Friday, October 3, 2008

Visit to the National Archives at Kew, September 13

To celebrate my fiftieth birthday, my sister Sam took me to the National Archives in Kew, a place I have been meaning to go to for about twenty years and yet have never actually got to.

We arrived early, and parked easily in the (free) car park and made our way around to the building past water features and windy cracking slate pathways. The building is modern and huge, and there isn't much guidance on the surface to tell you where to go.

We arrived upstairs in the open reading room, complete with bags and coats, before realising that we should have left these in lockers downstairs. I tipped out the stuff I had with me and Sam kindly went down to the lockers, while I queued for a reader's ticket. Unfortunately, the system was down that day and so there was an announcement that temporary day tickets only were to be issued, and not permanent tickets. As I had wanted mine to be able to save online searches etc, I decided not to continue queuing, and got on with the research.

The open reading room is vast, with many screens and microfilm readers, bookcases with indexes and series of books, filing drawers, cabinets. There is information around in the form of short leaflets, but things are not well explained. There are a number of very friendly and helpful people around, but we found the quality of the information was quite variable.

I was looking for information about my ancestor John Dickins, whose dates were around 1772-1848, and who served in various regiments between about 1798 and 1827, when he retired. I asked a nice young man, who found me a leaflet on looking up your ancestor in an informal index. I looked: he wasn't there. I'd caught on to using the leaflets however, and selected one on researching your ancestor in the army, which told me to find the indexes for WO 25 and WO 76, both of which I had noted before leaving for Kew.

I searched them thoroughly, but found that there was frustratingly always nothing for the combination of time and place and regiment that I wanted. There would be information before 1798 or after 1827, or a big gap where the 90th Regiment should have been, jumping from 89th to 91st. It was very frustrating!

Eventually I found a leaflet for looking up the discharge and pension details of your ancestor, and we found a microfilm reader and looked at the microfilm. The list went from Deuchars to Dixon with no Dickins in between.

We did confirm the major details of his career by looking at the printed Army Lists for the years he served, and I did learn a lot about the way things are organised, but it seemed like precious little progress for what had felt like such an important visit.

One thing I learned that I shall certainly use, is that access to wills is free in the open reading room at Kew. I had paid £3.50 a shot a couple of years ago to look up total stranger's wills, since one couldn't see until one had paid whether the will was of use or not. In future I will pile up the queries and then spend a day at Kew looking them up online there for free.

Even though it was frustrating, I enjoyed the time at the archives, and hope to return sooner than the 20 years it took to get around to it the first time! I have so much I need to do there....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Surname interests

I can't believe that I didn't put into my blog a section on the surnames I am studying

London 1850-1950
Hertfordshire before 1850

Bristol before 1810

London 1850-1900
Staffordshire 1800-1850
Everywhere 1600-1800


Marylebone before 1880




Devon before 1820


London and elsewhere before 1820

Harrow 1930s
London 1900s
Aylesbury 1910s
Carmarthen 19th century
Yorkshire before 1800

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The History of Church Preen

The History of Church Preen was written by Arthur Sparrow, who died in 1898. The book is therefore now out of copyright. Arthur Sparrow was the Lord of the manor for Church Preen for roughly 25 years at the end of the 19th century, and seems to have spent a lot of that time investigating the history of the place.

I was excited to find a family history for the Dickins family within the book, although I have yet to prove some of the links between generations to my satisfaction. I do not have a copy of the book; I borrowed it using the inter-library exchange system several years ago, and photocopied as much as I could while I had it. I will type up what I have, in case it is of use to other people, probably one page a day.

The History of Church Preen
by Arthur Sparrow, privately printed.

page 38
William Typper and Robert Dawe were two traffickers in monastic property, and as Edward Dyer's interest in Preen was sold to them 33 Elizabeth (1590), the probabiliy seems to be that a compromise was arranged with William Dyckins, who was at that time in possession of the property, by which he was left in undisturbed possession. It appears that soon after William Dyckins came into possession most of the tenants (who had long leases, generally for eighty-one years, granted to them by Sir John Castle, the last Prior) arranged to surrender their leases and have new ones granted by William Dyckins for a longer perios; and this they did, as they say in their evidence, upon the advice of Judge Leighton, of Plaish, and of Mr Plowden. Evidently William Dyckins thought to strengthen his title and the tenants probably wished to make sure thast their leases were good, as far as William Dyckins was concerned.

The Manor of Preen remain in the Dyckins family from 1560 to 1749, when the mortgagees of John Dickins (the sixth in descent from Humphrey Dickins) sold the manor to Miss Elizabeth Price, granddaughter of Thomas Price of Wabscott, in the parish of Middle, by Margaret, sister and co-heir of THomas Thornes of Shelvoche.

The Dickins family were of Leaton in the parish of Bobbington, co Stafford, where they had been seated from the time of Henry VI; they were also Lords of Churchill, Co Worcester. The first member of the family who lived in the Prior's house at Preen appears to have
page 38 ends
been Richard Dyckins, the younger brother of Humphrey; as, according to the evidence of one of the witnesses at the Hughley Commission, he was living in the house ar that time. Probably the house was occupied by some members of the family continuously after this date, until the time when they ceased to be the owners of Preen.

Thomas Dickins, the great-grandson of Humphrey, lived in the prior's house and his father John may have done so, for in Preen Church are his initials; "I.D. 1646"

This Thomas married Margaret Corfield, who is referred to page 48. I am not sure that John, the son of Thomas Dickins lived at Preen: he probably died in his father's lifetime, but both his two sons, Thomas and Matthew, were buried at Preen.

Thomas, the elder of those two sons, probably lived for some time at Leaton, but Matthew, the younger, certainly lived at Preen, either in the Prior's house of in an old Manor-house described by Mr Hardwick as a large half-timbered structure, and called "The Hall" of Church Preen, and which stood upon the site of the present farmhouse adjoining Preen Manor. In the Index Villaris of "Mr" Adams, of the inner Temple (London, folio 1680), "Prene in the Hundred of Condover~" is described as having the seat of "one gentleman". This doubtless refers to Matthew Dickins: he was churchwarden in 1686.

