Wednesday 28 February 2007

John Cruse curate and schoolmaster
of South Molton

I have always been intrigued to find out more about the Reverend John Cruse who has an intriguing memorial plaque inside the parish church of St Mary Magdalene in South Molton:



As can be seen from the photograph below the dates have not been mistranscribed because of course at this time the Julian Calendar was still in use and the New Year did not start until 25th March on the Feast of Assumption. John was therefore buried five days after his death not one year later!I was delighted to receive from Vanessa Goodwin an abstract of John Cruse's will. Sadly, as with so many of our Devon wills, the original was lost when the Exeter Probate Registry was bombed in World War II. Fortunately, however, Olive Moget and Oswyn Murray compiled abstracts of a small number of Devon wills and this particular will is included in their collection which is now preserved at the West Country Studies Library in Exeter. The abstract has enabled me to piece together a few fragments about John's life. Nothing of John's birth or parentage is known, though he is almost certainly descended from the Cruwys family of Cruwys Morchard. John married Sarah Shobrook, the daughter of Humphrey Shobrook. It would appear that Sarah was a widow when they married as the IGI has a record of the marriage of John Cruse and Mrs Sarah Musgrave on 15th December 1683 in South Molton. The IGI has a record of one son, John Cruse, who was baptised on 16th October 1684 and buried the next day on 17th October. Hugh Squier's new school was built and endowed in 1686 so John would only have enjoyed a short tenure as a schoolmaster, and he probably worked at the school until shortly before his death. Hugh Squier's school as it was known was founded as a grammar school. It was amalgamated in 1877 with the Blue Coat Schools and the National Schools to form the South Molton United Schools. We know from the above inscription that John died on 24th March 1691/2 and was buried on 29th March 1692. His widow appears to have married with somewhat indecent haste just six months later as the IGI shows that a Mrs Sarah Cruse married Thomas Easton on 5th October 1692 at South Molton. A transcript of John Cruse's will is given below. It would be interesting to know if the silver flagon is still in use today.
Cruse, John of South Molton, clerk

Date of Will, 18 March 1691

Proved 17 May 1692 by Sarah Cruse

To the ch[urch] of South Molton £15 to be bestowed in a silver flagon for the Communion table, & as for the management & Procurement of the s[ai]d flagon, I leave it to William Arundell, Rector of Filleigh & Lewis Southcombe, Rector of Roseash.

To my uncle John Williams of Lifton or his wife £5.

To John son of William Painter my godson of Lifton £3.

To the eldest son of Robert Williams of Milton Damarel £3.

To Mary sister of Robert Williams (now called as I suppose Makepowder) & to Deborah another sister (now called I suppose Deborah Hill) of the City of Exeter, each 40/-.

To poor of Tawstock 40/- & of South Molton £4.

To some poor families of South Molton £3 to be bestowed by 20/- a year in books called "The whole duty of man", the s[ai]d books to be given to such families as shall be thought fit by Mr Richard Musgrave, my father-in-law Mr Humphry Shobrook & the s[ai]d Mr Lewis Southcombe.

To Elizabeth wife of John Easton of South Molton 30/-.

Residue to my wife Sarah C, whom I make my ex[exutri]x.

Overseers, Mr Richard Musgrave, Mr John Hacche, Mr George Dean & Mr Humphry Shobrook.

(S[igne]d) John Cruse. Seal:-

(W[itnesses]) Nicho[las] Mallarre: John Odam.

Mark of Margaret Mildon.

Inventory 16 May 1692 by Mr Richard Musgrave, Mr Humphry Shobrooke & John Lewes, £732: 13: 5: (Appparel £6, Study of books £20. Furniture &c. Estate in house in South Molton £40, & in another house £50, & in one field £10, & in moiety of two fields £7 & in two fields called Common Moor in South Molton £12.)

Inheritance of a tenem[en]t called Blackpools £150. Debts due by bills, bonds &c £370)

Tuesday 27 February 2007

Rev. Francis Cruse of Worthing, Sussex

I’ve now been in touch with Mel McNaught who is also descended from the Cruse family of Rode in Somerset. Mel’s great grandmother Annie Florence Cruse was born in Ceylon in 1874. Annie was the daughter of Alfred Brace Cruse, a civil engineer who went out to India in 1860. Alfred married Elizabeth Ann Fonseca in 1864 in Madras. I shall look forward to learning more about the Indian connection in due course.

