Saturday, 25 July 2015

Days of plenty in Redcar: a middle class household before the First World War

In old age, Mrs Katharine Isobel Ellis Hill (1905-2005) looked back to the golden times before the First World War broke out ... when she lived with her parents and her brothers in the little hamlet then called Nunthorpe Station, and they went to visit her father's parents in Coatham ...

Her memory of the end of those happy times was very vivid and painful:

King's Head, Newton-under-Roseberry
On Aug 4th 1914 my godmother had a picnic for the young people staying with her & about 12 of us walked 3 miles across the fields, climbed Roseberry, had tea at the King's Head & walked 3 miles back.  
As I ran across the last field & the others went away I crossed the road & saw my father in his Territorial Uniform (khaki) vanish round a bend on his motor bike – I called after him but he did not hear – 
I rushed into the house & asked why? & someone said, 
"There's a war with Germany, so be a good girl."   
I never see that corner of the road without seeing my father on his way to Ypres & the Somme.  7 weeks later Duncan was dead; our house was closed for the duration & I was parted from all my little friends, pets, the garden (& all sense of security forever) & the servants who were old friends.
Katharine's brother, Duncan Stubbs
(Her father's account of the day is here and an account of the death of her brother Duncan is here.)

But to return to life before the War ... 

Katharine looked back across the decades to meals at her grandparents' house, 7 Trafalgar Terrace, Coatham.

7 Trafalgar Terrace, Coatham, in 1904

Her grandfather John Richard Stubbs, had grown up with the open hospitality of his mother and her neighbours in Boroughbridge.

Her grandmother Ellis Macfarlane grew up on the west coast of Scotland, in Helensburgh.  Her father Duncan Macfarlane was a Canada merchant; her mother Mary (also a Macfarlane) was the "lovely little girl" mentioned in Three Nights in Perthshire; with the description of the Festival of a 'Scotch Hairst Kirn' (1821).

This little book, several times reprinted, recounts the author's visit to Mary's childhood home – Ledard, "a large, beautiful farm-house" near the head of Loch Ard.

Mary's father, Donald Macfarlane, had himself taken the great Sir Walter Scott to inspect the nearby waterfall, which Scott described to great dramatic effect in Waverley and Rob Roy.

(Sir Walter hasn't been in fashion in England for many years – this post on Louis Stott's literary blog will put you in the picture).

The book describes the harvest festivities, with plentiful accounts of the food and drink:
sweet and ewe milk cheese, some of the delicious trout for which the neighbouring lochs are famous, basons of curds, with bowls of sour and sweet cream, and piles of crispy oatcakes, together with rolls and butter. 
So we can imagine that, with that sort of family background, food played a significant part in John and Ellis Stubbs' daily life.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Counting sheep in dialect

Further to my last, I've just had my attention drawn (thanks John!) to the article on wikipedia on the subject.

(An appropriate photograph follows ...)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Counting Sheep in the Bilsdale dialect

A note made in 1972 by Katharine Isobel Ellis Hill (1905-2005) of the old words for counting sheep.

It was dictated to her by the grandson of Mr Featherstone, who was born & bred & farmed in Bilsdale; she thought he was probably born in the 1870s or early 1880s.

She has used "the best phonetic spelling I can devise".

It is similar to the counting used in the Lake District.
Yan (or Yëan)

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Noddings family of Hawnby, Hutton Rudby and Hartlepool

I've been contacted by Scott and Keith Noddings with this appeal for information.  They would be very glad to hear from anyone who can help.   
Appeal for information on the Nodding(s) family from Hawnby, Hutton Rudby and Hartlepool
A quick introduction, I’m Scott Noddings, I was born in Burnley, Lancashire in 1973 and my dad is Keith Noddings who was born in West Hartlepool in 1949 and we both have a keen interest with regards to our family history.

 My father and I are particularly interested in the journey our grandfathers took from Hawnby in the 1600s to Hutton Rudby in the 1700s, to Welbury, Appleton Wiske and finally to Hartlepool around the 1820s.  We are trying to figure out what took them from the green fields of Hawnby and the Yorkshire Dales to the coast line of Hartlepool and Seaton Carew, was it simply work and the need to feed the family or was it something else, like their religion…??

Already from this blog we have discovered that our family were connected to All Saints Church in Hutton Rudby.  A Michael Nodding was the churchwarden in 1773,1778 and 1779, furthermore his brother Thomas Nodding was the churchwarden in 1777, 1781, 1798, and 1799.  We know that both Michael and Thomas along with their father James had connections with All Saints' Church in Hawnby, St Leonard's church in Welbury and later at All Saints' Church in Stranton (Hartlepool); what we are keen to know is, was it the church that took them on this journey…..??