It may be that the elder bother Thomas was living in the Prior's house at the time of his death in 1710. Matthew had a son named John (churchwarden in 1727), who lived at
end of page 39
Preen and was there buried 5th December, 1762. John Dickins, son and heir of Thomas (cousin of the above John) was of Leaton and Preen. At the latter place he was buried 19th of February 1760. [typer-upper's note: I don't think that's right. That John Dickins died 1744 I believe.]

He married MAry, the daughter of Sir William Fowler, of Harnage Grange. Their only son Richard, was the last member of the Dickins or Dyckins family that lived at Preen, and he was buried there on 28th October 1764. The registers of five of his children are to be found at Preen.

So that it appears for seven generations, lasting one hundred and eighty-nine years, the Dyckins family held the Manor of Church Preen.

The following genealogical account, which I have put together Pedigree of Dickins, compiled from the Records of the Heralds' College, Parish Registers, Inquisitions Post Mortem and other evidences.

Arms: Ermine a cross flory sable.

William Dyckins, of Bobbington, Staffordshire, was father of:
Thomas Dyckins, of Bobbington, who was Lord of Churchill in Worcestershire, in the time of Henry VI. He had issue two sons:
I. John, his heir.
II. Thomas, whose son Richard was father of Thomas of Morehall, Staffordshire. The latter, by Edith his wife, daughter of Thomas Corbin of Morehall,
end of page 40
and his wife who was a Miss More or Morehall, had a daughter Alice, who became heir to her mother. Alice Dickins married Matthew Moreton, of Engleton, Staffordshire, and had issue:
Edward Moreton, living 1583.
Alice, m her third cousin once-removed, William Dickins, ut postea.
Isabel, m John Eggington, of Rodbaston, Penkridge.

The eldest son:
John Dickins, of Bobbington, m Eleanor Blount, and was father of:
Hugh Dickins, of Bobbington, m Joan daughter of Humphrey Lea of Enville, and had issue three sons:
I. Humphrey, his heir.
II. Thomas William
III. Richard, of Church Preen, living 1590.

The eldest son:
Humphrey Dyckins, of Bobbington, by Elizabeth his wife was father of:
William, the next hold of the Bobbington property.

He bought the manor of Church Preen in 1560 from Richard Coverte, brother and heir of Giles Coverte, who died June 23rd, 1559. (Inquisition post-mortem taken at Southwark). The son of Humphrey
end of page 41

William Dickins, of Bobbington, Lord of the Manor of Churchill, m as already stated, p41, Alice Moreton, and had a son, John. He was living in 1503, and was succeeded by his said son:
John Dickins of Bobbington, and of Newlands in the parish in the parish of Much Malvern; b in the autumn of 1578; m first Elizabeth Mackworth of Betton Grange, Shropshire, and had issue:
I. Thomas, his heir
II. Richard, s.p.
III. Francis, died young
I. Margery, wife of Thomas Perry, of Wergs in the parish of Tettenhall, Staffordshire.

By his second wife, Jane, daughter of Edmund Braddock of Adbaston, Staffordshire, by whom he had issue:

IV John, d 1661, having m. Jane, dau. of Francis Woodhouse, of the Woodhouses, Wombourne, Staffordshire, by whom he had issue--
1. Tomyns, of Morse, Staffordshire, who entered the family pedigree and arms at the Heralds' visitation, April 10th, 1663, being then aged 40. He had previously m. Mary, dau. of John Corbyn, of Aymour, Worcestershire, and had issue Tomyns, b. 1661; John; Mary, b. 1654; Elizabeth; Anne, and Jane.
3.John (2 and 3 bracketed together as citizens of London
1. Elizabeth, m. first, Thomas Perry of Wergs
end of page 42
(cf the marriage of her half-aunt Margery) and secondly Nathaniel Hilton, citizen of London.
V. Gerard
VI. William (bracketed together as citzens of London).
II. Elizabeth, m. Herbert Walwyn, of Newland, Worcestershire.

John Dickins died in April 1656, and was buried in the "lower part of the choir" of Great Malvern church on the 25th of that month. It is probable that "I.D. 1646" on the reading-desk of Preen Church, refers to him (see p. 39).

He was succeeded by--
Thomas Dickins, of Leaton (which property eventually passed to the Moseleys), in the parish of Bobbington, who at the Herald's visitation, April 10th, 1663, was aged 65. He was twice m; first to Margaret, dau. of William Corfield, of Church Preen (see p.48), and had issue by her--
I.Elizabeth, m. Roger Bird, of Ipsley, Warwickshire.
II. Margaret, m JOhn Lacy, of Feckenham, Worcestershire.
III. Alice, m. John Smallwood, of Middlewich, Cheshire.

He m. secondly, Elizabeth, dau. of Robert Walwyn, of Newland, and had issue--
II. Thomas, b.1637.
III. Herbert.
IV. Robert.
V. William
end of page 43.

IV. Anne, m. John Pratt, of Tuckhill, Staffordshire.
V. Rachel, m. Henry Welwyn of Colwall, Herefordshire.
VI. Elizabeth, m. William Reade, of Manley, Worcestershire.
VII. Jane, died young.

