Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - May 2009

Tuesday 26th May - Reunion Time

The Reunion of the Coles family in Kwa-Zulu Natal mentioned in my 8th April blog, has successfully happened. Just to re-cap: These Coles are descendants of Louisa Langford (1859-1942) and James William Cary Newbury Coles (1855-1894*). Louisa Langford was brought up by her grandparents William & Mary Wallis in Chitterne after her mother died. Here are the participants, who, CW tells me, nicknamed themselves the "Wrinklies" and had a wonderful time. They all share the same grandfather, William Cary Newbury Coles (1880-1969), who emigrated from England to Harding, South Africa. In the picture we have from the left: CW daughter (d) of John David Coles; JB d of Rachel Coles; LS d of Richard Coles; VB d of Rachel Coles; EC - widow of the late David Coles - the only boy grandson; HvN - d of Ursula Coles; WF - d of Naomi Coles - WF flew in from Ireland; AM - d of Rachel Coles - only one still living in Harding; P and K daughters of Richard Coles were unable to come.

On the same theme I met up with a Reynolds cousin last Friday for lunch in Melton Mowbray. We share the same great great grandfather, so we are fairly distant cousins and we had never met face to face before. We met on the internet through Genesreunited. I sent him a "hot match" message, we exchanged emails and family photos, discovered connections, agreed to keep in contact and meet when possible. 'Possible' turned out to be very soon, as Dave was making a rare trip north to Loughborough so I could cadge a lift to meet DF who lives near Grantham. The lunch was the highlight of my week and I discovered am amazing thing: my left ear deafness is most probably hereditary as DF is partially deaf and his mother was totally deaf in their left ears, just like me! Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, so there is no record of the lunch for posterity, bah!

It bears repeating: The internet is a wonderful thing.

*date of death wrong! See following comment:

Comment: James William Cary Newbury Coles is also a distant cousin of mine. I know a little about him. He was always known as 'Cary Coles'. He was indeed born in 1855, but he died in March 1915, not in 1894, and in a very dramatic way. The coroner's jury found that he had accidentally shot himself in the head with a shotgun while cleaning it. That has always struck me as unlikely, but it was the jury's verdict. Cary Coles was born at Teffont Evias, one of a farming family originally from Great Cheverell and later of Upton Scudamore. In his early life he was a big tenant farmer of sheep and corn, but he bought the manor of Winterbourne Stoke after the death of Lord Furness in 1912 and at the time of his death was farming 1,600 acres. He was an important breeder of Hampshire Down sheep and won many prizes, was a county and rural district councillor, a magistrate, a steward of the Smithfield Show, and so on.

The eldest son of Cary and Louisa Coles, the Rev. William Cary Newbury Coles, was born in 1880 at Brixton Deverill (where Cary Coles had his first farm) and went out to South Africa as a curate in 1912, staying there until his death in 1969. Cary Coles had another son, Allen Dredge Newbury Coles, and five daughters, Mary, Dorothy, Margaret, Sylvia, and Norah. Cary and Louisa Coles and many of their family are buried at Winterbourne Stoke.

The descendants of W. C. N. Coles may be interested to know that when Cary Coles bought the manor of Winterbourne Stoke in 1912 he got with it the patronage (or advowson) of the church, which is the right of choosing the parish priest there, and although Cary Coles's executors sold his land, they kept the advowson until 1970, hoping that the eldest son (and head of the family) would eventually return to England and take up the living. After WCNC's death it was given to the Bishop of Salisbury. CN.

Thanks to CN for the picture of Cary Coles.

Thursday 14th May - Fair Weather Gardener

During the recent good weather I have been trying to get some sort of order in our garden, following the neglect of the last few years looking after my mother, who died a year ago today. The bluebells are good this year, or maybe its because the ash trees are gone that they are more noticeable. Not too much care needed here, its a meadow-like area at the top of the garden. I planted the hornbeam hedge some years ago to divide the meadow from the rest of the garden and to create some privacy for my secluded area behind the garage. The leaves are such a wonderful dense green when they are freshly unfurled. I've always liked arches in hedges and one hornbeam granted my wish by growing taller than its companions perfect for the top of the arch. But it is a squeeze getting through with a wheelbarrow!

