just as his father, John Hardwick had done before him when he arrested someone.

I have a number of likely candidates for this line but no one stands out at all. There was a John Hardwick who became superintendent of police who was born in Yatton and he had a son called William Henry who might possibly be a candidate. But this is another line of enquiry in your area that is proving difficult.

Anyway, thank you for making the meeting with Ed possible, as well as with his cousin Herbert Ross of Thornbury.

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11th March, 2004

Further to what I wrote last week I was contacted immediately after having written to you by a new source of information who was able to 'fill me in' with just about all the bits of the puzzle regarding my family's link with Wrington's Abel Hardwick. I thought I'd better write immediately in case you wanted to run something about it as you indicated before.

Mrs Liz Bang, a writer from London wrote me confirming details already received from Lynne Davis, a Kingston Seymour Hardwick family member whose family left Somerset for Vancouver Island about 100 years ago, plus some extra information that appears to make the links certain. They are both connected to my family by marriage (Lynnne's grandmother was a Hardwick) but all quite some time ago.

Here is the information I now have:

Abel Hardwick was born in Congresbury, in 1827, the first of seven children to William Hardwick and his wife Susan(na)(?) William's details are a little confused but it seems as if he was born in Portbury on 13th January 1789 and was a farmer in Iwood, nr Congresbury with 100 acres (1851 Census). Susanna came from Congresbury and was born after 1791

William's parents, also from Portbury were Thomas Hardwick(1739-1816) and his wife Betty Yeeles(1750-1796). They had perhaps ten children and William was one of the younger boys.

My line stems from his elder brother Thomas, who married a Pheobe Oldfield and had my great great grandfather George Hardwick, who left for London at age 16 in 1832 to be an apprentice in the workshop of the famous engineering company of Maudslay & Son, and Field, of Lambeth.

So, my great-great-grandfather, George Hardwick and Abel were first cousins. George would have been about 11 when Abel was born. This is our link.

Abel himself married an Emma (?) possibly in 1850. In the 1851 Census she is with him at Venice Street, Congresbury. He is described as a farmer with 50 acres. In 1861, the Census states that he has moved to Wrington and is farming 130 acres. Emma is 23 and they have two children, Mary, aged 8 and George C, aged 7. I wonder if he named his son George, after my great-great-grandfather, who by that time was being quite successful in Maudslay's company. Abel had three servants on what seems a larger than usual farm for the Hardwicks as most farms seem to have comprised between 50 and 80 or so acres. One of the men on the farm is listed as being a Samuel Hunt from Kingston Seymour, where my George grew up, so the link is possible.

In 1881, Abel now has 125 acres in Wrington and is also married to a widow, Jemima Collins, nee Hassell. The missing 5 acres might indicate the land that is mentioned in your web pages as that which was taken for the building of the village school in Chew Magna. His new wife, Jemima was from Chew Magna, though no maiden name is listed for her in the records. Liz Bang provided that-her name was Hassell. She brought two grown daughters into Abel's household, Alice Collins, aged 23 and Kate Ann Collins, aged 19, both born in Chew Magna.

In 1891, the Census shows Abel at Wrington Farm, aged 64 and with Jemima, aged 57. All four of their children unmentioned. However, George is discovered on the 1881 Census as being 27 years old, a farmer, born in Wrington, with 93 acres. He is married to Sarah (?) aged 25 from Blagdon. In 1891, he is listed as farming at Havyatt Farm, Wrington, though no children are mentioned.

In the 1902 Directory of Somerset Farmers he is at Stepstone Farm, Wrington. I don't know any more about this line after this though it appears no children came after this and this Hardwick line ended with his son George.

Liz also sent me a picture of Abel Hardwick sitting grandly and confidently in front of an impressive looking front door in a group that looks like a wedding commemorative photo. Beside him possibly is Jemima, while other family members are also included.
One of Jemima's daughters is there with her new husband Mark Lock. I don't know when it was taken but possibly it is from 1880s

or 1890s. Abel looks about 60.

Incidentally, Liz Bang's connection to Abel is through Jemima, his second wife. Liz says that Jemima is her great-great-grandmother so presumably her line is from Alice or Kate Ann. She also states that Jemima Hassell's sister had a daughter, Clara J Baber, who married an Ernest Hardwick and has asked me to find out a bit about him. I have another job springing from this one!

One thing that fascinates me is how close all these families were and how the same names arise again and again and again; Hardwick, Price, Gage, Stuckey, Baber, Yeeles, Baker, Vowles, Harris, Lock, Kingcott. It is amazing and so different from today.

I hope this is interesting information for you. I am very grateful to you for getting this line of study started and thank you for your interest. Next time I am down in Somerset, as I most surely want a second visit, I will look in on Chew Magna, Havyatt and other places in the Wrington area. My short visit was taken last month was taken up in searching out my most immediate family around the Gordano valley villages. I did go to Wraxall and Failand and was most impressed with the unspoilt countryside there.

18th March

From GailReinhart (Hardwick) - Calgary, Canada

Hi - I have been in touch with Will Hardwick, who has provided me with a great deal of assistance in searching my father's family tree. My great, great, grandfather John, was the brother of Will's gt gt grandfather George. John married Harriet Baker and they had 11 children. Joseph was my great grandfather, and he married Mary Ann Jones. They had 6 children, Walter, Arthur, Ella, John, Ernest and Wallace. Walter married Alice Harris in 1885, and they had 3 children, Dorothy Mary, Walter John and Joseph Jim. Dorothy was my grandmother.

Joseph Hardwick and Mary Ann Jones farmed at Northill Farm, which appears to still be standing in Dundry. There are many of Ella's descendants still in the area. I am planning to meet with them Easter weekend, when I will be in the UK. I would like to meet with Edwin Hardwick, who Will mentions in his notes.

I have the history of my father's family back to the 1700's now.

18th March

From Lyndley Havyatt
, Sydney, Australia

I have just read the information supplied by Will Hardwick regarding his family research.

I am living in Sydney, Australia and visited Havyatt Farm in Wrington in 1990. One of my family names was Vowles - one of my grandmother's brothers married a Sarah Vowles. My maternal great grandfather was George Parker of Havyatt Farm (died about 1860? aged 47), his first wife was Elizabeth Hancock and second wife Rachel Rawlings.

My grandmother Emily was one of the second family. I have a lot more information if Will is interested, including the reason why my surname is HAVYATT.

Two other contributors to the Schmoose page last year are also close relatives - Denise Smith of Australia and John King of Bristol UK. We "found" each other through the Wrington website - it has been very exciting and closed some large gaps in the family tree.