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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #147

Dear Reader,

Published this week, The Olive Tree: Fruit, book four of five in my Spanish Civil War Saga.

The blurb:

Christmas 1937. A respite from the fighting allows time for celebrations, and for passions to ignite.

Volunteer nurse Heini Hopkins can deny her feelings no longer: she is attracted to handsome surgeon, Dr Miguel Martinez. However, her love for International Brigades Volunteer Deiniol Price remains strong. What should she do? Which way should she turn?

Meanwhile, author Naomi Parker wrestles with her feelings for the Condor Legion’s ace pilot, Prince Nicolas Esteban. She also falls under suspicion as Luis Rodriguez, the Minister of Propaganda, hunts for a spy in his camp.

Book four in The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga places Heini on the frontline where she battles to save Deiniol, and her heart.

My latest translation, the Spanish version of Operation Cameo, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE book six.

Last week, I started rewatching The Rockford Files. This week, after the pilot episode, the series started with The Kirkoff Case, a good story by John Thomas James with some great one-liners in the teleplay by Stephen J Cannell: Rockford to a thug, “Does your mother know what you do for a living?”

James Woods guest starred and, if anything, was underused. This episode featured more physical violence than later episodes. It also featured a great ‘flicked cigarette’ gag. Overall, an enjoyable episode, but I think the confession at the end, as portrayed in a newspaper headline, went against James Woods’ character: Larry Kirkoff didn’t seem the type to confess.

This week’s answer machine message: “Jim, it’s Norma at the market. It bounced – you want us to tear it up, send it back, or put it with the others?”

Not a relative, but this is touching. The death record of Sarah Slumbers of Drury Lane, 10 February 1833.

It’s always nice when you discover your ancestors’ signatures because they offer an insight into character. My 6 x great grandparents William Wright and Margaret Woodhouse’s signatures, 24 July 1757. Margaret was literate. I get a sense that this branch is leading somewhere…

My 7 x great grandfather Thomas Woodhouse owned a brewery. He was a ‘servant of St Mary’s, Lambeth’, supplying that part of London with ale. On 28 November 1728, Thomas married Mary Fitzherbert. The Fitzherberts go back to medieval times, so nobility is a possibility, if the records exist.

I’ve traced the Woodhouse branch of my family tree back to Droitwich, Worcestershire. My 9 x great grandfather, John Woodhouse, a ‘gentleman’, died on 21 September 1685. However, before his death he arranged for his son, also John, my 8 x great grandfather, to become an apprentice with Lawrence Fullove, a Quaker and distiller, based in London. 

John’s apprenticeship started on 19 April 1687, his fifteenth birthday, and was set for seven years. However, Lawrence Fullove died on 26 September 1689 leaving John without a master.

On 15 July 1690 John’s apprenticeship was turned over to George Vale of the Distiller’s Company. John completed his apprenticeship and established a brewery in St Mary’s, Lambeth, which was inherited by my 7 x great grandfather, Thomas Woodhouse.

A touching memorial to my 7 x great grandmother Mary Fitzherbert and her daughter Elizabeth, commissioned by her husband, Thomas Woodhouse. The ornate nature of the memorial suggests that Thomas’ brewery business was doing well. And the coat of arms connects to the nobility.

Dorset Quarter Sessions, 1729. A payment of 2 shillings 1 1/2 pence made by my 8 x great grandfather Mr William Fitzherbert for maintenance of the highways in the parish of Chidiock.

In 1717 as a popish recusant, my 8 x great grandfather William Fitzherbert forfeited his estates. A common theme with my ancestors: in love, religion and politics they stood up for what they believed in. They didn’t take any bullshit from anyone, especially the government.

Welsh Football Legends

Leigh Richmond Roose was born on 27 November 1877 in Holt near Wrexham. A goalkeeper, and a celebrated amateur at a time when the game was largely professional, Leigh Roose was regarded as one of the best players in his position during the Edwardian era.

Raised by his clergyman father after his mother’s untimely death, Leigh Roose left school in 1895 and attended Aberystwyth University. He also studied medicine at King’s College London, but did not qualify as a doctor.

A big man at over six feet tall and thirteen stone, Leigh Roose began his footballing career in 1895 with Aberystwyth Town. He earned great praise during this phase of his career. Indeed, the eminent Welsh historian Thomas Richards referred to him as Yr Ercwlff synfawr hwn – ‘This wondrous Hercules’.

