I've passed this little hole in this fence loads of times on my walks with the dog and wondered if it had an actual name, evidently it has.
Its a smoot - a gap designed, usually in drystone walls, to allow small creatures such as stoats, rabbits and hares to pass between fields.
Now that the Easter holidays are over and the family has returned to their respective homes I am back on the family history trail.
The ancestral line I am working on at the moment is the family of Tosny. Their surname has been written a number of ways including Toeni and Tony. They are Norman, however, there is evidence that suggests that they may be descended from an uncle of Rollo the Viking who conquered Normandy in the 10th century.
This family take their name from lands around the French town of Tosny along the Seine, they established themselves at Conches and were the French equivalent of the Bigod's, Earls of Norfolk - they were troublemakers to be precise.
My branch ends in the early years of the 11th century with the death of Godehold de Tosny and begins (in England at least) with Ralph de Tosny who is stated to have been a standard bearer at the Battle of Hastings.
Here he is depicted here going about his business on the Bayeux Tapestry.
Instead of commodities, Joseph Treffry's new railway brought the Victorian holiday maker to Newquay in Cornwall, Edith, my 2x great grandmother would find herself in a town which was about to be engulfed by the a new commodity - the tourist.
Newquay, in Cornwall soon spread eastward over the hill that divided the two parishes to encompass Trenance and it would no longer be seen as a separate parish, but as pleasure garden. At this point in time, apart from the Tolcarne Viaduct with its pillars like giants legs straddling the valley, Trenance was still a tree covered semi wilderness, it’s boating lake was constructed in 1906 and the tennis courts in 1917. Including Newquay's beaches, Trenance Gardens was one of Newquay's first tourist attractions.
Into the new seaside resort of Newquay flocked hundreds of Victorian and Edwardian holidaymakers, to accommodate these ‘visitors’ new hotels were built along Narrowcliff, and so strong was the attraction that many of the wealthy purchased houses of their own to which they would bring their families and servants at the height of the season.
The visitors could be seen strolling along the Narrowcliffe and Towan Promenades, taking tea at the Atlantic or the Headland Hotels and emerging from the many bathing huts that were appearing on Newquay’s fine golden sands.
There is more to read about Newquay in Cornwall here
The trouble with researching family history is that you can get sidetracked and I have been very seriously sidetracked this week. Instead of spending my time in a coal mining village in Leicestershire I have found myself reading about Chateau Gaillard. This rather impressive castle, that overlooked the River Seine in Normandy, is now in ruins as you can see from the image below and its ownership had ping-ponged between the French and the English during the Hundred Years War. It was finally taken by the French in 1449.
I was looking into the career of Thomas Beaumont who died in 1457 and who had held the manor of Coleorton, the home of my ancestors, that I found myself in reading about the castle. Beaumont was Captain of Chateau Gaillard and was part of John, Duke of Bedford's forces in France. Thomas Beaumont was a veteran of the Siege of Orleans and had brought 800 troops from England to aid the English cause in Paris in 1429.
Yesterday, my husband and I set off in our new motorhome The Richard III the Second, (we sold the Richard III just before Christmas) for a long weekend away. Our first destination was Spalding with a visit to Aysgoughfee Hall and later a tour of the Fens of Cambridgeshire in search of Hereward the Wake. We intended on ending the day on a campsite situated on the banks of The Little Ouse. On Saturday we were to take a train into Ely for lunch and to see Oliver Cromwell's House, Ely Cathedral and the Stained Glass Window Museum. On the Sunday we were to take a leisurely drive back home for tea cooked for us by daughter number two via Castle Bytham in our home county of Lincolnshire.
Sadly our adventure came to an abrupt end, we only got as far as a car park in Spalding, mind you finding a parking space in Spalding is an adventure itself I can tell you. Anyway, once parked up we noticed a trail of liquid on the concrete below us - yes poor Richard was leaking diesel! How disappointing and annoying! After much lying on the cold floor and looking at the engine, we headed for home with the dial on the fuel gauge showing us how much fuel we'd lost just getting there !! Spalding is only an hours drive from us so there was no problem really, so we were soon back home.
So it's Saturday morning and I am here on my computer, the husband has just discovered we've won £2.50 on the Euro Millions and the grandson is coming over for pancakes later (they are presently his favourite) so the weekends not spoilt after all. Also, the Richard III the Second is all mended and the riverside camping site is booked for another weekend later next month.
