Thursday, 23 November 2017

Snippets and Loose Ends

I will add snippets to this page from time to time.

By Rosemary Jewers

'Mrs Hurst Dancing and Other Scenes From Regency Life 1812-1823'

This book based on delightful paintings by Diana Sperling. The paintings were produced from her sketchbook. Henry Grace Sperling who married Mary the daughter of Joseph Wilson is shown in one of the paintings. Diana and her family lived at Dynes Hall, near Halstead in Essex. Although the book was printed in 1981, I managed to buy a second-hand copy.

The Slings and Wilsons were related to the Breretons by marriage. Joseph Wilson and Mary Maitland of Hibuperry Hill, Middlesex had two daughters, Mary and Frances. Mary married Henry Grace Sperling and Frances married Rev. Charles David Brereton of Little Massingham, Norfolk.

Henry Grace Sperling and Mary Wilson had a son, Henry Grace Wilson Sperling who married his cousin Anna Margaretta Brereton, daughter of Charles and Frances Brereton.

Notes: Charles David Brereton was born at Brinton, Norfolk. He was the son of John Brereton and Anna Margaretta Lloyd

Emma Wilson nee Welford

Joseph Wilson, my gt-gt-gt grandfather, married first Mary Maitland, I am descended from this marriage. After Mary died, he married Emma Welford, there were no children from this marriage. Whilst researching another subject, I came across an article ‘The life of William Hayley’, in The London Magazine, Volume 10 July to December 1824. Wikipedia describes Hayley as English writer, best know as the friend and biographer of William Cowper.

Hayley  first married Elisa Ball in 1769, she was the daughter of Dr Ball, Dean of Chichester. After Elisa's death he met his second wife, Mary Welford, daughter of a retired merchant of Blackheath. On 23rd March 1809, they married but they separated three years later. Mary’s sister Harriet is also mentioned in the same article.
Having read that Mary and Harriet's father was a retired merchant of Blackheath, (this rang a few bells) I decided I would look to see if Mary and Harriet were the sisters of Emma Welford who married my gt-gt-gt grandfather, Joseph Wilson in 1800.

The spelling of Welford varied over the years. I found in documents that Emma Wellford (wife of Joseph Wilson) was baptised on 9th June 1775 - record Dr Williams’ Library. Her sister Elizabeth was baptised on the same day. John Welford/Wellford, was their father and Mary Ryland, their mother. The records for all the girls confirm they were all sisters.

There is a lovely portrait of Mary Welford on Wikipedia. See link below.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Brereton Family - was it in the genes?

By Rosemary Jewers nee Brereton

This first family tree charts the Brereton family from early times. In the tree below it splits into three separate parts. These lines descend to three present-day celebrity descendants of the Brereton family of Brinton, Norfolk.

Some of the information and research has been taken from John Lancelot Brereton's family tree, Robert Maitland Brereton's book - 'The Breretons of Cheshire'. Other information has come from research undertaken by my grandfather, Philip Brereton and from Charles Brereton's work. Research is also taken from my own investigations into the Sharpe, Roger and Paul families. I was able to make all the connections to the three talented celebrities. On the tree that follows, I mention that Charles David Brereton was the brother of William John; this is where the Little Massingham line splits from this tree.

Please scroll down to the end of this first pdf, this will reveal just where this family tree ends. After you have done this, you can go on to view the other information and family trees on this page. These  highlight other family connections in more detail. The Sharpe family had a connection to Thomas Hardy.

The Sharpe family tree gives more detail of the family and the connection to Thomas Hardy. A few years ago I was alerted to the Thomas Hardy connection and the Sharpe family by my cousin, Michael Sandford. After more research I found that John Brereton Sharpe and his family were to settle in Ontario, Canada - as had other members of the Norfolk, Brereton family.

The Simplified 'Brereton Canadian Connection Tree' shows the connections to the Norfolk, Brereton family who were living in Ontario, Canada. This tree also shows the Paul family. Henry Paul, distant cousin of the Canadian/Norfolk Breretons was also living in Ontario, Canada. The connection to Ann Copland nee Brereton and Cloudesly Brereton and Randle Brereton and Sarah Barwick are shown on this simplified tree. Not shown, is that John Brereton Sharpe settled in Ontario, Canada.

Now you have arrived at the end of this page, you will already know who the three celebrities are and how musicians, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac and actor, Jeremy Irons are connected to the Norfolk Brereton line. It would be interesting to know how many more could be descended from the Brereton family of Brinton, Norfolk, and the family line which links back to Cheshire and beyond!
© Rosemary Jewers 2017

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Quilts named Brinton Hall

By Rosemary Jewers 2016

A short while ago I discovered that a magazine, 'Quiltmania' had published a quilt design called 'Brinton Hall'. I emailed one of the quilt makers who had been inspired by the publication to make her own. I asked why the quilt design had been called 'Brinton Hall'. She told me that it was based on Anna Margaretta Brereton's, world famous bed hangings. These bed hangings had been made at Anna Margaretta's home at Brinton Hall, Norfolk over 200 years ago. I understand that many needlework enthusiasts are making their own versions of their 'Brinton Hall' quilts.

Monday, 25 July 2016

John Barwick and the Brereton connection

By Rosemary Jewers

When I researched the Norfolk Canadian branches of the Brereton and Copland families, one surname I came across seemed familiar. It originally appeared in letters that were sent from Canada to friends back in England. Later, the original letters were edited and published as a book. This one name led me to find more Norfolk Brereton and Canadian connections and even more discoveries.

I've often wondered why it's so easy to be diverted by a surname, and on this occasion, that name would send me hunting in a different direction altogether. And yes, yet again, I have to thank William Copland of Canada for this latest discovery.

William Copland's book "The Narrative of the Early Events of the Rebellion in Upper Canada", was an intriguing insight into life in Canada in 1837. The exploits of William's sons and the mention of his brother-in-law, Cloudesly Brereton, made it a fascinating read. But, there was another name which William Copland mentioned, which made me think that perhaps there was more to this story. And, as I continued to read, I wondered why mention this person to his friends back in England. Conclusion, he must have been known to Copland's friends and family back home, and perhaps he was also a Norfolk man.

Copland had written about one incident in the early part of the 1837 Rebellion that, "...Mr John Barwick, who was coming thither, was shot in passing them..." "...He died the next day." I knew the name Barwick, because John Brereton and Anna Margaretta Lloyd had a son, Randle Brereton, and he, Randle had married a Sarah Barwick. I also knew that Sarah was born in Russia. It was always a bit of a mystery as to why she was born in Russia, and why were her parents there. At some point Sarah Barwick was to meet and marry Randle Brereton, of Brinton in Norfolk. I decided that perhaps I should search a little more to find out as much as I could about the Barwicks.

I found that Sarah's father, was a William Barwick, 1762 - 1835. He had been born in Leeds, Yorkshire, on the 28th August 1762. On 18th Nov. 1792 he married Elizabeth Statter, (sometimes written as Scatter) in BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. William Barwick Sen. died on 2nd Mar 1835 an Holt Lodge, Holt, Norfolk, England.

Elizabeth Statter his wife had been born in Russia in 1772. She died on 9th June 1841 in Blakeney, Norfolk, England.

It seemed quite extraordinary that all these people were living and working in Russia in the late 18th and early 19th Century. Elizabeth Barwick nee Statter's father was William Statter, his death took place on 4 Jan 1808, Baturin, Chernihiv, Ukraine

I discovered that Elizabeth's father, and her husband, William Barwick were merchants. e.g. William Barwick was mentioned as being a merchant in St. Petersburg in 1797. His total value of imports for that year was 157,890 RUB. and export value was 219011 RUB. In 1804 Wm Barwick imported goods to the value of 761093 RUB and exported goods worth 571429 RUB.

William and Elizabeth Barwick's daughter, also Elizabeth, was born on 8th Dec 1793 recorded by BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

On 28th Apr 1795 another daughter Sarah was born and recorded at the BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. Sarah married Randle Brereton 28th April 1818. Newspaper archives reported the marriage as, "Mr. Randall Brereton, of Brinton, to Miss Sarah Barwick, second daughter of Wm Barwick Esq. of Holt."

On 14th Jan 1797 a son William was born, recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

1st Oct 1798 the birth of daughter Mary recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

20th July 1800 birth of daughter Ann recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

28th Apr 1803 birth of Frances recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA.

28th Feb 1806 birth of son John recorded BRITISH CHAPLAINCY, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. I found that this was the John Barwick who was in Canada at the time of the 1837 Rebellion. William Copland who had married Ann Brereton of Brinton would have known that Ann's cousin Randle, had married Sarah Barwick and that her brother John, was living nearby to them in Ontario.

The strange thing is, William Copland had written that John Barwick had been shot and died the next day. Having searched for another John Barwick who could have died in 1837 or 1838, I was unable to find a death of a person with that name. All I can think is, that with all the confusion at the time of the uprising, Copland believed this to be fact when he wrote his letters. Possibly when his brother edited the letters for the book, this was overlooked.

I gleaned certain facts about John Barwick and his life in Canada. On the 3 January 1833 John Barwick married Mary Ready Lee at Trinity Church, Thornhill, Upper Canada. He had numerous children. John died 23 April 1881 East Gwillimbury, Ontario, Canada. He is buried at Christ Church Anglican Heritage Cemetery, Holland Landing, York Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada

Additional Notes

John Barwick's daughter, Elizabeth married Robert Simpson. Having stumbled across some genealogy, I'm of the opinion that Elizabeth and Robert were related, and that their grandmothers were sisters.

