Month: February 2011

Espley Hall

I mentioned in a recent Espley One Name study update that I was hoping to buy an aerial view of Espley Hall from eBay.  Well here it is.

Espley Hall is located near Morpeth in Northumberland.  According to the text in the top right of the image the photograph was taken on 19 August 1918.  I have no idea why the photograph would have been taken and I have no information from the eBay seller.

The building now seems to be used as a hotel, meeting and wedding venue.  I can’t find a website so it looks like we will have to make a trip there before too long and see if we can find any information about the history of the place.

Tombstone Tuesday – Tale of Two Sisters

This gravestone marks the resting place of two sisters who were born within three years of each other but who died nearly half a century apart.

Mary Ellen Gawthrop (nee Snowden) was born about 1869 in Cowling, West Yorkshire and her sister Leah was born about 1872, also in Cowling.

Mary Ellen is the wife of my 1st cousin 3x removed.

On the 1881 UK census Mary Ellen and Leah were living with their parents John (48) and Ann Snowden (44) and  their seven other siblings

Alice (19)

Annie (19)

John (16)

Emily (14)

Selina (10)

Dinah (6)

James (4)

The family is living at Fold Lane, Cowling.  The father is working as a weaving overlooker at a worsted factory.  The four oldest children are working as worsted weavers and the remaining children are recorded as scholars.

Mary Ellen married Joseph Gawthrop sometime in Q3 of 1889.  In the 1891 UK census they are living at 7 Gladstone Terrace, Trawden, Lancashire.  Jospeh’s occupation is cotton weaving overlooker and Mary Ellen is working as a cotton winder.

The following year their son, Wilfred, was born and his birth is registered at Burnley, Lancashire in Q3 1892.

I have no other information about Mary Ellen until her death on 29th April 1897.

Joseph married Selina Bannister in 1898 and they had twin boys the following year, John Elvin and Joseph Arthur.

In 1891 the UK census shows Leah Snowden living with her widowed mother Ann and still at Fold Lane, Cowling.  Also still living at home are siblings Emily (24), Selina (20), Dinah (16) and James (14).  All the children are working as cotton weavers.

In 1901 the family are still together and still living in Fold Lane and still working as cotton weavers.

In 1911 Leah remains living at home with her mother and three siblings – Emily (44), Selina (40), and James (35).

I have no other information about Leah until her death on 1st June 1944.  And I find it really interesting that sisters were buried together after so much time between their deaths.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Toys

This is the seventh challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 7 – Toys

Probably like alot of boys in the UK in the 1950‘s and early 1960‘s my toy box included Dinky and other model cars.  I didn’t have anything rare or unusual – although if I had kept them and still had the original packaging I guess that they might be quite rare and even valuable today.

I remember visiting my grandparents in Leeds and playing on the floor with my cars.  They had a carpet with a design of squares and quite wide tram lines between the squares.  These tram lines were perfect for roads and junctions.

I also had soldiers, cowboys and indians, horses and farmyard animals.  They were more interesting to play with when I got my wooden fort and a wooden farmyard complete with farmhouse, stable, cowshed and pigsty.

Over the years playing with toy soldiers has become big business and there are now online forums and battle re-enactment associations.

I remember having a small train set and a Scalextric track with racing cars.

However I can’t do a post about toys without mentioning the one thing that provided me and my brother with so much entertainment and drove my mother mad.  The good old Subbuteo table football – although in our case we played it on the floor.

We had our own mini league – just the two of us.  We had maybe four teams each, I just can’t remember exactly, and had a fixture list and kept league tables after each round of games.  We set up our Subbuteo football pitch on the floor behind the sofa and we would play for hours.  We didn’t always play to the rules – we bent them a bit.  Instead of flicking the players we might shove them towards the ball.  We shouted and argued with each other – all in the name of winning of course.

On one occasion our mam must have been having a bad day!!  Me and my brother were having our usual heated discussions about whether there was a foul, an off side or whether one or the other of us had cheated in some way.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, our mam appears complaining about our shouting and arguing.  It had obviously got too much for her and she stamped all over our football pitch breaking and severely injuring many of our star players.  Luckily we had other teams of players that we could use.

This incident has gone down in our family folklore and is now recorded for all to see.

Tombstone Tuesday – Alice Gawthrop

Here’s a rather understated tombstone and I think that the family gave quite a lot of thought to it with the little scroll effect at the bottom.

In Loving Memory of


wife of Isaac Gawthrop

of Crow Nest Farm, Colne

Died Jany. 16th 1922

Aged 60 years

At Rest

Alice Gawthrop (nee Snowden) is the wife of my first cousin 3x removed.

She was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire sometime in 1862.  As yet I don’t have any information about Alice’s parents.  To be honest I haven’t looked – it isn’t one of the priorities on my to do list.

Alice married Isaac Gawthrop in the first quarter of 1885 and the marriage was registered at Skipton in North Yorkshire.