Mel has kindly sent me this wonderful photograph of Francis Cruse, who was for many years the vicar of Worthing in Sussex.

Francis was born on 4th January 1823 in Warminster, Wiltshire. He was baptised on 1st January 1824 at St Lawrence, Warminster, along with his sister Frances Ann, who is probably his twin. Francis was the son of Jeremiah CRUSE (1781-1861) and Elizabeth KNIGHT (1783-1840) and the grandson of Jeremiah Cruse (1758-1819) the land surveyor.

Francis went to St Edmund Hall, Oxford University, where he matriculated on 5th March 1846 aged 23. He was awarded a BA in 1851. He took up a position as a curate in Earlstoke, Wiltshire, in 1851 and was ordained as a deacon later that same year in the Diocese of Salisbury. The following year he was ordained as a priest. From 1852 to 1856 Francis served as the curate of Great Warley in Essex. In 1853 he married Charlotte Augusta Brace in Bath. In 1856 he moved to London to become the curate of the parish of St Jude in Southwark, where he remained until 1864 when he was appointed as the vicar of Christ Church, Worthing, Sussex. Francis was awarded an MA from Oxford University in 1875. Presumably inspired by his studies Francis wrote a book in 1879 entitled A Few Facts and Testimonies Touching on Ritualism which was written under the pseudonym "Oxoniensis". If anyone is interested in reading Francis's masterpiece the Trinity Library in Toronto have a first edition of the book available online in their open libary. I would, however, not recommend it as bedtime reading!

We are most fortunate to have a contemporary description of the Reverend Francis Cruse and his wife Charlotte from Helen Roberts who lived in Deverell Cottage next door to the vicarage in Worthing. Helen contributed a story called 'The Parlour' to the Past Times Project in which she provides the following description of Francis and Charlotte:
The Vicar, the Reverend Francis Cruse, who had long white hair and a rather sheep-like voice, 'took' young gentlemen who were reading for the Universities. His wife had long grey curls, and must have been the last gentlewoman in Sussex to wear ankle length pantalets. When she walked down the road thus attired, holding her voluminous black skirts high in either hand, she created as much interest as the young gentlemen boarders. They would go down to bathe with bright coloured towel round their necks, or hurry to some tennis party in soft hats embroidered, 'Oscar-Wildely', with sunflowers.
Francis died in 1891 at the age of 67 years.

CruCou House, South Molton

Shirley Bray from the South Molton Local History Society has very kindly sent me a selection of postcards and photographs of East Street, South Molton, Devon. I am particularly pleased with the photographs because it has been possible to identify CruCou House, the home for many years of Edwin Cruwys, his wife Sally Cawsey Webber, and their faithful servant Eva Couch. I've now updated the posting on Edwin 'boss' Cruwys of South Molton to incorporate two of these new pictures.

Monday 26 February 2007

Jeremiah Cruse the land surveyor

Considerable progress has been made in the last few weeks with the history of the Cruse family of Rode, Somerset. Russell Cruse has sent me a most fascinating article about the serendipitous finding of Jeremiah Cruse's life insurance certificate. The article, by H S Torrens, is entitled "A family's origins and an incredible coincidence: the Cruse family of Bath, Avon and Warminster, Wiltshire" and was published in the Journal of the Bristol and Avon Family History Society in 1984 (volume 34, pp 14-15). Mr Torrens had no ancestral connections to the Cruse family but was interested in them purely in a professional capacity as a historian of geology because of their work as land surveyors. Jeremiah Cruse (1758-1819) was the first in the family to work as a land surveyor, and Mr Torrens had always been curious to find out more about Jeremiah's origins. In February 1978, on a visit to Cambridge, Mr Torrens acquired a letter on a completely unrelated matter and, while attempting to investigate the date of the postmark on the letter, he discovered that one of his colleagues, Dr. Brian Holdsworth, had a particular interest in pre-1840 postal history. The next day Dr. Holdsworth brought into the office a whole package of 1810-1820 items which he had recently sorted. By comparing the handstamp on Mr Torrens' newly acquired letter with other letters of the period Dr. Holdsworth was able to confirm that the letter was dated 1819. By an astonishing coincidence Mr Torrens noticed that one of the letters in the bundle was addressed to a Mr Cruse of 26 St James' Parade, Bath. The letter was a life insurance policy certificate for none other than Jeremiah Cruse! The contents were very brief but provided confirmation of Jeremiah's baptism in Rode, Somerset, a small village some twelve miles south of Bath. Dr Holdsworth had paid four shillings for the letter when a schoolboy many years before for the sake of its Bath Penny Post handstamp. It was apparently the only item in his collection which was of absolutely no interest to read! Mr Torrens does not tell us if he managed to persuade his colleague to part with the letter and its present whereabouts are unknown.

It is probably now an opportune time to provide some details about Jeremiah Cruse's life. No doubt further information will become available as the research progresses.

Jeremiah Cruse was baptised on 9th July 1758 in Rode, Somerset. He was the son of Jeremiah Cruse and Mary Beman. His father was for many years the parish clerk for Rode. Nothing is known of Jeremiah's education and training. The first record we have is that of his marriage to Mary Macey in 1779. Their first two children, Ann and Jeremiah, junior, were baptised in Rode in 1779 and 1781 respectively. The family then moved to Warminster, Wiltshire, where two more children were born, Mary in 1782 and Henry in 1784. The following year they moved back to Somerset, settling in the market town of Frome which was then an important commercial centre with a thriving wool and cloth trade industry. Three further children were born in Frome, Robson in 1785, Elizabeth in 1787, and John in 1789.

The first record of Jeremiah's professional career dates from his time in Frome. In 1785, in partnership with a Mr Battle, Jeremiah produced a manuscript entitled "A Particular Account of the Number of Families & Inhabitants Within the Town and Parish of Frome Selwood in the County of Somerset". The original manuscript is held by the Somerset Archive and Record Service, but a complete transcription has been published online on the Frome Local and Family History website. The document is in effect an early census of Frome (or Frome Selwood as it was then known) and provides information about the names of the masters or mistresses of each family, their occupation, the names of the owners of the houses, the number of males and females in each family and the number of cows kept by each farmer. In addition information was recorded about the number of scribblers and shearmen employed by each clothier, and the number of looms employed by each weaver. Jeremiah appeared in the census as a land surveyor living at the Horse and Groom. The property was owned by George Rabbits and there were four males and four females in Jeremiah's family.

In about 1792 Jeremiah moved to Warminster to take up employment with the Marquis of Bath. His son, Jeremiah, junior, then aged about 12, was also found employment on the Longleat estate. Jeremiah's plans for Longleat were published in 1792 and that same year he also produced "A Plan of the Division of that part of Road [Rode] Common which lies within the Manor of Road and North Bradley in the Counties of Somerset and Wilts". The original watercolour on parchment map is held by the Somerset Archive and Record Service.

Jeremiah was by now moving in influential circles and his status was no doubt boosted by his membership of the freemasons. He was admitted to the Royal Clarence Lodge in Frome on 7th September 1792. By this time he was described as a "gent".

In 1802 Jeremiah went into partnership with William Smith in a land surveying business called Smith and Cruse. William Smith (1769-1839) is often named as the Father of English Geology. Smith and Cruse were based at 2 Trim Bridge, Bath. The original premises still exist today and the shop is now a Grade II listed building. There is a photograph of the shop on English Heritage's Images of England website.

In 1803 Jeremiah was commissioned to produce a "Plan of Part of the Turnpike Road leading from Wells towards Bristol and also of a proposed New Road leading through Walcoomb and through the Lands of P. Sherston & C. Tudway Esquires to unite with the Present Road near the 2.d Mile Stone". This plan also survives in the collections of the Somerset and Archive Record Service.

In 1810 tragedy struck when Jeremiah's wife died at the relatively young age of 50. His period of mourning was however short-lived and on 1st January 1811 Jeremiah married Mary Portus in what was no doubt a very grand ceremony at Bath Abbey.

In 1812 Jeremiah produced a large plan of the Somerset Coal Canal. This fine example of his work is today preserved in Bath Reference Library.

In 1813 Jeremiah compiled a detailed map and survey of landholdings in the parish of Frome, Somerset, with the names of the owners and occupiers of the various properties. A full transcription of the survey together with a high-resolution image of Jeremiah's map can be found on the Frome Family and Local History website in the section on property.

