Categories
Sam Smith Mystery Series

Dear Reader #138

Dear Reader,

I’m delighted with this insight in a review for Damaged because it sums up my vision for the series. “Sam is a very compelling modern day female film noir detective. That I realize is a bold statement. Sam surrounds herself with good people and manages them incredibly well.”

Published on 27 February, Operation Cameo, Eve’s War book six, is a top thirty hot new release 🙂

My latest translations, the Spanish and Portuguese versions of The Olive Tree: Leaves. A Spanish Civil War Saga. I’ve worked with Ana on a number of translations and she’s great to work with. Nelson was excellent too, and great to have the series available in Spanish.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 48 of the magazine.

My 8 x great grandfather John Cotterell (1718-75) was a ‘Chinaman and Glass Seller’. Here’s his trade card from 1752. John sold ‘a great variety of glasses, old as well as new china and lacquered wares with various sorts of fine teas, coffee, chocolate and snuff, Indian fans and pictures, etc. Wholesale and Retail at the lowest prices’.

My 8 x great grandfather John Cotterell’s store, selling a variety of items imported from India, was located at the ‘Indian Queen and Canister against the Mansion House’, pictured shortly after John’s time (1718-75). The exact address was 9 Mansion House Street. John’s business appeared in the trade directories for over thirty years.

We all have favourite relatives and the same is true of ancestors. My 4 x great grandmother Jane Esther Axe is one of my favourite ancestors. An educated woman, Jane was born on 10 October 1812 and baptised on 15 August 1813 (a long gap between birth and baptism) in St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, pictured.

The church is mentioned in the line “When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch” from the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons while the crypt beneath the church is the final resting place of many actors from the Tudor period.

My 4 x great grandparents William Stokes and Jane Esther Axe posted their marriage banns in April and May 1835. However, something cropped up because they cancelled the marriage and posted the banns again in August and September. They married on 20 September 1835.

I have a strong sense that my 4 x great grandmother Jane Esther Axe was a well organised woman who knew what she was about. She had four children in six years, but after the age of thirty, no more, which suggests birth control. And despite having five brothers, she was the executrix of her father’s will.

My 4 x great grandfather William Stokes was a corn meter. Corn meters had the exclusive right of measuring all corn delivered within the city and port of London. They were the link between the cargo ships and the markets. Image: William’s workplace, the Customs House on the Thames.

4 Nov 1857. My 4 x great grandfather William Stokes’ son, William Fredrick, aged 21, is awarded ‘The Freedom of the City of London’, which meant he had the right to trade in the City and become a member of a guild or livery company.

The electoral register for 1862, which featured my 4 x great grandfather William Stokes. As a property owner, he was one of only one million men in England and Wales eligible to vote (out of seven million). The Reform Act of 1867 doubled that number. The Tories introduced the Act thinking it would be a vote winner, but they lost the 1868 general election.

The Stokes branch of my family, from Pangbourne, Berkshire, were  carpenters for hundreds of years, the family business passing from father to son. In 1794 and 1795 my 5 x great grandfather Richard Stokes took on two apprentices, William Reeves and William Smith, which suggests his business was doing well.

The poll books of 1796, when my 5 x great grandfather Richard Stokes was twenty-one, and tax register of 1798 reveal that he owned land and therefore was one of the relatively few people in the country eligible to vote. The records also reveal that Richard lived next door to the Monkhouse family. On 15 May 1797 he married their daughter, Martha.

My 6 x great grandfather Richard Wilder Stokes was born on 10 October 1742. A carpenter, he died shortly before his 34th birthday. He didn’t leave a will, which suggests his death was sudden, maybe the result of an accident in his carpentry workshop?

A year later, Richard’s widow, Sarah, married John Challis, a member of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, later renamed the Grenadier Guards. Sadly, Sarah died sixteen months after the wedding.

Beyond the basic dates: born 12 October 1712 in Pangbourne; married Lucy Wilder 17 February 1736, also in Pangbourne; died 7 July 1776, once again in Pangbourne, nothing is known of my  7 x great grandfather Thomas Stokes. The same is true of his father, Thomas: only the dates survive. Born 21 August 1681; married Katherine Whittick 14 July 1707; died 4 June 1754, all in Pangbourne. So, we move on to my 9 x great grandfather, William Stokes.

The will of my 9 x great grandfather William Stokes, carpenter of Pangbourne, shines a light on his times. The will dates from 23 October 1727. 

“I give my loving son Thomas (my ancestor) all those my four Acres of Land lying and being in the parish of Whitchurch in the County of Oxon and all other my lands in the said County of Oxon to hold to him, his heirs and assignes for ever immediately after my decease and ten pounds in money.”

