UK trip 11 May 2005: Girvan to Edinburgh

Continued from UK trip 10 May 2005: Whitehaven to Girvan | Notes from underground

We left Girvan after breakfast, and drove to Maybole, where the McCartneys had come from. My maternal great great grandparents were Thomas Hannan and Janet McCartney, who were married in Maybole and lived in Girvan, so we wondered if there might be some McCartney graves in Maybole cemetery, but did not see any.

Maybole, Aryshire

Maybole, Aryshire

We looked at the old cemetery there, where there was a plaque saying that the parish church had been founded in the 11th century, and there was a ruined church across the road. It was interesting to see the different styles of inscription, though some, particularly the sandstone ones, were badly weathered. The 18th century and earlier ones had large writing, and sometimes Celtic designs on the back, while the early 19th century ones were smaller, with some parts in italic. About the mid-19th century the favoured style switched to sans serif, and sometimes later inscriptions on the same tombstone were in a diffferent style. There were lots of broken bottles in the cemetery too.

Maybole Cemetery

Maybole Cemetery

We by-passed Ayr, and stopped at Kilmarnock to change traveller’s cheques, and bought a couple of CD WORM discs to back up some of the pictures we had taken. In some of the pedestrian streets there were strange statues buried in the streets, and we took photos of them.

In the streets of Kilmarnock. 11 May 2005

In the streets of Kilmarnock. 11 May 2005

Kilmarnock was quite a pleasant town, and the biggest town we had seen in Scotland so far.

In the streets of Kilmarnock

In the streets of Kilmarnock

From there there was a new motorway to Glasgow, which we covered quite quickly, and drove through Maryhill and Bearsden to Milngavie to see Ria Reddick. She was my mother’s cousin, and the only one of that generation of the Hannan family who was still alive, as far as we knew. She was out, however, and a woman in charge of the subsidised housing where she lived said she had gone on a bus trip, so we left a note for her with our cell phone number (see here for more on the Hannan family). We drove on to Edinburgh through Falkirk, and went to John and Maxine Wincott’s place in Fairmilehead, but they were out, and then to Maxine’s sister Zania’s house, but they were out too, so we went for a drive around the town, though it was peak hour traffic.

M4034S-4211

M4034S-4211

But we managed to catch glimpses of the castle and Holyrood House, which was at least more than I had seen on my previous visit in 1967, when I had changed trains at night at Waverley station at night. We got stuck in very heavy traffic waiting to cross the Forth Bridge, and went back to the bypass road to try to find a way out of town, and went east to Dunbar, and were about to book into a bed and breakfast place when Zania rang, and so we went back to her place for coffee. Zania McKenzie and Maxine Wincott are sisters, daughter of Nora Pearson, whom we had seen in Whitehaven two days before. They are Val’s double second cousins, being related on both the Ellwood and Pearson sides of the family, making them genetically equivalent to first cousins.

Cousins: Maxine & John Wincott, Val Hayes, Ian & Zania McKenzie. Edinburgh, 11 May 2005

Cousins: Maxine & John Wincott, Val Hayes, Ian & Zania McKenzie. Edinburgh, 11 May 2005

We spent the night with John and Maxine Wincott, and walked up to a local restaurant for supper, and I drank a local beer recommended by John, and then some Newcastle brown ale, and had spaghetti and meatballs for supper, as they didn’t have any fasting food on the menu. Afterwards we went back to the house, and looked at some of our family photos, and some that Maxine and Zania had. Zania’s husband, Ian McKenzie, joined us.

Continued at UK trip 12 May 2005: Edinburgh to Stockton-on-Tees | Khanya

Index to all posts on our UK trip here UK Holiday May 2005

UK trip 9 May 2005: Gobowen to Whitehaven

Continued from UK trip 8 May 2005: Davies family at Gobowen | Khanya

We spent the light with John and Shirley Davies at Gobowen, near Oswestry. I woke up at about 2:00 am, and caught up with writing my diary and made family history notes. Later at breakfast Shirley told us more about their lives since I had last seen them 35 years before.

After breakfast Shirley did some spinning, and it was the first time I had ever seen a spinning wheel in action. I’d only ever seen them used as decorations before, starting with the people who bought our old house in Westville, and made it into the homes and gardens pages of one of the Natal papers, which featured a picture of a spinning wheel.

I’d also read about spinning wheels in Grimm’s fairy tales, and still had no idea of how they worked, and pictured someone with a fat thumb pressing raw wool on to the big wheel and somehow manipulating it into thread. The name of their house, Nyddfa, means “place of spinning”. The house was interesting — a compact single storey, with a nice back garden; no TV, but a computer, which Shirley worked on often. She said, “What did you do when you woke up early before you had a computer?” and I was at a loss to tell her. She wakes up before John, as I do, and John, she said, sleeps nearly 12 hours a night now. But as I get older I wake up earlier, and find the computer provides plenty to occupy me with in the early hours
of the morning. They had good furniture, and everything is neat and clean and comfortable, with ornaments, and such a contrast to their life in South Africa, where the furniture was makeshift, and
everything simple, the garden a jungle, especially at 11 Queens Road Parktown. Shirley said she hated living there, because she felt boxed in, but it held good memories for me, because that was where they lived when I knew them best.

