Month: August 2011

Surname Saturday – Stowell

The Stowell surname in my tree is from my maternal side of the family.  The earliest person with this surname that I have been able to find so far is my 3x great grandfather William Stowell.  As far as I can tell he was born about 1802 in the small hamlet of Bell Busk in the Yorkshire Dales, England.

I have a total of 23 Stowell’s including my 2x great grandfather John Stowell and his daughter Ellen Stowell, my great grandmother.

Since then the name has been given as a first name to one of my uncles.

According to surnamedb Stowell is a locational name from a number of places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century “stan”, meaning stony, and “wella”, meaning a spring or stream.

These places include Stowell near Northleach in Gloucestershire, recorded as Stanuuella in the Domesday Book of 1086; Stowell in Somerset, appearing as Stanwelle in the Domesday book; Stowell in Wiltshire, entered as Stowelle in the Charter Rolls of that county in 1300; and also Stawell near Bridgewater in Somerset, recorded as Stawelle in the Domesday Book and Stanwelle in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Somerset.

My Stowell’s migrated across the Pennines in the 19th Century and latterly are to be found in the Burnley and Padiham areas of Lancashire.

There are few variant spellings of the name including Stawell and Stowelle.

Early example of the surname include: Richard de Stawell (Wiltshire, 1273) and Lecia Stowelle (Cambridgeshire, 1273).  In 1591, one John Stowell of Somerset was entered in the “Oxford University Register”.  The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Stawell.  This was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of Somerset

WDYTYA (UK) – June Brown

I settled down last night anticipating an interesting story and hearing about June’s “journey”.

Well, I must admit to being bored after about half an hour.  So much so that I stopped watching and started working on the laptop only keeping one ear on the TV.

It seemed that June had already done quite a bit of research or had a good knowledge of her more immediate ancesors.  Especially her 3x great grandfather Isaac Bitton the bare knuckle fighter.  I felt that there was too much time spent on this part of the story.

It was really quite amazing though that with the help of historical documents June was able to go as far back as her 6x great grandfather in Oran, North Africa – now modern day Algeria.

So in short it was quite interesting in parts but I wasn’t gripped by the story.

Wedding Wednesday – Mystery Couple

This photograph is from a large collection inherited from my grandparents when they died. Unfortunately most of them are not attributed in any way. So it is a challenge trying to work out who people are. I am resigned to accepting that I will never know for sure but I can still enjoy the images all the same.

This photograph has the photographers name and address embossed in the bottom right hand corner. It looks like F. Shuttleworth, West Lane, Haworth. This certainly puts the happy couple in the geographical area of my Dawson ancestors from around Keighley in West Yorkshire. So perhaps they are relatives.

There is no indication as to when the photograph was taken. I have seen other photographs by F. Shuttleworth on internet auction sites and they all seem to be from the 1920’s. And that would also be my guess for when this wedding took place – or maybe even a little earlier. Does anyone have an alternative suggestion?

On this day … 9th August

1871 … Thomas Gawthrop died aged 14 in Cowling, West Yorkshire.  His parents were Joseph Gawthrop and Susannah Benson.  He is my 1st cousin 3x removed.

1878 … Harriet Paley (nee Richmond) died at Threshfield in Yorkshire.  She is the wife of my 2x great grand uncle.

1934 … Ellen Hurtley (nee Paley) died in Cononley, Yorkshire.  She is my great grandmother.

Frederick Ellis Spink DFC (1921-1944)

Frederick Ellis Spink is my 2nd cousin 2x removed.  I only discovered him recently on a visit to the graveyard at St. Mary’s church at Conistone in Craven, Yorkshire.

Frederick was born around 1921 to parents Thomas Frederick Spink and Elizabeth Ann Fawcett.  He was the second of three sons..

The family lived in the small village of Conistone in Craven.

From what I have been able to find out Freddie (as he was known to his pals) joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Force as a Flying Officer and his service number was 151832.  He was assigned to No. 489 Squadron RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air Force).  This was formed as a torpedo-bomber squadron.

Early sorties were anti-submarine patrols and it was not until August 1942 that the squadron turned to its role of search and attack of enemy shipping. Operating along the Norwegian coast and in the North Sea, it then achieved notable success; crews also flew air-sea rescue searches and anti-submarine patrols and escorted naval vessels and merchant convoys.