“I give to my son William Stoakes thirty pounds in money. I give to my said son William the Table that stands in the Kitchen of the house wherein I now dwell the Cupboard and the Bedstead.”

“I give to my Son John Stoakes ten pounds in money.” 

“I give to my Daughter, the Wife of Samuel, Mary Wright twenty pounds in money. All the rest and residue of my household goods and other goods (ready money excepted) not herein before bequeathed I give to and amongst my said four Children, Thomas, William, John and Mary share and share alike.”

“I give to my Granddaughter Mary Stoakes daughter of my said Son William ten pounds in money to be paid by my Executor herein after named att her age of twenty one years or day of marryage which shall first happen and in case my said Grandaughter dye before that time then I give the same ten pounds unto my Grandson David Stokes her brother att his age of one and twenty years.”

“I give to my two Grandchildren William Stoakes and John Stoakes sons of my said son John Stoakes five pounds apeice in money to be paid also att their respective age of twenty one years and if either of my said last mentioned two Grandchildren dye before that time then I will that the part or portion of either of them so dying shall be paid to the survivor of my said two last mentioned Grandchildren and if both happen to dye before that time then I give the said five pounds and five pounds to and amongst such children or child (if but one) of my said son John as shall be then living att the time of their decease share and share alike.”

“I give to my Grandaughter Sarah Wright five pounds in money to be paid also att her age of one and twenty years or day of marryage and if she dye before that time then I give the same five pounds to her sister Mary Wright.”

“I give To my two Grandsons William Stoakes and George Stoakes Sons of my Son George Stoakes deceased five pounds apeice to be paid also To them att their respective age of one and twenty years but If either of them may said two last mentioned Grandsons dye Before that time then I will that the part or portion him so Dying shall be paid to the survivor of them attaining that age.”

“All the rest and residue of my Estate whatsoever not herein Before bequeathed I give and bequeath unto my said son William Stoakes whom I do hereby make and Ordaine full and sole Executor of this my Will.”

William left £12,500 in today’s money. I find it interesting that, as a carpenter in Pangboune, he owned land in Oxon. I suspect that he inherited that land, which points towards the Stokes family’s roots.

My 10 x great grandfather Thomas Stokes was born on 5 May 1626 in Whitchurch, Oxon. He married Jane Deane on 10 February 1651 in Caversham, Oxford and died on 16 December 1682 in Tilehurst, Berkshire thus confirming the Stokeses connection between Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

In the 1600s, through civil war, religious conflicts and plagues records were often lost or destroyed, so unless you can connect to an established pedigree identifying ancestors becomes harder. 

Thomas Stokes married Jane Deane in 1651 and there is a suggestion that the Deane family were one of the earliest settlers in America, but that requires further research. In 1736, another Thomas Stokes married Lucy Wilder. An established pedigree does exist for the Wilder family, so my next task is to see where my ancestors fit into that pedigree.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah

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Categories
Sam Smith Mystery Series

Dear Reader #96

Dear Reader,

Amazing how one record can unlock the past. This baptism record from 14 February 1801 for my 4 x great grandmother Ann Locock has led to eight new branches on my family tree.

It looks like the Battle of Bosworth was a family gathering. I’ve discovered another ancestor there, my 15 x great grandfather Nicholas Wilder, a military leader in the army of the Earl of Richmond. Nicholas supported the victor, Henry Tudor, crowned Henry VII.

Trouble with the neighbours. In 1294 Lady Hornby accused my direct ancestor John de Tunstall of shooting an arrow at her steward because he wanted to seize a wagon laden with corn to make distraint.

A colourised version of a picture taken one hundred years ago, of my great grandmother Edith.

SOE heroine Pippa Latour, was 100 on 9 April 2021.

Available soon, the audiobook version of Mind Games, Sam Smith Mystery Series book eleven.

My 12 x great grandfather Thomas Strickland was born on 6 June 1564 in Kendal, Westmorland, the eldest son of Walter Strickland Esq and Alice Tempest, both the products of gentry families. Thomas lacked Walter’s parental guidance for much of his childhood because his father died in 1569.

On 24 July 1603 Thomas was made a Knight of the Bath, a special knighthood conferred on important royal occasions such as coronations. This practice died out after the reign of Charles II. Later, George I introduced the Order of the Bath.

Sir Thomas Strickland, 1600, aged 36.

At a date unknown, probably during 1596, Thomas married Elizabeth Symon aka Seymour of Bristol, the daughter of John Seymour of Frampton Cotterell, Gloucestershire. The marriage produced a daughter, Alice, who married Sir William Webb, Equerry to Henry, Prince of Wales.

