Tuesday 31 October 2017

St Mary the Virgin Church, Cowes

St Mary the Virgin church, Cowes, Isle of Wight baptism place of John Stephens my great great great grandfather on 8 June 1834.

The Taylor gravestone

Some more recent ancestors from my dads mums side. My Great Grandfather Frederick Timmes Taylor (otherwise known as James), his son James (who drowned on the East Anglian Broads), wife Alice (my great grandmother), and James' younger brother and fellow shipwright my great Uncle George Taylor.

Monday 30 October 2017

Church of Great St Helen, Bishopgate

Church of Great St Helen, Bishopgate, London - burial place of Edward Brerewood (below in three portraits), my 12x great uncle.

Sir Thomas Dutton

My 22x great grandfather, Sir Thomas Dutton was a murderer and rapist pardoned by Edward III who later became High Sheriff of Cheshire.

The Evans family portrait

My 3x great aunt Mary Evans (born Johnson) 1848-1918, daughter of Daniel Johnson and Sarah Birch, with her husband George Bonville Evans (1842-1908) and their daughter Sarah Evans (later Gorman) 1873-1949.

Sunday 29 October 2017

Nicholas Longspee

The story of the will of Nicholas Longspee, Bishop of Salisbury, my 24x great uncle


Rurik, also spelled Rorik or Hrorekr, Russian Ryurik (died ad 879) the semilegendary founder of the Rurik dynasty of Kievan Rus.

Dead Mans Penny

The World War 1 memorial plaque (dead mans penny) awarded posthumously to my great great uncle John Johnson who died in northern France 20 May 1917.

Robert de Bellême 

Born in c1056 to Roger II de Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury ( - 1094) and Mabel de Bellême ( - 1079), in his lifetime, Robert was known as Seigneur de Bellême, Seigneur de Montgomery, Viscount of the Hiemois, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury, Count of Ponthieu, and Robert the Devil due to his brutality.

Orderic Vitalis called him “grasping and cruel, an implacable prosecutor of the Church of God and the Poor ... unequalled for his iniquity in the whole of Christendom.”

He was knighted in 1073. In 1077, Robert took part in the 1077 revolt of Robert Curtose (1054 – 1134) against Duke William of Normandy (1024 – 1087), and in 1088 against William Rufus (1056 – 1100), aimed at putting Curtose on the Throne, defending Rochester Castle. After the rebellion, he returned to Normandy, where he was imprisoned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who thought he was preparing to overthrow him. By 1090 he was released and back in favour with Curtose, helping him put down a revolt in Rouen, throwing many into dungeons.

Robert married Agnes of Ponthieu (c1080 – after 1105), later imprisoning her. They had one child, William III Talvas of Ponthieu.

When Henry I Beauclerc (1068 – 1135) became king, Robert again took sides with Curtose's claim to the throne. In 1106 he was one of Curtose's commanders at the Battle of Tinchebrai, fleeing as Henry won. Robert took part in other rebellions against Henry. He was imprisoned by Henry in 1112, for failing to attend the royal court after being summoned three times, and by acting against Henry's interests by supporting the King of France. He died, still in prison after 1130.

First World War telegram

A telegram during the First World War from one brother (Henry Saunders) to another (Leonard Saunders, my great grandfather in northern France) informing him of the death of their mother. Special leave was not granted to attend the funeral.

Isabel Graham (Saunders)

Notice of death in Portchester, New York of Isabel Graham wife of my 2x great uncle Thurston Saunders from October 1967.

Robert Brerewood

Robert Brerewood was my 12x great grandfather, born in the mid 1500s, and dying on 29 May 1600. He was three times Mayor of the City of Chester, and was a wet glover by trade.

The Lords of Watford

Eustace de Ardennes (1140-1199) was born in Watford, Northamptonshire (near modern day Watford Gap services) to Alexander de Ardennes and his wife Agnes who died giving birth to him. As Lord of Watford he granted Watford church to the Abbey of St James in Northampton.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Great grandparents post office

My great grandparents Leonard Saunders (10 June 1892 to 16 March 1962) and his wife Elizabeth Margaret Mary Saunders (born Bromilow; 26 September 1887 to 31 May 1968) ran for many years the post office formerly on Westfield Street in St Helens, Lancashire. Leonard was also a master painter.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

George Taylor

Remembering my great uncle George Taylor 1926-2010.

Since I started researching my paternal ancestry I have discovered over 2500 people with links to me. Kings and Queens, Lords, murderers and even a Central American President. But one of my favourites, and one of the nicest and friendliest people to have lived, has to be one who only died in 2010. My great uncle, George Taylor.

The Battle of Blore Heath

The Battle of Blore Heath in 1459 saw the death of four of my ancestors

Annie Johnson

My 2x great aunt Annie Johnson 1886-1954. She married George William Smith 1886-1949 on 29 December 1914 at St John and St James church Litherland.

