A spa in Bath and visit to Clifton

We were staying in Bath. One of its attractions is the Thermae Bath Spa, built on the site of the Roman baths, and supplied, as were the Roman baths, by warm spring water.

On Sunday Charlotte and I walked down Widcombe Hill and across the River Avon to the Spa for what we expected would be a nice hot plunge. The spa opens at nine o’clock. We arrived at ten past. This meant a queue – the English queue for everything – and so we stood in line for an hour waiting for a change room.

Why hadn’t we booked? You can’t, except for special treatments. And we couldn’t leave the queue for a cup of coffee because we’d have lost our place.

At £40 each I expected something better, but perhaps the Sunday of a Bank holiday weekend in May was not a good time to go. Oh well, the rooftop pool was fun.


The rooftop pool at the Thermae Bath Spa photographed in 2010 from Bath Abbey – image from Wikipedia; photograph by user:Simple Bob CC by 2.0


The Cross Bath adjacent to the Thermal Bath Spa



Looking down Bath Street toward the South Colonnade entrance of the Grand Pump Room. Bath was almost deserted on the Sunday morning except for the queue at the Thermal Bath Spa.

In the afternoon we drove to look at the Clifton Suspension Bridge (designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, completed after his death) near Bristol.


Nearby in Clifton, we found the house of John James (1808 – 1855), the first husband my 3rd great grandmother Charlotte Dana.

John James divorced Charlotte in 1849. At the time of the 1851 census he was living with his mother, brother, and daughter Constance aged 10, at 24 The Mall, Clifton. They had 4 live-in servants. The house overlooks a pretty garden, where I imagine Constance played.

1851 census for John James

1851 English census Class: HO107; Piece: 1952; Folio: 383;Page: 33; GSU roll: 87352 retrieved through ancestry.com


The Mall Gardens, Clifton , Gloucestershire

Visiting Oxfordshire

On Saturday 4 May we visited Oxford. On the way we passed by the Uffington White Horse and stopped in at Faringdon.

The White Horse is carved into the highest hill in Oxfordshire. We walked across a few paddocks towards it, from where we had a magnificent view of the valley across to the Cotswolds and towards Oxford, but close up it’s hard to make out the horse.



Nice to have a powerful zoom on my camera to capture the view


My 10th and 9th great grandfathers, Robert Pye (1585 – 1662) and his eldest son Robert Pye (1620 – 1701), fought each other in the Civil War, with son besieging father at Faringdon from May to June 1646. After 360 years, of course, nothing remains to suggest there ever was a war, except, perhaps, that the fighting destroyed much of what might have been there to see today.

In Oxford, we met one of my cousins, walked around the the University town, and had a pleasant lunch together. We visited Magdelen, one of the colleges. I was passing the World War I Honour Roll and caught the name Cudmore out of the corner of my eye. I had forgotten that some of my great grandfather’s cousins had studied in Oxford. I have written about both Collier Cudmore, a notable rower, and Milo Massey Cudmore, who died at St Eloi, near Ypres, in 1916.

The place where Thomas Cranmer was burned to death in 1556.


Balliol College


A graduation in progress


Rhodes statue still standing on the Rhodes building Oriel College


Magdalen College



WWI Honour Roll at Magdelen College listing Milo Massey Cudmore


My cousin’s pretty garden


Triangulating Matilda’s DNA

Three years ago my husband Greg and I sent off our DNA for analysis. There were three family history puzzles I thought DNA techniques might solve. One concerned the parents of Greg’s great grandfather Henry Sullivan. Who were they? I didn’t know. I thought DNA data might help.

We knew Henry was brought up in an orphanage in Geelong, but its records told us only that he had been abandoned by his parents, nothing more. We could not find a likely birth certificate for him.

I revisited the problem, reviewing digitised newspapers at Trove and widening my date search slightly. I wrote up the results at `Poor little chap‘.