After Elizabeth’s death, Thomas married, c1599, Margaret Curwen, daughter of Sir Nicholas Curwen of Workington Hall, Cumbria, and Anne Musgrave. This marriage produced five children:

  1. Robert, who succeeded his father
  2. Thomas, who left no mark on history
  3. Walter, who married Anne Crofts of East Appleton, Yorkshire
  4. Dorothy, who married John Fleming of Rydal as his third wife
  5. Margaret, my direct ancestor, who married George Preston Esq of Holker Hall 

Through his birth and marriages, Thomas enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and in 1584 was made a Justice of the Peace. In 1603 he became a Sheriff and a member of the Council in the North. His roles included overseeing gaols, sewers and charities. 

Thomas’ ancestors acquired the estate at Sizergh by marriage in 1239. The family regularly represented Westmorland in parliament from 1307 and Thomas was appointed custos rotulorum as soon as he came of age. 

Margaret Curwen, Thomas’ second wife, was a strong Catholic. However, Thomas remained a supporter of Elizabeth I and her Protestant beliefs. Like his father before him, Thomas served as junior knight of the shire in Elizabeth’s last Parliament, and moved up to the first seat when re-elected in 1604. 

Sizergh, castle and grounds. Wikipedia.

In parliament, Thomas was among those named to consider bills to preserve coppices, to reform informers’ abuses and to annex certain property indissolubly to the Crown. He also proffered a bill to extend alnage to narrow draperies, but it made no progress beyond a first reading.

In the second parliamentary session, Thomas sat on five legislative committees including three concerned with the cloth trade, granting customs allowances to the merchants of York, Hull and Newcastle. Another of Thomas’ committees regulated the wages of spinners and weavers while the fifth dealt with Welsh cottons in the statute of 1604.

As Thomas’ parliamentary career progressed, he considered bills to confirm the endowment of St. Bees grammar school in Cumberland and to strengthen the enforcement of the penal laws. On 19 March 1604, he was granted privilege as a defendant in a trial at York assizes.

Outwardly successful, the above trial offers a clue as to a flaw in Thomas’ character: he was a compulsive gambler. Even at the time of his first marriage, Thomas was raising substantial loans. Gambling in the Elizabethan era centred on cards, dice, backgammon and draughts, and often took place in gambling houses and gambling dens.

Elizabethans gambling at cards.

At Easter 1607, Thomas invited his wife’s cousin Anthony Curwen to supper where arguments and attempted arrests flared up over debt. However, before Curwen ‘could get any to serve the said Sir Thomas with a subpoena, he being a Parliament man’, Thomas abstracted the lease of Sherburn rectory from his study in New Inn and obtained judgment against him.

Thomas died intestate on 19 June 1612, leaving acknowledged debts of £9,500, which equates to approximately £1,274,000 in today’s money. His widow, Margaret, bought the wardship of her eldest son Robert and managed to preserve the Sizergh estate from creditors’ demands until the latter’s majority. 

Margaret, born c1560, survived Thomas by eighteen years and died in 1630. She did not remarry, but her fortitude held her family and its estates together. In 1629, Margaret’s son, Sir Robert Strickland, sent her a letter advising her how she should proceed with the Commissioners before the President at York, ‘so as to save her estate from sequestration.’

During 1623-4, while a young man, Robert Strickland was summond to parliament as a Knight of the Shire for Westmorland. A colonel in the army of Charles I, Robert commanded a troop of horse at the battle of Edgehill, while his son, Sir Thomas Strickland, led the regiment of foot. 

Because of Sir Thomas Strickland’s gambling, his family had to fight many battles. However, for them a bigger battle lay ahead in the shape of the English Civil War.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Sam Smith Mystery Series

Dear Reader #82

Dear Reader,

Lovely books from Santa, mainly for my writing and family history research 🙂

A highlight of my publishing year has been the translation of my Ann’s War series into Afrikaans. Nelmari is a wonderful translator whose commitment to this series has been outstanding. I offer her huge thanks. Here’s our latest title, available soon.

My books are available in Portuguese, and here’s the latest translation, Looking for Rosanna Mee, book seventeen in my Sam Smith Mystery Series. Many thanks to Kamila for her skill and enthusiasm in translating this book.

One of the saddest stories from my family tree. Aged 29, my 5 x great grandmother, Jane Rees, gave birth to her fifth child on Boxing Day 1788 and died in childbirth. The child, Edward, survived.

