Double Marriage Entry

Came across something very curious last night…

The marriage of George WREFORD and Harriet STILING (for which I have both the original parish entry AND official copy of entry, as well as the record of banns) was recorded twice in the registers – same parish, church, year and even volume – within pages of each other.

Jan-Mar Quarter 1845, Volume 10 page 407
April-Jun Quarter 1845, Volume 10 page 431

At first I thought it may be a different George Wreford since Wrefords abound in Devonshire, but Harriet is mentioned in both entries (albeit with different spelling).

Perhaps the clue lies with the only other name from both entries – Elizabeth Galliford recorded as marrying George Marley/George Manby.  Perhaps it was just recorded twice to clear up the spelling mistakes but that also doesn’t make sense as the parish records show both marriages actually took place in the April Quarter.

Marriage of George Marley to Elizabeth Galliford
Marriage of George Wreford to Harriotte Stiling

I have tried searching for a second ceremony in the Tiverton area via the Devon Parish Registers on findmypast but there doesn’t appear to be any.

Why would the marriage which took place in May be initially recorded in the previous quarter?  I guess the next step is to order the record from page 407 although I don’t want to spend more money just to get the exact same copy sent to me.

Notes:

  1. I will now begin spelling Miss Stiling’s name as Harriotte as that is how she signed the register herself.
  2. I found out while researching this that Phillip Chave, who appears in both entries as witness and several times in the Cove registers was actually the assistant to Mr William North Row of Cove House – magistrate for Devon.  I presume this meant he often ‘sat in’ as witness for these smaller ceremonies where required.  I had originally thought he may have been a friend or relative.

Next Steps:

  • Order Jan qtr marriage certificate
  • Revisit Harriet STILING to find connection to Cove area

Blind Leading the Blind

At the top of my ancestry ‘To Do’ list for many years now has been ‘Find out who Blind Wreford is’.

Today I’ve finally found out…

I’m not even sure where I first heard of Blind Wreford but I’ve kept an eye out for any mention of him.  Finally I found mention of him in obituary for another old wrestler, John Bolt.

 

He was full of anecdotes of “Blind Wreford,” a wealthy farmer of Cheriton, whodied in 1835 at a very advanced age, and who, notwithstanding his blindness, was a renowned wrestler, often followed the hounds without sustaining severe falls, and was an excellent judge of the weight and general qualities of cattle.”

 

According to this, he had been totally blind since he was 8. “He was a strongly limbed, well grown and powerful man, about 5 feet 10 in. in height, and was usually led into the ring by a boy, as a guide, and indulged with the privilege of taking hold of his antagonist by the collar…”

I’m really surprised that it’s been so hard to find mention of this guy as he really does seem quite extraordinary.

Book ’em Once More, Danno

I wrote in a previous post about pinpointing Thomas PALMER’s premises using a newspaper report of his being robbed.  Living by a police station didn’t seem to give the security you’d think it would, as Palmer was robbed again in 1869:

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 27 November 1869, p5 c5

A certain Henry Baker stole two books from him at the value of 4 shillings, as well as a pot of cold cream from a nearby chemist, Charles Mumby.  Funnily enough a little research shows this chemist was actually the founder of Mumby’s Mineral Waters. (Read a little more about him here.)  He also stole a letter stamp from a Mr Loveder but for some reason this wasn’t investigated.

Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 11 December 1869, p3 c3

As the ‘well-known character‘ had been convicted of a felony twice before this incident, Henry Baker was sentenced to twelve months hard labour.  Out of curiosity, I found his record of conviction for his crime against Thomas Palmer in the Southampton Assizes records.

Henry Baker’s conviction at the Southampton Assizes 1869

I’m curious as to what Thomas’ ‘private mark’ looked like.  Was his private mark different to his store mark? Did it look anything like this…?

 

Girls, girls, girls

 

Form VI A 1938, Otago Girls High School

Recently, I rediscovered a photo of my grandmother and her classmates in 1938, hidden in one of my family history books. On the reverse, in my grandmother’s scrawl, are written the names of her fellow schoolgirls.

As I recognise my grandmother, Gwen and her best friend, Daphne in the front row of the picture, I believe the girls in the photo are as follows (L-R):

BACK: Phyllis Jones, Joyce Clayton, Kay Bell, Pat Johnson

FRONT: Daphne Morrison, Pauline Gapper, Merle Wildey, Gwen Buchan, Molly Spackman

Phyllis Jones, Joyce Clayton, Kay Bell, Pat Johnson, Daphne Morrison, Pauline Gapper, Merle Wildey, Gwen Buchan, Molly Spackman

The photo seems to have been taken on the main entrance steps of the building as seen here in a more recent photo on the Otago Girls High School website:

Otago Girls High School via school site

Hopefully, some of these girls’ family members will see this photo here one day.