Austin Wilson and Esther Hill

My great grandparents on my mum's side: Esther Hill (13 November 1900 to 26 September 1986) and Austin Wilson (4 February 1900 to 24 June 1993).

Ellen Eliza Hindley

My great grandmother, Ellen Eliza Hindley was born 27 September 1888 at Seaforth to Rhoda Eugenie Stephens and Richard Henry Hindley.

She was baptised on 21 April 1889 at Christ Church, Liverpool.

 Her brother’s and sisters were
  • Rhoda E A Hindley (1878-?), 
  • Annie H M Hindley (1880-1945), 
  • Richard W Hindley (1872-1952), 
  • John Henry Hindley (1885-1946), 
  • George Edward Hindley (1894-1918)
  •  Gertrude Elsie Hindley (1897-1972).
She married Ernest Heywood (1877-1939, my great grandfather) in Bolton in October 1909, and they had the following children:
  • Hilda Heywood later Smith(1909-?), 
  • George Ernest Heywood (1914-1979, my granddad), 
  • Harold Heywood (1917-1921), 
  • Emily Heywood (1920-1921), 
  • William Heywood (1922-1922), 
  • Gladys Heywood (1924-1997) later Vasco, 
  • Leslie Heywood (1926-1927), 
  • Alfred Heywood (1928-1977).
After Ernest’s death she married Wilfred Jones in 1941. She died following a collision with a bus (even though the death certificate says a car it was definitely a bus) on 17 February 1962 and is buried in Anfield Cemetery.

"Nellie" is Ellen - following the death of George Edward Hindley, her brother. Liverpool Echo 27 Sept 1918

The Bones and the family Link to south east Scotland and Doncaster

Robert Bone was my 8x great grandfather. On June 28 1677 he married Alison Bell at Oldhamstocks, East Lothian.

Their son Patrick Bone was born in 1690. He married Elspeth Millar on October 26 1718, and she died in childbirth in 1630. He then married Helen Aitcheson (born 1712) on 21 September 1733 at Cockburnspath, East Lothian.

Their son, Peter Patrick Bone was my 6x great grandfather and was born in 1746. He married Elspeth Weatherstone on October 21 1775 at Innerwick, East Lothian, Scotland.

Above: Graves of Peter Patrick Bone and his daughter in law and son Agnes and James.

Above: grave of James and Agnes Bone.

They had at least one child, James, born on November 2 1784. Peter died on May 14 1807 in Haddington, East Lothian and was buried in Innerwick Church graveyard. His wife is in the same plot.

Their son James married Agnes Lidgate (born 1785 at Chirnside, Berwickshire) on May 23 1806 at Innerwick.

In both 1841 and 1851 they were living in Dunbar, East Lothian. Agnes died on September 8 1854 at Haddington. James died the following day on September 9, after 48 years of marriage.

James and Agnes had at least two children - Alison (my 4x great grandmother) and William (born 1828). William married Jane and had at least five children. At least one of their children, Jameson Bone, emigrated to the United States (possibly Massachusetts).

Alison was born around 1815, and married John Davidson (born 1814) on December 31 1840 in Edinburgh. They had four children - Agnes (born October 2 1841 in Edinburgh), Catherine Frances (born March 19 1843, my 3x great grandmother), Margaret (born September 30 1846), and John (born 1851 in Scotland).

On the 1861 Census, John, Alison, Catherine and young John were living in Doncaster. John was a blacksmith, and Catherine a milliner. I have no further record of John but his wife Alison died in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1894.

Catherine Frances Davidson married William Taylor (born 1841) in Leith on August 1 1862. By the time their first child Robert was born on February 19 1869 they had relocated to Liverpool. Robert was my 2x great grandfather.

Their other children were James (born 1871 in Bootle), William (born March 22 1873 in Bootle), daughter Jesse (born November 3 1876 in Liverpool), and John (born March 16 1878 in Liverpool).

William, a boilermaker, was living in Kirkdale in 1881, the year he died. His wife Catherine died on February 18 1900 aged 56 years old.

William and Catherine’s son Robert had two sons with Mary Timmes (1869-1952)- Frederick Timmes Taylor (born October 5 1890, my great grandfather), and James Timmes Taylor (born 1891).

Robert and Mary married on November 12 1892. They had other children - Jesse (born November 3 1893), William (born June 14 1894), and Catherine (born May 16 1896).

A foreman labourer, Robert died on August 11 1912 aged 43 years. Mary died on October 11 1952 aged 83 years.

Their son Frederick married Alice Johnson on 30 October 1913 at St John and St James Church, Litherland. Their youngest daughter Edna was my dad’s mother, my grandma.