The eldest son--
John Dickins, of Church Preen, b. 1631; m. as a minor, circa 1648, Sarah, dau of Samuel More, of Linley, Shropshire, and had issue by her--
I. Thomas, his heir.
II. Matthew, of Church Preen, churchwarden in 1686, b. after 1663, and was buried at Preen, May 27th 1752, leaving by Mary his wife--
1. John, of Church Preen, churchwarden in 1727; b Dec 31st, 1695; bapt at Preen, Jan 9th, 1696; m. there Nov 5th 1722, Ann Stary (who was buried at Preen in the "desk pew", May 26th, 1773, aged 83). He was also buried there, Dec. 5th, 1762.
2. Matthew, bapt. at Preen, March 22nd, 1700; but there, May 27th 1752 [Fee's note: I wonder if Mr Sparrow got mixed up as he has given this burial date for this matthew and his father Matthew too...]
1. Elizabeth, bapt. there Sept. 19th,1704, and buried Sept. 22nd, 1704.
2. Mary (twin with Elizabeth), bapt. on the same day, and buried Oct. 2nd, 1704.
3. Mary, bapt at Preen, Jan 4th, 1706; m. there May 2nd, 1736, to John Bollen, of Preen, and afterwards of Brockton, in Stanton Long (who was buried in a vault in Preen Church, May 29th, 1782, aged 77); buried in the vault in which her husband was afterwards buried May 2nd, 1773.
4. Ann, bapt. at Preen, June 9th, 1709; m. there, April 21st, 1730, to John acton, of Astley Abbots, and had a dau. Hannah, bapt at Preen, March 9th, 1730.
I. Elizabeth, aged 14, at the 1663 Visitation.

He d. in 1679, probably in his father's lifetime. His will, proved in the same year, names John Turton, of Alderhayes, Robert More of Cheapside, and his wife as executors. [Fee's notes: John Turton was married to one of Sarah Dickins's More sisters, and Robert More was one of her brothers.]

John Dickins's eldest son,
Thomas Dickins of Leaton, b. 1653, borrowed £400 in 1679, and charged his estates with £600 for his younger son, Thomas. He was buried at Preen, December 21st, 1710, leaving issue by Mary his wife,
I. John, his heir.
II, Thomas, of Leebotswood, m. at Preen, May 29th, 1728, Mary Martin of that parish.

The eldest son--
John Dickins of Leaton and Preen, whose mortgagees sold Preen July 30th, 1749, to Elizabeth Price (see page 54). In 1709 he owed £1056 to Joseph Girder, Serjeant-at-Law. He m. Mary, dau of Sir William Fowler, of Harnage Grange, having settled an annuity of £150 upon

(footnote: A John Dickins was buried at Preen May 5th, 1718, but I do not know to whom the entry refers.)
end of page 45

her. He was buried at Preen, February 19th, 1760,(Fee's notes: no, Sparrow got this wrong. John Dickins who owed the money to Joseph Girder died in 1744) having had issue a son and three daughters--
I. Richard, his heir.
I. Mary, m John Moreton of St Giles, weaver
II. Hester, m Mr Wilson.
III. Diana, m Francis Jones, of Lindion, Derbyshire.

The only son--
Richard Dickins, sometime of Preen, was buried there October 28th, 1764, leaving, by Ann, his wife, two sons and four daughters--
I. John, his heir.
II Fowler, bapt. at Preem, June 23rd, 1749.
I. Ann, bapt. there, September 14th, 1746.
II. Elinor, buried there, March 31st, 1751.
III. Ursula, bapt. there, June 26th, 1751.
IV. Mary, m there, July 30th, 1790, John Mansell, of Much Wenlock (who died there and was buried at Preen, April 20th, 1784). She was also buried at Preen, July 30th, 1790.

The elder son--
John Dickins, born in 1737, was father of John Dickins, Captain RN, of Woodford Grange, Staffordshire; b. 1772, m twice and had many children, one of whom was--
Robert Archibald Dickins of Woodford Grange, a Major in the Yeomanry, who died at an advanced age in 1893, and was buried at Trysull, having had an only son, Bramah, who died unmarried in his father's lifetime.

end of page 46

Margaret Corfield, who married Thomas Dickins in or about 1630, was a member of an old Shropshire family, a branch of which had for several generations been tenants at Preen under the Prior.

They traced their descent from one Edward, who held Corve in Stanton Long, in Corve Dale, in the twelfth century; his son, Ralph Fitz-Edward, held Corve in 1180, and from him presumably descended Richard de Corfielde, Lord of the Manor of Longville, who married Abigail Lutwyche.

The eldest son of the said Richard de Corfields was John, of Chatwall, who was buried at Cardington in June, 1561; the youngest son, Thomas, was of Much Wenlock: he was the father of three sons, Sir William Corvehill,"Priest of the service of our blessed Lady St Mary within the church of the Holy Trinity" at Much Wenlock;

(footnote: Copy of entry of Sir William Corvehill's buril in Wenlock Register; "26th May, 1546. Here was buryed out on the Strete called Mardfold out of the two Tenements next unto Sancte Owens Well, on the same side of the well, the body of Sir William Corvehill, Priest of the Service of Our Blessed Lady St Marye, within the Churche of the holy Trinite ~&c which two hows belo'ging to the said S'vice he had i' his occupacion, wt their apparten and parte of his wages, which was viij markes and the said hows in an overplus; whose body was buryed in the chancell of our blessed
Lady before the altar under the stone in the myddle of the said altare, upon the left hande as ye treat and stand on the heighest steppe of the thre, before the said altare, who fete streche forth under the said alter to the wall in the East of the altare, the body there lying within the erth in a tomb of lyme and ston which he caused to be made for himselfe for that intent; after the reryng and building of the new Ruff of the said chansell which rering framyng and new reparyng of the altare and chancell was don throw the councill of the said Dri William Corvehill, who was excellently and singularly experte in dyverse of the vij liberal sciences and especially in geomtre, not greatly by speculacion but by experience; and few or none of handycrafte but that he had a very good insight in them, as the making of Organs, of a clocka and chimes, and in kerving, in Masonrie, and weving of Silke, and in peynting; and noe instrument of musike being but that he could mende it, and many gud gifts the man had, and a very pacient man, and full hineste in his conversacion and lyv'ng; borne here, in the borowe of Moche Wenlock, and sometime monke in the
monastrie of St Mylb'ge here. Two brethren he had. one called Dominus JOhn, Monke in the said Monasterie, and a secular preiste called Sr Andrew Corvehill, who dyed at Croydon beside London, on whose soule and all Christian Soules, Almighty God have m'cy, Ame'. All this country hath a great losse of the death of the gd Sir William
Corvehill for he was a gud Bell Founder and a maker of the frame for bells" Thomas Butler's Register, referered to on

p 23.)

end of page 47

A secular priest called Sir Andrew, who died at Croydon, and Dominus John, monk in the monastery at Wenlock.

