Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Thursday, 21 September 2023

William Henry Middleton and Alice Maud Osmond

Admiralty Mews, Deal
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Philip Halling -

William Henry Middleton
(b. 4 Nov 1888), son of Emma Middleton, married Alice Maud Osmond, in Tiverton, on 21 Sep 1918. Alice Maud, known as Maud, (b. 2 Nov 1888, bap. 23 Dec 1888 at St. Mary, Willand), was daughter of John Osmond (son of Henry Osmond from Halberton) and Annie Osmond (daughter of John Osmond of Willand).

In 1891, John Osmond (29), Annie (34) lived in a cottage in Kentisbeare, Devon along with daughters Alice M (2) and Emily M (0). At that time, William Henry (2) was living with his grandmother, Jane How at Habridge Cottages, Steart Road, Stoodleigh, Tiverton.

By 1901, however, when Maud (13) was still at home with her family, then living at 1, Crosslands [Cottages], Halberton, William Henry (13) had already left home and was employed as an Agricultural Labourer by John Hussey (38) Farmer at Wood & Honeyland, Tiverton. (Honeyland Plantation?)

William Henry "Bill" Middleton, giving his birth date as 10 Dec 1889, then enrolled in the Royal Marines on 4 Nov 1907, at Exeter (record says was underage between then and 9 Dec 1907), and was sent to Royal Marine Depot, Deal, until 2 Oct 1908, before Plymouth Division. William Henry was promoted to Corporal in 1911, and Sergeant in 1916 while serving on HMS Roxburgh (1904), which he was with from 4 Jun 1912 until 13 Aug 1916 - she was hit by a torpedo on 20 Jun 1915 but escaped with serious damage to her bow - latterly at the North America and West Indies Station.

From 13 Apr 1917 until 26 Nov 1918, Bill was with HMS Highflyer (1898), which means that he was present in Halifax, Nova Scotia during the Halifax Explosion on 6 Dec 1917. 

"Royal Navy cruisers in port sent some of the first organized rescue parties ashore. HMS Highflyer, along with the armed merchant cruisers HMS Changuinola, HMS Knight Templar and HMS Calgarian, sent boats ashore with rescue parties and medical personnel and soon began to take wounded aboard."

From 27 Nov 1918, Bill was transferred back to Plymouth Division, with a brief sojourn at HMS Excellent (shore establishment) near Portsmouth on 23 Dec 1918, but was Invalided on 25 Sep 1919. While I don't know the nature, can only surmise it may have been as a result of the Halifax blast.

Remarks on his marine's record say, "Has a good knowledge of semaphore ..."

In 1939, William H Middleton, Road Chargeman for Devon County Council, and wife Alice Maud were living at Trickey Cottage, Ash Thomas, Devon. Lodging with them was Frederick H Kerslake (20) Railway Clerk, nephew, son of Maud's sister Emily and her husband, Frederick James Kerslake.

Bill and Maud didn't have children, for what reason I'm unaware, but they had a cat named "Stripy" (a tabby, obviously), who, I was told, used to drink milk out of a jug on the windowsill, by dipping his paw in the jug (like Arthur from the Kattomeat ad). In our family, if you cleaned your plate at the end of a meal, someone would exclaim, "Poor old Stripy!", intimating that the poor cat, fed on scraps, would therefore go without. I only hope this was in jest!

Bill Middleton died in 1967, aged 78. Alice Maud Middleton of Tidcombe Hall, Tiverton, died on 21 Sep 1982, only a few weeks short of her 94th birthday. 

Tiverton : Tidcombe Hall
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Lewis Clarke -
Early 19th century house, shown as Tidcombe Rectory on late 19th century Ordnance Survey map. Much altered in late 20th century. The building was also once a Marie Curie daycare unit.

Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker

St Peters Church, Knowstone
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Roger Cornfoot -

Another pair of my 3rd great-grandparents, Robert Medelton (sic) married Elizabeth Baker on 21 Sept 1821 in the parish of Knowstone, Devon. 