1813 was a busy year for Jeremiah also drew a map of the manor of Buckland Dinham, which was then the undivided property of Sir Henry Strachey Baronet and Sir Charles Warwick Bampfylde Baronet. Jeremiah also worked on a survey and valuation of Sparkford, in collaboration with John Davidge of Castle Cary, in preparation for the making of a poor rate in July 1813. In 1815 Jeremiah was commissioned by Sir Henry Strachey to produce a map of the manor of Elm, and in 1818 he produced "A map of the parishes of Berkley and Standerwick in the county of Somerset on which are delineated the Allotments of the Open and Commonable Lands and Exchanges made under the act of parliament by me Jeremiah Cruse, the Commissioner". All four maps are preserved in the collections of the Somerset and Archive Record Service.

There are no doubt many other examples of Jeremiah's work which are held in private collections or public archives elsewhere.

Jeremiah died on 11th December 1819 at his house at 26 St James's Parade, Bath. He was buried on 16th December at St James's Church, Bath. An obituary was published in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal on 20th December 1819.
On the 11th inst. died at his house in Bath. Mr. Jeremiah Cruse, landsurveyor, aged 61: he will be long and sincerely lamented; he was for years the highly respectable head of the Frome Lodge of Freemasons, and was present at a late masonic festival, attended by his five sons.
Jeremiah's fifth son is at present a mystery as no record of his birth has yet been found. He was probably born in Bath and was the product of Jeremiah's second marriage to Mary Portus. Many of Jeremiah's children also had very distinguished careers. Jeremiah junior served for more than 67 years as a faithful clerk, conveyancer and accountant in the stewardship of the Longleat Estate. Henry became an accountant and served as the parish clerk for the parish of Frome. Robson was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. John became an attorney's clerk. Jeremiah's youngest daughter Marie Antoinette was a schoolmistress. Jeremiah, junior, Henry and John all became freemasons and, like their father, were members of the Royal Clarence Lodge in Frome. We will no doubt be returning to learn more of this illustrious family in the near future.

Thursday 22 February 2007

Cruwys Morchard Rectory

I have been fortunate to acquire another postcard of Cruwys Morchard on E-bay. This picture is of the Rectory and dates from around 1915. The original postcard was in poor condition but I've been able to restore the photo and remove some of the blemishes with a little digital magic. The Rector at the time this photograph was taken was probably the Reverend Nesbit Edward Willoughby, who took up office in 1905. He was succeeded in 1916 by Robert Geoffrey Cruwys, the brother of Lewis George Cruwys, who was the then Lord of the Manor. Robert went to Exeter College, Oxford, and in 1907 was in the Oxford University cricket team. Lewis served with the Devonshire Regiment in World War I and spent some time out in India. Lewis married Margaret Campbell Speke Abercrombie in 1917. Margaret is best known as the author of The Cruwys Morchard Notebook.

Saturday 17 February 2007

Cheriton Fitzpaine Churchwardens'
and Overseers' Accounts

Included in my package from Vanessa Goodwin were some fascinating extracts from the Churchwardens' and Overseers' Accounts for Cheriton Fitzpaine in North Devon. There is no space here to include a complete transcription but I'm providing details of some of the more interesting items.

Elizabeth Cruse seems to have struggled after the death of her husband John in 1681. She received regular payments at the rate of four shillings a month from 1693 onwards. The rate rose to five shillings per month at the end of 1709 and six shillings in 1710. The last payments to "Widd. Cruwys" were made in an account dated 16th April 1715. She was not mentioned in the account for the following year so she had presumably passed away. It would be interesting to find out if there is a corresponding burial in the Cheriton Fitzpaine registers.

In 1731 'Elias Mills of ye P[ar]ish of Sandford was convicted by Sr. John Davie for killing of a hare in the P[ari]ish of Cheriton Fitzpaine & ye Moiety p[ar]t of ye Money was p[ai]d to ye Overseers and distributed ye 25th Day of Aprill 1731". Fifty people received one shilling each including Henry Cruwys, George Cruwys and John Cruwys.