Now at some point in the forthcoming week, I would have been sharing with you my photographs and telling you about the historical facts I had found along the way. But never mind, here are a few images taken from Google and a bit of information about some of the places we didn't get to visit:
Ayscoughfee Hall was built in 1429 by a wool merchant named Richard Aldwyn whose son became Lord Mayor of London. The Hall had alterations made in the Tudor and Elizabethian times and has a lovely garden surrounded by a long brick wall (which is all I managed to see as we sped past.)
The Fens includes large parts of the counties of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire and smaller parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, it is on the whole as flat as the aforementioned pancake and usually wet - no mountains for us!
Ely Cathedral built in the 7th century on a site where St Etheldreda's abbey once stood. It's an amazing structure with 288 steps in a spiral staircase all the way to the top. It is also England's third longest
My husband and I have been out and about in our new motor home this weekend - the Richard III the Second. The original Richard III is now on the forecourt of a caravan and motor home dealer in Lincoln awaiting a new family who will love it as much as I did
Our first day out was on Saturday, it really was just a trip to get the hang of the gadgets that are new to us - a fancy loo being one of them. Anyway, we headed for Winceby, just the other side of Horncastle in Lincolnshire - maybe you know it?
On this site in 1643 was one of the first battles of the English Civil war. In one of my pictures, we are standing on Parliamentary lines looking towards Snipe Dales and another onto the field where it is said that many of those who died were buried.
On Sunday we headed for South Kyme and the beautiful church of St Marys and All Saints, sadly but understandably the church was locked so we walked around it instead, you can see for miles in all directions. Standing just a hundred yards away is the 11th century South Kyme Tower home of the Umfravilles, who were Norman marcher lords. The Devon Umfravilles were my ancestors, we knocked, being kinsmen and all, but there was no one in, so we had sandwiches and tea in the motor home instead. While tucking into a buttered scone, the sun flashed under the blind and a good job it did too, it reminded me that next week is the anniversary of one of the major battle of the Wars of the Roses, where the day before, the future Edward IV witnessed a parhelion, a natural phenomenon that he took as a sign from God telling him that he and his Yorkist troops would be successful in battle - he was!
Do not worry about my better half being trapped in a tin can and subjected to my historical babbling. He was checking out what sporting event to watch when we got home.
I hope you like my photographs.
I have, I think, completed the first part of the second chapter in the history of my Cornish family the Scoboryos and this week I am hoping to leave the 17th century behind and move to the latter part of the 18th century when the last of my ancestors, with this unusual name, died.
I will be beginning with the first baptism of an ancestor in the parish church of St Columb Major in Cornwall - my 9th great aunt Joan Scoboryo.
On the 5th December 1642, Joan would have been cradled in the arms of her godparents, and the holy water from the church font would have been poured over her tiny head by Rector John Legge.
This font, that once was attached to a pillar in the church's doorway, now stands in an elegantly paved and panelled baptistry. Carved out of St Stephen's Granite, (a stone granite quarry near Nanpean) this beautiful, but rather simple font was placed in St Columba's Church in the 15th century.
You can read the introduction to the family I am presently working on here:
I'm still plodding my way through the history of my Scoboryo family who hail from St Columb Major and St Columb Minor and today I've been looking at how the family fared in the 17th and 18th centuries. They didn't do too well I'm afraid, but here is a bit of what I'm working on at the moment.
Daniel May was my 3rd cousin once removed, he was the great-grandson of my 6th great grandfather's brother - it's complicated I know! However, I have found it quite fulfilling to trace Daniel's life from his baptism in 1824, through his life as a miller for over forty years at Mellanveane Mill at Trenance, until his death in 1906.
Trenance valley is now a pretty park used by locals and holidaymakers and it played a big part in my childhood, my grandparents lived at the top of the gardens all their lives. The valley's history is interesting, in 1327 it had a tiny stream, orchard and fields and was recorded as a separate settlement held by the Arundel family of Lanherne. By the 1400’s Trenance had passed to another branch of the family the Arundels of Trerice along with Mellanveane mill, a dovecote and a windmill that stood on the hill above.
Interestingly, my Mitchell and Clemens family farmed and built boats either side of Mellanveane Mill, and my great-great grandmother lived at Trenance cottages for twenty years (1861 - 1881) the same time as Daniel May was there. They were related, I wonder if they realised?