Shirley Davis spinning at Nyddfa, Gobowen. 9 May 2005

Shirley Davis spinning at Nyddfa, Gobowen. 9 May 2005

We left just after lunch, at 1:30, heading north, and re-entered Wales, going in to Wrexham to cash a travellers cheque at the Nat West Bank, and then going on to the M6 motorway and driving as fast as the traffic and speed limit would allow. We stopped at one of the services places after we had passed the Liverpool-Manchester conurbation to buy sweets and a Coke and a Sunday paper, the Independent. While my Cottam ancestors had lived in Manchester and in the Lancashire area, we did not have time to go and look for the places where they had lived, and so stuck to the motorway through the urban areas.

I noticed a change there from when I had lived in the UK in the 1960s. Then I had been struck by how orderly and polite British drivers had been compared to South African ones, who tended to be aggressive. Back then British motorists would flash their headlamps to say “After you,” while South African motorists would flash their headlamps to say “Get out of my way.” Now it was the other way round.

I recalled a visit from Val’s second cousins a couple of years previously, John and Maxine Wincott. I took them on a tour of Tshwane, and John was amazed at the behavious of drivers at four-way stop steets and places where the road narrowed, how they filtered in, taking it in turns. On the busy motorway junctions in the Liverpool-Manchester area, however, if anyone tried to filter in from an acceleration lane there would be angry light flashings and sometimes hooting from other vehicles. I wondered if it was a change in culture brought about by Maggie Thatcher.

We turned off the motorway to drive to Windermere, where I had once visited the home of a college friend, Craufurd Murray, in 1967. Then it had been cold and overcast, and the lake had looked grim and grey and cheerless. Now it looked a bit brighter.

Lake Windermere, Cumbria, 9 May 2005

Lake Windermere, Cumbria, 9 May 2005

We drove round the northern end of Lake Windermere, through Ambleside, and then over the Wrynose and Hardknott passes, which were reminiscient of the mountains of Lesotho, though of course they were much lower and closer to the sea.

The Wrnose Pass, looking back East towards Windermere. 9 May 2005.

The Wrynose Pass in the Cumbrian fells, looking back East towards Windermere. 9 May 2005.

The roads were narrow and winding, and we saw lots of sheep. The young lambs were black, and the older sheep brown with white faces. Seeing them reminded me of Rebecca West’s book Black lamb and grey falcon, describing travels in the Balkans in the 1930s, and indeed the Cumberland fells looked a lot like the mountains of Albania too. The Hardknott Pass was even steeper than the Wrynose Pass, but we were going downhill over the steepest bits, down into Eskdale.

skdale, Cumbria, from the Hardknott Pass. 9 May 2005.

Eskdale, Cumbria, from the Hardknott Pass. 9 May 2005.

We drove in to Whitehaven, where Val’s Pearson and Ellwood ancestors had come from (see The Pearson and Ellwood families of Whitehaven | Hayes & Greene family history). We looked for somewhere to stay,
and also for a loo, but could not easily find either.

We went to see Nora Pearson, the widow of Val’s mother’s double-first cousin John Pearson (and the mother of Maxine Wincott, mentioned earlier), and had coffee with her, and showed her photos of the
family. She had been ill, and was only now able to walk around again. She had a cat which she kept a prisoner and would not allow to go outside, though she had a fairly big garden and lived in a quiet cul-de-sac. We had corresponded with her for about 30 years about the family history, but this was the first time we had actually met her face to face.

Val Hayes and Nora Pearson, Whitehyaven, 9 May 2005

Val Hayes and Nora Pearson, Whitehyaven, 9 May 2005

We phoned one of the bed and breakfast places on our list, at Lowca, and went out to stay there, and returned to Whitehaven for supper in a Chinese restaurant, one of the few open and serving food as it was after 9:30 pm. We were the only ones there, and an excessively polite and smiley waiter persuaded me to try Chinese beer, which wasn’t bad. We had eggs foo yong which was good, and sweet and sour pork, but that was not up to our benchmark of the Phoenix restaurant in Point Road in Durban, which was the standard by which we evaluated all Chinese restaurants.

We looked at books on old Whitehaven that the people in the B&B place had lent us, and there was one on Lowca Engineering, which had made steam locomotives, where Ernest Pearson (Nora’s father-in-law)  had worked. He was originally an acetylene welder at Lowca Engineering Works, near Whitehaven. He served in the 1914-1918 War in the Royal Flying Corps at Halton, Bucks and at Blandford, Devon. About 1923 the Lowca Engineering Works closed down, and he went to work for his brother-in-law’s company, John Ellwood & Co, as a plumber and electrician, and remained there for the rest of his working life.

Wales and Ellwood cousins

Continued from Cornwall to Morgannwg: 6 May 2005 | Hayes & Greene family history

We left the rather bland hotel in Caerphilly just after 8:00, and went to have a look at the castle in daylight. I was interested in Caerphilly and Whitchurch because my great great grandmother, Catherine Harris, who married James Andrew Hayes, was said to have been born in Whitchurch, and her mother Sarah was born in Caerphilly.

