Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Malcolm III Canmore, King of Scotland

Malcolm III of Scotland was one of Scotland's greatest monarchs. Before his reign, Scotland was an insular land ruled largely by local chieftains who may at times have respected royal over- lordship, but often did not.

Malcolm secured direct control over much of what today we recognise as Scotland. After the defeat of MacBeth in 1057 and of MacBeth's step son Lulach the following year, Malcolm removed the most significant form of internal opposition.

As with many 11th century monarchs he had a common- law wife; Ingibiorg Finnsdottir. She was a daughter Jarl Finn Arnesson, and widow of Thorfinn Sigurdsson, Earl of Orkney. The relationship helped secure at least peace with the Scandinavian Isles and the Kingdom of Norway.

In 1069 Malcolm married a second wife, the Anglo-Saxon Princess Margaret, elder sister of Edgar II, the last Saxon king. It is uncertain, although probable that Ingibiorg had died by that time. The marriage with Margaret formed a life-long friendship and alliance with Edgar. The Scottish king would support his brother-in-law on a number of occasions.

That alliance brought about a Norman invasion in 1072 and at the resulting Treaty of Abernethy Malcolm became Williamʼs man. This did not prevent Malcolm launching further raids south. In 1080 the Conqueror sent his eldest son Robert north, and there a New Castle was erected at the eastern end of Hadrianʼs Wall.

The death of William allowed Malcolm to throw away any deal done with William I and to again head south, probably again at the instigation of his brother-in-law Edgar. In 1091 William Rufus attempted to repeat the 1072 invasion of his father, but it was a dreadful failure for the Norman king. The Norman fleet were destroyed in a storm and the army forced into a retreat. Nevertheless a peace was achieved at the instigation of Edgar, although the initial terms were that Malcolm would hold his ‘English landsʼ not from Rufus, but from Robert. In a rare moment of brotherly solidarity Robert declined this offer, and peace was done with Rufus.

Rufus was though ill-pleased with the result. In 1092 he invaded Cumbria, then in the hands of Malcolm. But within a year Rufus had his famous near-death experience. Malcolm was sent for to meet the ailing Norman king at court in Gloucester. The purpose was for Rufus to give the Scottish king a full apology for his actions. On his way south. Malcolm helped lay the foundation stone at the new Cathedral at Durham. But in Gloucester he found a totally recovered Rufus, and a Rufus who deliberately refused to speak with the Scottish King. Malcolm was annoyed at the rebuff. He returned home, raised an army and again struck south.

Malcolm devastated the lands of Robert de Mowbray, the Norman earl of Northumbria. On the 13th November 1093 he was besieging the newly erected castle at Alnwick. Arkil Morel, a steward of the earl snuck out from the castle in a deliberate ambush. Malcolm and his eldest son by Margaret; Edward, were killed.

‘His queen, Margaret, moreover, died of sorrow for him within nine daysʼ Fortunately for the history of Scotland, he and Margaret had six more sons, and three of those would become Scottish Kings. Their eldest daughter Edith would marry Henry I to become Queen of England.

Friday, 26 January 2018

The De Tosny family of Normandy

The de Tosny family were prominent in Normandy in the Middle Ages.

The following article gives a good background.
Normandy then and Now

Raoul de Tosny was my 32 x great grandfather, his son, Robert  my 31 x great grandfather, and his daughter Adeliza de Tosny my 30 x great grandmother. She married Roger Bigod, and their daughter Maud is my 29x great grandmother.

Later, my 26x great grandmother Ida de Tosney (who married a different Roger Bigod) was the mother of Henry II's illigitimate son, my 25x great grandfather William Longspee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Lydia Saunders

Lydia Saunders was killed by a train at Whiston, one of the first fatalities on the railways.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Saturday, 20 January 2018

William and Robert de Ferrers, Earls of Derby

William and Robert De Ferrers, 5th and 6th Earls of Derby were my 24x and 23x great grandfathers.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Herleve (Herleva) de Falaise

Herleva, the daughter of a tanner from Falaise in Normandy, was born in 1010. When she was sixteen gave birth to a son called Richard. The boy's father was Gilbert, Count of Brionne, one of the most powerful landowners in Normandy. As Herleva was not married to Gilbert, the boy became known as Richard Fitz Gilbert. The term 'Fitz' was used to show that Richard was the illegitimate son of Gilbert.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Matthew Glenton of Boroughbridge

Born in Boroughbridge in Yorkshire at some point in the mid 1700s, Matthew Glenton married Mary Wilson at Aldborough, Boroughbridge on 19 August 1762.He was a coal proprietor, with coalfields near Harrogate and Boroughbridge, and possible elsewhere (Bradford).

