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      The Tetbury Riots


      While researching the Tetbury riots  (I had found some Browning names in the newspaper archives in association with the uprisings) I came across an article called Elizabeth Parker, the Swing Riots, and the Tetbury parish clerk” by Jill Evans.

      I noted the name of the parish clerk, Daniel Cole, because I know someone else of that name. The incident in the article was 1830.

      I found the 1826 marriage in the Tetbury parish registers (where Daniel was the parish clerk) of my 4x great grandmothers sister Hesther Lock. One of the witnesses was her brother Charles, and the other was Daniel Cole, the parish clerk.

      Marriage of Lewin Chandler and Hesther Lock in 1826:

      Daniel Cole witness


      from the article:

      “The Swing Riots were disturbances which took place in 1830 and 1831, mostly in the southern counties of England. Agricultural labourers, who were already suffering due to low wages and a lack of work after several years of bad harvests, rose up when their employers introduced threshing machines into their workplaces. The riots got their name from the threatening letters which were sent to farmers and other employers, which were signed “Captain Swing.”

      The riots spread into Gloucestershire in November 1830, with the Tetbury area seeing the worst of the disturbances. Amongst the many people arrested afterwards was one woman, Elizabeth Parker. She has sometimes been cited as one of only two females who were transported for taking part in the Swing Riots. In fact, she was sentenced to be transported for this crime, but never sailed, as she was pardoned a few months after being convicted. However, less than a year after being released from Gloucester Gaol, she was back, awaiting trial for another offence. The circumstances in both of the cases she was tried for reveal an intriguing relationship with one Daniel Cole, parish clerk and assistant poor law officer in Tetbury….

      ….Elizabeth Parker was committed to Gloucester Gaol on 4 December 1830. In the Gaol Registers, she was described as being 23 and a “labourer”. She was in fact a prostitute, and she was unusual for the time in that she could read and write. She was charged on the oaths of Daniel Cole and others with having been among a mob which destroyed a threshing machine belonging to Jacob Hayward, at his farm in Beverstone, on 26 November.

      …..Elizabeth Parker was granted royal clemency in July 1831 and was released from prison. She returned to Tetbury and presumably continued in her usual occupation, but on 27 March 1832, she was committed to Gloucester Gaol again. This time, she was charged with stealing 2 five pound notes, 5 sovereigns and 5 half sovereigns, from the person of Daniel Cole.

      Elizabeth was tried at the Lent Assizes which began on 28 March, 1832. The details of her trial were reported in the Morning Post. Daniel Cole was in the “Boat Inn” (meaning the Boot Inn, I think) in Tetbury, when Elizabeth Parker came in. Cole “accompanied her down the yard”, where he stayed with her for about half an hour. The next morning, he realised that all his money was gone. One of his five pound notes was identified by him in a shop, where Parker had bought some items.

      Under cross-examination, Cole said he was the assistant overseer of the poor and collector of public taxes of the parish of Tetbury. He was married with one child. He went in to the inn at about 9 pm, and stayed about 2 hours, drinking in the parlour, with the landlord, Elizabeth Parker, and two others. He was not drunk, but he was “rather fresh.” He gave the prisoner no money. He saw Elizabeth Parker next morning at the Prince and Princess public house. He didn’t drink with her or give her any money. He did give her a shilling after she was committed. He never said that he would not have prosecuted her “if it was not for her own tongue”. (Presumably meaning he couldn’t trust her to keep her mouth shut.)”

      Contemporary illustration of the Swing riots:

      Swing Riots


      Captain Swing was the imaginary leader agricultural labourers who set fire to barns and haystacks in the southern and eastern counties of England from 1830. Although the riots were ruthlessly put down (19 hanged, 644 imprisoned and 481 transported), the rural agitation led the new Whig government to establish a Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and its report provided the basis for the 1834 New Poor Law enacted after the Great Reform Bills of 1833.

      An original portrait of Captain Swing hand coloured lithograph circa 1830:

      Captain Swing


        Brownings of Tetbury

        Tetbury 1839


        Isaac Browning (1784-1848) married Mary Lock (1787-1870) in Tetbury in 1806. Both of them were born in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Isaac was a stone mason. Between 1807 and 1832 they baptised fourteen children in Tetbury, and on 8 Nov 1829 Isaac and Mary baptised five daughters all on the same day.

        I considered that they may have been quintuplets, with only the last born surviving, which would have answered my question about the name of the house La Quinta in Broadway, the home of Eliza Browning and Thomas Stokes son Fred. However, the other four daughters were found in various records and they were not all born the same year. (So I still don’t know why the house in Broadway had such an unusual name).

        Their son George was born and baptised in 1827, but Louisa born 1821, Susan born 1822, Hesther born 1823 and Mary born 1826, were not baptised until 1829 along with Charlotte born in 1828. (These birth dates are guesswork based on the age on later censuses.) Perhaps George was baptised promptly because he was sickly and not expected to survive. Isaac and Mary had a son George born in 1814 who died in 1823. Presumably the five girls were healthy and could wait to be done as a job lot on the same day later.

        Eliza Browning (1814-1886), my great great great grandmother, had a baby six years before she married Thomas Stokes. Her name was Ellen Harding Browning, which suggests that her fathers name was Harding. On the 1841 census seven year old Ellen was living with her grandfather Isaac Browning in Tetbury. Ellen Harding Browning married William Dee in Tetbury in 1857, and they moved to Western Australia.

        Ellen Harding Browning Dee: (photo found on ancestry website)

        Ellen Harding Browning

        A very old and respected resident of Dongarra, in the person of Mrs. Ellen Dee, passed peacefully away on Sept. 27, at the advanced age of 74 years.

        The deceased had been ailing for some time, but was about and actively employed until Wednesday, Sept. 20, whenn she was heard groaning by some neighbours, who immediately entered her place and found her lying beside the fireplace. Tho deceased had been to bed over night, and had evidently been in the act of lighting thc fire, when she had a seizure. For some hours she was conscious, but had lost the power of speech, and later on became unconscious, in which state she remained until her death.

        The deceased was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1833, was married to William Dee in Tetbury Church 23 years later. Within a month she left England with her husband for Western Australian in the ship City oí Bristol. She resided in Fremantle for six months, then in Greenough for a short time, and afterwards (for 42 years) in Dongarra. She was, therefore, a colonist of about 51 years. She had a family of four girls and three boys, and five of her children survive her, also 35 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. She was very highly respected, and her sudden collapse came as a great shock to many.


        Eliza married Thomas Stokes (1816-1885) in September 1840 in Hempstead, Gloucestershire. On the 1841 census, Eliza and her mother Mary Browning (nee Lock) were staying with Thomas Lock and family in Cirencester. Strangely, Thomas Stokes has not been found thus far on the 1841 census, and Thomas and Eliza’s first child William James Stokes birth was registered in Witham, in Essex, on the 6th of September 1841.

        I don’t know why William James was born in Witham, or where Thomas was at the time of the census in 1841. One possibility is that as Thomas Stokes did a considerable amount of work with circus waggons, circus shooting galleries and so on as a journeyman carpenter initially and then later wheelwright, perhaps he was working with a traveling circus at the time.

        But back to the Brownings ~ more on William James Stokes to follow.

        One of Isaac and Mary’s fourteen children died in infancy:  Ann was baptised and died in 1811. Two of their children died at nine years old: the first George, and Mary who died in 1835.  Matilda was 21 years old when she died in 1844.

        Jane Browning (1808-)  married Thomas Buckingham in 1830 in Tetbury. In August 1838 Thomas was charged with feloniously stealing a black gelding.

        Susan Browning (1822-1879) married William Cleaver in November 1844 in Tetbury. Oddly thereafter they use the name Bowman on the census. On the 1851 census Mary Browning (Susan’s mother), widow, has grandson George Bowman born in 1844 living with her. The confusion with the Bowman and Cleaver names was clarified upon finding the criminal registers:

        30 January 1834. Offender: William Cleaver alias Bowman, Richard Bunting alias Barnfield and Jeremiah Cox, labourers of Tetbury. Crime: Stealing part of a dead fence from a rick barton in Tetbury, the property of Robert Tanner, farmer.


        And again in 1836:

        29 March 1836 Bowman, William alias Cleaver, of Tetbury, labourer age 18; 5’2.5” tall, brown hair, grey eyes, round visage with fresh complexion; several moles on left cheek, mole on right breast. Charged on the oath of Ann Washbourn & others that on the morning of the 31 March at Tetbury feloniously stolen a lead spout affixed to the dwelling of the said Ann Washbourn, her property. Found guilty 31 March 1836; Sentenced to 6 months.

        On the 1851 census Susan Bowman was a servant living in at a large drapery shop in Cheltenham. She was listed as 29 years old, married and born in Tetbury, so although it was unusual for a married woman not to be living with her husband, (or her son for that matter, who was living with his grandmother Mary Browning), perhaps her husband William Bowman alias Cleaver was in trouble again. By 1861 they are both living together in Tetbury: William was a plasterer, and they had three year old Isaac and Thomas, one year old. In 1871 William was still a plasterer in Tetbury, living with wife Susan, and sons Isaac and Thomas. Interestingly, a William Cleaver is living next door but one!

        Susan was 56 when she died in Tetbury in 1879.


        Three of the Browning daughters went to London.

        Louisa Browning (1821-1873) married Robert Claxton, coachman, in 1848 in Bryanston Square, Westminster, London. Ester Browning was a witness.

        Ester Browning (1823-1893)(or Hester) married Charles Hudson Sealey, cabinet maker, in Bethnal Green, London, in 1854. Charles was born in Tetbury. Charlotte Browning was a witness.

        Charlotte Browning (1828-1867?) was admitted to St Marylebone workhouse in London for “parturition”, or childbirth, in 1860. She was 33 years old.  A birth was registered for a Charlotte Browning, no mothers maiden name listed, in 1860 in Marylebone. A death was registered in Camden, buried in Marylebone, for a Charlotte Browning in 1867 but no age was recorded.  As the age and parents were usually recorded for a childs death, I assume this was Charlotte the mother.

        I found Charlotte on the 1851 census by chance while researching her mother Mary Lock’s siblings.  Hesther Lock married Lewin Chandler, and they were living in Stepney, London.  Charlotte is listed as a neice. Although Browning is mistranscribed as Broomey, the original page says Browning. Another mistranscription on this record is Hesthers birthplace which is transcribed as Yorkshire. The original image shows Gloucestershire.


        Isaac and Mary’s first son was John Browning (1807-1860). John married Hannah Coates in 1834. John’s brother Charles Browning (1819-1853) married Eliza Coates in 1842. Perhaps they were sisters. On the 1861 census Hannah Browning, John’s wife, was a visitor in the Harding household in a village called Coates near Tetbury. Thomas Harding born in 1801 was the head of the household. Perhaps he was the father of Ellen Harding Browning.

        George Browning (1828-1870) married Louisa Gainey in Tetbury, and died in Tetbury at the age of 42.  Their son Richard Lock Browning, a 32 year old mason, was sentenced to one month hard labour for game tresspass in Tetbury in 1884.

        Isaac Browning (1832-1857) was the youngest son of Isaac and Mary. He was just 25 years old when he died in Tetbury.


          The Grattidge Family


          The first Grattidge to appear in our tree was Emma Grattidge (1853-1911) who married Charles Tomlinson (1847-1907) in 1872.

          Charles Tomlinson (1873-1929) was their son and he married my great grandmother Nellie Fisher. Their daughter Margaret (later Peggy Edwards) was my grandmother on my fathers side.

          Emma Grattidge was born in Wolverhampton, the daughter and youngest child of William Grattidge (1820-1887) born in Foston, Derbyshire, and Mary Stubbs, born in Burton on Trent, daughter of Solomon Stubbs, a land carrier. William and Mary married at St Modwens church, Burton on Trent, in 1839. It’s unclear why they moved to Wolverhampton. On the 1841 census William was employed as an agent, and their first son William was nine months old. Thereafter, William was a licensed victuallar or innkeeper.

          William Grattidge was born in Foston, Derbyshire in 1820. His parents were Thomas Grattidge, farmer (1779-1843) and Ann Gerrard (1789-1822) from Ellastone. Thomas and Ann married in 1813 in Ellastone. They had five children before Ann died at the age of 25:

          Bessy was born in 1815, Thomas in 1818, William in 1820, and Daniel Augustus and Frederick were twins born in 1822. They were all born in Foston. (records say Foston, Foston and Scropton, or Scropton)

          On the 1841 census Thomas had nine people additional to family living at the farm in Foston, presumably agricultural labourers and help.

          After Ann died, Thomas had three children with Kezia Gibbs (30 years his junior) before marrying her in 1836, then had a further four with her before dying in 1843. Then Kezia married Thomas’s nephew Frederick Augustus Grattidge (born in 1816 in Stafford) in London in 1847 and had two more!


          The siblings of William Grattidge (my 3x great grandfather):


          Frederick Grattidge (1822-1872) was a schoolmaster and never married. He died at the age of 49 in Tamworth at his twin brother Daniels address.

          Daniel Augustus Grattidge (1822-1903) was a grocer at Gungate in Tamworth.

          Thomas Grattidge (1818-1871) married in Derby, and then emigrated to Illinois, USA.

          Bessy Grattidge  (1815-1840) married John Buxton, farmer, in Ellastone in January 1838. They had three children before Bessy died in December 1840 at the age of 25: Henry in 1838, John in 1839, and Bessy Buxton in 1840. Bessy was baptised in January 1841. Presumably the birth of Bessy caused the death of Bessy the mother.

          Bessy Buxton’s gravestone:

          “Sacred to the memory of Bessy Buxton, the affectionate wife of John Buxton of Stanton She departed this life December 20th 1840, aged 25 years. “Husband, Farewell my life is Past, I loved you while life did last. Think on my children for my sake, And ever of them with I take.”

          20 Dec 1840, Ellastone, Staffordshire

          Bessy Buxton


          In the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge, farmer of Foston, he leaves fifth shares of his estate, including freehold real estate at Findern,  to his wife Kezia, and sons William, Daniel, Frederick and Thomas. He mentions that the children of his late daughter Bessy, wife of John Buxton, will be taken care of by their father.  He leaves the farm to Keziah in confidence that she will maintain, support and educate his children with her.

          An excerpt from the will:

          I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Keziah Grattidge all my household goods and furniture, wearing apparel and plate and plated articles, linen, books, china, glass, and other household effects whatsoever, and also all my implements of husbandry, horses, cattle, hay, corn, crops and live and dead stock whatsoever, and also all the ready money that may be about my person or in my dwelling house at the time of my decease, …I also give my said wife the tenant right and possession of the farm in my occupation….

          A page from the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge:

          1843 Thomas Grattidge


          William Grattidges half siblings (the offspring of Thomas Grattidge and Kezia Gibbs):


          Albert Grattidge (1842-1914) was a railway engine driver in Derby. In 1884 he was driving the train when an unfortunate accident occured outside Ambergate. Three children were blackberrying and crossed the rails in front of the train, and one little girl died.

          Albert Grattidge:

          Albert Grattidge


          George Grattidge (1826-1876) was baptised Gibbs as this was before Thomas married Kezia. He was a police inspector in Derby.

          George Grattidge:

          George Grattidge


          Edwin Grattidge (1837-1852) died at just 15 years old.

          Ann Grattidge (1835-) married Charles Fletcher, stone mason, and lived in Derby.

          Louisa Victoria Grattidge (1840-1869) was sadly another Grattidge woman who died young. Louisa married Emmanuel Brunt Cheesborough in 1860 in Derby. In 1861 Louisa and Emmanuel were living with her mother Kezia in Derby, with their two children Frederick and Ann Louisa. Emmanuel’s occupation was sawyer. (Kezia Gibbs second husband Frederick Augustus Grattidge was a timber merchant in Derby)

          At the time of her death in 1869, Emmanuel was the landlord of the White Hart public house at Bridgegate in Derby.

          The Derby Mercury of 17th November 1869:

          “On Wednesday morning Mr Coroner Vallack held an inquest in the Grand
          Jury-room, Town-hall, on the body of Louisa Victoria Cheeseborough, aged
          33, the wife of the landlord of the White Hart, Bridge-gate, who committed
          suicide by poisoning at an early hour on Sunday morning. The following
          evidence was taken:

          Mr Frederick Borough, surgeon, practising in Derby, deposed that he was
          called in to see the deceased about four o’clock on Sunday morning last. He
          accordingly examined the deceased and found the body quite warm, but dead.
          He afterwards made enquiries of the husband, who said that he was afraid
          that his wife had taken poison, also giving him at the same time the
          remains of some blue material in a cup. The aunt of the deceased’s husband
          told him that she had seen Mrs Cheeseborough put down a cup in the
          club-room, as though she had just taken it from her mouth. The witness took
          the liquid home with him, and informed them that an inquest would
          necessarily have to be held on Monday. He had made a post mortem
          examination of the body, and found that in the stomach there was a great
          deal of congestion. There were remains of food in the stomach and, having
          put the contents into a bottle, he took the stomach away. He also examined
          the heart and found it very pale and flabby. All the other organs were
          comparatively healthy; the liver was friable.

          Hannah Stone, aunt of the deceased’s husband, said she acted as a servant
          in the house. On Saturday evening, while they were going to bed and whilst
          witness was undressing, the deceased came into the room, went up to the
          bedside, awoke her daughter, and whispered to her. but what she said the
          witness did not know. The child jumped out of bed, but the deceased closed
          the door and went away. The child followed her mother, and she also
          followed them to the deceased’s bed-room, but the door being closed, they
          then went to the club-room door and opening it they saw the deceased
          standing with a candle in one hand. The daughter stayed with her in the
          room whilst the witness went downstairs to fetch a candle for herself, and
          as she was returning up again she saw the deceased put a teacup on the
          table. The little girl began to scream, saying “Oh aunt, my mother is
          going, but don’t let her go”. The deceased then walked into her bed-room,
          and they went and stood at the door whilst the deceased undressed herself.
          The daughter and the witness then returned to their bed-room. Presently
          they went to see if the deceased was in bed, but she was sitting on the
          floor her arms on the bedside. Her husband was sitting in a chair fast
          asleep. The witness pulled her on the bed as well as she could.
          Ann Louisa Cheesborough, a little girl, said that the deceased was her
          mother. On Saturday evening last, about twenty minutes before eleven
          o’clock, she went to bed, leaving her mother and aunt downstairs. Her aunt
          came to bed as usual. By and bye, her mother came into her room – before
          the aunt had retired to rest – and awoke her. She told the witness, in a
          low voice, ‘that she should have all that she had got, adding that she
          should also leave her her watch, as she was going to die’. She did not tell
          her aunt what her mother had said, but followed her directly into the
          club-room, where she saw her drink something from a cup, which she
          afterwards placed on the table. Her mother then went into her own room and
          shut the door. She screamed and called her father, who was downstairs. He
          came up and went into her room. The witness then went to bed and fell
          asleep. She did not hear any noise or quarrelling in the house after going
          to bed.

          Police-constable Webster was on duty in Bridge-gate on Saturday evening
          last, about twenty minutes to one o’clock. He knew the White Hart
          public-house in Bridge-gate, and as he was approaching that place, he heard
          a woman scream as though at the back side of the house. The witness went to
          the door and heard the deceased keep saying ‘Will you be quiet and go to
          bed’. The reply was most disgusting, and the language which the
          police-constable said was uttered by the husband of the deceased, was
          immoral in the extreme. He heard the poor woman keep pressing her husband
          to go to bed quietly, and eventually he saw him through the keyhole of the
          door pass and go upstairs. his wife having gone up a minute or so before.
          Inspector Fearn deposed that on Sunday morning last, after he had heard of
          the deceased’s death from supposed poisoning, he went to Cheeseborough’s
          public house, and found in the club-room two nearly empty packets of
          Battie’s Lincoln Vermin Killer – each labelled poison.

          Several of the Jury here intimated that they had seen some marks on the
          deceased’s neck, as of blows, and expressing a desire that the surgeon
          should return, and re-examine the body. This was accordingly done, after
          which the following evidence was taken:

          Mr Borough said that he had examined the body of the deceased and observed
          a mark on the left side of the neck, which he considered had come on since
          death. He thought it was the commencement of decomposition.
          This was the evidence, after which the jury returned a verdict “that the
          deceased took poison whilst of unsound mind” and requested the Coroner to
          censure the deceased’s husband.

          The Coroner told Cheeseborough that he was a disgusting brute and that the
          jury only regretted that the law could not reach his brutal conduct.
          However he had had a narrow escape. It was their belief that his poor
          wife, who was driven to her own destruction by his brutal treatment, would
          have been a living woman that day except for his cowardly conduct towards

          The inquiry, which had lasted a considerable time, then closed.”


          In this article it says:

          “it was the “fourth or fifth remarkable and tragical event – some of which were of the worst description – that has taken place within the last twelve years at the White Hart and in the very room in which the unfortunate Louisa Cheesborough drew her last breath.”

          Sheffield Independent – Friday 12 November 1869:

          Louisa Cheesborough


            Looking for Robert Staley


            William Warren (1835-1880) of Newhall (Stapenhill) married Elizabeth Staley (1836-1907) in 1858. Elizabeth was born in Newhall, the daughter of John Staley (1795-1876) and Jane Brothers. John was born in Newhall, and Jane was born in Armagh, Ireland, and they were married in Armagh in 1820. Elizabeths older brothers were born in Ireland: William in 1826 and Thomas in Dublin in 1830. Francis was born in Liverpool in 1834, and then Elizabeth in Newhall in 1836; thereafter the children were born in Newhall.

            Marriage of John Staley and Jane Brothers in 1820:

            1820 marriage Armagh



            My grandmother related a story about an Elizabeth Staley who ran away from boarding school and eloped to Ireland, but later returned. The only Irish connection found so far is Jane Brothers, so perhaps she meant Elizabeth Staley’s mother. A boarding school seems unlikely, and it would seem that it was John Staley who went to Ireland.

            The 1841 census states Jane’s age as 33, which would make her just 12 at the time of her marriage. The 1851 census states her age as 44, making her 13 at the time of her 1820 marriage, and the 1861 census estimates her birth year as a more likely 1804. Birth records in Ireland for her have not been found. It’s possible, perhaps, that she was in service in the Newhall area as a teenager (more likely than boarding school), and that John and Jane ran off to get married in Ireland, although I haven’t found any record of a child born to them early in their marriage. John was an agricultural labourer, and later a coal miner.

            John Staley was the son of Joseph Staley (1756-1838) and Sarah Dumolo (1764-). Joseph and Sarah were married by licence in Newhall in 1782. Joseph was a carpenter on the marriage licence, but later a collier (although not necessarily a miner).

            The Derbyshire Record Office holds records of  an “Estimate of Joseph Staley of Newhall for the cost of continuing to work Pisternhill Colliery” dated 1820 and addresssed to Mr Bloud at Calke Abbey (presumably the owner of the mine)

            Josephs parents were Robert Staley and Elizabeth. I couldn’t find a baptism or birth record for Robert Staley. Other trees on an ancestry site had his birth in Elton, but with no supporting documents. Robert, as stated in his 1795 will, was a Yeoman.

            “Yeoman: A former class of small freeholders who farm their own land; a commoner of good standing.”
            “Husbandman: The old word for a farmer below the rank of yeoman. A husbandman usually held his land by copyhold or leasehold tenure and may be regarded as the ‘average farmer in his locality’. The words ‘yeoman’ and ‘husbandman’ were gradually replaced in the later 18th and 19th centuries by ‘farmer’.”

            He left a number of properties in Newhall and Hartshorne (near Newhall) including dwellings, enclosures, orchards, various yards, barns and acreages. It seemed to me more likely that he had inherited them, rather than moving into the village and buying them.

            There is a mention of Robert Staley in a 1782 newpaper advertisement.

            “Fire Engine To Be Sold.  An exceedingly good fire engine, with the boiler, cylinder, etc in good condition. For particulars apply to Mr Burslem at Burton-upon-Trent, or Robert Staley at Newhall near Burton, where the engine may be seen.”

            fire engine


            Was the fire engine perhaps connected with a foundry or a coal mine?

            I noticed that Robert Staley was the witness at a 1755 marriage in Stapenhill between Barbara Burslem and Richard Daston the younger esquire. The other witness was signed Burslem Jnr.


            Looking for Robert Staley


            I assumed that once again, in the absence of the correct records, a similarly named and aged persons baptism had been added to the tree regardless of accuracy, so I looked through the Stapenhill/Newhall parish register images page by page. There were no Staleys in Newhall at all in the early 1700s, so it seemed that Robert did come from elsewhere and I expected to find the Staleys in a neighbouring parish. But I still didn’t find any Staleys.

            I spoke to a couple of Staley descendants that I’d met during the family research. I met Carole via a DNA match some months previously and contacted her to ask about the Staleys in Elton. She also had Robert Staley born in Elton (indeed, there were many Staleys in Elton) but she didn’t have any documentation for his birth, and we decided to collaborate and try and find out more.

            I couldn’t find the earlier Elton parish registers anywhere online, but eventually found the untranscribed microfiche images of the Bishops Transcripts for Elton.

            via familysearch:
            “In its most basic sense, a bishop’s transcript is a copy of a parish register. As bishop’s transcripts generally contain more or less the same information as parish registers, they are an invaluable resource when a parish register has been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise lost. Bishop’s transcripts are often of value even when parish registers exist, as priests often recorded either additional or different information in their transcripts than they did in the original registers.”


            Unfortunately there was a gap in the Bishops Transcripts between 1704 and 1711 ~ exactly where I needed to look. I subsequently found out that the Elton registers were incomplete as they had been damaged by fire.

            I estimated Robert Staleys date of birth between 1710 and 1715. He died in 1795, and his son Daniel died in 1805: both of these wills were found online. Daniel married Mary Moon in Stapenhill in 1762, making a likely birth date for Daniel around 1740.

            The marriage of Robert Staley (assuming this was Robert’s father) and Alice Maceland (or Marsland or Marsden, depending on how the parish clerk chose to spell it presumably) was in the Bishops Transcripts for Elton in 1704. They were married in Elton on 26th February. There followed the missing parish register pages and in all likelihood the records of the baptisms of their first children. No doubt Robert was one of them, probably the first male child.

            (Incidentally, my grandfather’s Marshalls also came from Elton, a small Derbyshire village near Matlock.  The Staley’s are on my grandmothers Warren side.)

            The parish register pages resume in 1711. One of the first entries was the baptism of Robert Staley in 1711, parents Thomas and Ann. This was surely the one we were looking for, and Roberts parents weren’t Robert and Alice.

            But then in 1735 a marriage was recorded between Robert son of Robert Staley (and this was unusual, the father of the groom isn’t usually recorded on the parish register) and Elizabeth Milner. They were married on the 9th March 1735. We know that the Robert we were looking for married an Elizabeth, as her name was on the Stapenhill baptisms of their later children, including Joseph Staleys.  The 1735 marriage also fit with the assumed birth date of Daniel, circa 1740. A baptism was found for a Robert Staley in 1738 in the Elton registers, parents Robert and Elizabeth, as well as the baptism in 1736 for Mary, presumably their first child. Her burial is recorded the following year.

            The marriage of Robert Staley and Elizabeth Milner in 1735:

            rbt staley marriage 1735


            There were several other Staley couples of a similar age in Elton, perhaps brothers and cousins. It seemed that Thomas and Ann’s son Robert was a different Robert, and that the one we were looking for was prior to that and on the missing pages.

            Even so, this doesn’t prove that it was Elizabeth Staleys great grandfather who was born in Elton, but no other birth or baptism for Robert Staley has been found. It doesn’t explain why the Staleys moved to Stapenhill either, although the Enclosures Act and the Industrial Revolution could have been factors.

            The 18th century saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution and many renowned Derbyshire Industrialists emerged. They created the turning point from what was until then a largely rural economy, to the development of townships based on factory production methods.

            The Marsden Connection

            There are some possible clues in the records of the Marsden family.  Robert Staley married Alice Marsden (or Maceland or Marsland) in Elton in 1704.  Robert Staley is mentioned in the 1730 will of John Marsden senior,  of Baslow, Innkeeper (Peacock Inne & Whitlands Farm). He mentions his daughter Alice, wife of Robert Staley.

            In a 1715 Marsden will there is an intriguing mention of an alias, which might explain the different spellings on various records for the name Marsden:  “MARSDEN alias MASLAND, Christopher – of Baslow, husbandman, 28 Dec 1714. son Robert MARSDEN alias MASLAND….” etc.

            Some potential reasons for a move from one parish to another are explained in this history of the Marsden family, and indeed this could relate to Robert Staley as he married into the Marsden family and his wife was a beneficiary of a Marsden will.  The Chatsworth Estate, at various times, bought a number of farms in order to extend the park.

            In the Parishes of
            Baslow and Chatsworth

            David Dalrymple-Smith

            John Marsden (b1653) another son of Edmund (b1611) faired well. By the time he died in
            1730 he was publican of the Peacock, the Inn on Church Lane now called the Cavendish
            Hotel, and the farmer at “Whitlands”, almost certainly Bubnell Cliff Farm.”

            “Coal mining was well known in the Chesterfield area. The coalfield extends as far as the
            Gritstone edges, where thin seams outcrop especially in the Baslow area.”

            “…the occupants were evicted from the farmland below Dobb Edge and
            the ground carefully cleared of all traces of occupation and farming. Shelter belts were
            planted especially along the Heathy Lea Brook. An imposing new drive was laid to the
            Chatsworth House with the Lodges and “The Golden Gates” at its northern end….”

            Although this particular event was later than any events relating to Robert Staley, it’s an indication of how farms and farmland disappeared, and a reason for families to move to another area:

            “The Dukes of Devonshire (of Chatsworth)  were major figures in the aristocracy and the government of the
            time. Such a position demanded a display of wealth and ostentation. The 6th Duke of
            Devonshire, the Bachelor Duke, was not content with the Chatsworth he inherited in 1811,
            and immediately started improvements. After major changes around Edensor, he turned his
            attention at the north end of the Park. In 1820 plans were made extend the Park up to the
            Baslow parish boundary. As this would involve the destruction of most of the Farm at
            Oxclose, the farmer at the Higher House Samuel Marsden (b1755) was given the tenancy of
            Ewe Close a large farm near Bakewell.
            Plans were revised in 1824 when the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland “Exchanged Lands”,
            reputedly during a game of dice. Over 3300 acres were involved in several local parishes, of
            which 1000 acres were in Baslow. In the deal Devonshire acquired the southeast corner of
            Baslow Parish.
            Part of the deal was Gibbet Moor, which was developed for “Sport”. The shelf of land
            between Parkgate and Robin Hood and a few extra fields was left untouched. The rest,
            between Dobb Edge and Baslow, was agricultural land with farms, fields and houses. It was
            this last part that gave the Duke the opportunity to improve the Park beyond his earlier


            The 1795 will of Robert Staley.