In October 1943 No. 489 was withdrawn from operations and in April 1944 it joined forces with No. 455 Australian Squadron to form the Anzac Strike Wing which operated with great success during the last year of the war.

On the 8th April 1944 Freddie was on a mission along the Norwegian coast when he was killed in action.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and his citation was published in the London Gazette on 25th July 1944.


Even though I have only just discovered Freddie I feel incredibly proud of him.

Frederick Ellis Spink is commemorated on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede in Surrey.  The memorial lists the names of over 20,000 airmen who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe.

The following poem was written by Paul H Scott and is engraved on the gallery window at the Runnymede Memorial.

The first rays of the dawning sun
Shall touch its pillars,
And as the day advances
And the light grows stronger,
You shall read the names
Engraved on the stone of those who sailed on the angry sky
And saw harbour no more.
No gravestone in yew-dark churchyard
Shall mark their resting place;
Their bones lie in the forgotten corners of earth and sea.
But, that we may not lose their memory
With fading years, their monuments stand here,
Here, where the trees troop down to Runnymede.
Meadow of Magna Carta, field of freedom,
Never saw you so fitting a memorial,
Proof that the principals established here
Are still dear to the hearts of men.
Here now they stand, contrasted and alike,
The field of freedom’s birth, and the memorial
To freedom’s winning.

And, as evening comes,
And mists, like quiet ghosts, rise from the river bed,
And climb the hill to wander through the cloisters,
We shall not forget them. Above the mist
We shall see the memorial still, and over it
The crown and single star. And we shall pray
As the mists rise up and the air grows dark
That we may wear
As brave a heart as they

Wet Day in The Yorkshire Dales

It was a wet day in the Yorkshire Dales today.

We headed off this morning to St. Mary’s church at Conistone in Craven to look for the grave of my 3x great grandparents John and Sophia Spink.

The weather was fine when we left Leeds but we headed towards the grey rain clouds.  To be fair the weather forecast predicted a lot of rain but we decided to risk it.

It’s quite a small church and graveyard so it didn’t take long to check out all the headstones.  It was really impossible to read some of them – the inscriptions had been worn away over the years.

Unfortunately we didn’t find John and Sophia.  However it wasn’t a wasted trip.  We found three other graves of Spink relatives.  They were all next to each other in a row.  I suspect that John and Sophia may also have been somewhere there in an unmarked plot.

Anyway we got some good photographs and these will feature in Tombstone Tuesday posts in the coming weeks.  I need to do a bit of research on some of the people first.

We had thunder and lightening while we were in the graveyard.  So we took shelter in the small porch (see photograph above).  The church was also open and we were able to have a look inside.  I can imagine my ancestors coming to worship here.

The church was built in the 11th or 12th century.  In 1846 it was rebuilt under the supervision of Lancaster architects Sharpe and Paley, who maintained its original Norman style.  It was designated a Grade II listed building in 1954.

On the way home we called at The Angel Inn in the village of Hetton for lunch.

When the 1881 census was taken my 2x great grandfather, James Paley, was living a couple of houses away from The Angel Inn with two of his daughters, Martha and Betty (see census extract below).  His wife Mary Anne (whose maiden name was Spink – one of John and Sophia’s children) was at the home of another of their other daughters, Elizabeth and her husband in Skipton.  I guess that she was there to help out as Elizabeth had just had a baby who was 3 days old when the census was taken.

Here is a photograph of The Angel Inn taken in 1908.  I have cropped this from a much larger picture that the manager allowed us to photograph after we told him about my Paley connection.

I am now wondering whether my 2x great grandfather James Paley is connected at all with the “Paley” from the arhcitect firm who rebuilt St. Mary’s church.  Or am I just being silly?

Anyway, the day turned out really well in the end.

On this day … 5th August

1827 … David Snowden was born to parents Joseph Snowden and Mary Cowgill.  He is the 2nd cousin of the wife of my 2x great grand uncle.

1868 … James Musgrove was born in Blackburn, Lancashire to parents John Musgrove and Catherine Ainsworth.  He is my great grand uncle.