To return to the eldest son of Richard, John Corfield: he was also of Longville and Chatwall, and in 1505 received a grant of lease of lands in Preen for eighty-one years from "Sir" ~John Castle, the last Prior of Preen. He was the
father of five sons:--
I. Thomas of Chatwall.
II. William of Church Preen, married Elizabeth Ball, of Bourton and was father of Margaret, married Thomas Dickins, as stated on page 43 and 47. His will, dated December 28th, 17 Elizabeth, 1574, is as follows:--
"I, William Corfeld of Prene in the Countie of Salop and Diocese of Hereford, sick in bodie but in perfitt remembrance in mynde, thankes be given to Allmightie God, doe make this my last Will & testament in manner and forme as

end of page 48

hereafter followeth. first and principallie I comend my soule to Almightie God my Maker and redeamer and my bodie to be buried in the parish church of Preene at my last end. Item I give and bequeath to the people that to my parrishe church will come at the daie of my buriall, my funeral being ended, everie one of them... pence apece. Item my will and entent is and I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my wief my whole tenement with the appurtenances, and all therunto belonging, and all my goodes and cattell mouvable and unmoveable to rear and kepe my children, untill they come to
full age of Twentie and one yeres, with sufficient meat, drinke, and clothe as it mete for their behaviour, as longe as she kepeth her widowhood, and if so be that my foresaid wife list to marie at any time, my will ys that my sone William shall have my foresaid tenement with all meadowes, leasues, pastures with all thereto belonging, as longe as the yeres endure yf he will be ruled and governed by his mother and his frendes. Yf he will not be ruled by his mother and his frendes, my will ys that it shall remaine to one of his brethren which pleaseth his mother best. Also my will
is that if William my foresaid sonne doe not enter of my foresaid tenement within the space of tenne yeres, the I give and bequeath to William my son twentie poundes; yf he doe enter within ten yeres, my will is that his parte do remain amongst his fellowes. Also my will is that if it chance Elizabeth my wief to decease or marrie before my foresaid children come to their full age of xxi yeres, then William my sone to finde my foresaid children sufficient

end of page 49

meat, drink and cloth, according as they had in tymes past, untill they come to the age as is foresaid. Item my will, and entent if and I give and bequeath to John my sone Twentie poundes yf he will be ruled by his mother and his frendes, yf he will not, to have but five pounds. Item I give and bequeath to Richard my sonne Twentie poundes. Item I give and bequeath to Thomas my son Xxvj. Item I give and bequeath to frauncis my sonne Twentie Poundes. ITem I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my daughter ffourtie mearkes if she will be rules by hir mother. Also my will and entent is
that my foresaid children shall have everie one his parte when he cometh to age of Twentie and one yeres. Also my will is that if anye of my foresaid children chance to decease before they come to their age as is aforesaid, my will is that his or her parte to remaine to and amongst their fellowes. Item I give and bequeath to everie godchild of mine iiid. Item I give and bequeath to every brother's child and sister's of myne iiijd. Item I give and bequeath to Majorie Myddleton my servant maid a two yere old heifer and the Croppe of a Cowe. Item I give and bequeath to my sone
in lawe Humfrey James children a two yere old heyfer to be sett forward for them.
Debts owing to the foresaid William Corfield dew to be paid at this tyme, A thousand five hundred and seventie fower.

Imprimis Richard Lee, of Longley, esquier, doth ow

end of page 50

unto me the somme of ten poundes which I lent hi out of my purse. Item William Bickfork, of the parrishe of Hampton, doth owe unto me fouer poundes wanting xvjd for certain cattell which I soulde him. Item William Wollaston, of Trecot Graunge, doth owe unto me iiijli, xiijs iiijd for certaine cattell which I soulde him. Item Richard Baule, of Burton, doth owe unto me xls which I lent him out of my purse. Item Thomas Wollastone doth owe until me xxs for a hore which I soulde unto Thomas Dod, he being suertie. Item Humfrey James doth owe unto me xjli ijs which I lent to him out of my purse. Item John ffarmer, of Broone, doth owe unto me xls for a cowe and a calfe. Item Hugh Hardwick of Pattenham, doth owe unto me xxs I lent him out of my purse. Item William Pidge of Plashe, doth owe unto me Twentie shillings which I lent him out of my purse. Item John Mydleton, of Preene, doth owe unto me Twentie Shillings which I lent him out of my purse. Item iiij heyfors of myne in the custodie of David lloyds, in the parrish of Manava which I sett to him the first milk and calf. Item my will and entent if and I doe make and constitute Elizabeth my wife my true and laufull executrix of this my last will conteyned to see me honestly brought home, my funerall discharged, my debtes paid and Legacies paid which I have given and distributed to my foresaid children.

"This being witnesses, John Pinches th'elder, William Pidge, and John Pinches the younger with others."
Proved on August 25th, 1575, by the representative of the said Elizabeth the relict and Executrix.

end of page 51

From the Prerogative court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, 33 "Pickering".)

III. "Sir" John, vicar of Preen, whose will, in 1548, directs that he shall be buried in the chancel of the church.
IV. Richard and
V. Ralph.