Spellings are always variable, but none more so than with Middleton / Medelton and it's variations, which I'm sure is as a result of the officiator writing down what they heard said in a thick West Country accent. 

Robert and Elizabeth had 7 children, baptised at St Peters Church, Knowstone
  1. Elizabeth Medelton (sic) bap. 19 Jan 1823 (buried 23 May 1824)
  2. William Medelton (sic) bap. 13 Mar 1825 (buried 5 Jun 1825)
  3. Robert Medelton (sic) bap. 4 Jun 1826
  4. Jane Medelton (sic) bap. 15 Mar 1829
  5. Maria Middleton bap. 22 Jan 1832 (buried 21 Sep 1834)
  6. Harriot Medelton (sic) bap. 4 May 1834
  7. Thomas Middleton bap. 25 Jul 1841
In 1841, Robert (50), Agricultural Labourer, and Elizabeth (40), were living, as were many other families, in "Part of Lower High Building" in Knowstone, with Harriet (7) and Thomas (0). By that point, Robert Jr was working, also as an Ag Lab, for William Follett at Bransford, Knowstone, while Jane (12), was similarly employed by John Bucknell at Beaple's Barton. 

Robert Middleton Sr died, aged 50, in 1842 J Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON.

We lose track of Elizabeth in the 1850s and 1860s, but catch up with her in 1871, when Elizabeth Middleton (71), widow and annuitant, is a lodger in the household of George Bawden at Bawden Cottage, Knowstone. 

Elizabeth Middleton died, aged 73 in 1873 S Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON and was buried on 31 Aug 1873, at St Peters Church, Knowstone.

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Thomas Travally and Rachel Winnall

St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney - East end
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Thomas Travally (1685–1744) and Rachel Winnall (1680–1755), daughter of John and Alice Winnall, married at the church of St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney, on 20 Sep 1704. The record of their marriage lists them as Thomas Trevalle (sic) of RatcliffWaterman and Rachel Winnall of Blackwall, where Rachel's father, John Winnall, was also a Thames Waterman.

St Dunstan's was known as the "Church of the high seas" because of the great number of sailors who lived there. It's also is known as "The Mother Church of the East End" and has had an important role in my family history, from baptisms in the 1630s, to the baptism of my own grandfather in 1897.

Thomas Travally and Rachel Winnall had six children, all of whom were also baptised at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney:
  1. Elizabeth Travally bap. 26 Aug 1705
  2. Esther Travally bap. 18 Jul 1709
  3. Mary Travally bap. 30 Jan 1712
  4. Winnall Travally bap. 15 May 1715
  5. Martha Trevally (sic) bap. 17 Feb 1716
  6. Warden Travally bap. 10 Feb 1718
On these baptism records too Thomas Travally is listed as a Waterman

"If watermen were the river’s taxi drivers, then lightermen drove the lorries."

According to the Binding Records of the Thames Watermen & Lightermen, Winnall Travally was apprenticed and therefore bound to his father, Thomas, on 18 Jul 1729. He would then have been around 14 and would be free on 20 Jan 1843, by which time he would have been 28 years old. That seems an inordinately long time. Did Thomas just not trust his son? Apprenticeships are still completed for those wanting to work on the river, offered through the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, lasting 5 years.   

Race for Doggett's Coat and Badge 
The World's Oldest Boat Race

Since 1715 the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge has been passionately rowed by apprentice river workers on the Thames. It is believed to be the oldest continually competed sporting event in the world. Thames Watermen compete to earn a coveted red Waterman's coat and badge. The race therefore dates, coincidentally, to the year of Winnall Travally's birth. Thomas and Winnall must surely have known about it. Could they even have taken part? 

(And little did I think I might have been following family tradition when I took part in the Dongola Race at Sunbury Amateur Regatta one year.)