In the images below shows my grandson playing in front of Johanna Clemens/Mitchell's house at Trenance gardens. The other families linked with the Scoboryos are the Clemens, Pearce, Martyn and the Ellery families, so if you think that you might be part of my families history, let me know.
I've just about recovered from a fun-filled holiday in Cornwall. There were eight of us and a great, but exhausting time was had by all.
Our holiday contained all the usual stuff, cream teas, long walks, paddling on the beach, gin, country houses, and for me, there was, of course, plenty of family history research.
One of the first places I visited was Tresillan, a place where we had a funny experience at a cousin's christening many years ago. Tresillian Bridge, the site where Sir Ralph Hopton's royalist forces met Thomas Fairfax's, is directly opposite the chapel where the christening took place, from here, giggling at the memory, I able to take new photographs to update my collection, but sadly it was raining. In fact, it more than rained, that day Storm Brian turned up so my photos are on the dull and dreary side. We also attempted to visit Lostwithiel, another Civil War site, but the weather was so bad that we left that for another time.
Anyway, as the week progressed the weather improved and we able to visit the sites we planned to see. The one I was most looking forward to was a visit to the tiny hamlet of Ruthvoes, where legend has it St Columba, the 6th-century Celtic saint, was captured and beheaded. It was St Columba that the Cornish town of St Columb Major, the home of my Cornish family and the home of the 17th-century ancestors I am presently researching, is named after.
St Columb Major is an ancient town that was once destined to be Cornwall's county town but thank goodness it lost out to Truro. This was a blessing in disguise, I don't like to think what would have happened to the town's 14th-century church, the narrow windy streets and the wonderful architecture if a vast cathedral was built there. As time moved on all the fantastic tiled fronted houses would no longer exist all would have been replaced with the horrendous luminous signage that graces the shop fronts like Costa and Macdonalds that we see so much of today - that would have been tantamount to sacrilege in my eyes.
We also spent the day a Morwellham Quay a village that sits on the bank of the Tamar, it is a historic port with a copper mine and a working farm that was featured on the BBC's series Edwardian Farm. This ended with a spooky trip down the mine, eight of us crammed into a cage in the dark was a real hoot.
To end I can assure you that the youngsters of my family were not forced to partake in all activities of 'grave world' as they call it, they did what the young do, they cycled, donned wetsuits and yes they drank that awful coffee you get in paper cups with plastic lids - the traitors!
Well, that's my blog on my holiday, I hope you like my photographs, now I must get on with writing up my findings.
Just over a hundred years ago in the small Cornish village of St Columb Minor, the villages thatched public house caught on fire, not unusual for buildings of this sort, but what was unusual was what occurred after the fire was out.
The public house, the Farmers Arms, caught fire on the 10th of this month in 1913 the cause of which was a firework. Two fire brigades arrived, one from Newquay, who arrived first wearing brand new uniforms and one brigade from St Columb Major, both brigades work together but sadly the fire destroyed the inn. Once the fire was out a 'water fight' between the two fire brigades began. The fight was over the use of the single hydrant which stood near the inn. The hydrant had two hose connectors and the Newquay brigade, who had arrived on the scene forty minutes before St Columb Major had attached their hoses to both connectors. St Columb Major fire brigade, who considered themselves the superior force, were extremely angry that they had to use water from the local pond to help put the fire out turned their hoses on 'rival' brigade.
The fight lasted only a quarter of an hour but Newquay’s new uniforms were ruined and both brigades returned home to find later that the incident had been relaid to a national magazine and the rest of the country were reading all about them.
Sometimes when I am researching I have so much going on in my head that I just have to write it down. Often, as I muddle along making connection my notes turn into a blog
- The Ancestors
- Bustaine of Braunton: Introduction
- Hunt of Barnstaple Introduction >
- Meavy Introduction >
- Mitchell of Crantock: An Introduction >
- Mohun of Dunster: Introduction >
- Scoboryo of St Columb Major >
Thomas Vaughan: An Introduction
- Smith of Barkby Introduction >
- Taylor of Yorkshire
- Tosny of Normandy
- Toon of Leicestershire: Introduction >
- Underwood of Coleorton Introduction
- History Blog
- Wars of the Roses Blog
- History Bites
- Just Jottings
- Alice Povey Illustration
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- F to J
- K to O
- P to T
- U to Z