Caerphilly Castle, 7 May 2005

Caerphilly Castle, 7 May 2005

We drove north, up the Rhondda valley stopping at Brecon for breakfast at a small cafe, as the hotel breakfast was optional and rather expensive. The town was full of secondhand bookshops, and if we’d had more time and money we might have spent a couple of days there, but instead we went to W.H. Smith and got a couple of extra films and a map of North Wales.

Cwm Rhondda, 7 May 2005

Cwm Rhondda, 7 May 2005

We had just left the town and gone about 10 miles when Val discovered she had left her bag behind, so we went back to the cafe and looked for it, and they hadn’t even cleared the plates away. There was a lot of traffic on the major roads, so we took the minor ones, which were winding and twisting. We stopped at the Clywedog Reservoir to take some photos.

Vlywedog Reservoir, 7 May 2005

Clywedog Reservoir, 7 May 2005

We reached Blaenau Ffestiniog just after noon. It was quite a big town, but mostly winding and twisting along the main road. When we originally planned our trip we had hoped to meet Father Deiniol, the Orthodox priest there, whom I had met in Albania a few years previously (see here for that story). But it turned out that the time we would be there, he would be away in Turkey. Even though Father Deiniol was away, we looked for the Orthodox Church, but could not see where it was, though we stopped to look and just about every building that looked vaguely church like. Most of them were abandoned and derelict, or were being used for something else.

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. 7 May 2005.

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. 7 May 2005.

We drove on to Betwys-y-Coed, which seemed to be full of tourists and tourist accommodation, and turned off just before Caernarfon to look for Deiniolen, where Viv and Geraint Jones lived. We missed the turn off were looking for, and could not go back as a lot of cars were following and there was no place to turn, so took the next turn off and got lost. We drove through some villages, and found ourselves on a hill above a village we thought was Deiniolen, but were not sure about, because there was no signpost saying that it was. Viv Jones phoned, and suggested that we should stay were we were and that they would come to look for us, but that was not a good idea, as they got lost too, but eventually they found us and led us to their farm Blaen Ce Uchaf, just outside Deiniolen, where we had tea with them and their daughter Alison, 24 years old, who was doing a PhD in Chemistry at Bangor University.

Geraint, Viv and Alison Jones and Val Hayes. Blaen Ce Uchaf, 7 May 2005

Geraint, Viv and Alison Jones and Val Hayes. Blaen Ce Uchaf, 7 May 2005

Their farm was 70 acres, and they had cattle and sheep. Geraint said it had been in his family for four generations, and it seemed rather sad that they had no other children who could work it for them, and to whom they could leave it. They worked it all themselves.

Viv and Val were second cousins on the Ellwood side of the family, and Norah Pearson (of whom more later in this series) once wrote to us saying that Valerie, Vivienne and her own daughter Maxine were all born within a few months of each other in 1948, and she recalled making matinee jackets for the three of them. Their maternal grandmothers were Martha, Bridget and Margaret Ellwood, daughters of Thomas Ellwood and Mary Carr of Whitehaven, Cumberland.

Viv Jones and Val Hayes, Caernafon, Wales.

Cousins: Viv Jones and Val Hayes, Caernafon, Wales.

Geraint’s sister was ill, and he and Alison went to see her in hospital, while Viv led us down to Caernarfon stopping on the way for us to book accommodation at a “Grill and Tea Room” at a traffic circle,
and then to Caernarfon Castle, where there was an Orthodox Church in the city wall. It had a sign saying that it was in the care of a monastic community that lived outside the town, but did not say what time there were services, or where the community was.

Orthodox Church in the city wall, Caernafon, Wales.

Orthodox Church in the city wall, Caernafon, Wales.

Viv left us to join the others at the hospital, and we walked round the castle, and across a pedestrian swing bridge over the river, taking photos. and as seemed usual when we reached the water, the tide was out.

River Seiont at Caernarfon.

River Seiont at Caernarfon.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

We drove back to the tea room, but they were just closing the dining room as we arrived, and so we drove on to a pub up the road, and had lamb curry for supper, and I had Newcastle Brown ale,  my all-time favourite beer, which I had not had for many years. The second best, Lion Ale, is no longer made. When I was in England to study 40 years ago, I had often eaten at Indian restaurants in preference to English ones, because Indian food was so much better, but now the pubs are offering Indian food, though they still made rather watery curry-flavoured stew, and offered it with chips as an alternative to rice.

When we got back to the tea room Viv and Geraint Jones were waiting for us there, and Viv brought a sampler which had the name Mary Barker, and the date 1814 on it, which she had inherited with her
mother’s things, and wondered if the Mary Barker was related, but we did not immediately recognise it. Her mother, Elsie Fee, was Val’s mother’s first cousin on the Ellwood side. They then took us for a ride over the Menai Bridge, which was quite famous, to the island of Anglesey.

The Menai Bridge, 7 May 2005.

The Menai Bridge, 7 May 2005.

 

On the Anglesey side there was also the place with the longest place name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, and Geraint took great delight in saying the name for us.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Station, Anglesey, Wales 7 May 2005.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Station, Anglesey, Wales 7 May 2005.

Then we went to Bangor, to see the cathedral, and Geraint and Viv dropped us back at the tea room at 10:30 pm.

Bangor Cathedral, Wales. 7 May 2005.

Bangor Cathedral, Wales. 7 May 2005.