From Aberystwyth Town, Leigh Roose went on to play for Stoke, two spells, Everton, Sunderland plus several guest appearances for other clubs, including Celtic, Aston Villa and Woolwich Arsenal. Leigh Roose retained his amateur status throughout his club career. However, he did cash-in on expenses.

On the international stage, Leigh Roose played for Wales, in 1900, in a 2 – 0 victory over Ireland. He won 24 caps in total, in an international career that spanned eleven years. The highlight of his career arrived in 1907 when Wales won the British Home Championship for the first time. Because Wales did not play their first international match against an overseas opponent until 1933 all of Leigh Roose’s games were played against England, Scotland or Ireland.

Leigh Roose used his physical presence to intimidate his opponents. He was powerful, recklessly brave and the possessor of amazing reflexes earning a reputation as a shot-stopper and penalty saver.

Leigh Roose was an eccentric and anecdotes about his behaviour appeared frequently in contemporary newspapers. One anecdote stated that in March 1909 he travelled with Wales to play against Ireland in a British Home Championship match. At Liverpool station he appeared with one hand heavily bandaged and informed the waiting press that he had broken two fingers, but would still play.

News of Leigh Roose’s disability reached the Irish fans and they turned out in huge numbers in anticipation of witnessing an Irish victory. Instead Wales won the game 3–2 with Leigh Roose playing superbly. Leigh Roose’s injury had been a ruse, his broken fingers a practical joke.

Injury, in the form of two broken wrists, did curtail Leigh Roose’s career. Nevertheless, he remained a celebrity, the ‘David Beckham of his day’. When a newspaper invited its readers to select a World XI to face another planet, they chose Leigh Roose as the World XI’s goalkeeper by a large margin.

Leigh Roose led a glamorous life. He wore Saville Row suits and owned an apartment in central London. He was popular with the ladies including, it is said, with musical hall star Marie Lloyd.

Although well above the age of recruitment, Leigh Roose joined the British Army at the outbreak of the First World War. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Gallipoli. Later he returned to London and enlisted as a private in the Royal Fusiliers. He served on the Western Front and transferred his fearless attitude on the football field to the battlefield winning the Military Medal for bravery. 

His citation read: “Private Leigh Roose, who had never visited the trenches before, was in the sap when the flamethrower attack began. He managed to get back along the trench and, though nearly choked with fumes with his clothes burnt, refused to go to the dressing station. He continued to throw bombs until his arm gave out, and then, joining the covering party, used his rifle with great effect.”

Promoted to the rank of lance corporal, Leigh Roose fought in the Battle of the Somme. Tragically, he was killed towards the end of the battle, on 7 October 1916, aged 38. His body was not recovered, so his name appears on the war memorial to missing soldiers at Thiepval.

You can read more player profiles here https://hannah-howe.com/sixty-four/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #146

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Italian version of Operation Broadsword, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book three.

This week, I started rewatching The Rockford Files. Most of the regular cast appeared in the pilot, including Stuart Margolin as Angel. Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H was considered for the part, and would have done a fine job, but Stuart Margolin made it his own. He portrayed the character so well with just the movements of his eyes. Around this time Margolin also featured in an episode of M*A*S*H.

The answering machine messages at the start are iconic. In the pilot, Luis Delgado (who appears as ‘himself’ in a marriage scene later in the episode) said, “Billings, L.A.P.D. You know, Thursday is Chapman’s 20th year, and we’re giving a little surprise party at the Captain’s. I think you should come. By the way, we need five bucks for the present…” Cue the equally iconic theme music…

In this month’s issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads…

Writer and historian Mary W Craig interviewed by Wendy H Jones. Plus, Author Features, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Recipes, Short Stories, Young Writers, Nature Photography Day, and so much more!

Do you have one of these, a Princess Mary Christmas Gift Box? As you can see, I have two, from both sides of my family, one in better condition than the other.

Each box was decorated with an image of Mary and other military and imperial symbols and typically filled with an ounce of tobacco, a packet of cigarettes in a yellow monogrammed wrapper, a cigarette lighter, and a Christmas card and photograph from Princess Mary. Some contained sweets, chocolates and lemon drops.

