Skip to main content

Visitors’ Book

Comments

We have got records of the School Admissions Register for the period when your father was at Badsey Council School (these are not on the website because of possible Data Protection issues as some of the pupils may still be alive). I see that your father enrolled at the school on 5th September 1932, aged 10; his address was given as 6 Council Houses, North Littleton. He left on 24th March 1937. I can see from Ancestry that he had an older brother as well as an older sister, but neither of them attended Badsey School, although they were all born in the Evesham area (presumably, North Littleton). Badsey School had a very good reputation and children were known to travel some distance to get there. I can’t find any record of Jack Harrison or Johnny Careless attending Badsey School, so perhaps they were Littleton friends. It’s a real coincidence that there was also an earlier George Bell who was a school manager but, as your grandfather was Australian, there does not appear to be any connection with the other Badsey Bells.

Marion has sent us several photos for our picture archive. These include a picture of Frank Amos with two large fish he caught.

Miss June Lambourn - 1st September 2012 - 0:00

 Very surprised to find no mention of the Robbins Family on your website. Robin Cottage was named after them.

My grandfather worked for Lees Milne. My mother Lizzie Robbins and her sister Kate had the first double wedding in the church. My uncle Tom is buried opposite the church door. My uncle George Robbins was a well known market gardener. He lived next door to the Halfords at 22 Pitchers Hill where I was evacuated to during the war. I walked to Badsey School which my mother and her brothers and sisters also attended. Mr Amos was the headmaster. After many years my grandparents moved to No 1 Council Houses, then to Birmingham. George Robbins and his wife Nancy are buried in the new church yard. He also served in the Great War.

Regards
Miss June Lambourn

I am helping Tom Locke with the Wickhamford section of the Badsey website so was interested to read your email regarding the Robbins family. My grandparents Charles & Annie Mason lived on Pitchers Hill and my father Fred Mason was born in 1910 in Wickhamford and also attended Badsey School. On leaving school in 1924 my father worked for Mr Lees-Milne in the gardens of Wickhamford Manor and then left in 1927 to join his father market gardening. They worked land on Pitchers Hill and also at Whitfurrows. I remember your uncle George and his wife living next to the Halfords on Pitchers Hill and also their son George and his wife and family living in Sandys Avenue. I have looked in the index and the families with the surname Robbins appear to have lived mainly in Badsey. There was a John Robbins and his wife Elizabeth and family living in Wickhamford in the early part of the 19th century and Mary Robbins married Gerard Stevens in Wickhamford church in 1697. The latest census to which we have access is 1911 and George Agg and his family are living next to the Halford family on Pitchers Hill so presumably your grandparents moved to the house after that date.

A survey of Wickhamford churchyard has been undertaken by Peter Stewart and is on the Wickhamford section of the website. I note that John Robbins was buried in 1942 and his plot is opposite the church door. You say that Tom Robbins is buried opposite the church door. Is this the same man? I was interested to hear that Robin Cottage was named after your family.

We are always looking for old photos or documents relating to Wickhamford and their residents and wonder if you or any other members of your family have anything that may be of interest to include on the site. Many thanks for your email. It's nice to know that people are looking at the website and I hope you have found it interesting.

Christopher John Cox - 15th July 2012 - 0:00

 May I start by saying how much I have enjoyed your website. I am a descendant of William Thomas and Alice Cox who lived at Pitchers Hill in Wickhamford from around 1902/3 until the last child, another Alice known as Sis died around the 1980s.

I loved the photo you have of the Cox family about 1911, lent to you by Ruth Cox. However my purpose in writing to you is to suggest a few minor corrections to the Wickhamford goes to war article relating to my grandfather, John Henry Cox. He had joined the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in 1912 and served throughout the war into 1919 as he was signed up for a seven year hitch. He ended up as a Serjeant, as it was then spelt, in the 8th battalion Royal Berkshire Rifles. It appeared after his convalescence in 1915/16 he was posted to this battalion of the regiment to add experience. In 1917 he was awarded the Meritorious Conduct Medal. Normally this medal was issued to a very limited number of warrant officers who had an unblemished service record of at least 12 years but in 1917 it began to be awarded for acts of gallantry. I have no further details. I can provide a photo of the medal if needed.