Also we are interested in Michael’s grandson Ralph Spencer Noddings who we think was born at Windyhill farm, Seamer in 1786.  The reason for this interest is that he is the first of the Noddings to have a middle name (Spencer) and the only one to have godparents mentioned on his birth register. The godparents were Ralph Spencer Esq, Mr John Middleton and a Mrs Hutton.  We would love to find out who these people were and if they would have played a role in shaping Ralph Spencer Nodding's future.

Finally we are looking for information regarding Ralph Spencer Noddings' marriage to his wife Jane.  We know the marriage must have taken place between 1804 and 1812 (before the birth of their first child), the census of 1871 tells us that Ralph and Jane lived together with their children in Seaton Carew. We have searched high and low for this marriage, can anyone help us…??

If anybody could shine a light or point us in the right direction with regards to the questions above it would be well appreciated, our contact details are as follows……

Scott Noddings - 07748 968 175
Keith Noddings

Below is a list of their names, with date and place of birth and date of death
 James Nodding           (1889 - 1778)  Hawnby
Michael Nodding        (1726 - 1799)  Hawnby
Michael Nodding        (1755 - 1792)  Hawnby
Ralph S Noddings      (1786 - 1872)  Seamer
 Their wives were:
 Ann Gibson                 (1690 - 1782)  Hawnby
Mary Chapman           (1734 - 1789)  Hawnby
Susannah Sayer           (1755 - 1812)  Great Ayton
Jane (Nodding) ?        (1786 - 1868)  Stokesley
 Many Thanks
 Scott & Keith Noddings

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

John Macfarlan Charlton, 21st Northumberland Fusiliers

I've recently been sent these details on the death of Captain John Macfarlane Charlton.  They come from Dennis Tyerman, whose father, a private in the same battalion, was wounded in front of La Boiselle on the same day.

Dennis wrote:
After volunteering in 1914 Captain Charlton trained with his battalion, the 21st Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Scottish Brigade) throughout 1915. In 1916 the Brigade embarked for France and experienced life in the trenches on the Western Front in the early months of 1916.   
On 1 July 1916 the Northumberland Fusiliers were in the front line with orders to attack the German strong point of La Boiselle.  
At exactly 7.30 am Captain Charlton and the other Company commanders led their men into No Man's Land towards the German lines. 
As the British troops reached the point of no return, machine gun crews of the Bavarian Infantry Regiment subjected them to withering fire. Despite heavy casualties some troops reached the German second line but attempts to gain a foothold in La Boiselle failed.  
Captain Charlton and Captain Herries with six men were isolated in a crater and unable to advance because of heavy fire. They eventually obtained a machine gun and advanced. Herries reported how Charlton was killed. 
"For a while we did great execution but the gun jammed at a critical moment. Charlton was shot down while attempting to charge a German strong point and the initiative passed to the enemy."  
The 20th and 23rd Battalions, Northumberland Fusiliers had practically ceased to exist and only the remnants of the 21st and 22nd Battalions, some 200 men and seven officers, remained holding the line. After suffering great hardships, at midnight on 3rd July, thes men made their way back to the British lines.  
The total number of casualties sustained by the four battalions of Northumberland Fusiliers was 2,438 killed, missing or wounded. The 21st Battalion alone recorded 11 officers killed, 10 wounded, other ranks killed 161, wounded 478. The survivors from the whole Brigade barely comprised one battalion and the Brigade was pulled from the line.  
By condensing the first day of the Battle of the Somme to those few lines I have done a great disservice to those men who participated. It must have been a horrendous experience. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Farming records of John Jackson of Lackenby, 1833-55

Record of the farming year kept by John Jackson, 1833-55
A very nice day yesterday at the University of Teesside/Cleveland & Teesside Local History Society Day School on Private Lives: Diaries in Local History, and I remembered that I meant some time ago to post this particular double-page spread from the Farming Day Book of Thomas and John Jackson (see here, and here, and here).

Of interest, I feel, to farmers - and possibly to climate change researchers?  

The Day Book is now at Northallerton Archives - the digital copy they have made is easier to read than the original (you might be glad to hear).

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

'The Man on a Donkey' by H.F.M. Prescott

With all the Tudor stuff on the BBC and the excellent dramatisation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, I thought blog readers might like to be reminded of a seriously good historical novel based on Tudor times, one that is often forgotten these days.

The Man on a Donkey by H.F.M. Prescott was first published in 1952 and it remains one of the greatest historical novels ever.  It goes in and out of print – though as a Northallerton bookseller once commented to me, "We can always sell it here" – and it's currently in print in a two-volume paperback by Loyola Classics.  (You'll find this and various other editions on Amazon.)

And why does it always sell round here?

Because it deals with the Pilgrimage of Grace (as in Thomas Milner of Skutterskelfe: the life & times of a Tudor gentleman) and is set in familiar places – Richmond, Swaledale, Pinchinthorpe, York etc, etc.

Highly recommended.