The boxes were distributed to all members of the British armed forces on Christmas Day 1914, although some servicemen had to wait until 1920.

Most baptism records tend to be scrawled, but for some reason many in the West Country were recorded with a neat hand. Here’s the baptism record for my 5 x great grandfather, John Bick.

Many of my Bick ancestors were baptised in St Mary de Lode Church, Gloucester. It is believed that St Mary’s was built on the site of the first Christian church in Britain. Certainly, it was built on top of two Roman structures, possibly temples.

Photo: Wikipedia

In honour of the Wales football team and their World Cup qualifying achievement, I intend to feature pen-portraits of past players on Twitter and my website. I will feature some ‘big names’, but the majority will be ‘unsung heroes’ from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

I’m starting with Alf Sherwood because he used to visit my great grandmother. For more details, read on…

The son of Herbert Sherwood, a labourer and coal miner from Wiltshire, and Alice Maud Williams, a labourer’s daughter from Aberdare, Alfred Thomas Sherwood was born on 13 November 1923 in North View Terrace, Aberaman, a stone’s throw away from his hometown football club. 

In 1939 Alf was an apprentice wagon painter. Then, during the Second World War, he was drafted into the coal mines to work as a ‘Bevin Boy’.

Scouts recognised Alf’s footballing prowess at an early age and he gained caps at youth level for Wales. He was also an accomplished cricketer. 

In 1942, Alf joined Cardiff City from Aberaman Athletic. A wing-half at Aberaman, he switched to full-back at Cardiff. He was so impressive that he made that position his own for the rest of his career.

When the Football League returned for the 1946–47 season, Alf missed just one match for Cardiff City. That season the club gained promotion as champions of Third Division South. In the 1951–52 season, Alf was appointed club captain and under his leadership Cardiff City gained promotion to the First Division.

Alf’s senior international career began on his 23rd birthday in a match against England in the British Home Championship. The score: 3 – 0 to England. However, on 22 October 1955 in the British Home Championship match played at Ninian Park, as captain Alf led Wales to a famous 2-1 victory over England.

In total, Alf won 41 Welsh caps. He earned a reputation as ‘the king of the slide-tacklers’. Indeed, Stanley Matthews described him as “the most difficult opponent he ever played against.” Students of the game reckoned that Alf’s main qualities were outstanding pace, sound tackling and a wonderful positional sense.

Alf also served club and country as a stand-in goalkeeper. On 17 April 1954 in a match against Liverpool, he saved a penalty taken by Scottish international Billy Liddell, which ultimately condemned Liverpool to relegation.

After an illustrious career, Alf worked for the National Coal Board. He also worked as an insurance agent and during the course of this work he called on my great grandmother, Edith, to collect her monthly insurance premiums and chat.

Alf died on 12 March 1990.

You can read more player profiles here https://hannah-howe.com/sixty-four/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #145

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Operation Cameo, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book six.

The Howes in America 

Jane Jenkins was born on 24 August 1806 in Marcoss, Glamorgan. A seamstress, she married William Howe, brother of my 4 x great grandfather John Howe, on 7 May 1833 in St Brides, Glamorgan. The couple produced five children. William, a shopkeeper, died on 1 August 1848, and Jane’s life took a dramatic turn.

On 15 December 1851 Jane married William Williams. In February 1866 Jane’s mother, Ann David, died and this appears to have been the catalyst for the dramatic change because, aged sixty, Jane set off for a new life in America.

On 6 July 1866 on the ship Arkwright, Jane set sail for New York. She travelled with her husband, William Williams, William’s grandson, William (Billo) Johns, Eliza Davis, Mary Gibbs, Hugh Morris, John Tardy, William Lewis and his wife Rachel.

From New York, the company travelled in cattle cars to Canada and by boat to Niagara Falls, Chicago, then on to Wyoming and Utah. They departed New York on 25 July 1866 on ‘Daniel Thompson’s Church Train’ and followed the pioneer trail before arriving at Salt Lake City on 27 October 1866. 

Jane’s husband, William Williams, died on the journey, on the plains near Old Fort Kearney. A widow for the second time, she married David Evan Davies on 22 June 1867 in Salt Lake City. Jane lived a further twenty-two years in Utah before her death on 22 December 1889.