Henry was committed as a State Ward on 11 June 1866. He was said to be four years old. Both his parents were living but he had been deserted. Looking at the newspapers for the month before Henry was committed I found a report that mentioned a ‘‘little one’ who had been abandoned by a woman named Sullivan.’ The newspaper stated that ‘The decrepit and indiscreet creature walked off with the child clinging to her.’. Perhaps this child was our Henry.

Following through various newspaper reports I came to the view that this Henry was the child of William Sullivan (born 1839) and Matilda Frances Sullivan formerly Hughes (born 1845). Matilda Sullivan was the daughter of Matilda Priscilla Hughes nee Moggridge formerly Derby (1825 – 1868) and the step-daughter of David Hughes (1822 – 1895). Matilda Sullivan had another son, Eleazer Hughes (1861 – 1949). Eleazer Hughes had left descendants. I hoped that by matching Greg’s DNA with the descendants of Eleazer Hughes I might be able to confirm the hypothesis of Henry Sullivan’s parents.

Greg and his brother Dennis, his first cousins BS and MS, and his second cousin LB all share DNA with various descendants of Eleazer Hughes.

The challenge with DNA matching is to be confident about which of your forebears you have inherited the shared DNA from.

For close relations where you knew the test-takers beforehand and when the amount of shared DNA corresponds to the amount expected to be shared given the relationship, a shared DNA match is taken to be evidence of the relationship. If you have access to the shared chromosome details then you can attribute the shared ancestry to the shared DNA.

When the relationship is more distant you need to be confident that the DNA is shared from a particular ancestor and not from some other shared ancestor. That other ancestor may be on a part of the tree you or your match have not yet documented, that is, you do not know about your shared relationship. A measure of this is tree completeness -how many of your forebears have you documented for the necessary generations. If you are looking at an expected third cousin relationship then you expect to share great great grandparents. The question then becomes whether you and your match have both documented all sixteen of your great great grandparents. Only then can you be completely confident there is no another possible explanation of why you share DNA.

When it comes to fourth cousin relationships you are one more generation back. Both you and your match need to have documented thirty-two third great grandparents but also you need to take into consideration other possible relationships that might account for the amount of DNA that you share.

The distance between two gene loci on a chromosome is measured in centiMorgans (cM), defined as ‘the distance between chromosome positions for which the expected average number of intervening chromosomal crossovers in a single generation is 0.01’, that is, how likely the segment is to recombine as it passes from parent to child.

If two sets of DNA are compared, a higher number of shared centiMorgans means greater confidence in the match, that is, greater confidence that the match represents a closer relationship.

Any given number of centiMorgans though can represent a variety of relationships. The Shared cM Project is a collaborative data collection and analysis project created as part of research into the ranges of shared centiMorgans associated with various known relationships. A tool called the ‘Shared cM Project 3.0 tool’ v4 allows users to compare the amount of DNA shared with a match with the accumulated results of the data collection of more than 25,000 relationships and their shared DNA. Using the tool is an aid to understanding what relationships are most likely to be represented by the amount of shared DNA.

The more generations back  the higher the chance that no DNA is shared between descendants. It is possible for third cousins not to share DNA and the likelihood that fourth cousins share DNA is only in the order of 50%.

If three people share one segment of DNA and they know how they are related, then we have more confidence that the shared DNA comes from particular ancestors.

Matilda DNA triangulation

Greg and L B are second cousins. They have tested their DNA at AncestryDNA and uploaded to MyHeritage and GedMatch. At AncestryDNA they share 242 centiMorgans across 9 segments and at MyHeritage they share 254.6 centiMorgans across 9 segments. (I have previously discussed my experience of variations in DNA matches between

Greg and L B are half third cousins to D J G. D J G’s great grandfather, Eleazer Hughes, was the half-brother of Greg and L B’s great grandfather Henry Sullivan. At MyHeritage Greg shares 89.2 centiMorgans across 4 segments with D J G. L B shares 64.1 centiMorgans with D J G. The amount of DNA shared between the cousins falls within the probabilities predicted using the shared cM tool.

