Wednesday 31 January 2007

1881 Cruwys distribution map

While at the Bracknell Family History Fair at the weekend I purchased a copy of a software program called Genmap UK which will enable me to produce distribution maps based on various aspects of my data. I decided to experiment by creating a map showing the distribution of the surname in 1881. There were only 84 individuals listed in the 1881 census with the surname Cruwys but I have been able to incorporate in my map an additional 34 people whose names are known to have been mis-spelt, bringing the total up to 118. No doubt as the research progresses more missing people will be identified under alternative spellings and the map can be updated. As can be seen, the greatest concentration of the surname in 1881 was in Devon but the drift to Somerset, Dorset, Wales and London had already started. The sole Cruwys in the north of England was 10-year-old John Cruwys, the son of James Cruwys and Fanny Farmer Cruwys, who was staying with his uncle and aunt Benjamin and Elizabeth Farmer. John is from the Wiveliscombe Cruwys family. Thirty-six-year old George Cruys from Barnstaple is missing from the map as he was a stoker on board the Miranda on census night and I haven't yet found a way of creating a red dot in the sea!

See also the posting on 1881 distribution.

Monday 29 January 2007

Edwin 'boss' Cruwys of South Molton

There are only two births registered in the name Edwin Cruwys in the GRO indexes and it is quite a coincidence that just a few days after writing about Edwin Cruwys the Boer War veteran I have received an interesting newspaper article from Shirley Bray about the wife of the other Edwin Cruwys, who was the uncle of our Coldstream Guard. I thought it would be appropriate to write a short piece about Edwin's life as he seems to have been quite an interesting character. I am indebted to the late David Ryall, the former OPC (online parish clerk) for Chittlehampton and Filleigh, who assisted with the research.

Edwin Cruwys was born in 1854 in Mariansleigh, Devon, the twelfth and youngest child of William Cruwys, a mason, and Mary Meecham. Edwin married Sally Cawsey Webber in 1882. Sally was born in 1858 in Landkey. Edwin was by all accounts quite a character in South Molton. He was known as 'boss' Cruwys and was often seen around town with his 'oss 'n 'earse (horse and hearse). As can be seen from the invoice reproduced below Edwin seems to have had his finger in a number of pies and is described variously as a grocer, tea dealer, pork dealer, undertaker, and post horse proprietor. Edwin and Sally lived at 12 East Street (later renumbered as 9 East Street), where they presumably lived above the shop. Edwin also had a livery stables at South Street where he kept his horses, which is possibly the location of the Unicorn Yard mentioned in the invoice. The picture below is a view of East Street from the early 1900s when Edwin and Sally were living there.Edwin and Sally had just one child, a son called Archibald Edwin Cruwys, born in 1884. Sadly Archibald passed away on 7th March 1897 when he was just 12 years old. Sally died on 22nd February 1925. Her death was reported in the South Molton and West Somerset News on 28th February.
We regret to record the death of Mrs. Cruwys, the wife of Mr. Edwin Cruwys, dealer, of Southmolton, which took place on Sunday, at the age of 67. She had been in poor health for some years, and on Saturday, when she appeared to be as usual, she was seized with sudden illness. Medical aid was summoned, but she succumbed early on the following day. Much sympathy is felt with Mr. Cruwys in his unexpected bereavement. Mrs. Cruwys was long associated with the Wesleyan Methodist church, and was highly respected.
Edwin died just three years later on 15th February 1928 at the North Devon Infirmary in Barnstaple. He was buried alongside his wife and son in the South Molton Cemetery. Edwin's estate was valued at just over £3,000 gross and £2,000 net which was then quite a substantial sum for a shopkeeper and undertaker. He left small bequests to the South Molton and Landkey Wesleyan Chapels, but the principal beneficiary was Eva Couch, his faithful domestic servant. Eva was born in 1870 in South Molton, the daughter of William and Emily Couch. Her father was a labourer, and in the 1871 census the family were living at Crispin's Court in South Molton. Eva went to work for Edwin and Sally as a young girl. She was living with them at 12 East Street in both the 1891 and 1901 censuses where she was described as a domestic/general servant. At the time of Edwin's death Eva's address was given as 9 East Street. By this time of course the houses had been re-numbered, so it is clear that Eva continued to live with Edwin until his death. It is not known what became of Eva after Edwin's death but it seems likely that she continued to live in her employer's house and probably stayed there for the rest of her life.

