Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Cruse family at Stonehenge

Mel McNaught has sent me a most wonderful photograph of the Cruse family at Stonehenge. The photo is believed to be of Thomas Cruse (born 20 April 1809 in Horningsham, Wiltshire), the son of Jeremiah Cruse and Elizabeth Knight, and his wife Ann Cruse née Brace (born 12th November 1809), the daughter of Joseph Brace and Harriet Bryant. Thomas descends from the line which originates in Rode in Somerset. Thomas and Ann Cruse lived in the High Street in Warminster, Wiltshire. Thomas was an estate agent and land surveyor who worked with the Warminster Turnpike Trust. He also served as the churchwarden at St Denys's Church in Warminster for 63 years. We are not too sure of the identity of the other people in the photograph, but Thomas and Ann's son Edmund Cruse (1848-1894) and daughter Maria Elizabeth (1845-1911) are possibly included in the group. Ann Cruse née Brace died in 1883 and Thomas died in 1889, so if they are indeed the elderly couple in the photograph then it must have been taken before 1883. Outdoor photographs from this period are very rare, as very few people owned a camera and most photographs were taken in studios. Mel is trying to locate the original photo album from which the scan was taken. If we are able to study the original photograph it should be possible to date it more precisely, and at the same time get a better-quality scan.Coincidentally Stonehenge has been very much in the news in the last week with the broadcast of the fascinating BBC Timewatch programme on Saturday about the recent archaeological dig at the site. There are some very interesting pages and video clips on the BBC History website about the dig which can be seen here. These days of course it is not possible to get close up to the stones as the Cruses did in the 1800s, and the monument can only be seen from a distance behind a low fence.

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