Greg, L B and D J G share one triangulated segment on chromosome 10. The segment is 47.7 centiMorgans long.

DJG and LB triangualted segment with Greg

I believe this DNA segment on chromosome 10 was inherited from Matilda by Greg, L B and D J G.

I checked that there was no other likely relationship to explain the DNA match by tracing the grandparents of DJG. Greg’s family tree and the tree of LB are both complete and documented up to their great great grandparents.

LB and Greg do have other matches with descendants of Eleazer Hughes but so far I have not been able to triangulate the DNA to a single segment. AncestryDNA, which has the most DNA matches, unfortunately lacks the tool, a chromosome browser, to demonstrate the triangulation.


Postscript: the poor little chap grew up, married and had a family. It seems he had a contended adult life. You can read about him at H is for Henry.

Navillus with Sullivan family

Florence Sullivan (nee Hickson), Elaine Sullivan, Anne Sullivan (nee Morley), and Henry Sullivan at “Navillus”, 7 Evelyn Street, East Bentleigh from the collection of a cousin and used with permission



A visit to Cheltenham

My 4th great grandparents are buried at Leckhampton near Cheltenham. On Friday 3 May I met one of my Hughes cousins at the churchyard. She had previously photographed the graves for me. I was pleased to see them in person.




The inscriptions are starting to wear. In the casket are buried my 4th great grandparents Eliza Julia Champion Crespigny nee Trent (1797 – 1855) and Charles Fox Champion Crespigny (1785 – 1875), and their grandson Constantine Trent Pulteney Champion Crespigny (1851 – 1883). The daughter of Eliza and Charles, Eliza Constantia Frances Champion Crespigny (1825 – 1898), is buried nearby with a simple cross marker.


The church was open and, inside, surprisingly warm. There was soon to be a wedding and the ladies of the church were doing the arrangements.

Over lunch at a pub nearby my cousin and I chatted about family history.

Then we visited Cheltenham, very close to Leckhampton, where we saw the house of my 4th great grandparents at 11 Royal Parade. Cheltenham, a Regency spa town, is pretty with many Georgian terraces.


On the way back to Bath we stopped at Chedworth, a National Trust Roman villa site.



We drove through pretty countryside and along more narrow lanes.


Back in Bath Peter and I bought some local gin from a distillery not far from where we were staying. Delicious.




Related posts

The ablutions tour: from Looe to Bath

On 2 May we moved our base from Looe to Bath. This meant a 250 kilometre drive north-east, which took us through Tavistock, Stourhead, and Cheddar Gorge.

Greg’s Daw(e) forebears, including his 3rd great grandfather William Smith Daw (1810 – 1877) were millers, some of them from near Tavistock. (I need to do more research about this.) We admired the town, went to a market, and had morning tea. This included Bakewell tarts (very sweet), lemon sponge, and ginger cake. We thought the ginger cake was the best.

Then we drove on to Stourhead. Greg and I had visited thirty years before. This time we were luckier with the weather. We all enjoyed the gardens. Peter and I climbed to the Temple of Apollo, which had glorious views and an elegant building with the inside walls ox-blood colour. There were rhododendrons in flower and we saw some water-bird chicks, including little coots.

The scenery of Cheddar Gorge took us by surprise. It is very steep, quite different from what we had met elsewhere in England. We bought some cheese and cider. The cheese was smooth, much smoother than the Australian version.



We arrived in Bath in the rain to discover that there was a very narrow lane leading to the house with extremely tight parking. The house was in the suburb of Widcombe on a hill overlooking the town. We had views of Bath Abbey from our sitting room window. The Abbey was a 15 minute walk,about a kilometre away.

20190503_185555 Bath house


The view from our sitting room in Bath

Trove Tuesday: Cornish memorial and Ballarat pioneer

Last month, when we visited the St Erth Methodist Church in Cornwall, I noticed that one of the plaques on the wall was a memorial to Francis Tuckfield erected by James Oddie and Benjamin Bonney, passengers on the Larpent in 1849.