Many thanks for your website

Christopher John Cox

Very many thanks for your kind comments and the extra information. I shall put the additional facts into the article and arrange for an amended version to be put on the web-site. If you could send me a photo of the Meritorious Conduct Medal, I will include that as well. If you have a photograph of him in uniform, I would like to add that to the section on him.

Sue Daniels - 20th June 2012 - 0:00

 Does anyone know when the Council Houses were built in Wickhamford - we believe my Great Grandfather was one of the original tenants but no date can be found?

Thank you
Sue Daniels

I believe they were built not long after the First World War. I have a map from 1930, when many properties were auctioned in the village. The council houses are marked on this map roughly from the Sandys Arms to where the present A44 runs. There appears to be 7 pairs indicated. They were not part of the sale, but are shown on the map.

It is thought that the first Council Houses were ready to move into by the latter part of 1921, thus were still being built at the time of the 1921 census. Seven pairs were initially built (Nos 1-14, present-day Nos 3-31 Pitchers Hill), followed by six more pairs in the 1930s (Nos 15-26, present-day Nos 33-67 Pitchers Hill) after the sale of land by the trustees of Captain J P Lord. By January 1938, with rapid development following the sale of the Lord land, the houses were renumbered to the present-day numbering system (more or less, but some changes must have occurred in the 60s or 70s higher up the hill). Who was your great-grandfather?

Julie Fleming - 11th June 2012 - 0:00

What a fabulous site. I have tonight found the site and it's Wickhamford link showing not only text but pictures of my family, mainly that of my GT GT Grandparents Sam and Eliza Stanley. I was so taken aback at seeing these images I cried a bit with joy and on showing my husband, children and grandchildren have now decided to pursue the family tree I started some years ago. Thank you for putting all of this together and making it so interesting to read and please also wish me luck on finding my relatives, it's going to be fun.

Julie Fleming, Bidford on Avon

Jeanne Carmont - 29th May 2012 - 0:00

My name is Jeanne Carmont and I am distantly related to the late Vicar of Badsey, William Carmont Allsebrook. He is my Grandfather's 2nd cousin once removed. I have been researching my family history for some years now and recently came across your wonderful website and am slowly reading through it. I know William was the vicar for a great many years and wondered if there are possibly any photos of him and his family. I love the description Roger Savory wrote about him nearly going up in flames. I know he had two children William and Evelyn, but I don't think they ever married, I know William died young and Evelyn in 2002. I also know he had a brother Harold who died in 1973. I would be most grateful for any help you can provide

Kind Regards
Jeanne Carmont

All four members of the Allsebrook family are interred in Badsey churchyard. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the vicar William Allsebrook did not fill in the burials registers from 1936 to 1945. He did not record the christenings over the same period. His son William James Basil Allsebrook died in 1938, aged 24. He is not recorded in the burial registers and there is no known plot number for him in the churchyard. There is also no known plot for the Vicar, William Carmont Allsebrook, who was buried in the churchyard on April 18, 1947, aged 79 and his wife Evelyn Kate who predeceased him and was buried on February 19, 1932, aged 67. His daughter did not marry and lived as a recluse in Bengeworth, Evesham. She died in 2002 and was buried in the churchyard on June 26, 2002. I numbered her plot as Section A, plot 82. Her parents and her brother were said to be buried nearby but nobody knows exactly where. William Carmont Allsebrook married Evelyn Kate Hands, of Badsey, at Solihull Parish Church on Thursday June 24, 1909 and I am attaching a copy of the photographs of the couple that appeared in the Evesham Journal for June 26, 1909. Also see my book on the churchyard where I have included a detailed obituary for William Allsebrook.