Robert Simpson's birth was registered at St. Petersburg, Russia. His father was Joseph Simpson and his mother was Mary Carr. Mary Carr's parents were George Carr and Mary Statter. Mary was born in Russia in 1773, which was a year after her sister Elizabeth, mother of John Barwick.

Source: Benjamin Thorne 

In 1820 Benjamin Thorne established a business in East Gwillimbury. The business was to export iron and grain. By 1843 he either bought or leased the Red Mill at Holland landing this was run by his partner John Barwick. In 1847 the company of Thorne and Barwick was dissolved.

Source: 'A History of Simcoe County'
According to 'A History of Simcoe County'. Prior to moving to Holland Landing, Colonel John Barwick, was living at Thornhill. While at Thornhill and during the Rebellion, he equipped a regiment of cavalry, which he paid for himself. Apparently the Horse Guards which Barwick established did see some service at the time of the Rebellion. Later Barwick moved to Toronto and was one of the ‘moving spirits’ of the Agriculture and Arts Association becoming President in 1861. He was to move back to Holland Landing where he resided until the time of his death.

This article appeared in Eastern Daily Press, it shows a photo of the arch, which was once part of a driveway which led to Holt Lodge home of William and Elizabeth Barwick.

Read more about Abel Brereton and the Copland family

Thanks to Faye Brereton Goodwin for background information relating to Barwick, Thorne, their contemporaries and neighbouring places that John Barwich was associated with.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Revelations from Old Parish Magazines

By Rosemary Jewers

'Revelations from old Parish Magazines' Compiled and edited by Rosemary and Tony Jewers. Foreword by H.R.H.The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The book may still be available from some bookshops although copies may be limited. Having already reprinted Rev.elations, we have decided not to reprint further copies.

When I inherited a collection of old parish magazines from my parents, I had no idea that I was about to be unearth a treasure-trove of fascinating reading.

My great-great-grandfather, Charles Brereton, became Rector of the parish of Little Massingham, Norfolk in 1820 and subsequent Breretons followed in his ecclesiastical footsteps in the same village for many years. It is because of this continuous line of parsons that the copies of the magazines and their extraordinary content remained intact. These later Brereton clergy contributed to the magazines.

This 150 page A5 book is based on articles written by Norfolk parsons about their Norfolk parishes. It gives a good insight into the life style and conditions between 1908 to 1933. A good read for everyone, and an ideal Christmas or Birthday present.

The purpose of this book is to reveal an authentic slice of social history between 1908-1933, quoting from articles written by parsons at the time, when reporting on social events, activities, village spirit, gossip and news, with tales of joy and sorrow, the curious and the incredible thrown in.

Some wrote with great wit and humour, some with charisma, while others did not disguise their strong views and wrote in an outspoken manner, that the clergy today would not dare even to contemplate. Fortunately for us, many of them wrote with such passion and in such detail at a time when the parson was effectively the head of social services and the Chief Executive Officer.

If there was a shortage of parish news, parsons wrote about interesting national and local historical matters, some dating back hundreds of years. Several are included in the book.

My husband Tony, who had worked most of his life on news production for BBC TV, ITV and Sky News, helped with the selection and editing of the articles. This involved ploughing through over 3,000 articles written by rectors of over twenty Norfolk parishes, to select an interesting mix of everyday life and national crises, good and bad news and intentional and unintentional humour.

The 1908 to 1914 magazines reflected the quiet easy-going tenor of village life. This was shattered by the outbreak of war in 1914 and the cruel loss of life that ensued. In the aftermath, high prices, unemployment and industrial strikes caused many problems, but community spirit and an appetite for enjoyment lived on. Later magazines reflect how villagers adapted to change and eventually resumed their normal lifestyle, but with significant differences, not least being the advent of the motor car.

All this was not confined to Norfolk; the whole nation was affected by great change. So, readers from any part of the country can enjoy a trip through this book to a bygone era and sample a flavour of Norfolk life and humour. Several villages featured are within the Sandringham estate and royal involvement with the residents was an important part of their lives.

ISBN: 9781904006534

All profits have been given to Norfolk charities, including Norfolk Churches Trust

A Saint Connected to the Brereton Family

A Saint Connected to the Brereton Family by Rosemary Jewers

While reseaching the family I discovered that Ambrose Barlow, the son of Sir Alexander Barlow and Mary Brereton had been made a saint. His mother, Mary Brereton, was the daughter of Sir Urian Brereton. Sir Urian Brereton had many brothers, one brother was Sir William Brereton (executed 1536). Another brother was John Brereton, Rector of Malpas and the founder of the Norfolk line.

I have added a few links for your interest: Note on this page they have written that he used the (Alias RADCLIFFE and BRERETON.)

1586 -1641

Fitzroy Wilson

By Rosemary Jewers 2015

On 8th June 2015 members of the Colchester Civic Society were invited to view a newly refurbished Colchester building. I thought I would seize the opportunity and see the property, known as Grey Friars as it will soon be open as a Hotel.

When we arrived we were offered an array of drinks and tempted to taste delicious canapés. We toured the rooms and I enjoyed looking at the lovely and original interior architecture. It is certainly going to be a sumptuous hotel and should be a credit to Colchester.

On a table I noticed a book, titled 'Grey Friars - Colchester's Forgotten Corner'. It was packed full of information about the history, development and architecture of the site. I was interested to see if the book mentioned the names of some of the former owners of the house. Flicking through the pages I was amazed to read that one owner was Capt. FitzRoy Wilson - sometimes written as Fitzroy. As it was such an unusual name, I was sure he had to be a relative of mine. What a surprise!

The reason I was so convinced that there was a relationship was because Henry Wilson of Stowlangtoft Hall, Suffolk had married twice. His first marriage was to Mary Fuller Maitland. He and Mary had a large family but in 1834 Mary died.

Henry married again, this time it was to Caroline FitzRoy. Caroline was the daughter of the Reverend Lord Henry FitzRoy, son of the 3rd Duke of Grafton.

Caroline had a cousin, Robert FitzRoy, later to become Vice-Admiral - he is best remembered for being the Captain of HMS Beagle. In 1831 Captain FitzRoy began his most famous second voyage, on this expedition Charles Darwin was on board.

It didn't take me long to establish that Fitzroy Wilson who had lived at Grey Friars, Colchester, was indeed the son of Henry and Caroline Wilson and the great grandson of the 3rd Duke of Grafton. He was born at Stowlangtoft Hall in 1840, he attended Harrow School and later joined the Rifle Brigade. He married Annie Elizabeth Laughton, the daughter of a Colonel.

The 1871 Census, lists Fitzroy Wilson and his family living in Crouch Street, Colchester. The book about Grey Friars mentions that between 1874 -1880 Fitzroy Wilson and his family lived at Grey Friars.

The Wilsons already had relatives living in Colchester. A little further along the road on East Hill, stands the large white house, Belgrave Place, built by the Rev. John Savill of Lion Walk Church. John Savill married Frances Maitland and Frances was the aunt of Fitzroy Wilson's father.

Later, Joseph one of the Savill sons, moved back to East Hill with his family. They were living at Belgrave Place when Fitzroy Wilson and his family occupied Grey Friars.

By 1881 Fitzroy and Annie Wilson had moved to Ackworth House, East Bergholt. I found on the Census that two children had been born when Fitzroy and Annie were living in Colchester. Their son Eustace was born in 1873 and the youngest girl, Lilian was born in 1877, it is possible that Lilian could have been born at Grey Friars.

Fitzroy Wilson retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he died in 1887 at the age of 47. He was buried in the churchyard of Stowlangtoft Church, Suffolk.

I cannot believe that just by picking up a book from a table at the new Grey Friars Hotel, I would discover that I was related to a former owner of Grey Friars, particularly as until recently I had thought I had no connection whatsoever to Colchester.

Relationships to Rosemary Jewers; Henry Wilson of Stowlangtoft Hall, Suffolk was 3x great uncle. Frances Savill nee Maitland, East Hill, Colchester was 4x great aunt. Referances: 'Grey Friars - Colchester's Forgotten Corner' and 'Unraveling the threads: A guide to the Wilsons of Stenson in the county of Derbyshire 1664 to 1880' by Malcolm Harrison © Rosemary Jewers 15th June 2015. Link to the article about the Savill house on East Hill, Colchester.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Abel Brereton’s Children

Rosemary Jewers 8th May 2016

I've found there's a lot of confusion regarding the children from Abel Brereton’s two marriages, therefore having research it for others, I thought this would be the ideal place to record some of the baptisms and deaths.

The children listed are from his first marriage to Anne Rouse and from his second marriage to his cousin Elizabeth Lloyd. All baptisms and deaths are taken from the Brinton Archdeacons Transcripts. The only two deaths not taken from the A T's are of his son and daughter who died in Canada.
1774 “August 8th Bridget the daughter of Abel Brereton and Anne (late Rouse) his wife was baptized.”

1785 “23rd October Anne the daughter of Abel and Anne (late Rouse) his Wife was baptized.” Ann (Anne) married William Copland - on her gravestone and marriage certificate she was named as Ann. The Canadian gravestone gives her age as 48 and her death as 4th Jan 1835, making a discrepancy of 1 to 2 years. When the family travelled to Canada via New York, the passenger list shows her age as 48 years. The Archdeacons Transcripts are not complete as some years are missing, but the years from 1785 to 1787 are complete and they indicated that Abel and Anne had no further children baptised until 1787 when their son John was baptised at Brinton.

In 1787 Abel and Anne Rouse had a son John who was baptised at Brinton.

