|Margaret Walker - Havant, Hants, 12th November
I am attaching a document regarding some recent developments that have occurred in my research into my family, the Parker family from Havyat. [See <previous correspondence> on the Parker family Ed.]
I would be very grateful if it could be put on your website in case anyone can throw any light on the story. I look forward to hearing from you.
The Parker family and the lost family Bible
The Gloucestershire Constabulary recently issued an appeal on social media to try to trace the owner of a family bible that had been found on the canal bank near Lydney.
This ornate book with embossed covers and metal clasps measured 14” x 11”. It was in very poor condition, muddy and wet, having been left in the open. The police published some of the personal information written in copperplate handwriting in the central pages in case a family came forward to claim it.
I was alerted to it through a message sent to me via Ancestry.co.uk. Amazingly, and I can’t explain it, the bible had belonged to my great grandmother, Mary Jane Parker, born in 1847 in Wrington. She was the daughter of Samuel and Charlotte Parker, yeoman farmer of Havyat. The records appear to have been written by Mary Jane herself.
She died in 1893 in Newport, and her husband David Williams Davies died five years later. The family was then split up. The bible didn’t come to my branch of the family [ I am descended from their fourth child ], Arthur David. I have no idea where the
bible has been for more than 100 years. No one else came forward to claim ownership of it, so now I have become its new custodian. This is such an intriguing story and I am trying to find out anything else I can.
The printed date of the bible is 1870. Mary Jane married David W Davies in 1874 in Newport, so I wonder whether the bible could have been a wedding present from her parents. It must have been expensive. Samuel Parker was a yeoman farmer, whereas David’s father was a schoolmaster. I think it more likely that it came from her side of the family.
I have been in contact through this website with others who are researching the very large Parker family from Wrington. Are there any other family bibles like this that have become heirlooms? Mary Jane had at least seven siblings. If it did come from her parents, maybe others have survived.
In addition to photographs of the bible, I am also attaching two photographs I found within the pages:-
1. The house. Can anyone recognise the property in the photograph? At first glance your eye is drawn to the right side with the cobbled yard and the thatched cottage; but there is a taller thatched cottage on the left [which might be part of the same building]. Beyond the picket fence, there is a woman standing in a long porch.
2. The second photograph could be the other side of the same house [or houses] and there are two groups of people watching a horse and cart on the road, just after a bend.
If anyone has any ideas or suggestions about these photographs I would love to hear from them. Are these buildings recognisable to anyone who knows Wrington or Burrington? Does anyone have similar photographs with known provenance or dates? I would love to have some answers to these questions.
Finally, I am particularly indebted to the officers of the Gloucestershire Constabulary at Coleford Police Station for safeguarding the bible, and for their endeavours to find the family connected with it. We received such a warm reception at their premises, and they too would be interested if more can be found out.
|John Boon - Leighton Buzzard, 1st September
Our South Africa-born son-in-law, Justin, is descended from the Woolf family that Jane Smedley wrote about. The Woolfs lived in the area, Congresbury and Hutton that I know of, and perhaps Wrington since Jane put the information on your web site, after returning from India. I haven't had time to delve into this yet.
Also a cousin and two aunts of my wife Ros lived in Clevedon, having moved from Essex and Kent, but they have all died now. And on my side, my father's sister died in a nursing home in Clevedon, although none of us knew that until it was too late as he had lost touch with her. I still haven't discovered how she got there, as the family came from the Woolwich/NW Kent area.
Ros and I frequently visited her aunts and cousin in Clevedon, so it's sad that we didn't know my aunt was also living in there and therefore didn't get to see her.
|Tom Reay - Wrington, 1st September
We lived opposite John and Ros Boon in Leighton Buzzard. We usually visit our ex-next door neighbour a couple of times a year, and always just pop in to say hello to John and Ros. It was John who got me started on family history, and I did quite a bit of research on my own family.
We are on holiday in Portugal at the moment, isn't technology wonderful.
|John Boon - Leighton Buzzard, 30th August
I have discovered the information about the Woolf family by Josephine Smedley on your web site. I am researching this family on behalf of my son-in-law, and I wonder if you can put me in touch with Josephine.
I have found a message from Josephine on Rootsweb, but it dates from 2002 and has a long defunct FreeServe email address. I'd be grateful if you can try other family members, and I'll see if I can trace Josephine some other way.
Some years ago neighbours of ours here in Leighton Buzzard, Diane and Tom Reay, moved to Wrington. Wrington does not look very large, so I wonder if you know them ?