A similar plaque was unveiled in the Yarra Street Methodist Church, Geelong in 1906.

Larpent tablet

A MURAL TABLET. (1906, March 20). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1929), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149169675


The plaque was to honour Reverend Francis Tuckfield (1808 – 1865) and his wife, Sarah Tuckfield nee Gilbart (1808 – 1854), who threw their house open to passengers from the Larpent who had been afflicted by fever.


The Larpent had arrived in Geelong on 28 June 1849. Among the passengers was James Oddie (1824 – 1911) with his wife and child. The Larpent’s emigrants had been selected by the Presbyterian minister John Dunmore Lang, a promoter of emigration. During the voyage many passengers became ill with what was thought to be typhoid. Sadly both Oddie’s wife and child died.

James Oddie was among the earliest gold miners arriving at the newly opened Ballarat diggings in August 1851. He became very rich and was later a great philanthropist. He founded the Art Gallery of Ballarat. His portrait hangs there.

James Oddie’s obituary in the Geelong Advertiser of 4 March 1911 stated that Oddie had instituted an annual reunion of passengers of the Larpent and their descendants to meet at Mack’s Hotel, Geelong.

Connecting Richard Henry Crespigny (1891 – 1894) to the family tree

Several years ago I wrote about a child who I could not connect to the family tree: Richard Henry Crespigny (1891-1894) a workhouse inmate. A cousin, NF, has recently written to me:

I think that I may have a plausible explanation regarding Richard Henry de Crespigny.

You have a Eliza Clarissa Emelia Toker in your tree.

She married Richard Bulkley Twyford Thelwall 1824-1878.

They had six children and their youngest was baptised Richard de Crespigny Thelwall.

Now Richard B T Thelwall is shown as being in Medical School at St. Mary’s Hospital London in 1888/89

For some reason he does not finish his studies. My GF always maintained that a family member was thrown out of Med School for getting a young lady pregnant. Did this Richard drop the Thelwall on the birth record of Robert Henry, being a poor student and merely disappearred?

At a later date Richard Thelwall marries an Anna Hamilton Lang (Long?) and they have five children all with the middle name of de Crespigny. By 1897 Richard is a well established clergyman.


Clarissa Champion Crespigny (1776 – 1836) was the daughter of my 5th great grandfather Philip Champion de Crespigny (1738 – 1803) and his 3rd wife Clarissa Sarah Champion de Crespigny nee Brooke (1755 – 1782).


Clarissa Champion de Crespigny and two of her children by George Romney. It would seem that the daughters shown are Clarissa born about 1775 and Maria born about 1776.


In 1801 the younger Clarissa married Edward Toker (1777 – 1849) of Ospringe, Kent. They had eight children. The eldest son, Philip Champion Toker (1802 – 1882) married Elizabeth Jeanette Branthwayt (1808 – 1889) in 1830. They had seven children. The eldest child was Eliza Clarissa Emilia Toker (1831 – 1888).

In 1855 Eliza married Richard Bulkeley Twyford Thelwall. They had seven children; the youngest was Richard de Crespigny Thelwall born 19 May 1871 at Batcombe Somerset.  He was baptised on 14 July 1871 at Batcombe. His father’s occupation was adjutant of volunteers. The 1871 census was taken on the night of 2 April, just before Richard’s birth. At the time of the census the Thelwall family were living in Batcombe: Richard senior’s occupation was Captain and Adjutant 3rd Battalion Rifle Volunteers. As well as his wife Eliza there were two children aged 8 and 6 and two general servants. One son had died as a small child, two other sons were at school: one at St John’s College Hurstpierpoint, Sussex; another at Christ’s Hospital Educational Institution, St John’s Hertfordshire. I have not been able to locate the oldest daughter.

On 19 July 1878 Richard Bulkley Twyford Thelwall died very suddenly at Weston-Soper-Mare. He was late Adjutant 3d Battalion Somerset Rifle Volunteers and late 65th Regiment. (London Evening Standard 27 July 1878 page 1)

He was 54 and his youngest son Richard was only 7 years old.