You are indeed correct that the Reverend W C Allsebrook had two children, neither of whom married. We are fortunate that The Badsey Society was donated an archive of papers relating to the Allsebrook family following the death of Evelyn Allsebrook in 2002. The papers include papers relating to Allsebrook’s career in the church and documents about the Hands and Payton families (he married Evelyn Hands in 1909, whose mother was a Payton). This information will all be available online by the end of this year, as we are developing a special Badsey Archive and Museum website, so please keep checking our website later in the year for news of the new website. You might also like to look at a copy of “Another Self” by James Lees-Milne, which is his autobiographical memories of growing up in Wickhamford, the neighbouring village to Badsey, where Allsebrook was also Vicar, and is mentioned in the book. I think it is still in print; I’m sure you should be able to get it on Amazon or borrow from your local library.

John Smith - 15th May 2012 - 0:00

I have been using you site for a few months now and it has provided me with a lot of useful information about my family who lived in and around the Badsey area. I read with great interest your article on the mill at Wickhamford as the Anthony Smith who married Catherine Calvert was my 3rd great grand uncle. Their son Samuel married Sarah Gee. No marriage record found so far. The article mentions two sons of Samuel and Sarah, George and John Wingfield. I believe there may have been a third son. Wilson Smith was baptized on 27 April 1837 in Badsey but died aged just 3 weeks. This information was found on your site in the Parish Records section but I have not been able to confirm that he was their son.

Anthony’s father was Benjamin Smith (my 4th great grandfather) he was a miller, and he married Elizabeth Roberts on the 21 February 1758 by license in Badsey. Benjamin died in 1819. In his will Benjamin left “Lower Mill” in Broadway to his other son Samuel Smith. After Samuel's death the mill was taken over by grand nephew Benjamin Burrows. Benjamin had also made provisions for the children of son Anthony who had died 5 years earlier.

As you mention in your article, tracing the Smith family has been quite difficult so I hope if you do more research into the Smith family it is published on you site.

At the moment I am trying to find out if the Benjamin mentioned above is the same Benjamin that is mentioned in the deeds for Badsey mill in 1759. In the deeds it states that Benjamin and his brother Anthony are the sons of Samuel and Ann Smith. I'm not sure but this Samuel may be the one that married Ann New on the 1st January 1716 in Badsey.

Keep up the great work on your site.
John Smith

Lynne Tarbutt - 2nd May 2012 - 0:00

We have recently received the deeds to our house in Horsebridge Avenue, and looking at the old maps, I notice that Horsebridge Avenue is built on land that was once called 'The Hanging Grounds No 2'. Do you happen to know how the land came by this name please? I believe it was once part of Aldington. Also on the map standing in what is now part of our garden was a 'shelter'. Could this have been an air-raid shelter perhaps? On our map, it just says the word 'shelter'. There is no diagram but there are about 3 short paths leading up to it, just off the roadside. I live at Welford House.

Lynne Tarbutt

You may be relieved to know that Hanging Ground does not refer to a place of execution. It just means a sloping field, in this case going down to Badsey Brook. Have a look at the notes that Maureen Spinks has assembled about Horsebridge Avenue and you may also be interested in Will Dallimore's history of local Council Housing in one of the Badsey Society books.

It is unlikely that the 'shelter' in your garden is an air raid shelter because the Horsebridge estate was built just after World War 2. Could it perhaps be a market gardener's hut or hovel? If you are willing to let Badsey Society have a photocopy of the map with your deeds, we might be able to discover more.

Lynne has kindly given us a copy of the map. The shelter remains a bit of a mystery. There was never a bus shelter in that position, nor is it an air raid shelter. Terry Sparrow has suggested that it might possibly have been an open sided sided shelter where market gardeners left produce for collection near the road. I have looked at large scale OS maps for several dates but it is not shown. We also have a 1946 aerial photo which shows Horsebridge Avenue as a building site, with the road partly constructed but no buildings in place. I cannot see the shelter on this either.