A pacifist who became a war hero, Harry Ree, an inspiration for my character Guy Samson in my Eve’s War series. Read his remarkable story here

https://hannah-howe.com/eves-war/harry-ree/

“Resistance is a state of mind. We can exercise it at any moment.” – French Resistance heroine, Jeannie Rousseau.

My article about French Resistance heroine Jeannie Rousseau, ’one of the most remarkable women of her generation’, appears in this month’s Seaside News.

I love this song

Ancestry

Christmas for my 3 x great grandparents, William and Mary, and 2 x great grandparents, William and Ann.

1867

A well-attended meeting took place at the chapel on Christmas Day. Ministers questioned young scholars at 10 am, 2 pm and 6pm. Books were awarded as prizes. After a tea party, a literary evening included recitations and songs, which were delivered favourably.

1868

An inquest on the body of Benjamin James, who died suddenly , aged 70, was held at the Mason’s Arms. Verdict: ‘Died by the visitation of God’.

1869

‘The disease known as the measles is very prevalent in our neighbourhood. Some cases have proved fatal.’

Christmas Day. The Cwrdd Plygeiniol was held at 6 am and it was a pretty sight to see the candles decorated. Recitations and songs ensured an interesting day.

1870

David Davies, a lime burner, was charged with allowing his donkey to stray on the highway. The defendant had a field, but the donkey had nothing to eat. Fined 12 shillings including costs.

1871

A newly invented flypaper in Titusville, Pennsylvania, is covered with nitroglycerin, glue and molasses. The flies are attracted to the molasses. When they land they are stuck fast by the glue. Should they get away, they proceed to rub their legs together in agitation and the friction in their shins causes the nitroglycerin to explode, blowing them to atoms.

On Christmas Day the members of the chapel gave the children a treat, an excellent tea party with cake.  Recitations and songs followed. The scholars were questioned by the Rev Jones and they deserved great praise for the ready manner in which they gave their answers.

1874

The literary meetings held on Christmas Day were a great success, the attendance being very large, and the competitions numerous. Four choirs were present. The prize for the best signing of Nant y Mynydd was shared between Corneli and Elim choirs.

1875

A grand concert, extremely well attended, was held at the schoolroom with the proceeds, which amounted to £23, given to Mr W Hopkins so that he could pursue his education at Aberystwyth University.

1880

Charles Powell and Anthony Jones were summoned for being drunk and disorderly on Christmas Day. Fined 15 shillings each, or if in default, seven days prison.

1881

An entertainment was given in Howe’s Assembly Rooms by Mr G S James of Cardiff, who exhibited views of the Holy Land together with a choice selection of miscellaneous scenes by the aid of a magic lantern. A large audience was in attendance.

The churches in the parish were tastefully decorated for Christmas with holly and evergreens. The children were awarded prizes for good conduct during the year.

An amazing start to the year. I just discovered that I’m directly related to Edward I, Henry III, Richard the Lionheart, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry I and William the Conqueror. Eleanor is one of my great grandmothers while William the Conqueror is a great grandfather. More about this in future posts.

Happy New Year!

Hannah xxx

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Ann's War Eve’s War Sam Smith Mystery Series Saving Grace

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Categories
Dear Reader Sam Smith Mystery Series

Dear Reader #20

Dear Reader,

This week, I stumbled across a link for the Humanists on Twitter. Out of interest, I completed their questionnaire and discovered that I am “100% Humanist”. This did not come as a surprise because Dr Alan Storey, one of the main characters in my Sam Smith Mystery Series, follows Humanist principles as a psychologist. I believe in Humanist principles because I think they are good for the world. Equally, I have no problem if people choose to follow a religion. As the late, great comedian Dave Allen used to say, “May your god go with you.”

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Many thanks to readers in France, Germany and Italy for supporting my Sam Smith Mystery Series with more sales in those countries this week. Also, many thanks to readers in Germany for placing my Ann’s War Mystery Series in the top thirty 🙂

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Views of Llanmadoc, a location featured in my Sam Smith Mystery Series.

More thanks, this time to Adriana for her wonderful translation of Invasion. I’m delighted that she’s now working on Blackmail, book three in my Ann’s War Mystery Series 🙂

ANN'S WAR INVASION PORTUGUESE

Authors I admire: Ronesa Aveela. Ronesa writes about mythology, in particular Bulgarian and East European mythology. I am fortunate to have a number of Bulgarian friends so Ronesa’s books are of great interest to me. I am also fortunate to count Ronesa amongst my friends, but I say without any bias that her books are truly excellent. Here are some examples. Please check them out.

Evidence of autumn. Our liquid amber, now a teenager, has held on to its green leaves longer this year.

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As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx