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Dear Reader #119

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing author, playwright and journalist Tim Walker for Mom’s Favorite Reads. Meanwhile, Tim’s just published a new book, his thoughts on meeting stars of stage and screen. You can learn more about Tim’s book here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Turns-Secrets-Screen-Legends/dp/1914489004/

Ancestry have updated my DNA result. I’m 65% Welsh. The other 35% is shared between Belgium, the Channel Islands, England, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway.

My main genetic communities are Wales, Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Maryland.

I have cousins in Australia, New Zealand, California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Toronto, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and North Carolina.

I’m sure I have relatives in other countries and territories that this DNA test doesn’t cover, but it’s fascinating to see where my ancestors came from and where they settled as emigrants.

My ancestor Arthur Iveson was born on 16 June 1772 in Hawes, Yorkshire to Thomas Iveson and Margaret Taylor. Maybe due to complications from the birth Margaret died in October 1772 while Thomas died in 1788. As the youngest child, Arthur followed a tradition common amongst well-to-do families – he entered the Church.

St Margaret’s Church, Hawes. Credit: Wikipedia.

In 1793 the Bishop of Carlisle ordained Arthur as a deacon and a year later he became a priest in York. From York the Church sent Arthur to Nottinghamshire then to Norfolk where he established himself as Rector of East Bradenham.

In Norfolk, on 6 March 1797, Arthur married Martha English. Of course, as a rector Arthur could read and write, and he signed his name. Martha also signed her name, something not many women of the time could do, even women born into wealthy families.

Between 1798 and 1806 the couple produced six children: Ann, Thomas, born 18 March 1799, Arthur, Martha, Martha and Arthur. Martha #1 and Arthur #1 died in infancy.

Apart from the tragic infant deaths, everything was going well for Arthur. Between 1802 and 1817 he appeared on the Electoral Roll in Norfolk, which placed him in a privileged position, one of the elite in the country who could vote. In 1816 his son Thomas became a clerk to William James Murray in Kings Lynn and shortly after that he followed his father into the Church, becoming a vicar.

St Mary’s Church, East Bradenham. Credit: Wikipedia.

Arthur’s wife, Martha, died in 1828, and from that point events took a sinister turn.

At ten o’clock on the evening of 28 May 1832 Thomas entered Arthur’s rooms to talk with his father. The talk developed into an argument and Thomas produced a gun. He fired one shot, which entered Arthur’s heart.

With his father dying, Thomas ran next door to summon Captain Lake. He informed the captain of the shooting and Lake hastened to Arthur’s aid. The captain summoned two medical men, Mr Murlin, a surgeon, and Dr Tweedale, and they tended to Arthur, alas in vain, for he died within twenty minutes of the shooting.

The moment Arthur died, Thomas entered the kitchen and took a considerable amount of laudanum, which Mr Murlin promptly forced from his body. The Officers of Justice arrived and Thomas surrendered to them.

In July 1832 an inquest into the death of Arthur Iveson was held in a local public house, followed by a trial at the Quarter Sessions. During the inquest and trial it emerged that Thomas was ‘intelligent’ and a ‘gentleman’, although his behaviour of late had been eccentric.

The trial established that Thomas entered Arthur’s rooms with intent to shoot his father and that the bullet fired from his gun killed him. However, the jury acquitted Thomas on the grounds of insanity.

After the trial, Thomas entered a local infirmary and died there on 15 February 1836.

A Victorian Inquest

There is a postscript to this remarkable story. On 4 January 1848 in Hawes, Yorkshire, two cousins, John and Arthur Iveson, cousins of Arthur of Norfolk’s offspring, went drinking in a local pub, The Fountain Inn. They got drunk, argued, and engaged in a brawl. The brawl resulted in the death of Arthur Iveson.

The trail that followed delivered a verdict of manslaughter and John was sentenced to two months hard labour. After his prison sentence John resumed his role of local butcher. Twenty-two at the time of the manslaughter, he later married, raised a family and enjoyed a long life.

What to make of the Ivesons? Are they a violent branch of my family? I’m in touch with four first cousins, Iverson sisters, and no one would regard them as violent. Indeed, the opposite is true. It would appear that Thomas killed Arthur when in a troubled state of mind while John killed his cousin Arthur due to excessive alcohol consumption. 

History repeats, so they say, but when it comes to family members killing each other maybe it’s better if it doesn’t. 

To all current and future Ivesons, pax vobiscum – peace be with you.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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