In 1789 Abel Brett Brereton was baptised, he was the son of Abel Brereton and Anne Rouse.

On 14th Nov. 1789 Abel Brett Brereton was buried at Brinton.

1792 to Easter 1793 Mary Brett Brereton was baptised, she was the daughter of Abel and Anne Rouse.

1794 baptism on 27th August of Sarah Margaretta daughter of Abel Brereton and his wife Anne Rouse.

On Sept 10th 1794 Sarah Margaretta Brereton was buried.

Abel’s first wife, Ann Rouse died in 1795. “1795 Jan 31st Mrs Abel Brereton was buried”.

In 1796 he married his cousin Elizabeth Lloyd.

Abel Brereton and Elizabeth Lloyd were married at Brinton on 6th December 1796.

1798 “16th Sept. Elizabeth the daughter of Abel Brereton and Elizabeth (late Lloyd spinster) his wife was baptized.”

1799 “October 13th Cloudesly Shovell the son of Abel Brereton and Elizabeth (late Lloyd spinster his wife was baptized”. I have double checked this spelling in the A T’s. Over the years the family did change the spelling between Cloudesley, Cloudesly and Cloudsley and Shovell and Shovel. Cloudesly Brereton travelled to Canada and married there. He was in touch with and saw his Copland nephews, the children of his half sister, Ann. Cloudesly’s daughter married her cousin William Copland. On Cloudesly's Canadian grave, his name has been written as "Cloudsley Shovel Brereton". The spelling of Cloudesly is a different and Shovell only has one L. He died "March 4th 1873".

1802 May 2nd Margaret the daughter of Abel Brereton and Elizabeth (late Lloyd spinster) his wife was baptised

1803 burial Oct 14th John son of Abel and Anne Rouse was buried (aged16). NOTE, this was Abel and Anne Rouse’s son.

1806 marriage Brinton Oct 2nd William Copland of the Parish of Sharrington single man and Ann Brereton of this Parish... Witnessed by John Brereton Mary Seppings JD Copland Mary Hewitt

I have checked to the end of the Archdeacons Transcripts, I could find no further children mentioned that were born to Abel and Elizabeth.

A further snippet regarding Cloudesly's son.

While I was looking into the life of Cloudesly Shovell Brereton and the Copland family in Canada, Faye Brereton Goodwin kindly offered to do some investigating on her side of the Atlantic. She highlighted the fact that Doctor William Brereton, son of Cloudesly and his wife Charlotte Fisher, had married an Anne Marie Lount. Faye knew that I had been reading about the Upper Canada rebellion, apparently a Samuel Lount had been hanged in 1838 for his part in the uprising. Faye wondered if he could be related to the wife of Dr William Brereton. She wrote "Samuel Lount became a woodsman – and worked with his brother in the survey business. He became an elected member of the Upper Canada Legislature for Simcoe County (which included both East and West Gwillimbury) ."

After a little searching I found that this Samuel Lount had a brother Gabriel, and he had a son Hiram Lount. Hiram had a daughter, Anne Marie who married Dr William Brereton.

Link to the Copland family page.

Many thanks to Faye Brereton Goodwin

The Ann Seppings nee Brereton Sampler

Rosemary Jewers 2016 - updated 2018

In the early summer of 2014, I was due to take a party of some 30 people to visit Brinton Hall in North Norfolk. Before undertaking the journey, I decided to do a quick Internet search, to see if there was any new information about the Norfolk Brereton branch that might be of interest to the party. To my surprise I found the following information and a link to a 'Norfolk Darning Sampler', made by an Ann Brereton. The company selling the sampler were based in Philadelphia, America and they had obviously asked someone to carry out background history searches into whom Ann Brereton was, and to learn more about her family.

I was determined to find out more about this Ann, as I wondered if she was really related to the Brereton family of Brinton in Norfolk. Their branch already celebrated two renowned needlewomen. Firstly, Anna Margaretta Brereton nee Lloyd, who is well known for her bed hangings and secondly Anna's granddaughter, Mary Dowell nee Brereton, who had pieced together the extraordinary 41 foot sampler, comprising of 1000 patterns on 400 different canvas patches.

The link I found was for the image of the sampler and a link to the seller Amy Finkel of M Finkel and Daughter of Philadelphia. On their website it stated,
"An unusual Norfolk darning sampler is currently on offer by Amy Finkel of M Finkel and Daughter at As identified by a note penned by the maker's son, Thomas Seppings, the sampler is the c. 1816 work of Ann Brereton."

On the Hudson Valley site there is also a photo of the backplate and a note written by Ann's son Thomas Seppings. 'Worked by Ann Brereton my dear mother when a child aged 9 years (1816) Thos Seppings July 1850.'

The Hudson Valley website then describes the sampler and the background information – some of which I have selected here, it was posted on 29th March 2014 by Joanne.

"Highly inventive birds/insects accentuated by metallic threads and egg-shaped darning patches on this work are unique among thus far identified Norfolk darning samplers. The only comparison might be the birds and insects worked with metallic threads in the unsigned sampler from the Feller Collection pictured on page 304 of Imitation and Improvement: The Norfolk Sampler Tradition."
 "The Brereton family was originally from Cheshire. In Norfolk the original family seat was at Letheringsett near Fakenham until it was acquired by the William Hardy family in the mid 1770's. In the 18th and 19th centuries branches of the Brereton and Seppings families were intermarried, making absolute identification of this samplermaker difficult. There is little doubt that she was probably from the area around Fakenham, about 25 miles northwest of Norwich, and two villages to the east/northeast of Fakenham -- Brinton and Briningham. Brinton Hall, a Georgian house in the village of that name, was rebuilt in 1822 by the Brereton family"
"In this part of Norfolk, as in other rural communities, business associations were strengthened by ties of kinship. For example The UK Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures records that in 1770 a Thomas Seppings was apprenticed to John Brereton of Brinton, a Norfolk mercer."

When I first found the sampler advertisement, I spent ages searching, trying to make the family connection. To begin with, I found it impossible, because of the date on the back of the backplate - 1816. I knew that Ann Brereton, 1756-1840 was the daughter of Shovell Brereton and Mary Middleton. Shovell and Mary had four daughters, Ann, Cicely, Mary and Elizabeth, because they only had daughters, after Shovell's death, his brother, John and his descendants inherited Brinton.

I had seen a family tree and knew from records that Ann Brereton had married Thomas Seppings (1), I also knew that in the next generation, Mary Brereton (daughter of John Brereton and Anna Margaretta) had married a Thomas Seppings (2), but after many weeks, I finally managed to work out, that Ann Brereton, the sampler maker, was the daughter of Shovell. Her father, Shovell, was the brother of John Brereton who married Bridget Brett and his sister was Mary Brereton who married David Lloyd!

John and Bridget's son, also a John, married his cousin, Anna Margaretta Lloyd, daughter of Mary Brereton and David Lloyd. Ann Seppings was John and Anna Margaretta's first cousin. I was also able to establish that Thos Seppings (2), who wrote the note on the backplate, was the Thomas Seppings who married his cousin Mary Brereton – daughter of John and Anna Margretta Brereton!

Having been preoccupied with the date 1816,  finally the breakthrough came after weeks of searching. My extensive searches had been unable to find another Ann Brereton who married a Thomas Seppings and would have been aged 9 years old in 1816.

It was only when I contacted needlework specialists that they immediately drew my attention to the fact that the date was in a completely different hand and was probably added at a later date... in fact it was a red herring! I had looked at this date so many times, I had noted the rather scratchy upright handwriting, but I was obviously so absorbed by the date I believed it to be accurate. I couldn't believe I hadn't spotted it before and it didn't follow the flow of Thomas' handwriting. Thomas had written the label on the back in old age.

I was asked again for the date of Ann's birth, I checked my records, it was 1756. The experts were able to zoom into the on-line photo and confirming the sampler was a very early example of a Norfolk darning sampler. And, Ann Brereton's sampler, could date to about 1765, when Ann Brereton of Brinton, would have been 9 years old – although early, this did indeed fit with needlework they had seen of this period.

Having been given this information, the sampler is a very important discovery, as it links it to other family pieces, Anna Margaretta Brereton's bed hangings and the Mary Dowell sampler. Now the Brereton family of Brinton have three important pieces of needlework made by members of the family!

The Norfolk darning sampler was eventually sold, and was shipped back in the UK. I understand it is now back in the Brereton family, where it is admired and belongs!

Click on the image to enlarge the family tree and see how these three ladies are connected.

Information about the tradition of Norfolk daring samplers - the finely worked sampler designs were made by young ladies, during this period. The pieces and designs they had perfected were ideal for covering the holes in their fragile dresses!

Ann Seppings nee Brereton was the cousin of John and Anna Margaretta Brereton. Ann and Thomas Seppings1 had a son Thomas, who married Mary, the daughter of John and Anna Margaretta Brereton. Mary Dowell nee Brereton was the daughter of Randle Brereton and Sarah Barwick, and granddaughter of John and Anna Margaretta Brereton. Mary Dowell's uncle and aunt were Mary Brereton and Thomas Seppings 2. Rosemary Jewers is the 3 x great granddaughter of John and Anna Margaretta Brereton.

One further snippet that came to light while I was researching; there was another sampler being sold by the same Philadelphia company. This one was made by Mary Brecknell of Kidderminster, Worcester, England, 1723. Although Mary Brecknell was not directly related to the Breretons of Norfolk, her relative, Elizabeth Hale had married Wm Brereton of Brinton. Elizabeth Brereton nee Hale's father was John Hale her mother was Penelope nee Brecknell, they married 11 Feb 1764 at Belbroughton, Worcs. The following is taken from Robert Maitland Brereton's book: 'William John Brereton, William XL, of Brinton, J. P. and D. L. of Norfolk, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Hale, of Worcester, descended from Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice.