Will Dallimore suggests another possibility: We have been calling the document a map, when actually it is a plan. A map displays roads, houses, etc. that are actually in existence, whilst a plan displays the architects ideas of what they would like built. What I am trying to say is that the shelter in question was drawn on the plan, but never ever got built. Between the planning stage and its construction the shelter was 'shelved'. Maybe it was because the two 'private' houses' were being built next to it. Or simply because it was sited in the wrong place. Eventually, a brick and tile bus shelter was built, which was nearer Synehurst Crescent than the present one. When the pelican crossing was installed the present shelter was erected to the Evesham side of the crossing. This forced bus passengers to use the crossing.

Glenn Cox - 16th January 2012 - 0:00

I would like to offer my thanks and congratulations to Tom Locke for compiling the superb article Wickhamford Goes To War. It is attractively presented and, as far as I can see, it has been very carefully researched. I must declare a strong personal connection to the subject matter - the photographs on page 13 show my father (G F Cox) and five of my uncles. Mr Locke has even obtained some inside information concerning Uncle Charlie's stetson!

In general, the Badsey website is a magnificent resource. Heartfelt thanks go to the fine person/people who transcribed the parish records & censuses. If only every village had done this ... !

Best wishes
Glenn Cox

Many thanks for your kind comments. I started the piece by looking into the background of the soldiers who died and were recorded on the Church War Memorial, but like topsy, it grew ! It's a pity that a lot of the Army Records were destroyed, but I pieced together what information had survived and my friend Val Harman helped in chasing up a lot of the photographs. As you may have seen, we have also done a shorter article on the four men who died in WW2. As of yet, no Army records are available, other than bits of information provided by the War Graves people. Regarding your family, if you have any additional information, we would be pleased to see it. I can always update the article with additional material.

Wendy Marshall - 1st June 2011 - 0:00

Thank you for your wonderful site. All I had to go on when I discovered it was a Christian name and an approximate date of birth. Thanks to your meticulous transcriptions, I was able to identify 3 Elizabeths baptised within a period of 2 years and by a process of elimination was able to progress my research and join several loose ends together at the same time!

I believe there may also be a family connection to Daniel Jones who was assistant curate at Badsey from 1788. However, the only reference to him in the 'people' database is as father of various children born in the parish from 1788 onwards so he does not appear to have been a Badsey man. I was wondering if you had any information on where he came from from?

Many thanks for your help - and keep up the good work!
Wendy Marshall

Judy Mellowes - 9th May 2011 - 0:00

Thank you for an excellent site.

I am descended from John Davis born at Badsey in 1722 to Elizabeth Davis. The father is given as Robert Bowker. Robert seems to have appeared in Badsey as there is no prior mention of him. However, he, his wife and his 2 sons by his wife (another Elizabeth) seem to be buried in Badsey. I wondered if the list of Bastardy Orders and/or Settlement Certificates for Badsey is available? There is a Robert Bokwer born in High Ercall, Salop but that seems rather a distance from Badsey.

Thank you,
Judy Mellowes, Sydney, Australia

I transcribed all the parish records for Badsey. Unfortunately I do not know of any surviving bastardy orders/settlement certificates for Badsey. I am interested to know whether your ancestor was known by the name of DAVIS or BOWKER. You will see from my note on the website that I had thought he was baptised JOHN DAVIS, but the IGI has indexed him as JOHN BOWKER. There are a lot of BOWKERs or BOOKERs in the neighbouring parishes of Wickhamford and Bretforton. We may in due course get round to putting the Wickhamford records on to the website, but they are not ready as yet, but I have extracted a list of the BOOKER/BOWKER records (not checked properly). I believe both Wickhamford and Bretforton records have been catalogued on the IGI, but I can’t find a reference to a Robert Bowker marrying an Elizabeth, so probably they were married in a parish which has not been recorded by the IGI; I think the Shropshire record seems unlikely. Did your ancestor remain in Badsey? I see that a John Davis died in 1784, but was he your ancestor?