            Inriguingly, Robert included the children of his son Daniel Staley in his will, but omitted to leave anything to Daniel.  A perusal of Daniels 1808 will sheds some light on this:  Daniel left his property to his six reputed children with Elizabeth Moon, and his reputed daughter Mary Brearly. Daniels wife was Mary Moon, Elizabeths husband William Moons daughter.

            The will of Robert Staley, 1795:

            1795 will 21795 Rbt Staley will


            The 1805 will of Daniel Staley, Robert’s son:

            This is the last will and testament of me Daniel Staley of the Township of Newhall in the parish of Stapenhill in the County of Derby, Farmer. I will and order all of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses to be fully paid and satisfied by my executors hereinafter named by and out of my personal estate as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.

            I give, devise and bequeath to Humphrey Trafford Nadin of Church Gresely in the said County of Derby Esquire and John Wilkinson of Newhall aforesaid yeoman all my messuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments and real and personal estates to hold to them, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns until Richard Moon the youngest of my reputed sons by Elizabeth Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years upon trust that they, my said trustees, (or the survivor of them, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns), shall and do manage and carry on my farm at Newhall aforesaid and pay and apply the rents, issues and profits of all and every of my said real and personal estates in for and towards the support, maintenance and education of all my reputed children by the said Elizabeth Moon until the said Richard Moon my youngest reputed son shall attain his said age of twenty one years and equally share and share and share alike.

            And it is my will and desire that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall recruit and keep up the stock upon my farm as they in their discretion shall see occasion or think proper and that the same shall not be diminished. And in case any of my said reputed children by the said Elizabeth Moon shall be married before my said reputed youngest son shall attain his age of twenty one years that then it is my will and desire that non of their husbands or wives shall come to my farm or be maintained there or have their abode there. That it is also my will and desire in case my reputed children or any of them shall not be steady to business but instead shall be wild and diminish the stock that then my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall have full power and authority in their discretion to sell and dispose of all or any part of my said personal estate and to put out the money arising from the sale thereof to interest and to pay and apply the interest thereof and also thereunto of the said real estate in for and towards the maintenance, education and support of all my said reputed children by the said
            Elizabeth Moon as they my said trustees in their discretion that think proper until the said Richard Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years.

            Then I give to my grandson Daniel Staley the sum of ten pounds and to each and every of my sons and daughters namely Daniel Staley, Benjamin Staley, John Staley, William Staley, Elizabeth Dent and Sarah Orme and to my niece Ann Brearly the sum of five pounds apiece.

            I give to my youngest reputed son Richard Moon one share in the Ashby Canal Navigation and I direct that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall have full power and authority to pay and apply all or any part of the fortune or legacy hereby intended for my youngest reputed son Richard Moon in placing him out to any trade, business or profession as they in their discretion shall think proper.
            And I direct that to my said sons and daughters by my late wife and my said niece shall by wholly paid by my said reputed son Richard Moon out of the fortune herby given him. And it is my will and desire that my said reputed children shall deliver into the hands of my executors all the monies that shall arise from the carrying on of my business that is not wanted to carry on the same unto my acting executor and shall keep a just and true account of all disbursements and receipts of the said business and deliver up the same to my acting executor in order that there may not be any embezzlement or defraud amongst them and from and immediately after my said reputed youngest son Richard Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years then I give, devise and bequeath all my real estate and all the residue and remainder of my personal estate of what nature and kind whatsoever and wheresoever unto and amongst all and every my said reputed sons and daughters namely William Moon, Thomas Moon, Joseph Moon, Richard Moon, Ann Moon, Margaret Moon and to my reputed daughter Mary Brearly to hold to them and their respective heirs, executors, administrator and assigns for ever according to the nature and tenure of the same estates respectively to take the same as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

            And lastly I nominate and appoint the said Humphrey Trafford Nadin and John Wilkinson executors of this my last will and testament and guardians of all my reputed children who are under age during their respective minorities hereby revoking all former and other wills by me heretofore made and declaring this only to be my last will.

            In witness whereof I the said Daniel Staley the testator have to this my last will and testament set my hand and seal the eleventh day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five.



              The Hollands of Barton under Needwood


              Samuel Warren of Stapenhill married Catherine Holland of Barton under Needwood in 1795.

              I joined a Barton under Needwood History group and found an incredible amount of information on the Holland family, but first I wanted to make absolutely sure that our Catherine Holland was one of them as there were also Hollands in Newhall. Not only that, on the marriage licence it says that Catherine Holland was from Bretby Park Gate, Stapenhill.

              Then I noticed that one of the witnesses on Samuel’s brother Williams marriage to Ann Holland in 1796 was John Hair. Hannah Hair was the wife of Thomas Holland, and they were the Barton under Needwood parents of Catherine. Catherine was born in 1775, and Ann was born in 1767.

              The 1851 census clinched it: Catherine Warren 74 years old, widow and formerly a farmers wife, was living in the household of her son John Warren, and her place of birth is listed as Barton under Needwood. In 1841 Catherine was a 64 year old widow, her husband Samuel having died in 1837, and she was living with her son Samuel, a farmer. The 1841 census did not list place of birth, however. Catherine died on 31 March 1861 and does not appear on the 1861 census.

              Once I had established that our Catherine Holland was from Barton under Needwood, I had another look at the information available on the Barton under Needwood History group, compiled by local historian Steve Gardner.

              Catherine’s parents were Thomas Holland 1737-1828 and Hannah Hair 1739-1822.

              Steve Gardner had posted a long list of the dates, marriages and children of the Holland family. The earliest entries in parish registers were Thomae Holland 1562-1626 and his wife Eunica Edwardes 1565-1632. They married on 10th July 1582. They were born, married and died in Barton under Needwood. They were direct ancestors of Catherine Holland, and as such my direct ancestors too.

              The known history of the Holland family in Barton under Needwood goes back to Richard De Holland. (Thanks once again to Steve Gardner of the Barton under Needwood History group for this information.)

              “Richard de Holland was the first member of the Holland family to become resident in Barton under Needwood (in about 1312) having been granted lands by the Earl of Lancaster (for whom Richard served as Stud and Stock Keeper of the Peak District) The Holland family stemmed from Upholland in Lancashire and had many family connections working for the Earl of Lancaster, who was one of the biggest Barons in England. Lancaster had his own army and lived at Tutbury Castle, from where he ruled over most of the Midlands area. The Earl of Lancaster was one of the main players in the ‘Barons Rebellion’ and the ensuing Battle of Burton Bridge in 1322. Richard de Holland was very much involved in the proceedings which had so angered Englands King. Holland narrowly escaped with his life, unlike the Earl who was executed.
              From the arrival of that first Holland family member, the Hollands were a mainstay family in the community, and were in Barton under Needwood for over 600 years.”

              Continuing with various items of information regarding the Hollands, thanks to Steve Gardner’s Barton under Needwood history pages:

              “PART 6 (Final Part)
              Some mentions of The Manor of Barton in the Ancient Staffordshire Rolls:
              1330. A Grant was made to Herbert de Ferrars, at le Newland in the Manor of Barton.
              1378. The Inquisitio bonorum – Johannis Holand — an interesting Inventory of his goods and their value and his debts.
              1380. View of Frankpledge ; the Jury found that Richard Holland was feloniously murdered by his wife Joan and Thomas Graunger, who fled. The goods of the deceased were valued at iiij/. iijj. xid. ; one-third went to the dead man, one-third to his son, one- third to the Lord for the wife’s share. Compare 1 H. V. Indictments. (1413.)
              That Thomas Graunger of Barton smyth and Joan the wife of Richard de Holond of Barton on the Feast of St. John the Baptist 10 H. II. (1387) had traitorously killed and murdered at night, at Barton, Richard, the husband of the said Joan. (m. 22.)
              The names of various members of the Holland family appear constantly among the listed Jurors on the manorial records printed below : —
              1539. Richard Holland and Richard Holland the younger are on the Muster Roll of Barton
              1583. Thomas Holland and Unica his wife are living at Barton.
              1663-4. Visitations. — Barton under Needword. Disclaimers. William Holland, Senior, William Holland, Junior.
              1609. Richard Holland, Clerk and Alice, his wife.
              1663-4. Disclaimers at the Visitation. William Holland, Senior, William Holland, Junior.”

              I was able to find considerably more information on the Hollands in the book “Some Records of the Holland Family (The Hollands of Barton under Needwood, Staffordshire, and the Hollands in History)” by William Richard Holland. Luckily the full text of this book can be found online.

              William Richard Holland (Died 1915) An early local Historian and author of the book:

              William Richard Holland


              ‘Holland House’ taken from the Gardens (sadly demolished in the early 60’s):

              Holland House


              Excerpt from the book:

              “The charter, dated 1314, granting Richard rights and privileges in Needwood Forest, reads as follows:

              “Thomas Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, high-steward of England, to whom all these present shall come, greeting: Know ye, that we have given, &c., to Richard Holland of Barton, and his heirs, housboot, heyboot, and fireboot, and common of pasture, in our forest of Needwood, for all his beasts, as well in places fenced as lying open, with 40 hogs, quit of pawnage in our said forest at all times in the year (except hogs only in fence month). All which premises we will warrant, &c. to the said Richard and his heirs against all people for ever”

              “The terms “housboot” “heyboot” and “fireboot” meant that Richard and his heirs were to have the privilege of taking from the Forest, wood needed for house repair and building, hedging material for the repairing of fences, and what was needful for purposes of fuel.”

              Further excerpts from the book:

              “It may here be mentioned that during the renovation of Barton Church, when the stone pillars were being stripped of the plaster which covered them, “William Holland 1617” was found roughly carved on a pillar near to the belfry gallery, obviously the work of a not too devout member of the family, who, seated in the gallery of that time, occupied himself thus during the service. The inscription can still be seen.”

              “The earliest mention of a Holland of Upholland occurs in the reign of John in a Final Concord, made at the Lancashire Assizes, dated November 5th, 1202, in which Uchtred de Chryche, who seems to have had some right in the manor of Upholland, releases his right in fourteen oxgangs* of land to Matthew de Holland, in consideration of the sum of six marks of silver. Thus was planted the Holland Tree, all the early information of which is found in The Victoria County History of Lancaster.

              As time went on, the family acquired more land, and with this, increased position. Thus, in the reign of Edward I, a Robert de Holland, son of Thurstan, son of Robert, became possessed of the manor of Orrell adjoining Upholland and of the lordship of Hale in the parish of Childwall, and, through marriage with Elizabeth de Samlesbury (co-heiress of Sir Wm. de Samlesbury of Samlesbury, Hall, near to Preston), of the moiety of that manor….

              * An oxgang signified the amount of land that could be ploughed by one ox in one day”

              “This Robert de Holland, son of Thurstan, received Knighthood in the reign of Edward I, as did also his brother William, ancestor of that branch of the family which later migrated to Cheshire. Belonging to this branch are such noteworthy personages as Mrs. Gaskell, the talented authoress, her mother being a Holland of this branch, Sir Henry Holland, Physician to Queen Victoria, and his two sons, the first Viscount Knutsford, and Canon Francis Holland ; Sir Henry’s grandson (the present Lord Knutsford), Canon Scott Holland, etc. Captain Frederick Holland, R.N., late of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire, may also be mentioned here.*”

              Thanks to the Barton under Needwood history group for the following:

              WALES END FARM:
              In 1509 it was owned and occupied by Mr Johannes Holland De Wallass end who was a well to do Yeoman Farmer (the origin of the areas name – Wales End).  Part of the building dates to 1490 making it probably the oldest building still standing in the Village:

              Wales End Farm


              I found records for all of the Holland’s listed on the Barton under Needwood History group and added them to my ancestry tree. The earliest will I found was for Eunica Edwardes, then Eunica Holland, who died in 1632.

              A page from the 1632 will and inventory of Eunica (Unice) Holland:

              Unice Holland


              I’d been reading about “pedigree collapse” just before I found out her maiden name of Edwardes. Edwards is my own maiden name.

              “In genealogy, pedigree collapse describes how reproduction between two individuals who knowingly or unknowingly share an ancestor causes the family tree of their offspring to be smaller than it would otherwise be.
              Without pedigree collapse, a person’s ancestor tree is a binary tree, formed by the person, the parents, grandparents, and so on. However, the number of individuals in such a tree grows exponentially and will eventually become impossibly high. For example, a single individual alive today would, over 30 generations going back to the High Middle Ages, have roughly a billion ancestors, more than the total world population at the time. This apparent paradox occurs because the individuals in the binary tree are not distinct: instead, a single individual may occupy multiple places in the binary tree. This typically happens when the parents of an ancestor are cousins (sometimes unbeknownst to themselves). For example, the offspring of two first cousins has at most only six great-grandparents instead of the normal eight. This reduction in the number of ancestors is pedigree collapse. It collapses the binary tree into a directed acyclic graph with two different, directed paths starting from the ancestor who in the binary tree would occupy two places.” via wikipedia

              There is nothing to suggest, however, that Eunica’s family were related to my fathers family, and the only evidence so far in my tree of pedigree collapse are the marriages of Orgill cousins, where two sets of grandparents are repeated.

              A list of Holland ancestors:

              Catherine Holland 1775-1861
              her parents:
              Thomas Holland 1737-1828   Hannah Hair 1739-1832
              Thomas’s parents:
              William Holland 1696-1756   Susannah Whiteing 1715-1752
              William’s parents:
              William Holland 1665-    Elizabeth Higgs 1675-1720
              William’s parents:
              Thomas Holland 1634-1681   Katherine Owen 1634-1728
              Thomas’s parents:
              Thomas Holland 1606-1680   Margaret Belcher 1608-1664
              Thomas’s parents:
              Thomas Holland 1562-1626   Eunice Edwardes 1565- 1632


                The Warrens of Stapenhill


                There were so many Warren’s in Stapenhill that it was complicated to work out who was who. I had gone back as far as Samuel Warren marrying Catherine Holland, and this was as far back as my cousin Ian Warren had gone in his research some decades ago as well. The Holland family from Barton under Needwood are particularly interesting, and will be a separate chapter.

                Stapenhill village by John Harden:



                Resuming the research on the Warrens, Samuel Warren 1771-1837 married Catherine Holland 1775-1861 in 1795 and their son Samuel Warren 1800-1882 married Elizabeth Bridge, whose childless brother Benjamin Bridge left the Warren Brothers Boiler Works in Newhall to his nephews, the Warren brothers.

                Samuel Warren and Catherine Holland marriage licence 1795:

                Samuel Warren Catherine Holland


                Samuel (born 1771) was baptised at Stapenhill St Peter and his parents were William and Anne Warren. There were at least three William and Ann Warrens in town at the time. One of those William’s was born in 1744, which would seem to be the right age to be Samuel’s father, and one was born in 1710, which seemed a little too old. Another William, Guiliamos Warren (Latin was often used in early parish registers) was baptised in Stapenhill in 1729.

                Stapenhill St Peter:

                Stapenhill St Peter


                William Warren (born 1744) appeared to have been born several months before his parents wedding. William Warren and Ann Insley married 16 July 1744, but the baptism of William in 1744 was 24 February. This seemed unusual ~ children were often born less than nine months after a wedding, but not usually before the wedding! Then I remembered the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1752. Prior to 1752, the first day of the year was Lady Day, March 25th, not January 1st. This meant that the birth in February 1744 was actually after the wedding in July 1744. Now it made sense. The first son was named William, and he was born seven months after the wedding.

                William born in 1744 died intestate in 1822, and his wife Ann made a legal claim to his estate. However he didn’t marry Ann Holland (Ann was Catherines Hollands sister, who married Samuel Warren the year before) until 1796, so this William and Ann were not the parents of Samuel.

                It seemed likely that William born in 1744 was Samuels brother. William Warren and Ann Insley had at least eight children between 1744 and 1771, and it seems that Samuel was their last child, born when William the elder was 61 and his wife Ann was 47.

                It seems it wasn’t unusual for the Warren men to marry rather late in life. William Warren’s (born 1710) parents were William Warren and Elizabeth Hatterton. On the marriage licence in 1702/1703 (it appears to say 1703 but is transcribed as 1702), William was a 40 year old bachelor from Stapenhill, which puts his date of birth at 1662. Elizabeth was considerably younger, aged 19.

                William Warren and Elizabeth Hatterton marriage licence 1703:

                William Warren 1702


                These Warren’s were farmers, and they were literate and able to sign their own names on various documents. This is worth noting, as most made the mark of an X.

                I found three Warren and Holland marriages. One was Samuel Warren and Catherine Holland in 1795, then William Warren and Ann Holland in 1796. William Warren and Ann Hollands daughter born in 1799 married John Holland in 1824.

                Elizabeth Hatterton (wife of William Warren who was born circa 1662) was born in Burton upon Trent in 1685. Her parents were Edward Hatterton 1655-1722, and Sara.

                A page from the 1722 will of Edward Hatterton:

                Edward Hatterton 1722


                The earliest Warren I found records for was William Warren who married Elizabeth Hatterton in 1703. The marriage licence states his age as 40 and that he was from Stapenhill, but none of the Stapenhill parish records online go back as far as 1662.  On other public trees on ancestry websites, a birth record from Suffolk has been chosen, probably because it was the only record to be found online with the right name and date. Once again, I don’t think that is correct, and perhaps one day I’ll find some earlier Stapenhill records to prove that he was born in locally.


                Subsequently, I found a list of the 1662 Hearth Tax for Stapenhill. On it were a number of Warrens, three William Warrens including one who was a constable. One of those William Warrens had a son he named William (as they did, hence the number of William Warrens in the tree) the same year as this hearth tax list.

                But was it the William Warren with 2 chimneys, the one with one chimney who was too poor to pay it, or the one who was a constable?

                from the list:
                Will. Warryn 2
                Richard Warryn 1
                William Warren Constable
                These names are not payable by Act:
                Will. Warryn 1
                Richard Warren John Watson
                over seers of the poore and churchwardens

                The Hearth Tax:

                via wiki:
                In England, hearth tax, also known as hearth money, chimney tax, or chimney money, was a tax imposed by Parliament in 1662, to support the Royal Household of King Charles II. Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Parliament calculated that the Royal Household needed an annual income of £1,200,000. The hearth tax was a supplemental tax to make up the shortfall. It was considered easier to establish the number of hearths than the number of heads, hearths forming a more stationary subject for taxation than people. This form of taxation was new to England, but had precedents abroad. It generated considerable debate, but was supported by the economist Sir William Petty, and carried through the Commons by the influential West Country member Sir Courtenay Pole, 2nd Baronet (whose enemies nicknamed him “Sir Chimney Poll” as a result).  The bill received Royal Assent on 19 May 1662, with the first payment due on 29 September 1662, Michaelmas.
                One shilling was liable to be paid for every firehearth or stove, in all dwellings, houses, edifices or lodgings, and was payable at Michaelmas, 29 September and on Lady Day, 25 March. The tax thus amounted to two shillings per hearth or stove per year. The original bill contained a practical shortcoming in that it did not distinguish between owners and occupiers and was potentially a major burden on the poor as there were no exemptions. The bill was subsequently amended so that the tax was paid by the occupier. Further amendments introduced a range of exemptions that ensured that a substantial proportion of the poorer people did not have to pay the tax.


                Indeed it seems clear that William Warren the elder came from Stapenhill and not Suffolk, and one of the William Warrens paying hearth tax in 1662 was undoubtedly the father of William Warren who married Elizabeth Hatterton.


                  The Measham Thatchers

                  Orgills, Finches and Wards

                  Measham is a large village in north west Leicestershire, England, near the Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire boundaries. Our family has a penchant for border straddling, and the Orgill’s of Measham take this a step further living on the boundaries of four counties.  Historically it was in an exclave of Derbyshire absorbed into Leicestershire in 1897, so once again we have two sets of county records to search.


                  Richard Gretton, the baker of Swadlincote and my great grandmother Florence Nightingale Grettons’ father, married Sarah Orgill (1840-1910) in 1861.

                  (Incidentally, Florence Nightingale Warren nee Gretton’s first child Hildred born in 1900 had the middle name Orgill. Florence’s brother John Orgill Gretton emigrated to USA.)

                  When they first married, they lived with Sarah’s widowed mother Elizabeth in Measham.  Elizabeth Orgill is listed on the 1861 census as a farmer of two acres.

                  Sarah Orgill’s father Matthew Orgill (1798-1859) was a thatcher, as was his father Matthew Orgill (1771-1852).

                  Matthew Orgill the elder left his property to his son Henry:

                  Matthew Orgills will


                  Sarah’s mother Elizabeth (1803-1876) was also an Orgill before her marriage to Matthew.

                  According to Pigot & Co’s Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, in Measham in 1835 Elizabeth Orgill was a straw bonnet maker, an ideal occupation for a thatchers wife.

                  Matthew Orgill, thatcher, is listed in White’s directory in 1857, and other Orgill’s are mentioned in Measham:

                  Mary Orgill, straw hat maker; Henry Orgill, grocer; Daniel Orgill, painter; another Matthew Orgill is a coal merchant and wheelwright. Likewise a number of Orgill’s are listed in the directories for Measham in the subsequent years, as farmers, plumbers, painters, grocers, thatchers, wheelwrights, coal merchants and straw bonnet makers.


                  Matthew and Elizabeth Orgill, Measham Baptist church:

                  Orgill grave


                  According to a history of thatching, for every six or seven thatchers appearing in the 1851 census there are now less than one.  Another interesting fact in the history of thatched roofs (via thatchinginfo dot com):

                  The Watling Street Divide…
                  The biggest dividing line of all, that between the angular thatching of the Northern and Eastern traditions and the rounded Southern style, still roughly follows a very ancient line; the northern section of the old Roman road of Watling Street, the modern A5. Seemingly of little significance today; this was once the border between two peoples. Agreed in the peace treaty, between the Saxon King Alfred and Guthrum, the Danish Viking leader; over eleven centuries ago.
                  After making their peace, various Viking armies settled down, to the north and east of the old road; firstly, in what was known as The Danelaw and later in Norse kingdoms, based in York. They quickly formed a class of farmers and peasants. Although the Saxon kings soon regained this area; these people stayed put. Their influence is still seen, for example, in the widespread use of boarded gable ends, so common in Danish thatching.
                  Over time, the Southern and Northern traditions have slipped across the old road, by a few miles either way. But even today, travelling across the old highway will often bring the differing thatching traditions quickly into view.

                  Pear Tree Cottage, Bosworth Road, Measham. 1900.  Matthew Orgill was a thatcher living on Bosworth road.

                  Bosworth road



                  Matthew the elder married Frances Finch 1771-1848, also of Measham.  On the 1851 census Matthew is an 80 year old thatcher living with his daughter Mary and her husband Samuel Piner, a coal miner.

                  Henry Finch 1743- and Mary Dennis 1749- , both of Measham, were Frances parents.  Henry’s father was also Henry Finch, born in 1707 in Measham, and he married Frances Ward, also born in 1707, and also from Measham.



                  The ancient boundary between the kingdom of Mercia and the Danelaw

                  I didn’t find much information on the history of Measham, but I did find a great deal of ancient history on the nearby village of Appleby Magna, two miles away.  The parish records indicate that the Ward and Finch branches of our family date back to the 1500’s in the village, and we can assume that the ancient history of the neighbouring village would be relevant to our history.

                  There is evidence of human settlement in Appleby from the early Neolithic period, 6,000 years ago, and there are also Iron Age and Bronze Age sites in the vicinity.  There is evidence of further activity within the village during the Roman period, including evidence of a villa or farm and a temple.  Appleby is near three known Roman roads: Watling Street, 10 miles south of the village; Bath Lane, 5 miles north of the village; and Salt Street, which forms the parish’s south boundary.

                  But it is the Scandinavian invasions that are particularly intriguing, with regard to my 58% Scandinavian DNA (and virtually 100% Midlands England ancestry). Repton is 13 miles from Measham. In the early 10th century Chilcote, Measham and Willesley were part of the royal Derbyshire estate of Repton.

                  The arrival of Scandinavian invaders in the second half of the ninth century caused widespread havoc throughout northern England. By the AD 870s the Danish army was occupying Mercia and it spent the winter of 873-74 at Repton, the headquarters of the Mercian kings. The events are recorded in detail in the Peterborough manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles…

                  Although the Danes held power for only 40 years, a strong, even subversive, Danish element remained in the population for many years to come. 

                  A Scandinavian influence may also be detected among the field names of the parish. Although many fields have relatively modern names, some clearly have elements which reach back to the time of Danish incursion and control.

                  The Borders:

                  The name ‘aeppel byg’ is given in the will of Wulfic Spot of AD 1004……………..The decision at Domesday to include this land in Derbyshire, as one of Burton Abbey’s Derbyshire manors, resulted in the division of the village of Appleby Magna between the counties of Leicester and Derby for the next 800 years

                  Richard Dunmore’s Appleby Magma website.

                  This division of Appleby between Leicestershire and Derbyshire persisted from Domesday until 1897, when the recently created county councils (1889) simplified the administration of many villages in this area by a radical realignment of the boundary:



                  I would appear that our family not only straddle county borders, but straddle ancient kingdom borders as well.  This particular branch of the family (we assume, given the absence of written records that far back) were living on the edge of the Danelaw and a strong element of the Danes survives to this day in my DNA.



                    “AND NOW ABOUT EMMA”

                    and a mystery about George


                    I had overlooked this interesting part of Barbara Housley’s “Narrative on the Letters” initially, perhaps because I was more focused on finding Samuel Housley.  But when I did eventually notice, I wondered how I had missed it!  In this particularly interesting letter excerpt from Joseph, Barbara has not put the date of the letter ~ unusually, because she did with all of the others.  However I dated the letter to later than 1867, because Joseph mentions his wife, and they married in 1867. This is important, because there are two Emma Housleys. Joseph had a sister Emma, born in 1836, two years before Joseph was born.  At first glance, one would assume that a reference to Emma in the letters would mean his sister, but Emma the sister was married in Derby in 1858, and by 1869 had four children.

                    But there was another Emma Housley, born in 1851.


                    From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                    “AND NOW ABOUT EMMA”

                    A MYSTERY

                    A very mysterious comment is contained in a letter from Joseph:

                    “And now about Emma.  I have only seen her once and she came to me to get your address but I did not feel at liberty to give it to her until I had wrote to you but however she got it from someone.  I think it was in this way.  I was so pleased to hear from you in the first place and with John’s family coming to see me I let them read one or two of your letters thinking they would like to hear of you and I expect it was Will that noticed your address and gave it to her.  She came up to our house one day when I was at work to know if I had heard from you but I had not heard from you since I saw her myself and then she called again after that and my wife showed her your boys’ portraits thinking no harm in doing so.”

                    At this point Joseph interrupted himself to thank them for sending the portraits.  The next sentence is:

                    “Your son JOHN I have never seen to know him but I hear he is rather wild,” followed by: “EMMA has been living out service but don’t know where she is now.”

                    Since Joseph had just been talking about the portraits of George’s three sons, one of whom is John Eley, this could be a reference to things George has written in despair about a teen age son–but could Emma be a first wife and John their son?  Or could Emma and John both be the children of a first wife?

                    Elsewhere, Joseph wrote, “AMY ELEY died 14 years ago. (circa 1858)  She left a son and a daughter.”

                    An Amey Eley and a George Housley were married on April 1, 1849 in Duffield which is about as far west of Smalley as Heanor is East.  She was the daughter of John, a framework knitter, and Sarah Eley.  George’s father is listed as William, a farmer.  Amey was described as “of full age” and made her mark on the marriage document.

                    Anne wrote in August 1854:  JOHN ELEY is living at Derby Station so must take the first opportunity to get the receipt.” Was John Eley Housley named for him?

                    (John Eley Housley is George Housley’s son in USA, with his second wife, Sarah.)


                    George Housley married Amey Eley in 1849 in Duffield.  George’s father on the register is William Housley, farmer.  Amey Eley’s father is John Eley, framework knitter.

                    George Housley Amey Eley


                    On the 1851 census, George Housley and his wife Amey Housley are living with her parents in Heanor, John Eley, a framework knitter, and his wife Rebecca.  Also on the census are Charles J Housley, born in 1849 in Heanor, and Emma Housley, three months old at the time of the census, born in 1851.  George’s birth place is listed as Smalley.

                    1851 George Housley



                    On the 31st of July 1851 George Housley arrives in New York. In 1854 George Housley marries Sarah Ann Hill in USA.


                    On the 1861 census in Heanor, Rebecca Eley was a widow, her husband John having died in 1852, and she had three grandchildren living with her: Charles J Housley aged 12, Emma Housley, 10, and mysteriously a William Housley aged 5!  Amey Housley, the childrens mother,  died in 1858.

                    Housley Eley 1861


                    Back to the mysterious comment in Joseph’s letter.  Joseph couldn’t have been speaking of his sister Emma.  She was married with children by the time Joseph wrote that letter, so was not just out of service, and Joseph would have known where she was.   There is no reason to suppose that the sister Emma was trying unsuccessfully to find George’s addresss: she had been sending him letters for years.   Joseph must have been referring to George’s daughter Emma.

                    Joseph comments to George “Your son John…is rather wild.” followed by the remark about Emma’s whereabouts.  Could Charles John Housley have used his middle name of John instead of Charles?

                    As for the child William born five years after George left for USA, despite his name of Housley, which was his mothers married name, we can assume that he was not a Housley ~ not George’s child, anyway. It is not clear who his father was, as Amey did not remarry.

                    A further excerpt from Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                    Certainly there was some mystery in George’s life. George apparently wanted his whereabouts kept secret. Anne wrote: “People are at a loss to know where you are. The general idea is you are with Charles. We don’t satisfy them.” In that same letter Anne wrote: “I know you could not help thinking of us very often although you neglected writing…and no doubt would feel grieved for the trouble you at times caused (our mother). She freely forgives all.” Near the end of the letter, Anne added: “Mother sends her love to you and hopes you will write and if you want to tell her anything you don’t want all to see you must write it on a piece of loose paper and put it inside the letter.”

                    In a letter to George from his sister Emma:

                    Emma wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.”

                    In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

                    It would seem that George Housley named his first son with his second wife after his first wife’s father ~ while he was married to both of them.


                    Emma Housley



                    In 1871 Emma was 20 years old and “in service” living as a lodger in West Hallam, not far from Heanor.  As she didn’t appear on a 1881 census, I looked for a marriage, but the only one that seemed right in every other way had Emma Housley’s father registered as Ralph Wibberly!

                    Who was Ralph Wibberly?  A family friend or neighbour, perhaps, someone who had been a father figure?  The first Ralph Wibberly I found was a blind wood cutter living in Derby. He had a son also called Ralph Wibberly. I did not think Ralph Wibberly would be a very common name, but I was wrong.

                    I then found a Ralph Wibberly living in Heanor, with a son also named Ralph Wibberly. A Ralph Wibberly married an Emma Salt from Heanor. In 1874, a 36 year old Ralph Wibberly (born in 1838) was on trial in Derby for inflicting grevious bodily harm on William Fretwell of Heanor. His occupation is “platelayer” (a person employed in laying and maintaining railway track.) The jury found him not guilty.