[Ed: By chance, Diane & Tom are my near neighbours, who were away at the time - but see Tom's reply above]
|Bill Crook - Hamilton, New Zealand, 2nd September
Kia ora Richard,
I spoke to Alistair last evening about this question. He is 6 years older than me and he has vague memories of a circus set up in Organs field across the road from the rec. My recollection is even more vague because it would have been about 1947! We agreed that even though we would like to be more affirmative our recall cannot, in this case, be relied on. Sorry, not much help but really great to hear from you.
It is a most miserable morning here in Hamilton. It’s rained heavy all night and is still going.
|Yvonne Spratt (Chard) - Mauku, Pukekohe, Auckland, NZ, 2nd September
Marilyn remembers a circus coming and setting up where the bungalows are now in School Road. She would have been very young though.
Early 1950s ?
|Miles Mather - 5th August
My mother has told me that she can remember seeing elephants in Wrington, probably visiting a fair. That would be the 1930's.
|Kirsten Moreau - 11th June
Thank you Richard!
According to Ancestry.com, Alice Carpenter was born in 1590 or 1591 in Wrington, Somerset, England, her father was Alexander Carpenter, born in 1560 also in Wrington, and her mother was Priscilla Dillion (no further information).
Alice's first husband, Edward Southworth, may also have been born in Wrington around 1590. Ancestry.com references a book called New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635, Vol 1, A-F in which the Carpenter family is mentioned. That book suggests Alice also had four sisters (Juliann b. 1583, Agnes b. 1585, Mary b. 1596, and Priscilla b. 1598), all from Wrington. This book suggests that all of the sisters, except for Agnes, immigrated to Plymouth. That book mentions that another book, Scott Genealogy, may also contain information about the Carpenters, but I have not obtained a copy yet.
The search continues! I am also tracking down Devon families ties in Brixton, Bradninch, and Stoke Canon Exeter.
Thank you so much for your correspondence!
|Kirsten Moreau - 11th June [email to John Gowar]
Thank you so much for your note! Alice is the only Carpenter I know of in the family tree (her father may have been Alexander and her mother may have been named Priscilla). She is thought to have been born in Wrington, but with no other records of Carpenters at Wrington, maybe the family was not originally from there.
We greatly appreciate you checking the manor schedule!
|John Gowar - Redhill, North Somerset, 29th May
My! You've done well! Which means that I guess you'll have gone through the parish registers for Wrington that are now available on Ancestry. From the transcription, there were certainly Carpenters living in Wrington in the 1500s & 1600s. But then they seem all to have moved away.
I looked at the schedule of the manor made by John Rocque in 1738 and also at Abbot Beere's Terrier of 1517. No-one called Carpenter listed as holding land that I could find.
All Saints' Church, the Court House and nearby Langford Court are the only buildings I know to have some vestiges of Elizabethan origins but Richard or Mark Bullen would be better able than me to comment on this.
I do hope you are able to make your visit in July and that you find things of interest here.
With best wishes,
|Kirsten Moreau - 27th May
I am an American living in the United Kingdom. While here, I have been doing some research on my family and trying to visit as many locations in my family history as possible.
I believe I may have traced my lineage back to Wrington, where my 11th great-grandmother Alice Carpenter was born in Wrington in 1590 or 1591. She later sailed to Plymouth Colony on the Anne in 1623 where she married the Governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford; it is from their union that I descend (through their son William). I also found a reference to them on the Wrington website: <https://wringtonsomerset.org.uk/history/mayflower.html>
I have the opportunity to visit Wrington this July 2017 with my Mother (also a direct descendant) and my two children. I was wondering if anyone could recommend sights we should be sure to see? There probably aren't too many records left from that time period, but we will visit the church as our best chance. I looked at the Schmoose site and the list of families being researched, but did not see Carpenter among them.
[Reply to Kirsten: - Ed]
Apart from the web page you reference, I'm afraid we've had no further mention of the Carpenter family. However, my wife looks after the church archive (which you can reference at: <https://wrington.net/allsaints/archive/index_htm_files/All%20Saints%20Wrington%20Finding%20Aid.pdf>). This contains some of the remaining papers of Cmdr Michael Lawder (deceased) who was the foremost local historian in recent years. He received very many requests from people researching family trees, and the name Carpenter does appear in the papers we have. We don't know how far back that goes, or whether it's your Carpenter, but next week my wife will see what she can find.
We also have a plan of the graveyard on line <https://wrington.net/allsaints/2010/churchyardplan.htm> which lists graves in alphabetical order. The name Carpenter does not appear there. I know it's hardly surprising given the passage of time, but it was worth a try.
