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:


http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02298b.htm 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 canap├ęs. 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. http://www.harpenden-history.org.uk/page/i_rang_a_doorbell_in_colchester...