Interestingly the house where Edwin, Sally and Eva lived became known as Crucou House. It is not known whether the house was given this name during Edwin's lifetime or if it was so named after his death. Perhaps Eva named the house in memory of her former employer. CruCou House can be clearly seen in the photograph below which was taken some time in the early 1960s.
CruCou House was demolished in the late 1960s, along with the adjacent property at no. 10 known as Marley House, to make way for a new health centre. The new South Molton Health Centre opened in the autumn of 1968.

The colour postcard of East Street is from Shirley Bray's private collection. The black and white photograph is the copyright of Gordon Bray. Both pictures are published by kind permission of Shirley and Gordon Bray. The invoice is in a collection at the South Molton Museum and was kindly supplied by Shirley Bray.

The Coldstream Guards in the Boer War

Ex-Coldstreamer Bill Spence has very kindly sent me a most wonderful photograph of the Coldstream Guards in the Boer War which I am reproducing here with his kind permission.

Unfortunately the names of the men are not known but I would like to think that one of them is Edwin Cruwys.

For further information on the Coldstream Guards see the Wikipedia page.

Friday 26 January 2007

Edwin Cruwys of the Coldstream Guards

While in the process of sorting out some papers today I came across the service papers of Edwin Cruwys (service no. 9898), who served in the Boer War with the Coldstream Guards. Edwin's medals were auctioned on E-bay in December 2005 and eventually sold to a private buyer for £500. A photograph of Edwin and a copy of his service papers were also included in the sale. I wrote to Bloomsbury the auctioneers to enquire if the buyer might be interested in exchanging information about Edwin. I heard nothing from the buyer but Bloomsbury very kindly offered to send me photocopies of the service papers which duly arrived in the post a few weeks later. I've only now got round to transcribing the papers, and I've discovered that they provide a valuable insight into Edwin's army career.

Edwin was born in 1873 in Chittlehampton, North Devon, the son of Thomas Mitcham Cruwys and Ann Beard. His father was a boot and shoemaker and was from the large Mariansleigh Cruwys family. Edwin worked as a gardener and a cabman before being recruited to join the Coldstream Guards in 1894. He enlisted with the Foot Guards (7th Battalion London Regiment) on 20th October 1894. Edwin served in South Africa during the Boer War from 21st October 1899 to 6th October 2002. He steadily gained promotion through the ranks and by 5th July 1903 he was promoted to Colour Sergeant. His service record shows that he deserted on 30th March 1904, though the reason for his desertion is not given. He rejoined the Army on 2nd June 1906 and was immediately convicted of desertion, the penalty for which was the loss of his kit and a reduction in his rank to Private. The desertion did not appear to count against him and Edwin was rapidly promoted through the ranks and by 1908 he was a Lance Sergeant. The following year he signed up for a further term with the Coldstream Guards in order to complete his 21 years' service. On completing his term of engagement he was discharged from the army, by which time he had been promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant Major.

Edwin received three medals during his time with the Coldstream Guards. Firstly, he was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with four bars. Three of the bars represented his participation in battles: Belmont (23rd November 1899), Modder River (28th November 1899), and Johannesburg (31st May 1900). The fourth bar was a so-called "State" clasp for service in the Orange Free State. There were so many incidents or battles in this area that it was not considered appropriate to issue a clasp for every individual action. The actions in the Orange Free State covered the period from 28th February 1900 through to 31st May 1902. Edwin's second medal was the King's South Africa Medal with two bars for service in South Africa in 1901 and 1902. The third medal was received for service during World War I. Edwin was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Immediate Award) on 26th May 1919 "for valuable services rendered in connection with the War". He was also mentioned in despatches on 24th February 1917. Edwin does not appear to have served overseas during WWI, and it is not clear why he merited such awards. His service record shows that he served at "Home" from 7th October 1902 to 12th July 1919. Home was defined as serving anywhere in England, Scotland or Ireland, though it seems most likely that Edwin was based in London for most of the War.Curiously on 12th April 1921 Edwin was called up for a period of 90 days to cover for "the present emergency", joining the 7th Battalion London Regiment (Defence Force). The precise nature of this emergency is not known. He was discharged on 10th July 1921.