Cornwall to Morgannwg: 6 May 2005

Continued from: 5 May 2005, Cornwall

We woke up about 5:30 at the Trewint B&B near Blisland, Cornwall, where we had spent the last two nights, and packed our things. We watched the news on TV. More election results were out, and it seemed that the Liberal Democrats had made gains at the expense of Labour, which seemed satisfactory to me, as it might send a message to Tony Blair that his war mongering was unacceptable.It looked as though Cornwall, in particular, was a Tory and Labout-free zone.

 

Ytewing B&B at Waterloo, near Blisland, Cornwall

Trewint B&B at Waterloo, near Blisland, Cornwall

We had breakfast at 7:30, and left Trewint at about 8:15, driving up to St Breward again, and then across the moors to Camelford, and down to the church at Lanteglos, and took a couple of photos of the outside, but did not go in and take pictures in the churchyard or inside the church, as we only knew of one family member who had been born there, my great granduncle Richard John Tilley Greenaway, younger brother of my great grandmother Elizabeth Greenaway, who married William Matthew Growdon. Richard was born and baptised at Lanteglos-by-Camelford in 1847, but as the family seemed to move around a lot at that time, his siblings were all born elsewhere.

North Cornwall coast at Tintagel, 6 May 2005

North Cornwall coast at Tintagel, 6 May 2005

We went on to Tintagel, where William Matthew Growdon’s mother, Christiana Dyer, had lived with her first husband, John Pope. Her two eldest children, Thomas and Philippa Pope, were born there in 1838 and 1840, but seem to have disappeared, as we could find no record of their subsequent marriage or death.

"King Arthur's Castle" hotel at Titagel, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

“King Arthur’s Castle” hotel at Tintagel, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

At Tintagel there was a large block of a hotel, calling itself King Arthur’s Castle, a rather kitsch Disneyland type of thing, with an “Excali-Bar”. We drove to the church, a little outside the village, and found a couple of Sandercocks buried there, and took photos of the church and of the island from the cliffs.

UKtrip59Those Sandercocks were probably not related, as  ours seemed to have lived mostly in Cardinham, on the south side of Bodmin Moor, and the ones on north-eastern Cornwall seemed to be entirely separate.

Tintgel village, from the churchyard. 6 May 2005

Tintagel village, from the churchyard. 6 May 2005

Then we headed east along the north coast, driving through Devon, and stopped at Barnstaple, where we found an interesting market, where we bought some batteries, and a newspaper at the newsagents,
and some roast beef rolls with horseradish sauce.

Market in Barnstaple, Devon

Market in Barnstaple, Devon

We drove through Exmoor forest and stopped for a picnic lunch at the side of the road, eating the beef rolls we had bought in Barnstaple.

Exmoor Forest, Somerset. 6 May 2005

Exmoor Forest, Somerset. 6 May 2005

.We joined the M5 at Taunton, and stopped at the Gordano Services centre for petrol. My great grandparents William Allen Hayes and Mary Barber Stooke had been married at Easton-in-Gordano, and some other members of the Hayes family had been buried there, but we did not go off the motorway to have a look since they did not seem to have lived there very long. We drove on and crossed the Severn Bridge to south Wales.

Crossing the Severn into South Wales 6 May 2005

Crossing the Severn into South Wales 6 May 2005

There were now two bridges, and we took the eastern one, which I had walked across in 1968, after visiting my college friend Chris Gwilliam at Chepstow when on a “seeing people” hitchhiking tour during the college vacation.

We tried to get off the M4 and go to Whitchurch, which we reached by a rather roundabout route, and looked for somewhere to stay near there, and there didn’t seem to be anywhere suitable, so we drove up to Caerphilly, with lots of roadworks on the way through the rush-hour traffic. We saw the castle there, and settled for a hotel on the edge of town, one of a chain similar to the Formula I hotels in South Africa. It was bland and boring, and looked like any such hotel anywhere in the world, but at least there was a table where one could put the computer. In spite of their name, laptop computers don’t really work very well on laps, and tend to slide off onto the floor. At the Trewint B&B we had managed to balance it on a bedside pedestal, after moving all the fluffy toys and dolls onto the bed.

We tried to phone my cousin Simon Hayes, who lived in Cardiff, but at first got no response, and left a voice mail message for him, and he phoned back a bit later to say he was driving home from work. He commuted each day to work in Bristol.

My cousin Simon Hayes outside his house in Cardiff. 6 May 2005

My cousin Simon Hayes outside his house in Cardiff. 6 May 2005

We drove over the hill to Cardiff to meet Simon and his wife Gill, and their younger daughter Jessica, aged 7. Their elder daughter, Sophia, aged 10, had gone to a Guide vigil.

Gill, Jessica and Simon Hayes. Cardiff, 6 May 2005.

Gill, Jessica and Simon Hayes. Cardiff, 6 May 2005.

We had supper with them, and spent a very pleasant evening chatting about family history, and politics and various other things. Simon was the son of my second cousin Roger Hayes, who had been a marine engineer. We drove back to the hotel in Caerphilly, and went to bed about midnight.

Simon & Steve Hayes, Cardiff 6 May 2005.

Simon & Steve Hayes, Cardiff 6 May 2005.

Continued at Wales and Ellwood cousins.