The second son, William (page 48), was father of five sons:-- 1, William, 2, Thonas, 3, John, 4, Francis, and 5, Jasper; the first two of whom, with their widowed mother, Elizabeth Corfield, have evidence at the hughley Commission, in 1590. They were tenants, under an original lease, granted about 1510 for eighty-one years. to their grandfather, John Corfield. The third son on William Corfield, John, was of Hughley and he left the following will:

"in Dei nom' Amen, ijndo die May anno dom' 1556. I John Corfylde of Hughlee within the Dioces of Hereford being of wholle mynde and in good and p'fyte remembrance, laud and prayse be unto Almyghtie God, make and ordaine thys my present testament containing my last wylle in man'r and forme folowing that ys to say; Fyrst I comende my soule unto Almightie God my maker and redemer and my body to be buried in the church of Moche Wenlocke.

"Item I give and bequeath to the Mother Church of Hereford vjd. Item I give and bequeath to William my son my best pane and pewter dish. Item I give and bequeath to my sone Richard my second pane and pewter dyshe. Item I give and bequeath to ... a pewter dyshe and to Alice Taylor a pewter dyshe.

"Item I give and bequeath to Thom' Taylor sone to Thomas Taylor an Haffyer of my cow. Item I given and bequeathe to Elizabeth Corfylde iijs iiijd. Item I give and bequeath to the church of Hughlee xvjd a torch and two tapers. Item my wyll ys that I be brought honestlye home. And the residue of my goods not afore bequeathed I put to the discretion of Margaret my wife helfe takinge during her life and of this my present testament I make and ordene Thomas Corfyle and John Pinchesse myne executors this my last wyll and testament executed accordinglye.

"And I hereby revoke and adnulle all and every other former testaments, wylles, bequests and executors by me in anye wayse before thys time made and named wylled and bequeathed. These being Wytnesses Sir Roger (Stringer), p'son there, Thom Haynes, Thomas Taylor with others."

(Taken from an office copy transcribed from the original in the District Probate Registry at Hereford and lent to me by Colonel Corfield.)

The Corfields remained at Hughley for two centuries; indeed some of the family are still to be fouond lingering in the neighbourhood.

At Preen, the descendants of Thomas and William, the first and second sons ov John Corfield of Longville and Chatwall, remained within the last fifty or sixty years.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Irish Genealogy Resources

Irish genealogy has been made much more difficult by the destruction of the archive in Dublin in 1922. It seems that the bringing online of Irish records and information has lagged behind the UK, but several projects are beginning to bear fruit in this area.

The National Archive includes a searchable Dublin census for 1911.

The Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives have just reached their first birthday. The aim seems to be to gather free resources for the benefit of other researchers, and it can only get bigger and better.

There is an Irish channel on the RootsChat website which brings together people new to Irish genealogy with more experienced researchers, and offers the chance of look ups.

There is an Irish genealogy forum, which seems fairly quiet but friendly.

There are many clan websites linked to Irish families. I have joined the Fitzpatrick clan, I am sure there are many others, if you only google them.

I plan to update this page as I find new resources, so check back again soon!

Friday, January 18, 2008

London Strays Dickins/Dickens

These are people who are living in London but aren't born in London, and for whom I have no current information tying them to a place. This is only the case for 1841 census where the question was only whether you were born in the county where you were living.

1841 Census Middlesex St Andrew Holborn
Richard Dickins 30 Chemist
Mary Dickins 20
Charlotte Dickins 2 months born Middlesex
Only baby born in Middlesex

Warwickshire Dickins/Dickens

A lot of my Staffordshire Dickins will be in this section, because many of them were born in Birmingham.

Some census returns I have stumbled upon:
1841 Census
Warwickshire, St George
Address: Cecil Street
John Dickins 30 Head, Plasterer and Independent Means born Warwickshire

1861 census

1861 Shropshire, Albrighton
Address: unsure, looks like several families have been run together
Richard Dickins 57 Head Married Registrar of Birthd and Death born Birmingham Warwickshire
Anne Dickins 42 Wife born Albrighton, Shropshire
Jane Anne Dickins 23 Daughter Schoolmistress born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
Harriet Lucy Dickins 19 Daughter born Albrighton, Shropshire
William H.O. Dickins 15 Son, scholar born Albrighton
Frances Dickins 12 daughter, scholar born Albrighton
Mary Howell/Hewitt? Visitor 33 Governess? Tattershall Staffordshire
Elizabeth Haynes 21 Houseservant born Albrighton, Shropshire

1861 Chelsea, Chelsea South
Address: No 4 Vine Cottages, Queen Street? runs on from previous family the Keebles, although Samuel Keeble and Francis Dickins are shown as heads of family.
Francis C, Dickins 49 Head commission Agents born Warwick Birmingham
Matilda M Dickins 45 Wife born Middlesex London
John H Dickins 20 Son Commercial Clerk
Charles Dickins ? Son Chelsea - age unreadable
Harriet Dickins 16 Daughter born Tipton Staffs
Mary A Dickins 14 Daughter Checlsea
Caroline Dickins 10 Daughter Chelsea

1871 Chelsea, Christchurch, London
Address:18 Flood Street, Chelsea
Francis Dickins 59 Head Clerk, Blind Manutacturers born Birmingham, Warwickshire
Matilda Dickins 58 Wife Annuitant born London, City
Sarah Dickins 21 Ward in Chancery born Tipton, Staffordshire
Caroline Dickins 20 Ward in Chancery born chelsea
Charles Dickins 18 clerk in Ball factory born chelsea

The above is an odd one, because I am beginning to thing that this Francis may have been the eldest son of my four greats grandparents. He is born in the right place at the right time, and my great grandmother said that there was an inheritance which was in chancery for decades. Of course, Charles Dickens (far as I know, no relation, notwithstanding he hijacked the family crest) dealt with Chancery courts in Bleak House... I am wondering if he was aware of this family of Dickins.