Matthew James Glenton

Matthew James Glenton was my 5x great uncle. He was born on 28 August 1789 in Liverpool, to Jonas Wilson Glenton (1763 – 1844) and his first wife Betty Becca Kelsall (1764 – 1822). He was Christened on 24 September 1789. He died, unmarried, and without issue, in Brighton, East Sussex, on 2 March 1868. Matthew was the founder of the Church of St Matthew and St James in Mossley Hill, Liverpool.

He was a private book keeper and accountant for his friend and employer, Mr Ewart, who owned Mossley Hill Hall, which had been built by his ancestors and passed down to him. It was nicknamed Carnatic Hall, after the wars with the French. Matthew was leaning over a gate looking across the farm towards Woolton, Speke, when he is reputed to have said to Mr Ewart, “What a wonderful site for a church this would make”.

The idea remained with him for the rest of his life. On his death, he left somewhere between £28,000 and £40,000 (up to £2 million in modern money) for the building of a church on that spot. The Bishop of Chester approved the church building.

Matthew’s bequest was that the church be named after him, hence it is called the Anglican Church of Saints Matthew and James. The church was build by 1871, and it was consecrated on 23 June 1875. A century later, in 1975, it was given Grade II* listed building status for its gothic Victorian design.

Some sources suggest this may be Glenton.

Liverpool Mercury 10 March 1870

Richard Kelsall

Alderman Richard Kelsall, Mayor of Liverpool 1685-1749, my 7x great grandfather.
Richard was Mayor around the time when the Old Docks were first agreed, allowing trade and slave ships to use the city.

Marriage of Maxwell Peter Backhouse to Sarah Glenton

The written consent given by my 5x great grandfather Jonas Wilson Glenton for Captain Maxwell Peter Backhouse, an Army Officer, to marry his 17 year old daughter Sarah Glenton (my 5x great aunt) - legally a minor, on 13 July 1815 at St Andrew’s Church, Holborn, London.

Thurston Saunders 1883-1958

Thurston Saunders, born 1883 St Helens England, died 1958 Yonkers, New York, USA, my 2x great uncle.

John Stephens and Ann Jenvey Lockyer

My 3x great grandparents were Ann Jenvey Lockyer 1835-1920 and John Stephens 1834-1884

John Stephens was my great great great grandfather. He was born in West Cowes, Isle of Wight to John and Mary Stephens on 24 May 1834. He was baptised at St Mary's Church, Cowes on 8 June the same year.

He married Ann Jenvey Lockyer at Boldre Church, near Lymington on 9 April 1855.

They lived in Southampton and had the following children:

  • Annie Alice Stephens born 1856
  • Rhoda Eugenie Stephens born 1857 (my great great grandmother)
  • John Alfred Stephens born 1862 
  • Edward Stephens born 1864 
  • Frederick W Stephens born 1868 
  • Albert Richard Stephens born 1873

John was a HM Customs officer and at some point between 1873 and 1881 he and his family moved to West Derby, Liverpool.

John died on 1 November 1884 at 160 Phythian Street, Liverpool of heart disease. He was just 50 years old, although his death certificate incorrectly states he was 52 years old. He was buried in Liverpool Necropolis (now Grant Gardens on Everton Road).

He left his wife £186 17s in his will. Ann died in June 1920 in Toxteth Park and is buried in Allerton Cemetery. John is mentioned on her tombstone (section 22 plot 376): "In loving memory of John Stephens Died 1st November 1884 Aged 50 years. Interred in the Necropolis".

Lineage: me..dad..George Ernest Heywood..Ellen Eliza Hindley..Rhoda Eugenie Stephens..John Stephens

Len Saunders

See also : Len Banana Day 

To everyone who helped or took part in Len Banana Day on 7 December in any way, thank you.

My 1st cousin once removed, Len Saunders, who died this summer, has been shortlisted for a Pride of St Helens Award. Well deserved. ❤️
Link to St Helens Star article

Link to second article

Update 10 November 2010: Len was Highly Commended at the awards this evening.

Unbroken Men by Len “Banana” Saunders
Thirty pieces of silver
Thirty horses charge
On high grey hill
As from Whitechapel ramparts
Uncrowned victors plot ruin
Want to pick the bones
Of a strike.
Broken and smashed
By hammers forged
In the blood of power, corruptions
Family torn asunder to time
Stormed as fallen trees
Never stand against the maelstrom
‘No such thing as society’
Division, hunger, pain, pride
Surrended to the rattle call
Of soup kitchens comfort
As comfort rives, in a last death thro
Voices that once spoke as one
Are lost to the victors will
As defeat is played out
To the marching step of the collier
As still Judas coat hangs heavy
On those who could not share the cost
‘Government or mob rule.’
The coal miner, the coal hole cavalry ride on!
Against the ebb of an economic social tide
A new generation knows they walk tall
That their courage and pride do not make them fall
Orgreave, will reflect a truth of unbroken men.