UK Trip 5 May 2005: Cornwall

Continued from Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

We had breakfast at 7:00 am, and by 8:00 set off to explore the Bodmin Moor villages where some of my ancestors had lived. We went first to Cardinham, where William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock had
got married in 1792, and the first of their children were born. Just over the road from the church was the village hall, where they were setting up the polling station for the general election.

Cardinham parish hall, Cornwall, being set up for use as a polling station in the General election, 5 May 2005

Cardinham parish hall, Cornwall, being set up for use as a polling station in the General election, 5 May 2005

Cardinham village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, where the Sandercock family had lived for several generations 5 May 2005

Cardinham village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, where the Sandercock family had lived for several generations 5 May 2005

The grass in the churchyard was dewy, but we found a number of tombstones of Sandercock and related families, and took photos of them with the digital camera and also of the interior of the church, where the pews were very ancient indeed, and it was quite a thought that ancestral bums had sat upon those pews.

St Meubred's Church, Cardinham, where William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock were married in 1792.

St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, where William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock were married in 1792.

The Sandercock family went quite a way back in Cardinham, but William Growden appeared from nowhere, and we have not been able to find where he was born or who his parents were. You can see more about the church and these families here, and the gravestone of the earliest Sandercocks is here. The church is also known for its Celtic style wheel-headed crosses, which are said to be the oldest in the area.

Celtic-style Wheel-headed crowss in Cardinham churchyard

Celtic-style wheel-headed cross in Cardinham churchyard

If you are reading this because you are interested in family history, and would like to learn more about these families and discuss them with others, you can find a discussion forum for the Growden family here, and one for the Sandercock family here.

Carvings at the end of one of the pews in St Meubred's Church, Cardinham, where ancestral bums had sat. Each pew seemed to have a different carving.

Carvings at the end of one of the pews in St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, where ancestral bums had sat. Each pew seemed to have a different carving.

From Cardinham we drove in to Bodmin, about 6 km away, and bought some more detailed Ordnance Survey maps, and then went to take some photos of the Growden family home at 3 Higher Bore Street, where the Growden family was living in 1861. My great grandfather, William Matthew Growden, was ten years old when they were living there. His father, Matthew Growden, was shown in the census as an agricultural labourer. His mother was Christiana Dyer, originally from Roche in Cornwall.

M4034S-4211

We also went to Scarlett’s Well, not far away, where my great grandfather, William Matthew Growden, was born in 1851. It was very interesting, as the well was a holy well, reputed to have healing powers.

Scarlett's Well, Bodmin, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

Scarlett’s Well, Bodmin, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

Next to it was a cottage that could well have been where the family lived, because it was the only dwelling in the vicinity. Though there had been some modern additions, the basic house looked very old, and it also made sense of Matthew Growden’s occupation as a “woodman”, someone who took care of the woods on the land. For more pictures of the area, including the cottage and William Matthew Growdon, see here.

We went on to Penpillick, near Tywardreath, whiere my grandfather, William George Growdon, had been born, and seeing an advertisement for cream teas went to a farmhouse and had some, but like so many other such places, the people were not Cornish, but had moved here from elsewhere a few years ago. They had a nice smooth dog, called Manic Mabel. We took some photos of the parish church in Tywardreath, but did not stay very long, because the family had not lived there very long either. We went to Par to look at the beach, and drove East along the the south Cornwall coast towards Fowey.

South Cornwall coast near Par. 5 May 2005

South Cornwall coast near Par. 5 May 2005

There was a footpath along the coast, but we did not walk along it, as we did not have enough time. If we ever win the Lotto and can afford to have a return visit it might be fun to do that. We turned inland at Fowey, and drove through Lostwithiel and St Neot. St Neot was where another Growden family had lived, though we have not found any link between it and ours. From there we went past the Dozmary Pool, where King Arthur’s sword was supposed to have been thrown after his death. It did not look much different from the Colliston Lake on the other side of the road.

Dozmary Pool, Cornwall, where King Arthur's sword is said to have been thrown after his death.

Dozmary Pool, Cornwall, where King Arthur’s sword is said to have been thrown after his death.

It was lunch time, and we went to Jamaica Inn nearby, but it looked too touristy, and very crowded. It was on the A30, the main road through the area, and it looked as if every passer-by had had the same idea. Instead we went to look at the parish of Temple, where Mary Ann Tilly had come from. She was my great great grandmother, and had married Richard Greenaway of St Breward, and their daughter Elizabeth Greenaway had married William Matthew Growdon.

Temple Church, Cornwall, 5 May 2005.

Temple Church, Cornwall, 5 May 2005.

Temple was a tiny village, but there were lots of cars there, and at first we thought that the entire population had come to vote all at once, but then we saw strangely dressed people, looking like druids or something, though some were dressed as friars or knights in suits of armour. They seemed to be coming up from the church, and it turned out to be a medieval wedding, and we spoke to some of the guests.

Medieval wedding at Temple, Cornwall. 5 May 2005.

Medieval wedding at Temple, Cornwall. 5 May 2005.

We then drove to St Breward, thinking to have lunch at the pub there. We drove across Bodmin Moor from Temple, and the road was on the surface instead of in a sunken lane, so one could see the horizon, and there were ponies that appeared to be wild wandering about on the moor.