Eliza Thelwall nee Toker died in 1888.

In 1889 Richard de Crespigny Thelwall was studying medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, London. (The Wellcome Trust; London, England; Medical Students Register; Reference Number: b24389602_i13752728 Description Registration Year: 1889. Retrieved through ancestry.com)

At the time of the 1891 census Richard Thelwall aged 20 was living in Hustanton, Norfolk as a boarder. His occupation was Tutor School.

The 1897 UK clergy list indicates he entered the Anglican clergy in 1894 and from 1894 to 1897 was a curate of St. Paul, King-Cross, Halifax, Yorkshire.

In 1903 Richard de Crespigny Thelwall married. He and his wife had at least five children. Richard died in 1923.


Do you think Richard de Crespigny Thelwall was the father of Richard Henry Crespigny (1891 – 1894)?

Can you suggest any evidence that might be available None of the documents I have relating to the child Richard Henry Crespigny, for example his birth and dat certificates,  include his father’s handwriting.

Related post:

Joy in Fowey

On 1 May we drove to Fowey (rhymes with ‘joy’). To get there from Looe we took the Boddinick Ferry across the River Fowey. It was nice to be close to the sea and the weather was cheerful.



We parked at the top of the town and walked down.

In a shop I bumped into my cousin. I hadn’t seen her since we were both children, but we recognised each other. She took me to see her parents. We had already planned to have lunch together in Staffordshire a week later.

After Fowey we drove on to Lanhydrock, a National Trust property. When we visited 30 years ago we put it down as a ‘must revisit’.



We also enjoyed revisiting Trerice, another National Trust house.


Visiting St Erth, Lands End and the Lizard


We drove to St Erth along very pretty, and narrow, lanes

On Tuesday 30 April we visited the St Erth Methodist Church. On Tuesday mornings the chapel is open for free teas for visitors. We met some local residents and we were shown around the chapel.


We admired the window dedicated to John Gilbart. Peter and Charlotte were invited to play the organ.



There were plaques mentioning members of the family. We were interested to see a connection between James Oddie, one of the founding fathers of Ballarat, and Francis Tuckfield, who married Sarah Gilbart, Greg’s 4th great aunt.



Members of the congregation also generously took us to a house on Battery Mill Lane nearby built by Greg’s 4th great grandfather, John Gilbart (1760 – 1837). We also walked around the Anglican churchyard where John and his wife Elizabeth are buried.


In the afternoon we had lunch at Penzance then drove to Land’s End and the Lizard. We intended to visit Helston too but got delayed by a traffic accident and ran out of time.





Related posts

The Youngs sight Devon

On Monday 29 April we drove from Looe to Plymouth. There we looked at the harbour, known as the Sound, from the fortifications at Plymouth Hoe. The massive Royal Citadel certainly seems unassailable. Built in 1660, it is still a British military establishment.


From Plymouth we drove to Agatha Christie’s house, Greenway, on the river Dart above Dartmouth. On the way there I realised that we had to book parking. We telephoned ahead and made an appointment for 12:30. The delay gave us time to call into Torquay.

Torquay was the setting for the television show Fawlty Towers, one of Peter’s favourites. Torquay turned out to be much prettier and more elegant than the television show seemed to imply.



We had seen Greenway as the setting for the episode ‘Dead Man’s Folly‘ in the Agatha Christie’s Poirot television series. I hadn’t realised that it was just a holiday home for Agatha Christie. It was not her permanent residence and she did not write there. However, Greenway is delightful. The house is pleasant and well proportioned, and the views through the woodland garden to the River Dart are peaceful and pretty.

In the late afternoon we visited Saltram, like Greenway, a National Trust property. Thirty years ago years ago Greg and I visited Saltram but it has changed, or we have changed. It seemed to have a different feel, far busier with many more visitors and guides. My diary entry in 1989 for 28 March 1989 noted

particularly fine rooms designed by Robert Adam – terrific ceilings – liked his use of mirrors.

This time my favourite room was the library.