                    In 1851 a 23 year old Ralph Wibberly (born in 1828) was a prisoner in Derby Gaol. However, Ralph Wibberly, a 50 year old labourer born in 1801 and his son Ralph Wibberly, aged 13 and born in 1838, are living in Belper on the 1851 census. Perhaps the son was the same Ralph Wibberly who was found not guilty of GBH in 1874. This appears to be the one who married Emma Salt, as his wife on the 1871 census is called Emma, and his occupation is “Midland Company Railway labourer”.

                    Which was the Ralph Wibberly that Emma chose to name as her father on the marriage register? We may never know, but perhaps we can assume it was Ralph Wibberly born in 1801.  It is unlikely to be the blind wood cutter from Derby; more likely to be the local Ralph Wibberly.  Maybe his son Ralph, who we know was involved in a fight in 1874, was a friend of Emma’s brother Charles John, who was described by Joseph as a “wild one”, although Ralph was 11 years older than Charles John.

                    Emma Housley married James Slater on Christmas day in Heanor in 1873.  Their first child, a daughter, was called Amy. Emma’s mother was Amy Eley. James Slater was a colliery brakesman (employed to work the steam-engine, or other machinery used in raising the coal from the mine.)

                    It occurred to me to wonder if Emma Housley (George’s daughter) knew Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Catherine (Samuel’s daughters). They were cousins, lived in the vicinity, and they had in common with each other having been deserted by their fathers who were brothers. Emma was born two years after Catherine. Catherine was living with John Benniston, a framework knitter in Heanor, from 1851 to 1861. Emma was living with her grandfather John Ely, a framework knitter in Heanor. In 1861, George Purdy was also living in Heanor. He was listed on the census as a 13 year old coal miner! George Purdy and Catherine Housley married in 1866 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire ~ just over the county border. Emma’s first child Amy was born in Heanor, but the next two children, Eliza and Lilly, were born in Eastwood, in 1878 and 1880. Catherine and George’s fifth child, my great grandmother Mary Ann Gilman Purdy, was born in Eastwood in 1880, the same year as Lilly Slater.

                    By 1881 Emma and James Slater were living in Woodlinkin, Codnor and Loscoe, close to Heanor and Eastwood, on the Derbyshire side of the border. On each census up to 1911 their address on the census is Woodlinkin. Emma and James had nine children: six girls and 3 boys, the last, Alfred Frederick, born in 1901.

                    Emma and James lived three doors up from the Thorn Tree pub in Woodlinkin, Codnor:



                    Emma Slater died in 1935 at the age of 84.


                    LOVING MEMORY OF
                    EMMA SLATER
                    (OF WOODLINKIN)
                    WHO DIED
                    SEPT 12th 1935
                    AGED 84 YEARS
                    AT REST

                    Crosshill Cemetery, Codnor, Amber Valley Borough, Derbyshire, England:

                    Emma Slater


                    Charles John Housley



                      The Housley Letters
                      THE NEIGHBORHOOD


                      From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                      In July 1872, Joseph wrote to George who had been gone for 21 years: “You would not know Heanor now. It has got such a large place. They have got a town hall built where Charles’ stone yard was.”

                      Then Joseph took George on a tour from Smalley to Heanor pointing out all the changes:

                      Smalley MapSmalley Farms


                      “Now we commence at Firby Brook. There is no public house there. It is turned into a market gardener’s place. Morley smithy stands as it did. You would know Chris Shepperd that used to keep the farm opposite. He is dead and the farm is got into other hands.”  (In 1851, Chris Shepherd, age 39, and his widowed mother, Mary, had a farm of 114 acres. Charles Carrington, age 14, worked for them as a “cow boy.” In 1851 Hollingsworths also lived at Morely smithy.) “The Rose and Crown stands and Antony Kerry keeps that yet.”  (In 1851, the census listed Kerry as a mason, builder, victicular, and farmer. He lived with his wife and four sons and numerous servants.) “They have pulled down Samuel Kerry’s farm house down and built him one in another place. Now we come to the Bell that was but they have pulled the old one down and made Isaac Potters House into the new Bell.” (In 1851, The Bell was run by Ann Weston, a widow.)

                      Smalley Roundhouse:

                      Smalley Roundhouse


                      “The old Round House is standing yet but they have took the machine away. The Public House at the top end is kept by Mrs. Turton. I don’t know who she was before she married. Now we get to old Tom Oldknow. The old house is pulled down and a new one is put up but it is gone out of the family altogether. Now Jack is living at Stanley. He married Ann that used to live at Barbers at Smalley. That finishes Smalley. Now for Taghill. The old Jolly Collier is standing yet and a man of the name of Remmington keeps the new one opposite. Jack Foulkes son Jack used to keep that but has left just lately. There is the Nottingham House, Nags Head, Cross Keys and then the Red Lion but houses built on both sides all the way down Taghill. Then we get to the town hall that is built on the ground that Charles’ Stone Yard used to be. There is Joseph Watson’s shop standing yet in the old place. The King of Prussia, the White Lion and Hanks that is the Public House. You see there are more than there used to be. The Magistrate sits at the Town Hall and tries cases there every fortnight.”



                        The Housley Letters

                        The Carringtons

                        Carrington Farm, Smalley:

                        Carrington Farm


                        Ellen Carrington was born in 1795. Her father William Carrington 1755-1833 was from Smalley. Her mother Mary Malkin 1765-1838 was from Ellastone, in Staffordshire.  Ellastone is on the Derbyshire border and very close to Ashboure, where Ellen married William Housley.


                        From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                        Ellen’s family was evidently rather prominant in Smalley. Two Carringtons (John and William) served on the Parish Council in 1794. Parish records are full of Carrington marriages and christenings.

                        The letters refer to a variety of “uncles” who were probably Ellen’s brothers, but could be her uncles. These include:


                        Probably the youngest Uncle, and certainly the most significant, is Richard. He was a trustee for some of the property which needed to be settled following Ellen’s death. Anne wrote in 1854 that Uncle Richard “has got a new house built” and his daughters are “fine dashing young ladies–the belles of Smalley.” Then she added, “Aunt looks as old as my mother.”

                        Richard was born somewhere between 1808 and 1812. Since Richard was a contemporary of the older Housley children, “Aunt,” who was three years younger, should not look so old!

                        Richard Carrington and Harriet Faulkner were married in Repton in 1833. A daughter Elizabeth was baptised March 24, 1834. In July 1872, Joseph wrote: Elizabeth is married too and a large family and is living in Uncle Thomas’s house for he is dead.” Elizabeth married Ayres (Eyres) Clayton of Lascoe. His occupation was listed as joiner and shopkeeper. They were married before 1864 since Elizabeth Clayton witnessed her sister’s marriage. Their children in April 1871 were Selina (1863), Agnes Maria (1866) and Elizabeth Ann (1868). A fourth daughter, Alice Augusta, was born in 1872 or 1873, probably by July 1872 to fit Joseph’s description “large family”! A son Charles Richard was born in 1880.

                        An Elizabeth Ann Clayton married John Arthur Woodhouse on May 12, 1913. He was a carpenter. His father was a miner. Elizabeth Ann’s father, Ayres, was also a carpenter. John Arthur’s age was given as 25. Elizabeth Ann’s age was given as 33 or 38. However, if she was born in 1868, her age would be 45. Possibly this is another case of a child being named for a deceased sibling. If she were 38 and born in 1875, she would fill the gap between Alice Augusta and Charles Richard.

                        Selina Clayton, who would have been 18, is not listed in the household in 1881. She died on June 11, 1914 at age 51. Agnes Maria Clayton died at the age of 25 and was buried March 31, 1891. Charles Richard died at the age of 5 and was buried on February 4, 1886. A Charles James Clayton, 18 months, was buried June 8, 1889 in Heanor.

                        Richard Carrington’s second daughter, Selina, born in 1837, married Walker Martin (b.1835) on February 11, 1864 and they were living at Kidsley Park Farm in 1872, according to a letter from Joseph, and, according to the census, were still there in 1881. This 100 acre farm was formerly the home of Daniel Smith and his daughter Elizabeth Davy Barber. Selina and Walker had at least five children: Elizabeth Ann (1865), Harriet Georgianna (1866/7), Alice Marian (September 6, 1868), Philip Richard (1870), and Walker (1873). In December 1972, Joseph mentioned the death of Philip Walker, a farmer of Prospect Farm, Shipley. This was probably Walker Martin’s grandfather, since Walker was born in Shipley. The stock was to be sold the following Monday, but his daughter (Walker’s mother?) died the next day. Walker’s father was named Thomas. An Annie Georgianna Martin age 13 of Shipley died in April of 1859.

                        Selina Martin died on October 29, 1906 but her estate was not settled until November 14, 1910. Her gross estate was worth L223.56. Her son Walker and her daughter Harriet Georgiana were her trustees and executers. Walker was to get Selina’s half of Richard’s farm. Harriet Georgiana and Alice Marian were to be allowed to live with him. Philip Richard received L25. Elizabeth Ann was already married to someone named Smith.

                        Richard and Harriet may also have had a son George. In 1851 a Harriet Carrington and her three year old son George were living with her step-father John Benniston in Heanor. John may have been recently widowed and needed her help. Or, the Carrington home may have been inadequate since Anne reported a new one was built by 1854. Selina’s second daughter’s name testifies to the presence of a “George” in the family! Could the death of this son account for the haggard appearance Anne described when she wrote: “Aunt looks as old as my mother?”
                        Harriet was buried May 19, 1866. She was 55 when she died.

                        In 1881, Georgianna then 14, was living with her grandfather and his niece, Zilpah Cooper, age 38–who lived with Richard on his 63 acre farm as early as 1871. A Zilpah, daughter of William and Elizabeth, was christened October 1843. Her brother, William Walter, was christened in 1846 and married Anna Maria Saint in 1873. There are four Selina Coopers–one had a son William Thomas Bartrun Cooper christened in 1864; another had a son William Cooper christened in 1873.

                        Our Zilpah was born in Bretley 1843. She died at age 49 and was buried on September 24, 1892. In her will, which was witnessed by Selina Martin, Zilpah’s sister, Frances Elizabeth Cleave, wife of Horatio Cleave of Leicester is mentioned. James Eley and Francis Darwin Huish (Richard’s soliciter) were executers.

                        Richard died June 10, 1892, and was buried on June 13. He was 85. As might be expected, Richard’s will was complicated. Harriet Georgiana Martin and Zilpah Cooper were to share his farm. If neither wanted to live there it was to go to Georgiana’s cousin Selina Clayton. However, Zilpah died soon after Richard. Originally, he left his piano, parlor and best bedroom furniture to his daughter Elizabeth Clayton. Then he revoked everything but the piano. He arranged for the payment of £150 which he owed. Later he added a codicil explaining that the debt was paid but he had borrowed £200 from someone else to do it!

                        Richard left a good deal of property including: The house and garden in Smalley occupied by Eyres Clayton with four messuages and gardens adjoining and large garden below and three messuages at the south end of the row with the frame work knitters shop and garden adjoining; a dwelling house used as a public house with a close of land; a small cottage and garden and four cottages and shop and gardens.



                        In August 1854, Anne wrote “Uncle Thomas is about as usual.” A Thomas Carrington married a Priscilla Walker in 1810.

                        Their children were baptised in August 1830 at the same time as the Housley children who at that time ranged in age from 3 to 17. The oldest of Thomas and Priscilla’s children, Henry, was probably at least 17 as he was married by 1836. Their youngest son, William Thomas, born 1830, may have been Mary Ellen Weston’s beau. However, the only Richard whose christening is recorded (1820), was the son of Thomas and Lucy. In 1872 Joseph reported that Richard’s daughter Elizabeth was married and living in Uncle Thomas’s house. In 1851, Alfred Smith lived in house 25, Foulks lived in 26, Thomas and Priscilla lived in 27, Bennetts lived in 28, Allard lived in 29 and Day lived in 30. Thomas and Priscilla do not appear in 1861. In 1871 Elizabeth Ann and Ayres Clayton lived in House 54. None of the families listed as neighbors in 1851 remained. However, Joseph Carrington, who lived in house 19 in 1851, lived in house 51 in 1871.



                        In August 1854, Anne wrote: “Uncle John is with Will and Frank has been home in a comfortable place in Cotmanhay.” Although John and William are two of the most popular Carrington names, only two John’s have sons named William. John and Rachel Buxton Carrington had a son William christened in 1788. At the time of the letters this John would have been over 100 years old. Their son John and his wife Ann had a son William who was born in 1805. However, this William age 46 was living with his widowed mother in 1851. A Robert Carrington and his wife Ann had a son John born 1n 1805. He would be the right age to be a brother to Francis Carrington discussed below. This John was living with his widowed mother in 1851 and was unmarried. There are no known Williams in this family grouping. A William Carrington of undiscovered parentage was born in 1821. It is also possible that the Will in question was Anne’s brother Will Housley.

                        –Two Francis Carringtons appear in the 1841 census both of them aged 35. One is living with Richard and Harriet Carrington. The other is living next door to Samuel and Ellen Carrington Kerry (the trustee for “father’s will”!). The next name in this sequence is John Carrington age 15 who does not seem to live with anyone! but may be part of the Kerry household.

                        FRANK (see above)

                        While Anne did not preface her mention of the name Frank with an “Uncle,” Joseph referred to Uncle Frank and James Carrington in the same sentence. A James Carrington was born in 1814 and had a wife Sarah. He worked as a framework knitter. James may have been a son of William and Anne Carrington. He lived near Richard according to the 1861 census. Other children of William and Anne are Hannah (1811), William (1815), John (1816), and Ann (1818). An Ann Carrington married a Frank Buxton in 1819. This might be “Uncle Frank.”

                        An Ellen Carrington was born to John and Rachel Carrington in 1785. On October 25, 1809, a Samuel Kerry married an Ellen Carrington. However this Samuel Kerry is not the trustee involved in settling Ellen’s estate. John Carrington died July 1815.

                        William and Mary Carrington:

                        William Carrington


                          From Tanganyika with Love

                          continued  ~ part 6

                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                          Mchewe 6th June 1937

                          Dearest Family,

                          Home again! We had an uneventful journey. Kate was as good as gold all the
                          way. We stopped for an hour at Bulawayo where we had to change trains but
                          everything was simplified for me by a very pleasant man whose wife shared my
                          compartment. Not only did he see me through customs but he installed us in our new
                          train and his wife turned up to see us off with magazines for me and fruit and sweets for
                          Kate. Very, very kind, don’t you think?

                          Kate and I shared the compartment with a very pretty and gentle girl called
                          Clarice Simpson. She was very worried and upset because she was going home to
                          Broken Hill in response to a telegram informing her that her young husband was
                          dangerously ill from Blackwater Fever. She was very helpful with Kate whose
                          cheerfulness helped Clarice, I think, though I, quite unintentionally was the biggest help
                          at the end of our journey. Remember the partial dentures I had had made just before
                          leaving Cape Town? I know I shall never get used to the ghastly things, I’ve had them
                          two weeks now and they still wobble. Well this day I took them out and wrapped them
                          in a handkerchief, but when we were packing up to leave the train I could find the
                          handkerchief but no teeth! We searched high and low until the train had slowed down to
                          enter Broken Hill station. Then Clarice, lying flat on the floor, spied the teeth in the dark
                          corner under the bottom bunk. With much stretching she managed to retrieve the
                          dentures covered in grime and fluff. My look of horror, when I saw them, made young
                          Clarice laugh. She was met at the station by a very grave elderly couple. I do wonder
                          how things turned out for her.

                          I stayed overnight with Kate at the Great Northern Hotel, and we set off for
                          Mbeya by plane early in the morning. One of our fellow passengers was a young
                          mother with a three week old baby. How ideas have changed since Ann was born. This
                          time we had a smooth passage and I was the only passenger to get airsick. Although
                          there were other women passengers it was a man once again, who came up and
                          offered to help. Kate went off with him amiably and he entertained her until we touched
                          down at Mbeya.

                          George was there to meet us with a wonderful surprise, a little red two seater
                          Ford car. She is a bit battered and looks a bit odd because the boot has been
                          converted into a large wooden box for carrying raw salt, but she goes like the wind.
                          Where did George raise the cash to buy a car? Whilst we were away he found a small
                          cave full of bat guano near a large cave which is worked by a man called Bob Sargent.
                          As Sargent did not want any competition he bought the contents of the cave from
                          George giving him the small car as part payment.

                          It was lovely to return to our little home and find everything fresh and tidy and the
                          garden full of colour. But it was heartbreaking to go into the bedroom and see George’s
                          precious forgotten boots still standing by his empty bed.

                          With much love,

                          Mchewe 25th June 1937

                          Dearest Family,

                          Last Friday George took Kate and me in the little red Ford to visit Mr Sargent’s
                          camp on the Songwe River which cuts the Mbeya-Mbosi road. Mr Sargent bought
                          Hicky-Wood’s guano deposit and also our small cave and is making a good living out of
                          selling the bat guano to the coffee farmers in this province. George went to try to interest
                          him in a guano deposit near Kilwa in the Southern Province. Mr Sargent agreed to pay
                          25 pounds to cover the cost of the car trip and pegging costs. George will make the trip
                          to peg the claim and take samples for analysis. If the quality is sufficiently high, George
                          and Mr Sargent will go into partnership. George will work the claim and ship out the
                          guano from Kilwa which is on the coast of the Southern Province of Tanganyika. So now
                          we are busy building castles in the air once more.

                          On Saturday we went to Mbeya where George had to attend a meeting of the
                          Trout Association. In the afternoon he played in a cricket match so Kate and I spent the
                          whole day with the wife of the new Superintendent of Police. They have a very nice
                          new house with lawns and a sunken rose garden. Kate had a lovely romp with Kit, her
                          three year old son.

                          Mrs Wolten also has two daughters by a previous marriage. The elder girl said to
                          me, “Oh Mrs Rushby your husband is exactly like the strong silent type of man I
                          expected to see in Africa but he is the only one I have seen. I think he looks exactly like
                          those men in the ‘Barney’s Tobacco’ advertisements.”

                          I went home with a huge pile of magazines to keep me entertained whilst
                          George is away on the Kilwa trip.

                          Lots of love,

                          Mchewe 9th July 1937

                          Dearest Family,

                          George returned on Monday from his Kilwa safari. He had an entertaining
                          tale to tell.

                          Before he approached Mr Sargent about going shares in the Kilwa guano
                          deposit he first approached a man on the Lupa who had done very well out of a small
                          gold reef. This man, however said he was not interested so you can imagine how
                          indignant George was when he started on his long trip, to find himself being trailed by
                          this very man and a co-driver in a powerful Ford V8 truck. George stopped his car and
                          had some heated things to say – awful threats I imagine as to what would happen to
                          anyone who staked his claim. Then he climbed back into our ancient little two seater and
                          went off like a bullet driving all day and most of the night. As the others took turns in
                          driving you can imagine what a feat it was for George to arrive in Kilwa ahead of them.
                          When they drove into Kilwa he met them with a bright smile and a bit of bluff –
                          quite justifiable under the circumstances I think. He said, you chaps can have a rest now,
                          you’re too late.” He then whipped off and pegged the claim. he brought some samples
                          of guano back but until it has been analysed he will not know whether the guano will be
                          an economic proposition or not. George is not very hopeful. He says there is a good
                          deal of sand mixed with the guano and that much of it was damp.

                          The trip was pretty eventful for Kianda, our houseboy. The little two seater car
                          had been used by its previous owner for carting bags of course salt from his salt pans.
                          For this purpose the dicky seat behind the cab had been removed, and a kind of box
                          built into the boot of the car. George’s camp kit and provisions were packed into this
                          open box and Kianda perched on top to keep an eye on the belongings. George
                          travelled so fast on the rough road that at some point during the night Kianda was
                          bumped off in the middle of the Game Reserve. George did not notice that he was
                          missing until the next morning. He concluded, quite rightly as it happened, that Kianda
                          would be picked up by the rival truck so he continued his journey and Kianda rejoined
                          him at Kilwa.

                          Believe it or not, the same thing happened on the way back but fortunately this
                          time George noticed his absence. He stopped the car and had just started back on his
                          tracks when Kianda came running down the road still clutching the unlighted storm lamp
                          which he was holding in his hand when he fell. The glass was not even cracked.
                          We are finding it difficult just now to buy native chickens and eggs. There has
                          been an epidemic amongst the poultry and one hesitates to eat the survivors. I have a
                          brine tub in which I preserve our surplus meat but I need the chickens for soup.
                          I hope George will be home for some months. He has arranged to take a Mr
                          Blackburn, a wealthy fruit farmer from Elgin, Cape, on a hunting safari during September
                          and October and that should bring in some much needed cash. Lillian Eustace has
                          invited Kate and me to spend the whole of October with her in Tukuyu.
                          I am so glad that you so much enjoy having Ann and George with you. We miss
                          them dreadfully. Kate is a pretty little girl and such a little madam. You should hear the
                          imperious way in which she calls the kitchenboy for her meals. “Boy Brekkis, Boy Lunch,
                          and Boy Eggy!” are her three calls for the day. She knows no Ki-Swahili.


                          Mchewe 8th October 1937

                          Dearest Family,

                          I am rapidly becoming as superstitious as our African boys. They say the wild
                          animals always know when George is away from home and come down to have their
                          revenge on me because he has killed so many.

                          I am being besieged at night by a most beastly leopard with a half grown cub. I
                          have grown used to hearing leopards grunt as they hunt in the hills at night but never
                          before have I had one roaming around literally under the windows. It has been so hot at
                          night lately that I have been sleeping with my bedroom door open onto the verandah. I
                          felt quite safe because the natives hereabouts are law-abiding and in any case I always
                          have a boy armed with a club sleeping in the kitchen just ten yards away. As an added
                          precaution I also have a loaded .45 calibre revolver on my bedside table, and Fanny
                          our bullterrier, sleeps on the mat by my bed. I am also looking after Barney, a fine
                          Airedale dog belonging to the Costers. He slept on a mat by the open bedroom door
                          near a dimly burning storm lamp.

                          As usual I went to sleep with an easy mind on Monday night, but was awakened
                          in the early hours of Tuesday by the sound of a scuffle on the front verandah. The noise
                          was followed by a scream of pain from Barney. I jumped out of bed and, grabbing the
                          lamp with my left hand and the revolver in my right, I rushed outside just in time to see
                          two animal figures roll over the edge of the verandah into the garden below. There they
                          engaged in a terrific tug of war. Fortunately I was too concerned for Barney to be
                          nervous. I quickly fired two shots from the revolver, which incidentally makes a noise like
                          a cannon, and I must have startled the leopard for both animals, still locked together,
                          disappeared over the edge of the terrace. I fired two more shots and in a few moments
                          heard the leopard making a hurried exit through the dry leaves which lie thick under the
                          wild fig tree just beyond the terrace. A few seconds later Barney appeared on the low
                          terrace wall. I called his name but he made no move to come but stood with hanging
                          head. In desperation I rushed out, felt blood on my hands when I touched him, so I
                          picked him up bodily and carried him into the house. As I regained the verandah the boy
                          appeared, club in hand, having been roused by the shots. He quickly grasped what had
                          happened when he saw my blood saturated nightie. He fetched a bowl of water and a
                          clean towel whilst I examined Barney’s wounds. These were severe, the worst being a
                          gaping wound in his throat. I washed the gashes with a strong solution of pot permang
                          and I am glad to say they are healing remarkably well though they are bound to leave
                          scars. Fanny, very prudently, had taken no part in the fighting except for frenzied barking
                          which she kept up all night. The shots had of course wakened Kate but she seemed
                          more interested than alarmed and kept saying “Fanny bark bark, Mummy bang bang.
                          Poor Barney lots of blood.”

                          In the morning we inspected the tracks in the garden. There was a shallow furrow
                          on the terrace where Barney and the leopard had dragged each other to and fro and
                          claw marks on the trunk of the wild fig tree into which the leopard climbed after I fired the
                          shots. The affair was of course a drama after the Africans’ hearts and several of our
                          shamba boys called to see me next day to make sympathetic noises and discuss the

                          I went to bed early that night hoping that the leopard had been scared off for
                          good but I must confess I shut all windows and doors. Alas for my hopes of a restful
                          night. I had hardly turned down the lamp when the leopard started its terrifying grunting
                          just under the bedroom windows. If only she would sniff around quietly I should not
                          mind, but the noise is ghastly, something like the first sickening notes of a braying
                          donkey, amplified here by the hills and the gorge which is only a stones throw from the
                          bedroom. Barney was too sick to bark but Fanny barked loud enough for two and the more
                          frantic she became the hungrier the leopard sounded. Kate of course woke up and this
                          time she was frightened though I assured her that the noise was just a donkey having
                          fun. Neither of us slept until dawn when the leopard returned to the hills. When we
                          examined the tracks next morning we found that the leopard had been accompanied by
                          a fair sized cub and that together they had prowled around the house, kitchen, and out
                          houses, visiting especially the places to which the dogs had been during the day.
                          As I feel I cannot bear many more of these nights, I am sending a note to the
                          District Commissioner, Mbeya by the messenger who takes this letter to the post,
                          asking him to send a game scout or an armed policeman to deal with the leopard.
                          So don’t worry, for by the time this reaches you I feel sure this particular trouble
                          will be over.


                          Mchewe 17th October 1937

                          Dearest Family,

                          More about the leopard I fear! My messenger returned from Mbeya to say that
                          the District Officer was on safari so he had given the message to the Assistant District
                          Officer who also apparently left on safari later without bothering to reply to my note, so
                          there was nothing for me to do but to send for the village Nimrod and his muzzle loader
                          and offer him a reward if he could frighten away or kill the leopard.

                          The hunter, Laza, suggested that he should sleep at the house so I went to bed
                          early leaving Laza and his two pals to make themselves comfortable on the living room
                          floor by the fire. Laza was armed with a formidable looking muzzle loader, crammed I
                          imagine with nuts and bolts and old rusty nails. One of his pals had a spear and the other
                          a panga. This fellow was also in charge of the Petromax pressure lamp whose light was
                          hidden under a packing case. I left the campaign entirely to Laza’s direction.
                          As usual the leopard came at midnight stealing down from the direction of the
                          kitchen and announcing its presence and position with its usual ghastly grunts. Suddenly
                          pandemonium broke loose on the back verandah. I heard the roar of the muzzle loader
                          followed by a vigourous tattoo beaten on an empty paraffin tin and I rushed out hoping
                          to find the dead leopard. however nothing of the kind had happened except that the
                          noise must have scared the beast because she did not return again that night. Next
                          morning Laza solemnly informed me that, though he had shot many leopards in his day,
                          this was no ordinary leopard but a “sheitani” (devil) and that as his gun was no good
                          against witchcraft he thought he might as well retire from the hunt. Scared I bet, and I
                          don’t blame him either.

                          You can imagine my relief when a car rolled up that afternoon bringing Messers
                          Stewart and Griffiths, two farmers who live about 15 miles away, between here and
                          Mbeya. They had a note from the Assistant District Officer asking them to help me and
                          they had come to set up a trap gun in the garden. That night the leopard sniffed all
                          around the gun and I had the added strain of waiting for the bang and wondering what I
                          should do if the beast were only wounded. I conjured up horrible visions of the two little
                          totos trotting up the garden path with the early morning milk and being horribly mauled,
                          but I needn’t have worried because the leopard was far too wily to be caught that way.
                          Two more ghastly nights passed and then I had another visitor, a Dr Jackson of
                          the Tsetse Department on safari in the District. He listened sympathetically to my story
                          and left his shotgun and some SSG cartridges with me and instructed me to wait until the
                          leopard was pretty close and blow its b—– head off. It was good of him to leave his
                          gun. George always says there are three things a man should never lend, ‘His wife, his
                          gun and his dog.’ (I think in that order!)I felt quite cheered by Dr Jackson’s visit and sent
                          once again for Laza last night and arranged a real show down. In the afternoon I draped
                          heavy blankets over the living room windows to shut out the light of the pressure lamp
                          and the four of us, Laza and his two stooges and I waited up for the leopard. When we
                          guessed by her grunts that she was somewhere between the kitchen and the back door
                          we all rushed out, first the boy with the panga and the lamp, next Laza with his muzzle
                          loader, then me with the shotgun followed closely by the boy with the spear. What a
                          farce! The lamp was our undoing. We were blinded by the light and did not even
                          glimpse the leopard which made off with a derisive grunt. Laza said smugly that he knew
                          it was hopeless to try and now I feel tired and discouraged too.

                          This morning I sent a runner to Mbeya to order the hotel taxi for tomorrow and I
                          shall go to friends in Mbeya for a day or two and then on to Tukuyu where I shall stay
                          with the Eustaces until George returns from Safari.


                          Mchewe 18th November 1937

                          My darling Ann,

                          Here we are back in our own home and how lovely it is to have Daddy back from
                          safari. Thank you very much for your letter. I hope by now you have got mine telling you
                          how very much I liked the beautiful tray cloth you made for my birthday. I bet there are
                          not many little girls of five who can embroider as well as you do, darling. The boy,
                          Matafari, washes and irons it so carefully and it looks lovely on the tea tray.

                          Daddy and I had some fun last night. I was in bed and Daddy was undressing
                          when we heard a funny scratching noise on the roof. I thought it was the leopard. Daddy
                          quickly loaded his shotgun and ran outside. He had only his shirt on and he looked so
                          funny. I grabbed the loaded revolver from the cupboard and ran after Dad in my nightie
                          but after all the rush it was only your cat, Winnie, though I don’t know how she managed
                          to make such a noise. We felt so silly, we laughed and laughed.

                          Kate talks a lot now but in such a funny way you would laugh to her her. She
                          hears the houseboys call me Memsahib so sometimes instead of calling me Mummy
                          she calls me “Oompaab”. She calls the bedroom a ‘bippon’ and her little behind she
                          calls her ‘sittendump’. She loves to watch Mandawi’s cattle go home along the path
                          behind the kitchen. Joseph your donkey, always leads the cows. He has a lazy life now.
                          I am glad you had such fun on Guy Fawkes Day. You will be sad to leave
                          Plumstead but I am sure you will like going to England on the big ship with granny Kate.
                          I expect you will start school when you get to England and I am sure you will find that

                          God bless my dear little girl. Lots of love from Daddy and Kate,
                          and Mummy

                          Mchewe 18th November 1937

                          Hello George Darling,

                          Thank you for your lovely drawing of Daddy shooting an elephant. Daddy says
                          that the only thing is that you have drawn him a bit too handsome.

                          I went onto the verandah a few minutes ago to pick a banana for Kate from the
                          bunch hanging there and a big hornet flew out and stung my elbow! There are lots of
                          them around now and those stinging flies too. Kate wears thick corduroy dungarees so
                          that she will not get her fat little legs bitten. She is two years old now and is a real little
                          pickle. She loves running out in the rain so I have ordered a pair of red Wellingtons and a
                          tiny umbrella from a Nairobi shop for her Christmas present.

                          Fanny’s puppies have their eyes open now and have very sharp little teeth.
                          They love to nip each other. We are keeping the fiercest little one whom we call Paddy
                          but are giving the others to friends. The coffee bushes are full of lovely white flowers
                          and the bees and ants are very busy stealing their honey.