William Copland and Ann Brereton of Norfolk and Canada

Rosemary Jewers 2016

Many Brereton family trees, mention that a William Copland married an Ann (Anne) Brereton of Brinton. Ann Brereton, (1785–1835) was the daughter of Abel Brereton and his first wife Ann (Anne) Rouse. Ann and William married in 1806 at St. Andrew’s Church, Brinton. One witness was John Brereton, Ann’s uncle.

Ann’s father Abel, was the younger twin brother of John Brereton of Brinton Hall, my 3 x great grandfather. Robert Maitland Brereton’s book, records that Abel Brereton and Ann Rouse had seven children who all died issue less. I have found that their daughter Ann, aged 21 married a William Copland and had at least four children, and grandchildren.

Children of William and Ann Copland

Ann Copland b. 1807

Baptism Date for William Copland 1808. On 30th April 1884 William Copland married his cousin Jane Margaret Brereton, (Madge) daughter of Cloudesly Shovell Brereton and Charlotte Fisher. William was 68 and she was 27. William died on 8th March 1888, Santa Barbara California. Having searched many records I am convinced that William was not truthful about his age at the time of his marriage to his cousin, Jane Margaret (Madge) Brereton. He was probably 76 at the time of this marriage.

Baptism Date for Elizabeth Copland 1810. Death 12 July, 1871: Montréal (Unitarian Messiah), Québec. Married J. J. Evans: Had issue

Baptism Date for Charles 1811 he had issue

Baptism Date for John Brereton Copland 1815

The register for the baptisms indicates they took place in a Congregational church. The baptism records of the children show that the family were living in Saxthorpe, Norfolk and later they were living at Hindringham, Norfolk.

Abel’s first wife, Ann Rouse died in 1795. In 1796 he married his cousin Elizabeth Lloyd. Elizabeth was the sister of Anna Margaretta Lloyd who had married John Brereton, elder twin of Abel. Therefore the twin brothers, John and Abel both married their Lloyd cousins. Robert Maitland mentions that a Margaret (daughter of Abel and Elizabeth married William Copland of Canada) this I have found not to be true. Information taken from Archdeacon’s Transcripts.

Abel and Elizabeth Lloyd did have a son Cloudesly Shovel Brereton, he also went to live in Canada. I will write about him in another section, he is well documented on other Brereton websites. Within the Brereton family there were many spellings of the name Cloudesley Shovell. Sometimes the name was written as Cloudesly, Cloudsley or Cloudesley and Shovel or Shovell.

It appears that William Copland (Sen) was born or baptised in Norwich (1783–1862) he died on 22 Mar, 1862 in Toronto, Ontario. William’s parents John D. Copland and Elizabeth lived at Great Witchingham, Norfolk. Photos found on Ancestry family trees, indicate that they may have lived at Great Witchingham Hall - now owned by the Bernard Matthews company. Although I found a ship’s passenger list for the Copland family who were travelling to New York on the ‘Meteor’, having departed from London, they arrived on 26th June 1834. It was obviously not William Copland Senior's first crossing of the Atlantic, because he had set up a brewery in Toronto in 1830.

William 51 (Sen) William (Jr) 24 (slight change of age), Charles 22, John 19, Ann 48, Elizabeth 23. There was no mention of Ann born 1807.

As mentioned above, William Copland (Sen) was living in Canada in 1830, he was the owner of a brewery in Yonge Street, Toranto. The link that follows gives an insight into the life and background of William (Sen) and his son, William Copland Jn. who took over running the brewery.

In 1837, (after his wife Ann had died) William Copland and his sons were caught up in the Rebellion in Upper Canada. He had been writing detailed letters to friends about the uprising. In 1838 the letters were edited into a publication. He mentions his sons' uncle, Cloudesly who also became involved in the fighting.

Upper Canada link

Ann Copland nee Brereton died 4th Jan 1835 Toronto, ON Canada. William Copland (Sen) married Caroline Sewers in 1836 (1795–1886) I found the following about Caroline Sewers. she was born about 1795, her father was Philip and her mother was Elizabeth. Caroline married William Copland on September 6, 1836, in Toronto, Ontario. She died on March 27, 1886, at the age of 91. I found no evidence that they had children.

Find the Copland grave.

Link to Abel Brereton's children.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Esterhazy Connection

By Rosemary Jewers - updated August 2018

I listened to many family stories in my youth, or better to say, half listened. It's only as you grow older you realise it's too late to ask your elders for the full details. The research which follows is based on one such case. It's been a long and rather detailed journey; searching, confirming and translating all the information... but its been the only way I could tell the story.

My grandmother, Mary Eileen Brereton née Stokes would occasionally mention her cousin Nicky - or, that's the name I thought she said. I was intrigued to hear that her cousin was Prince Esterhazy of Hungary. All I knew from my grandmother was that her relative had married a Hungarian prince. Wow! I decided to try unravel this story and find who he was, and where his family lived.

In her youth, my grandmother studied music in Germany or Austria, or perhaps both. She was an accomplished singer, violinist and pianist. One of my sister's remembers hearing while Granny was abroad, she stayed with or visited her Hungarian relatives... and there was a hint that Granny might have considered marrying her Hungarian cousin, the prince.

It was only when I bought my first genealogy package I was able to find who cousin 'Nicky' or perhaps Mihály Esterhazy was.

Granny's father, John Whitley Stokes, owned an Irish shipping line with offices in Liverpool. In 1879 he married Mary Beach Coates in Leominster, Herefordshire.

I found the connection to the Esterhazy family was through the Coates line, Granny's mother's family. Granny's mother, was born in 1855, she had a number of siblings. Her elder sister, Mary Anne Coates was born in 1834, she married George Washington Charters.

They had children, their eldest daughter, Mary Evelyn Hamilton Charters was born in Belfast in 1859. At the time of her birth, her aunt, Mary Coates (Granny's mother) was four years old - almost making aunt and niece the same age.

Searching through the genealogy it transpired that Mary Charters (Granny's first cousin) married Count Károly Stephan Esterhazy of Galantha, at Stoke Park, Ipswich in 1882.

Károly Esterhazy had been born in Vienna on 30th Nov 1847, this was his second marriage. Károly and Mary had four children. Their first son, Mihály was born in London on 20th April 1884.

My Grandmother was born on the 4th January 1885, making her just under a year younger than 'Nicky' or Mihály, her 1st cousin once removed.

The research revealed that although this branch of the Esterhazy family were Counts, (Earls direct translation from the Hungarian) they were given the hereditary title of Prince, this confirmed my grandmother's story.

Having established who and how the Esterhazy family were related to Granny, I was in intrigued to know where they lived in Hungary. This turned out to be quite a task, because over the years and two world wars, borders changed and new countries were established. I started my first wild goose chase when I searched for the Esterhazy residence in Szant Abraham. This name had come up in records when I first started on this epic journey of discovery.

At first I was directed to St. Abraham, now known as Avramesti, Romania. St. Abraham or Avramesti had been part of Hungary, but after the treaty in 1920 it became part of Romania. I spent weeks studying maps, trying to locate where a substantial house or palace could have been in area. It eventually became obvious that I was not going to find anything to connect the Esterhazy family to this place, therefore I had to try another location.

I decided to check the area of Galantha because Galantha was part of the Esterhazy family name. Eventually, after more searching I homed in on a region north east of Bratislava. More maps were consulted before I finally located the small village of St. Abrahám, which is now in Slovakia. Galantha had been part of Hungary, then Czechoslovakia and finally Slovakia.

Unable to pinpoint any likely areas where a large house or estate could have been within the village, I looked for a likely site nearby. At that point I noticed a large green area some distance from the centre of the village. Zooming in, I could just make out a long twisty drive, trees and buildings.

Further searches revealed that in 1903 Károly Esterhazy de Galantha commissioned the famous Art Nouveau architect, Joseph Urban, to create an extension to his castle in St. Abrahám. Urban's architecture turned this new addition into a fantasy castle.

One final piece to add to the puzzle, in recent years we have been told that Granny's cousin, the Countess, proudly or perhaps defiantly, flew the Union flag from the top of the castle (and it could be seen from the river) all the way through the 'War', this must have been the First World War because she died in Vienna in 1932. The small river Dudváh skirts the castle site in Abrahám Park at St. Abrahám.

Count Károly Esterhazy died in 1919 at Cseklész, Hungary (Slovakia) now named Bernolákovo. Over the years the name Cseklész/Ceklis/Bernolákovo, changed many times. Berolákovo is now a suburb or small village not far from Bratislava. The massive castle/mansion is still unoccupied but the grounds have been made into a large golf course. I have to assume that the Bernolákovo mansion was also their family home and it is quite possible they may have had more, but at this stage I think researching that part of the story is a step too far.

In 2018 I discovered the Esterhazy Palace in Bratislava, this former Esterhazy home also overlooks the Danube where the flag could have flown! The building is still known as the Esterhazy Palace but its now the National Gallery of Slovakia.

Additional information

From photos and satellite images of the St. Abrahám Castle area shows that it may have been almost entirely demolished. Later a childrens' home occupied the site, photos of the home show that the front had a 1930's facade. The home had either been built onto or occupied part of the original castle. What is left of the building has been stripped and is in ruins.
Links to photos and video below.

