My Cousin Josh?

Last month I mentioned the possibility that I shared common ancestors with Edith Beaumont Clay.

Last night I watched the first programme in Series 18 of Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring Josh Widdicombe. On his journey into the past, the first name that rang my bell was Lady Katherine KNOLLYS, the daughter of my many times great grandmother, Mary BOLEYN (possibly).

Josh’s televised adventure didn’t go any further back than another of our (maybe) common grandparents, King Edward I of England, aka “Longshanks”.

Catch it if you can, wherever you happen to live. Genealogical eye candy of the highest order.

Find Mary Boleyn on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Josh was expecting to find “a couple of farmers” among his forebears and was well pleased with the quality of the stock from which he came. I wish I had a bunch of historians to establish my descent from the high and somewhat mighty down to my ag labs and sawyers.

Townscape 72 · Seafront

Seawall Repair

Clay Genealogy

Charles Travis CLAY, a nephew of Arthur Travis, died in Oxford in 1978 aged 92. A 57 page catalogue of his Archive of Family Papers can be viewed online. On page 2 there is a Genealogical wheel he made, based on earlier research done by his father, John William Clay. Today, I added some of the wheel information to my RootsMagic 8 version of Filey Genealogy and Connections to produce the Chart below.

Adding a generation to see how closely it resembles Charles’ effort isn’t a high priority.

Path 154 · St Oswald’s Churchyard

Clay headstone: left corner

A Surprising Wife and Mother

I put the CLAY headstone on FamilySearch today and set about adding sources for the three children of Arthur and Edith who are not remembered on it.

Firstborn Hugh Travis arrived about a year after his parents married. He took his place in the family business and in 1911, 37 years-old and single, he was living at Waxholme in Filey, described as “Managing Director “ of the Worsted Manufacturing Company that his father had run successfully for so many years. Hugh’s stepmother was away on this census night  but his father was at home, as were unmarried siblings Marjorie Beaumont, 31, and Wilfred Travis, 28.

Hugh married Mabel Priscilla Penery FRENCH in 1923 when he was 47 years old. Mabel was about the same age. The couple went to live on Jersey, where Mabel died in January 1955. Hugh died in Grouville on 24 September 1957.

Unexpectedly, I found a Death Notice for Hugh in the Zimbabwe Death Registers. He died childless and was survived by one sibling, sister Marjorie. I can’t explain why his mother is named as Rachel Mary.

His effects at probate  would have been valued at around £415,000 in 2017. Some houses on the Les Ruisseaux Estate (his last address) are currently on the market at over £4 million.

Tree 68 · Martin’s Ravine

First Wives Matter

Rebecca Jane BATES, an aunt to Edith Beaumont (recent posts), married James COATES in 1849. He was about sixteen years her senior so I was rather suspicious of the apparent first child Sarah on the FamilySearch Shared Tree, born four years before the nuptials.

After finding a first wife for James and collecting the birth registrations of their five children, I went back to the Shared Tree to see if they all had representation there. Young Sarah has a duplicate ID.

The two families of solicitor James Coates need to be checked and brought together. They are an intersting bunch. John C. HOPKINSON, husband of Sarah junior, has no sources attached to his record but appears to be John Clifford, born in 1842 to another aunt of Edith’s – Elizabeth. Given a Wetherby birthplace here, he should really be placed with the Ambleside folk.

James junior, a solicitor like his father, died aged thirty following a long illness, consumption perhaps. A local newspaper carried a moving obituary. I will share it in a few days when these houses have been put in better order.

Measure of Man 62 · Rig

North Sea

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

Cousin Edith

Anyone who visits Filey St Oswald Church can see what Edith Beaumont CLAY looked like as she neared the end of her short life.

Benjamin Hopkinson BATES, born in Skircoat, Halifax, sought his fortune in the Raj. A merchant, aged just twenty-one, he married Susannah SMITH in Calcutta Cathedral.

Susannah, daughter of a British Army Officer, had been born in West Bengal but she sailed to the Home Country with Benjamin and died in Halifax, aged 23. In February 1845 Benjamin married Elizabeth LEDGARD.

In partnership with William GOODALL, Benjamin traded in Skircoat as a Cloth Merchant and Manufacturer “under the style or firm of Isaac Goodall & Son” but in 1847 the business failed. Her Majesty’s Bankruptcy Commissioners pursued Benjamin to the end of his days.

There were not too many of them, but enough to decamp to the Wirral, in Cheshire and bring two children into the world. Firstborn Henry Ledgard arrived towards the end of 1849, followed by Edith Beaumont in late September the following year.