The first time that they appear on a census together is 1891.  They had moved to Trawden in Lancashire – only a short distance away.  Isaac is shown as a farmer.  Sometime over the next ten years they moved to 28 Market Street, Colne, still in Lancashire and Isaac is now working as a stonemason.

Between 1887 and 1898 Alice and Isaac had four children

– Johnny (c1887)
– Edith Ann (c1890)
– Joseph (c1892)
– Ida (c1898)

    Given the six year gap between Joseph and Ida I have wondered if there was at least one other child who didn’t survive – but I haven’t looked at the death records to try and confirm this.

    Alice’s tombstone suggests that sometime after 1901 they had moved again and that perhaps Isaac was farming at Crow Nest Farm.


    Espley One Name Study – Update #4

    I’ve made a bit of progress over the last six weeks.  All the GRO births, marriages and deaths are now recorded on spreadsheets – one for each record type.  I am about two thirds of the way through typing the IGI extracts onto a spreadsheet – this is taking a bit longer than I anticipated.  I hope to have this finished by the end of next week.

    I then plan to start transcribing the UK census records.  My thinking at the moment is that I will put these records into Family Tree Maker.

    I have also now joined the Guild of One Name Studies on Facebook.

    The next IT decision I need to make is about a database.  The spreadsheets are OK but I don’t think they are as flexible as a database programme.  I had come to the idea of buying Custodian 3 but have just found out that it is not available for a Mac.  So back to the drawing board.  I have a database with the Mac but not sure I am skilled enough to create what I need from scratch.  Might need to check out the Guild of Name Studies and ask members for advice.

    This week I have seen an aerial view photograph of Espley Hall in Northumberland for sale on Ebay so hoping to buy this.  I have been trying to find out about the history of Espley Hall but drawn a blank so far.  We might need to make a trip up there.

    52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Radio and Television

    This is the sixth challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 6 – Radio and Television

    I have two very early memories of watching TV as a young child.  The first, like many people my age, is the Watch With Mother programmes.  I don’t recall having a television set at home until the early 1960’s but we may well have done – I just can’t remember.  So my memories of Watch With Mother are from spending time with my grandparents.

    The classic line up of shows was

    Monday – Picture Book

    Tuesday – Andy Pandy

    Wednesday – The Flower Pot Men

    Thursday – Rag, Tag and Bobtail

    Friday – The Woodentops

    If I have to choose then I will say that my favourite was Rag, Tag ad Bobtail.

    One other programme I remember was Four Feather Falls.  This was a Gerry Anderson puppet show set in the late 19th Century Western town of the same name, and featured the adventures of its Sheriff Tex Tucker who was given four magic feathers by Indian Chief Kalamakooya as a reward for saving the life of Makooya, the chief’s son. Two of these feathers allowed his guns to swivel and fire automatically and the other two allowed his horse (Rocky) and his dog (Dusty) to speak English.

    My other very clear TV memory is from the early 1960’s and watching a “western” with my dad.  He liked cowboy programmes and films.  The TV series was Have Gun – Will Travel and starred Richard Boone as a professional gunfighter.

    In my teen years the after school TV choice was really between Blue Peter and Magpie.  I was a Magpie watcher.

    There are a host of other 1960’s programmes that I used to watch including

    Till Death Us Do Part – Warren Mitchell as Alf Garnett.

    Monty Pythons Flying Circus

    The Prisoner – Patrick McGoohan as Number Six

    The Lone Ranger – another western – the masked man and Tonto

    Coronation Street – I don’t recall watching the very first episode but have seen it since on various tribute programmes to the long running “soap”.

    Top Of The Pops – the weekly pop music fix every Thursday

    The Man From Uncle

    Match Of The Day – something for the weekend on a Saturday night

    Dixon of Dock Green – early police series, aired I think early Saturday evening

    Z Cars and Softly Softly – two more police series

    The family entertainment and variety programmes included

    Take Your Pick – with Michael Miles and the “Yes-No Interlude”

    Opportunity Knocks – hosted by Hughie Green

    Saturday Night at the London Palladium

    My parents didn’t listen to very much radio at all.  So my interest really started by listening to Radio Luxembourg.  I used to share a bedroom with my younger brother so I would have the radio on really low if we had both gone to bed.  The disc jockeys I remember listening to were Tony Brandon, Paul Burnett, Dave Cash and Tommy Vance.  The reception was notoriously bad but I felt “cool” listening all the same.

    Of course Radio One came along in 1967 and that was the start of a new era of pop music on the BBC.  Before that listening to music on the BBC was Children’s Favourites with Lesley Crowther and later Ed “Stewpot” Stewart – on a Saturday if my memory is correct.  Also on a Sunday was Two-Way Family Favourites – a request show designed to link families at home in the UK with British Forces serving in West Germany or elsewhere overseas.

    If any of my readers share some of these memories please leave a comment for others to see.