Edwin married Elizabeth Mary Potter in August 1913 at St Mary's Church in Newington, London. By this time Edwin was a Sergeant Instructor with the 2nd Battalion. An account of the wedding reached Devon and was published in the local Chittlehampton newspaper: "The wedding was given a military colour, the bridegroom being held in much respect by his comrades". Edwin and Elizabeth lived at 150 Portland Road, South Norwood, London SW. Edwin died in 1933 at the age of 60. His wife Elizabeth died in 1964 at the age of 82. They did not have any children.

See also the follow-up post "The Coldstream Guards in the Boer War".

Wednesday 24 January 2007

Cruwys Morchard and the OED

I am delighted to report that the Cruwys one-name study has made a modest contribution to the Oxford English Dictionary. I was intrigued by a reference to a census I found in a transcription of a 1511 Cruwys Morchard Manor Court Roll which was published in Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries (Volume 20, 1938-9, pp237-240). The transcription was contributed by "L.G.C.", who was undoubtedly Lewis George Cruwys (1881-1957), the then Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard. The relevant extract reads as follows:
And further the bailiff is questioned about his account of 14d. for the return of the “census” this year, and it is handed to him in full court.
The editors placed a note at the end of the transcription inviting opinions on the meaning of "the return of the census". A reply was published in a subsequent issue of Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries (Vol. 20, 1938-9, p.331) by "F.R-T." who is probably Frances Rose-Troup, the author of a number of well-respected local history books published in the early decades of the twentieth century:
"Return of the Census" is explained by the following paragraph from Cowel's Interpreter: "CENSURA, a custom so call'd, within several Mannors in Cornwall and Devonshire, whereby all Residents therein are cited, above the Age of 16, to swear Fealty to the Lord, to pay 11d. per Poll and 1d. per An. ever after, as Cent Mony, or common fine. And these thus sworn are call'd Censers".
On checking the entry for census in the online edition of the OED I discovered that the earliest quoted reference dated from 1613:
1613 PURCHAS Pilgr. I. IV. xvi. 373 What is
properly called Census, the poll-money of his subjects.
I therefore wrote to the OED editors to enquire if they might be interested in my much earlier example. I received the following reply this morning:

I shall add this information to the OED's revision file, so that the editors can follow it up when they come to work on the entry… This represents a huge antedating for CENSUS, and our researcher will enjoy looking into it. Thank you for alerting us to these records.

It will be interesting to see what the editors make of the quotes when the revision is finally published.

Thursday 18 January 2007

1881 distribution

I was reminded yesterday about the Surname Profiler website which has distribution maps and statistics for surnames in Great Britain based on the 1881 census and the 1998 electoral register. The database has a total of 84 Cruwys in 1881 but unfortunately as there were fewer than 100 people with the surname in 1998 no statistics for the name are given. The computer-generated map on the website shows that the surname is almost exclusively concentrated in the south-west of England. By cross-checking with the 1881 census index I have established that there were 53 people with the surname living in Devon, eight in Somerset, six in Bristol (which was then in Gloucestershire), six in Surrey, four in Glamorgan, five in Monmouthshire, one in Lancashire, and one in Dorset. However, Cruwys is more often than not mis-spelt by the census enumerators or mistranscribed by the indexers so the name is inevitably under-represented. For instance, eight-year-old Gertrude Cruwys was living in Witheridge in 1881 with her grandmother Ellen Partridge. She appears in the index as Gertrude Cenings and is the only person with this 'surname' listed in the entire census. I have compiled a list of all the deviant spellings in the 1881 census which are known to be mistranscriptions of the surname Cruwys:

Cenings 1
Crawys 1
Cressys 4
Crewys 14
Crinorp 1
Crunys 1
Cruwys 84
Cruys 4
Cruywse 5
Total 115