Link to castle website

Link to Bernolakovo and alternative names for Pozsony

Photo of the castle at Berolakovo:

I had always wondered how Mary Evelyn Hamilton Charters and the Count met. I read one account that the Charters family had been in a boat when it capsized. Károly Esterházy was nearby and helped in the rescue. I quote from Newspapers. Library of Wales.

"A ROMANTIC ATTACHMENT. A romantic marriage was celebrated at Ipswich on Wednesday, the bride being Miss Mary Charters, only daughter of Mr G. Charters, of Stoke Park, Ipswich, and the bridegroom Count Carl Esterhazy, of Presburg, Hungary. In the summer of last year Mr and Mrs Charters, with their daughter, were cruising on the river Nile, when their boat was upset. Count Esterhazy was passing in his yacht at the time, and gallantly rescued the party. The acquaintance formed…"

Mihály Károly Stephan Georg, Grof Esterhazy de Galantha the first son of Count Esterhazy and Mary Charters was born in London on 20th April 1884.

Mary's and some of her children's wills were proved in Northern Ireland. They appeared not to leave huge amounts of money. I'm assuming that these wills dealt with money which was held in UK or Northern Ireland banks.

Taken from Wills Belfast records Northern Island.

Full account :
Esterhazy Mary of Sz. Abraham Diosek Bratislava Zupa Czechoslovakia dowager countess died 16 January 1932 at Vienna in Sanatorium Anersberg Administration (with Will) (limited) Belfast 9 July to Thomas James Elliot and Ivan Burke Elliot solicitors. Effects £282 13s. 7d.

Full account:
Esterhazy count Michael (Mihály) of Ceklis, Czechoslovakia died 25 December 1933 Administration (with Will) (limited) Belfast 19 February to Randle Fynes Wilson Holme and Maurice Suckling Ward solicitors. Effects £1423 15s. 2d. Ceklis is now called Bernolákovo near Bratislava. It appears that Mihály may have died at the huge mansion with the golf course.

Full account :
Count Karl Anton Franz Ernst Esterhazy of Tirolerhof Austria and Sz. Abraham Dissek Bratislava Zupa Czechoslovakia died 3 July 1931 at Sanatorium Rudolfinerheim Vienna Administration (with Will) (limited) Belfast 15 October to Randel Fynes Wilson Holme and Maurice Suckling Ward solicitors. Effects Nil.

Hungarian Mihály
Meaning & History
Hungarian form of MICHAEL sometimes Anglicised to Nicholas (perhaps this is why Granny called him Nicky)

Meaning & History
Hungarian form of KARL

Hungarian name
Meaning & History
Hungarian form of Antonius (see ANTHONY).

I have added some links to what had been original photos of the exterior and interior. Contained within this first link are watercolour images of the Urban's exterior and interiors of the St. Abrahám Castle.
Scroll down to see the images.

Art Nouveau architect Joseph Urban (1872-1933 Károly become aware of the young architect, Joseph Urban and I quote from the Flagler Museum website. "He designed buildings throughout the world from Esterhazy Castle in Hungary to the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. Urban’s legacy in Palm Beach are his iconic buildings, Mar-A-Lago, the Paramount Theater, and the Bath and Tennis Club."

1891 the Charters family were living at Stoke Park Ipswich. The Census shows they had a large number of servants.

Rosemary Jewers © 14th March 2016 and August 2018

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Family Reunited

 By Rosemary Jewers

The Saga - consisting of secrets, cover-ups, abandonment and love.

My maiden name was Brereton and our branch of that family had once lived at and owned Brinton Hall, Norfolk and the majority of the land within that parish. This story began on the morning of the 24th May 2009 when I received an email from Esme Bagnall-Oakeley, who now lives at Brinton Hall. I first met Esme in 2008 at an 'Invitation to View' afternoon at the hall, and went to the event because it was a chance to view our old family home.

On meeting Esme and her husband Jeremy, I mentioned that I had heard a family story about their staircase. The legend was, that before it was installed in their house, it had originally come from a former Lord Nelson home. The 'Invitation to View' afternoon at Brinton, started my research into the family story about the staircase. After months of searching and wondering which Lord Nelson home it could have come from, I purchased a booklet about Merton Place, a former Lord Nelson home. Merton Place was situated in Merton, now a London borough. Later I was sent the architect's plans and we were able to confirm that Merton's and Brinton's staircase measurements matched exactly. I also found that there were many coincidences that pointed to the staircase having come from Merton, but unfortunately there was no bill of sale, so I was unable to prove one hundred percent that it was the same staircase.

Since then Esme and I have kept in touch, and I was not at all surprised when I received an email that she had received a letter from a couple who had looked on the Internet about a Brereton reunion taking place at Brinton later that year. The letter mentioned that they hoped she could help them solve a mystery. They told her that they were due to take a holiday in Norfolk; intrigued, Esme invited them to lunch. Over the meal they told her that some years before they'd bought a house in Portsmouth. They moved to a house in Gladys Avenue, North End. In the attic they found old legal documents and other items that had belonged to a branch of the Brereton family. These documents dated back to 1779 - there were photos from the late 1800s and family genealogy.

They were desperate to find a Brereton family to pass them onto. Therefore, when it was the time for them to move to Doncaster, Yorkshire, they decided that they had better take all these things with them and perhaps they might eventually find someone they could give them to. Having now found Esme, they left all of their attic finds with her. I emailed back and offered to take up the challenge of trying to find the real owners of the papers, documents and photos.

Eventually I collected this miscellany of documents and photos from Brinton and my search began. Initially I did try to unravel the mysteries but all my forays on the Internet were fruitless. All I had to go on were dates, some genealogy, and a mixture of names, places and old photos. Many indicated that the person in the photo was either 'Mummy,' 'Granny' or 'Me'; only a few had names on the back of them. It was a real puzzle.

It so happened at the same time my husband Tony and I had started writing a book, based on articles taken from old parish magazines. During the autumn and winter, we continued our project transcribing and editing the articles. My parents had left these bound volumes to me and we were keen to get them ready for publication for Easter - March 2010. We did make our deadline, and The Duke of Edinburgh agreed to write the foreword to the book and 'Rev.elations from old Parish Magazines' was published.

After a busy and successful year launching and publicising the book, I turned my attention back
to finding the owners of the documents that I'd collected from Esme. In early 2011 I re-started my search in earnest this time, mostly out of a sense of guilt, as I felt it was really all dragging on far
too long. I sorted the contents of the box of documents etc once again and tried to make sense of it all.

The genealogy papers in the box, indicated that the family were a branch of the Irish Brereton family. I then spent many weeks of fruitless searches with still no results. One evening whilst looking at the back of an early photo, I decided to type into ‘Google’ a combination of Geraldine Mary Brereton. To my delight, this time I had a result. On the Peerage website I found a Geraldine Mary Welman nee Brereton and most excitingly, she had a son, Gerald. It looked as if he might have moved to the USA - I wondered if he was still alive.

Everything on this website seemed to confirm that I had found the correct family. Geraldine’s father, mother, maternal grandfather, (there were notes on the back of Grandfather's photo) Granny, even Gerald as a young boy, all the genealogy, in fact everything.

At that point, I knew that I had to find Gerald or his children, if he had any. It wasn't at all straightforward. I spent ages going along different routes until I Googled several combinations of Gerald Welman, USA. After searching a few pages, I found his obituary in a newspaper. Again, I was sure I had found the right Gerald and the dates appeared to fit.

I then searched for information about the church mentioned in the article and eventually I found it. I eagerly emailed the church in America and asked the rector if he could help trace any of the family of Gerald Welman.

Unbeknown to me he forwarded it to Gerald's widow, Priscilla, who was on holiday in Florida. She contacted me and filled in all the gaps, i.e. Gerald’s marriages and his daughter etc.

After months of investigations and not knowing who was who from the photos, I had tracked down the owners of the documents who were living in America. The strange thing was, that when I did talk to Priscilla, the widow of Gerald Welman, I was amazed to hear that Gerald had been born in Colchester in 1911. His father had been stationed in Colchester when he was born. As his father had been a senior army officer, there was a strong possibility that Gerald could have been born in the army hospital – now demolished. This was an incredible coincidence as our present house is built on the site where the army hospital once stood in Colchester.

Priscilla’s daughter, (Gerald’s step daughter) her husband and his daughter, visited us on 20th June that year. She took the photos and papers back to her mother in America but left the old documents with us.

One photo of Geraldine Welman had actually inspired the design of the front cover of our book. The photo had been taken by Whitfield Cosser & Co, 14 Queen St. Colchester in 1911. In the photo Geraldine was wearing a huge hat and a fur stole.

It was wonderful to think I had made contact with Priscilla and that the Irish/Brereton puzzle I had undertaken had finally been solved.

Later that summer Gerald's distant cousin, (the only relation he thought he had) came to visit us. She brought me the research she had done and the Foster family tree. Over lunch we talked about our research and how difficult it had been for me to have tracked down Priscilla in America.

I showed her a copy of one of the family trees that had been left in the attic. I pointed out that like me, Gerald and his mother were descended from the main Brereton line, but way back in the 1400s their branch had gone to live in Ireland.

During the summer I tracked down and visited a descendant of Gerald's half brother, Arthur Eric Pole Welman and subsequently another descendant of Gerald's other half brother, Douglas Pole Welman (known as Pat to the family) contacted me for information about the family.