Clive Needle - 5th February 2011 - 0:00

 I am researching the family of my great-great-great-great grandparents WILLIAM and CATHERINE HARRIS who are recorded with their children living in what is now Badsey High Street in the 1861 Census. I believe William was the son of a Birmingham grocer originally from this area, who was born in Salford and is recorded as being a beer seller and grocer, and Catherine’s maiden name was Womans. Unless I misunderstand, It would seem that the property would now be at or near 18 High Street “The Schumachs” and was refurbished around 1858, subsequently becoming a bakery.

I know what happened to daughter Catherine junior (1854-1925, born in Bretforton) who later became a Needle in Birmingham, but am still trying to follow William and Catherine senior after 1861. So I wonder if they only lived in Badsey briefly and if they were running a shop or inn there at that time, and if there is any evidence why they left?

As you have such a remarkable site I wonder if anyone can point me in the directions of my next enquiries please? Thanks in advance for any advice and for putting together such a terrific and fascinating resource.

Clive Needle, Rowhedge, Essex

18 High Street 'The Schumachs' is an interesting old house but sadly today in a poor state of repair. The photograph on the website is about 10 years old and since then the front has been stripped of most of its rendering. There are details in the house to suggest it may be Tudor, but Pevsner puts it as seventeenth century and he is likely to be right. Our oldest map of Badsey is the 1812 enclosure map where the house stands in a plot owned by Joseph Simpson. On the same plot but missing from the map is the house currently occupied by our Spar shop and post office. This must have been built a few years after the map was made. You can see a historical description of the plot written by Maureen Spinks.

This leaves a lot of your questions unanswered. Where did William Harris sell his beer and run his shop? Was it at this same address, that later became a bakery?

Jackie - 3rd January 2011 - 0:00

 I am looking for descendants, mainly who may have any information or photographs of William and Frances (Jarrett) Knight. Frances was my grandmother's sister. Due to a falling out within the family they seem to have had no contact whatsoever, as my mother and aunt new nothing of the family, apart from the fact that one sister married a Knight from Badsey.

I have spent quite some time trawling through your site over the last few months, it has been very interesting and helpful.

Thank you once again and best wishes
Jackie

Maureen Spinks - 3rd January 2011 - 0:00

In reply to by Jackie

I have spoken to Terry Sparrow, village historian, to see if he knew William Charles and Marjorie Knight. He certainly knew William, who was a market gardener down Badsey Fields Lane and was at one time Secretary of the Flower Show. He does not know what happened to William and Marjorie's two children, only that they are not living in Badsey.

Tom Locke - 14th December 2010 - 0:00

Whilst transcribing the 1911 Valuation Survey information on Wickhamford, I came across a puzzling term. One of the properties on Pitchers Hill had reference to a 'dumb well'. So far, no explanation of this term has been found. Can anyone throw any light on what exactly this might be ?

Juliette Priddy - 28th November 2010 - 0:00

I have stumbled across your amazing website whilst trying to solve the mystery of my paternal great grandfather Charles Scanes. The information I have gained from my grandmother is that he was abandoned as a baby and brought up by two elderly ladies with the surname Wilkins in Pebworth and then, after their deaths, by the Sheward family also in Pebworth. As such, for his childhood he was known as Charles Wilkins. When he came to marry in 1934 the vicar produced a copy of Charles' birth certificate.

The copy of the birth certificate lists the mother as Emma Scanes with her occupation as a laundress at Badsey, the father is left blank. The address given of his birth is 1 Hampton Road, Hampton near Evesham. His date of birth was 3rd October 1908 and the birth registered 18th November 1908 so it is possible his mother cared for him for a short while. I have searched on ancestry.co.uk for Emma Scanes and cannot find any information on her and have looked at the census in 1901 in the areas mentioned above and cannot find anyone that Emma could be.

I suspect maybe she used the father's surname instead of her own or simply made up a new name completely. Charles Scanes went on to marry Linda Griffiths in 1934 and to have my grandmother Barbara Scanes in 1935 I would love to be able to solve the mystery of my great-grandfather for my grandmother as she has always been curious about the history of her father. If anyone has any information regarding this, any family rumours or the like I would be extremely grateful.

