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Wednesday 26 August 2009

Another publication

Another publication listing names on war memorials has been kindly sent to me by the Matterdale Historical and Archaeological Society.

A labour of love, it describes the men whose names appear on the memorials at Matterdale, Greystoke, Patterdale, Penruddock and Watermillock from both world wars.

One of the great things about these locally produced publications is the anecdotal stories that often appear. The men are often remembered in their communities and stories remain in the memory of friends and family describing their lives and their fates. Such is the case here.

I found myself by the banks of Ullswater yesterday. What a beautiful place. I looked around the Salvin church at Patterdale and found two further memorials commemorating conflicts.

At the west end of the nave there is a White Ensign hanging from the wall.

An accompanying plaque explains that it flew on a despatch boat of HMS Lion, flagship of Sir David Beatty, at the Battle of Jutland. It was presented to the church by Commander Berry RN. Best look at my earlier posting about Beatty's flag at Flookburgh!

Set against the end wall of the nave, below the flag, is a rough wooden table.

It is an altar that was originally in the crypt of St Martin in the Fields, London. It was given to the Lakeland sculptress, Josephina de Vasconcelles who installed it in the chapel of a house in the Duddon Valley that was a refuge for disadvantaged youths. In 1970 it was dedicated by the Bishop of Carlisle as a memorial to all those killed in air crashes in the Lakeland fells from the outbreak of the second world war until today; over 500 people. At the millenium Josephina gave the altar to Patterdale church as a focus of pilgrimage for friends and relatives of the dead.

More Trafalgar Veterans at Cartmel!

Following my posting about ancient Cumbrian Veterans I got an email from Howard of Cartmel.

In 2005 he wrote a short article for the parish magazine to commemorate the bi-centenary of Trafalgar. It was based around an earlier article published in the same mag in July 1917 reporting on a lantern slide talk given in the village by Admiral Powlett on the theme of The Navy.

Howard describes how after the talk Powlett proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman of the meeting, Sir Evan MacGregor of Aynsome Manor, Cartmel....

who is the grandson of Nelson’s Captain at Trafalgar. The proposal was seconded by [the vicar of Cartmel Rev Godfrey Smith] the great-grandson of Nelson’s Chaplain... The printing for the lecture was carried out by the great-niece and great-great-niece of two of Nelson’s sailors, one of whom, Robert Thompson, is said to have died after having both his legs shot off, and the other, John Thompson, lost only part of a finger and lived in Cark for many years to tell the tale. One day, in the “Rose and Crown,” a young man made some slighting remark about the Navy, whereupon John Thompson said, “Say that again, young man.” The young man said it, and John promptly knocked his head through the wood panelling!

Nelson’s Captain on HMS “Victory” was Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839). His grandson was Evan MacGregor, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, a civil servant in the Admiralty for 47 years. He rose to the highest level where he served as Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty from 1886 until his retirement in 1907 following which he lived at Aynsome Manor until his death in 1926. He and Lady MacGregor worshipped in the Priory from 1908 onwards. His banner hangs between the British Legion banners in the North Transept where a commemorative plaque can also be seen. The family grave is in Grange cemetery, right in the corner nearest to Cartmel.

Dr. Alexander John Scott D.D. (1768-1840) was Chaplain and friend to Nelson for many years.

His great-grandson was The Reverend Godfrey Smith, Vicar of Cartmel until 1919. Recollections of the Life of the Rev. A.J. Scott. D.D. Lord Nelson's Chaplain.” by Alfred and Margaret Gatty was first published in 1842. This biography was written by his daughter two years after his death and has been recently reprinted by Meriden Publications ISBN: 0954349504.

Cobby - The War Horse - killed at Ypres 1915.

Had a lovely day out yesterday. Started out at Holehird, the gardens of the Lakeland Horticultural Society located just off the Patterdale (Windermere to Troutbeck) road as it ascends towards Kirkstone. These spectacular gardens, which includes the national collection of Hydrangeas, are maintained entirely by volunteers. The house is a Cheshire Home.

Originally they were part of the Holehird estate that was originally built up by the Lingard family in the early/mid 19th century. In 1865 it was bought by John MacMillan Dunlop, a Yorkshire industrialist. Following his death and a long family wrangle the house and grounds were sold on again to William Grimble Groves, a Manchester brewer. It has famous associations. For the two summers of 1889 & 1895 Beatrix Potter stayed here with her family when her father rented the house. In 1945 the entire estate was given to Westmorland County Council by Henry Leigh Groves JP for the benefit of the people of the county.