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Bertrada of Laon

Bertrada of Laon (my 40x great grandmother, born between 710 and 727 – 12 July 783), also known as Bertrada the Younger or Bertha Broadfoot (cf. Latin: Regina pede aucae i.e. the queen with the goose-foot), was a Frankish queen.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Isaac Heywood

The grave of my great great uncle once removed, Lower Ince Cemetery, Wigan. RC section J plot 108

Monday, 8 January 2018


Alpaida (also Alphaida, Alpoïde, Elphide, Elfide, Chalpaida; ca. 654 – ca. 714) was my 42 x great grandmother.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Richard Kelsall Glenton of 58 Falkner Street Liverpool

My 5x great uncle Richard Kelsall Glenton, a customs clerk who lived 1794 - 1863, was featured  in episode 1 of A House Through Time, first broadcast on  BBC2 on 4 January 2018, being the first resident of 62 (58 at the time) Falkner Street Liverpool..

He was the son of Jonas Wilson Glenton Snr ( who incidentally died at his home on Falkner Street in 1844) and his wife Betty Becca Kelsall.

Source: BBC A House Through Time 4 January 2018

Born on 17 May 1794, he was christened 17 June the same year at St George's Church, Liverpool.

Richard never married, and worked as a HM Customs officer in the Port of Liverpool.

He died on 13 February 1863 at Mount Prospect, Beacon Lane, Everton. The Liverpool Mercury, dated 20 February 1863 gave the following notice:

"GLENTON, Feb13th, Mount Prospect, Beacon Lane, Everton, Richard Kelsall, aged 69, late of HM Customs and youngest surviving son of the late JW Glenton Esq, landing surveyor of HM Customs, this port."

I am related thus: 

from me ... dad ... George Ernest Heywood.. Ellen Eliza Hindley .. Richard Henry Hindley ... Harriet Glenton ... Henry Glenton (brother of Richard Kelsall Glenton).

Documents I know of:

1794 Register of baptism:

1827 Electoral register:

1841 census:

1861 Census:

1863 Death register (note his sister Eliza two above him)

Wills for Eliza and Richard 1863

Death certificates:

The following are taken from the TV Documentary. Source: BBC A House Through Time 4 January 2018

Inventory for 58 Falkner Street at auction 1844
Style of carpet from inventory
Liverpool 1830s
Card table from 1840s. Glenton had 2 at Falkner Street
Card playing bachelor gentlemen from the time
Bachelor gentlemen at the time
Drunken bachelor gentlemen from the time
The style of settee Glenton used at Falkner Street
Entertaining the ladies
Last will and testament of Jonas Wilson Glenton
Signature and seal of Jonas Wilson Glenton
Customs clerks from the time
Richard Kelsall Glenton mentioned 1832 as a customs clerk

Old Customs House, Liverpool, where Glenton worked. Built 1839
Falkner Street 1840
58 Falkner Street basement
58 Falkner Street ground floor
58 Falkner Street first floor
58 Falkner Street second floor
Gores Directory 1841 - showing Richard and his father
Street scene from Liverpool c1840s
Gores Directory 1841
Falkner Street 1840s
Moss Lake Fields, where Falkner Street was built
Graphic of what Moss Lake Fields may have looked like
62 (formerly 58) Falkner Street today

Robert Birch

The burial record of my 4x great grandfather Robert Birch 1790-1866.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Benjamin Willoughby Glenton

Benjamin Willoughby Glenton (1830-1896), my 4x great Uncle.

He was born to Henry Glenton and his wife Ann-Marie Jeffers, and baptised in St Thomas' church, Liverpool on 23 October 1830.

On 20 April 1859 he married Margaret Ellen Dignam at St Brides church, Liverpool.

They had four daughters, and in 1881 he was working as a dormentry steward at the sailors home at Canning Place Liverpool. By 1891 he was living in Morris Street, West Derby, next door to his father in law.

Benjamin died on 5 January 1896.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

A soldier of the Boer War: Samuel Taylor Saunders 1880-1902

Samuel Taylor Saunders was my 2 x great uncle. He died on 4 January 1902, while serving his country in the Second Boer War. This is his story, which I am publishing today, the 116th anniversary of his untimely death.

He was born in St Helens, Lancashire on 20 August 1880, four days after the death of his brother, Samuel Taylor, who was just 11 months old. He was baptised on 26 September 1880 in St Helens.

In the 1881 Census, he was living, aged 7 months at 44 College Street, St Helens with:

  • his father, Henry Saunders, aged 26, an unemployed joner born in Whiston
  • his mother, Mary Saunders, aged 28, a dressmaker born in St Helens
  • his sister Annie Taylor Saunders, aged 8, born in St Helens
  • his brother Henry Saunders, aged 6, born in St Helens
  • his sister Cicely Saunders, aged 3, born in St Helens
By the 1891 Census, he is still living at 44 College Street, St Helens:
  • Henry Saunders, aged 36, joiner, born Prescot
  • Mary Saunders, aged 39, born St Helens
  • Annie Saunders, stepdaughter (to Henry), aged 18, born St Helens
  • Henry Saunders aged 16, born St Helens
  • Samuel Taylor Saunders, aged 10, born St Helens
  • Thurston Saunders, aged 7, born St Helens
  • Cicely Taylor Saunders, aged 5, born St Helens
  • Harold Saunders, aged 1, born St Helens
(He had another brother, Leonard Saunders, my great grandfather, born after this Census.)