Thank you,
Juliette Priddy

Christopher Harris - 15th November 2010 - 0:00

Hello from the frozen North, well it feels like that at the moment. I have just discovered, to my pure delight, the Badsey site. My family came from Badsey at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and I have already found some of them in the parish records on your site. I would like to order a copy of "A Brief history of Badsey and Aldington" please.

Is it also possible to post an enquiry on your site? I am trying to trace the birth/family of Jonathan Harris would married Sarah Holland 14 June 1810. I am not sure how I can find his parents or if it is possible. My Harris's moved eventually to Hednesford, Staffs, and then Walsall. My grandfather, Frank Herbert Harris, died in 1911 when my father was only a few weeks old and we have had a lot of difficulty finding his roots.

Best wishes,

Christopher Harris
Bergen, Norway

Hello Christopher. Your Jonathan Harris was buried aged 59 at Badsey 9 Jul 1838 which puts his birth about 1779. Looking at the IGI there is a baptism at Church Honeybourne of Jonathan Harris son of James and Mary on 16 April 1775 which looks at reasonable fit. Church Honeybourne is a couple of miles to the east of Badsey. Hopefully this is a start.

Peter Blackaby - 1st November 2010 - 0:00

 May I first of all thank you for the wonderful village site that you and your team have produced. If only all villages could do the same. I first found your site a couple of years ago and it gave me a really good start to my search for the family tree. You have obviously worked very hard since then and I was delighted to be able to now go back (I think), a lot further.

My interest is in the Jones family who lived, in my grandfather's time, in Bretforton. Like most researchers I started with the census in 1901 and found:
In 1901, Walter Jones 31, born Bretforton and his wife Frances and 4 boys, one of whom would become my grandfather.
In 1891, aged 22 with his parents, Thomas 70 b. Badsey, and Elizabeth (neé) Sorrel 65, b. Harvington.
In 1881 he was 12, with Thomas 60, Elizabeth 56. Here you have Thomas as a Badsey Stray.
...

Could you please point me in the direction of any further information?

Best wishes to you all,
Peter Blackaby

Maureen Spinks - 1st November 2010 - 0:00

In reply to by Peter Blackaby

Your Thomas Jones is descended from William Jones (c1709-1784). Daniel Jones was Assistant Curate at Badsey from 1788-1808 and is not related to your Jones family. As regards the IGI reference to a marriage between John Jones and Mrs Elizabeth Jones at Badsey in 1820, don't believe everything you see on the IGI! The Mormons have done wonderful work in transcribing many parish registers but that record was not placed there as a result of a methodical IGI transcription; it was simply placed there by a member of the Latter-Day Saints who obviously had John and Elizabeth Jones in their ancestry and thought they must have been married at Badsey in about 1820 (the basis being that they first started baptising children at Badsey in 1821). But they already had several children by the time they moved to Badsey. We have methodically transcribed all the registers and the IGI record is most definitely wrong. In order to see what land your ancestor owned in Badsey at the time of Enclosure in 1815, go to www.badsey.net/enclosure, then click on "Digitised Badsey Enclosure Map from the WCC GIS site". In the search box, enter John Jones of Abberley and then click on Find. This will show you where, on the Badsey Enclosure map, was the cottage and orchard which your ancestor owned. Having located its position, you can then go back to the photographic image of the map (section B1 - ie second row down, first one) and print out the map. On the digitised map, if you type in just John Jones or Joseph Jones, you will see that your John's cousins were major landowners in Badsey. You may find A Brief History of Badsey and Aldington useful as background reading (it includes a photo of Harrington House which was owned for a time by your family in the 18th century). And a novel Christmas present might be our Enclosure Map tea towel which features some of your ancestral homes! Details on the website if you wish to purchase any of these. Good luck with your researches.