Ponies on Bodmin Moor

Ponies on Bodmin Moor

It was 2:30 by the time we got to St Breward, and they stopped serving food after 2:00 pm, so we went back to Bodmin, to Weaver’s tea room, over the road from the Weaver’s bar where we had eaten the previous evening, and there at last they did have Cornish pasties on the menu. The woman running the place was from North London, however. There don’t seem to be any Cornish people around. She said she worked part time, and lived in Blisland, near where we were staying, and she said there were still some Greenaway families in the village.

Bodmin, Cornwall, 5 May 2005

Bodmin, Cornwall, 5 May 2005

We walked around the churchyard of St Petroc’s, where all the tombstones had been placed around the
walls, but there were no Growden ones. The church was closed at 3:00 pm. Though it was supposed to be western Ascension Day, there didn’t seem to be any services at any of the churches we had visited. There was a museum with exibits showing the history of Bodmin, and and we went up to The Beacon, a hill with views all around, but the day wasn’t clear enough to see very much. There was also an obelisk, a  memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh, on top of the hill.

St Breward Church and pub. 5 May 2005

St Breward Church and pub. 5 May 2005

We returned to St Breward, and wandered round the churchyard, taking pictures of tombstones, as there were several Greenaway ones, some quite recent, and had supper of sausage egg and chips at the pub, which was quite good. The sausages were real, and not like the bread-filled Walls sausages that were all one could get in England 40 years before.

Val Hayes in St Breward churchyard, 5 May 2005

Val Hayes in St Breward churchyard, 5 May 2005

We went down to Blisland again, and went to the church there, and took more photos in the churchyard, where the old school was being used as a polling station. Then went to the pub which was quite crowded, and had a beer, and were joined by a couple who had been at the medieval wedding at Temple, Martin and Bemi Murphy, and chatted to them for a while. They were originally from Manchester, but now lived at St Ives, where they ran an ice cream van, and they had made most of the costumes for the wedding.

Blisland Parish Church, 5 May 2005

Blisland Parish Church, 5 May 2005

When we got back to Trewint farm we went to bed, and watched TV for a while, when the first election result was announced, which was Sunderland South, which Labour held with a reduced majority.

Continued at Cornwall to Morgannwg, 6 May 2005.

 

UK Trip 4 May 2005: Somerset, Devon, Cornwall

Continued from Hayes family in Somerset.

We had breakfast at 7:30, and left Pickford House at Beckington just after 8:00. We had had a very pleasant stay there for two nights.

Pickford House B&B, Beckington, Somerset 4 May 2005

Pickford House B&B, Beckington, Somerset 4 May 2005

We drove through Midsomer Norton, because there was a TV detective series called Midsomer Murders. Midsomer Norton looked a rather unprepossessing place, and it turned out that the detective series was filmed in Oxfordshire anyway. We drove down the Cheddar Gorge this time, and went to the post office in Axbridge, where we bought post cards, pens and stationery. We drove up the High Street and round the village. There was a field full of Somerset sheep, which seemed fatter than the Merinos at home, and at the other side of the field there appeared to be two llamas lying down, but they were so far away we could not see them very well.

Fields at Axbridge, Somerset. Is the animal by the fience on the right a llama? 4 May 2005

Fields at Axbridge, Somerset. Is the animal by the fence on the right a llama? 4 May 2005

We called at Wookey Hole, but did not go in to the caves. We drove through Glastonbury, and saw the Tor, which was not nearly as numinous and mysterious as it has been touted to be. We had read in many places that it was supposed to be spooky, and one of the “thin places” of the earth, but it looked quite ordinaryas we drove past. Nearby we passed a sign to Burrowbridge Mump, and we wondered what a “mump” could be — something like a tumulus or tump, perhaps? We saw a roundish hill off to the left, and assumed that that was it. Then we drove along a narrow road across the Somerset flats, lined with basket willows, and turned off to the left, and after about a mile climbed up to North Curry, where my great great great grandfather Simon Hayes was born about 1785.

The Somerset Leveds, with the road lined with basket willows 4 May 2005

The Somerset Levels, with the road lined with basket willows 4 May 2005

The sky was overcast and there was a chilly wind blowing. From the hill there was a view a long way over the Somerset Levels. We went to the church, and when we got out of the car we heard the sound of the wind blowing in the trees and the raucous cries of strange birds. That was numinous and mysterious, far more so than Glastonbury, and had a rather menacing atmosphere.

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset. 4 May 2005

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset. 4 May 2005

The harsh cries of crows, and some that sounded like owls made it feel somehow unearthly. It was what H.P. Lovecraft might describe as eldritch. The church with its octagonal tower was grey and crumbling and covered with lichen, and looked like an abandoned building from Elidor, something from another time and place. If you are talking about thin places, this was the thinnest place I had ever been in.

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset, 4 May 2005.

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset, 4 May 2005.

Inside the church was also rather impressive, in a somewhat different way, and it seemed to be a lively and active parish. There was an ikon of St Peter & St Paul, and we lit candles in front of it. We had lunch in the Bird in Hand pub, ham eggs and chips, which was expensive, but much better than English food as I remembered it from 40 years ago. In Bath we had gone to a Chinese restaurant, because of my memories of the banality of English cuisine. This was a surprise, and as we continued on our travels we discovered the cooking much better than it had been in the 1960s; perhaps it was the influence of all the cooking shows on TV that seemed to have proliferated in recent years.