Another complication when trying to establish the distribution in 1881 is that many people with the surname Cruwys are in fact indexed under a variant spelling such as Crews or Cruse. These variants have developed into surnames in their own right and it not possible to establish from the census indexes how many genuine Cruwyses are indexed or enumerated with the wrong spelling. I have an example in my own family as my great-grandfather Frederick Augustus Cruwys, who was then a 21-year-old tailor living in Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire, was enumerated as a Cruze. He was a lodger and presumably his landlord did not know how to spell the name. I have also found that some Cruwyses have been mistranscribed as Crumps. I have come across two examples so far in 1881. In Halberton, Devon, Sarah Cruwys, 73, a retired farmer, and her daughter Christian, 35, are listed by the enumerator with their names correctly spelt but they appear in the index as Crumps. In Southwark in 1881 there are four Cruwyses in one household who appear as Crumps. Mary Ann Cruwys née Rutherford, 65, her sons Tom and James Cruwys and daughter in-law Fanny Cruwys are all enumerated under the surname Crump. The entry has been correctly transcribed as the name is clearly written as Crump on the census page so it would appear that the clerk who copied out the page from the original enumerator’s book misread the name. The family grouping is unmistakeable as they are staying with Mary Ann’s married daughter Mary Ann West, 40, and her husband Alfred West, 35.

As a comparison I have included a breakdown of the principal variant surnames in 1881 though at present it is impossible even to begin to estimate how many of these people should really be included in the Cruwys count:

Crewes 84
Crews 528
Cruise 292
Crump 3235 (includes 6 known Cruwyses)
Cruse 868
Cruze 80 (includes 1 known Cruwys)

It is possible to get a rough idea of the comparative ranking and frequency of the surname Cruwys as the Surname Profiler has statistics for the surname Crewes which coincidentally has an identical number of representatives (84) in 1881 as Cruwys but, unlike Cruwys, is also represented in 1998. Crewes is ranked at 19302 in terms of frequency and is used by three in every million people, so Cruwys will have a similar profile.

By 1881 some people with the surname Cruwys had already moved overseas. There were eleven Cruwyses living in Lot 31, Queens, Prince Edward Island, Canada, all from the same family but divided into two separate households. They appear in the 1881 Canadian census indexes as Cruloys and Cruwy.

There is just one Cruwys listed in the 1880 US census: Mary H Cruwys, a 21-year-old seamstress, who was living in Nether Providence, Delaware, Pennsylvania, in the household of Edward Sellars, a bank clerk. No further information is known about her family at present. Intriguingly, however, the census indicates that Mary was born in Pennsylvania, as were both of her parents.

In 1879 Sarah Cruwys (née Harris) and her family arrived in Australia on the Blair Athole. If there had been a census in 1881 in Australia then there would have been a total of eight Cruwyses listed.

In conclusion, although it can be seen that the surname Cruwys is quite uncommon, it is not quite so rare as it would appear based purely on the evidence of the census indexes.

See also the 1881 Cruwys distribution map.