Henry Cruwys (1665-1745), a shoemaker, and his wife Mary Back fell on hard times in 1740. Henry was now 75 years old and was presumably no longer able to work so, in the absence of an old age pension, he was forced to rely on parish relief. By 1741 Henry and Mary were receiving ten shillings a month from the parish. That same year the overseers splashed out on two shirts for Henry Cruwys costing 3s 0d and 3s 2d respectively. The next year they paid 3s 2d to buy him a sheet. In 1743 the overseers paid "the Expence in Burying Mary Cruwys 12s 6d". In the account the following year Henry as a widower received a reduced payment of six shillings per month. Inevitably in 1745 the parish paid "The expenses in Burying Henry Cruwys 12s. 8d".

The account dated 23rd October 1743 gives "the names of those persons to whom the Conviction Money of Andrew Taylor was given, to wit, ten Shillings, for suffering John Cruwys, Philip Back & William Cruwys to sit Tippling in his House as also the Conviction Money levied on J.C., P.B. & W.C. to wit 3s. 4d. each for Tippling in the sd. Andrew Taylor's House contrary to Act of Parliamt...' John Cruwys and William Cruwys received 2s 6d from the Conviction Money so it would appear that their fine was effectively reduced to 8d each!

The Account for 1747 included:

Pd. for the pair of Indentures Cruwys and Clark 8s. 0d.
George Cruwys in Necessity 2s. 0d.
Making Cruwys' Boys' Grave [?]s. 0d.
John Cruwys for filling a Bedtie and conveying it in place 2s. 0d.
Jno. Cruwys mending Joseph Back's shoes 6d.

From the account for 1754 it can be seen that the overseers are trying to ensure that those in receipt of parish relief provide a useful service to the parish. The payments for 1754 included:

Feb. 27th: To Jno Hockaday & Jno. Cruwys 3 days & Wm. Cruwys 2 Days to clean ye Court and Dig Paving Stones at Ford Quarry at 9d. 6s. 0d.
June 8th: To Jno. & Wm. Cruwys for cleaning the House one Day 1s. 8d.
June 17th: To Jno. & Wm. Cruwys for cleaning the House 1s. 6d.
7br. 17th: To Wm. Cruwys for cleaning the House one Day 9d.
9br. 12th: To John Cruwys for going to Thorverton 6d.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Cruwys and Farmer relationships

After a weekend away I’ve been trying to finish off updating my files with all the new data from Vanessa Goodwin. I already had a record of three marriages between the Cruwys and Farmer families of Wiveliscombe but I hadn't appreciated quite how closely the two families were interlinked. Samuel Farmer (born c. 1770) of Wiveliscombe had fourteen children by his second wife Elizabeth (Betty) Nurcombe, and I've now discovered that three of their children married into the Cruwys family of Wiveliscombe.

- Benjamin Farmer married Fanny Cruwys, the daughter of John Cruwys and Martha Wring, on 6th January 1837 in Wiveliscombe

- James Farmer married Mary Ann Cruwys, the daughter of John Cruwys and Martha Wring, on 25th July 1855 in Clifton, Bristol

- Caroline Farmer married John Cruwys, the widower of Martha Wring, in 1852 in Bristol. Caroline therefore had an interesting relationship with her brothers Benjamin and James, as she became their mother-in-law! Sadly her marriage was short-lived as her husband died just one year after the marriage.

The two families were already connected as one of Samuel and Betty's daughters, Betty Farmer, who was born in 1806 in Wiveliscombe, had married William Wring on 26th March 1827 in Wiveliscombe. William was the nephew of Martha Wring, who was in turn the mother of the two Cruwys girls who married into the Farmer family.

The Cruwys and Farmer families were united in grief when two sons died in consecutive years. John Cruwys Farmer (born in 1839), the son of Benjamin Farmer and Fanny Cruwys, died off Cape Apollonia on the West Coast of Africa on 25th April 1861 and was buried at sea. He was just 22 years old. John Cruwys (born in 1844), the son of John Cruwys and Mary Ann Rutherford, died on 7th November 1862 at sea in the Indian Ocean just two days after his eighteenth birthday. According to the Family Bible he had been bathing from the ship the Maitland. The two Johns were first cousins.

There was to be a further marriage between the two families in 1869 when James Cruwys (born in 1842), the son of John Cruwys and Mary Ann Rutherford, married his first cousin Fanny Cruwys Farmer in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. Fanny was the daughter of the above-mentioned Benjamin Farmer and Fanny Cruwys.