My ancestor Cecilia Howe was born on 13 September 1840 in Wick, Glamorgan. Cecilia was a very popular Howe name that featured over many generations. She married Lewis Griffiths on 14 November 1863 in Bridgend, Glamorgan and on 6 April 1867 she gave birth to twins, Lewis and William. Sadly, Lewis died a day later and William died a day after that. 

Cecilia’s husband, Lewis, died on 16 August 1867 when she was two months pregnant. She gave birth to the exotically named Lorenzo Louis Griffiths on 19 March 1868. Thankfully, he survived. A widow with a baby, Cecilia didn’t allow the grass to grow under her feet. She decided to join her mother, Jane Jenkins, in America, arriving in New York on 28 July 1868 before travelling to Salt Lake City.

Cecilia married John Davis Reese on 20 December 1869 in Salt Lake City and in eleven years the couple produced six children. A Welshman from Merthyr Tydfil, John was twenty-five years older than Cecilia.

John Davis Reese

John Davis Reese was a blacksmith and a Mormon. His first wife Mary Morgan had a stillborn child when changing steamers from the Constitution to the Highland Mary. He also married Jane Morgan in 1852, Zillah Mathias in 1857 and Cecilia Howe in 1869. Between his four wives he fathered twenty-seven children.

John returned to Wales as a missionary in 1868. He died on 19 March 1880 in Malad City, Oneida County, Idaho making Cecilia a widow again.

Cecilia didn’t remarry. She died on 7 August 1932 in Benson, Utah aged ninety-one.

Idaho 1918, Cecilia Howe with her son, grandson and great grandson.

My ancestor Anne Howe, sister of Cecilia, was born on 6 February 1843 in Wick, Glamorgan and baptised in Wick on 5 March 1843. Her father, William, died when she was five. At sixteen, she worked as a servant for a solicitor, Thomas Stockwood. Many solicitors moved to Glamorgan in the 1840s to deal with coal mining and railway contracts.

1864, probably taken to commemorate Anne’s twenty-first birthday.

In the 1860s Anne Howe found herself in London. What was she doing there? I believe she was working as a governess for George Crane, a schoolteacher, painter and glazer. George was a widower with four children.

Anne married George Crane on 1 February 1868 in Chelsea, London. Exactly nine months later she gave birth to her first daughter, Mary Ella, in Salt Lake City. Anne was five months pregnant when she set sail with George and his children on 30 June 1868. The family sailed from Liverpool on the SS Minnesota and arrived in New York on 13 July 1868.

George, at a young age, was left alone in England when his parents emigrated to Galt, Canada. They decided that their son should remain in England and complete his apprenticeship as a painter and glazer. 

In 1854 George married Emily. The couple lived in London where George worked. Emily died when her youngest child was six weeks old. Grandparents looked after George’s children until he established his relationship with Anne Howe.

In 1868 upon their arrival in America, Anne Howe, her husband George Crane and his children were given berths in cattle cars for their trip west. Each family was allotted beds and a space to prepare their meals. They travelled with the John R. Murdock Company and completed their 430 mile journey from Laramie, Wyoming to Salt Lake City in covered wagons and on mules and foot. Anne was seven months pregnant at the time.

Anne Howe and George Crane

On 28 October 1868 Anne gave birth to a daughter, Mary Ella, the first of six children. Sadly, only Mary Ella and her sister, Maud Estella, survived into adulthood.

The family stayed in Salt Lake City that winter. George worked on the Utah Central Railroad and the Union Pacific until Leland Stanford drove the Golden Spike on 10 May 1869. Then George moved his family to Kanosh, Utah, where he resumed his career as a schoolteacher.

George was a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. In 1879 he was called on a mission to England. He returned home to Anne in November 1880. 

George held many offices in Millard County including county commissioner, and president and director of the Kanosh Store. Active in the church, he also acted in plays and organised a dramatic society in Kanosh.

Chief Kanosh

As pioneers, one wonders what Anne and George’s relationship was like with the indigenous population. Apparently, it was good because George befriended Chief Kanosh and spoke at his funeral. 

Anne and George were prominent members of their community and a newspaper report carried news of Anne’s ill health. Sadly, the newspaper’s good wishes were in vain and she died on 2 July 1895 aged fifty-two.