So what has Holehird got to do with Remembrance of war?

In an isolated poart of the estate, now in private ownership, there is a collection of small memorials to the family pets of the Groves family. Among these is a stone to 'Cobby', one of the estate's horses that was conscripted into the war effort in 1914/15.

The inscription reads;

Killed at Ypres
Whilst Serving His
April 1915

Thanks to Ian Jones for the pic of the memorial

Monday 3 August 2009

What's in a name?

Taking a bit of a leap of faith with this posting, or a leap of imagination.

Surnames are odd things! I guess they identify us, give us our individuality, but they also link us with the past. Until recently they could be a label of locale, of belonging, not simply to family, but to place; people didn't stray far until the nineteenth century. My Grandmother was a Waterworth. In the early years of the nineteenth century Waterworth's would only be found on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border and in one or two communities down south. Incidentally, every Waterworth on the planet is reputedly descended from one guy, a mediaeval Water Bailiff from Rufford in West Lancashire.

So what is in a name?

On the Great War memorials of Furness there are a number of names that are distinctly local; Woodburn, Pennington, Kitchin, Postlethwaite. They are names that occur in North Lancashire for generations. There are others who are not represented among the dead, Mackereth is one such.

Thus it was quite remarkable to be surfing the National Archives site and, coming across the full listing of Trafalgar veterans to find the name of William Mackeras.

William was born in Ulverston in 1780 and in 1805 was serving as an Ordinary Seaman aboard HMS Naiad, a frigate in Nelson's fleet, present at Trafalgar. Some years later a local paper carried a report on an event probably about Ulverston William...


Mr. William MACKERETH, one of the remaining few of the heroes of Trafalgar, who has been residing for some time in Troutbeck, was on Tuesday last entertained by his friends on leaving the vale. The "Old Commodore" and "Mackereth's Gone to the Wars" composed for the occasion, and several appropriate songs, were sung on his health being drunk. The old sailor responded in a characteristic speech, and only regretted he was not engaged with the Baltic fleet where "England expects every man to do his duty."

Looking further I discovered that there were a stack of Cumbrians at the battle. Able Seaman Joseph Ben of Keswick served on HMS Bellerophon. Sam Wise of Skinburness served on the Polyphemus as a Master's Mate. Over 100 Cumberland men were there, mostly from the coastal ports of Workington, Whitehaven & Maryport, although there are a significant number from Carlisle.

Seamen Carousing - Julius Caesar Ibbetson - 1802

There were Westmorland men too. James Clarke of Ambleside fought in HMS Ajax. Mathew Hartley was a press ganged 51 year old married man from Kendal. His first ship was HMS Victory in which he served at Trafalgar. He survived the French wars and was discharged, presumably to make his way back to Kendal, in September 1814. At least 11 Westmorland men fought.

John Woodburn was a Private of Marines in the Leviathon; was he a south Cumbrian?

Check here for the story of the British Tar in paintings.

Finding all these names took me to the University of Southampton website and the database of men who fought in the 100 Years War, veterans of Agincourt, Orleans; Harry the Fifth's Band of Brothers.....

One of the principal families of mediaeval Cumbria was the Harringtons; there is the Harrington chantry at Cartmel Priory. Searching this name on the database, under 'Captain', threw up loads of names of common soldiers. One is William de Dunourdale, or in modern parlance William of Dunnerdale, who was an archer in King Harry's Expeditionary Force of 1415. He is listed in Sir John Harrington's muster roll and probably fought at Agincourt.

Alain Penyngton, knight, Richard Hudelston, John Penyngton, Nicholas Lamplogh, men at arms, William Threlkylde, archer; all served in John, Lord Harrington's Companies in 1415; all have Cumbrian names.

Thomas Makereth was an archer in the same Company. Was he a forefather of William Mackeras who served at Trafalgar?

Who knows!

It is easy to connect to the English Longbowman. Find an old unrestored church and look around the porch and there you may find grooves in the stonework such as these at St Anthony's, Cartmel Fell.

They were created by bowmen sharpening their arrowheads as they waited their turn to practice in the churchyard butts, anytime between c1350 - c1650.

Prints of the sailors pic can be purchased at The National Maritime Museum