This, and other poems written by Len is available in his book, "Awake, Asleep, A Dream" available from Wardleworths bookshop, St Helens

Jonas Wilson Glenton - first Brit in independent Nicaragua

Jonas Wilson Glenton (1800-1857), son of Jonas Wilson Glenton Snr and Betty Becca Kelsall, and my 5x great uncle, was the first Briton to enter Nicaragua after it gained Independence from Spain. He became first British Consul to Nicaragua, and owned the rights to all tobacco and many rubber plantations in the country.

He became very rich, and very nearly caused a war between Britain and Nicaragua

Thomas Brerewood

Thomas Brerewood, the gentleman fraudster and my 1st cousin 10x removed (and grandson to my 10x great grandfather, Charles I’s Serjeant in Law Sir Robert Brerewood):

Thomas Brerewood was born c.1670. He was a 'Gentleman Entrepreneur & Fraudster' and was deeply involved in the "Pitkin Affair" of 1705, a bankruptcy fraud that was only surpassed in scale by the South Sea Bubble of 1720.

Harriet Glenton

Harriet Glenton:
Born in Liverpool to Henry Glenton (1796 – 1857) and Anna Maria Jeffers (1800 – 1865), Harriet was Christened on 13 August 1828 at St Peter’s Church, Liverpool.

Mabel de Bellême 

Meet Mabel - one of my least friendly direct ancestors.

Mabel de Bellême  was born to William I Talvas (995 – 1052) and Hildeburg Beaumont / De Freeland. In her lifetime she was known by various titles such as Dame de Alencon, Dame de Séez, Dame de Bellême, Countess of Shrewsbury, and Lady of Arundel.

At some point between 1050 and 1054, she married Roger II de Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.

The chronicler Orderic described Mabel as “small, very talkative, ready enough to do evil, shrewd and jocular, extremely cruel and daring.”

In 1063, she obtained parts of Arnold de Echauffour's lands when she convinced Duke William of Normandy (1024 – 1087) to confiscate his estates. Arnold was promised them back by William, and in order to prevent this, Mabel attempted to murder Arnold by poisoning a glass of wine, but he refused to drink. Her husband's brother rode up, saw the wine, drank it and promptly died. She succeeded in poisoning Arnold at the second attempt.In 1077, Mabel took the hereditary lands of Hugh Bunel by force. On 2 December 1079, while taking a bath, she was killed by some men who had gained entry to the Castle of Bures on the Dives, Normandy. Hugh and his three brothers struck off her head with a sword.

Mabel de Bellême

Charles Martel

On 10 October 732 my 41x great grandfather Charles Martel crushed an Islamic army at Tours in mid France. It was the furthest Muslim forces would penetrate into NW Europe

Sir Thomas Johnson

Born in 1664, and christened on 27 October 1664, Sir Thomas Johnson was a mayor of Liverpool, member of Parliament, builder of modern Liverpool, shipping and tobacco merchant, salt dealer, owner of slave ships, and customs collector. His parents were Thomas Johnson and Elizabeth Sweeting. Sir Thomas Street in Liverpool City Centre is named after him, and his effigy is incorporated into one of the buildings on that street.

George Ernest Heywood

First posted on 12 October 2017:

In memory of my grandfather George Ernest Heywood who died this day (12 October) 1979.

Ela 3rd Countess of Salisbury

Ela, 3rd Countess of Salisbury - one of my favourite ancestors, my 25x great grandmother.
Ela, only child of Eleanor de Vitre and William, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, from whom she inherited large estates in Wiltshire, was born (date unknown) at Amesbury. The estates, including Chitterne, had been held by Ela's greatgreat-grandfather, Edward, after William the Conqueror defeated King Harold.

Battle of Hastings

(First posted on 14 October 2017)

951 years ago today was one of England's most decisive days in history - the Battle of Hastings.

Early in the morning William, Duke of Normandy, my 30 x great grandfather, marched north to meet the Saxons. Harold Godwinson knew he did not have enough men to defend Caldbec Hill so moved to Senlac Hill where his army formed a shield wall.

Windleshaw Chantry

Windleshaw Chantry, next to St Helens Cemetery, where some of my mums side of the family are buried. The Chantry itself is one of the oldest buildings in the town.

It was built around 1415 by Sir Thomas Gerard, a distant ancestor of mine.

Information on the restoration work in this old cemetery can be found at this Link

(This post was originally posted on Facebook on 15 October 2017)

Jinny (Jenny) Bolton

Baptism record for Jinny (Jenny) Bolton from 1771 at St Nicholas Church Liverpool. Jinny was my 5x great grandmother.


Athelstan, first King of Wessex was my 35x great uncle who fought in one of England’s least known but important battles - The Battle of Brunanburh in 937.

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Richard Kelsall Glenton of 58 Falkner Street Liverpool

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