Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

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.


Thimbleanna said...

Thank you so much for sharing your photos Rowan. I love to see and read about the beauty of some of the villages that are so close to you -- you're very lucky!

PAT said...

Rowan it is so good to see you posting again. Missed you!

This is wonderful, as usual. I'm looking forward to more of your always interesting posts.

Leanne said...

welcome back rowan1 ive missed your posts- they are always so interesting! i love the drystone walls, they look such a part of the lanscape, and i can picture the men building them so long ago...

Leanne x

nita x said...

what lovely history and pictures rowan, thank you for sharing them, i do hope you can find the information on the baptism.

lila said...

An amazing quest! I hope you find the location of her home. The village church is so picturesque!
I'm glad you are back!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

I always enjoy your posts, Rowan. Glad you are back with us.

Kim said...

I'm glad you're back too, Rowan :) Lovely photos and that little calf is soooo sweet :)

Kim x

Rosie said...

What a lovely village and the church is wonderful - we've passed by the signs for Chelmorton so many times and never thought to go and look - I would love to see inside the church it looks fascinating. It took me ages to find the baptism of my 2xgreat grandfather but I eventually found him in Primitive Methodist records rather than the main Parish registers. Good luck with the search:)

MrsL said...

Lovely, interesting psot, thanks Rowan. What a lovely church too; they are such a mine of information and pelasure, aren't they? The strip fields are intereesting; I have a great fondness for stone walls, knwon as dry stane dykes where I come from.


Tea and Margaritas in My Garden said...

Thank you for sharing this interesting story and photos Rowan. And that`s really something that you can go back so far with family! WE can`t seem to get past the 1800`s in England.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures !! I love history and finding out about your ancestors is great. I just found out, that part of my ancestry is Bohemian. I'm very proud of that !!
Have a great day !!

Sheila said...

Rowan I have missed your posts. This was worth the wait. The church is lovely. I hope eventually you are able to find the information about your 3xgtgrandmother. I would be nice to solve the mystery wouldn't it.

JANICE said...

Great to read your post Rowan. I see that you are interested in geneology as I am. But here in NY and the USA we cannot go back as far as you folks in England. That is unless you are North American Indian ! My family comes primarily from Ireland and Germany but I haven't gotten very far in my search.
The pictures are great as ever. How I love the English countryside and the villages of which you write. Always a treat to visit with you. Janice

solsticedreamer said...

rowan what an amazing post with wonderful photos and i love the history! thank you so much~look forwards to hearing more about your family tree!

Strawberry Lane said...

How interesting! You are so fortunate to be able to research your family and then visit the locations.

I've spent years working on my family tree. However,to walk in their footsteps I have had to travel to Denmark and England, a fair distance from California.

Your photos and descriptions make me feel as if I were right there in that charming village and church.

Your posts are always fascinating.

funkymonkey said...

Great post and lovely photos. Thank you for sharing them with us all.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Edward and I are very glad to see your return! Loved the church photos and the beautiful surrounding scenery! Glad to have you back!

Jenny said...

I have been meaning to start a research project of my own into our family histories and have yet to get started. It's wonderful that you were able to wander the same village of your ancestor- that's one of the things I love best about England, I think...the sense of such a long and rich history. Wonderful pictures, as usual.

Janet said...

Once again I feel as if I've been on a trip with you! How wonderful to have traced your roots back so far and to able to visit the village where your relatives lived.

Louise said...

Thanks for the link to this post - I regret not having a look in the church now, it looks intersting. Nevermind, it's not far away!

Also, I've looked up that bench and it's not a 50 years of ranger service poem bench - those all look the same and have just 4 lines of text on the seat part of the bench along with a plaque that says who wrote it and mentions the ranger service. Thanks for telling me though!