Pub in North Curry

Pub in North Curry

The inhabited parts of the village were not nearly as spooky as the bits around the church. Though my ancestor Simon Hayes claimed to have been born here, there was no record of his baptism in the church records, and he appears to have dropped into the world out of nowhere. Perhaps he was a refugee from Elidor.

North Curry, Somerset

North Curry, Somerset

We left North Curry by a different road, and filled up with petrol before joining the M5 motorway, which took us to the vicinity of Exeter in Devon. We turned off to Dunchideock and Doddiscombesleigh and
the sun came out again as we drove down narrow country lanes with high banks and hedges, so one could see very little other than the narrow sunken lanes ahead.

Devonshire lanes near Dunchideock,  with high banks and hedges, and no view of the countryside. 4 May 2005.

Devonshire lanes near Dunchideock, with high banks and hedges, and no view of the countryside. 4 May 2005.

We saw nothing more of Dunchideock than a sign on a hedge, and Doddiscombesleigh seemed to be little more than the pub and the church. The pub was the Nobody, and I remembered someone on the British Genealogy newsgroup saying one could get a good meal there, but we’d just had a very adequate meal
at North Curry, and so were not hungry enough. We went on to Ashton in the Teign Valley, where the Stooke family had lived.

The River Teign at Ashton. 4 May 2005.

The River Teign at Ashton. 4 May 2005.

My great grandfather William Allen Hayes had married Mary Barber Stooke in Bristol, and then run the Red Lion Hotel in Axbridge. The Stooke family goes back to the 16th century in the Teign valley. Ashton church seemed much deader than the one in North Curry, and was locked.

Ashton parish church, Devon. 4 May 2005.

Ashton parish church, Devon. 4 May 2005.

There was only one monument to the Stookes that we could find in the churchyard, that of Edmund Stooke of Rydon (1788-1860). He was the uncle of my great great grandfather Thomas Stooke, who was born in Chudleigh in 1815.

Monument to Edward Stooke of Rydon in Ashton churchyard. 5 May 2005.

Monument to Edward Stooke of Rydon in Ashton churchyard. 4 May 2005.

We then went to Trusham, where Stookes had also lived, and the church was a bit better maintained, and there were monuments to the Stooke family inside the church. We spoke to a woman there who was looking after the church.

Trusham parish church. There are several monuments to members of the Stooke family inside the church. 4 May 2015

Trusham parish church. There are several monuments to members of the Stooke family inside the church. 4 May 2005

Trusham village seemed to be a bit bigger than Ashton, and had more inhabitants.

Trusham, Devon. 4 May 2015

Trusham, Devon. 4 May 2005

We went on to Chudleigh, where Thomas Stooke had been born, and parked outside the library, where some kids were skateboarding in the street. I tried to listen for their accents to hear what local
accents sounded like, but everywhere we have been we heard Estuary accents.

Chudleigh parish churc. My great great grandfather Thomas Stooke was baptised here in 1815.

Chudleigh parish church. My great great grandfather Thomas Stooke was baptised here in 1815.

We then drove through Bovey Tracey, where a Stooke had been minister in the Commonwealth period, and on to Moretonhampstead, where I had nearly had a job as a kitchen boy in a hotel in 1966, and then across Dartmoor to Tavistock, via Two Bridges. Dartmoor looked a lot like the South African highveld.

Dartmoor - resmbles the South Africah Highveld.

Dartmoor – resembles the South African Highveld.

We drove up to the A30, and crossed Bodmin Moor and turned off to Blisland just past Jamaica Inn, and stayed at Trewint Farm near the hamlet of Waterloo, run by Mike and Carol. After dumping our cases we drove in to Bodmin, and had supper at the Weavers bar in the middle of town. They had Cornish steaks on the menu, but no Cornish pasties, so we had ham omelets.

St Petroc's Church, Bodmin, Cornwall

St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin, Cornwall

The town seemed noisy, with small motor bikes running around. After supper we drove around looking for places where the Growden family had lived at various times, and found Higher Bore Street, which was one of their homes. We drove back over the moor, though around Blisland most of the roads were narrow sunken country lanes with high banks and hedges like those in Devon, so we could not see much of the countryside.

Continued at Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, on election day.

UK Trip 3 May 2005: Hayes family in Somerset

Continued from UK trip 2 May 2005: Heathrow to Bath | Khanya

We woke up at at Pickford House, Beckington, at 5:00 am, to the sound of birds singing, and the sun rising over the Somerset fields. Went down to breakfast at 7:30, and then set off for Bristol to fetch my second cousin Mary Jane Conway. We drove through Norton St Philip, to miss the Bath traffic, but the road was still pretty busy, and signposting got less adequate the closer we got to the centre of Bristol, so we ended up going around under the Clifton suspension bridge, which was a nice thing to see anyway, but had difficulty finding the area where Jane Conway’s house was. We stopped to ask at an estate agent’s, and when we eventually found it there was nowhere to park, so Val went in and brought Jane out, and then we went off to Kelston, travelling through Bitton, where our great great grandparents James Andrew Hayes and Catherine Chaffey were married in 1846, but didn’t see the church, which was off the road. But at least we got a picture of what the village looked like.