Behind part of the hedge is the fruit garden. A brave experiment many years ago that has partly survived. Originally espalier apple and pear trees surrounded the plot, like guards holding hands. Now only half is bordered by apple trees, poor ancients that have seen better days but much better now I've attacked them with my trusty saw. Favourite is the Lord Lambourn; there are two Cox's Orange Pippins, an inedible Ribston Pippin that only earns its place by cross-pollinating the Bramley in the meadow and an Egremont Russet. All good English apples. The pear trees failed and were removed a long time ago, perhaps from too much competition from the nearby hedge. Inside the curtain wall were four currant bushes - that plot holds a washing line now; a row of gooseberry bushes - two remain; a plot of strawberries - migrated elsewhere, and rhubarb - still in place. The plots are divided by high-maintenance gravel paths edged with bricks, much-loved by creeping buttercup - dosed with Round-Up.

The secluded area behind the hornbeam hedge is masked from the main garden by a trellis covered in jasmine, well at first it was clematis and jasmine, but the clematis was defeated by the force of the jasmine's agression and died. Not a well-thought out plan, that one. Not content with killing the clematis, the jasmine then went on to attack the grapevine that grows against the garage wall. Their tendrils interlocked as they fought it out, but the vine never stood a chance as I trim it right back every year after the season ends. I was determined to teach the jasmine a lesson and set to sorting it out, ending up with a huge pile of stuff that wouldn't fit in the wheelie bin. Add to that the branches from the apple trees and result is bonfire. It took two days to burn everything.

The honeysuckle is flowering well this year, probably because it has been saved from the Virginia Creeper's creeping. What is it with vines in this garden? They go potty. The Boston Ivy that covers the house spreads like wildfire too, it must be the underground water? We are right over the spring line.

Wednesday 13th May - True Friends

Yesterday my daughter, my grandson and me went to London on the train to meet an old friend from college days, her daughter and her grandson. It's incredible that of all the time we've known each other, must be coming up to 46 years now, that our daughters produced a first grandchild each for us, both boys, within two months of each other!! But when you consider how synchronised we've always been one to the other, with migraines etc, I guess its not that surprising an event. We have been in pretty constant touch through the years. Long newsy letters, painful or exciting depending on the direction our lives were taking, made way for the frequent immediacy of emails, no less painful and exciting, but also commiserating or jolting, chiding or joking, they chart our lives as we've poured our woes or shared our joy or pulled the other up by their bootstraps. She is the more effective advicewise, always knows just what to say to suit my mood; I like to think I have repaid that debt, not in kind, but by being there physically when needed. I can't imagine how I would have coped with my life's ups and downs without her support, I just can't. I have boxes of her letters, and thousands of her emails, a true friend.

Here we are with our grandsons on the South Bank of the Thames in the sunshine.

Tuesday 5th May - Flowers are Sorted

After much blood sweat and tears the Flower family are sorted and in situ on the history pages of the village website. Phew! I must have made 5 or 6 attempts to get my head around their crazy family tradition of naming one or even two sons John in every batch of siblings; had they no thought for future historians? How does that work at the time even? Do you call them John One and John Two, or what? Some stalwart of the family who had made a stab at sorting them in a treatise called "Flowers of Wiltshire" resorted to naming them John Senior and John Junior, and the next set John The Elder and John the Younger, thank you that person, you were a great help. But best help was given by JW, who has a very organised mind and set me on the right track. Except for her the Flowers would still be in a mess.

In the end I have to say it was worth it for the sheer entertainment value of their story. This was a family that attracted misfortune big time; they were robbed, cheated and taken to court by others and they robbed, cheated, lied, gambled and conspired with each other, not to mention the illicit liaisons and resulting progeny; even the solicitor son ended up in prison for debt and the gambler, Edward Flower (hooray! not a John for once), sold his inheritance in Chitterne to pay his debts.

What else? I have had my first email from Brazil (it must be winter in the southern hemisphere and time to get on with family research). From MJ, a gent related to the Jordan family, who asks why I haven't told of their considerable history on the website. Ah well, that was my own stupid fault. 4 or 5 years ago I promised an emailer that I wouldn't write anything about the family online as she was planning to write about them herself. She sent me acres of valuable information and then applied the wheel-clamp. However, I did make use of it in the book, hadn't promised not to write on paper.

Next up, must start in earnest on the display for the exhibition of old photographs in the summer.

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