Lady Cooper’s Letter

Sir Edward Ernest COOPER, Baronet, left all his estate (apart from some modest personal bequests) to his wife, Charlotte Leonora. They didn’t have children, so the baronetcy became extinct, but that didn’t preclude Charlotte from living out her days as a Lady. A very rich one.

In April 1925, three years after her husband’s death, Lady Cooper made a gift of £500 to her nephew, Oswald Cooper, the Walking Parson’s second son. The money was to help him to pay the expenses of an illness. You may remember he had been seriously wounded while serving in the Dardanelles during the Great War. This illness may have been a long-term consequence of that trauma. Oswald phoned to thank her and she said that he should let her know if he needed any more money.

The following August Mr. Cooper wrote that he would be grateful if she would let him have £500, as his expenses had been very heavy. Lady Cooper replied on the following day: “Your letter saying that you are restored to health is indeed good news. I can let you have the £500 with pleasure, but suppose you repay this sum after my death to my niece, Betty Crampton. The former £500, of course, look upon as a gift. Just give me your word, and this is enough.

Mr Cooper replied, thanking her for the money…and adding, “Of course I will repay it to Betty Crampton.”

Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 20 October 1932

It seems that Oswald was in no hurry to keep his word and about six months after Lady Cooper’s death her executor and residuary legatee, Oliver Walter WRIGHT, attempted to reclaim the £500 through the courts. His action failed.

Mr Justice Swift said that as the action was not begun within six years of the loan being made, the claim was statute-barred, and there would be judgment for the defendant, with costs.

Leeds Mercury 20 October 1932

I wonder if Betty received the £500 eventually. (Think £33,000 in today’s money.)

The Reverend Canon Arthur Nevile Cooper died in 1943 and left £31,118 duty paid (over £1.4 million at today’s value). His wife Maude was the sole beneficiary. I guess the children had to wait. That Oswald ended up in the rather spacious Willersley House suggests he didn’t do too badly in his declining years.

I went looking for Betty, without success. I found two possible candidates but neither rang truly enough to offer here. Charlotte Leonora had eleven siblings. Her parents were accomplished. At the 1861 census, her father Thomas James Crampton described himself as a Schoolmaster, Professor of Music and Writer in General Literature. His second wife, Sarah Elizabeth née PIGGOTT, was listed as Principal of a Ladies School and Organist. For all that, I had to create IDs for most of the families.  (Charlotte had three half-siblings.) Find them on the Shared Tree.

I haven’t been able to discover a photograph of Lady Cooper but there are two pictures of her home, Berrydown Court, here. You will find several more of the Lutyens designed house if you search!

Willersley House

I had to go into Scarborough this morning, so took the opportunity to look for Willersley House, the last residence of Oswald COOPER and his wife Beatrice. I got off the bus at Wheatcroft and walked down Filey Road towards town.

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The house was built in the 1880s and Beatrice died in 1975. It is now home to 22 girls boarding at Scarborough Sixth Form College.

Both of the Rev Canon Cooper’s sons served in the Great War, Walter in the Royal Artillery and Oswald in the Lancashire Fusiliers. Both attained the rank of Captain but early in the war…

Lieutenant Oswald Cooper, youngest son of the Rev. Canon and Mrs Cooper has been invalided home after being wounded [at Gallipoli], and having had an attack of enteric fever. We hope his native air, a good rest, and good nursing, especially as his eldest sister, Miss Mary Cooper, is one of the nurses at our Filey Red Cross Hospital, will bear good fruit, and that he will soon gain his health and strength to once again serve his King and Country.

Driffield Times, 6 November 1915.

Oswald married Beatrice, the only daughter of Henry KING, about three weeks before the war ended. Born in Knaresborough, she spent most of her childhood in Malton. In 1911 the family lived at the Red Lodge in Filey (right in the photo below, taken yesterday afternoon).

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Oswald was a schoolteacher in Scarborough but I haven’t found any news items relating to his career. I’m sure he would approve of the use to which his home is being put.

Remembering Forgetful Emily

20191022EmilyBPunknownWhen Emily’s husband of 21 years filled out the 1911 census form, he owned up to not knowing where she had been born. John CAPPLEMAN, 50, had been a fish hawker for much of his working life. Emily was running a newsagent business from their home at 55 Queen Street.

Ten years earlier the enumerator had written “don’t know” in the space for Emily’s birthplace, and didn’t give her an occupation.

In 1891 they had been married for about eighteen months and were living in Cambridge Yard, West Street. John was working as both a fisherman and a hawker of the creatures he caught. In the enumerator’s book, “Newcastle on Tyne” is given as Emily’s birthplace.

In 1881, Emily was with her older brother John, visiting a married sister in Kent. Jane Ann’s husband, Alexander FAIRBROTHER, was a farmer with radical inclinations. He gave two of his sons the middle names Cobden and Bright. The birthplace of the three Dawson siblings was given as “Shields, Northumberland”.

In 1871, at home with their parents in Dockwray Square, Tynemouth, all six Dawsons in residence offered North Shields as their birthplace, even though mother Jane (formerly BIRBECK) had been born in York.

In 1861, Errington “DAUSON” and Jane were enumerated at 13, Dockwray Square, with six children born in North Shields (and their mother in her rightful birthplace).

Errington Dawson was a butcher and his son John became a shipowner. The family was clearly settled in North Shields and although several of Emily’s siblings died in infancy there is no obvious reason why she would choose to forget her roots in later years.

Why did she move to Scarborough during the 1880s? In 1888 a list of bankrupts was published in the local paper and there was an Emily Dawson among them. If this was “our Emily” she had failed to make a go of keeping a lodging-house. The following year she married John Cappleman. They were together for thirty years but didn’t have any children.

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I had to create an ID for Emily. Her parents already had representation on the Shared Tree but were waiting for me to play matchmaker. There are other nuptials to be noted and quite a few missing children created. The gathering of these has been made easier by a contributor to the new Find My Past system of sharing trees. For now, though, Emily doesn’t have much of a family on FamilySearch.