Peter Stewart - 1st November 2010 - 0:00

In reply to by Peter Blackaby

Had a quick check through my records to see if I can immediately add to what it already known. Your are probably already aware that Walter Jones married Frances Sarah Edkins in 1895 in Solihull. Both are buried in Bretforton churchyard. Frances Sarah died in 1910, aged 41 and buried July 26, 1910. Walter died in 1940 in Evesham Infirmary, aged 72, and buried December 18, 1940. According to the 1901 census they had four boys but was to have another child, Eustace Eugene, in 1903. Walter’s parents Thomas & Elizabeth, are also buried at Bretforton. Thomas died in 1899, aged 79, and buried April 25, 1899. Elizabeth died in 1909 at Warwick, aged 84, and buried March 11, 1909.

Jane Aguilard - 8th October 2010 - 0:00

 I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your website.

I am descended from a market gardener, William Knight (1846-1934), who, according to the 1901 Census for Badsey, lived at Belmont Terrace. Elsie May Jefferies, the daughter of Sarah Ann Knight, was my grandmother. She married my grandfather, Sidney Halford of Broadway in 1922, and in 1924 they emigrated to South Africa with my mother, Joyce, who was one year old at the time. My grandfather managed an export fruit farm near Cape Town, South Africa. My grandparents never returned to England, but my sisters and I grew up hearing them talk with nostalgia about the Vale of Evesham and the Cotswolds in general. I moved to Germany in 1971, where I met my American husband, and moved to the United States in 1976. I now live in Sarasota, Florida. My middle sister, Melanie, still lives in Cape Town, and our youngest sister lives in Essex, England. My cousin, Helen, is also a granddaughter of Elsie May and Sidney, and lives in Cape Town.

In 1973 my mother and I visited England. It was my first visit, and my mother’s first since 1924. We managed to track down my great uncle, Cecil Jeffries, and enjoyed visiting with him and his family, but I have not stayed in touch.

My mother died in Cape Town in June of this year. Since her death, my interest in researching my roots has been renewed. Last August my sisters and I, accompanied by my husband, Jim, and Mel’s son, Simon, visited the Cotswolds. While having dinner at the Round of Gras in Badsey one evening, we couldn’t help looking around at other diners and wondering whether we were related to any of them! We spent some time in area graveyards looking for family names among the tombstones. Thanks to the work of your organization, I was able to identify the graves of my great-grandparents, John and Sarah Ann Jeffries.

In Sarasota, market gardening is enjoying a renaissance. There is a market downtown each Saturday, where local market gardeners sell their produce. The local extension service (which is a collaboration between the state university and the local government) even offers courses in market gardening, with a focus on holistic methods. The organically grown vegetables and herbs are particularly popular with both residents and restaurants. Environmentalists like the fact that the produce is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, probably the only method our forbears knew; people also like the fact that the produce is not trucked thousands of miles to reach market, thereby reducing carbon emissions and gas consumption. The market has a festive atmosphere. In addition to the farm stands offering fresh vegetables, herbs, fruit, and ornamental plants, there are local bakers and various cottage industries selling their wares, and there are food aromas and live music in the air. Also, it is an opportunity for people to take their dogs on a downtown outing, and show them off. After the market closes, customers gravitate to outdoor cafes, where they can enjoy a meal accompanied by their pets, and watch the world go by.

From your historical website I discovered that in 1901 my grandmother’s youngest uncle, Thomas Henry Knight, was still living at home. His obituary gave me an idea of the life that my forbears lived. I remember my grandmother telling me with great pride about her uncle who had played the organ in his church for 70 years. During our graveyard adventure in August, we parked our car beside picturesque Wickhamford Manor, so it was nice to know that the manor had been a part of my family’s history (Thomas married the cook, Nellie, and my his father, my great grandfather, worked in the garden twice a week).

I am also descended from William Crane (1818-1902), who is mentioned in your recent Badsey Society newsletter. What a pity that I missed your Flower Show in July. Perhaps I’ll be luckier in the future.

I am interested in your project, The Last Market Gardener, and look forward to the release of the book.

Sincerely,

Jane Aguilard (born Gilmour)
Sarasota, FL 34238, USA