                          Yesterday a troop of baboons came down the hill and Dad shot a big one to
                          scare the others off. They are a nuisance because they steal the maize and potatoes
                          from the native shambas and then there is not enough food for the totos.
                          Dad and I are very proud of you for not making a fuss when you went to the
                          dentist to have that tooth out.

                          Bye bye, my fine little son.
                          Three bags full of love from Kate, Dad and Mummy.

                          Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          here is some news that will please you. George has been offered and has
                          accepted a job as Forester at Mbulu in the Northern Province of Tanganyika. George
                          would have preferred a job as Game Ranger, but though the Game Warden, Philip
                          Teare, is most anxious to have him in the Game Department, there is no vacancy at
                          present. Anyway if one crops up later, George can always transfer from one
                          Government Department to another. Poor George, he hates the idea of taking a job. He
                          says that hitherto he has always been his own master and he detests the thought of
                          being pushed around by anyone.

                          Now however he has no choice. Our capitol is almost exhausted and the coffee
                          market shows no signs of improving. With three children and another on the way, he
                          feels he simply must have a fixed income. I shall be sad to leave this little farm. I love
                          our little home and we have been so very happy here, but my heart rejoices at the
                          thought of overseas leave every thirty months. Now we shall be able to fetch Ann and
                          George from England and in three years time we will all be together in Tanganyika once

                          There is no sale for farms so we will just shut the house and keep on a very small
                          labour force just to keep the farm from going derelict. We are eating our hens but will
                          take our two dogs, Fanny and Paddy with us.

                          One thing I shall be glad to leave is that leopard. She still comes grunting around
                          at night but not as badly as she did before. I do not mind at all when George is here but
                          until George was accepted for this forestry job I was afraid he might go back to the
                          Diggings and I should once more be left alone to be cursed by the leopard’s attentions.
                          Knowing how much I dreaded this George was most anxious to shoot the leopard and
                          for weeks he kept his shotgun and a powerful torch handy at night.

                          One night last week we woke to hear it grunting near the kitchen. We got up very
                          quietly and whilst George loaded the shotgun with SSG, I took the torch and got the
                          heavy revolver from the cupboard. We crept out onto the dark verandah where George
                          whispered to me to not switch on the torch until he had located the leopard. It was pitch
                          black outside so all he could do was listen intently. And then of course I spoilt all his
                          plans. I trod on the dog’s tin bowl and made a terrific clatter! George ordered me to
                          switch on the light but it was too late and the leopard vanished into the long grass of the
                          Kalonga, grunting derisively, or so it sounded.

                          She never comes into the clearing now but grunts from the hillside just above it.


                          Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Journeys end at last. here we are at Mbulu, installed in our new quarters which are
                          as different as they possibly could be from our own cosy little home at Mchewe. We
                          live now, my dears, in one wing of a sort of ‘Beau Geste’ fort but I’ll tell you more about
                          it in my next letter. We only arrived yesterday and have not had time to look around.
                          This letter will tell you just about our trip from Mbeya.

                          We left the farm in our little red Ford two seater with all our portable goods and
                          chattels plus two native servants and the two dogs. Before driving off, George took one
                          look at the flattened springs and declared that he would be surprised if we reached
                          Mbeya without a breakdown and that we would never make Mbulu with the car so

                          However luck was with us. We reached Mbeya without mishap and at one of the
                          local garages saw a sturdy used Ford V8 boxbody car for sale. The garage agreed to
                          take our small car as part payment and George drew on our little remaining capitol for the
                          rest. We spent that night in the house of the Forest Officer and next morning set out in
                          comfort for the Northern Province of Tanganyika.

                          I had done the journey from Dodoma to Mbeya seven years before so was
                          familiar with the scenery but the road was much improved and the old pole bridges had
                          been replaced by modern steel ones. Kate was as good as gold all the way. We
                          avoided hotels and camped by the road and she found this great fun.
                          The road beyond Dodoma was new to me and very interesting country, flat and
                          dry and dusty, as little rain falls there. The trees are mostly thorn trees but here and there
                          one sees a giant baobab, weird trees with fantastically thick trunks and fat squat branches
                          with meagre foliage. The inhabitants of this area I found interesting though. They are
                          called Wagogo and are a primitive people who ape the Masai in dress and customs
                          though they are much inferior to the Masai in physique. They are also great herders of
                          cattle which, rather surprisingly, appear to thrive in that dry area.

                          The scenery alters greatly as one nears Babati, which one approaches by a high
                          escarpment from which one has a wonderful view of the Rift Valley. Babati township
                          appears to be just a small group of Indian shops and shabby native houses, but I
                          believe there are some good farms in the area. Though the little township is squalid,
                          there is a beautiful lake and grand mountains to please the eye. We stopped only long
                          enough to fill up with petrol and buy some foodstuffs. Beyond Babati there is a tsetse
                          fly belt and George warned our two native servants to see that no tsetse flies settled on
                          the dogs.

                          We stopped for the night in a little rest house on the road about 80 miles from
                          Arusha where we were to spend a few days with the Forest Officer before going on to
                          Mbulu. I enjoyed this section of the road very much because it runs across wide plains
                          which are bounded on the West by the blue mountains of the Rift Valley wall. Here for
                          the first time I saw the Masai on their home ground guarding their vast herds of cattle. I
                          also saw their strange primitive hovels called Manyattas, with their thorn walled cattle
                          bomas and lots of plains game – giraffe, wildebeest, ostriches and antelope. Kate was
                          wildly excited and entranced with the game especially the giraffe which stood gazing
                          curiously and unafraid of us, often within a few yards of the road.

                          Finally we came across the greatest thrill of all, my first view of Mt Meru the extinct
                          volcano about 16,000 feet high which towers over Arusha township. The approach to
                          Arusha is through flourishing coffee plantations very different alas from our farm at Mchewe. George says that at Arusha coffee growing is still a paying proposition
                          because here the yield of berry per acre is much higher than in the Southern highlands
                          and here in the North the farmers have not such heavy transport costs as the railway runs
                          from Arusha to the port at Tanga.

                          We stayed overnight at a rather second rate hotel but the food was good and we
                          had hot baths and a good nights rest. Next day Tom Lewis the Forest Officer, fetched
                          us and we spent a few days camping in a tent in the Lewis’ garden having meals at their
                          home. Both Tom and Lillian Lewis were most friendly. Tom lewis explained to George
                          what his work in the Mbulu District was to be, and they took us camping in a Forest
                          Reserve where Lillian and her small son David and Kate and I had a lovely lazy time
                          amidst beautiful surroundings. Before we left for Mbulu, Lillian took me shopping to buy
                          material for curtains for our new home. She described the Forest House at Mbulu to me
                          and it sounded delightful but alas, when we reached Mbulu we discovered that the
                          Assistant District Officer had moved into the Forest House and we were directed to the
                          Fort or Boma. The night before we left Arusha for Mbulu it rained very heavily and the
                          road was very treacherous and slippery due to the surface being of ‘black cotton’ soil
                          which has the appearance and consistency of chocolate blancmange, after rain. To get to
                          Mbulu we had to drive back in the direction of Dodoma for some 70 miles and then turn
                          to the right and drive across plains to the Great Rift Valley Wall. The views from this
                          escarpment road which climbs this wall are magnificent. At one point one looks down
                          upon Lake Manyara with its brilliant white beaches of soda.

                          The drive was a most trying one for George. We had no chains for the wheels
                          and several times we stuck in the mud and our two houseboys had to put grass and
                          branches under the wheels to stop them from spinning. Quite early on in the afternoon
                          George gave up all hope of reaching Mbulu that day and planned to spend the night in
                          a little bush rest camp at Karatu. However at one point it looked as though we would not
                          even reach this resthouse for late afternoon found us properly bogged down in a mess
                          of mud at the bottom of a long and very steep hill. In spite of frantic efforts on the part of
                          George and the two boys, all now very wet and muddy, the heavy car remained stuck.
                          Suddenly five Masai men appeared through the bushes beside the road. They
                          were all tall and angular and rather terrifying looking to me. Each wore only a blanket
                          knotted over one shoulder and all were armed with spears. They lined up by the side of
                          the road and just looked – not hostile but simply aloof and supercilious. George greeted
                          them and said in Ki-Swahili, “Help to push and I will reward you.” But they said nothing,
                          just drawing back imperceptibly to register disgust at the mere idea of manual labour.
                          Their expressions said quite clearly “A Masai is a warrior and does not soil his hands.”
                          George then did something which startled them I think, as much as me. He
                          plucked their spears from their hands one by one and flung them into the back of the
                          boxbody. “Now push!” he said, “And when we are safely out of the mud you shall have
                          your spears back.” To my utter astonishment the Masai seemed to applaud George’s
                          action. I think they admire courage in a man more than anything else. They pushed with a
                          will and soon we were roaring up the long steep slope. “I can’t stop here” quoth George
                          as up and up we went. The Masai were in mad pursuit with their blankets streaming
                          behind. They took a very steep path which was a shortcut to the top. They are certainly
                          amazing athletes and reached the top at the same time as the car. Their route of course
                          was shorter but much more steep, yet they came up without any sign of fatigue to claim
                          their spears and the money which George handed out with a friendly grin. The Masai
                          took the whole episode in good heart and we parted on the most friendly terms.

                          After a rather chilly night in the three walled shack, we started on the last lap of our
                          journey yesterday morning in bright weather and made the trip to Mbulu without incident.


                          Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Mbulu is an attractive station but living in this rather romantic looking fort has many
                          disadvantages. Our quarters make up one side of the fort which is built up around a
                          hollow square. The buildings are single storied but very tall in the German manner and
                          there is a tower on one corner from which the Union Jack flies. The tower room is our
                          sitting room, and one has very fine views from the windows of the rolling country side.
                          However to reach this room one has to climb a steep flight of cement steps from the
                          court yard. Another disadvantage of this tower room is that there is a swarm of bees in
                          the roof and the stray ones drift down through holes in the ceiling and buzz angrily
                          against the window panes or fly around in a most menacing manner.

                          Ours are the only private quarters in the Fort. Two other sides of the Fort are
                          used as offices, storerooms and court room and the fourth side is simply a thick wall with
                          battlements and loopholes and a huge iron shod double door of enormous thickness
                          which is always barred at sunset when the flag is hauled down. Two Police Askari always
                          remain in the Fort on guard at night. The effect from outside the whitewashed fort is very
                          romantic but inside it is hardly homely and how I miss my garden at Mchewe and the
                          grass and trees.

                          We have no privacy downstairs because our windows overlook the bare
                          courtyard which is filled with Africans patiently waiting to be admitted to the courtroom as
                          witnesses or spectators. The outside windows which overlook the valley are heavily
                          barred. I can only think that the Germans who built this fort must have been very scared
                          of the local natives.

                          Our rooms are hardly cosy and are furnished with typical heavy German pieces.
                          We have a vast bleak bedroom, a dining room and an enormous gloomy kitchen in
                          which meals for the German garrison were cooked. At night this kitchen is alive with
                          gigantic rats but fortunately they do not seem to care for the other rooms. To crown
                          everything owls hoot and screech at night on the roof.

                          On our first day here I wandered outside the fort walls with Kate and came upon a
                          neatly fenced plot enclosing the graves of about fifteen South African soldiers killed by
                          the Germans in the 1914-18 war. I understand that at least one of theses soldiers died in
                          the courtyard here. The story goes, that during the period in the Great War when this fort
                          was occupied by a troop of South African Horse, a German named Siedtendorf
                          appeared at the great barred door at night and asked to speak to the officer in command
                          of the Troop. The officer complied with this request and the small shutter in the door was
                          opened so that he could speak with the German. The German, however, had not come
                          to speak. When he saw the exposed face of the officer, he fired, killing him, and
                          escaped into the dark night. I had this tale on good authority but cannot vouch for it. I do
                          know though, that there are two bullet holes in the door beside the shutter. An unhappy
                          story to think about when George is away, as he is now, and the moonlight throws queer
                          shadows in the court yard and the owls hoot.

                          However though I find our quarters depressing, I like Mbulu itself very much. It is
                          rolling country, treeless except for the plantations of the Forestry Dept. The land is very
                          fertile in the watered valleys but the grass on hills and plains is cropped to the roots by
                          the far too numerous cattle and goats. There are very few Europeans on the station, only
                          Mr Duncan, the District Officer, whose wife and children recently left for England, the
                          Assistant District Officer and his wife, a bachelor Veterinary Officer, a Road Foreman and
                          ourselves, and down in the village a German with an American wife and an elderly
                          Irishman whom I have not met. The Government officials have a communal vegetable
                          garden in the valley below the fort which keeps us well supplied with green stuff. 

                          Most afternoons George, Kate and I go for walks after tea. On Fridays there is a
                          little ceremony here outside the fort. In the late afternoon a little procession of small
                          native schoolboys, headed by a drum and penny whistle band come marching up the
                          road to a tune which sounds like ‘Two lovely black eyes”. They form up below our tower
                          and as the flag is lowered for the day they play ‘God save the King’, and then march off
                          again. It is quite a cheerful little ceremony.

                          The local Africans are a skinny lot and, I should say, a poor tribe. They protect
                          themselves against the cold by wrapping themselves in cotton blankets or a strip of
                          unbleached sheeting. This they drape over their heads, almost covering their faces and
                          the rest is wrapped closely round their bodies in the manner of a shroud. A most
                          depressing fashion. They live in very primitive comfortless houses. They simply make a
                          hollow in the hillside and build a front wall of wattle and daub. Into this rude shelter at night
                          go cattle and goats, men, women, and children.

                          Mbulu village has the usual mud brick and wattle dukas and wattle and daub
                          houses. The chief trader is a Goan who keeps a surprisingly good variety of tinned
                          foodstuffs and also sells hardware and soft goods.

                          The Europeans here have been friendly but as you will have noted there are
                          only two other women on station and no children at all to be companions for Kate.


                          Mbulu 20th June 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Here we are on Safari with George at Babati where we are occupying a rest
                          house on the slopes of Ufiome Mountain. The slopes are a Forest Reserve and
                          George is supervising the clearing of firebreaks in preparation for the dry weather. He
                          goes off after a very early breakfast and returns home in the late afternoon so Kate and I
                          have long lazy days.

                          Babati is a pleasant spot and the resthouse is quite comfortable. It is about a mile
                          from the village which is just the usual collection of small mud brick and corrugated iron
                          Indian Dukas. There are a few settlers in the area growing coffee, or going in for mixed
                          farming but I don’t think they are doing very well. The farm adjoining the rest house is
                          owned by Lord Lovelace but is run by a manager.

                          George says he gets enough exercise clambering about all day on the mountain,
                          so Kate and I do our walking in the mornings when George is busy, and we all relax in
                          the evenings when George returns from his field work. Kate’s favourite walk is to the big
                          block of mtama (sorghum) shambas lower down the hill. There are huge swarms of tiny
                          grain eating birds around waiting the chance to plunder the mtama, so the crops are
                          watched from sunrise to sunset.

                          Crude observation platforms have been erected for this purpose in the centre of
                          each field and the women and the young boys of the family concerned, take it in turn to
                          occupy the platform and scare the birds. Each watcher has a sling and uses clods of
                          earth for ammunition. The clod is placed in the centre of the sling which is then whirled
                          around at arms length. Suddenly one end of the sling is released and the clod of earth
                          flies out and shatters against the mtama stalks. The sling makes a loud whip like crack and
                          the noise is quite startling and very effective in keeping the birds at a safe distance.


                          Karatu 3rd July 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Still on safari you see! We left Babati ten days ago and passed through Mbulu
                          on our way to this spot. We slept out of doors one night beside Lake Tiawa about eight
                          miles from Mbulu. It was a peaceful spot and we enjoyed watching the reflection of the
                          sunset on the lake and the waterhens and duck and pelicans settling down for the night.
                          However it turned piercingly cold after sunset so we had an early supper and then all
                          three of us lay down to sleep in the back of the boxbody (station wagon). It was a tight
                          fit and a real case of ‘When Dad turns, we all turn.’

                          Here at Karatu we are living in a grass hut with only three walls. It is rather sweet
                          and looks like the setting for a Nativity Play. Kate and I share the only camp bed and
                          George and the dogs sleep on the floor. The air here is very fresh and exhilarating and
                          we all feel very fit. George is occupied all day supervising the cutting of firebreaks
                          around existing plantations and the forest reserve of indigenous trees. Our camp is on
                          the hillside and below us lie the fertile wheat lands of European farmers.

                          They are mostly Afrikaners, the descendants of the Boer families who were
                          invited by the Germans to settle here after the Boer War. Most of them are pro-British
                          now and a few have called in here to chat to George about big game hunting. George
                          gets on extremely well with them and recently attended a wedding where he had a
                          lively time dancing at the reception. He likes the older people best as most are great
                          individualists. One fine old man, surnamed von Rooyen, visited our camp. He is a Boer
                          of the General Smuts type with spare figure and bearded face. George tells me he is a
                          real patriarch with an enormous family – mainly sons. This old farmer fought against the
                          British throughout the Boer War under General Smuts and again against the British in the
                          German East Africa campaign when he was a scout and right hand man to Von Lettow. It
                          is said that Von Lettow was able to stay in the field until the end of the Great War
                          because he listened to the advise given to him by von Rooyen. However his dislike for
                          the British does not extend to George as they have a mutual interest in big game

                          Kate loves being on safari. She is now so accustomed to having me as her nurse
                          and constant companion that I do not know how she will react to paid help. I shall have to
                          get someone to look after her during my confinement in the little German Red Cross
                          hospital at Oldeani.

                          George has obtained permission from the District Commissioner, for Kate and
                          me to occupy the Government Rest House at Oldeani from the end of July until the end
                          of August when my baby is due. He will have to carry on with his field work but will join
                          us at weekends whenever possible.


                          Karatu 12th July 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Not long now before we leave this camp. We have greatly enjoyed our stay
                          here in spite of the very chilly earl mornings and the nights when we sit around in heavy
                          overcoats until our early bed time.

                          Last Sunday I persuaded George to take Kate and me to the famous Ngoro-
                          Ngoro Crater. He was not very keen to do so because the road is very bumpy for
                          anyone in my interesting condition but I feel so fit that I was most anxious to take this
                          opportunity of seeing the enormous crater. We may never be in this vicinity again and in
                          any case safari will not be so simple with a small baby.

                          What a wonderful trip it was! The road winds up a steep escarpment from which
                          one gets a glorious birds eye view of the plains of the Great Rift Valley far, far below.
                          The crater is immense. There is a road which skirts the rim in places and one has quite
                          startling views of the floor of the crater about two thousand feet below.

                          A camp for tourists has just been built in a clearing in the virgin forest. It is most
                          picturesque as the camp buildings are very neatly constructed log cabins with very high
                          pitched thatched roofs. We spent about an hour sitting on the grass near the edge of the
                          crater enjoying the sunshine and the sharp air and really awe inspiring view. Far below us
                          in the middle of the crater was a small lake and we could see large herds of game
                          animals grazing there but they were too far away to be impressive, even seen through
                          George’s field glasses. Most appeared to be wildebeest and zebra but I also picked
                          out buffalo. Much more exciting was my first close view of a wild elephant. George
                          pointed him out to me as we approached the rest camp on the inward journey. He
                          stood quietly under a tree near the road and did not seem to be disturbed by the car
                          though he rolled a wary eye in our direction. On our return journey we saw him again at
                          almost uncomfortably close quarters. We rounded a sharp corner and there stood the
                          elephant, facing us and slap in the middle of the road. He was busily engaged giving
                          himself a dust bath but spared time to give us an irritable look. Fortunately we were on a
                          slight slope so George quickly switched off the engine and backed the car quietly round
                          the corner. He got out of the car and loaded his rifle, just in case! But after he had finished
                          his toilet the elephant moved off the road and we took our chance and passed without

                          One notices the steepness of the Ngoro-Ngoro road more on the downward
                          journey than on the way up. The road is cut into the side of the mountain so that one has
                          a steep slope on one hand and a sheer drop on the other. George told me that a lorry
                          coming down the mountain was once charged from behind by a rhino. On feeling and
                          hearing the bash from behind the panic stricken driver drove off down the mountain as
                          fast as he dared and never paused until he reached level ground at the bottom of the
                          mountain. There was no sign of the rhino so the driver got out to examine his lorry and
                          found the rhino horn embedded in the wooden tail end of the lorry. The horn had been
                          wrenched right off!

                          Happily no excitement of that kind happened to us. I have yet to see a rhino.


                          Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Greetings from a lady in waiting! Kate and I have settled down comfortably in the
                          new, solidly built Government Rest House which comprises one large living room and
                          one large office with a connecting door. Outside there is a kitchen and a boys quarter.
                          There are no resident Government officials here at Oldeani so the office is in use only
                          when the District Officer from Mbulu makes his monthly visit. However a large Union
                          Jack flies from a flagpole in the front of the building as a gentle reminder to the entirely
                          German population of Oldeani that Tanganyika is now under British rule.

                          There is quite a large community of German settlers here, most of whom are
                          engaged in coffee farming. George has visited several of the farms in connection with his
                          forestry work and says the coffee plantations look very promising indeed. There are also
                          a few German traders in the village and there is a large boarding school for German
                          children and also a very pleasant little hospital where I have arranged to have the baby.
                          Right next door to the Rest House is a General Dealers Store run by a couple named
                          Schnabbe. The shop is stocked with drapery, hardware, china and foodstuffs all
                          imported from Germany and of very good quality. The Schnabbes also sell local farm
                          produce, beautiful fresh vegetables, eggs and pure rich milk and farm butter. Our meat
                          comes from a German butchery and it is a great treat to get clean, well cut meat. The
                          sausages also are marvellous and in great variety.

                          The butcher is an entertaining character. When he called round looking for custom I
                          expected him to break out in a yodel any minute, as it was obvious from a glance that
                          the Alps are his natural background. From under a green Tyrollean hat with feather,
                          blooms a round beefy face with sparkling small eyes and such widely spaced teeth that
                          one inevitably thinks of a garden rake. Enormous beefy thighs bulge from greasy
                          lederhosen which are supported by the traditional embroidered braces. So far the
                          butcher is the only cheery German, male or female, whom I have seen, and I have met
                          most of the locals at the Schnabbe’s shop. Most of the men seem to have cultivated
                          the grim Hitler look. They are all fanatical Nazis and one is usually greeted by a raised
                          hand and Heil Hitler! All very theatrical. I always feel like crying in ringing tones ‘God
                          Save the King’ or even ‘St George for England’. However the men are all very correct
                          and courteous and the women friendly. The women all admire Kate and cry, “Ag, das
                          kleine Englander.” She really is a picture with her rosy cheeks and huge grey eyes and
                          golden curls. Kate is having a wonderful time playing with Manfried, the Scnabbe’s small
                          son. Neither understands a word said by the other but that doesn’t seem to worry them.

                          Before he left on safari, George took me to hospital for an examination by the
                          nurse, Sister Marianne. She has not been long in the country and knows very little
                          English but is determined to learn and carried on an animated, if rather quaint,
                          conversation with frequent references to a pocket dictionary. She says I am not to worry
                          because there is not doctor here. She is a very experienced midwife and anyway in an
                          emergency could call on the old retired Veterinary Surgeon for assistance.
                          I asked sister Marianne whether she knew of any German woman or girl who
                          would look after Kate whilst I am in hospital and today a very top drawer German,
                          bearing a strong likeness to ‘Little Willie’, called and offered the services of his niece who
                          is here on a visit from Germany. I was rather taken aback and said, “Oh no Baron, your
                          niece would not be the type I had in mind. I’m afraid I cannot pay much for a companion.”
                          However the Baron was not to be discouraged. He told me that his niece is seventeen
                          but looks twenty, that she is well educated and will make a cheerful companion. Her
                          father wishes her to learn to speak English fluently and that is why the Baron wished her
                          to come to me as a house daughter. As to pay, a couple of pounds a month for pocket
                          money and her keep was all he had in mind. So with some misgivings I agreed to take
                          the niece on as a companion as from 1st August.


                          Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Never a dull moment since my young companion arrived. She is a striking looking
                          girl with a tall boyish figure and very short and very fine dark hair which she wears
                          severely slicked back. She wears tweeds, no make up but has shiny rosy cheeks and
                          perfect teeth – she also,inevitably, has a man friend and I have an uncomfortable
                          suspicion that it is because of him that she was planted upon me. Upon second
                          thoughts though, maybe it was because of her excessive vitality, or even because of
                          her healthy appetite! The Baroness, I hear is in poor health and I can imagine that such
                          abundant health and spirit must have been quite overpowering. The name is Ingeborg,
                          but she is called Mouche, which I believe means Mouse. Someone in her family must
                          have a sense of humour.

                          Her English only needed practice and she now chatters fluently so that I know her
                          background and views on life. Mouche’s father is a personal friend of Goering. He was
                          once a big noise in the German Airforce but is now connected with the car industry and
                          travels frequently and intensively in Europe and America on business. Mouche showed
                          me some snap shots of her family and I must say they look prosperous and charming.
                          Mouche tells me that her father wants her to learn to speak English fluently so that
                          she can get a job with some British diplomat in Cairo. I had immediate thought that I
                          might be nursing a future Mata Hari in my bosom, but this was immediately extinguished
                          when Mouche remarked that her father would like her to marry an Englishman. However
                          it seems that the mere idea revolts her. “Englishmen are degenerates who swill whisky
                          all day.” I pointed out that she had met George, who was a true blue Englishman, but
                          was nevertheless a fine physical specimen and certainly didn’t drink all day. Mouche
                          replied that George is not an Englishman but a hunter, as though that set him apart.
                          Mouche is an ardent Hitler fan and an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth
                          Movement. The house resounds with Hitler youth songs and when she is not singing,
                          her gramophone is playing very stirring marching songs. I cannot understand a word,
                          which is perhaps as well. Every day she does the most strenuous exercises watched
                          with envy by me as my proportions are now those of a circus Big Top. Mouche eats a
                          fantastic amount of meat and I feel it is a blessing that she is much admired by our
                          Tyrollean butcher who now delivers our meat in person and adds as a token of his
                          admiration some extra sausages for Mouche.

                          I must confess I find her stimulating company as George is on safari most of the
                          time and my evenings otherwise would be lonely. I am a little worried though about
                          leaving Kate here with Mouche when I go to hospital. The dogs and Kate have not taken
                          to her. I am trying to prepare Kate for the separation but she says, “She’s not my
                          mummy. You are my dear mummy, and I want you, I want you.” George has got
                          permission from the Provincial Forestry Officer to spend the last week of August here at
                          the Rest House with me and I only hope that the baby will be born during that time.
                          Kate adores her dad and will be perfectly happy to remain here with him.

                          One final paragraph about Mouche. I thought all German girls were domesticated
                          but not Mouche. I have Kesho-Kutwa here with me as cook and I have engaged a local
                          boy to do the laundry. I however expected Mouche would take over making the
                          puddings and pastry but she informed me that she can only bake a chocolate cake and
                          absolutely nothing else. She said brightly however that she would do the mending. As
                          there is none for her to do, she has rescued a large worn handkerchief of George’s and
                          sits with her feet up listening to stirring gramophone records whilst she mends the
                          handkerchief with exquisite darning.


                          Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          Just after I had posted my last letter I received what George calls a demi official
                          letter from the District Officer informing me that I would have to move out of the Rest
                          House for a few days as the Governor and his hangers on would be visiting Oldeani
                          and would require the Rest House. Fortunately George happened to be here for a few
                          hours and he arranged for Kate and Mouche and me to spend a few days at the
                          German School as borders. So here I am at the school having a pleasant and restful
                          time and much entertained by all the goings on.

                          The school buildings were built with funds from Germany and the school is run on
                          the lines of a contemporary German school. I think the school gets a grant from the
                          Tanganyika Government towards running expenses, but I am not sure. The school hall is
                          dominated by a more than life sized oil painting of Adolf Hitler which, at present, is
                          flanked on one side by the German Flag and on the other by the Union Jack. I cannot
                          help feeling that the latter was put up today for the Governor’s visit today.
                          The teachers are very amiable. We all meet at mealtimes, and though few of the
                          teachers speak English, the ones who do are anxious to chatter. The headmaster is a
                          scholarly man but obviously anti-British. He says he cannot understand why so many
                          South Africans are loyal to Britain – or rather to England. “They conquered your country
                          didn’t they?” I said that that had never occurred to me and that anyway I was mainly of
                          Scots descent and that loyalty to the crown was natural to me. “But the English
                          conquered the Scots and yet you are loyal to England. That I cannot understand.” “Well I
                          love England,” said I firmly, ”and so do all British South Africans.” Since then we have
                          stuck to English literature. Shakespeare, Lord Byron and Galsworthy seem to be the
                          favourites and all, thank goodness, make safe topics for conversation.
                          Mouche is in her element but Kate and I do not enjoy the food which is typically
                          German and consists largely of masses of fat pork and sauerkraut and unfamiliar soups. I
                          feel sure that the soup at lunch today had blobs of lemon curd in it! I also find most
                          disconcerting the way that everyone looks at me and says, “Bon appetite”, with much
                          smiling and nodding so I have to fight down my nausea and make a show of enjoying
                          the meals.

                          The teacher whose room adjoins mine is a pleasant woman and I take my
                          afternoon tea with her. She, like all the teachers, has a large framed photo of Hitler on her
                          wall flanked by bracket vases of fresh flowers. One simply can’t get away from the man!
                          Even in the dormitories each child has a picture of Hitler above the bed. Hitler accepting
                          flowers from a small girl, or patting a small boy on the head. Even the children use the
                          greeting ‘Heil Hitler’. These German children seem unnaturally prim when compared with
                          my cheerful ex-pupils in South Africa but some of them are certainly very lovely to look

                          Tomorrow Mouche, Kate and I return to our quarters in the Rest House and in a
                          few days George will join us for a week.


                          Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                          Dearest Family,

                          You will all be delighted to hear that we have a second son, whom we have
                          named John. He is a darling, so quaint and good. He looks just like a little old man with a
                          high bald forehead fringed around the edges with a light brown fluff. George and I call
                          him Johnny Jo because he has a tiny round mouth and a rather big nose and reminds us
                          of A.A.Milne’s ‘Jonathan Jo has a mouth like an O’ , but Kate calls him, ‘My brother John’.
                          George was not here when he was born on September 5th, just two minutes
                          before midnight. He left on safari on the morning of the 4th and, of course, that very night
                          the labour pains started. Fortunately Kate was in bed asleep so Mouche walked with
                          me up the hill to the hospital where I was cheerfully received by Sister Marianne who
                          had everything ready for the confinement. I was lucky to have such an experienced
                          midwife because this was a breech birth and sister had to manage single handed. As
                          there was no doctor present I was not allowed even a sniff of anaesthetic. Sister slaved
                          away by the light of a pressure lamp endeavouring to turn the baby having first shoved
                          an inverted baby bath under my hips to raise them.