Henry Wilton and Mary Barton

This pub and hotel on North Street has been closed and boarded up for some years, with signs of abandoned or postponed building work. It is grade II listed, the oldest parts from the 15th century. Conflicting reports suggest it has since been demolished or converted into flats.

Back on the family pub crawl ... Two things listed in Pigot's Directory of Essex 1823 relate to another Henry Wilton. One is a listing as a saddler, the other, under Taverns and Public Houses, is for 'Henry Wilton, King's Head'[1]. This Henry Wilton is clearly not Henry Wilton (1809-1890), saddler, the elder brother of my 3x great-grandfather, Richard Wilton, because that Henry Wilton would have been merely 14 years old in 1823. We have to go back another generation: this is their uncle Henry, brother of Stephen Wilton

Henry Wilton, son of Richard Wilton and Mary Robinson, was baptised St Mary's Church, Sawston, Cambridgeshire on 30 Oct 1768. In 1783 he was apprenticed to Matthew Norris in Shelford, as a Collarmaker. Then on 20 Sep 1810, he married Mary Barton in Great Dunmow. Both were described as being "Of This Parish", so had been in the town since at least then. 

In 1841, Henry Wilton (73) Ind (Independant means?) and his wife Mary (61) were living alongside his nephew, Henry Wilton, saddler in the High Street, Great Dunmow. They were one side - of Geo. Saich, ostler (the census records don't provide any clues as to which hostelry), and his wife Charlotte (née Thorogood) - on the other was Robert Hockley, tailor and draper.

"Uncle" Henry Wilton died in 1846 J Quarter in DUNMOW UNION Volume 12 Page 49. He will have been 78.

In 1861, Mary Wilton (80) with birthplace given as Ruislip, Middlesex, was a Lodger in the High Street, Great Dunmow.

Mary Wilton died, at 81, on 8 Nov 1861 (1861 D Quarter in DUNMOW UNION Volume 04A Page 214). Probate was granted to John Barnard Grocer and Sole Executor. John Barnard (1799-1872), was a grocer (later also wine & spirit merchant) in the High Street, Great Dunmow. It's not known if there was any familial link or what the reason was for appointing him.

[1] Also listed in Pigot's Directory of Essex 1823 at the King's Head is William Cock, who was listed as the Licensee or Tavernkeeper from 1815 until at least 1829. It isn't clear what role Henry Wilton played in this business. 

Monday, 18 September 2023

Richard Benbow and Elizabeth Cowtley

St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -
This beautiful church is often spoken of as the Mother Church of the East End. It is, of course, one of the 'Oranges and Lemons' churches, ("When will that be/ Said the bells of Stepney").

Richard Benbow of Ratt. (Ratcliff), Bricklayer, and Elizabeth Cowtley, a pair of my 7th Great-Grandparents, married on 18 Sep 1714 at the parish church of St Dunstan's, Stepney. Elizabeth Cowtley, daughter of John Cowtley and Mary Pateman, was said to be 21, but her baptism in 1696, would suggest that she was a minor, only around 18, at the time of her marriage.

Less than six months later, on 4 Mar 1715, under Burials in the Parish of Stepney, we find listed the burial of Richard Benbow, Ratt, Bricklayer.

Their only child Elizabeth Benbow, was born in 1715 - one imagines posthumously - and baptised on 5 Aug 1716 at St Dunstan's, Stepney, listed as Elizabeth [daughter] of Richard and Elizabeth Benbow, Ratt, Bricklayer.

I've found no further records for Elizabeth Benbow (née Cowtley), so I cannot [yet] say what happened to her or whether perhaps she remarried.

Richard Benbow's age was listed as 24 at the time of his marriage in 1714, which would take his birth to 1690 and that could be an approximation. It is reputed that his father was John Benbow and suggested that his baptism was that on 7 Nov 1693, at St Paul's, Deptford, which thus makes him the son of then Captain John Benbow. If true, it would make the infamous Admiral my 8x Great-Grandfather.