In the collection of the Portsmouth attic papers and photos, were some original wills and mortgages. There were two probate wills of Cooper and Cooper. These wills related to Hillingdon in the west of London. The four mortgages mentioned a David Jearrad amongst others. I searched family trees relating to the Welmans and Breretons but so far, I have not been able to find a connection to the names mentioned above. There must be some connection as Jearrad was involved with the building of Oxford Street, London and some mortgages did relate to Oxford Street.

I had suggested to Priscilla that these documents were very important and should be held in national archives. I contacted the Westminster Archives and they were very keen to have these finds within their collections. Priscilla agreed that they should be held on loan by the archives. I wrote a letter to the archivist confirming that they would remain the property of the heirs and successors of Gerald Welman. On the 28th October 2011, I took them to the London archives and I deposited the original documents into their care.

Over the next year Priscilla and I corresponded by email and often had Skype chats. We became good friends during this time. In Late September 2012 I flew to New York and spent a week visiting my niece and her family before flying to Buffalo and finally meeting Priscilla in person. We spent a lovely week together and I met her friends and I was royally entertained. We even took a day trip to Canada and met an Internet researching friend Faye Goodwin nee Brereton. On our way back we stopped off to look at Niagara Falls, my third time, but never enough.

The last weekend I spent in America with Priscilla, she found the recording Gerald made about his life, it was mostly about the war and his flying. These recordings were originally made on tape before they were converted to CD. Priscilla was very aware that Gerald's concentration and memory was becoming worse, so when a military enthusiast asked to record Gerald's wartime memories, she set up a time for a man to come to their home to ask questions. In the recordings it was obvious that they were being made before Gerald declined any further and at times Priscilla had to prompt him to recall events he had told her about.

As I sat in what had been Gerald's chair, listening to him talk - I could tell he was a lovely kind man. When the interviewer was asking him questions Gerald seemed more interested in the man rather than talking about his wartime escapades. He came across as someone who had lived life to the full but didn't want to brag about it. At one point he started to talk about his wartime flying and how at times it was flying very close to the ground. The interviewer asked something along the lines of, that must have been very scary, Gerald answered in a quiet way, that it was something you had to get on with.

On the Sunday before I left to return to the UK, we went to church where Priscilla worshipped; after the service I met the rector who had played his part in this story by passing on my email to Priscilla. Before leaving church we went out into the little churchyard and we stood in front of where Gerald's ashes had been placed. It was a very moving experience as I felt I had come to the end of my journey, albeit very late. I was so sad to think that he hadn't known about all the things we had discovered.

When it was time to leave, Priscilla and I said our farewells at the airport. My journey took me from Buffalo via Boston, then across the Atlantic and home.

Additional information:

Geraldine Mary Welman was born on 18th August 1888, she died in the registration district of Portsmouth, Hampshire in December 1981 aged 93. She came from an army family, both her father and her maternal grandfather were in the army. Her father was Brig.-Gen. Edward Fitzgerald Brereton and her maternal grandfather was Maj.-Gen. Edward Percival Foster. In 1909 Geraldine married Lt Col Arthur Pole Welman. Their child was Gerald Welman, who was an RAF pilot in World War II. During the war, part of the time Gerald was in Canada training other pilots. More of Gerald's war years later. After the War, Gerald went to America where he continued flying as a commercial pilot for a while. Arthur Pole Welman was also from an army family; his father was Harvey Wellesley Pole Welman. Gerald's father, Arthur Pole Welman had a sister Edith who married Sir Edward Raban, who died in 1927. Priscilla thought that Sir Edward Raban and Gerald's aunt Edith could have paid for at least some of his education. Arthur also had a brother Harvey who taught Gerald to ride.

Priscilla had told me the story that during WWII Geraldine, having lost contact with Gerald, was at the cinema watching a newsreel about troops being trained in Canada. She suddenly recognised Gerald, and she is alleged to have stood up and shouted “that's my son”. After that, she somehow managed to make contact with Gerald via the Mounties!


I contacted Priscilla about the possibility of us applying on behalf of Gerald for the Bomber Command Clasp and the Atlantic Star medal. I thought that if he had flown in Bomber Command, even though it was a short time, he should be entitled to the clasp. There was also the chance that when he was in Canada, that he could have been stationed within the Arctic Circle. Gerald had told Priscilla that he was delivering planes to the UK and training troops in Canada, therefore, I thought there was a chance that he might be in line for an award for that medal as well. Gerald had already been awarded a number of medals for his service before and during the war. As it turned out the MOD records showed that his service came to an end early in the war. We discovered that Gerald had been admitted to two hospitals, he was probably suffering from what we would now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The MOD records showed Gerald was in hospital in Sept 12, 1940 and he had been released from hospital after a few days. Also on the records, the next of kin was blocked out; it was the name of his wife and her address. It also stated that he relinquished his S.C.C. on account of ill health from December 26th 1940. It mentioned he was discharged to his wife's house!

This surprise wife was quite a shock, because Priscilla had thought that Gerald had been married twice before their marriage, but suddenly there was another wife that preceded what she thought was his first wife - Mary. The only thing to do was to find out who this wife was. With Priscilla's blessing, I undertook the search for the first Mrs Gerald Welman.

I soon found the marriage records. Her name was Margaret, and they had married between Oct and Dec 1940 in Whitby, Yorkshire. Later I found her home address. Gerald and Margaret must have divorced because I came across a newspaper cutting announcing that she would be marrying again, six years after her marriage to Gerald had taken place. It gave her previous married name, Welman, to whom she was marrying, the name of the groom's father and where he lived and lastly details of Margaret's parents. Having found this newspaper cutting, it was a great relief to me and most likely a huge relief to Priscilla.

The MOD service records also listed Gerald's education as Bedford School 1924-25 and that he had been a pupil of the Rev Wilkie, Badingham, Suffolk between 1925-26. I found that he had gone to the Rev. Wilkie for private 'cramming' - intensive education instruction. Although the MOD did not record it, Gerald had told Priscilla that the attended Jesus College, Cambridge for a short while before dropping out.

We recently discovered that after Gerald left the RAF in 1940 he joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). This was a hazardous job. The pilots, male and female, were flying aircraft from the factories to military units. They were ferrying trainers, fighters, and bombers from storage units to RAF squadrons. The ATA website states: 'ATA pilots flew without radio, and often with no more sophisticated equipment other than a compass and gyro.' Gerald had mentioned this, when writing about his life as a wartime pilot.

Later Gerald was recruited to join Transport Command (Canada). He was flying aircraft back across the Atlantic to bases in the UK and elsewhere.

Gerald's travels.

He seems to have started wandering the world quite alone and quite early on in his life. Aged 17 he was travelling from Barbados and was recorded on the passenger list as a 'planter'. His UK address was Brownham, Chippenham, Wilts. Another time with a slight change of name, he is listed as George Pole Welman, profession actor, he was age: 20. His UK address was Godalming, Surrey. 'Port of Departure: New York, United States on 1 Nov 1931 Port of Arrival: Plymouth, England. Ports of Voyage: Antwerp. Ship Name: Westernland. Shipping line: Red Star Line.'
At one time Gerald was in Hollywood, employed as a driver for the film star, Sir Charles Aubrey Smith, former cricketer and actor. Perhaps Gerald was also working on his acting at the time. Then I found that in 1964 and then again in 1965, a firm of solicitors, Raymond-Barker, Nix & Co., 9 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2 were searching for him. At the time he was married to his wife Joyce and living in Williamsville, New York. The solicitors advertisement was placed in a UK newspaper and it hinted should he contact them he would hear something to his advantage!

Throughout 2013 and 2014 Priscilla and I kept in regular contact by email and Skype. We swapped our personal family events and news. At times there was a slight flurry of Welman activity.

Additional information

Gerald's marriages:
1. Margaret:
2. Mary: Gerald and Mary had one daughter.
3. Joyce Smith nee Millington
4. Priscilla Hammond nee Sawyer

On the morning of December 11th 2014 I received a phone call from a Mr Trevor James who lived in Scotland. He asked me if I was Rosemary Jewers and I confirmed I was. Usually I am very cautious when I'm asked to confirm who I am when someone phones me, but on this occasion I sat down and listened to what he had to say.

Trevor started by saying something along the lines of; 'Oh good, at last I can share my dark secret that I have been keeping to myself'. Having got me hooked he then said 'Where do I start!'

Trevor started mentioning names, places and people I had never heard of. I was furiously trying to make notes. Nisbet, The Waverley Novels, William Cunningham Watson, Beatrice Geraldine Brereton, Glasgow to name just a few. I think by the end of the call I had worked out part of the route his dark secret had led me along. I put down the phone and tried to make sense of everything he had just told me. It wasn’t long before I telephoned him and we took the story rather more slowly and the penny finally dropped.

I carefully listened as Trevor told me that in October, 2014, he purchased a set of 'The Waverley Novels' written by Sir Walter Scott. They were published 1910-1912 and some carried the stamp of Paisley High School. In the flyleaf of each was the name 'Agnes T. Husband' and some carried annotations in her hand. He was curious to know who she was, so he carried out some research to find out more about her. Trevor said, after a false start finding her husband, he found and bought her marriage certificate. She had married Robert George Nisbet, who described himself as widower. Trevor said he also got her death certificate, which occurred in Inverness.

Trevor looked up to see who Robert George Nisbet had first married, he did this by checking the 1911 Census. He found that Robert's first wife was a German by the name of Henrietta Hardeland. He also found they had adopted three children, all born in England. One of those children was a two year old girl who was named Mary Louise Nisbet.