Meanwhile, I've copied your email to local historian, John Gowar, who may have suggestions about your other query.
|Jane Robson - Boston, UK - 16th March
I spent my early childhood visiting my grandfather (George Brunker). I remember the Parsleys and the Lanes. My Grandfather married his 3rd wife, Elsie Brunker (née Lane). Used to walk at Red Hill and in Burrington Combe. I remember the Dring [Church Walk] and the Rec! Three relatives buried in Wrington..
Mick Wainwright - Seaton, Devon - 10th January
I saw Tracy at the church office today but she could add no more detail other than to confirm location of the grave for H Swete who died in 1912.
I have started a family tree on< ancestry.co.uk> as it seems the only way to put down details and more to the point it provides hints and links to other people researching his family. I hasten to add I am not family.
I have searched the name in many variations through the britishnewspaperarchives sites and I am amazed at what is available about Swete and his working life. In the Worcester Chronicle 13th December 1879 Swete was giving a lecture and was asked by a family where illness prevailed. Two doctors had been asked for a diagnosis prior to this. Dr Swete visited their house and saw what sounds like a gawdy wallpaper. As the Worcester City and County analyst, he checked the wallpaper. Four and one half pounds of arsenic were found. It was stripped away and the family became well.
Dr Swete seems to have married for the second time in 1907 in Christchurch, Hampshire, and therefore probably lived in Seaton for only a short time. One of his sons died in India.
Mick Wainwright - Seaton, Devon - 6th January
I have this morning been to St Gregory's Churchyard, Colyford Road, Seaton where I met Mary Scott, a fellow resident of Langford House, Seaton. Mary is heavily involved in the church and was able to show me the Burial register which indeed lists H Swete as being buried at the churchyard in 1912 (see register entry photo).
Mary showed me the actual grave site but unfortunately there is no gravestone. We looked at an area where fallen headstones have been placed, but again no sign. I have taken a photo of the actual grave which is just grassed over (rather sad for a once eminent physician). The picture of the grave is actually taken from behind another grave.
I will be going to the church again on Tuesday to speak to a lady called Tracy who may know a little more?
Mick Wainwright - Seaton, Devon - 6th January
Absolutely no objections at all. I am so curious about Dr Swete, the more knowledge the better. I did think that he had brought the name Langford House to Seaton when he moved here. (date unknown) but I see from the 1891 census that Langford House had a number of occupants none of which were Swetes.
Mick Wainwright - Seaton, Devon - 4th January
Thank you for that Richard. After a considerable amount of googling and use of ancestry.co.uk and britishnewspapersarchives.co.uk had already led me to the wrington archives site, but I thank you nevertherless.
That is interesting about your Langford House, and at the moment the earliest record of our Langford House is a newpaper article of 1911 seeking hired help. I wonder whether Dr Swete brought the name with him? An earlier note just shows number 44 Fore St i.e missing the Langford House.
Do you know where he is buried? On Friday morning I am going to have a look at the local burial records in Seaton's St Gregory's church to see if he is buried there.
There are one or two pieces of info to add to his history but for the time being I need to be sure about details'
Reply from Ed:
This is becoming even more interesting !
Would you have any objection if I copy our correspondence to the Schmoose page - the first entry for 2017 ? Our local historians will be most interested. We have a local history society (see Organisations index) and one local historian, John Gowar, in particular, who has written a number of articles (see History index) and is, in fact, giving the January talk on Langford.
Mick Wainwright - Seaton, Devon - 4th January
I am researching Dr Edward Horatio Walker Sweet, who I believe was born in Wrington. He was a well known doctor who died at the place where I live, being Langford House, Fore St, Seaton, Devon, on 4th Dec 1912. He apparently could have been known as Horace Sweet and was the founder of the Cottage Hospital system.
Furthermore he had a famous son Edward Lyall Swete, an actor on the London stage circuit. The son appeared on stage alongside George Bernard Shaw and Sybil Thorndike. Furthermore, Dr Swete treated an initial suspect in the Jack the Ripper enquiry, one JWW Saunders.
Just wondering if you had any information about Dr Swete ?
Reply from Ed:
I think you may find the Village Archive index interesting <https://wringtonsomerset.org.uk/archive/archindx.htm>
Then there's the History index <https://wringtonsomerset.org.uk/history/historyindex.html>
Perhaps you'd be interested in writing a piece on your researches to add to these Wrington website archives ?
I'd be most grateful.
Incidentally, Langford House in our neighbouring village is the home of the Bristol U. Vet School !