Saturday 13 January 2007

Postcards of Cruwys Morchard House

I was delighted to receive in the post this morning two postcards of Cruwys Morchard House which I won in an auction on E-bay earlier this week. The postcards date from the early 1900s and are both addressed to Mrs Pearce at Loperwood Manor, Totton, near Southampton, Hampshire. The first card is a picture of the entrance hall.
The hall is believed to have been part of the original Tudor plan. The oak staircase at the back of the hall was imported from Enmore Castle in Somerset in the late 1800s by the then squire George James Cruwys. It is just possible to discern that the picture above the fireplace is a portrait of the Reverend Henry Shortrudge Cruwys. There is a much clearer reproduction of this portrait in Rosemary Lauder’s book Devon Families in the chapter on Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard. The card was postmarked at Tiverton on 4th October 1907. There is a brief message on the back which reads:
Cruwys Morchard, Friday
Irene arrived here quite safely last night with Nan. This is our hall where we dance. Irene thought you might like to see it. We are having tennis today. Col. Loraine is coming to tea. I hope your headaches are better.
Much love from D
The second postcard is a front view of Cruwys Morchard House.
This card was sent a few days later on 8th October and again has a Tiverton postmark. The message reads: 
Very cold here now. We have fires. I am afraid winter has come now. The two windows nearest the seat is my room. Underneath is the drawing room. This gives you an idea of the house. Don’t you think it is sweet. Please keep this card for me. Hope you are well.
From Irene Pearce.
In October 1907 Cruwys Morchard House was occupied by Mary Helen Cruwys née Owen, age 60. Mary’s husband, George James Cruwys, had died three years earlier in 1904. Mary and George had four children: Dorothy, Cicely, Lewis and Robert. The two daughters, Dorothy, then aged 28, and Cicely, 27, neither of whom married, would no doubt have been living at home when the Pearces visited. The younger son Robert, who was later to become Rector of Cruwys Morchard, might well have been at home too. Lewis, the eldest son, was by this time a Lieutenant in the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and was probably away from home serving with his regiment. I have tried searching in the 1901 census but have so far been unable to find out anything further about Irene Pearce and her family. Mary Helen Cruwys née Owen was born in Colchester, Essex, but her father was the rector of Wonston, Hampshire. It therefore seems likely that the Pearces were either Mary’s friends or relations. Loperwood Manor no longer exists. The site is now part of the grounds of Tatchbury Mount Hospital in Loperwood Lane, Calmore.

Update 31st May 2011
I have been contacted by Denise Sanford who has provided some further information about the Irene Pearce who visited Cruwys Morchard House and wrote one of the above postcards. Rita Irene Pearce (1887-1964) was born at Loperwood. She married a Robin Lawrence in 1920. Irene’s aunt Emily Sarah Henrica Pearce (1866-1950) is Denise’s great-grandmother. She married Edward Henry Corse-Scott in 1886 and went to live in Colchester. Emily Sarah Henrica had been born and brought up at Loperwood; her father Henry Stanley Robert Pearce died in 1868; her brother Robert Charles Sutherland Pearce, Rita Irene’s father, inherited Loperwood around 1891.

We think the D who signed the first postcard is probably Dorothy Cruwys, daughter of George James Cruwys and Mary Helen Owen. The identities of Nan and Col. Loraine are still a mystery.

© Debbie Kennett 2007-2011

Friday 12 January 2007

Louisa Cruwys postscript

Polly was unable to resist following up my comment about Louisa Cruwys possibly inheriting William Pattison's money. She found William's death on Free BMD registered in the September quarter of 1875 in Taunton age 62. While at the Family Records Centre in London yesterday she had a peak at the National Probate Index and found the following:
1875 Nov 15 The Will of William PATTISON late of Taunton in the county of Somerset Gentleman who died 27 Sep 1875 at Taunton was proved at Taunton by Louisa Elizabeth CRUWYS of Taunton spinster the sole Executrix.
William and Louisa lived together at the Castle Hotel for at least fifteen years. We will never know the precise nature of their relationship but I do hope that Louisa had a little romance in her life!

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Louisa Cruwys the hotelkeeper

Encouraged by Polly's comments I made another attempt to find Louisa Cruwys, junior, the daughter of Henry Cruwys and Louisa Hartell, in the censuses, this time with much success. I found that in 1851 Louisa was a schoolmistress living in Wilton, Somerset. For once her name was actually spelt and indexed correctly. As it is such a rarity to find the name spelt correctly in the censuses I had been searching for all sorts of complicated permutations but had restricted my searches to Devon and had not thought of looking in Somerset. In both 1861 and 1871 Louisa was a housekeeper working for William Pattison, a hotelkeeper, at the Castle Hotel, North Street, Taunton. Finding Louisa in the 1871 census was a particular challenge and I had almost given up when I finally stumbled across a mysterious "Le Crump" in the indexes, which turned out to be Louisa (her name was written on the census page as Le Cruwys)! By 1881 Louisa was a hotelkeeper in her own right running the Luttrell Arms Hotel in Dunster. She died in December 1882. Intriguingly the National Probate Indexes show that she left a substantial estate valued at over £1,000. William Pattison did not marry so it seems a distinct possibility that he died young and left his business to Louisa, his faithful housekeeper.