Samuel Taylor Saunders worked at Beechams Pill Factory in St Helens as a joiner, as did his father and brother, both Henry.  On a leaflet in St Helens Archive, dated 20 July 1895, S T Saunders appears on a list of single men going on Beecham's Annual Excursion to Blackpool.

One newspaper cutting has him working as a joiner for Herbert Helsby.

On 29 January 1901, a week after the death of Queen Victoria (note the oath on the next image), he was recruited into the 32nd Company (Lancashire Hussars) 2nd Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, to fight in the Boer War in South Africa. He was a trooper, number 21868. 

While in South Africa, Samuel wrote numerous letters to his mother, Mary. From these letters we know:

  • he was a dispatch rider. He rode from Wind Pump Belmont Luckhoff (now a merino sheep farm in Orange Free State), a distance of 21 miles, having his own choice of horse. He mentions Springfontein, Orange River and Transvale.
  • They caught 19 Boers and 11 the next day. Samuel caught one Boer by almost walking on him as he lay buried under grass, and had "the pleasure of saying hands up".  The Boer was carrying explosive bullets, which were banned in warfare.
  • In December 1901, Samuel was in Quaggafontein (Kwaggafontein), near Colesberg, South Africa. The storms brought severe flooding, meaning they had to swim across rivers.
  • They were trying to catch "De Wit" (De Wet) but failed. Samuel blamed Colonel Barker and was "disappointed in commanders" and intellegence. They had only captured 42 out of 800 of De Wit's men.

Samuel Taylor Saunders died on 4 January 1902 of enteric fever, a form of typhoid, together with broncho pneumonia and cardiac failure. His "Form of Information of a Death (an equivalent of a death certificate, issued in South Africa) has his name wrong, as Samuel James Saunders. He had been in hospital for 12 days, from 23 December 1901.  

His last letter to his mother was dated five days before he was hospitalised, on 18 December 1901, and was full of information about swimming in flooded rivers. The letter was received well after his death.

According to the British Medical Journal of 18 January 1902, during the Boer War in 1901 alone, 1673 men were killed in action, 664 died of wounds, and 4088 died of disease.

Letters to Samuel's mother from his fellow soldiers say that he was "beloved" by those who "loved his dash and pluck" and "good temper" and his "hail fellow well met expression". One said he was a "man in every sense of the word and in defence of his countrymen".

"Samuel Taylor Saunders 21868, Private, Imperial Yeomanry Hospital Corps died at Maitland. Commemorated in Cape Town (Maitland) Cemetery, Cape Town, South Africa."

His name is on the Maitland Boer War memorial, Western Cape, South Africa, which commemorates the men who were buried, or buried elsewhere and reinterred in this cemetery. The memorial was erected by the South Africa War Graves Board.

Samuel Taylor Saunders is also on the Roll of Honour in St Helens Town Hall. His is also especially mentioned as part of the hospital / medical team "Volunteer Army Nursing Service Reserve, Imperial Yeomanry, 32nd Company Private S Saunders".

Samuel is also on the Boer War Roll of Honour at Holy Trinity Church, Southport. The 32nd Company 2nd Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry stayed in Southport prior to leaving for South Africa, some staying in the Scarisbrick Hotel on Lord Street. The Times (Southport?) of 5 January 1900 said that men of this unit who had volunteered for service in South Africa were to be billeted in Southport with 90 men and 6 officers expected.

According to press reports, at least one church parade before embarkation was held at Holy Trinity Church during their period of training. 

The 2nd Battalion arrived in South Africa in February 1900, and was disbanded in 1908.

Samuel was originally in the 82nd Company Infantry Yeomanry which later became the 32nd Company.

Samuel's register of soldiers effects state the following:

  • Born in St Helens
  • Death Date 4 January 1902
  • Death Place: Wynberg
  • Rank: Private
  • Regiment Imperial Yeomanry - 21868 32 Co
  • Date enlisted - 29 January 1901
  • Employment - cabinet maker
  • Next of Kin - mother
Money to: 
  • Clerk of Guardian, Prescot £2.4s.8d for support of father (now deceased)
  • Mother Mary - £29.14s.4d
  • Brother Thurston £3.3s.3d
  • Sister Annie £3.3s.3d
  • Sister Cicely £3.3s.3d
  • Brother Henry £3.3s.3d
Samuel Taylor Saunders posthumously received the Queen's South Africa medal.  The whereabouts of this medal is unknown.

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