The Ambleside Connection

Five children of Joseph Travis CLAY and Jane WHITWELL were born in Rastrick, Yorkshire. Arthur Travis, who would marry “cousin Edith”, told most census enumerators that he had entered the world in Loughrigg, Westmorland. Loughrigg has a special place in my heart. I was raised on the flat Holderness Plain and the small hill near Ambleside was the first “mountain” I climbed.

I have been unable to locate the house where Arthur was born but today, while delving deeper into the BATES family of Skircoat, I happened upon another reason for his mother being in the Ambleside area in September 1845.

Jane was a Westmorland girl, born in Kendal. Perhaps Arthur arrived early while she spent summer days with her ain folk.

Concentrate now. Edith Beaumont Bates’ father Benjamin had the middle name Hopkinson. An older sister of his, Elizabeth, married one Benjamin HOPKINSON. He was born in Demerara, South America, but married in Halifax. In 1841 he was living at “Low Field, Windermere” with Elizabeth and their three chldren. This may be the present day “Lowfield” in Bowness, about six miles from Ambleside. Not long afterwards they moved to Chapel Hill in Ambleside, just over a mile from streets that now have “Loughrigg”  names and two miles from the cluster of cottages under Loughrigg Fell.

The Bates, Clay and Hopkinson families may have been aware of each other’s existence long before marriages were contemplated. Closer ties may surface as I do more work on Joseph Bates and the children he had with Rebecca WALKER. I have found a dozen so far, though the largest grouping on the FamilySearch Shared Tree is four. It is taking forever.

Found Object 61 · Shark

The Clays of Rastrick

Arthur Travis CLAY was born in the Lake District and Edith Beaumont BATES in Seacombe, on the Wirral, but the fates led them to Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were caught there by the 1871 Census, living in households about five miles apart. Somehow they met and four years later were married, and all six of their children were born in Rastrick. Only the last of them, Guy Travis, failed to survive infancy.

EdithStainedGlassArthur’s family manufactured worsted and he went along for the lucrative ride, though he also tried his hand at farming. It isn’t clear what pushed Arthur to set up a home in Filey. Edith’s ill-health may have been a factor. She died in Rastrick on the 24th August 1889 and her body was brought to Filey for burial five days later. There are two memorials to her at St Oswald’s – a panel in the east window of the church, where she can be seen at the right hand of Jesus, and a Celtic cross in the churchyard bearing a distinctive Pre-Raphaelite inscription.

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Several Clays appear in Looking at Filey but I’m somewhat embarrassed to discover that I failed to realize that Edith of the Cross couldn’t possibly have presented school prizes at the National School in 1903! The second Mrs. Arthur Travis Clay was Annie Isabella, nee TURNBULL, the mother of her step daughter Janet Elizabeth CLAY’s husband John Kenneth Beaufoy BIRCH. I wish I could show you this somewhat unusual set of relationships on FamilySearch Tree but, yet again, I have found families of wealth and influence under-represented on the World Tree.

I made a start on bringing “the scattered” together and dealing with duplicate records but found myself being drawn further and further back – to the TRAVIS family – and pulled forward to the two generations of BIRCH men who served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the two World Wars. I also looked further into the car accident that took the lives of Janet Elizabeth and Kate BIRCH.  There’s a lot to do.

Looking at Filey, Waxholme

Calderdale Companion

Photographic pedigree of the descendants of Isaac and Rachel Wilson (pages 14 to 16)

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