The Mystery of Edward Grooby

A genealogy search online for Edward returns two men born in Nottinghamshire within a few miles of each other, in 1815 and 1831. The first died in 1880, the other in 1899; both at the other side of the world, in New Zealand.

The Edward GROOBY I sought was born a little earlier, 1791, but in the same neck of the woods. He was the grandfather of Phoebe BENNISTON, first wife of Godfrey BAKER, a Nottinghamshire colliery manager buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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Godfrey has two IDs on FamilySearch Tree but neither takes us back to a third generation. One marries him to his second wife way too soon and makes her the mother of three children he had with Phoebe.

I managed to pick up a trail that led to Phoebe.

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As yet unmarried, you can see her maternal grandfather, his death in 1842 triggering the warning ‘X’. The 1871 Census shows Edward, aged 80, in the Greasley household of Godfrey and Phoebe, with their first two children, Mary and Elizabeth Grooby BAKER. Edward’s relationship to Godfrey is erroneously given as “father-in-law” but a blue hint to the 1851 census shows Phoebe with her grandparents and widowed mother in Beggarlee Village. Her father Matthew had died in late 1849 when she was about six months old.

What the screenshot above does not show is how extensive Phoebe’s pedigree is. The Nottinghamshire Groobys may have dropped down the social scale but they once lived in London and perhaps played a significant part in the life of the nation. She has HARDWICKs in her pedigree too, three of them called John, though none of these seems to establish a connection to Bess, a “woman who made history”. Phoebe’s MEAKIN line goes way back to William (born 1521).

A source isn’t given on FST for the death of Edward in 1842 and the GRO Index doesn’t show it. Over the next few days, I’ll try to make better sense of Edward, marry Phoebe and Godfrey, note her early death and give Godfrey his second wife. The Phoebe remembered on the Filey headstone is, of course, Phoebe Benniston’s daughter, who became a schoolteacher, didn’t marry, and at the outbreak of the Second World War was living at 17 Belle Vue Street (according to the 1939 Register).

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A Sherwood Forester

Henry PERRYMAN was born in Filey in 1883 to William John, of Irish and Alice GIBSON, a Folkton girl. The couple brought 19 other children into the world but when William John filled out the 1911 Census form, as a 65-year-old widower, he indicated that only eight were still living. Four years later there would be seven..

At age 17 Henry was working as a house painter for his father but in 1911, still single, he was a “Police Fireman”, boarding at 1 Guild Hall Cottages in the city of Nottingham. A few days after the Census he married Mary Ellen PATTISON, 25, whose roots were in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. The couple had two children before the Great War started, Sydney in 1912 and Barbara the following year.

Henry had enlisted with the Territorials in Filey in 1908 so it is not surprising that he volunteered for the army within a month of the war beginning. He joined the 7th Sherwood Foresters and in February 1915 landed with his battalion in France. The following month an article in The Nottingham Evening Post, with the title Robin Hoods Under Fire – Will Make a Name for Themselves, prompted him to write a letter to the Editor.

Just a few lines to let the Nottingham people know how the Robin Hoods fared in their first experience of being in the trenches under fire. We left Bocking, Essex, on February 25th, and arrived France on the 28th. At some places we were only 80 yards from the German lines. It was quite exciting, the English, French, and German guns going all day and night long. It reminds one of a fireworks display, especially when the rockets go up every now and then to find out the different positions at night time; only you have to be very careful. I have heard it said the Germans can’t shoot, but you must not expose yourself in the daytime. We only lost one poor fellow by accident and two wounded by the enemy so didn’t do amiss. We are enjoying ourselves as well as we can, and our officers do everything in their power to make us as comfortable as possible. We don’t stay long in one place, always on I the move, not much time for letter writing. You can take it from a good source that the Robin Hoods will make a name for themselves before they come back to England.”

Source: http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/rollofhonour/People/Details/21806

In early October 1915, Henry and his fellow Robin Hoods were part of the 18th Brigade in the trenches at Potijze, near Ieper.

The battalion advance post known as Oder Houses was rushed by the enemy about 6.30 in the morning’ (on 5 October). The Germans at first opened a heavy artillery and trench motor fire on Oder Houses, and on the main fire-trenches occupied by ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies in rear of the post. The front trench and two cottages in the rear were flattened out by the enemy’s artillery, and what remained of the garrison withdrew down the communication trenches towards the main line. Captain Robert, commanding ‘B’ Company, from which the garrison of the post was drawn, arranged for a counter-attack up the two communication trenches leading to the post, while the so-called ‘Toby’ Motors were laid on the front of the post. A patrol was first sent forward to ascertain the exact position of the enemy, but these, on seeing the advance of the patrol, at once retreated and the post was reoccupied. The casualties were rather severe, ‘B’ Company having 11 killed, 19 wounded -mostly by shell fire- 1 man missing, believed killed, and 1 wounded and missing, believed captured.