The Wiveliscombe line have also provided my favourite mis-transcription of the surname Cruwys to date. In the 1901 census William Benjamin Farmer Cruwys, 49, a butcher, and his wife Elizabeth Brankley, 47, were living at 26 Oxford Street, Newport, Monmouthshire, with their daughter Elizabeth, 15, but they appear in the index under the surname Ommps! The name appears to have been written as Crumps on the handwritten census page so clearly the clerk had problems reading the name when he copied out the entries.

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Cruwys of Wiveliscombe, Somerset

I was delighted to receive in the post at the weekend a bumper package of information from Vanessa Goodwin. When I first began my Cruwys research in 2002 Vanessa was the first researcher I contacted, and it seems rather fitting that I was the recipient of her first ever e-mail last week. Vanessa has been researching her family tree for some 25 years and has amassed a considerable amount of information in that time. Her family originated in Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon. They moved to Oakford, and then crossed the border into Somerset and settled for some considerable time in Wiveliscombe. The Cruwys Farm House still stands in Wiveliscombe and is now a Grade II listed building. In 1794 John Cruwys of Wiveliscombe brought a Bill of Complaint in Chancery against Henry Shortrudge Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard claiming descent from the "Cruwys of Cheriton Fitzpaine in the County of Devon Shoemaker mentioned in the Settlement of Samuel Cruwys Esquire" who was mentioned in the will of John Cruwys, Clerk of Cruwys Morchard. Although John's ancestors can indeed be traced back to Cheriton Fitzpaine his case was not successful but the documents nevertheless provide us with some valuable genealogical information.

It's going to take me some time to incorporate all of Vanessa's new information into my files but I've already been able to solve two long-standing mysteries. Back in March 2004 I was contacted by Heather McCulloch in British Columbia, Canada. Heather asked if I knew anything about a Nellie Stirling, born in 1887 in Forfar, Angus, Scotland, who married an unknown Cruwys and settled in South Africa. At the time I had no reference to such a marriage in my files but, on working my way through Vanessa's tree, I came across a James Cruwys who married a Nellie Stirling in South Africa. The name began to ring a bell and fortunately I was able to locate Heather's original e-mail and re-establish contact with her to tell her the good news. James Cruwys, born in 1881 in Newport, Monmouthshire, was the son of William Benjamin Farmer Cruwys and Elizabeth Brankley. James and Nellie married in 1912 in South Africa and had three daughters, Helen Betty, Margaret Elaine and Joan Megan. Margaret married Harold Bierman who went on to become Head of the South African Navy. The National Archives of South Africa have three files relating to James's family, including his estate papers from which we can deduce that he died in 1930.

The other breakthrough came quite by chance when looking through the online transcriptions of the Chipstable parish registers which have kindly been provided by David Cheek. Another of my contacts, Pauline Steadman, has traced her family back to James Cruwys and Sarah Allen who married on 26th March 1837 in Wiveliscombe. On all of the censuses James claimed that he was born in Wiveliscombe around 1815-1816 but we'd been unable to find any record of James's baptism in Wiveliscombe. I was looking at the Chipstable transcriptions to get confirmation of the baptism of John Cruwys, the eldest son of Isaac Cruwys and Ann Burton, who was baptised on 29th July 1810 in Chipstable, as this family were included in Vanessa's tree. I duly found John's baptism but I was very excited to discover in addition a cluster of other Cruwys baptisms including that of James Crews, the son of John and Sarah, who was baptised on 5th February 1815. Chipstable is only a few miles away from Wiveliscombe so I feel sure that we have finally found the elusive baptism. As a bonus I've also been able to link Pauline's James in with the rest of the Wiveliscombe/Fitzhead tree. James's parents were John Cruze and Sarah Curry who married on 25th March 1814 in Chipstable.

