Saturday 26th January 2013 - Ela and William's English Descendant
On Wednesday I received and email with 'WOW' factor. This is what got my attention:
"I'm a descendent of Ela and William Longespee through their daughter Isabel."
I'd better explain who these people are: Ela, Countess of Salisbury inherited most of Chitterne as a child in medieval times from her father William 2nd Earl of Salisbury. As an important heiress Ela was given in marriage by King Richard I to William Longespee, his half-brother. Ela and William Longespee had 8 children.
Where were we? Oh, yes, you must have noticed that I am a little obsessed with Ela? And the whole medieval period to be honest, so on reading those words from SH all my Ela receptors were immediately deployed. I was not disappointed.
SH went on to say:
"A particular fact that thrilled me endlessly was the mention of the castle at Old Sarum. I am a medieval re-enactor, as well as an amateur genealogist, and coincidentally Old Sarum is on my events list this year! We will be staying and entertaining the public for a weekend. I can hardly believe I will be walking in the footsteps of my fore father and look forward to the teasing I will inevitably get from my fellow swordsmen when they hear about it."
How cool is that! It's all the more exciting because SH is the first UK descendent of the couple to contact me. There have been several others over the years from France, Canada and the USA but never before from these islands.
The Old Sarum Castle connection? The castle at old Sarum was Ela's great great grandfather Edward's. Edward was the Sherrif of Wiltshire and he entertained William the Conqueror at the castle when King William came there to receive the allegiance of all his followers.
SH went on to give me the web address for her re-enactment group, which I shall plug here: www.medieval-siege-society.co.uk. The group will be at Old Sarum on the 4th and 5th of May.
Saturday 19th January 2013 - Grave Discovered
I don't seem to be able to shift from the emphasis on death yet. This week I was wandering in St Mary's graveyard, thinking I must add Louie's and Ernie's graves to the graveyard plan, when I noticed a grave I hadn't seen before. It was marked by a tombstone lying in the earth near the northernmost edge of the graveyard where the children are buried. The stone and its engravings were well preserved. The name was William Marshallsay, died 1860. My first thought was: how could I have missed this? I was sure it wasn't on the graveyard plan. I went home and looked up William Marshallsay, but I had only a reference to Elizabeth Marshallsay widow of William. Elizabeth was a schoolmistress, living in Chitterne St Mary in 1861 with her two daughters, and no doubt teaching at the village school. I found no sign of the family in the 1851 Chitterne census, nor the 1871, so they must have only been here for a few years.
To cut to the chase, it seems that NH discovered the tombstone when clearing the surrounding undergrowth ready for the burial of her granddaughter's ashes. So it had been hidden when I surveyed the graveyard in 2002. I hadn't missed it. I still know very little about William, except that he came from Dorset and his daughter Maud (her name has no 'E' in other records), who died in 1866 aged 17, is buried with him. After two deaths in the family Elizabeth must have decided to leave Chitterne.
This all left me with a slight problem. How to give the new grave a number on the plan and yet not upset the system in the Burial Register of taking the next consecutive number at each burial. After discussion we have decided to allocate the next available number, which happens to be 140, and make a note as to why alongside. We can't enter William and Maud properly in the register because they have already appeared in the Burial Register in 1860 and 1866.
Wednesday 2nd January 2013 - Crazy Chitterne
You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it certainly helps, and, as far as I know, we haven't even been inter-breeding recently!
Evenso, yesterday we had the craziest manifestation of Chitterne madness yet, the Chitterne Triathlon. An idea cooked up by possibly the maddest of the mad, KOD. It involved the pluckiest Chitternites getting from opposite the church to the pub by a circuitous route on water, wheels and foot. Luckily the weather took a break AND the sun came out!! For the first leg: travel along the Cut in the water from the Sportsfield footpath bridge to Clump Farm bridge; the second leg: circumnavigate the Sportsfield on wheels back to the first bridge; third leg: run to the pub. First one there's the winnner. Oh, and as if this wasn't enough there was optional fancy dress too! Here they are entering the water:
I would not want those of you who follow my blogs, but do not subscribe to facebook, to miss out on this once in a lifetime hilarious spectacle. Go to the Chitterne facebook page (you don't have to be a member) using the link on the village website, where you can see many more photos and just how mad some of us are.