Before Edith could form memories of her father, he was gone. His death was registered in Halifax in the final quarter of 1851, and the birth and death of his second son, Arthur Percy, nine months later, on the Wirral.

Maybe Benjamin died of despair.

It isn’t clear how straitened the circumstances of widow Elizabeth were. The decadal snapshots show a woman “living on her own means” but with relatives until 1891 when, at the age of 75, she occupies a property in Castle Fields, Rastrick, looked after by an unmarried servant, Lucy Ann BYCROFT, aged 33.

In 1861, Henry is found at Rishworth Charity School in Halifax. Edith is resident at “Ladys School”, Priest Hill in Wetherby. Her aunt, Jane LEDGARD, is described as a “boarder” there, aged 50 and unmarried. In 1881, Jane and sister Elizabeth live together at “Pospert House” in Hipperholme, Halifax.

Ten years earlier, Edith and her mother are living in Woodhouse, Halifax, with widow Ann MACAULEY, a son by a first marriage and daughter by a second. Elizabeth is described as Ann’s “2nd cousin” and Edith as her “3rd cousin”. The search for common ancestors of Ann ARMSTRONG and Elizabeth LEDGARD is ongoing.

I mentioned many moons ago that a portal opened up for me on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. Disappointingly, it closed a few weeks later, but not before I logged some of the famous names. I’m sure I can match a few of Edith’s. Back in a few minutes.

Yup, it seems I was briefly a cousin to Edith, sharing a run of Plantagenet Kings of England and a few Comtes d’Anjou but with our paths diverging before and after.

There are a few more connections and merges to be made before I put the photo of Arthur and Edith’s headstone on the Shared Tree. Check on Edith’s father here.

 Flower 27 · Yellow Iris Seed Pods

Carr Naze Pond

There’s Only One Alfred Clay

On the face of it, Mrs Clay nee WHITWELL gave birth to Jane Katherine at the age of 43. Alfred the Second appeared eight years later. Hmmm. What’s this all about?

There are two christening sources attached to Alfie Two and both are correct. There is a transcribed source online that gives “Joseph Lewis Clay” as the father but the parish register is clear.

(This is not a facsimile of the original. I have moved the Clay entry to the top of the page for clarity.)

A third source shows Alfred and his two brothers as beneficiaries of their father’s will. Also correct.

Most Victorian children were christened in their first year of life. I wonder why Alfred chose to be received into the Anglican church at sixteen. And how long did the family live in York, fifty miles from home ground?

Mother Jane died in December 1858 and on census night 1861 widower Joseph Travis Clay is at “The Crowtrees”, Rastrick, with five of his six children. Only Arthur Travis is missing – probably away at school. Alfred’s given age is 19, not three.

Alfred was forty-three years old when he married Harriet HUTCHINSON at Kirk Braddan on the Isle of Man. Though ten years younger than Alfred she did not have any children. She died aged 71 in 1923, at Darley Hall in Darley Dale. Alfred was then still active as the oldest Justice of the Peace in West Derbyshire, and known locally as “the father of the Bakewell Board of Guardians”. Twenty months after Harriet’s passing, on the 21st January 1925, he married his housekeeper, 55-year-old spinster Louise Violet MORGAN. Death separated them before the year ended, three days before Christmas.  

Alfred was the last of Joseph Travis Clay’s sons to die and he appears to have been the wealthiest. His gross estate was sworn at a little over £140,000, about £6 million in today’s loot. He “made provision for his widow and certain relatives”. The contents of the house were sold and, when the Register was taken at the beginning of the Second World War, Louise was living with three unmarried sisters in Abergavenny, not far from where she was born. She died there in 1948, aged 79, the widow of the one true Alfred Clay.  

Measure of Man 61 · Arndale

New Information Boards

Some Clay Figures

Arthur Travis CLAY died on 16 October 1919 and a probate entry gives two addresses for him – Holly Bank in the West Riding (Rastrick) and Waxholme in the East (Filey). His effects were valued at £58,997 0s. 8d, which is about 3 million pounds in today’s money. For many years, Arthur lived next door to Rastrick House in Brighouse – the “family home” occupied by his older brother, John William.

John died in October 1918, leaving effects valued at £60,650 12s. 1d.

Arthur’s youngest son, Wilfrid Travis Clay, was residing at Holly Bank when he died in 1945, leaving property to the value of £30,281 14s. 6d. – a mere million and a quarter today.

Waxholme, Arthur’s red brick Filey home, is now a Convent. In 1901 he was there on census night, a widower with his five surviving children, aged 24 to 18. Four servants and a “lady housekeeper” described as a “boarder” completed the household.