                          What a performance! Sister Marianne was very much afraid that she might not be
                          able to save the baby and great was our relief when at last she managed to haul him out
                          by the feet. One slap and the baby began to cry without any further attention so Sister
                          wrapped him up in a blanket and took Johnny to her room for the night. I got very little
                          sleep but was so thankful to have the ordeal over that I did not mind even though I
                          heard a hyaena cackling and calling under my window in a most evil way.
                          When Sister brought Johnny to me in the early morning I stared in astonishment.
                          Instead of dressing him in one of his soft Viyella nighties, she had dressed him in a short
                          sleeved vest of knitted cotton with a cotton cloth swayed around his waist sarong
                          fashion. When I protested, “But Sister why is the baby not dressed in his own clothes?”
                          She answered firmly, “I find it is not allowed. A baby’s clotheses must be boiled and I
                          cannot boil clotheses of wool therefore your baby must wear the clotheses of the Red

                          It was the same with the bedding. Poor Johnny lies all day in a deep wicker
                          basket with a detachable calico lining. There is no pillow under his head but a vast kind of
                          calico covered pillow is his only covering. There is nothing at all cosy and soft round my
                          poor baby. I said crossly to the Sister, “As every thing must be so sterile, I wonder you
                          don’t boil me too.” This she ignored.

                          When my message reached George he dashed back to visit us. Sister took him
                          first to see the baby and George was astonished to see the baby basket covered by a
                          sheet. “She has the poor little kid covered up like a bloody parrot,” he told me. So I
                          asked him to go at once to buy a square of mosquito netting to replace the sheet.
                          Kate is quite a problem. She behaves like an Angel when she is here in my
                          room but is rebellious when Sister shoos her out. She says she “Hates the Nanny”
                          which is what she calls Mouche. Unfortunately it seems that she woke before midnight
                          on the night Johnny Jo was born to find me gone and Mouche in my bed. According to
                          Mouche, Kate wept all night and certainly when she visited me in the early morning
                          Kate’s face was puffy with crying and she clung to me crying “Oh my dear mummy, why
                          did you go away?” over and over again. Sister Marianne was touched and suggested
                          that Mouche and Kate should come to the hospital as boarders as I am the only patient
                          at present and there is plenty of room. Luckily Kate does not seem at all jealous of the
                          baby and it is a great relief to have here here under my eye.



                            From Tanganyika with Love

                            continued  ~ part 3

                            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                            Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            I am feeling much better now that I am five months pregnant and have quite got
                            my appetite back. Once again I go out with “the Mchewe Hunt” which is what George
                            calls the procession made up of the donkey boy and donkey with Ann confidently riding
                            astride, me beside the donkey with Georgie behind riding the stick which he much
                            prefers to the donkey. The Alsatian pup, whom Ann for some unknown reason named
                            ‘Tubbage’, and the two cats bring up the rear though sometimes Tubbage rushes
                            ahead and nearly knocks me off my feet. He is not the loveable pet that Kelly was.
                            It is just as well that I have recovered my health because my mother-in-law has
                            decided to fly out from England to look after Ann and George when I am in hospital. I am
                            very grateful for there is no one lse to whom I can turn. Kath Hickson-Wood is seldom on
                            their farm because Hicky is working a guano claim and is making quite a good thing out of
                            selling bat guano to the coffee farmers at Mbosi. They camp out at the claim, a series of
                            caves in the hills across the valley and visit the farm only occasionally. Anne Molteno is
                            off to Cape Town to have her baby at her mothers home and there are no women in
                            Mbeya I know well. The few women are Government Officials wives and they come
                            and go. I make so few trips to the little town that there is no chance to get on really
                            friendly terms with them.

                            Janey, the ayah, is turning into a treasure. She washes and irons well and keeps
                            the children’s clothes cupboard beautifully neat. Ann and George however are still
                            reluctant to go for walks with her. They find her dull because, like all African ayahs, she
                            has no imagination and cannot play with them. She should however be able to help with
                            the baby. Ann is very excited about the new baby. She so loves all little things.
                            Yesterday she went into ecstasies over ten newly hatched chicks.

                            She wants a little sister and perhaps it would be a good thing. Georgie is so very
                            active and full of mischief that I feel another wild little boy might be more than I can
                            manage. Although Ann is older, it is Georgie who always thinks up the mischief. They
                            have just been having a fight. Georgie with the cooks umbrella versus Ann with her frilly
                            pink sunshade with the inevitable result that the sunshade now has four broken ribs.
                            Any way I never feel lonely now during the long hours George is busy on the
                            shamba. The children keep me on my toes and I have plenty of sewing to do for the
                            baby. George is very good about amusing the children before their bedtime and on
                            Sundays. In the afternoons when it is not wet I take Ann and Georgie for a walk down
                            the hill. George meets us at the bottom and helps me on the homeward journey. He
                            grabs one child in each hand by the slack of their dungarees and they do a sort of giant
                            stride up the hill, half walking half riding.

                            Very much love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            A great flap here. We had a letter yesterday to say that mother-in-law will be
                            arriving in four days time! George is very amused at my frantic efforts at spring cleaning
                            but he has told me before that she is very house proud so I feel I must make the best
                            of what we have.

                            George is very busy building a store for the coffee which will soon be ripening.
                            This time he is doing the bricklaying himself. It is quite a big building on the far end of the
                            farm and close to the river. He is also making trays of chicken wire nailed to wooden
                            frames with cheap calico stretched over the wire.

                            Mother will have to sleep in the verandah room which leads off the bedroom
                            which we share with the children. George will have to sleep in the outside spare room as
                            there is no door between the bedroom and the verandah room. I am sewing frantically
                            to make rose coloured curtains and bedspread out of material mother-in-law sent for
                            Christmas and will have to make a curtain for the doorway. The kitchen badly needs
                            whitewashing but George says he cannot spare the labour so I hope mother won’t look.
                            To complicate matters, George has been invited to lunch with the Governor on the day
                            of Mother’s arrival. After lunch they are to visit the newly stocked trout streams in the
                            Mporotos. I hope he gets back to Mbeya in good time to meet mother’s plane.
                            Ann has been off colour for a week. She looks very pale and her pretty fair hair,
                            normally so shiny, is dull and lifeless. It is such a pity that mother should see her like this
                            because first impressions do count so much and I am looking to the children to attract
                            attention from me. I am the size of a circus tent and hardly a dream daughter-in-law.
                            Georgie, thank goodness, is blooming but he has suddenly developed a disgusting
                            habit of spitting on the floor in the manner of the natives. I feel he might say “Gran, look
                            how far I can spit and give an enthusiastic demonstration.

                            Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                            your loving but anxious,

                            Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            Mother-in-law duly arrived in the District Commissioner’s car. George did not dare
                            to use the A.C. as she is being very temperamental just now. They also brought the
                            mail bag which contained a parcel of lovely baby clothes from you. Thank you very
                            much. Mother-in-law is very put out because the large parcel she posted by surface
                            mail has not yet arrived.

                            Mother arrived looking very smart in an ankle length afternoon frock of golden
                            brown crepe and smart hat, and wearing some very good rings. She is a very
                            handsome woman with the very fair complexion that goes with red hair. The hair, once
                            Titan, must now be grey but it has been very successfully tinted and set. I of course,
                            was shapeless in a cotton maternity frock and no credit to you. However, so far, motherin-
                            law has been uncritical and friendly and charmed with the children who have taken to
                            her. Mother does not think that the children resemble me in any way. Ann resembles her
                            family the Purdys and Georgie is a Morley, her mother’s family. She says they had the
                            same dark eyes and rather full mouths. I say feebly, “But Georgie has my colouring”, but
                            mother won’t hear of it. So now you know! Ann is a Purdy and Georgie a Morley.
                            Perhaps number three will be a Leslie.

                            What a scramble I had getting ready for mother. Her little room really looks pretty
                            and fresh, but the locally woven grass mats arrived only minutes before mother did. I
                            also frantically overhauled our clothes and it a good thing that I did so because mother
                            has been going through all the cupboards looking for mending. Mother is kept so busy
                            in her own home that I think she finds time hangs on her hands here. She is very good at
                            entertaining the children and has even tried her hand at picking coffee a couple of times.
                            Mother cannot get used to the native boy servants but likes Janey, so Janey keeps her
                            room in order. Mother prefers to wash and iron her own clothes.

                            I almost lost our cook through mother’s surplus energy! Abel our previous cook
                            took a new wife last month and, as the new wife, and Janey the old, were daggers
                            drawn, Abel moved off to a job on the Lupa leaving Janey and her daughter here.
                            The new cook is capable, but he is a fearsome looking individual called Alfani. He has a
                            thick fuzz of hair which he wears long, sometimes hidden by a dingy turban, and he
                            wears big brass earrings. I think he must be part Somali because he has a hawk nose
                            and a real Brigand look. His kitchen is never really clean but he is an excellent cook and
                            as cooks are hard to come by here I just keep away from the kitchen. Not so mother!
                            A few days after her arrival she suggested kindly that I should lie down after lunch
                            so I rested with the children whilst mother, unknown to me, went out to the kitchen and
                            not only scrubbed the table and shelves but took the old iron stove to pieces and
                            cleaned that. Unfortunately in her zeal she poked a hole through the stove pipe.
                            Had I known of these activities I would have foreseen the cook’s reaction when
                            he returned that evening to cook the supper. he was furious and wished to leave on the
                            spot and demanded his wages forthwith. The old Memsahib had insulted him by
                            scrubbing his already spotless kitchen and had broken his stove and made it impossible
                            for him to cook. This tirade was accompanied by such waving of hands and rolling of
                            eyes that I longed to sack him on the spot. However I dared not as I might not get
                            another cook for weeks. So I smoothed him down and he patched up the stove pipe
                            with a bit of tin and some wire and produced a good meal. I am wondering what
                            transformations will be worked when I am in hospital.

                            Our food is really good but mother just pecks at it. No wonder really, because
                            she has had some shocks. One day she found the kitchen boy diligently scrubbing the box lavatory seat with a scrubbing brush which he dipped into one of my best large
                            saucepans! No one can foresee what these boys will do. In these remote areas house
                            servants are usually recruited from the ranks of the very primitive farm labourers, who first
                            come to the farm as naked savages, and their notions of hygiene simply don’t exist.
                            One day I said to mother in George’s presence “When we were newly married,
                            mother, George used to brag about your cooking and say that you would run a home
                            like this yourself with perhaps one ‘toto’. Mother replied tartly, “That was very bad of
                            George and not true. If my husband had brought me out here I would not have stayed a
                            month. I think you manage very well.” Which reply made me warm to mother a lot.
                            To complicate things we have a new pup, a little white bull terrier bitch whom
                            George has named Fanny. She is tiny and not yet house trained but seems a plucky
                            and attractive little animal though there is no denying that she does look like a piglet.

                            Very much love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            Here I am in hospital, comfortably in bed with our new daughter in her basket
                            beside me. She is a lovely little thing, very plump and cuddly and pink and white and
                            her head is covered with tiny curls the colour of Golden Syrup. We meant to call her
                            Margery Kate, after our Marj and my mother-in-law whose name is Catherine.
                            I am enjoying the rest, knowing that George and mother will be coping
                            successfully on the farm. My room is full of flowers, particularly with the roses and
                            carnations which grow so well here. Kate was not due until August 5th but the doctor
                            wanted me to come in good time in view of my tiresome early pregnancy.

                            For weeks beforehand George had tinkered with the A.C. and we started for
                            Mbeya gaily enough on the twenty ninth, however, after going like a dream for a couple
                            of miles, she simply collapsed from exhaustion at the foot of a hill and all the efforts of
                            the farm boys who had been sent ahead for such an emergency failed to start her. So
                            George sent back to the farm for the machila and I sat in the shade of a tree, wondering
                            what would happen if I had the baby there and then, whilst George went on tinkering
                            with the car. Suddenly she sprang into life and we roared up that hill and all the way into
                            Mbeya. The doctor welcomed us pleasantly and we had tea with his family before I
                            settled into my room. Later he examined me and said that it was unlikely that the baby
                            would be born for several days. The new and efficient German nurse said, “Thank
                            goodness for that.” There was a man in hospital dying from a stomach cancer and she
                            had not had a decent nights sleep for three nights.

                            Kate however had other plans. I woke in the early morning with labour pains but
                            anxious not to disturb the nurse, I lay and read or tried to read a book, hoping that I
                            would not have to call the nurse until daybreak. However at four a.m., I went out into the
                            wind which was howling along the open verandah and knocked on the nurse’s door. She
                            got up and very crossly informed me that I was imagining things and should get back to
                            bed at once. She said “It cannot be so. The Doctor has said it.” I said “Of course it is,”
                            and then and there the water broke and clinched my argument. She then went into a flat
                            spin. “But the bed is not ready and my instruments are not ready,” and she flew around
                            to rectify this and also sent an African orderly to call the doctor. I paced the floor saying
                            warningly “Hurry up with that bed. I am going to have the baby now!” She shrieked
                            “Take off your dressing gown.” But I was passed caring. I flung myself on the bed and
                            there was Kate. The nurse had done all that was necessary by the time the doctor

                            A funny thing was, that whilst Kate was being born on the bed, a black cat had
                            kittens under it! The doctor was furious with the nurse but the poor thing must have crept
                            in out of the cold wind when I went to call the nurse. A happy omen I feel for the baby’s
                            future. George had no anxiety this time. He stayed at the hospital with me until ten
                            o’clock when he went down to the hotel to sleep and he received the news in a note
                            from me with his early morning tea. He went to the farm next morning but will return on
                            the sixth to fetch me home.

                            I do feel so happy. A very special husband and three lovely children. What
                            more could anyone possibly want.

                            Lots and lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            Well here we are back at home and all is very well. The new baby is very placid
                            and so pretty. Mother is delighted with her and Ann loved her at sight but Georgie is not
                            so sure. At first he said, “Your baby is no good. Chuck her in the kalonga.” The kalonga
                            being the ravine beside the house , where, I regret to say, much of the kitchen refuse is
                            dumped. he is very jealous when I carry Kate around or feed her but is ready to admire
                            her when she is lying alone in her basket.

                            George walked all the way from the farm to fetch us home. He hired a car and
                            native driver from the hotel, but drove us home himself going with such care over ruts
                            and bumps. We had a great welcome from mother who had had the whole house
                            spring cleaned. However George loyally says it looks just as nice when I am in charge.
                            Mother obviously, had had more than enough of the back of beyond and
                            decided to stay on only one week after my return home. She had gone into the kitchen
                            one day just in time to see the houseboy scooping the custard he had spilt on the table
                            back into the jug with the side of his hand. No doubt it would have been served up
                            without a word. On another occasion she had walked in on the cook’s daily ablutions. He
                            was standing in a small bowl of water in the centre of the kitchen, absolutely naked,
                            enjoying a slipper bath. She left last Wednesday and gave us a big laugh before she
                            left. She never got over her horror of eating food prepared by our cook and used to
                            push it around her plate. Well, when the time came for mother to leave for the plane, she
                            put on the very smart frock in which she had arrived, and then came into the sitting room
                            exclaiming in dismay “Just look what has happened, I must have lost a stone!’ We
                            looked, and sure enough, the dress which had been ankle deep before, now touched
                            the floor. “Good show mother.” said George unfeelingly. “You ought to be jolly grateful,
                            you needed to lose weight and it would have cost you the earth at a beauty parlour to
                            get that sylph-like figure.”

                            When mother left she took, in a perforated matchbox, one of the frilly mantis that
                            live on our roses. She means to keep it in a goldfish bowl in her dining room at home.
                            Georgie and Ann filled another matchbox with dead flies for food for the mantis on the

                            Now that mother has left, Georgie and Ann attach themselves to me and firmly
                            refuse to have anything to do with the ayah,Janey. She in any case now wishes to have
                            a rest. Mother tipped her well and gave her several cotton frocks so I suspect she wants
                            to go back to her hometown in Northern Rhodesia to show off a bit.
                            Georgie has just sidled up with a very roguish look. He asked “You like your
                            baby?” I said “Yes indeed I do.” He said “I’ll prick your baby with a velly big thorn.”

                            Who would be a mother!

                            Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            I have been rather in the wars with toothache and as there is still no dentist at
                            Mbeya to do the fillings, I had to have four molars extracted at the hospital. George
                            says it is fascinating to watch me at mealtimes these days because there is such a gleam
                            of satisfaction in my eye when I do manage to get two teeth to meet on a mouthful.
                            About those scissors Marj sent Ann. It was not such a good idea. First she cut off tufts of
                            George’s hair so that he now looks like a bad case of ringworm and then she cut a scalp
                            lock, a whole fist full of her own shining hair, which George so loves. George scolded
                            Ann and she burst into floods of tears. Such a thing as a scolding from her darling daddy
                            had never happened before. George immediately made a long drooping moustache
                            out of the shorn lock and soon had her smiling again. George is always very gentle with
                            Ann. One has to be , because she is frightfully sensitive to criticism.

                            I am kept pretty busy these days, Janey has left and my houseboy has been ill
                            with pneumonia. I now have to wash all the children’s things and my own, (the cook does
                            George’s clothes) and look after the three children. Believe me, I can hardly keep awake
                            for Kate’s ten o’clock feed.

                            I do hope I shall get some new servants next month because I also got George
                            to give notice to the cook. I intercepted him last week as he was storming down the hill
                            with my large kitchen knife in his hand. “Where are you going with my knife?” I asked.
                            “I’m going to kill a man!” said Alfani, rolling his eyes and looking extremely ferocious. “He
                            has taken my wife.” “Not with my knife”, said I reaching for it. So off Alfani went, bent on
                            vengeance and I returned the knife to the kitchen. Dinner was served and I made no
                            enquiries but I feel that I need someone more restful in the kitchen than our brigand

                            George has been working on the car and has now fitted yet another radiator. This
                            is a lorry one and much too tall to be covered by the A.C.’s elegant bonnet which is
                            secured by an old strap. The poor old A.C. now looks like an ancient shoe with a turned
                            up toe. It only needs me in it with the children to make a fine illustration to the old rhyme!
                            Ann and Georgie are going through a climbing phase. They practically live in
                            trees. I rushed out this morning to investigate loud screams and found Georgie hanging
                            from a fork in a tree by one ankle, whilst Ann stood below on tiptoe with hands stretched
                            upwards to support his head.

                            Do I sound as though I have straws in my hair? I have.
                            Lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            Thank goodness! I have a new ayah name Mary. I had heard that there was a
                            good ayah out of work at Tukuyu 60 miles away so sent a messenger to fetch her. She
                            arrived after dark wearing a bright dress and a cheerful smile and looked very suitable by
                            the light of a storm lamp. I was horrified next morning to see her in daylight. She was
                            dressed all in black and had a rather sinister look. She reminds me rather of your old maid
                            Candace who overheard me laughing a few days before Ann was born and croaked
                            “Yes , Miss Eleanor, today you laugh but next week you might be dead.” Remember
                            how livid you were, dad?

                            I think Mary has the same grim philosophy. Ann took one look at her and said,
                            “What a horrible old lady, mummy.” Georgie just said “Go away”, both in English and Ki-
                            Swahili. Anyway Mary’s references are good so I shall keep her on to help with Kate
                            who is thriving and bonny and placid.

                            Thank you for the offer of toys for Christmas but, if you don’t mind, I’d rather have
                            some clothing for the children. Ann is quite contented with her dolls Barbara and Yvonne.
                            Barbara’s once beautiful face is now pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle having come
                            into contact with Georgie’s ever busy hammer. However Ann says she will love her for
                            ever and she doesn’t want another doll. Yvonne’s hay day is over too. She
                            disappeared for weeks and we think Fanny, the pup, was the culprit. Ann discovered
                            Yvonne one morning in some long wet weeds. Poor Yvonne is now a ghost of her
                            former self. All the sophisticated make up was washed off her papier-mâché face and
                            her hair is decidedly bedraggled, but Ann was radiant as she tucked her back into bed
                            and Yvonne is as precious to Ann as she ever was.

                            Georgie simply does not care for toys. His paint box, hammer and the trenching
                            hoe George gave him for his second birthday are all he wants or needs. Both children
                            love books but I sometimes wonder whether they stimulate Ann’s imagination too much.
                            The characters all become friends of hers and she makes up stories about them to tell
                            Georgie. She adores that illustrated children’s Bible Mummy sent her but you would be
                            astonished at the yarns she spins about “me and my friend Jesus.” She also will call
                            Moses “Old Noses”, and looking at a picture of Jacob’s dream, with the shining angels
                            on the ladder between heaven and earth, she said “Georgie, if you see an angel, don’t
                            touch it, it’s hot.”


                            Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            I take back the disparaging things I said about my new Ayah, because she has
                            proved her worth in an unexpected way. On Wednesday morning I settled Kate in he
                            cot after her ten o’clock feed and sat sewing at the dining room table with Ann and
                            Georgie opposite me, both absorbed in painting pictures in identical seed catalogues.
                            Suddenly there was a terrific bang on the back door, followed by an even heavier blow.
                            The door was just behind me and I got up and opened it. There, almost filling the door
                            frame, stood a huge native with staring eyes and his teeth showing in a mad grimace. In
                            his hand he held a rolled umbrella by the ferrule, the shaft I noticed was unusually long
                            and thick and the handle was a big round knob.

                            I was terrified as you can imagine, especially as, through the gap under the
                            native’s raised arm, I could see the new cook and the kitchen boy running away down to
                            the shamba! I hastily tried to shut and lock the door but the man just brushed me aside.
                            For a moment he stood over me with the umbrella raised as though to strike. Rather
                            fortunately, I now think, I was too petrified to say a word. The children never moved but
                            Tubbage, the Alsatian, got up and jumped out of the window!

                            Then the native turned away and still with the same fixed stare and grimace,
                            began to attack the furniture with his umbrella. Tables and chairs were overturned and
                            books and ornaments scattered on the floor. When the madman had his back turned and
                            was busily bashing the couch, I slipped round the dining room table, took Ann and
                            Georgie by the hand and fled through the front door to the garage where I hid the
                            children in the car. All this took several minutes because naturally the children were
                            terrified. I was worried to death about the baby left alone in the bedroom and as soon
                            as I had Ann and Georgie settled I ran back to the house.

                            I reached the now open front door just as Kianda the houseboy opened the back
                            door of the lounge. He had been away at the river washing clothes but, on hearing of the
                            madman from the kitchen boy he had armed himself with a stout stick and very pluckily,
                            because he is not a robust boy, had returned to the house to eject the intruder. He
                            rushed to attack immediately and I heard a terrific exchange of blows behind me as I
                            opened our bedroom door. You can imagine what my feelings were when I was
                            confronted by an empty cot! Just then there was an uproar inside as all the farm
                            labourers armed with hoes and pangas and sticks, streamed into the living room from the
                            shamba whence they had been summoned by the cook. In no time at all the huge
                            native was hustled out of the house, flung down the front steps, and securely tied up
                            with strips of cloth.

                            In the lull that followed I heard a frightened voice calling from the bathroom.
                            ”Memsahib is that you? The child is here with me.” I hastily opened the bathroom door
                            to find Mary couched in a corner by the bath, shielding Kate with her body. Mary had
                            seen the big native enter the house and her first thought had been for her charge. I
                            thanked her and promised her a reward for her loyalty, and quickly returned to the garage
                            to reassure Ann and Georgie. I met George who looked white and exhausted as well
                            he might having run up hill all the way from the coffee store. The kitchen boy had led him
                            to expect the worst and he was most relieved to find us all unhurt if a bit shaken.
                            We returned to the house by the back way whilst George went to the front and
                            ordered our labourers to take their prisoner and lock him up in the store. George then
                            discussed the whole affair with his Headman and all the labourers after which he reported
                            to me. “The boys say that the bastard is an ex-Askari from Nyasaland. He is not mad as
                            you thought but he smokes bhang and has these attacks. I suppose I should take him to
                            Mbeya and have him up in court. But if I do that you’ll have to give evidence and that will be a nuisance as the car won’t go and there is also the baby to consider.”

                            Eventually we decided to leave the man to sleep off the effects of the Bhang
                            until evening when he would be tried before an impromptu court consisting of George,
                            the local Jumbe(Headman) and village Elders, and our own farm boys and any other
                            interested spectators. It was not long before I knew the verdict because I heard the
                            sound of lashes. I was not sorry at all because I felt the man deserved his punishment
                            and so did all the Africans. They love children and despise anyone who harms or
                            frightens them. With great enthusiasm they frog-marched him off our land, and I sincerely
                            hope that that is the last we see or him. Ann and Georgie don’t seem to brood over this
                            affair at all. The man was naughty and he was spanked, a quite reasonable state of
                            affairs. This morning they hid away in the small thatched chicken house. This is a little brick
                            building about four feet square which Ann covets as a dolls house. They came back
                            covered in stick fleas which I had to remove with paraffin. My hens are laying well but
                            they all have the ‘gapes’! I wouldn’t run a chicken farm for anything, hens are such fussy,
                            squawking things.

                            Now don’t go worrying about my experience with the native. Such things
                            happen only once in a lifetime. We are all very well and happy, and life, apart from the
                            children’s pranks is very tranquil.

                            Lots and lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            The hot winds have dried up the shamba alarmingly and we hope every day for
                            rain. The prices for coffee, on the London market, continue to be low and the local
                            planters are very depressed. Coffee grows well enough here but we are over 400
                            miles from the railway and transport to the railhead by lorry is very expensive. Then, as
                            there is no East African Marketing Board, the coffee must be shipped to England for
                            sale. Unless the coffee fetches at least 90 pounds a ton it simply doesn’t pay to grow it.
                            When we started planting in 1931 coffee was fetching as much as 115 pounds a ton but
                            prices this year were between 45 and 55 pounds. We have practically exhausted our
                            capitol and so have all our neighbours. The Hickson -Woods have been keeping their
                            pot boiling by selling bat guano to the coffee farmers at Mbosi but now everyone is
                            broke and there is not a market for fertilisers. They are offering their farm for sale at a very
                            low price.

                            Major Jones has got a job working on the district roads and Max Coster talks of
                            returning to his work as a geologist. George says he will have to go gold digging on the
                            Lupa unless there is a big improvement in the market. Luckily we can live quite cheaply
                            here. We have a good vegetable garden, milk is cheap and we have plenty of fruit.
                            There are mulberries, pawpaws, grenadillas, peaches, and wine berries. The wine
                            berries are very pretty but insipid though Ann and Georgie love them. Each morning,
                            before breakfast, the old garden boy brings berries for Ann and Georgie. With a thorn
                            the old man pins a large leaf from a wild fig tree into a cone which he fills with scarlet wine
                            berries. There is always a cone for each child and they wait eagerly outside for the daily
                            ceremony of presentation.

                            The rats are being a nuisance again. Both our cats, Skinny Winnie and Blackboy
                            disappeared a few weeks ago. We think they made a meal for a leopard. I wrote last
                            week to our grocer at Mbalizi asking him whether he could let us have a couple of kittens
                            as I have often seen cats in his store. The messenger returned with a nailed down box.
                            The kitchen boy was called to prize up the lid and the children stood by in eager
                            anticipation. Out jumped two snarling and spitting creatures. One rushed into the kalonga
                            and the other into the house and before they were captured they had drawn blood from
                            several boys. I told the boys to replace the cats in the box as I intended to return them
                            forthwith. They had the colouring, stripes and dispositions of wild cats and I certainly
                            didn’t want them as pets, but before the boys could replace the lid the cats escaped
                            once more into the undergrowth in the kalonga. George fetched his shotgun and said he
                            would shoot the cats on sight or they would kill our chickens. This was more easily said
                            than done because the cats could not be found. However during the night the cats
                            climbed up into the loft af the house and we could hear them moving around on the reed

                            I said to George,”Oh leave the poor things. At least they might frighten the rats
                            away.” That afternoon as we were having tea a thin stream of liquid filtered through the
                            ceiling on George’s head. Oh dear!!! That of course was the end. Some raw meat was
                            put on the lawn for bait and yesterday George shot both cats.

                            I regret to end with the sad story of Mary, heroine in my last letter and outcast in
                            this. She came to work quite drunk two days running and I simply had to get rid of her. I
                            have heard since from Kath Wood that Mary lost her last job at Tukuyu for the same
                            reason. She was ayah to twin girls and one day set their pram on fire.

                            So once again my hands are more than full with three lively children. I did say
                            didn’t I, when Ann was born that I wanted six children?

                            Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

                            Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            To set your minds at rest I must tell you that the native who so frightened me and
                            the children is now in jail for attacking a Greek at Mbalizi. I hear he is to be sent back to
                            Rhodesia when he has finished his sentence.

                            Yesterday we had one of our rare trips to Mbeya. George managed to get a couple of
                            second hand tyres for the old car and had again got her to work so we are celebrating our
                            wedding anniversary by going on an outing. I wore the green and fawn striped silk dress
                            mother bought me and the hat and shoes you sent for my birthday and felt like a million
                            dollars, for a change. The children all wore new clothes too and I felt very proud of them.
                            Ann is still very fair and with her refined little features and straight silky hair she
                            looks like Alice in Wonderland. Georgie is dark and sturdy and looks best in khaki shirt
                            and shorts and sun helmet. Kate is a pink and gold baby and looks good enough to eat.
                            We went straight to the hotel at Mbeya and had the usual warm welcome from
                            Ken and Aunty May Menzies. Aunty May wears her hair cut short like a mans and
                            usually wears shirt and tie and riding breeches and boots. She always looks ready to go
                            on safari at a moments notice as indeed she is. She is often called out to a case of illness
                            at some remote spot.

                            There were lots of people at the hotel from farms in the district and from the
                            diggings. I met women I had not seen for four years. One, a Mrs Masters from Tukuyu,
                            said in the lounge, “My God! Last time I saw you , you were just a girl and here you are
                            now with two children.” To which I replied with pride, “There is another one in a pram on
                            the verandah if you care to look!” Great hilarity in the lounge. The people from the
                            diggings seem to have plenty of money to throw around. There was a big party on the
                            go in the bar.

                            One of our shamba boys died last Friday and all his fellow workers and our
                            house boys had the day off to attend the funeral. From what I can gather the local
                            funerals are quite cheery affairs. The corpse is dressed in his best clothes and laid
                            outside his hut and all who are interested may view the body and pay their respects.
                            The heir then calls upon anyone who had a grudge against the dead man to say his say
                            and thereafter hold his tongue forever. Then all the friends pay tribute to the dead man
                            after which he is buried to the accompaniment of what sounds from a distance, very
                            cheerful keening.

                            Most of our workmen are pagans though there is a Lutheran Mission nearby and
                            a big Roman Catholic Mission in the area too. My present cook, however, claims to be
                            a Christian. He certainly went to a mission school and can read and write and also sing
                            hymns in Ki-Swahili. When I first engaged him I used to find a large open Bible
                            prominently displayed on the kitchen table. The cook is middle aged and arrived here
                            with a sensible matronly wife. To my surprise one day he brought along a young girl,
                            very plump and giggly and announced proudly that she was his new wife, I said,”But I
                            thought you were a Christian Jeremiah? Christians don’t have two wives.” To which he
                            replied, “Oh Memsahib, God won’t mind. He knows an African needs two wives – one
                            to go with him when he goes away to work and one to stay behind at home to cultivate
                            the shamba.