Source: The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War compiled by Colonel. H. C. Wylly, C.B. pages 114 & 115. Gale & Polden Aldershot 1924, extract found here.

This source shows that Henry was one of eighteen Foresters who died of their wounds on this day. He is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

If you followed the link to Henry’s letter you will have seen that he is remembered on the Nottingham Holy Trinity Church and Police Force War Memorials as well as on the CWGC website. In Filey, his name is on the Murray Street Memorial and in St Oswald’s Church (where he has been given a promotion to Corporal).

As I write this, he is not on FamilySearch Tree and his pedigree on Filey Genealogy and Connections appears limited at first glance. His older sister Carrie’s marriage connects him to the wider “Filey family”. I hope to link him on FST to those forebears already there (scattered) and perhaps add some more,  found while researching this post. I have created a LaF Wiki page for him.

His grandparents, Henry GIBSON and Alice née BAKER, though “incomers”, are buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. I photographed their headstone this morning – and William John’s former lodging house on The Crescent.

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Great Grandmother Ross

Five years ago I wrote a brief post about a John RICHARDSON, charged with being drunk while in charge of a horse. I mentioned that there were three men with this name of similar age in the 1881 Filey Census but that “Furious John” was easily identified by occupation. The others were a fisherman and a “seaman”.

Seaman John, born 1831, doesn’t have a record in Filey Genealogy & Connections. In 1881 he was enumerated aboard the George Peabody in Great Grimsby, his four crewmates also  Filey men. They should really have been described as fishermen.

Rather surprisingly, the other two Johns do not have children noted in their FG&C records so I thought I’d take a closer look.

G69_HESSELWOOD_20170501_fstThe imbiber’s pedigree took me back to a name found on a stone slab in Filey churchyard that  triggers thoughts of my own family – HESSELWOOD. (I have a cousin who spent some of his childhood in Hesslewood Orphanage). The inscription is difficult to read (impossible in the photograph) but eight people are remembered, including “two daughters of John and Mary RICHARDSON”. This Mary, nee ROSS, is our John’s Grandmother (1754-1822) who had at least ten children, one of them John’s father, William (1787-1868).

I’m not sure why this straightforward bit of genealogy should arouse curiosity but I cast my net wider to haul in four more John RICHARDSONs in FG&C born between 1809 and 1827 and checked their relationship to Mary HESSELWOOD, mother of Mary ROSS. Only one, born 1815 and the son of Richard and Dinah nee CAMMISH, was not related to her by blood. The other five were her great grandsons. One was a younger brother of the carriage driver who died aged about three but given that Mary had only one child and died aged 27 this bunch of relationships is quite astonishing to me.

Mary’s father was  a Customs Officer, William HASLEWOOD, “who died November the 21st 1778 aged 81 years” (Entry 137, Filey, St Oswald’s Monumental Inscriptions Part One, G69 in Crimlisk/Siddle). Father and daughter are on FamilySearch Tree as HASELWOOD, IDs  MGCT-5WP  and MGCT-54V.

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Here is my RootsMagic update of the FG&C pedigree of George Lightfoot RICHARDSON.

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If you read the old LaF post you should discount Ann PROCTOR as being Jehu John’s wife. It appears that Betsy Ann, the little girl he accepted as his own daughter (and who took his name), was the illegitimate child of Ann NICHOLSON born 1850. The following year mother and child were enumerated in Rillington about 16 miles away from the mother’s home parish of Muston; Ann’s status “unmarried”, Betsey Ann’s birthplace given as Rillington (PRO ref HO107 2369 f73 p18). Ann and John married in the June Quarter of 1853 and in 1855 there is a GRO Birth record for a George Lightfoot Richardson, mother’s maiden name Nicholson. This is the only record I have found to indicate that John had children of his own. Sadly, the boy survived no more than six months.  After Ann died aged 59 in 1886 John married again the following year. Mary BARKER was eighteen years his junior and brought a 17 year old illegitimate son to the marriage. Aged 20 in 1891 Richard BARKER was working as a Carriage Driver for his Carriage Proprietor step-father (PRO Ref RG12 3962 f22 p37). The two Johns born a year apart (1826/27) died in 1903 and 1907. I can’t be certain but I think the Jehu was second to depart, aged 81. Mary died in 1828.

Tags: family history Hesselwood, Haslewood, Richardson, Nicholson, Baker, Ross, John Richardson, Jehu.

20160706MallardDuckling3_2mTwenty-four hours before Today’s Image was taken Mother Mallard was keeping an eye on her brood. I don’t know what killed the ducklings but the surface of the Glen Gardens boating lake was liberally sprinkled with specks of plastic or polystyrene (the measure of man). A breeding pair of Mallard brought five or six ducklings into the world at the same location this year. I saw the little ’uns one day and they had totally disappeared the next. A council gardener said that gulls had taken them. The bereft adults flew away a couple of days later.