*****

From next week a new look for my weekly newsletter. To celebrate Wales qualifying for the football World Cup in Qatar, after a sixty-four year wait, over the summer months I will be profiling players from the past. I will also be featuring insights into the iconic TV series The Rockford Files, along with highlights from my family history research and news of my books.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #144

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Dutch version of Operation Zigzag, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book one.

My latest article for the Seaside News.

John Howe, my 5 x great grandfather, was baptised on 28 April 1761 in St Hilary, Glamorgan. He was one of only ten children baptised in the village that year, including a set of twins. John’s parents were farmers so he spent his formative years learning the business of farm management.

John Howe married Cecily Lewis on 1 January 1785 in Cowbridge, Glamorgan. Cowbridge was the nearest market town to John’s home in St Hilary and it’s likely that he met Cecily there during a social event connected to the market.  

Cecily was born in Cowbridge in 1764 and it was the custom that marriages took place in the bride’s parish.

The interior of Holy Cross Church, Cowbridge (People’s Collection Wales).

Like his father before him, my 5 x great grandfather John Howe was an Overseer of the Poor. In 1797 he paid 2s 6d to ‘Ten men in distress coming from the sea.’ The Vale of Glamorgan coast is beautiful, but dangerous due to hidden rocks.

Le Vainqueur, which sank off Sker Rocks on 17th December 1753.

Taxes greatly affected the direction of the Howe family. In 1798, my 5 x great grandfather John Howe featured in the Land Tax Redemption register for St Hilary ten times (out of twenty-seven entries). Most people featured once while John’s brother, William, featured twice. 

John wasn’t ‘Lord of the Manor’, that title fell to the Bassets (although their influence was on the wane), but he was certainly ‘Mr St Hilary’.

The Land Tax became a permanent charge on the land in 1798 and was fixed at 4/- in the pound (20%). However proprietors were given the option to pay a (considerable) lump sum or purchase government stock to free themselves from future liability.

By 1799, the Napoleonic wars had taken their toll on Britain. The British royal treasury was running out of money to maintain the royal army and navy. Soldiers were starving and His Majesty’s navy had already mutinied. For Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, the solution was simple: impose an income tax.

Under the Act of 1799, all citizens who earned above £60 were to pay a graduated tax of at least one percent. Those with an income of over £200 were taxed ten percent. Some people regarded the tax as a patriotic duty while others complained. 

I don’t know what John Howe thought of the taxes, but it seems they were the reason why he moved his family ten miles west to Coity breaking the Howe connection with St Hilary, which had lasted over 200 years.

After 49 years of marriage, Cecily died  on 7 May 1834, aged 70 while John died on 4 February 1835, aged 73. The couple are buried together in Coity.

John and Cecily’s grave in Coity.

On Wednesday 4 April 1787 Cornelius Gordon and his wife Mary Bevan were gardening, and arguing, at their house in Crichton, Llanrhidian when Mary collapsed. A servant, Thomas Westley, and a neighbour, Elizabeth Long, helped Mary to bed. She slept while Cornelius continued his gardening.

The following morning, Cornelius told his servant Thomas to get Mr Thomas Williams, surgeon and apothecary, from Swansea. Surgeon Williams arrived at Crichton to find Mary dead. Relatives arrived. Accusations were made.

On Friday 6 April 1787, Gabriel Powell, Coroner, summoned twenty-four ‘honest and lawful men’ and held an inquest into Mary’s death. Evidence was taken. The servant, Thomas, “didn’t see anything” while Surgeon Williams stated that “the deceased did not die from a violent blow.”

A second surgeon, Thomas Sylvester, supported Surgeon Williams. The coroner’s inquest concluded that Mary died ‘by the visitation of God’, and she was buried the following day. However, Mary’s family were not happy and they intervened.

On Tuesday 10 April 1787, Rowland Pritchard, a Justice of the Peace, ordered Charles Collins, a surgeon from Swansea, to exhume and examine Mary’s body. He discovered a fractured skull, consistent with a violent blow, possibly caused by a spade. 

Surgeon Sylvester changed his tune and supported Surgeon Collins. Servant Thomas was questioned. His statement revealed that Cornelius had struck his wife about the head, and that during their marriage they had ‘frequently had words’.

Cornelius Gordon was tried four days later, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He was hanged on Stalling Down, Cowbridge, on 20 April 1787, a fortnight after the murder. This was the last hanging to take place at Stalling Down.