                            Needles to say, it is the old wife who has gone to till the family plot.

                            With love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            The drought has broken with a bang. We had a heavy storm in the hills behind
                            the house. Hail fell thick and fast. So nice for all the tiny new berries on the coffee! The
                            kids loved the excitement and three times Ann and Georgie ran out for a shower under
                            the eaves and had to be changed. After the third time I was fed up and made them both
                            lie on their beds whilst George and I had lunch in peace. I told Ann to keep the
                            casement shut as otherwise the rain would drive in on her bed. Half way through lunch I
                            heard delighted squeals from Georgie and went into the bedroom to investigate. Ann
                            was standing on the outer sill in the rain but had shut the window as ordered. “Well
                            Mummy , you didn’t say I mustn’t stand on the window sill, and I did shut the window.”
                            George is working so hard on the farm. I have a horrible feeling however that it is
                            what the Africans call ‘Kazi buri’ (waste of effort) as there seems no chance of the price of
                            coffee improving as long as this world depression continues. The worry is that our capitol
                            is nearly exhausted. Food is becoming difficult now that our neighbours have left. I used
                            to buy delicious butter from Kath Hickson-Wood and an African butcher used to kill a
                            beast once a week. Now that we are his only European customers he very rarely kills
                            anything larger than a goat, and though we do eat goat, believe me it is not from choice.
                            We have of course got plenty to eat, but our diet is very monotonous. I was
                            delighted when George shot a large bushbuck last week. What we could not use I cut
                            into strips and the salted strips are now hanging in the open garage to dry.

                            With love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            We have had a lot of rain and the countryside is lovely and green. Last week
                            George went to Mbeya taking Ann with him. This was a big adventure for Ann because
                            never before had she been anywhere without me. She was in a most blissful state as
                            she drove off in the old car clutching a little basket containing sandwiches and half a bottle
                            of milk. She looked so pretty in a new blue frock and with her tiny plaits tied with
                            matching blue ribbons. When Ann is animated she looks charming because her normally
                            pale cheeks become rosy and she shows her pretty dimples.

                            As I am still without an ayah I rather looked forward to a quiet morning with only
                            Georgie and Margery Kate to care for, but Georgie found it dull without Ann and wanted
                            to be entertained and even the normally placid baby was peevish. Then in mid morning
                            the rain came down in torrents, the result of a cloudburst in the hills directly behind our
                            house. The ravine next to our house was a terrifying sight. It appeared to be a great
                            muddy, roaring waterfall reaching from the very top of the hill to a point about 30 yards
                            behind our house and then the stream rushed on down the gorge in an angry brown
                            flood. The roar of the water was so great that we had to yell at one another to be heard.
                            By lunch time the rain had stopped and I anxiously awaited the return of Ann and
                            George. They returned on foot, drenched and hungry at about 2.30pm . George had
                            had to abandon the car on the main road as the Mchewe River had overflowed and
                            turned the road into a muddy lake. The lower part of the shamba had also been flooded
                            and the water receded leaving branches and driftwood amongst the coffee. This was my
                            first experience of a real tropical storm. I am afraid that after the battering the coffee has
                            had there is little hope of a decent crop next year.

                            Anyway Christmas is coming so we don’t dwell on these mishaps. The children
                            have already chosen their tree from amongst the young cypresses in the vegetable
                            garden. We all send our love and hope that you too will have a Happy Christmas.


                            Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

                            Dearest Family,

                            I’ve been in the wars with my staff. The cook has been away ill for ten days but is
                            back today though shaky and full of self pity. The houseboy, who really has been a brick
                            during the cooks absence has now taken to his bed and I feel like taking to Mine! The
                            children however have the Christmas spirit and are making weird and wonderful paper
                            decorations. George’s contribution was to have the house whitewashed throughout and
                            it looks beautifully fresh.

                            My best bit of news is that my old ayah Janey has been to see me and would
                            like to start working here again on Jan 1st. We are all very well. We meant to give
                            ourselves an outing to Mbeya as a Christmas treat but here there is an outbreak of
                            enteric fever there so will now not go. We have had two visitors from the Diggings this
                            week. The children see so few strangers that they were fascinated and hung around
                            staring. Ann sat down on the arm of the couch beside one and studied his profile.
                            Suddenly she announced in her clear voice, “Mummy do you know, this man has got
                            wax in his ears!” Very awkward pause in the conversation. By the way when I was
                            cleaning out little Kate’s ears with a swab of cotton wool a few days ago, Ann asked
                            “Mummy, do bees have wax in their ears? Well, where do you get beeswax from

                            I meant to keep your Christmas parcel unopened until Christmas Eve but could
                            not resist peeping today. What lovely things! Ann so loves pretties and will be
                            delighted with her frocks. My dress is just right and I love Georgie’s manly little flannel
                            shorts and blue shirt. We have bought them each a watering can. I suppose I shall
                            regret this later. One of your most welcome gifts is the album of nursery rhyme records. I
                            am so fed up with those that we have. Both children love singing. I put a record on the
                            gramophone geared to slow and off they go . Georgie sings more slowly than Ann but
                            much more tunefully. Ann sings in a flat monotone but Georgie with great expression.
                            You ought to hear him render ‘Sing a song of sixpence’. He cannot pronounce an R or
                            an S. Mother has sent a large home made Christmas pudding and a fine Christmas
                            cake and George will shoot some partridges for Christmas dinner.
                            Think of us as I shall certainly think of you.

                            Your very loving,

                            Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

                            Dearest Family,

                            Christmas was fun! The tree looked very gay with its load of tinsel, candles and
                            red crackers and the coloured balloons you sent. All the children got plenty of toys
                            thanks to Grandparents and Aunts. George made Ann a large doll’s bed and I made
                            some elegant bedding, Barbara, the big doll is now permanently bed ridden. Her poor
                            shattered head has come all unstuck and though I have pieced it together again it is a sad
                            sight. If you have not yet chosen a present for her birthday next month would you
                            please get a new head from the Handy House. I enclose measurements. Ann does so
                            love the doll. She always calls her, “My little girl”, and she keeps the doll’s bed beside
                            her own and never fails to kiss her goodnight.

                            We had no guests for Christmas this year but we were quite festive. Ann
                            decorated the dinner table with small pink roses and forget-me-knots and tinsel and the
                            crackers from the tree. It was a wet day but we played the new records and both
                            George and I worked hard to make it a really happy day for the children. The children
                            were hugely delighted when George made himself a revolting set of false teeth out of
                            plasticine and a moustache and beard of paper straw from a chocolate box. “Oh Daddy
                            you look exactly like Father Christmas!” cried an enthralled Ann. Before bedtime we lit
                            all the candles on the tree and sang ‘Away in a Manger’, and then we opened the box of
                            starlights you sent and Ann and Georgie had their first experience of fireworks.
                            After the children went to bed things deteriorated. First George went for his bath
                            and found and killed a large black snake in the bathroom. It must have been in the
                            bathroom when I bathed the children earlier in the evening. Then I developed bad
                            toothache which kept me awake all night and was agonising next day. Unfortunately the
                            bridge between the farm and Mbeya had been washed away and the water was too
                            deep for the car to ford until the 30th when at last I was able to take my poor swollen
                            face to Mbeya. There is now a young German woman dentist working at the hospital.
                            She pulled out the offending molar which had a large abscess attached to it.
                            Whilst the dentist attended to me, Ann and Georgie played happily with the
                            doctor’s children. I wish they could play more often with other children. Dr Eckhardt was
                            very pleased with Margery Kate who at seven months weighs 17 lbs and has lovely
                            rosy cheeks. He admired Ann and told her that she looked just like a German girl. “No I
                            don’t”, cried Ann indignantly, “I’m English!”

                            We were caught in a rain storm going home and as the old car still has no
                            windscreen or side curtains we all got soaked except for the baby who was snugly
                            wrapped in my raincoat. The kids thought it great fun. Ann is growing up fast now. She
                            likes to ‘help mummy’. She is a perfectionist at four years old which is rather trying. She
                            gets so discouraged when things do not turn out as well as she means them to. Sewing
                            is constantly being unpicked and paintings torn up. She is a very sensitive child.
                            Georgie is quite different. He is a man of action, but not silent. He talks incessantly
                            but lisps and stumbles over some words. At one time Ann and Georgie often
                            conversed in Ki-Swahili but they now scorn to do so. If either forgets and uses a Swahili
                            word, the other points a scornful finger and shouts “You black toto”.

                            With love to all,


                              From Tanganyika with Love


                              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                              Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                              Dearest Family,

                              You say that you would like to know more about our neighbours. Well there is
                              not much to tell. Kath Wood is very good about coming over to see me. I admire her
                              very much because she is so capable as well as being attractive. She speaks very
                              fluent Ki-Swahili and I envy her the way she can carry on a long conversation with the
                              natives. I am very slow in learning the language possibly because Lamek and the
                              houseboy both speak basic English.

                              I have very little to do with the Africans apart from the house servants, but I do
                              run a sort of clinic for the wives and children of our employees. The children suffer chiefly
                              from sore eyes and worms, and the older ones often have bad ulcers on their legs. All
                              farmers keep a stock of drugs and bandages.

                              George also does a bit of surgery and last month sewed up the sole of the foot
                              of a boy who had trodden on the blade of a panga, a sort of sword the Africans use for
                              hacking down bush. He made an excellent job of it. George tells me that the Africans
                              have wonderful powers of recuperation. Once in his bachelor days, one of his men was
                              disembowelled by an elephant. George washed his “guts” in a weak solution of
                              pot.permang, put them back in the cavity and sewed up the torn flesh and he

                              But to get back to the neighbours. We see less of Hicky Wood than of Kath.
                              Hicky can be charming but is often moody as I believe Irishmen often are.
                              Major Jones is now at home on his shamba, which he leaves from time to time
                              for temporary jobs on the district roads. He walks across fairly regularly and we are
                              always glad to see him for he is a great bearer of news. In this part of Africa there is no
                              knocking or ringing of doorbells. Front doors are always left open and visitors always
                              welcome. When a visitor approaches a house he shouts “Hodi”, and the owner of the
                              house yells “Karibu”, which I believe means “Come near” or approach, and tea is
                              produced in a matter of minutes no matter what hour of the day it is.
                              The road that passes all our farms is the only road to the Gold Diggings and
                              diggers often drop in on the Woods and Major Jones and bring news of the Goldfields.
                              This news is sometimes about gold but quite often about whose wife is living with
                              whom. This is a great country for gossip.

                              Major Jones now has his brother Llewyllen living with him. I drove across with
                              George to be introduced to him. Llewyllen’s health is poor and he looks much older than
                              his years and very like the portrait of Trader Horn. He has the same emaciated features,
                              burning eyes and long beard. He is proud of his Welsh tenor voice and often bursts into

                              Both brothers are excellent conversationalists and George enjoys walking over
                              sometimes on a Sunday for a bit of masculine company. The other day when George
                              walked across to visit the Joneses, he found both brothers in the shamba and Llew in a
                              great rage. They had been stooping to inspect a water furrow when Llew backed into a
                              hornets nest. One furious hornet stung him on the seat and another on the back of his
                              neck. Llew leapt forward and somehow his false teeth shot out into the furrow and were
                              carried along by the water. When George arrived Llew had retrieved his teeth but
                              George swears that, in the commotion, the heavy leather leggings, which Llew always
                              wears, had swivelled around on his thin legs and were calves to the front.
                              George has heard that Major Jones is to sell pert of his land to his Swedish brother-in-law, Max Coster, so we will soon have another couple in the neighbourhood.

                              I’ve had a bit of a pantomime here on the farm. On the day we went to Tukuyu,
                              all our washing was stolen from the clothes line and also our new charcoal iron. George
                              reported the matter to the police and they sent out a plain clothes policeman. He wears
                              the long white Arab gown called a Kanzu much in vogue here amongst the African elite
                              but, alas for secrecy, huge black police boots protrude from beneath the Kanzu and, to
                              add to this revealing clue, the askari springs to attention and salutes each time I pass by.
                              Not much hope of finding out the identity of the thief I fear.

                              George’s furrow was entirely successful and we now have water running behind
                              the kitchen. Our drinking water we get from a lovely little spring on the farm. We boil and
                              filter it for safety’s sake. I don’t think that is necessary. The furrow water is used for
                              washing pots and pans and for bath water.

                              Lots of love,

                              Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                              Dearest Family,

                              I think it is about time I told you that we are going to have a baby. We are both
                              thrilled about it. I have not seen a Doctor but feel very well and you are not to worry. I
                              looked it up in my handbook for wives and reckon that the baby is due about February
                              8th. next year.

                              The announcement came from George, not me! I had been feeling queasy for
                              days and was waiting for the right moment to tell George. You know. Soft lights and
                              music etc. However when I was listlessly poking my food around one lunch time
                              George enquired calmly, “When are you going to tell me about the baby?” Not at all
                              according to the book! The problem is where to have the baby. February is a very wet
                              month and the nearest Doctor is over 50 miles away at Tukuyu. I cannot go to stay at
                              Tukuyu because there is no European accommodation at the hospital, no hotel and no
                              friend with whom I could stay.

                              George thinks I should go South to you but Capetown is so very far away and I
                              love my little home here. Also George says he could not come all the way down with
                              me as he simply must stay here and get the farm on its feet. He would drive me as far
                              as the railway in Northern Rhodesia. It is a difficult decision to take. Write and tell me what
                              you think.

                              The days tick by quietly here. The servants are very willing but have to be
                              supervised and even then a crisis can occur. Last Saturday I was feeling squeamish and
                              decided not to have lunch. I lay reading on the couch whilst George sat down to a
                              solitary curry lunch. Suddenly he gave an exclamation and pushed back his chair. I
                              jumped up to see what was wrong and there, on his plate, gleaming in the curry gravy
                              were small bits of broken glass. I hurried to the kitchen to confront Lamek with the plate.
                              He explained that he had dropped the new and expensive bottle of curry powder on
                              the brick floor of the kitchen. He did not tell me as he thought I would make a “shauri” so
                              he simply scooped up the curry powder, removed the larger pieces of glass and used
                              part of the powder for seasoning the lunch.

                              The weather is getting warmer now. It was very cold in June and July and we had
                              fires in the daytime as well as at night. Now that much of the land has been cleared we
                              are able to go for pleasant walks in the weekends. My favourite spot is a waterfall on the
                              Mchewe River just on the boundary of our land. There is a delightful little pool below the
                              waterfall and one day George intends to stock it with trout.

                              Now that there are more Europeans around to buy meat the natives find it worth
                              their while to kill an occasional beast. Every now and again a native arrives with a large
                              bowl of freshly killed beef for sale. One has no way of knowing whether the animal was
                              healthy and the meat is often still warm and very bloody. I hated handling it at first but am
                              becoming accustomed to it now and have even started a brine tub. There is no other
                              way of keeping meat here and it can only be kept in its raw state for a few hours before
                              going bad. One of the delicacies is the hump which all African cattle have. When corned
                              it is like the best brisket.

                              See what a housewife I am becoming.
                              With much love,

                              Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                              Dearest Family,

                              I have grown to love the life here and am sad to think I shall be leaving
                              Tanganyika soon for several months. Yes I am coming down to have the baby in the
                              bosom of the family. George thinks it best and so does the doctor. I didn’t mention it
                              before but I have never recovered fully from the effects of that bad bout of malaria and
                              so I have been persuaded to leave George and our home and go to the Cape, in the
                              hope that I shall come back here as fit as when I first arrived in the country plus a really
                              healthy and bouncing baby. I am torn two ways, I long to see you all – but how I would
                              love to stay on here.

                              George will drive me down to Northern Rhodesia in early October to catch a
                              South bound train. I’ll telegraph the date of departure when I know it myself. The road is
                              very, very bad and the car has been giving a good deal of trouble so, though the baby
                              is not due until early February, George thinks it best to get the journey over soon as
                              possible, for the rains break in November and the the roads will then be impassable. It
                              may take us five or six days to reach Broken Hill as we will take it slowly. I am looking
                              forward to the drive through new country and to camping out at night.
                              Our days pass quietly by. George is out on the shamba most of the day. He
                              goes out before breakfast on weekdays and spends most of the day working with the
                              men – not only supervising but actually working with his hands and beating the labourers
                              at their own jobs. He comes to the house for meals and tea breaks. I potter around the
                              house and garden, sew, mend and read. Lamek continues to be a treasure. he turns out
                              some surprising dishes. One of his specialities is stuffed chicken. He carefully skins the
                              chicken removing all bones. He then minces all the chicken meat and adds minced onion
                              and potatoes. He then stuffs the chicken skin with the minced meat and carefully sews it
                              together again. The resulting dish is very filling because the boned chicken is twice the
                              size of a normal one. It lies on its back as round as a football with bloated legs in the air.
                              Rather repulsive to look at but Lamek is most proud of his accomplishment.
                              The other day he produced another of his masterpieces – a cooked tortoise. It
                              was served on a dish covered with parsley and crouched there sans shell but, only too
                              obviously, a tortoise. I took one look and fled with heaving diaphragm, but George said
                              it tasted quite good. He tells me that he has had queerer dishes produced by former
                              cooks. He says that once in his hunting days his cook served up a skinned baby
                              monkey with its hands folded on its breast. He says it would take a cannibal to eat that

                              And now for something sad. Poor old Llew died quite suddenly and it was a sad
                              shock to this tiny community. We went across to the funeral and it was a very simple and
                              dignified affair. Llew was buried on Joni’s farm in a grave dug by the farm boys. The
                              body was wrapped in a blanket and bound to some boards and lowered into the
                              ground. There was no service. The men just said “Good-bye Llew.” and “Sleep well
                              Llew”, and things like that. Then Joni and his brother-in-law Max, and George shovelled
                              soil over the body after which the grave was filled in by Joni’s shamba boys. It was a
                              lovely bright afternoon and I thought how simple and sensible a funeral it was.
                              I hope you will be glad to have me home. I bet Dad will be holding thumbs that
                              the baby will be a girl.

                              Very much love,

                              “There are no letters to my family during the period of Sept. 1931 to June 1932
                              because during these months I was living with my parents and sister in a suburb of
                              Cape Town. I had hoped to return to Tanganyika by air with my baby soon after her
                              birth in Feb.1932 but the doctor would not permit this.

                              A month before my baby was born, a company called Imperial Airways, had
                              started the first passenger service between South Africa and England. One of the night
                              stops was at Mbeya near my husband’s coffee farm, and it was my intention to take the
                              train to Broken Hill in Northern Rhodesia and to fly from there to Mbeya with my month
                              old baby. In those days however, commercial flying was still a novelty and the doctor
                              was not sure that flying at a high altitude might not have an adverse effect upon a young

                              He strongly advised me to wait until the baby was four months old and I did this
                              though the long wait was very trying to my husband alone on our farm in Tanganyika,
                              and to me, cherished though I was in my old home.

                              My story, covering those nine long months is soon told. My husband drove me
                              down from Mbeya to Broken Hill in NorthernRhodesia. The journey was tedious as the
                              weather was very hot and dry and the road sandy and rutted, very different from the
                              Great North road as it is today. The wooden wheel spokes of the car became so dry
                              that they rattled and George had to bind wet rags around them. We had several
                              punctures and with one thing and another I was lucky to catch the train.
                              My parents were at Cape Town station to welcome me and I stayed
                              comfortably with them, living very quietly, until my baby was born. She arrived exactly
                              on the appointed day, Feb.8th.

                              I wrote to my husband “Our Charmian Ann is a darling baby. She is very fair and
                              rather pale and has the most exquisite hands, with long tapering fingers. Daddy
                              absolutely dotes on her and so would you, if you were here. I can’t bear to think that you
                              are so terribly far away. Although Ann was born exactly on the day, I was taken quite by
                              surprise. It was awfully hot on the night before, and before going to bed I had a fancy for
                              some water melon. The result was that when I woke in the early morning with labour
                              pains and vomiting I thought it was just an attack of indigestion due to eating too much
                              melon. The result was that I did not wake Marjorie until the pains were pretty frequent.
                              She called our next door neighbour who, in his pyjamas, drove me to the nursing home
                              at breakneck speed. The Matron was very peeved that I had left things so late but all
                              went well and by nine o’clock, Mother, positively twittering with delight, was allowed to
                              see me and her first granddaughter . She told me that poor Dad was in such a state of
                              nerves that he was sick amongst the grapevines. He says that he could not bear to go
                              through such an anxious time again, — so we will have to have our next eleven in

                              The next four months passed rapidly as my time was taken up by the demands
                              of my new baby. Dr. Trudy King’s method of rearing babies was then the vogue and I
                              stuck fanatically to all the rules he laid down, to the intense exasperation of my parents
                              who longed to cuddle the child.

                              As the time of departure drew near my parents became more and more reluctant
                              to allow me to face the journey alone with their adored grandchild, so my brother,
                              Graham, very generously offered to escort us on the train to Broken Hill where he could
                              put us on the plane for Mbeya.

                              Eleanor Rushby


                              Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                              Dearest Family,

                              You’ll be glad to know that we arrived quite safe and sound and very, very
                              happy to be home.The train Journey was uneventful. Ann slept nearly all the way.
                              Graham was very kind and saw to everything. He even sat with the baby whilst I went
                              to meals in the dining car.

                              We were met at Broken Hill by the Thoms who had arranged accommodation for
                              us at the hotel for the night. They also drove us to the aerodrome in the morning where
                              the Airways agent told us that Ann is the first baby to travel by air on this section of the
                              Cape to England route. The plane trip was very bumpy indeed especially between
                              Broken Hill and Mpika. Everyone was ill including poor little Ann who sicked up her milk
                              all over the front of my new coat. I arrived at Mbeya looking a sorry caricature of Radiant
                              Motherhood. I must have been pale green and the baby was snow white. Under the
                              circumstances it was a good thing that George did not meet us. We were met instead
                              by Ken Menzies, the owner of the Mbeya Hotel where we spent the night. Ken was
                              most fatherly and kind and a good nights rest restored Ann and me to our usual robust

                              Mbeya has greatly changed. The hotel is now finished and can accommodate
                              fifty guests. It consists of a large main building housing a large bar and dining room and
                              offices and a number of small cottage bedrooms. It even has electric light. There are
                              several buildings out at the aerodrome and private houses going up in Mbeya.
                              After breakfast Ken Menzies drove us out to the farm where we had a warm
                              welcome from George, who looks well but rather thin. The house was spotless and the
                              new cook, Abel, had made light scones for tea. George had prepared all sorts of lovely
                              surprises. There is a new reed ceiling in the living room and a new dresser gay with
                              willow pattern plates which he had ordered from England. There is also a writing table
                              and a square table by the door for visitors hats. More personal is a lovely model ship
                              which George assembled from one of those Hobbie’s kits. It puts the finishing touch to
                              the rather old world air of our living room.

                              In the bedroom there is a large double bed which George made himself. It has
                              strips of old car tyres nailed to a frame which makes a fine springy mattress and on top
                              of this is a thick mattress of kapok.In the kitchen there is a good wood stove which
                              George salvaged from a Mission dump. It looks a bit battered but works very well. The
                              new cook is excellent. The only blight is that he will wear rubber soled tennis shoes and
                              they smell awful. I daren’t hurt his feelings by pointing this out though. Opposite the
                              kitchen is a new laundry building containing a forty gallon hot water drum and a sink for
                              washing up. Lovely!

                              George has been working very hard. He now has forty acres of coffee seedlings
                              planted out and has also found time to plant a rose garden and fruit trees. There are
                              orange and peach trees, tree tomatoes, paw paws, guavas and berries. He absolutely
                              adores Ann who has been very good and does not seem at all unsettled by the long

                              It is absolutely heavenly to be back and I shall be happier than ever now that I
                              have a baby to play with during the long hours when George is busy on the farm,
                              Thank you for all your love and care during the many months I was with you. Ann
                              sends a special bubble for granddad.

                              Your very loving,

                              Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                              Dearest Family,

                              Ann at five months is enchanting. She is a very good baby, smiles readily and is
                              gaining weight steadily. She doesn’t sleep much during the day but that does not
                              matter, because, apart from washing her little things, I have nothing to do but attend to
                              her. She sleeps very well at night which is a blessing as George has to get up very
                              early to start work on the shamba and needs a good nights rest.
                              My nights are not so good, because we are having a plague of rats which frisk
                              around in the bedroom at night. Great big ones that come up out of the long grass in the
                              gorge beside the house and make cosy homes on our reed ceiling and in the thatch of
                              the roof.

                              We always have a night light burning so that, if necessary, I can attend to Ann
                              with a minimum of fuss, and the things I see in that dim light! There are gaps between
                              the reeds and one night I heard, plop! and there, before my horrified gaze, lay a newly
                              born hairless baby rat on the floor by the bed, plop, plop! and there lay two more.
                              Quite dead, poor things – but what a careless mother.

                              I have also seen rats scampering around on the tops of the mosquito nets and
                              sometimes we have them on our bed. They have a lovely game. They swarm down
                              the cord from which the mosquito net is suspended, leap onto the bed and onto the
                              floor. We do not have our net down now the cold season is here and there are few

                              Last week a rat crept under Ann’s net which hung to the floor and bit her little
                              finger, so now I tuck the net in under the mattress though it makes it difficult for me to
                              attend to her at night. We shall have to get a cat somewhere. Ann’s pram has not yet
                              arrived so George carries her when we go walking – to her great content.
                              The native women around here are most interested in Ann. They come to see
                              her, bearing small gifts, and usually bring a child or two with them. They admire my child
                              and I admire theirs and there is an exchange of gifts. They produce a couple of eggs or
                              a few bananas or perhaps a skinny fowl and I hand over sugar, salt or soap as they
                              value these commodities. The most lavish gift went to the wife of Thomas our headman,
                              who produced twin daughters in the same week as I had Ann.

                              Our neighbours have all been across to welcome me back and to admire the
                              baby. These include Marion Coster who came out to join her husband whilst I was in
                              South Africa. The two Hickson-Wood children came over on a fat old white donkey.
                              They made a pretty picture sitting astride, one behind the other – Maureen with her arms
                              around small Michael’s waist. A native toto led the donkey and the children’ s ayah
                              walked beside it.

                              It is quite cold here now but the sun is bright and the air dry. The whole
                              countryside is beautifully green and we are a very happy little family.

                              Lots and lots of love,

                              Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                              Dearest Family,

                              George has been very unwell for the past week. He had a nasty gash on his
                              knee which went septic. He had a swelling in the groin and a high temperature and could
                              not sleep at night for the pain in his leg. Ann was very wakeful too during the same
                              period, I think she is teething. I luckily have kept fit though rather harassed. Yesterday the
                              leg looked so inflamed that George decided to open up the wound himself. he made
                              quite a big cut in exactly the right place. You should have seen the blackish puss
                              pouring out.

                              After he had thoroughly cleaned the wound George sewed it up himself. he has
                              the proper surgical needles and gut. He held the cut together with his left hand and
                              pushed the needle through the flesh with his right. I pulled the needle out and passed it
                              to George for the next stitch. I doubt whether a surgeon could have made a neater job
                              of it. He is still confined to the couch but today his temperature is normal. Some

                              The previous week was hectic in another way. We had a visit from lions! George
                              and I were having supper about 8.30 on Tuesday night when the back verandah was
                              suddenly invaded by women and children from the servants quarters behind the kitchen.
                              They were all yelling “Simba, Simba.” – simba means lions. The door opened suddenly
                              and the houseboy rushed in to say that there were lions at the huts. George got up
                              swiftly, fetched gun and ammunition from the bedroom and with the houseboy carrying
                              the lamp, went off to investigate. I remained at the table, carrying on with my supper as I
                              felt a pioneer’s wife should! Suddenly something big leapt through the open window
                              behind me. You can imagine what I thought! I know now that it is quite true to say one’s
                              hair rises when one is scared. However it was only Kelly, our huge Irish wolfhound,
                              taking cover.

                              George returned quite soon to say that apparently the commotion made by the
                              women and children had frightened the lions off. He found their tracks in the soft earth
                              round the huts and a bag of maize that had been playfully torn open but the lions had
                              moved on.

                              Next day we heard that they had moved to Hickson-Wood’s shamba. Hicky
                              came across to say that the lions had jumped over the wall of his cattle boma and killed
                              both his white Muskat riding donkeys.
                              He and a friend sat up all next night over the remains but the lions did not return to
                              the kill.

                              Apart from the little set back last week, Ann is blooming. She has a cap of very
                              fine fair hair and clear blue eyes under straight brow. She also has lovely dimples in both
                              cheeks. We are very proud of her.

                              Our neighbours are picking coffee but the crops are small and the price is low. I
                              am amazed that they are so optimistic about the future. No one in these parts ever
                              seems to grouse though all are living on capital. They all say “Well if the worst happens
                              we can always go up to the Lupa Diggings.”

                              Don’t worry about us, we have enough to tide us over for some time yet.

                              Much love to all,

                              Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                              Dearest Family,

                              News! News! I’m going to have another baby. George and I are delighted and I
                              hope it will be a boy this time. I shall be able to have him at Mbeya because things are
                              rapidly changing here. Several German families have moved to Mbeya including a
                              German doctor who means to build a hospital there. I expect he will make a very good
                              living because there must now be some hundreds of Europeans within a hundred miles
                              radius of Mbeya. The Europeans are mostly British or German but there are also
                              Greeks and, I believe, several other nationalities are represented on the Lupa Diggings.
                              Ann is blooming and developing according to the Book except that she has no
                              teeth yet! Kath Hickson-Wood has given her a very nice high chair and now she has
                              breakfast and lunch at the table with us. Everything within reach goes on the floor to her
                              amusement and my exasperation!

                              You ask whether we have any Church of England missionaries in our part. No we
                              haven’t though there are Lutheran and Roman Catholic Missions. I have never even
                              heard of a visiting Church of England Clergyman to these parts though there are babies
                              in plenty who have not been baptised. Jolly good thing I had Ann Christened down

                              The R.C. priests in this area are called White Fathers. They all have beards and
                              wear white cassocks and sun helmets. One, called Father Keiling, calls around frequently.
                              Though none of us in this area is Catholic we take it in turn to put him up for the night. The
                              Catholic Fathers in their turn are most hospitable to travellers regardless of their beliefs.
                              Rather a sad thing has happened. Lucas our old chicken-boy is dead. I shall miss
                              his toothy smile. George went to the funeral and fired two farewell shots from his rifle
                              over the grave – a gesture much appreciated by the locals. Lucas in his day was a good

                              Several of the locals own muzzle loading guns but the majority hunt with dogs
                              and spears. The dogs wear bells which make an attractive jingle but I cannot bear the
                              idea of small antelope being run down until they are exhausted before being clubbed of
                              stabbed to death. We seldom eat venison as George does not care to shoot buck.
                              Recently though, he shot an eland and Abel rendered down the fat which is excellent for
                              cooking and very like beef fat.