We found Upper Lodge, Kelston, without difficulty, and Josephine Tsegaye, our 5th cousin, was there with her sister Catharine Stokes, and we chatted to them about the family history, and I got Catharine’s information up to date, as well as the details of her children.

Hayes cousins: Josdephine Tsegaye, Mary Jane Conway, Catharine Stokes, Stephen Hayes. Kelston, Somerset 3 May 2005

Hayes cousins: Josephine Tsegaye, Mary Jane Conway, Catharine Stokes, Stephen Hayes. Kelston, Somerset 3 May 2005

They had a Liberal Democrat poster outside their gate. There was to be a general election, but the political campaigning seemed more subdued than in South Africa, with most of the posters being smaller. We had seen mostly Liberal Democrat ones, and a few Conservative ones, but very few Labour. In South African cities election posters were tied to every lamp post, but here they were tied to people’s fences, so one could guess the political affiliation of the residents.

Looking at the family history: Steve Hayes, Josephine Tsegaye, Mary Jane Conway, Catharine Stokes. 3 May 2005

Looking at the family history: Steve Hayes, Josephine Tsegaye, Mary Jane Conway, Catharine Stokes. 3 May 2005

After lunch we took Jane Conway to Winscombe, Somerset, where our great great great grandparents Simon Hayes and Rachel Allen were married in 1814, and took photos of the church, and got copies of the parish magazine.

The road to Winscombe, at the foot of the Mendip Hills in Somerset 3 May 2015

The road to Winscombe, at the foot of the Mendip Hills in Somerset 3 May 2015

The church of St James was quite a way from the centre of the village.Simon and Rachel Hayes had four sons, one of whom died young. The other three moved to Bristol where they were builders and carpenters.

St James's Church, Winscombe, Somerset. 5 May 2005

St James’s Church, Winscombe, Somerset. 3 May 2005

We then went to Axbridge, to see where our great grandfather William Allen Hayes had spent the latter part of his life as landlord of the Red Lion pub, and my grandfather Percy Hayes had grown up. William Allen Hayes had married Mary Barber Stooke, and was first a builder in Bristol before moving to Axbridge to run the pub.

The building that was formerly the Red Lion pub in Axbridge High Street, though when we saw it in 2005 it was no longer a pub but a private house.

The building that was formerly the Red Lion pub in Axbridge High Street, though when we saw it in 2005 it was no longer a pub but a private house.

The Red Lion is no longer a pub, but a private house. Nevertheless, Jane, bold as brass, knocked on the
door and asked if we could have a look inside. It was now owned by an American couple, David and Juliet Maclay. David’s family were from Boston, and he does historical restorations, and offered us a cup of tea and showed us the library he had built upstairs, which was very kind of him to do for complete strangers. He also had an interesting icon of Ronald Reagan making a speech, with Henry Kissinger and others floating round his head like demons to tempt him, and side panels showing American atrocities in various parts of the world.

Icon of former  US President Ronald Reagan in the old Red Lion pub in Axbridge 3 May 2005.

Icon of former US President Ronald Reagan in the old Red Lion pub in Axbridge 3 May 2005.

We went to the square, and took some photos of the church, and a woman was coming to lock it just as we got there, but let us look at it. She said she locked it because she was the one who lived closest.

Parish church in Axbridge, Somerset. 3 May 2005

Parish church in Axbridge, Somerset. 3 May 2005

We drove up the Cheddar Gorge, and took some photos there as well, and then took Jane home. It was interesting to see the Cheddar Gorge, as that was where my grandfather had grown up, and we have some photos in an old family album that show it.

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset 3 May 2005

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset 3 May 2005

It was after 7:00 pm, so the traffic was not too bad, and we drove in through Bedminster where the Hayes family had lived in the second half of the 19th century. On the way Jane Conway commented about the election, and said how horrified Mummy would have been that there was a Labour
government, and at the thought of the Tories not being elected. We found that rather strange and wondered how many other people of her age (77) would take their political opinions from their parents so unquestioningly. There was still no parking outside Jane’s house, however, so we said goodbye
to her at the gate, and drove back to Josephine’s house via Bitton and Kelston again.

Josephine’s father, Crofton Hayes, had also been in the building trade, and had had a firm of shopfitters. He had a large house near Kelston, and two of his daughters lived in the attached lodges, though the main house had been sold after he died.

Upper Lodge, Cleeve Hill, Kelston, Bath, home of Josephine and Ezra Tsegaye. 3 May 2005

Upper Lodge, Cleeve Hill, Kelston, Bath, home of Josephine and Ezra Tsegaye. 3 May 2005

We were hoping to meet Josephine’s sister Lydia Curtis, whom she said had most of the historical information on the family, but by the time we got there it was too late to go to see them, so we chatted to Josephine instead, and she told stories about some members of the family. We were also sorry not to meet Josephine’s husband Ezra, who had been ill. He was originally from Ethiopia.

We drove back to Beckington quite late that night, and were beginning to be quite familiar with that road.

Continued at UK Trip 4 May 2005: Somerset, Devon & Cornwall.

Index to all posts on our UK trip here UK Holiday May 2005

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.