Saturday, 29 May 2010

Surname Saturday - Pyman

My interest in this surname comes from my great grandmother, Jane Pyman Pyman (yes, so good they named her twice!).  Her family can be traced back into the 1600's to a village just outside Whitby in North Yorkshire called Sandsend.  Her grandfather, George Pyman (seen below), rose from being the son of a fisherman, to being the mayor of West Hartlepool.

I've tried on and off over the past 30 years (which makes me sound much older than I am, but I started my interest in family history when in my teens), to find a link between my own Pyman family and any other Pyman's around the world.  I've gradually collected odd bits of information here and there and find that the name seems to have three sources.  There is a small family of Pyman/Peyman people in Berkshire and Oxfordshire around from 1650 onwards, my own Yorkshire gang from a similar time, and another ground in Suffolk/Essex which seem to go back slightly further to around 1550. 

There are tales amongst the Yorkshire Pyman family members that we "came over from Scandinavia", but nothing, other than being on the East coast of England, to back that up.

Moving forwards the Suffolk Pyman branch seems to be the most travelled as there are now large branches in Australia, Canada and the US, whereas my Yorkshire clan seems to have made to the US but nowhere else in any great numbers, and the Berkshire group have all but died out with the Pyman name rather than Peyman.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Where did he go?

Following on from my snapshot into the life of my Moore ancestors, I'm following that line a bit further forward in time to tell the tale, such as I know it, of John Edward Moore, son of William in my first blog.

John was born, four years after the events at the Tollgate, in the house on Timber Hill.  He was the fourth of five children born to William and his wife, Frances Palmer.  His elder two brothers, William and Thomas, and his younger brother, Arthur, all followed their father's footsteps by becoming bakers and grocers in Melton Mowbray, but John appears to have had different ideas. 

In the 1881 census John has moved down to Wanstead in Essex and is a bookseller.  He was still following this profession when he met Lottie Fanny Cullen who, oddly enough, was the daughter of a local baker and confectioner, so maybe thoughts of home led John to the local baker's shop!

They married when Lottie was just nineteen, but the marriage was a disaster. Knowing how much his wife would have prefered to have been called Charlotte Frances, John insisted on christening their daughter Lottie May. Before the baby was a year old he left them for good.

Lottie, faced with earning a living, boarded the young child with a Quaker couple who lived at Leamington and herself went back to nursing. She nursed privately a Mrs Kitchin of Sheffield after whose death, Hannah Kitchin, her unmarried daughter, persuaded Lottie to come as companion. They set up house at Summerfield, Curbar, Derbyshire, moving in 1935 to Sylvan Cliff, Buxton where both died.

Both women were very religious and lived their religion, giving home to Belgian refugees in 1914-18 war, and later to furloughing Missionaries. They were both strong teetotallers (Lottie's brother was a drunkard and they aided his neglected family). Nina was a woman of means and both ladies travelled regularly, Nurse, as Lottie was always called, acted as housekeeper and cook.  

Nothing more is known of John Edward after he deserted Lottie, and I have tried in vain to track him down in the censuses that followed but no sign. I keep hoping that one day he will turn up, like a bad penny and tell me where he has been for the last 120 years!

Lottie Fanny Moore (nee Cullen)

I owe a great part of this story to my grandmother, Mary Beckett (nee Bell), who has recorded the story told by John and Lottie's daughter, May, who was her mother-in-law.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Peppermint Billy - a brief follow-up

This is just a mini-blog, as I had planned to start off just writing once a week, but I'd mentioned in my first blog that JamaGenie had started me off on this whole process, and naturally she is the one who has now found some extra clues that I missed first time around.

Five years ago The Ballad of Peppermint Billy was written by Kevin Wood which tells the tale of Billy and his misfortunes.

In addition there is a book Death by Peppermint by Tim Randle which tells a fictionalised version of Billy's life. In the first few pages (which you can read via Amazon) the story goes that Edward Woodcock was the local Bailiff and responsible for evicting the Brown family from their home in Scalford.  Whether Mr Woodcock also played a part in Billy's later conviction for theft which had him transported isn't clear but apparantly Tim Randle's own family lived in the tollgate in the late 1800s, so I'm going to do my best to contact him and see whether my Moore family crop up in his research.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

A few days in June 1856

Well, here goes for my first ever blog! I've been inspired by reading the various genealogy blogs around to add my little bit about family details I've found. Particular inspiration came from JamaGenie of the Saturday's Child blog who has linked me to previously unknown Beckett family details over the last few months.

I am starting off with an example of the amazing way the internet comes up with odd snapshots into the lives of our ancestors. Like many other people I occasionally google random ancestor names and places in the hope that something relevant comes up. This time I tried the name "William Moore", my g-g-g-grandfather, and "Timber Hill" where he lived in Melton Mowbray in the mid 1800s. Part way down the page was an entry which sounded very promising "WILLIAM MOORE will prove as follows: I am a Baker residing at Melton Mowbray...".

The link led me to a copy of the Leicestershire Summer Assizes for 1856 and a murder trial brief for the case against William Brown, alias Peppermint Billy. There were pages of witness statements from everyone involved in the case, along with a statement from the accused. Among the witnesses was my William who apparently had known the accused as they were both from Scalford, a local village.

William Brown had recently returned from Van Dieman's Land having been transported there for a ten year year sentence. He had, according to witnesses, sworn to murder the person who had sent him there, and it appears that following a brief stay with his brother John and his wife Ann in Leicester (where he seems to have spent rather too much of his time with his sister-in-law!), that is what he did.

On arriving in Scalford his first action appears to have been to search out my g-g-g-g-grandmother, Amy Moore, who by that time was widowed and working as a servant at the Lodge. He found her and asked after her children, and upon discovering that William was living in Timber Hill and keeping a Bakehouse he said that he would go and visit him. On his way he seems to have stopped off at every local house and asked whether anyone kept the local gatekeeper company at night.

It is not clear from William Moore's statement how pleased he was when returning home one evening to see what appeared to be an old friend, but he gave him some supper anyway. The next day William Brown turned up at the house again and was given breakfast before leaving with Henry Reed, the servant of my William. He then spent the day assisting Reed with some work in the fields before coming back to be fed supper and given one shilling and three halfpence in an effort by my ancestor to get rid of him.

William Brown then seems to have returned to the field where he had been working that day and spent some time resting in a Hovel in the field before walking through the mown grass towards the Thorpe Road Toll Bar, where he then murdered the gatekeeper, Edward Woodcock and his grandson, James.

Justice seems to have followed pretty swiftly as Brown was arrested a couple of days later, and then tried and executed the following month.

So far I've tried in vain to find details of Brown's original trial where he was deported to see if there was any mention of Edward Woodcock's involvement.

On a more cheery note, I also discovered that this very Toll Gate was also part of the origins of the phrase "painting the town red". Back in April 1837 the Marquis of Waterford and some fo his friends returned back at the tollgate at Thorpe End after a day at the local races. The toll keeper, whose name is sadly not known, would quite rightly not let them back into town until they had paid the proper tolls. The young men took exception to this and then nailed the toll keeper into his house and proceeded to paint the toll gates red.

The drunken crowd then carried on through the town painting various other things red, culminating the in the Marquis himself being lifted up in order to paint the statue of a swan outside a local hostelry red as well When the local police tried to stop the madness they were also painted!

The Marquis later, once sober, was made to pay for the damage done and the phrase has remained in use ever since.

Amazing what you can find on the internet!