                              Much love to all,

                              Mchewe Estate. P.O.Mbeya 21st November 1932

                              Dearest Family,

                              George has gone off to the Lupa for a week with John Molteno. John came up
                              here with the idea of buying a coffee farm but he has changed his mind and now thinks of
                              staking some claims on the diggings and also setting up as a gold buyer.

                              Did I tell you about his arrival here? John and George did some elephant hunting
                              together in French Equatorial Africa and when John heard that George had married and
                              settled in Tanganyika, he also decided to come up here. He drove up from Cape Town
                              in a Baby Austin and arrived just as our labourers were going home for the day. The little
                              car stopped half way up our hill and John got out to investigate. You should have heard
                              the astonished exclamations when John got out – all 6 ft 5 ins. of him! He towered over
                              the little car and even to me it seemed impossible for him to have made the long
                              journey in so tiny a car.

                              Kath Wood has been over several times lately. She is slim and looks so right in
                              the shirt and corduroy slacks she almost always wears. She was here yesterday when
                              the shamba boy, digging in the front garden, unearthed a large earthenware cooking pot,
                              sealed at the top. I was greatly excited and had an instant mental image of fabulous
                              wealth. We made the boy bring the pot carefully on to the verandah and opened it in
                              happy anticipation. What do you think was inside? Nothing but a grinning skull! Such a
                              treat for a pregnant female.

                              We have a tree growing here that had lovely straight branches covered by a
                              smooth bark. I got the garden boy to cut several of these branches of a uniform size,
                              peeled off the bark and have made Ann a playpen with the poles which are much like
                              broom sticks. Now I can leave her unattended when I do my chores. The other morning
                              after breakfast I put Ann in her playpen on the verandah and gave her a piece of toast
                              and honey to keep her quiet whilst I laundered a few of her things. When I looked out a
                              little later I was horrified to see a number of bees buzzing around her head whilst she
                              placidly concentrated on her toast. I made a rapid foray and rescued her but I still don’t
                              know whether that was the thing to do.

                              We all send our love,

                              Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                              Dearest Family,

                              Here I am, installed at the very new hospital, built by Dr Eckhardt, awaiting the
                              arrival of the new baby. George has gone back to the farm on foot but will walk in again
                              to spend the weekend with us. Ann is with me and enjoys the novelty of playing with
                              other children. The Eckhardts have two, a pretty little girl of two and a half and a very fair
                              roly poly boy of Ann’s age. Ann at fourteen months is very active. She is quite a little girl
                              now with lovely dimples. She walks well but is backward in teething.

                              George, Ann and I had a couple of days together at the hotel before I moved in
                              here and several of the local women visited me and have promised to visit me in
                              hospital. The trip from farm to town was very entertaining if not very comfortable. There
                              is ten miles of very rough road between our farm and Utengule Mission and beyond the
                              Mission there is a fair thirteen or fourteen mile road to Mbeya.

                              As we have no car now the doctor’s wife offered to drive us from the Mission to
                              Mbeya but she would not risk her car on the road between the Mission and our farm.
                              The upshot was that I rode in the Hickson-Woods machila for that ten mile stretch. The
                              machila is a canopied hammock, slung from a bamboo pole, in which I reclined, not too
                              comfortably in my unwieldy state, with Ann beside me or sometime straddling me. Four
                              of our farm boys carried the machila on their shoulders, two fore and two aft. The relief
                              bearers walked on either side. There must have been a dozen in all and they sang a sort
                              of sea shanty song as they walked. One man would sing a verse and the others took up
                              the chorus. They often improvise as they go. They moaned about my weight (at least
                              George said so! I don’t follow Ki-Swahili well yet) and expressed the hope that I would
                              have a son and that George would reward them handsomely.

                              George and Kelly, the dog, followed close behind the machila and behind
                              George came Abel our cook and his wife and small daughter Annalie, all in their best
                              attire. The cook wore a palm beach suit, large Terai hat and sunglasses and two colour
                              shoes and quite lent a tone to the proceedings! Right at the back came the rag tag and
                              bobtail who joined the procession just for fun.

                              Mrs Eckhardt was already awaiting us at the Mission when we arrived and we had
                              an uneventful trip to the Mbeya Hotel.

                              During my last week at the farm I felt very tired and engaged the cook’s small
                              daughter, Annalie, to amuse Ann for an hour after lunch so that I could have a rest. They
                              played in the small verandah room which adjoins our bedroom and where I keep all my
                              sewing materials. One afternoon I was startled by a scream from Ann. I rushed to the
                              room and found Ann with blood steaming from her cheek. Annalie knelt beside her,
                              looking startled and frightened, with my embroidery scissors in her hand. She had cut off
                              half of the long curling golden lashes on one of Ann’s eyelids and, in trying to finish the
                              job, had cut off a triangular flap of skin off Ann’s cheek bone.

                              I called Abel, the cook, and demanded that he should chastise his daughter there and
                              then and I soon heard loud shrieks from behind the kitchen. He spanked her with a
                              bamboo switch but I am sure not as well as she deserved. Africans are very tolerant
                              towards their children though I have seen husbands and wives fighting furiously.
                              I feel very well but long to have the confinement over.

                              Very much love,

                              Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                              Dearest Family,

                              Little George arrived at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening 29 th. April. George was
                              with me at the time as he had walked in from the farm for news, and what a wonderful bit
                              of luck that was. The doctor was away on a case on the Diggings and I was bathing Ann
                              with George looking on, when the pains started. George dried Ann and gave her
                              supper and put her to bed. Afterwards he sat on the steps outside my room and a
                              great comfort it was to know that he was there.

                              The confinement was short but pretty hectic. The Doctor returned to the Hospital
                              just in time to deliver the baby. He is a grand little boy, beautifully proportioned. The
                              doctor says he has never seen a better formed baby. He is however rather funny
                              looking just now as his head is, very temporarily, egg shaped. He has a shock of black
                              silky hair like a gollywog and believe it or not, he has a slight black moustache.
                              George came in, looked at the baby, looked at me, and we both burst out
                              laughing. The doctor was shocked and said so. He has no sense of humour and couldn’t
                              understand that we, though bursting with pride in our son, could never the less laugh at

                              Friends in Mbeya have sent me the most gorgeous flowers and my room is
                              transformed with delphiniums, roses and carnations. The room would be very austere
                              without the flowers. Curtains, bedspread and enamelware, walls and ceiling are all
                              snowy white.

                              George hired a car and took Ann home next day. I have little George for
                              company during the day but he is removed at night. I am longing to get him home and
                              away from the German nurse who feeds him on black tea when he cries. She insists that
                              tea is a medicine and good for him.

                              Much love from a proud mother of two.

                              Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                              Dearest Family,

                              We are all together at home again and how lovely it feels. Even the house
                              servants seem pleased. The boy had decorated the lounge with sprays of
                              bougainvillaea and Abel had backed one of his good sponge cakes.

                              Ann looked fat and rosy but at first was only moderately interested in me and the
                              new baby but she soon thawed. George is good with her and will continue to dress Ann
                              in the mornings and put her to bed until I am satisfied with Georgie.

                              He, poor mite, has a nasty rash on face and neck. I am sure it is just due to that
                              tea the nurse used to give him at night. He has lost his moustache and is fast loosing his
                              wild black hair and emerging as quite a handsome babe. He is a very masculine looking
                              infant with much more strongly marked eyebrows and a larger nose that Ann had. He is
                              very good and lies quietly in his basket even when awake.

                              George has been making a hatching box for brown trout ova and has set it up in
                              a small clear stream fed by a spring in readiness for the ova which is expected from
                              South Africa by next weeks plane. Some keen fishermen from Mbeya and the District
                              have clubbed together to buy the ova. The fingerlings are later to be transferred to
                              streams in Mbeya and Tukuyu Districts.

                              I shall now have my hands full with the two babies and will not have much time for the
                              garden, or I fear, for writing very long letters. Remember though, that no matter how
                              large my family becomes, I shall always love you as much as ever.

                              Your affectionate,

                              Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                              Dearest Family,

                              The four of us are all well but alas we have lost our dear Kelly. He was rather a
                              silly dog really, although he grew so big he retained all his puppy ways but we were all
                              very fond of him, especially George because Kelly attached himself to George whilst I
                              was away having Ann and from that time on he was George’s shadow. I think he had
                              some form of biliary fever. He died stretched out on the living room couch late last night,
                              with George sitting beside him so that he would not feel alone.

                              The children are growing fast. Georgie is a darling. He now has a fluff of pale
                              brown hair and his eyes are large and dark brown. Ann is very plump and fair.
                              We have had several visitors lately. Apart from neighbours, a car load of diggers
                              arrived one night and John Molteno and his bride were here. She is a very attractive girl
                              but, I should say, more suited to life in civilisation than in this back of beyond. She has
                              gone out to the diggings with her husband and will have to walk a good stretch of the fifty
                              or so miles.

                              The diggers had to sleep in the living room on the couch and on hastily erected
                              camp beds. They arrived late at night and left after breakfast next day. One had half a
                              beard, the other side of his face had been forcibly shaved in the bar the night before.

                              your affectionate,

                              Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                              Dearest Family,

                              George is away on safari with two Indian Army officers. The money he will get for
                              his services will be very welcome because this coffee growing is a slow business, and
                              our capitol is rapidly melting away. The job of acting as White Hunter was unexpected
                              or George would not have taken on the job of hatching the ova which duly arrived from
                              South Africa.

                              George and the District Commissioner, David Pollock, went to meet the plane
                              by which the ova had been consigned but the pilot knew nothing about the package. It
                              came to light in the mail bag with the parcels! However the ova came to no harm. David
                              Pollock and George brought the parcel to the farm and carefully transferred the ova to
                              the hatching box. It was interesting to watch the tiny fry hatch out – a process which took
                              several days. Many died in the process and George removed the dead by sucking
                              them up in a glass tube.

                              When hatched, the tiny fry were fed on ant eggs collected by the boys. I had to
                              take over the job of feeding and removing the dead when George left on safari. The fry
                              have to be fed every four hours, like the baby, so each time I have fed Georgie. I hurry
                              down to feed the trout.

                              The children are very good but keep me busy. Ann can now say several words
                              and understands more. She adores Georgie. I long to show them off to you.

                              Very much love

                              Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                              Dear Family,

                              All just over flu. George and Ann were very poorly. I did not fare so badly and
                              Georgie came off best. He is on a bottle now.

                              There was some excitement here last Wednesday morning. At 6.30 am. I called
                              for boiling water to make Georgie’s food. No water arrived but muffled shouting and the
                              sound of blows came from the kitchen. I went to investigate and found a fierce fight in
                              progress between the house boy and the kitchen boy. In my efforts to make them stop
                              fighting I went too close and got a sharp bang on the mouth with the edge of an
                              enamelled plate the kitchen boy was using as a weapon. My teeth cut my lip inside and
                              the plate cut it outside and blood flowed from mouth to chin. The boys were petrified.
                              By the time I had fed Georgie the lip was stiff and swollen. George went in wrath
                              to the kitchen and by breakfast time both house boy and kitchen boy had swollen faces
                              too. Since then I have a kettle of boiling water to hand almost before the words are out
                              of my mouth. I must say that the fight was because the house boy had clouted the
                              kitchen boy for keeping me waiting! In this land of piece work it is the job of the kitchen
                              boy to light the fire and boil the kettle but the houseboy’s job to carry the kettle to me.
                              I have seen little of Kath Wood or Marion Coster for the past two months. Major
                              Jones is the neighbour who calls most regularly. He has a wireless set and calls on all of
                              us to keep us up to date with world as well as local news. He often brings oranges for
                              Ann who adores him. He is a very nice person but no oil painting and makes no effort to
                              entertain Ann but she thinks he is fine. Perhaps his monocle appeals to her.

                              George has bought a six foot long galvanised bath which is a great improvement
                              on the smaller oval one we have used until now. The smaller one had grown battered
                              from much use and leaks like a sieve. Fortunately our bathroom has a cement floor,
                              because one had to fill the bath to the brim and then bath extremely quickly to avoid
                              being left high and dry.

                              Lots and lots of love,

                              Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 1st December 1933

                              Dearest Family,

                              Ann has not been well. We think she has had malaria. She has grown a good
                              deal lately and looks much thinner and rather pale. Georgie is thriving and has such
                              sparkling brown eyes and a ready smile. He and Ann make a charming pair, one so fair
                              and the other dark.

                              The Moltenos’ spent a few days here and took Georgie and me to Mbeya so
                              that Georgie could be vaccinated. However it was an unsatisfactory trip because the
                              doctor had no vaccine.

                              George went to the Lupa with the Moltenos and returned to the farm in their Baby
                              Austin which they have lent to us for a week. This was to enable me to go to Mbeya to
                              have a couple of teeth filled by a visiting dentist.

                              We went to Mbeya in the car on Saturday. It was quite a squash with the four of
                              us on the front seat of the tiny car. Once George grabbed the babies foot instead of the
                              gear knob! We had Georgie vaccinated at the hospital and then went to the hotel where
                              the dentist was installed. Mr Dare, the dentist, had few instruments and they were very
                              tarnished. I sat uncomfortably on a kitchen chair whilst he tinkered with my teeth. He filled
                              three but two of the fillings came out that night. This meant another trip to Mbeya in the
                              Baby Austin but this time they seem all right.

                              The weather is very hot and dry and the garden a mess. We are having trouble
                              with the young coffee trees too. Cut worms are killing off seedlings in the nursery and
                              there is a borer beetle in the planted out coffee.

                              George bought a large grey donkey from some wandering Masai and we hope
                              the children will enjoy riding it later on.

                              Very much love,

                              Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                              Dearest Family,

                              You will be sorry to hear that little Ann has been very ill, indeed we were terribly
                              afraid that we were going to lose her. She enjoyed her birthday on the 8th. All the toys
                              you, and her English granny, sent were unwrapped with such delight. However next
                              day she seemed listless and a bit feverish so I tucked her up in bed after lunch. I dosed
                              her with quinine and aspirin and she slept fitfully. At about eleven o’clock I was
                              awakened by a strange little cry. I turned up the night light and was horrified to see that
                              Ann was in a convulsion. I awakened George who, as always in an emergency, was
                              perfectly calm and practical. He filled the small bath with very warm water and emersed
                              Ann in it, placing a cold wet cloth on her head. We then wrapped her in blankets and
                              gave her an enema and she settled down to sleep. A few hours later we had the same
                              thing over again.

                              At first light we sent a runner to Mbeya to fetch the doctor but waited all day in
                              vain and in the evening the runner returned to say that the doctor had gone to a case on
                              the diggings. Ann had been feverish all day with two or three convulsions. Neither
                              George or I wished to leave the bedroom, but there was Georgie to consider, and in
                              the afternoon I took him out in the garden for a while whilst George sat with Ann.
                              That night we both sat up all night and again Ann had those wretched attacks of
                              convulsions. George and I were worn out with anxiety by the time the doctor arrived the
                              next afternoon. Ann had not been able to keep down any quinine and had had only
                              small sips of water since the onset of the attack.

                              The doctor at once diagnosed the trouble as malaria aggravated by teething.
                              George held Ann whilst the Doctor gave her an injection. At the first attempt the needle
                              bent into a bow, George was furious! The second attempt worked and after a few hours
                              Ann’s temperature dropped and though she was ill for two days afterwards she is now
                              up and about. She has also cut the last of her baby teeth, thank God. She looks thin and
                              white, but should soon pick up. It has all been a great strain to both of us. Georgie
                              behaved like an angel throughout. He played happily in his cot and did not seem to
                              sense any tension as people say, babies do. Our baby was cheerful and not at all

                              This is the rainy season and it is a good thing that some work has been done on
                              our road or the doctor might not have got through.

                              Much love to all,

                              Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                              Dearest Family,

                              We are all well now, thank goodness, but last week Georgie gave us such a
                              fright. I was sitting on the verandah, busy with some sewing and not watching Ann and
                              Georgie, who were trying to reach a bunch of bananas which hung on a rope from a
                              beam of the verandah. Suddenly I heard a crash, Georgie had fallen backward over the
                              edge of the verandah and hit the back of his head on the edge of the brick furrow which
                              carries away the rainwater. He lay flat on his back with his arms spread out and did not
                              move or cry. When I picked him up he gave a little whimper, I carried him to his cot and
                              bathed his face and soon he began sitting up and appeared quite normal. The trouble
                              began after he had vomited up his lunch. He began to whimper and bang his head
                              against the cot.

                              George and I were very worried because we have no transport so we could not
                              take Georgie to the doctor and we could not bear to go through again what we had gone
                              through with Ann earlier in the year. Then, in the late afternoon, a miracle happened. Two
                              men George hardly knew, and complete strangers to me, called in on their way from the
                              diggings to Mbeya and they kindly drove Georgie and me to the hospital. The Doctor
                              allowed me to stay with Georgie and we spent five days there. Luckily he responded to
                              treatment and is now as alive as ever. Children do put years on one!

                              There is nothing much else to report. We have a new vegetable garden which is
                              doing well but the earth here is strange. Gardens seem to do well for two years but by
                              that time the soil is exhausted and one must move the garden somewhere else. The
                              coffee looks well but it will be another year before we can expect even a few bags of
                              coffee and prices are still low. Anyway by next year George should have some good
                              return for all his hard work.

                              Lots of love,

                              Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                              Dearest Family,

                              George is home from his White Hunting safari looking very sunburnt and well.
                              The elderly American, who was his client this time, called in here at the farm to meet me
                              and the children. It is amazing what spirit these old lads have! This one looked as though
                              he should be thinking in terms of slippers and an armchair but no, he thinks in terms of
                              high powered rifles with telescopic sights.

                              It is lovely being together again and the children are delighted to have their Dad
                              home. Things are always exciting when George is around. The day after his return
                              George said at breakfast, “We can’t go on like this. You and the kids never get off the
                              shamba. We’ll simply have to get a car.” You should have heard the excitement. “Get a
                              car Daddy?’” cried Ann jumping in her chair so that her plaits bounced. “Get a car
                              Daddy?” echoed Georgie his brown eyes sparkling. “A car,” said I startled, “However
                              can we afford one?”

                              “Well,” said George, “on my way back from Safari I heard that a car is to be sold
                              this week at the Tukuyu Court, diseased estate or bankruptcy or something, I might get it
                              cheap and it is an A.C.” The name meant nothing to me, but George explained that an
                              A.C. is first cousin to a Rolls Royce.

                              So off he went to the sale and next day the children and I listened all afternoon for
                              the sound of an approaching car. We had many false alarms but, towards evening we
                              heard what appeared to be the roar of an aeroplane engine. It was the A.C. roaring her
                              way up our steep hill with a long plume of steam waving gaily above her radiator.
                              Out jumped my beaming husband and in no time at all, he was showing off her
                              points to an admiring family. Her lines are faultless and seats though worn are most
                              comfortable. She has a most elegant air so what does it matter that the radiator leaks like
                              a sieve, her exhaust pipe has broken off, her tyres are worn almost to the canvas and
                              she has no windscreen. She goes, and she cost only five pounds.

                              Next afternoon George, the kids and I piled into the car and drove along the road
                              on lookout for guinea fowl. All went well on the outward journey but on the homeward
                              one the poor A.C. simply gasped and died. So I carried the shot gun and George
                              carried both children and we trailed sadly home. This morning George went with a bunch
                              of farmhands and brought her home. Truly temperamental, she came home literally
                              under her own steam.

                              George now plans to get a second hand engine and radiator for her but it won’t
                              be an A.C. engine. I think she is the only one of her kind in the country.
                              I am delighted to hear, dad, that you are sending a bridle for Joseph for
                              Christmas. I am busy making a saddle out of an old piece of tent canvas stuffed with
                              kapok, some webbing and some old rug straps. A car and a riding donkey! We’re
                              definitely carriage folk now.

                              Lots of love to all,

                              Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                              Dearest Family,

                              Thank you for the wonderful Christmas parcel. My frock is a splendid fit. George
                              declares that no one can knit socks like Mummy and the children love their toys and new

                              Joseph, the donkey, took his bit with an air of bored resignation and Ann now
                              rides proudly on his back. Joseph is a big strong animal with the looks and disposition of
                              a mule. he will not go at all unless a native ‘toto’ walks before him and when he does go
                              he wears a pained expression as though he were carrying fourteen stone instead of
                              Ann’s fly weight. I walk beside the donkey carrying Georgie and our cat, ‘Skinny Winnie’,
                              follows behind. Quite a cavalcade. The other day I got so exasperated with Joseph that
                              I took Ann off and I got on. Joseph tottered a few paces and sat down! to the huge
                              delight of our farm labourers who were going home from work. Anyway, one good thing,
                              the donkey is so lazy that there is little chance of him bolting with Ann.

                              The Moltenos spent Christmas with us and left for the Lupa Diggings yesterday.
                              They arrived on the 22nd. with gifts for the children and chocolates and beer. That very
                              afternoon George and John Molteno left for Ivuna, near Lake Ruckwa, to shoot some
                              guinea fowl and perhaps a goose for our Christmas dinner. We expected the menfolk
                              back on Christmas Eve and Anne and I spent a busy day making mince pies and
                              sausage rolls. Why I don’t know, because I am sure Abel could have made them better.
                              We decorated the Christmas tree and sat up very late but no husbands turned up.
                              Christmas day passed but still no husbands came. Anne, like me, is expecting a baby
                              and we both felt pretty forlorn and cross. Anne was certain that they had been caught up
                              in a party somewhere and had forgotten all about us and I must say when Boxing Day
                              went by and still George and John did not show up I felt ready to agree with her.
                              They turned up towards evening and explained that on the homeward trip the car
                              had bogged down in the mud and that they had spent a miserable Christmas. Anne
                              refused to believe their story so George, to prove their case, got the game bag and
                              tipped the contents on to the dining room table. Out fell several guinea fowl, long past
                              being edible, followed by a large goose so high that it was green and blue where all the
                              feathers had rotted off.

                              The stench was too much for two pregnant girls. I shot out of the front door
                              closely followed by Anne and we were both sick in the garden.

                              I could not face food that evening but Anne is made of stronger stuff and ate her
                              belated Christmas dinner with relish.

                              I am looking forward enormously to having Marjorie here with us. She will be able
                              to carry back to you an eyewitness account of our home and way of life.

                              Much love to you all,

                              Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                              Dearest Family,

                              You cannot imagine how lovely it is to have Marjorie here. She came just in time
                              because I have had pernicious vomiting and have lost a great deal of weight and she
                              took charge of the children and made me spend three days in hospital having treatment.
                              George took me to the hospital on the afternoon of New Years Eve and decided
                              to spend the night at the hotel and join in the New Years Eve celebrations. I had several
                              visitors at the hospital that evening and George actually managed to get some imported
                              grapes for me. He returned to the farm next morning and fetched me from the hospital
                              four days later. Of course the old A.C. just had to play up. About half way home the
                              back axle gave in and we had to send a passing native some miles back to a place
                              called Mbalizi to hire a lorry from a Greek trader to tow us home to the farm.
                              The children looked well and were full of beans. I think Marjorie was thankful to
                              hand them over to me. She is delighted with Ann’s motherly little ways but Georgie she
                              calls “a really wild child”. He isn’t, just has such an astonishing amount of energy and is
                              always up to mischief. Marjorie brought us all lovely presents. I am so thrilled with my
                              sewing machine. It may be an old model but it sews marvellously. We now have an
                              Alsatian pup as well as Joseph the donkey and the two cats.

                              Marjorie had a midnight encounter with Joseph which gave her quite a shock but
                              we had a good laugh about it next day. Some months ago George replaced our wattle
                              and daub outside pit lavatory by a substantial brick one, so large that Joseph is being
                              temporarily stabled in it at night. We neglected to warn Marj about this and one night,
                              storm lamp in hand, she opened the door and Joseph walked out braying his thanks.
                              I am afraid Marjorie is having a quiet time, a shame when the journey from Cape
                              Town is so expensive. The doctor has told me to rest as much as I can, so it is
                              impossible for us to take Marj on sight seeing trips.

                              I hate to think that she will be leaving in ten days time.

                              Much love,

                              Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                              Dearest Family,

                              You must be able to visualise our life here quite well now that Marj is back and
                              has no doubt filled in all the details I forget to mention in my letters. What a journey we
                              had in the A.C. when we took her to the plane. George, the children and I sat in front and
                              Marj sat behind with numerous four gallon tins of water for the insatiable radiator. It was
                              raining and the canvas hood was up but part of the side flaps are missing and as there is
                              no glass in the windscreen the rain blew in on us. George got fed up with constantly
                              removing the hot radiator cap so simply stuffed a bit of rag in instead. When enough
                              steam had built up in the radiator behind the rag it blew out and we started all over again.
                              The car still roars like an aeroplane engine and yet has little power so that George sent
                              gangs of boys to the steep hills between the farm and the Mission to give us a push if
                              necessary. Fortunately this time it was not, and the boys cheered us on our way. We
                              needed their help on the homeward journey however.

                              George has now bought an old Chev engine which he means to install before I
                              have to go to hospital to have my new baby. It will be quite an engineering feet as
                              George has few tools.

                              I am sorry to say that I am still not well, something to do with kidneys or bladder.
                              George bought me some pills from one of the several small shops which have opened
                              in Mbeya and Ann is most interested in the result. She said seriously to Kath Wood,
                              “Oh my Mummy is a very clever Mummy. She can do blue wee and green wee as well
                              as yellow wee.” I simply can no longer manage the children without help and have
                              engaged the cook’s wife, Janey, to help. The children are by no means thrilled. I plead in
                              vain that I am not well enough to go for walks. Ann says firmly, “Ann doesn’t want to go
                              for a walk. Ann will look after you.” Funny, though she speaks well for a three year old,
                              she never uses the first person. Georgie say he would much rather walk with
                              Keshokutwa, the kitchen boy. His name by the way, means day-after-tomorrow and it
                              suits him down to the ground, Kath Wood walks over sometimes with offers of help and Ann will gladly go walking with her but Georgie won’t. He on the other hand will walk with Anne Molteno
                              and Ann won’t. They are obstinate kids. Ann has developed a very fertile imagination.
                              She has probably been looking at too many of those nice women’s magazines you
                              sent. A few days ago she said, “You are sick Mummy, but Ann’s got another Mummy.
                              She’s not sick, and my other mummy (very smugly) has lovely golden hair”. This
                              morning’ not ten minutes after I had dressed her, she came in with her frock wet and
                              muddy. I said in exasperation, “Oh Ann, you are naughty.” To which she instantly
                              returned, “My other Mummy doesn’t think I am naughty. She thinks I am very nice.” It
                              strikes me I shall have to get better soon so that I can be gay once more and compete
                              with that phantom golden haired paragon.

                              We had a very heavy storm over the farm last week. There was heavy rain with
                              hail which stripped some of the coffee trees and the Mchewe River flooded and the
                              water swept through the lower part of the shamba. After the water had receded George
                              picked up a fine young trout which had been stranded. This was one of some he had
                              put into the river when Georgie was a few months old.

                              The trials of a coffee farmer are legion. We now have a plague of snails. They
                              ring bark the young trees and leave trails of slime on the glossy leaves. All the ring
                              barked trees will have to be cut right back and this is heartbreaking as they are bearing
                              berries for the first time. The snails are collected by native children, piled upon the
                              ground and bashed to a pulp which gives off a sickening stench. I am sorry for the local
                              Africans. Locusts ate up their maize and now they are losing their bean crop to the snails.

                              Lots of love, Eleanor


                                Bakewell Not Eyam

                                The Elton Marshalls

                                Some years ago I read a book about Eyam, the Derbyshire village devastated by the plague in 1665, and about how the villagers quarantined themselves to prevent further spread. It was quite a story. Each year on ‘Plague Sunday’, at the end of August, residents of Eyam mark the bubonic plague epidemic that devastated their small rural community in the years 1665–6. They wear the traditional costume of the day and attend a memorial service to remember how half the village sacrificed themselves to avoid spreading the disease further.

                                My 4X great grandfather James Marshall married Ann Newton in 1792 in Elton. On a number of other people’s trees on an online ancestry site, Ann Newton was from Eyam.  Wouldn’t that have been interesting, to find ancestors from Eyam, perhaps going back to the days of the plague. Perhaps that is what the people who put Ann Newton’s birthplace as Eyam thought, without a proper look at the records.

                                But I didn’t think Ann Newton was from Eyam. I found she was from Over Haddon, near Bakewell ~ much closer to Elton than Eyam. On the marriage register, it says that James was from Elton parish, and she was from Darley parish. Her birth in 1770 says Bakewell, which was the registration district for the villages of Over Haddon and Darley. Her parents were George Newton and Dorothy Wipperley of Over Haddon,which is incidentally very near to Nether Haddon, and Haddon Hall. I visited Haddon Hall many years ago, as well as Chatsworth (and much preferred Haddon Hall).

                                I looked in the Eyam registers for Ann Newton, and found a couple of them around the time frame, but the men they married were not James Marshall.

                                Ann died in 1806 in Elton (a small village just outside Matlock) at the age of 36 within days of her newborn twins, Ann and James.  James and Ann had two sets of twins.  John and Mary were twins as well, but Mary died in 1799 at the age of three.

                                1796 baptism of twins John and Mary of James and Ann Marshall

                                Marshall baptism


                                Ann’s husband James died 42 years later at the age of eighty,  in Elton in 1848. It was noted in the parish register that he was for years parish clerk.

                                James Marshall


                                On the 1851 census John Marshall born in 1796, the son of James Marshall the parish clerk, was a lead miner occupying six acres in Elton, Derbyshire.

                                His son, also John, was registered on the census as a lead miner at just eight years old.


                                The mining of lead was the most important industry in the Peak district of Derbyshire from Roman times until the 19th century – with only agriculture being more important for the livelihood of local people. The height of lead mining in Derbyshire came in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the evidence is still visible today – most obviously in the form of lines of hillocks from the more than 25,000 mineshafts which once existed.

                                Peak District Mines Historical Society

                                Smelting, or extracting the lead from the ore by melting it, was carried out in a small open hearth. Lead was cast in layers as each batch of ore was smelted; the blocks of lead thus produced were referred to as “pigs”. Examples of early smelting-hearths found within the county were stone lined, with one side open facing the prevailing wind to create the draught needed. The hilltops of the Matlocks would have provided very suitable conditions.

                                The miner used a tool called a mattock or a pick, and hammers and iron wedges in harder veins, to loosen the ore. They threw the ore onto ridges on each side of the vein, going deeper where the ore proved richer.

                                Many mines were very shallow and, once opened, proved too poor to develop. Benjamin Bryan cited the example of “Ember Hill, on the shoulder of Masson, above Matlock Bath” where there are hollows in the surface showing where there had been fruitless searches for lead.

                                There were small buildings, called “coes”, near each mine shaft which were used for tool storage, to provide shelter and as places for changing into working clothes. It was here that the lead was smelted and stored until ready for sale.

                                Lead is, of course, very poisonous. As miners washed lead-bearing material, great care was taken with the washing vats, which had to be covered. If cattle accidentally drank the poisoned water they would die from something called “belland”.