At the opposite side of the driveway leading to Ravine Hall (now Glen Gardens), Langford Villa was occupied by recently widowed Annie Isabella BIRCH, a son Alan Grant, and two servants. She married Arthur the following year and in 1904 her eldest son, John Kenneth Beaufoy, married Janet Elizabeth Clay, Arthur’s elder daughter.

Langford Villa & Waxholme, 20 September 2021

Path 152 · Long Lane

Kings of Edith

Four years ago I wrote a post about Edith Beaumont BATES. After her death, husband Arthur Travis CLAY paid for the installation of a stained glass window in Filey St Oswald’s Church. Edith, Victorian in dress and hair style, is at the right hand of Jesus.

The Clays of Rastrick indicates my interest in the couple and their children but I didn’t follow through – until yesterday.

Edith has six IDs on the FamilySearch Shared Tree, and Arthur four, but none appear to take us back more than a generation. However, a seemingly trivial connection I made yesterday opened a portal.

One system-generated ID has given Arthur and Edith children but none have attached sources. So I gave a “minimalist Edith” parents to see what might happen.

Nothing much did – until the caret by mother Elizabeth Ledgard’s name was clicked. A trickle of this Elizabeth’s direct descendants soon turned into a flood. A consideable number ruled lands across the length and breadth of Europe for almost two thousand years.

I had wondered about Arthur’s  chutzpah in placing Edith in the company of her Lord. Maybe he knew something.

If you undertake the journey, it will be less frustrating if you start with Elizabeth. How incredible you find it will depend, in part, on what you think of the divine rights of Edith’s kings.

Clay memorial, photographed this morning

Abstract 78 · Ackworth Fresco

Update 18 September

I am not sure how I lost my way yesterday (with the failed link). The line from Edith’s mother [MTCC-DY7] stretches 71 generations to Christ Jesus son of Elohim [G8NL-D9Y]. Go on, be a pilgrim! (You won’t bump into any giants.)

I hope you will make your own way but if you must have a guide…

William Edward Ledgard, Edward Ledgard, Edward Ledgard, Thomas Ledgard, Robert Ledyard, Francis Ledgard, Michael Sheard, William Hepworth, William Hepworth, Henry Hepworth, Sir John Richard Osborn, Sir Peter Osborne, Henry Bourchier, Sir William Bourchier, Thomas of Woodstock, Humphrey de Bohun, Richard FitzAlan, Edmund FitzAlan, Sir Richard Fitzalan, John Fitzalan, John FitzAlan, John Fitzalan (3rd Lord), William “the Crusader”, William d’Aubigny, Sir William d’Aubigny, Lord William d’Aubigny, Roger d’Aubigny, Roger de Mowbray, Yves II, Ivo de Beaumont, Alber I, Gislebert, Henrich I, Otto I, Heinrich von Babenberg, Eberhard, Hludowic, Welf I, Isembert, Warin II, Rurhardus, Hartrad, Eticho Hertzog, Dux Adalrich, Leuthari III, Marcelus, Duc Sabirnis, Maximalus, Duc Lodhandr, Gunzo, Vithicab, Vadomarm Chlodomar, Guindomar, Wadomaire I, Chrocus I, Marcomir V, Childeric I, Sunno Magnus, Chlodomir, King of the Franks Marcomir, Odomir, King of Sicambrian Franks, Ratherius, King Antenor IV, Christ Jesus.

Boomer Bust

Monday’s Frank and Eliza GRICE had nine siblings and the GRO Births Index shares them out to three mothers called Hannah. In chronological order between 1858 and 1881 the digitized sequence of family names runs as follows:-

Bowmer, Boomer, Boomer, Boomer, Bowman, Bowman, Boomer, Bowmer, Bowman, Bowman, Bowman

It isn’t surprising to see confusion on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. First, a minimalist George BOWMAN, future father of Hannah.

There is a more extensive family with this same ID and an “Unknown Wife” as mother to Hannah Bowman.

And now father George with namesake third son. I have included the helpful Blue Hint.

At the 1861 Census, Father George was enumerated at home as “Bowmer” and also at his place of work, Church Cliff Farm, as “Bowman”, a shepherd. Young George Bowman was only listed at the farm as a servant, aged 23 and unmarried. He was a “Boomer” in 1866 when he took Elizabeth TRUMAND for a wife but their three known children were all registered as “Bowman”.

Bowman will be favoured if I’m first to tackle the Shared Tree merges.

Found Object 59 · Old Rope