Sunday 4 February 2007

Snowdrops in Kintbury

Yesterday as a break from the usual CRUWYS research I went on a trip to Kintbury and East Woodhay where I was able to meet up with my friend Polly. Kintbury was the home of my maternal SMART, FAITHFULL and TIDBURY ancestors. My great-great-great-great-grandparents Benjamin SMART and Susanna FAITHFULL married at St Mary's Church, Kintbury, on 14th December 1819. They had eight children, all of whom were born in Kintbury. Benjamin was swept up in the machine breakers' riots which shattered the peace of this quiet Berkshire village for a few days in November 1830. By this time Benjamin had five children and Susanna was pregnant with their sixth child, Caroline, my great-great-great-grandmother. Life was hard for agricultural labourers such as Benjamin. Prisoners in Reading Gaol apparently received a better diet than the average agricultural labourer. The harvests of 1828, 1829 and 1830 had been very poor after three wet summers in a row. The winters of 1828-1829 and 1829-1830 were particularly harsh, and the latter was reportedly the worst for nearly a hundred years. The introduction of cheap new threshing machines on the local farms meant that the labourers were unemployed for most of the winter months and were forced to rely upon meagre hand-outs from the parish rate for survival. The so-called Swing Riots took place throughout the southern counties of England but the villagers of Kintbury were treated particularly harshly for their actions. Troops were called out from London to break up the disturbances, and the rioters were rounded up and arrested. Benjamin was arrested but not committed for trial, being "discharged under his own, or someone else's recognizance". Some of the other villagers were not so lucky. William SMITH alias WINTERBOURN, the leader of the Kintbury rioters, was hanged at Reading Gaol on 11th January 1831. Twelve men from Kintbury were transported to Australia and two were sent to Reading Gaol for a spell of hard labour.I spent some time looking round the churchyard exploring the gravestones. I could not have picked a better day for my visit. It was a beautiful clear sunny day and, as can be seen from the photograph, the churchyard was covered in a carpet of snowdrops. I found what appeared to be five FAITHFULL gravestones but sadly they were so weathered and worn that it was barely possible to make out any of the inscriptions. Benjamin and Susanna SMART are both buried in Kintbury but their graves are unmarked. I was told that William SMITH alias WINTERBOURN has a gravestone near the entrance of the church but I was unable to locate it. Visiting the village today it is hard to believe that it was once the centre of such dramatic events.

Friday 2 February 2007

Cruwys birth maps

I have again been experimenting with Genmap UK and this time I have prepared a map showing the distribution of Cruwys births in England and Wales from 1837 to 2004 by Registration District. As can be seen the vast majority of Cruwys births took place in the south-west of England, South Wales, London and the Home Counties.As London is somewhat crowded I thought it would be helpful to zoom in to give a better idea of the distribution of the name in the capital.The data used to compile these maps were extracted from the GRO indexes for England and Wales. There were a total of 524 births. This figure includes a number of deviant spellings and, in addition, two births for which no registration record has yet been located. The breakdown of spellings is as follows:

Cruwys 497
Creuse 1
Crewys 4
Cruwyd 1
Cruyes 1
Cruys 12
Cruyse 1
Crwes 2
Crwse 1
Crwys 3
Crys 1

See also the 1881 Cruwys distribution map and the posting on 1881 distribution.

Thursday 1 February 2007

The Cruses of Rode, Somerset

Russell Cruse has been in touch concerning my posting about Archelaus Cruse the newsvendor of St Botolph, Aldersgate. Russell has been researching the Cruse family from Rode in Somerset. He has in his tree an Archelaus Cruse who was born in 1760 in Rode. It would appear that this Archelaus is the one who moved to Aldersgate and became a newsvendor. It is such an unusual name that it seems most unlikely that there could be anyone else of the same name living at the same time. The evidence seems even more convincing as the Archelaus born in Rode had a brother called Jeremiah born in 1758, and Archelaus the newsvendor named his second son Jeremiah, presumably after his brother.

Jeremiah Cruse from Rode was a well respected land surveyor and also the head of the Frome Lodge of Freemasons. His son Robson Cruse, born in 1785 in Rode, had a distinguished naval career. He was at the first Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 and was a midshipman on the HMS Tonnant at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. He subsequently became a Lieutenant and was involved in the dramatic rescue of the officers and crew of the Nightingale when it ran into trouble off the coast of the Isle of Wight in 1829. One of Jeremiah's grandsons, George Cruse, born in 1818 in Frome, Somerset, served in the King's First Royal Dragoon Cavalry Regiment, fighting at the Battle of Balaclava on 25th October 1854 and later at the siege of Sebastapol.