                                Cornish and Welsh miners introduced the practice of buddling for ore into Derbyshire about 1747.  Buddling involved washing the heaps of rubbish in the slag heaps,  the process of separating the very small particles from the dirt and spar with which they are mixed, by means of a small stream of water. This method of extraction was a major pollutant, affecting farmers and their animals (poisoned by Belland from drinking the waste water), the brooks and streams and even the River Derwent.

                                Women also worked in the mines. An unattributed account from 1829, says: “The head is much enwrapped, and the features nearly hidden in a muffling of handkerchiefs, over which is put a man’s hat, in the manner of the paysannes of Wales”. He also describes their gowns, usually red, as being “tucked up round the waist in a sort of bag, and set off by a bright green petticoat”. They also wore a man’s grey or dark blue coat and shoes with 3″ thick soles that were tied round with cords. The 1829 writer called them “complete harridans!”

                                Lead Mining in Matlock & Matlock Bath, The Andrews Pages

                                John’s wife Margaret died at the age of 42 in 1847.  I don’t know the cause of death, but perhaps it was lead poisoning.  John’s son John, despite a very early start in the lead mine, became a carter and lived to the ripe old age of 88.

                                The Pig of Lead pub, 1904:

                                The Pig of Lead 1904


                                The earliest Marshall I’ve found so far is Charles, born in 1742. Charles married Rebecca Knowles, 1775-1823.  I don’t know what his occupation was but when he died in 1819 he left a not inconsiderable sum to his wife.

                                1819 Charles Marshall probate:

                                Charles Marshall Probate



                                There are still Marshall’s living in Elton and Matlock, not our immediate known family, but probably distantly related.  I asked a Matlock group on facebook:

                                “…there are Marshall’s still in the village. There are certainly families who live here who have done generation after generation & have many memories & stories to tell. Visit The Duke on a Friday night…”

                                The Duke, Elton:

                                Duke Elton


                                  Florence Nightingale Gretton


                                  Florence’s father was Richard Gretton, a baker in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. When Richard married Sarah Orgill in 1861, they lived with her mother, a widow, in Measham, Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire. On the 1861 census Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, is a farmer of two acres.

                                  (Swadlincote and Ashby de la Zouch are on the Derbyshire Leicestershire border and not far from each other. Swadlincote is near to Burton upon Trent which is sometimes in Staffordshire, sometimes in Derbyshire. Newhall, Church Gresley, and Swadlincote are all very close to each other or districts in the same town.)

                                  Ten years later in 1871 Richard and Sarah have their own place in Swadlincote, he is a baker, and they have four children. A fourteen year old apprentice or servant is living with them.

                                  In the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Gazette on 28 February 1880, it was reported that Richard Gretton, baker, of Swadlincote, was charged by Captain Bandys with carrying bread in a cart for sale, the said cart not being provided with scales and weights, according to the requirements of the Act, on the 17th January last.—Defendant pleaded guilty, but urged in extenuation of the offence that in the hurry he had forgotten to put the scales in the cart before his son started.—The Bench took this view of the case, regarding it as an oversight, and fined him one shilling only and costs.  This was not his only offence.

                                  In 1883, he was fined twenty shillings, and ten shillings and sixpence costs.

                                  Richard Gretton

                                  By 1881 they have 4 more children, and Florence Nightingale is the youngest at four months. Richard is 48 by now, and Sarah is 44. Florence’s older brother William is a blacksmith.

                                  Interestingly on the same census page, two doors down Thomas and Selina Warren live at the Stanhope Arms.  Richards son John Gretton lives at the pub, a 13 year old servant. Incidentally, I noticed on Thomas and Selena’s marriage register that Richard and Sarah Gretton were the witnesses at the wedding.

                                  Ten years later in 1891, Florence Nightingale and her sister Clara are living with Selina Warren, widow, retired innkeeper, one door down from the Stanhope Arms. Florence is ten, Clara twelve and they are scholars.
                                  Richard and Sarah are still living three doors up on the other side of the Stanhope Arms, with three of their sons. But the two girls lived up the road with the Warren widow!

                                  The Stanhope Arms, Swadlincote: it’s possible that the shop with the awning was Richard Gretton’s bakers shop (although not at the time of this later photo).

                                  Stanhope Arms


                                  Richard died in 1898, a year before Florence married Samuel Warren.

                                  Sarah is a widowed 60 year old baker on the 1901 census. Her son 26 year old son Alf, also a baker,  lives at the same address, as does her 22 year old daughter Clara who is a district nurse.

                                  Clara Gretton and family, photo found online:

                                  Clara Gretton


                                  In 1901 Florence Nightingale (who we don’t have a photograph of!) is now married and is Florrie Warren on the census, and she, her husband Samuel, and their one year old daughter Hildred are visitors at the address of  Elizabeth (Staley)Warren, 60 year old widow and Samuel’s mother, and Samuel’s 36 year old brother William. Samuel and William are engineers.

                                  Samuel and Florrie had ten children between 1900 and 1925 (and all but two of them used their middle name and not first name: my mother and I had no idea until I found all the records.  My grandmother Florence Noreen was known as Nora, which we knew of course, uncle Jack was actually Douglas John, and so on).

                                  Hildred, Clara, Billy, and Nora were born in Swadlincote. Sometime between my grandmother’s birth in 1907 and Kay’s birth in 1911, the family moved to Oldswinford, in Stourbridge. Later they moved to Market Street.

                                  1911 census, Oldswinford, Stourbridge:

                                  Oldswinford 1911


                                  Oddly, nobody knew when Florrie Warren died. My mothers cousin Ian Warren researched the Warren family some years ago, while my grandmother was still alive. She contributed family stories and information, but couldn’t remember if her mother died in 1929 or 1927.  A recent search of records confirmed that it was the 12th November 1927.

                                  She was 46 years old. We were curious to know how she died, so my mother ordered a paper copy of her death certificate. It said she died at 31 Market Street, Stourbridge at the age of 47. Clara May Warren, her daughter, was in attendance. Her husband Samuel Warren was a motor mechanic. The Post mortem was by Percival Evans, coroner for Worcestershire, who clarified the cause of death as vascular disease of the heart. There was no inquest. The death was registered on 15 Nov 1927.

                                  I looked for a photo of 31 Market Street in Stourbridge, and was astonished to see that it was the house next door to one I lived in breifly in the 1980s.  We didn’t know that the Warren’s lived in Market Street until we started searching the records.

                                  Market Street, Stourbridge. I lived in the one on the corner on the far right, my great grandmother died in the one next door.

                                  Market Street


                                  I found some hitherto unknown emigrants in the family. Florence Nightingale Grettons eldest brother William 1861-1940 stayed in Swadlincote. John Orgill Gretton born in 1868 moved to Trenton New Jersey USA in 1888, married in 1892 and died in 1949 in USA. Michael Thomas born in 1870 married in New York in 1893 and died in Trenton in 1940. Alfred born 1875 stayed in Swadlincote. Charles Herbert born 1876 married locally and then moved to Australia in 1912, and died in Victoria in 1954. Clara Elizabeth was a district nurse, married locally and died at the age of 99.


                                    The Liverpool Fires

                                    Catherine Housley had two older sisters, Elizabeth 1845-1883 and Mary Anne 1846-1935.  Both Elizabeth and Mary Anne grew up in the Belper workhouse after their mother died, and their father was jailed for failing to maintain his three children.  Mary Anne married Samuel Gilman and they had a grocers shop in Buxton.  Elizabeth married in Liverpool in 1873.

                                    What was she doing in Liverpool? How did she meet William George Stafford?

                                    According to the census, Elizabeth Housley was in Belper workhouse in 1851. In 1861, aged 16,  she was a servant in the household of Peter Lyon, a baker in Derby St Peters.  We noticed that the Lyon’s were friends of the family and were mentioned in the letters to George in Pennsylvania.

                                    No record of Elizabeth can be found on the 1871 census, but in 1872 the birth and death was registered of Elizabeth and William’s child, Elizabeth Jane Stafford. The parents are registered as William and Elizabeth Stafford, although they were not yet married. William’s occupation is a “refiner”.

                                    In April, 1873, a Fatal Fire is reported in the Liverpool Mercury. Fearful Termination of a Saturday Night Debauch. Seven Persons Burnt To Death.  Interesting to note in the article that “the middle room being let off to a coloured man named William Stafford and his wife”.

                                    Fatal Fire Liverpool


                                    We had noted on the census that William Stafford place of birth was “Africa, British subject” but it had not occurred to us that he was “coloured”.  A register of birth has not yet been found for William and it is not known where in Africa he was born.

                                    Liverpool fire


                                    Elizabeth and William survived the fire on Gay Street, and were still living on Gay Street in October 1873 when they got married.

                                    William’s occupation on the marriage register is sugar refiner, and his father is Peter Stafford, farmer. Elizabeth’s father is Samuel Housley, plumber. It does not say Samuel Housley deceased, so perhaps we can assume that Samuel is still alive in 1873.

                                    Eliza Florence Stafford, their second daughter, was born in 1876.

                                    William’s occupation on the 1881 census is “fireman”, in his case, a fire stoker at the sugar refinery, an unpleasant and dangerous job for which they were paid slightly more. William, Elizabeth and Eliza were living in Byrom Terrace.

                                    Byrom Terrace, Liverpool, in 1933

                                    Byrom Terrace


                                    Elizabeth died of heart problems in 1883, when Eliza was six years old, and in 1891 her father died, scalded to death in a tragic accident at the sugar refinery.

                                    Scalded to Death


                                    Eliza, aged 15, was living as an inmate at the Walton on the Hill Institution in 1891. It’s not clear when she was admitted to the workhouse, perhaps after her mother died in 1883.

                                    In 1901 Eliza Florence Stafford is a 24 year old live in laundrymaid, according to the census, living in West Derby  (a part of Liverpool, and not actually in Derby).  On the 1911 census there is a Florence Stafford listed  as an unnmarried laundress, with a daughter called Florence.  In 1901 census she was a laundrymaid in West Derby, Liverpool, and the daughter Florence Stafford was born in 1904 West Derby.  It’s likely that this is Eliza Florence, but nothing further has been found so far.


                                    The questions remaining are the location of William’s birth, the name of his mother and his family background, what happened to Eliza and her daughter after 1911, and how did Elizabeth meet William in the first place.

                                    William Stafford was a seaman prior to working in the sugar refinery, and he appears on several ship’s crew lists.  Nothing so far has indicated where he might have been born, or where his father came from.

                                    Some months after finding the newspaper article about the fire on Gay Street, I saw an unusual request for information on the Liverpool genealogy group. Someone asked if anyone knew of a fire in Liverpool in the 1870’s.  She had watched a programme about children recalling past lives, in this case a memory of a fire. The child recalled pushing her sister into a burning straw mattress by accident, as she attempted to save her from a falling beam.  I watched the episode in question hoping for more information to confirm if this was the same fire, but details were scant and it’s impossible to say for sure.


                                      George Gilman Rushby: The Cousin Who Went To Africa

                                      The portrait of the woman has “mother of Catherine Housley, Smalley” written on the back, and one of the family photographs has “Francis Purdy” written on the back. My first internet search was “Catherine Housley Smalley Francis Purdy”. Easily found was the family tree of George (Mike) Rushby, on one of the genealogy websites. It seemed that it must be our family, but the African lion hunter seemed unlikely until my mother recalled her father had said that he had a cousin who went to Africa. I also noticed that the lion hunter’s middle name was Gilman ~ the name that Catherine Housley’s daughter ~ my great grandmother, Mary Ann Gilman Purdy ~ adopted, from her aunt and uncle who brought her up.

                                      I tried to contact George (Mike) Rushby via the ancestry website, but got no reply. I searched for his name on Facebook and found a photo of a wildfire in a place called Wardell, in Australia, and he was credited with taking the photograph. A comment on the photo, which was a few years old, got no response, so I found a Wardell Community group on Facebook, and joined it. A very small place, population some 700 or so, and I had an immediate response on the group to my question. They knew Mike, exchanged messages, and we were able to start emailing. I was in the chair at the dentist having an exceptionally long canine root canal at the time that I got the message with his email address, and at that moment the song Down in Africa started playing.

                                      Mike said it was clever of me to track him down which amused me, coming from the son of an elephant and lion hunter.  He didn’t know why his father’s middle name was Gilman, and was not aware that Catherine Housley’s sister married a Gilman.

                                      Mike Rushby kindly gave me permission to include his family history research in my book.  This is the story of my grandfather George Marshall’s cousin.  A detailed account of George Gilman Rushby’s years in Africa can be found in another chapter called From Tanganyika With Love; the letters Eleanor wrote to her family.

                                      George Gilman Rushby:

                                      George Gilman Rushby


                                      The story of George Gilman Rushby 1900-1969, as told by his son Mike:

                                      George Gilman Rushby:
                                      Elephant hunter,poacher, prospector, farmer, forestry officer, game ranger, husband to Eleanor, and father of 6 children who now live around the world.

                                      George Gilman Rushby was born in Nottingham on 28 Feb 1900 the son of Catherine Purdy and John Henry Payling Rushby. But John Henry died when his son was only one and a half years old, and George shunned his drunken bullying stepfather Frank Freer and was brought up by Gypsies who taught him how to fight and took him on regular poaching trips. His love of adventure and his ability to hunt were nurtured at an early stage of his life.
                                      The family moved to Eastwood, where his mother Catherine owned and managed The Three Tuns Inn, but when his stepfather died in mysterious circumstances, his mother married a wealthy bookmaker named Gregory Simpson. He could afford to send George to Worksop College and to Rugby School. This was excellent schooling for George, but the boarding school environment, and the lack of a stable home life, contributed to his desire to go out in the world and do his own thing. When he finished school his first job was as a trainee electrician with Oaks & Co at Pye Bridge. He also worked part time as a motor cycle mechanic and as a professional boxer to raise the money for a voyage to South Africa.

                                      In May 1920 George arrived in Durban destitute and, like many others, living on the beach and dependant upon the Salvation Army for a daily meal. However he soon got work as an electrical mechanic, and after a couple of months had earned enough money to make the next move North. He went to Lourenco Marques where he was appointed shift engineer for the town’s power station. However he was still restless and left the comfort of Lourenco Marques for Beira in August 1921.

                                      Beira was the start point of the new railway being built from the coast to Nyasaland. George became a professional hunter providing essential meat for the gangs of construction workers building the railway. He was a self employed contractor with his own support crew of African men and began to build up a satisfactory business. However, following an incident where he had to shoot and kill a man who attacked him with a spear in middle of the night whilst he was sleeping, George left the lower Zambezi and took a paddle steamer to Nyasaland (Malawi). On his arrival in Karongo he was encouraged to shoot elephant which had reached plague proportions in the area – wrecking African homes and crops, and threatening the lives of those who opposed them.

                                      His next move was to travel by canoe the five hundred kilometre length of Lake Nyasa to Tanganyika, where he hunted for a while in the Lake Rukwa area, before walking through Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to the Congo. Hunting his way he overachieved his quota of ivory resulting in his being charged with trespass, the confiscation of his rifles, and a fine of one thousand francs. He hunted his way through the Congo to Leopoldville then on to the Portuguese enclave, near the mouth of the mighty river, where he worked as a barman in a rough and tough bar until he received a message that his old friend Lumb had found gold at Lupa near Chunya. George set sail on the next boat for Antwerp in Belgium, then crossed to England and spent a few weeks with his family in Jacksdale before returning by sea to Dar es Salaam. Arriving at the gold fields he pegged his claim and almost immediately went down with blackwater fever – an illness that used to kill three out of four within a week.

                                      When he recovered from his fever, George exchanged his gold lease for a double barrelled .577 elephant rifle and took out a special elephant control licence with the Tanganyika Government. He then headed for the Congo again and poached elephant in Northern Rhodesia from a base in the Congo. He was known by the Africans as “iNyathi”, or the Buffalo, because he was the most dangerous in the long grass. After a profitable hunting expedition in his favourite hunting ground of the Kilombera River he returned to the Congo via Dar es Salaam and Mombassa. He was after the Kabalo district elephant, but hunting was restricted, so he set up his base in The Central African Republic at a place called Obo on the Congo tributary named the M’bomu River. From there he could make poaching raids into the Congo and the Upper Nile regions of the Sudan. He hunted there for two and a half years. He seldom came across other Europeans; hunters kept their own districts and guarded their own territories. But they respected one another and he made good and lasting friendships with members of that small select band of adventurers.

                                      Leaving for Europe via the Congo, George enjoyed a short holiday in Jacksdale with his mother. On his return trip to East Africa he met his future bride in Cape Town. She was 24 year old Eleanor Dunbar Leslie; a high school teacher and daughter of a magistrate who spent her spare time mountaineering, racing ocean yachts, and riding horses. After a whirlwind romance, they were betrothed within 36 hours.

                                      On 25 July 1930 George landed back in Dar es Salaam. He went directly to the Mbeya district to find a home. For one hundred pounds he purchased the Waizneker’s farm on the banks of the Mntshewe Stream. Eleanor, who had been delayed due to her contract as a teacher, followed in November. Her ship docked in Dar es Salaam on 7 Nov 1930, and they were married that day. At Mchewe Estate, their newly acquired farm, they lived in a tent whilst George with some help built their first home – a lovely mud-brick cottage with a thatched roof. George and Eleanor set about developing a coffee plantation out of a bush block. It was a very happy time for them. There was no electricity, no radio, and no telephone. Newspapers came from London every two months. There were a couple of neighbours within twenty miles, but visitors were seldom seen. The farm was a haven for wild life including snakes, monkeys and leopards. Eleanor had to go South all the way to Capetown for the birth of her first child Ann, but with the onset of civilisation, their first son George was born at a new German Mission hospital that had opened in Mbeya.

                                      Occasionally George had to leave the farm in Eleanor’s care whilst he went off hunting to make his living. Having run the coffee plantation for five years with considerable establishment costs and as yet no return, George reluctantly started taking paying clients on hunting safaris as a “white hunter”. This was an occupation George didn’t enjoy. but it brought him an income in the days when social security didn’t exist. Taking wealthy clients on hunting trips to kill animals for trophies and for pleasure didn’t amuse George who hunted for a business and for a way of life. When one of George’s trackers was killed by a leopard that had been wounded by a careless client, George was particularly upset.
                                      The coffee plantation was approaching the time of its first harvest when it was suddenly attacked by plagues of borer beetles and ring barking snails. At the same time severe hail storms shredded the crop. The pressure of the need for an income forced George back to the Lupa gold fields. He was unlucky in his gold discoveries, but luck came in a different form when he was offered a job with the Forestry Department. The offer had been made in recognition of his initiation and management of Tanganyika’s rainbow trout project. George spent most of his short time with the Forestry Department encouraging the indigenous people to conserve their native forests.

                                      In November 1938 he transferred to the Game Department as Ranger for the Eastern Province of Tanganyika, and over several years was based at Nzasa near Dar es Salaam, at the old German town of Morogoro, and at lovely Lyamungu on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Then the call came for him to be transferred to Mbeya in the Southern Province for there was a serious problem in the Njombe district, and George was selected by the Department as the only man who could possibly fix the problem.

                                      Over a period of several years, people were being attacked and killed by marauding man-eating lions. In the Wagingombe area alone 230 people were listed as having been killed. In the Njombe district, which covered an area about 200 km by 300 km some 1500 people had been killed. Not only was the rural population being decimated, but the morale of the survivors was so low, that many of them believed that the lions were not real. Many thought that evil witch doctors were controlling the lions, or that lion-men were changing form to kill their enemies. Indeed some wichdoctors took advantage of the disarray to settle scores and to kill for reward.

                                      By hunting down and killing the man-eaters, and by showing the flesh and blood to the doubting tribes people, George was able to instil some confidence into the villagers. However the Africans attributed the return of peace and safety, not to the efforts of George Rushby, but to the reinstallation of their deposed chief Matamula Mangera who had previously been stood down for corruption. It was Matamula , in their eyes, who had called off the lions.

                                      Soon after this adventure, George was appointed Deputy Game Warden for Tanganyika, and was based in Arusha. He retired in 1956 to the Njombe district where he developed a coffee plantation, and was one of the first in Tanganyika to plant tea as a major crop. However he sensed a swing in the political fortunes of his beloved Tanganyika, and so sold the plantation and settled in a cottage high on a hill overlooking the Navel Base at Simonstown in the Cape. It was whilst he was there that TV Bulpin wrote his biography “The Hunter is Death” and George wrote his book “No More The Tusker”. He died in the Cape, and his youngest son Henry scattered his ashes at the Southern most tip of Africa where the currents of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet .

                                      George Gilman Rushby:


                                      The following stories started with a single question.

                                      Who was Catherine Housley’s mother?

                                      But one question leads to another, and another, and so this book will never be finished.  This is the first in a collection of stories of a family history research project, not a complete family history.  There will always be more questions and more searches, and each new find presents more questions.

                                      A list of names and dates is only moderately interesting, and doesn’t mean much unless you get to know the characters along the way.   For example, a cousin on my fathers side has already done a great deal of thorough and accurate family research. I copied one branch of the family onto my tree, going back to the 1500’s, but lost interest in it after about an hour or so, because I didn’t feel I knew any of the individuals.

                                      Parish registers, the census every ten years, birth, death and marriage certificates can tell you so much, but they can’t tell you why.  They don’t tell you why parents chose the names they did for their children, or why they moved, or why they married in another town.  They don’t tell you why a person lived in another household, or for how long. The census every ten years doesn’t tell you what people were doing in the intervening years, and in the case of the UK and the hundred year privacy rule, we can’t even use those for the past century.  The first census was in 1831 in England, prior to that all we have are parish registers. An astonishing amount of them have survived and have been transcribed and are one way or another available to see, both transcriptions and microfiche images.  Not all of them survived, however. Sometimes the writing has faded to white, sometimes pages are missing, and in some case the entire register is lost or damaged.

                                      Sometimes if you are lucky, you may find mention of an ancestor in an obscure little local history book or a journal or diary.  Wills, court cases, and newspaper archives often provide interesting information. Town memories and history groups on social media are another excellent source of information, from old photographs of the area, old maps, local history, and of course, distantly related relatives still living in the area.  Local history societies can be useful, and some if not all are very helpful.

                                      If you’re very lucky indeed, you might find a distant relative in another country whose grandparents saved and transcribed bundles of old letters found in the attic, from the family in England to the brother who emigrated, written in the 1800s.  More on this later, as it merits its own chapter as the most exciting find so far.

                                      The social history of the time and place is important and provides many clues as to why people moved and why the family professions and occupations changed over generations.  The Enclosures Act and the Industrial Revolution in England created difficulties for rural farmers, factories replaced cottage industries, and the sons of land owning farmers became shop keepers and miners in the local towns.  For the most part (at least in my own research) people didn’t move around much unless there was a reason.  There are no reasons mentioned in the various registers, records and documents, but with a little reading of social history you can sometimes make a good guess.  Samuel Housley, for example, a plumber, probably moved from rural Derbyshire to urban Wolverhampton, when there was a big project to install indoor plumbing to areas of the city in the early 1800s.  Derbyshire nailmakers were offered a job and a house if they moved to Wolverhampton a generation earlier.

                                      Occasionally a couple would marry in another parish, although usually they married in their own. Again, there was often a reason.  William Housley and Ellen Carrington married in Ashbourne, not in Smalley.  In this case, William’s first wife was Mary Carrington, Ellen’s sister.  It was not uncommon for a man to marry a deceased wife’s sister, but it wasn’t strictly speaking legal.  This caused some problems later when William died, as the children of the first wife contested the will, on the grounds of the second marriage being illegal.

                                      Needless to say, there are always questions remaining, and often a fresh pair of eyes can help find a vital piece of information that has escaped you.  In one case, I’d been looking for the death of a widow, Mary Anne Gilman, and had failed to notice that she remarried at a late age. Her death was easy to find, once I searched for it with her second husbands name.

                                      This brings me to the topic of maternal family lines. One tends to think of their lineage with the focus on paternal surnames, but very quickly the number of surnames increases, and all of the maternal lines are directly related as much as the paternal name.  This is of course obvious, if you start from the beginning with yourself and work back.  In other words, there is not much point in simply looking for your fathers name hundreds of years ago because there are hundreds of other names that are equally your own family ancestors. And in my case, although not intentionally, I’ve investigated far more maternal lines than paternal.

                                      This book, which I hope will be the first of several, will concentrate on my mothers family: The story so far that started with the portrait of Catherine Housley’s mother.

                                      Elizabeth Brookes


                                      This painting, now in my mothers house, used to hang over the piano in the home of her grandparents.   It says on the back “Catherine Housley’s mother, Smalley”.

                                      The portrait of Catherine Housley’s mother can be seen above the piano. Back row Ronald Marshall, my grandfathers brother, William Marshall, my great grandfather, Mary Ann Gilman Purdy Marshall in the middle, my great grandmother, with her daughters Dorothy on the left and Phyllis on the right, at the Marshall’s house on Love Lane in Stourbridge.




                                      The Search for Samuel Housley

                                      As soon as the search for Catherine Housley’s mother was resolved, achieved by ordering a paper copy of her birth certificate, the search for Catherine Housley’s father commenced. We know he was born in Smalley in 1816, son of William Housley and Ellen Carrington, and that he married Elizabeth Brookes in Wolverhampton in 1844. He was a plumber and glazier. His three daughters born between 1845 and 1849 were born in Smalley. Elizabeth died in 1849 of consumption, but Samuel didn’t register her death. A 20 year old neighbour called Aaron Wadkinson did.

                                      Elizabeth death


                                      Where was Samuel?

                                      On the 1851 census, two of Samuel’s daughters were listed as inmates in the Belper Workhouse, and the third, 2 year old Catherine, was listed as living with John Benniston and his family in nearby Heanor.  Benniston was a framework knitter.

                                      Where was Samuel?

                                      A long search through the microfiche workhouse registers provided an answer. The reason for Elizabeth and Mary Anne’s admission in June 1850 was given as “father in prison”. In May 1850, Samuel Housley was sentenced to one month hard labour at Derby Gaol for failing to maintain his three children. What happened to those little girls in the year after their mothers death, before their father was sentenced, and they entered the workhouse? Where did Catherine go, a six week old baby? We have yet to find out.

                                      Samuel Housley 1850


                                      And where was Samuel Housley in 1851? He hasn’t appeared on any census.

                                      According to the Belper workhouse registers, Mary Anne was discharged on trial as a servant February 1860. She was readmitted a month later in March 1860, the reason given: unwell.

                                      Belper Workhouse:

                                      Belper Workhouse

                                      Eventually, Mary Anne and Elizabeth were discharged, in April 1860, with an aunt and uncle. The workhouse register doesn’t name the aunt and uncle. One can only wonder why it took them so long.
                                      On the 1861 census, Elizabeth, 16 years old, is a servant in St Peters, Derby, and Mary Anne, 15 years old, is a servant in St Werburghs, Derby.

                                      But where was Samuel?

                                      After some considerable searching, we found him, despite a mistranscription of his name, on the 1861 census, living as a lodger and plumber in Darlaston, Walsall.
                                      Eventually we found him on a 1871 census living as a lodger at the George and Dragon in Henley in Arden. The age is not exactly right, but close enough, he is listed as an unmarried painter, also close enough, and his birth is listed as Kidsley, Derbyshire. He was born at Kidsley Grange Farm. We can assume that he was probably alive in 1872, the year his mother died, and the following year, 1873, during the Kerry vs Housley court case.

                                      Samuel Housley 1871


                                      I found some living Housley descendants in USA. Samuel Housley’s brother George emigrated there in 1851. The Housley’s in USA found letters in the attic, from the family in Smalley ~ written between 1851 and 1870s. They sent me a “Narrative on the Letters” with many letter excerpts.

                                      The Housley family were embroiled in a complicated will and court case in the early 1870s. In December 15, 1872, Joseph (Samuel’s brother) wrote to George:

                                      “I think we have now found all out now that is concerned in the matter for there was only Sam that we did not know his whereabouts but I was informed a week ago that he is dead–died about three years ago in Birmingham Union. Poor Sam. He ought to have come to a better end than that….His daughter and her husband went to Birmingham and also to Sutton Coldfield that is where he married his wife from and found out his wife’s brother. It appears he has been there and at Birmingham ever since he went away but ever fond of drink.”

                                      No record of Samuel Housley’s death can be found for the Birmingham Union in 1869 or thereabouts.

                                      But if he was alive in 1871 in Henley In Arden…..
                                      Did Samuel tell his wife’s brother to tell them he was dead? Or did the brothers say he was dead so they could have his share?

                                      We still haven’t found a death for Samuel Housley.




                                        King Artie was walking in the gardens along with the Chamberlain, on his way for a cooling bath in the rainwater tanks carved below the castle.

                                        They stopped on the edge of the main courtyard, from which a large part of the land nearby could be seen. Plumes of steam where raising around the areas where the river’s water fell onto the land below. For the palace and the land were built high in the sky, believed to be latched upon an immense lump of earth, raised from the island by the roots of a giant beanstalk.

                                        King Artie had never ventured outside of the castle. “Tell me Downson, is it true what they say, about that giant beanstalk? I’d like to see it sometime.”
                                        The Chamberlain replied shaking his knuckle-less hand in the air. “Oh well, Majesty, a trip can be arranged, for certain. It would require some magi to guide us, but it can certainly be done. And of course, yes, it is true. Might not have been the case before, but you know, matter and reality sinks their roots deep into beliefs. Whatever the good people believes is, in fact,… actually true.”

                                        But King Artie’s mind was already quickly gone to another topic, not being too fond on dwelling on the metaphysical.
                                        “Any word from Parsifal? Seems to have a unusual high activity of lost souls in the fog down below…”
                                        “No, your Highness, no word yet from the Royal Sentries. Indeed, there has been unusual activity. Some people, I believe with a very active mind and quite an imagination. We had to ask our Priests to conduct a mass to repair a huge hole that appeared a few days ago.”
                                        “Good. You should ask them to have the good people pray for some rain too. That damn heat is unbearable.”
                                        “Of course, Sire. But you know, the good people’s beliefs are fickle, and apart from the farmers, a lot of the townsmen would prefer endless sun and no clouds. Hopefully our dear P’hope Jube the Brave will pray some sense into them.”
                                        “Indeed. Otherwise, a good fall down the Fog Abyss will sure clean up our mass beliefs of those heretics, I expect.”


                                          Meanwhile, Pr. Gub was preparing her new course in Artistic Making of Interdimensional Bleedthroughs (AMIB for short), which her alien origin made her extremely entitled to teach. The course was more commonly known as “Crop Circle Making” inside the Worseversity, and was quite a hit every year (and one could believe not only because of the mistaken association of ‘Crops’ with Special Crops :yahoo_hypnotized: ), so that only the most motivated and creative students could enlist.

                                          Aaeiulie Gub’s new design was done. Among copious sacred and profane geometric, she had chosen for it the overall shape of her favourite animal on this planet, a glaring glamorous owl. Now that the design was almost done (there was always a little leeway for improvisation every time, especially when the farmers wouldn’t like it), they would gather in one of the serene spots of the Worseversity’s park to manifest it in other dimensions…

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