The Perils of Passchendaele

Shows two French soldiers beside a muddy cemetery. (via National Army Museum)

Dear Father,
I think I have a little good news to tell you, but of course do not rely too much on what I am going to say as you know in the Army things may be altered at the last moment. We have just received news here that the Main Body are being sent home, and will probably leave any day. I think the news is fairly reliable as the old hands have had their names taken and according to what I hear they are making arrangements in England for the transportation home… …if that is the case I will be well on the way by the time this reaches you, and will be able to spend a very enjoyable Xmas at home. (20.9.17)

This letter was written to John Buchan (1858-1926) from his son Arthur from the battlefields in Belgium.  Sadly, he never got to spend that ‘enjoyable Xmas at home’ as a week later, Private Arthur Buchan of the ‘Main Body’ was gassed and received gunshot wounds to his head and arm. He died only ten days after writing that hopeful letter to his father.

Through gas and smoke, our troops advance to the final assault of Passchendaele Ridge’, 1917.  (via National Army Museum)

In 1893, Arthur was a 2 year old boy emigrating to New Zealand aboard the Rimutaka (seen in a previous post); the cousin of my great-grandfather, Charles Buchan (also aboard).

In 1917, Arthur was one of the 400 000 who died in the Battle of Passchendaele.

This year commemorates the centenary of this horrific event, also known as the ‘Third Battle of Ypres’.

A letter from a friend to Arthur’s cousin, Bill (my GGF Charles Buchan’s brother) gives more detail on the incident that led to his death:

We were in the old Hun front line at Ypres, in front of the village of St Jean & were to go into the advanced front line next evening. Early in the morning Fritz sent over gas shells & we had our masks on for 4 1/2 hours when we got word that it was clear. We were just settling down again to sleep when he sent a stray one over which landed clean on the duckboard in the corner of the bay.  Arthur was lying in the transverse & it landed within a yard of his feet and in addition to gassing him wounded him in three places namely, temple, left wrist shattered & a bad smack in the right shoulder. He was very game &, bad as he was, insisted in walking out himself. He was carried out though and I can truthfully say was not in any pain. The gas is very poisonous & I think that is the cause of his death as another chap got only a small piece in the back and died the next day… A McLennan (24.10.17)
Wounded from Ypres at improvised hospital, Bailleul, nd. (via National Army Museum)
Cousin Bill wrote from his own hospital bed in Walton on Thames to his Uncle John in New Zealand:
I have often told you he was a son and a brother to be proud of – a brave and fearless soldier who was ever ready to volunteer for any dangerous work. From time to time I have met men who had been in the trenches with him and their frank admiration of him as a soldier and acomrade has made me proud that I bear his name.  His many friends at Walton ask me to convey to you their sincere sympathy – his loss is deeply regretted by everyone he knew in the village… the real grief I met with on every hand is the best testimony to the manner in which he had endeared himself to all…
Billy
Perhaps even more tragic is the postscript of the same letter, which reads:
I have just seen the latest casualty list with Billie’s name on it.  What can I say? May God be with you in your time of trouble and comfort you in your bereavement.
Billie was Arthur’s younger brother who died on October 24, 1917, less than a month after his elder sibling.  A letter detailing the circumstances around his death was received by father, John from Billie’s lieutenant:
We had just made the attack on Passchendaele on the 12th October and were for a few days holding the line in front of the Village… We occupied a German pillbox as my [head quarters] and were in it when Fritz commenced a heavy gas shell bombardment. I was in the act of posting a Gas sentry when a shell burst in the doorway and filled the pillbox with gas. We all received a big dose before we could don our masks. We all took all known precautions against the gas, burning and fanning, and after having worn our masks for over an hour I took it upon myself the responsibility of ordering them off. The air smelled perfectly sweet and free from gas, but in about eight hours time most of us began to vomit and go blind. I sent all those affected out and followed shortly afterwards… Three others besides Corp. Cooney and Pte Buchan died as a result of this gassing and I feel sure their deaths in all cases were due to complications of pneumonia… I can only say that no one knew til afterwards that the gas destroyed the sense of smell and so prevented us from detecting its presence… (2nd Lieutenant David Williams (18.7.18)
German pillbox on the Passchendaele battlefield (via NZHistory)

Perhaps it was merciful that their mother, Jessie had died before the onset of WWI in 1910.

Lest we forget.

Arthur & William Buchan (via From Peterhead to Passchendaele, Roy Buchan)

The information and excerpts contained in this post were provided by Roy Buchan from his book From Peterhead to Passchendaele (2003).