Thursday, October 09, 2008
An Ancestral Village
I'm back again after quite a long absence but hopefully I'll be blogging more regularly again now that autumn and winter are ahead of us. I've got something of a backlog of things to post about but as these photos are already uploaded from weeks ago I'll start with this. I've been researching my family history for many years and one of my ancestors is a lady called Hannah Daykin, my 3xgt grandmother. Hannah married Henry Brown in Crich, Derbyshire in 1798 and lived in Crich for the remainder of her very long life. She died in 1861 at the age of 84. I know quite a lot about her from 1798 on but her birth still remains a mystery, on the 1851 and 1861 Census returns she gives the Derbyshire village of Chelmorton as her birthplace. So far I haven't been able to find a baptism for her in either Chelmorton or any of the nearby villages but earlier this summer I decided to go and look around the village which is where she obviously grew up. The photo above is of Chelmorton church, it is in a lovely setting on a hill at the top of the village. Both the church and the village are ancient and interesting.
This is one of the two Charity Boards, it dates back to 1667 and lists the bequests from various local people to the poor of the parish. These are still collected and distributed annually. Double clicking on the photo will enable you to read it.
This shows the screen between the chancel and the nave, the wooden part is relatively modern but under it is the very rare stone screen carved by a stonemason in about 1345. Four years later the Black Death swept through England killing about a third of the population. I wonder whether the man who carved this screen survived?
This is the Parish Chest where the parish registers and other important parish records were kept, the inscription carved onto the top reads ' Ralph Buxton of Flagg gave this 1630'.
This needs clicking on so that you can see it properly. It is a wonderful map showing the medieval layout of the village, it is one long street with farms and cottages at intervals. It shows also the medieval field system which would have been two huge open fields surrounding the village and each villager owned a number of strips in each field. This open field system meant that everyone had to plant the same crops at the same time and work in co-operation with each other.
Part of the Elizabethan church porch showing a Norman dripstone, various ancient grave covers and all sorts of other things incorporated into the walls. In case you are wondering, as I did, what a dripstone is - it's a stone moulding over a door or window which deflects the rain.
As I wandered round the churchyard I found this sad little gravestone of a 6 month old baby. A great many children didn't survive to adulthood in those days.
I couldn't resist photographing this little calf.
These are the medieval field strips to the left of the village street. Each strip is now enclosed by a drystone wall but the field pattern is quite clear.
These are the field strips on the righthand side of the village street and these are even clearer. I found it fascinating to wander round wondering whether Hannah had walked there before me over 200 years ago. I still hope that one day I shall find her baptism and maybe even discover the cottage where she lived.