In the mid-1800s a Mrs Howe (first name sadly not recorded) spoke to David Jones an antiquarian. She said that as a young child she was taken up to Stalling Down to witness the execution of Cornelius Gordon.

Mrs Howe recalled the scene as Gordon’s family stood by with a coffin ready to transport his body back to Crichton. Mrs Howe stated that at the moment of the execution “the whole ground trembled, as with an earthquake.”

Next week, the Howes in America.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader # 143

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Spanish version of Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen.

I’ve been revisiting the Howe branch of my family tree, making some minor corrections and uncovering some amazing stories, including a murder and three female Howes who joined the Pioneer Trail in the Wild West of America. More about them in a future post. But first, to start at the beginning…

The Howes of Glamorgan first appear in the historical record in the 1600s with John Howe, born c1640, of St Hilary. He was the father of my 8 x great grandfather, John Howe. The Hearth Tax of 1670 and later records show that around 150 people lived in St Hilary, with Welsh the dominant language.

St Hilary Church c1900 (People’s Collection Wales).

In 1675 the Welsh Trust established a school in St Hilary. It’s possible that my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Howe, born c1690, attended this school. Certainly, he was literate. In 1678 ten children attended the school, making it the smallest in the county. Education was provided by the vicar and churchwardens, in English and Welsh.

The Vicarage, St Hilary c1900 (People’s Collection Wales).

c1711 my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Howe married Elizabeth (surname unknown). The couple produced four children: Elizabeth, Dorothy, Mary and my direct ancestor John. Sadly, Dorothy died when only nine days old.

Joseph died in July 1742. He was buried on 5 July 1742. That year, ten people died in St Hilary. Five children were baptised while the parish register recorded only one marriage.

John Howe, my 6 x great grandfather, was baptised on 24 July 1726 in St Hilary, Glamorgan, probably a week after his birth. Sadly, many babies died within a week of their births so baptisms were often swift affairs.

The son of Joseph and Elizabeth, John became a successful farmer. When Joseph died on 5 July 1742, sixteen-year-old John helped his mother to run the farm. He didn’t marry until 1761, a month before his mother died.

From the National Library of Wales, the tithe map of St Mary Church Parish, St Hilary. The Howe family farmed thirty-three fields on this map, twenty-six arable and seven meadow. They also owned Howe Mill.

In the eighteenth century St Hilary was a small, close-knit farming community with a population of around 150. It was self-contained and regulated its own affairs. The church remained the focal point for the religious and social life of the village. Dissenting voices were nonexistent. Then, in 1748, my ancestor Priscilla Howe (a name that reoccurs throughout the generations) registered a meeting house for Quakers and literally ‘shook things up’.

St Hilary. People’s Collection Wales.

In 1753, my 6 x great grandfather John Howe became a churchwarden, Petty Constable and Overseer of the Poor. Overseers of the Poor were chosen from the ‘substantial householders’ within the community and were elected at the annual vestry. Although elected for a year, they often served multiple terms over many years.

As Overseer of the Poor, John made a payment of £1 17s 6d for the making and binding of Bibles, 1s for attending a coroner’s inquest and 7d for a pair of male stockings. He also awarded payments of a few pence to ‘the little boy of whom nothing else is known’.

This is John’s account of 1753, written in his own hand.

The pivotal period of my 6 x great grandfather John Howe’s life arrived in April and May, 1761. On 3 April 1761 he married 39 year old Mary Robert, a widow with two children. Then his first son, John, my 5 x great grandfather, was born on 28 April 1761. That’s right, Mary was eight months pregnant at the time of her marriage. On 1 May 1761 John’s mother, Elizabeth, died aged 62. A marriage, birth and death within four weeks. A very stressful time for John. 

From the age of sixteen John had run his mother’s farm. He was probably waiting until she died before he married, but with Mary eight months pregnant he couldn’t wait any longer.

With his standing in the community, John was an eligible bachelor so Mary, four years his senior, must have been pleased with the match. Equally, she must have possessed qualities that set her apart from younger women. The couple had four children and spent 37 years together, and I trust enriched each other’s lives.

John died on 23 February 1818, aged 91, a remarkable age in any era. And through his family, farm and community activities I sense that he lived a rewarding life.

St Hilary parish church (Wikipedia).

Next week, more about the Howes, including a murder.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian. https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