At one point I asked Trevor how he found me. He went on to say, 'I couldn't find the boys in later life, but I did find that remarkable marriage certificate of Mary Louise Nisbet, aka Beatrice Geraldine Brereton. That put me on the track of Breretons and Welmans, thence the Peerage website, the Colchester Civic Society and their newsletter and finally you.'

Trevor told me that Gerald Welman's mother, Geraldine Mary Brereton had conceived a child before she was married and it appeared that Arthur Pole Welman, who she eventually married, was the father of the child. Arthur, a married man with two children, had briefly been sent on secondment to the Colchester Garrison. His wife and children had probably not accompanied him.

Researching the whereabouts of Geraldine's father, Edward Fitzgerald Brereton, I found that from 1907 to 1910 inclusive, the 2nd Battalion Northants Regt formed part of the Colchester Garrison in Essex. They were based at the Hyderabad Barracks. I quote from the Regt website: 'In 1910 (1911 Army list), E.F. BRERETON was Lt Col, C.O. of 2nd Batt, Northamptonshire Regt, HQ Colchester, ESS - Colchester for Malta'.

Once it was discovered that Geraldine was pregnant, she must have been packed off to Folkestone, Kent to have the baby. Trevor had discovered that Arthur Welman was stationed at Cheriton, which was very close to Folkestone. Arthur would have been at Cheriton at the time of the birth of the baby. He was at Cheriton between, Mar 1908 - Jan 1909.

Soon after the birth of the baby, whom Geraldine had named Beatrice Geraldine Brereton, Fanny Welman started divorce proceedings against her husband Arthur Welman. While the divorce continued Arthur was sent out to Sierra Leone. Shortly after the decree absolute, Arthur and Geraldine married on 8th November 1909 at Cathedral Church, St. George, Sierra Leone. Arthur Welman is shown to be a bachelor and Geraldine a spinster. Meanwhile baby Beatrice had been placed somewhere, if not in an orphanage.

Notes from the original Marriage certificate supplied by Priscilla Welman

Certified Copy of Original Register
Colony of Sierra Leone
Registrar General's Office, Register of Marriages:
November 8, 1909 Arthur Pole Welman, age 42, Bachelor, Major, A.S.C. Residence: Hill Station, Freetown.
Father: Harvey Wellesley Pole Welman, deceased.
Geraldine Mary Brereton, age 21, Spinster Residence at time of Marriage: Colchester, Father: Edward Fitzgerald, Northamptonshire Regt.
Married in the Cathedral Church, according to the Rites of the Church of England, by License of H.E. The acting Governor-in-Chief, by me, Fredrick C. Smith.
'This marriage was solemnized between us, Arthur Pole Welman, Geraldine Mary Brereton in the presence of us...'
'Solemnized at the Cathedral Church in the parish of Saint George. witness my hand this 26th day of May 1924., Deputy Registrar General for the Colony of Sierra Leone'.

The three English children that Trevor found on the 1911 Census - having been adopted by the Nisbets, were living with them in Glasgow. Robert Nisbet is shown on the same Census as a lecturer, he lectured in Humanities at Glasgow University.

In 1912 Robert Nisbet's English translation of 'Primitive Christianity and It's Non-Jewish Sources' was published. Robert George Nisbet made a translation from an already published German book. In the 'Translator's Preface' he mentions the help of his wife. Robert's wife, Henrietta nee Hardeland was born in Germany. I had been told that she spoke High German with friends. I first heard that Nisbet had 'written' a book from snippets found in a letter. I discovered the book has been republished as an Amazon, 'print on demand' book. Later I uncovered and was able to read part of the original book that had been scanned by a Canadian library. Robert Nisbet had written in the translator's preface 'And I ought to add that my translation would have been neither begun nor completed without the affectionate encouragement of my wife, who has so often illuminated for me the obscurities of German idiom.'

Robert and Henrietta Nisbet had changed the names of all three of their adopted children. The following was written on the reverse of Beatrice Geraldine Brereton's birth certificate.

'Springside Gardens, N Kelvinside, Glasgow 11th May 1911

Having on the 15th February 1911 adopted named Beatrice Geraldine Brereton as our daughter, we have named her Mary Louise Nisbet, which name she will in future bear'

'(signed) Robert G Nisbet

Henny Hardeland Nisbet'.

The eldest adopted boy was born in 1905, they had named him Hugh Nisbet probably after Robert Nisbet's brother. The next boy was born in 1907 and they named him Adolf Hardeland Nisbet.

A month or so before Henrietta Nisbet died, her adopted son Hugh aged 17 was sent to Australia, never to return to Scotland. Henrietta Nisbet had been suffering with breast cancer for 11 years and 7 months. A month after her death, her adopted son Adolf, aged 15 was sent to Canada.

I found his Canadian passenger entry form which Adolf had filled out himself in a good hand. Robert Nisbet had paid for his passage. He wrote that his adopted father was Robert Nisbet. Adolf had £5 in his possession and he was going to Canada to learn to be a farmer. He was being sent to the notorious Cossar's Farm in Lower Gagetown, New Brunswick, run by Mr. Meiklejohn.

Going back a step or two, having been contacted by Trevor at the beginning of December and told about Mary Louise Nisbet (pet name Marlies) aka Beatrice Geraldine Brereton and that Marlies had married a William Cunningham Watson... over the Christmas and New Year holiday, I entertained myself by trying to find some of Marlies' descendants.

I finally traced a relative via her husband's old family company. Having found a telephone number, I contacted one of the directors who gave me the phone number of his father.

As it turned out, he was the nephew of William Cunningham Watson who had married Malies. He explained that his uncle and aunt Marlies, had a daughter, Eileen who was still alive and she had recently moved to England with her daughter and son-in-law. Another coincidence, they had moved to Norfolk not many miles from Brinton and Esme, where my journey first began.

My next phone call was to Heather Robinson, the granddaughter of Marlies. As it turned out, her granddaughter Heather knew the real name of her grandmother and she knew that her great grandmother was Geraldine, and that Geraldine had married Arthur Welman but that was all the family knew.

Over the last few months Trevor and I have done more research and I have been filling in the Brereton and Welman blanks for Heather and her mother Eileen.

A few examples. I contacted the Folkestone History group who put me on the trail looking for records of the various orphanages in the Kent area. Heather commissioned a search of any relevant records that could show where her grandmother was placed for adoption. Unfortunately the researcher came up with blanks on all three adopted children and only more things to ponder.

Heather told us that her grandmother's adopted brother Hugh had been sent to Australia at the age of 17. She also told us that quite by chance, Hugh struck up a conversation with a Scotsman holidaying in Sydney. This stranger offered to locate Hugh's sister Marlies, by taking a letter back to Scotland. Hugh must have had information that Marlies had married. He must also have known the approximate area where she and her husband were living and that her husband had a business, because eventually the letter arrived on the desk of Marlies' husband.

Marlies, travelled out to Australia to visit Hugh when she was in her 70s. While she was there he died of cancer. She kept in touch with his family for a number of years.

In the letter Hugh wrote to Marlies, he mentions that he had been in the army for four years while he was in New Guinea - presumably this was before he was living in Australia. The letter mentions that two years before Hugh wrote the letter, he had an operation at the Repatriation Hospital for ex servicemen, the operation was for a cataract on his right eye, subsequently he lost the sight of that eye.

Adolf, as I have already mentioned was in Canada, Marlies had been told all sorts of things to deter her from replying to any letters, if he wrote asking for money she was told not to send him any. He must have been starving at times as the rations at Cossar's Farm were not plentiful. In reality it was more like a slave camp.

Adolf married a girl by the name of Violet Partington. Trevor traced and unravelled the mystery of Violet's birth in England. Her parents, John Partington and Margaret (Maggie) Farrell had married in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada and her mother had travelled to England with her young son. Maggie was pregnant when she set off from Canada in December 1915. She travelled first to Northern Ireland where she had been born and then to England. It transpired that she was following her husband who was a Canadian WWI soldier. Trevor found that Maggie gave birth to Violet on 4th June 1916 at Glen Cot, Hammer Lane, Linchmere R.D. In West Sussex : Reg.Dist: Midhurst, Sub-Dist: Fernhurst. The birth was not registered until 20th July 1916. On the 10th August 1916, John Partington left for France with the 46th Battalion. In October 1917, Maggie and her two children undertook the hazardous journey back to Canada.

When Adolf arrived in Canada he did not change his name legally but he was know as Charles or Charlie. After much research we found that he and Violet did have children. In World War II Adolf was a cook on a ship but sometime later he and Violet divorced. When Adolf and Violet married, Adolf was required to write his mother's name on the marriage certificate. I think he started to write his adopted mother's (pet name) Henny and then he wrote H. This H was probably for her surname, Hardeland. He then wrote the possible surname of his birth mother, Whitlock. He may have possibly found the details of his name change on the reverse of his birth certificate. Marlies had found that the Nisbets had noted her name change on hers.

While I continued to research information about Adolf, I found on Ancestry that there was a mention of him on two family trees. I also found that one mentioned his birth, 16th November 1907 Rushden, Northamptonshire, died 15 Oct 1982 Fredericton, NB. I then found the record in full. Adolf/Charles Nisbet died on the 15th October 1982. His grave is at the Fredericton Rural Extension, York County Cemetery - a soldiers grave plot: 83- 1. NB.

The second Ancestry Nisbet tree owner appeared to be the granddaughter of Adolf. Trevor and I later found the marriage details of her parent who was Adolf's child. We also found details of a marriage of yet another of his children. We were able to follow that particular family to the present day. I even wrote a letter telling them of our discoveries, but unfortunately there was no response.