See also Louisa Cruwys postscript.

Cruwys Morchard ploughing match

I learn from Liz, the secretary of the Cruwys Morchard and District Ploughing Association, that they will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2008. To celebrate the centenary Liz is putting together a collection of material on the history of the Association and the annual ploughing match. I've been able to send Liz a wonderful photograph of the 1936 Cruwys Morchard ploughing match from The Times Digital Archive. If anyone has any other information or photos Liz would be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch with me and I will pass on the information. For those of you with an interest in agricultural matters you might like to read my transcription of a newspaper article about a ploughing match which took place in Ashreigney in 1873.

Tuesday 9 January 2007

Henry Cruwys and Louisa Hartell of Exeter

As part of the ongoing hunt for Henrys I have been looking at the family of Henry Cruwys and Louisa Hartell. Interestingly, in a reversal of the usual migration pattern, Henry was born in Westminster, London, in 1788, but moved back to Devon and settled in Exeter. Louisa was born about 1788 in Stroudwater, Gloucestershire. Henry and Louisa married in 1822 at St David's, Exeter. They were both "of this parish". Henry signed his name in the register and spelt his surname as Cruwys. Unusually we have only been able to find one child born to this couple – Louisa Elizabeth Cruwys, baptised on 18th May 1823 at St Paul's, Exeter. Henry and Louisa provide a good example of the difficulties we face trying to find the surname Cruwys in the censuses. In 1841 their surname was recorded on the census page as Cruwys but indexed as Crawys. In 1851 the name was recorded as Crewys but indexed as Brewys. In 1861 the name was again recorded as Crewys and was also indexed with the same spelling. Henry and Louisa lived in Exeter for most of their lives but moved to Taunton some time in the 1860s. Their daughter Louisa vanishes after the 1841 census and I have no record of her death or marriage.

Monday 8 January 2007

Archelaus Cruse of St Botolph, Aldersgate

Michael Freeman has sent me a copy of the will of Archelaus Cruse. Archelaus was a newsvendor with a business in Little Britain in the parish of St Botolph, Aldersgate, in the City of London. He died in 1838 but his will was written four years earlier in 1834. His business seems to have been a very profitable concern as he left sizeable bequests to his children. The will is particularly informative as Archelaus mentions not just the names of his children but those of his grandchildren too. I have therefore been able to construct a detailed tree for this family. Archelaus's eldest son, Henry Simpson Cruse, was a bookbinder and stationer with a business at 5 Compton Street, Clerkenwell. Henry Simpson Cruse had a son, Henry who married Ann Brading in 1840 in Clerkenwell. Henry junior cannot be found in the 1841 census and is one of the candidates to be our South African shipwreck survivor.

Sunday 7 January 2007

Shipwrecked in South Africa

Towards the end of last year I was contacted by Michael Freeman who has been helping Pieter Cruse in the search for his great-grandfather Henry Cruse. Henry sailed from England to South Africa in about 1841 or 1842 when he was around 16 years old. The name of the ship is unknown. It is believed that Henry transferred to a small coastal or fishing vessel for the final stage of his journey. This latter boat was shipwrecked off the coast of South Africa, 50 miles east of Cape Town, near the small fishing village of Hawston, and Henry was the sole survivor. The spot where he came to shore is known as Harry's Bay in his honour.

One of the first challenges of the New Year is to try to find Henry's parents. Henry married Anna Petronella Christina Symington in Worcestor, South Africa, in 1848, when he gave his age as 22. He died in 1862 aged 36. According to the death certificate his father was Harry Cruse. We are therefore looking for a Henry Cruse, son of Henry, born somewhere in England in the 1820s. A number of potential candidates have now been identified and are currently under investigation.

Saturday 6 January 2007


Welcome to the Cruwys one-name study blog. The intention is to use this page as an adjunct to the existing profile page on the Guild website. I'm hoping to share all the latest developments in my research over the coming months. I hope you find something of interest.