There's another reason for connecting this family with mine. My five greats uncle, Robert Archibald Dickins, left bequests to his neices Sarah Elizabeth and Caroline Fanny Dickins. These are the only Caroline Fanny and Sarah Elizabeth I can find in the records. He also left the bulk of his estate to Christina Dickins, his neice, who was living with his sisters. I do not know if she was an illegitimate daughter of one of his siblings, I haven't found her birth yet.

Cheshire Dickins/Dickens

Census records I have come across
1871 Cheshire, Bollington
Address: Oak Fold or Oar Fold
Elizabeth Dickens 38 Wife born Cheshire Adlington
Thomas Dickens 8 Son 1/2 time in cotton mill and scholar born Bollington
Samuel Henry Dickens 5 son scholar born Bollington
Francis Dickens 3 son born Bollington
Joseph Dickens 8 months son born Bollington

Staffordshire Dickins/Dickens

A note of all the Staffordshire births I have come across, in date order
A note of all the Staffordshire marriages I have come across, in date order
A note of all the Staffordshire Deaths I have come accross, in date order
A note of Staffordshire census returns, in date order
1851 census Dudley, St Edmunds, Staffordshire
Address: New Road, Dudley
John Whitehouse 58 Head proprietor of coal mine
Sarah Whitehouse 55 Wife
Francis Dickins 15 Neice scholar
Esther Butler 66 Servant
Elizabeth Butler 26 Servant

1871 Census Tipton, Wednesbury, Dudley
Address: 51 XX? End Road
Francis Dickin 37 Head Brick manufacturer
Ann Dickin 38 Wife
Joseph Dickin 11 Son scholar
Samuel Dickin 9 Son scholar
Francis Dickin 7 Son scholar
Ann Dickin 4 Daughter scholar
Rosehannah Dickin 1 Daughter
Mary Casline 14 Servant

Shropshire Dickins/Dickens

A note of all the Shropshire births I have come across, in date order
A note of all the Shropshire marriages I have come across, in date order
A note of all the Shropshire deaths I have come across, in date order
Census information I have come across
1841 census
Albrighton Shropshire
Address: High Street, Albrighton
Richard Dickins 30 Draper not born in Shropshire
Anne Dickins 20 born in Shropshire
Jane Dickins 3 not born in Shropshire
Louisa Dickins 1 not born in Shropshire.

1851 Census
Albrighton Shropshire
Richard Dickins 41 head Maltster (Master)Birmingham Warwickshire
Ann Dickins 32 wife Albrighton
Jane Ann Dickins 13 Daughter scholar at home Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
Harriet Lucy Dickins 9 Daughter scholar at home Albrighton
William HOD Dickins 3 son scholar at home Albrighton
Frances Agnes Dickins 2 Daughter Albrighton
Mary Powis Holt 22 Governess
Sarah Marth 15 House Servant

Monday, January 14, 2008

Letters from Australia

I have in my archive two letters which were written from Australia by descendants of the Dickins family who emigrated to Australia. Unfortunately someone I think may be a direct descendant of one of the writers contacted me through Genes Reunited while I had allowed my membership to lapse. I hope she contacts me again.

This letter is from Mrs Robert White, Goomalita, and is dated August 30, 1903. I believe it was written to George Dickins, who lived with his son, George Robey Dickins at the end of his life.

My Dear Uncle,
I now take the pleasure of writing you this letter, hoping this will find you well as I am happy to say this leaves us at present. How is Lottie Dickens getting on she promised to come and see us when she was in Melbourne but she did not and we often wondered the reason why. I often think of her and hope she is well. How are cousins George and Herbert also their families. Dear Uncle I hope you will get this letter alright as I am putting on the address that Lottie gave me. We are having a good season this year. Last year was a record one for dryness. The crops and grass never grew except in a few favoured places, and it was worse in NS> Wales and the Maller districts as they had to cart water for miles by the paper reports. The crops everywhere are looking well. I have a brother in N.S. Wales he has been there a great many years, his wife died last January 19 of Tropical Fever and left two little girls, the eldest five years and the other three, it was very sad for him poor fellow, he has a housekeeper looking after the children and they are getting on \lright. Of course you know poor Margaret is dead she has been gone eleven years last December and her husband is dead he died six years ago. The family are all grown up the youngest a boy nearly 14. The eldest girl is married and living in Melbourne. My sister Harriet lives at Jea, she is housekeeping. Is Aunt Harriet still living. I suppose you are the only one of poor father's brothers alive. There is only one brother of my mother's living and one sister. I know Aunt Fanny and Uncle Robert are dead. Uncle Robert died when Lottie was out here and she wrote and told us about it. My brother John's widow lives at Mansfield she had three sons but one died a few years ago he got thrown from a horse, and he never recovered, and the eldest got married a few months ago he lives at Euroa he is the proprietor of the paper and is doing well. Now dear Uncle I must conclude I do hope you ill answer this letter as I would so much like to hear from you I will be anxious to know if this address will find you give my best to Lottie and all the members of the family with dearest love to yourself
I remain
your affectionate neice
Annie White

Notes: I corresponded for some time with a descendant of Charles John Dickins, who was the Dickins/Dickens who emigrated. Leonie MacDonell gave me some information on the background of the letter writer and the family.

Charles came to Australia in about 1847 with a squatter named Frederick Griffin who took up several acreages, among them "Preston" near Mansfield in north-east Victoria. Charles became manager of "Preston" when Griffin, who went blind while in Australia, returned to England.

Charles married a Scottish lass Mary Clerk/e in Kilmore (not too far from Mansfield) on 19 February 1851 when she was the ripe old age of 15. Their offspring were John Dickens (born 9 February 1852 - from whom Leonie was descended), MArgaret Dickens (born 21 April 1854), Anne Frances Dickens (born 1856 and writer of the letter, she became Mrs Robert White), Mary Dickens (1859), Charles Frederick Dickens(1860), William McKellar Dickens(1863), Louisa Harriet Dickens (1861) James Duncan Dickens (1865) and Sarah Elizabeth Dickens (1867).