Not long after the death of Henrietta Nisbet, Robert Nisbet married Agnes Thomson Husband, the original owner of the Waverley Novels. They had twins, a boy and a girl. Heather has told us that Marlies was expected to help look after the twins. Their names were Robert known as Robin, he was to become an eminent professor at Oxford University. His sister Agnes, known as Nanette became a doctor. Although Robin married, he did not have children of his own. Nanette remained single.

Mary Louise (Marlies) left the Nisbet home and went to train at the prestigious Norland College as a Norland Nurse (nanny). She met and married William Cunningham Watson and had two daughters. She did keep in touch with Robert Nisbet her adopted father, but it transpired that the second Mrs Nisbet burnt all Marlies' letters to him. This not handing over of letters has parallels with what happened between Gerald Welman and his daughter. His then wife, Joyce Smith, hid many of her letters to her father. Gerald found them only after Joyce had died.

Heather has told us that her granny, Marlies would have been aware of her real father's existence and his name. On the marriage certificate it mentions her former name, Beatrice Geraldine Brereton. Under mother is written 'Geraldine Mary Brereton (afterwards married to Arthur Pole Welman army Lieutenant Colonel)'. As this was an official and legal document the registrar would have only entered this information as it was relevant and possibly to identify her mother.

Heather said that one of grandfather's sisters called Muriel, did help Marlies try to find her father, but they did not get very far, as things were so different in those days. However, her mother, Eileen also said that William and Marlies did take a couple of holidays in Dublin.

Heather's mother, Eileen is also quite sure that Marlies' adoptive father (the university lecturer) had been at the wedding.


Geraldine registered the birth of Beatrice herself. At that time it was quite normal to leave out the father's name if the mother was unmarried. In fact if the woman was not married, it would have been very unusual to have put the name of the father on the birth certificate. I think it must have been decided that the child should be adopted for the sake of the family and the careers of the father and grandfather. They all probably convinced themselves, it would be as if it had never happened. The only one who was probably not considered was the baby.

Heather found in the index of an old school book, that her grandmother, Marlies attended Laurel Bank School, Glasgow between 1913-1926.

Before concluding the section of the Welmans and Breretons there are a few other things not mentioned; the Welmans appear to have had multiple marriages. Trevor found there is a possibility that further down the Welman line that there was a bigamous marriage in Australia. There are many more events and discoveries that I am unable to find time to write about in detail.

Over the later part of all the researching, I was saddened thinking about the two adopted boys being sent away. Heather had told us that Hugh was an engineer in Sydney, he had married and had a family. Heather found some letters that had been sent from Hugh to Marlies, it was in one of those letters that the book that Robert Nisbet translated is mentioned.

I was very keen to find the family of Adolf. Therefore on Sunday 10th May 2015 I had a sudden brainwave and looked at the name Adolf's granddaughter used on Ancestry. I had always assumed that her 'Ancestry' name was a combination of Jean and another family name. Anyway, I googled Jean and the other part of what could be her surname. To my delight her name came up, I found she had written a blog, with a little more information than she had written on Ancestry. She did have an email address but as the blog was rather old I decided I would see if I could find her address and a phone number. She had mentioned in her blog and Ancestry where she was living in Canada.

I had a lot of luck on my side, because when I Googled again, I found that there was only one family with that name in area. I hoped that I had found her correct address and telephone number. Later that night I made my phone call. Jean answered - I had found the right person! It turned out she had absolutely no idea her grandfather was adopted. Since then we have been emailing and we have been able to send photos and information to her, with still more to be sent.

It was Jean who told me that her grandfather, Adolf had been a cook on a ship in WWII. After the war he returned home a changed man. She wrote that he was a loving man to all of his family and even when he and Violet divorced, they remained good friends until his death.

Information from Anita Jones

In a recent email from Anita Jones in Canada she wrote that Adolf’s obituary stated that he was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Professor and Mrs. Robert George Nisbet, therefore his birth name did not appear. He was listed as a painter by trade, and a member of the Fredericton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and an associate member of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association; apparently the Air Force Club was very near his residence on Regent Street, Fredericton.

Jean and Heather have now started corresponding and when Jean visits her family, she hopes that she will learn more about her grandfather's life and possibly see his birth certificate if it still exists.

Marlies' daughter Eileen had lived in New Zealand but had returned to her parents home, where she lived with her two daughters for a number of years. Earlier this year Eileen, Heather and Esme Bagnall-Oakeley travelled to Colchester to visit my husband Tony and me. While they were visiting us we managed to fix up a Skype call to Priscilla, so they could all meet and talk for the first time.

When I was given those abandoned attic papers and photos in 2009, I had absolutely no idea that they would lead me to travel so many real miles and spend hundreds of Internet hours searching and uncovering this story. And at a later date a complete stranger, Trevor would contact me to tell me about even more intrigue and deception. And together we would hunt through and unpick the many layers of the covered past.

I thought it was wonderful when I found Priscilla, but then I was amazed to find and meet Heather and Eileen and now I've found Adolf's granddaughter, Jean and her family that is incredible... and the story that has unfolded is quite unbelievable. I have tried to write it all down but to be quite honest there have been so many twists and turns, I cannot keep up with it, everyday there seems to be something new!

© Rosemary Jewers 10th June 2015

A huge thank you to Trevor James who added so much to this story. I would also like to thank Anita Jones for additional information about Charles/Adolf Nisbet, his family and the Partington family.

UPDATE August 2016

Just as I thought this story was concluding... a new chapter began. In May of this year (2016) I visited Heather Robinson and her mother Eileen at their home in Norfolk. During my visit, Heather found family albums for me to see. As I mentioned earlier, Marlies, (mother of Eileen and grandmother of Heather) had visited her adopted brother Hugh Nisbet in Australia. While she was there she was given photos of Hugh and his children. When I looked at the photos of Hugh in later life, I was stunned. The resemblance between Hugh and Adolf was so strong, both Heather and I thought they had to be brothers.

We decided we would forward Hugh's family photos to Jean in Canada. When she replied, one of her comments was... 'I thought, where did that picture of my grandfather came from... ?' Then she read on and realised that it wasn't her grandfather.

At this point it seemed important to try to contact Hugh's son who we thought was still living in Australia and his daughter, who Heather was sure had moved to California.

At first I tried to find the Australian family, but it appeared that Hugh's son had closed his business, so I thought I would try to find his daughter. She had possibly changed her surname a couple of times, but eventually I found her phone number; with fingers and toes crossed, I called. Yet again I had struck lucky. She was thrilled to talk to me. She told me that at times she had contemplated putting an advert in a Scottish newspaper in the hope of finding Marlies' descendants.

I did do more research trying to find the Australian family. I found what I thought was Hugh's son's address. This time we decided that Heather should write, she is hopeful that one day her letter will find them and they will reply.
August update ends.

At this point I would like to record part of the email Trevor wrote to Jean about the Nisbets and her grandfather.

'At first glance, Robert George & family are just about perfect. A self-made man, university lecturer, married to his work & devoted to his two kids. When he dies, his obit. is glowing. His kids do even better. His son, Robin Nisbet follows his father's footsteps and reaches greater heights, becoming a professor at one of the most respected universities in the world. His daughter is a consultant doctor, tends her mother's last years' life. The son, even travels all the way from Oxford to Inverness (520 miles) to be with his mother when she dies.

However, if you dig a little deeper, cracks appear. In the son's obituaries, there's no mention of his twin sister. In the daughter's Will, there is apparently no bequest to any family member - it all goes to animal charities. Finally (and most damningly, I think) in the father's obituary, there's no mention of his first wife or any of their three adopted children.

The cracks become canyons when you get to Robert George Nisbet's first family. His treatment of all his adopted children is appalling and, as far as your grandfather is concerned, he had possibly the worst life of all three. Let me state here & now that I root for Adolf Hardeland NISBET, 100%; I'm amazed he survived to any age at all. Consider:

1. He's available for adoption - maybe he had a single mother & she died after his birth (but none of her relatives wanted him) or, more likely, he was brought up in an orphanage. Then, good news, he's adopted by a well-to-do family, with a servant.

2. In the very month he starts school, World War 1 starts. He has a German mother and, in class, he has to answer to 'Adolf'. He must have been a marked man for bullying, and it wouldn't end with the war, as many of his classmates would have lost their fathers. Worse still, it was a private school (says Heather), so many of the fathers would have been Army officers, especially targeted by the German snipers. The death rate for Army officers on the Western Front was much higher than that of Other Ranks.

3. Three weeks before his mother dies, his elder brother ships out to Australia. I *think* they weren't very close (perhaps they fought a lot) but, even so, it's another 'loss'.

4. His adoptive mother dies. Maybe this should be 3, as her death would have been the end of a long, painful illness - she had had breast cancer for over 11 years, with secondaries "everywhere".

5. Three weeks after his mother's death, he's shipped off to Canada, at 15 years old.

6. He drops from a middle-class home to being among boys from the workhouses & orphanages of Glasgow (& he still has a German name).

7. He's sent to work on a farm with terrible inspection reports - long hours, bad food & poor pay. Perhaps these three Hits should be grouped together.

8. Communication by Mary Louise with Adolf was heavily discouraged by her father, by blackening Adolf's name.

9. In World War II, he's a naval cook. It doesn't matter if he's in the Royal Canadian Navy or the Merchant Navy, he's likely to have been on Atlantic convoy duty. With ships and submarines trying to sink your ship, it was not the best way to spend six years with the name Adolf! We know he changed his name to Charles, but even the best secrets have a habit of leaking out.