James Duncan Dickens died of Diphtheria on MArch 8, 1869 and his mother died of the same (on March 16 that year). Charles died of cancer of the tongue in Violet Town (in the general vicinity of Mansfield) on August 23, 1886.

Charles and Mary's eldest child (Leonie's great grandfather, John) deid of a fever, presumably malaria, in Queensland in June 1886, leaving his widow, the one referred to in Annie White's melancholy letter, with three small boys. The eldest of the children, who Annie reports got married and was living in Euroa, was Leonie's grandfather, Alfred Sydney Dickens.

I only heard from Leonie a couple of times before she moved house... if anyone knows her current whereabouts I would love to fill her in on the progress I have made.

I mentioned two letters, and then only published one.  This is the other:

Argyle Cottage
August 28, 1891

My dear Uncle,
I was so glad to see by your letter to Father that you were well.  Father was not well a few months back but is quite well again.  Which I am sure you will be glad to hear.  I am ashamed of myself for not writing to you long before this.  We were so pleased with our cousin's photo, I think he is like my brother John only he is very dark.  I would like to have yours and aunt's very much.  When you get them mind not to forget to send me one.

I am keeping house for my Uncle McKellar ever since my aunt's death he is very old 85 years of age.I often see my sisters, Maggie has got four children, two boys and two girls.  She lives 11 miles from here.  Annie is married and got two children, one boy and one girl.  She lives four miles from here, and so I often go to see them. 

John is in New South Wales, he has got two boys, I have not seen him for two years - but we often hear from him.  I was sorry to see by your letter that one of my aunts was so ill.  I hope she will soon get well again/  When you are writing to them give them my love if I know their address I would write to them sometimes. 

I went down to Melbourne to see the exhibition before it closed it was a grand sight to see I enjoyed myself very much it was so large that when you got in you could not find your way out again.  There was a great many that had to ask the way out.  I had to do three or four times myself - it has been very cold here this winter I hope we are not going to have a hot summer it was very hot this summer - there is going to be a show here next month I am going to show some fowls.  I have very nice ones the first prize is a pound the second ten shillings.  I think I will get a prize.  I ought to.  I will draw this to a close, give my love to aunt and tell my cousins ask my cousin to write to me I would be glad to hear from him.  With love to all not forgetting yourself.
I remain dear Uncle
your loving niece
Louise Harriet Dickens

Probably both letters are only of interest to those who are related to the family.  I seem to have a growing list of people to whom that applies!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ruth Elizabeth Charlotte Dickins 1876-1936

This was the ancestor responsible for my beginning to look into family history. She was on the Music halls as a dancer, and yet married a respectable professional soldier and had five children. She travelled the world as a dancer, including a spell on Broadway in New York and a visit to Australia, at a time when many people hardly even made it to the coast for a day trip.

I have a number of fragmentary and rapidly deteriorating documents for her.

Indenture of apprenticeship to Giuseppe Venuto de Francesco as a dancer. Fragment only, document dated5th april 1889. Giuseppe is mentioned in an article on the Norwood Cemetery site in connection with his dancing partner.

Contract with the Brighton Alhambra, dated 30th June 1902, under the name the Sisters Swinson. I do not know who the other sister was. They were paid the princely sum of £10 less 5% a week, which must have been an amazing salary then, for two performances a day, morning and evening - for comparison a minister would earn around 30s, or £1.50 a week.

Contract with Washington Music hall, Battersea
Sisters Swinson again, engagement as duettists and national dancers. April 29th 1901, at £4 per week.

Fragment of advertisement bill for Abbey Theatre, Broawdway and 38th Street

Lottie is shown under Premieures Danseuses as wood pigeon and fox in the production of cinderella "as played at Mr henry Irving's Lyceum Theatre, London". April 30, 1894. The programme is in two pages, and there is a long list of Immortals, other dancers. The other premiere danseuse is Louie Loveday, and so I wonder if she might be the other sister swinson?

Louie Loveday had already starred in the Lyceum production, as is shown here.

Lottie is mentioned in this scholarly article on pantomime, as taking over the role in Cinderella,

Friday, January 11, 2008

Report on death of W.F. Spivey, 1914

I was sorting out some family history archive material this morning and realised that there was a brown fatty deposit on many things. This seems to be coming from a folded newspaper from 1914, which is obviously on the point of disintegration. I am therefore typing up the contents of the item, which is about my great-great uncle, W.F. Spivey.

Walthamstow, Leyton and Chingfor Guardian, Friday, September 4, 1914

Death of Mr W.F. Spivey
Headmaster of Monoux Grammar School
Walthamstow's great loss

It is with profound regret that we record the death of Mr William Francis Spivey, M.A., Headmaster of the Monoux Grammer School, Walthamstow, which occurred on Sunday last in a private ward at the National Hospital for Disease of the Heart, Westmoreland Street, W.

The Monoux Grammar School has sustained an almost irreperable loss by the death of Mr Spivey, who had been on the teaching staff for some 26 years, and who by his diligence had won the confidence and esteem of the Governors, and by the exercise of a kind discipline won the respect and love of the many pupils who were under his care.

Mr Spivey's career was lamentably cut short by prolonged illness; which ended fatally on Sunday last, and it was the regret of many scholars and Old Monavians that they could not be present at the graveside to pay their last tribute of respect.

Mr Spivey, who for many years resided at 12, Merton Road, was born at Carmarthen, South Wales, on April 15th, 1867 and was educated at the Grammar School there, taking his M.A. degree at Trinity College, Dublin. He entered the teaching profession at his old school in Carmarthen, and in January 1888 came to Walthamstow, having been appointed first assistant master at the Monoux Grammar School, of which the Rev. H.A. Allpass. was the then headmaster.

Walthamstow was at that time very different to the Walthamstow of today, and the foundation of the Monoux School had but recently been resuscitated the temporary building being in West Avenue.

It was in 1902 that Mr Spivey received the appointment of acting headmaster owing to the illness of the head, and in December 1903, he was given the headmastership.

During the 10 years he was at its head Mr spivey guided the school with remarkable sagacity, and his assiduity was an inspiration to the scholars.

He was well loved by all his pupils and his real and kindly interest in the in the welfare of each of them left its mark on their characters.

Into the Old Monovians Association he put new life for he rcognised the great value of such an organisation in keeping alive the memories of the happy days spent within the walls of the Monous School.

The last time Mr Spivey attended school was on June 26th last and his last public appearance was on the following day at the Hospital Fete, at Highams, where he officiated as one of the judges for the sports. On June 29th he had to take to his bed, from which he never again rose.

Mr Spivey was an arden sportsman and he nourished the love of healthy games in his pupils. He was formerly a valued member of the Upper Clapton Rugby Club, and at one time was a reserve for Wales. He was also a keen cricketer and he was bitterly disappointed because he was unable to take part in the match this year.

The deceased gentlement will be greatly missed also in Masonic circles: he was a member of the Shurmur Lodge. He also belonged to the Headmasters' Association. The funeral took place at Kensal Green Cemetery on Wednesday. The mourners were Mr B. Spivey, Captain I.H. Spivey (brothers) Miss xxxxx spivey (sister) Mrs Richardson (sister)Miss M.H spivey (sister). Mr A.H. Prowse (senior assistant master) also attended, and among others at the graveside were Dr F.P. Elliott, Mr John Higham, Mr J.J. Kenny, Mr T.S. Taylor (clerk to the Governors), Mr Leaondar Adams (a former master), Mr Dicks (Headmaster of the County High School), Mr H.C. Greenwood (hon.secretary of the old Monrovians' Association), Messrs Dickinson, Marchant and H.H. Griffin (old boys), Mr H.H. Dongray (head boy of the school) and other pupils. There was a large number of beautiful floral tributes, including one each from the masters, the boys, the old boys, and the Shurmur Lodge of Freemasons.

This article is followed straight away by this:
A Colleague's Letter
Dear Sir,
There will doubtless be many a sad heart in Walthamstow amongst present boys, parents and especially old boys of the Monoux School when they learn of Mr Spivey's untimely death.

It has occurred to me that it may perhaps be some solace to his many friends in the irreperable loss they have sustained if you will publish the accompanying verses. He drew my attention to them 20 odd years ago and I know that in his view they expressed the finest consoltary simile for death extant. He committed them to memory, and frequently quoted them. They are by J. Buckham and originally appeared in 1891 in the "catholic World". Thanking you in anticipation, I am Sir, yours faithfully, Leonard Adams, Watford, September 2nd, 1914.

The unknown Bound
I watched a sail until it dropt from sight
Over the rounding sea. a gleam of white,
A last far-flashed farewell, and, like a thought
Slipt out of mind, it vanished and was not.
Yet to the helmsman standing at the wheel,
Broad seas still stretched before the gliding keel.
Disaster? Change? he felt no slightest sign;
Nor dreamed he of that dim horizon line.
So may it be, perchance, when down the tide
Our dear ones vanish. Peacefully they glide
On level seas, nor mark the unknown bound.
We call it death - to them 'tis life beyond.

Other headings on the page include THE WAR A Walthamstow hero
Arethusa Seaman who died in action
Big Recruiting meetings to be held
beneath which is a poem called Fall in By Harold Begbie.

poetry seems to feature rather more than it does now in local papers: there is also a poem on "our flag" on the same page, page 5.

Turning to page 6, there are articles about using schools as hospitals, a messae to car owners asking for their cars, an article on what teachers can do for the war effort, and a message from Field Marashal Sir Evelyn Wood, headed Essex hero's message. There are advertisements running down the edged of the page in both cases.

Clearly made of very acidic paper, I suppose it is a wonder it has survived 93 years.

As a footnote to the above:
I searched for Monoux Grammar school and came up with mixed results. On the one hand there is discussion about whether the character of Mr Chips, from the book and film "Goodbye Mr Chips" came from a composite of teachers at the school, which seems in keeping with the general tenor of the article.

However, there is also a page on the Monoux Grammar school which seems to indicate the school was not well run under my great-great uncle's direction and which indicates that there may have been great pressure upon him. Maybe this contributed to his heart problem.... Ah... the answer to this question is elsewhere on the Monoux site, where it says:
"From 1903 to 1914, Mr. W. Spivey, M.A., a colleague of Mr. Allpass from 1888, was the headmaster, and he did all in his power to continue the traditions of the institution. He, however, laboured under great difficulties, and found the resources and staff quite inadequate to keep the school in a state of thorough efficiency. Dr. M. Sadler, who made a report on the school in 1906, (There were then 193 boys in the School. The net income from endowments was £146 7s. ; the Essex Connty Council grant was £250 ; and that of the Board of Education £387. 16)* said that Mr. Spivey "deserves high praise for the pluck and tenacity with which he has contended against adverse conditions, and for the unremitting care which he has devoted to his duties." The governors were unable to provide the funds for the necessary increase of staff and for the proper payment of the masters ; and, as a result, the constant demands of the Board of Education made Mr. Spivey's work very difficult. He fought bravely, however, till the end came in August, 1914. Mr. Spivey's friends and old Monovians have placed a bronze tablet to his memory in the school, and the following is the inscription on it :-
"Sir George Monoux Grammar School. This tablet was erected by Old Monovians in affectionate memory of WILLIAM FRANCIS SPIVEY, M.A., Assistant Master 1888 to 1903. Head Master 1903 to 1914. Died 30th August, 1914. Aged 47 years. ` A good life hath but few days, but a good name endureth for ever."'