Companies that offer genealogical DNA analysis usually provide tools to interpret the data, and you can use these tools to explore matches between you and people you share DNA with. If they appear on a public family tree you can try to connect to it from your own. If the tree is complete you will probably be able to find your most recent common ancestors.
You may also be able to find your more distant cousins by joining a project, a group of people working together to explore their common ancestry.
A Facebook group for researching shared Cornish ancestry
GEDMatch.com processes autosomal DNA data files from different testing companies to compare data derived from their DNA kits (‘autosomal’ means ‘concerning chromosomes that are not sex chromosomes’).
GEDMatch provides DNA analysis tools for genealogists, including tools for comparing your DNA test results with those of other people in the GEDMatch public database.
To use these tools you must first upload your DNA test results to GEDMatch. GEDMatch accepts results from the main testing databases at Ancestry.com, Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, and 23 and Me.
A recent tool is Ancestor Projects. There are 38 projects presently registered WITH GEDMatch. Project members have DNA characteristics with whatever common trait or ancestry the project intends to explore. There are projects for royal pedigrees, deaf people, and connections from certain counties in Ireland.
GEDMatch home screen showing link to Ancestor Projects and also where to upload your family tree
I have joined the project for Cornish emigrants, which aims to identify DNA of emigrants from Cornwall. Greg has Cornish forebears. Members include people with GEDMatch kits who are descended from Cornish people who emigrated or from Cornish people who currently live in Cornwall. The new GEDMatch project tool allows the identification of matches and analysis of shared segments of DNA, with results limited to members within the group. The group shares information and communicates within a closed Facebook group.
So having joined the project what next?
If you are going to join a group I think it is a good idea to attach your family tree to your GEDMatch kit. You can upload your family tree to GEDMatch in the format of a GEDCom file which is a standard file type and which you can export from whichever program you currently keep your family tree in. You can create a link between a DNA kit and a person in your GEDcom. If you manage several DNA kits and they all relate to one family tree you can link the different kits to the right people on the family tree. The names and dates of living people are not shown when the tree is displayed in GEDMatch.
In the ‘Cornish Emigrants’ Facebook group we have a spreadsheet for sharing details. This shows who in the group is associated with which kit. It also lists the Cornish surnames in our family tree and details of our forebears who emigrated from Cornwall.
Surnames worksheet on Cornish Emigrants spreadsheet
One of the sheets from the Cornish Emigrants project shared spreadsheet
People in the group can run a report in GEDMatch to see which kits match their own and then begin a conversation to find connections.
An example of a report from the Cornish GEDMatch Ancestor Project
The group started at the beginning of August. It has already gained 119 users and 182 kits.
Not everybody in the GEDMatch group is connected to Facebook and the discussion there but most members are.
I hope that by connecting with this project’s group members I will be able to extend our family tree and learn more about our family history.
AncestryDNA has identified that Greg has Cornish DNA. Working on a GEDMatch project helps to find people with Cornish DNA and also an interest in following up on their family history from Cornwall.
Royalieu Dana ‘Roy’ Champion de Crespigny (1905 – 1985) was the fifth of the six sons of Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850 – 1927).
Roy was a close friend of his nephew Philip George ‘Phil’ Champion de Crespigny (1906 – 2001), the son of Philip de Crespigny (1879 – 1918). They were about the same age and enjoyed each other’s company. Roy and Phil spent many years farming together. Phil used to talk with great pleasure about their bachelor days in the Avoca district, a couple of hours west of Melbourne.
I don’t know if Roy ever worked for the bank, and I am not sure when Phil and Roy began farming together.
I believe that Phil and Roy share-farmed together for the first few years, working land owned by someone else. From what I remember of Phil’s stories they grew tobacco. It was a hard life. Phil’s obituary recalls he “endured the prewar years of depression and drought as a bachelor with those virtues for which he was beloved among his wide family: courage, humour, uprightness, honesty, hospitality and a marvellous plain-speaking charm.”
In 1934 the Weekly Times and the Age reported that Phil and Roy de Crespigny had bought a property of 1260 acres called Glenshee, near Elmhurst about 35 kilometers northeast of Ararat.
Phil and Roy joined in the social life of the district. Phil became president of the Elmhurst Tennis Club.
In 1937 Roy married Nancy ‘Nan’ Temple Smith (1914 – 2005). Phil was best man.
Family Notices (1937, November 25). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), p. 45. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article152536790 The wedding party in 1937: Nan, Roy and Phil are standing to the right of the group.
On 13 May 1940, seven months after Australia declared war on Germany, Phil enlisted in the army. His engagement to Jane Beggs (1913 – 2005) was announced a week later. They married in July 1940. Roy was Phil’s best man.
In June 1943 Nan and Roy de Crespigny’s only child, a son, Royalieu Peter, also called Roy,(1943 – 1964) was born.
In Australia, a horse’s birthday is the first day of August. Mating usually happens early in the previous spring, with foaling eleven or twelve months later. Having a common birthday means that horses of a similar age can be entered together in racing events.
Francis Beggs (1850 – 1921), called Frank, the husband of my 3rd great aunt Rose Beggs nee Champion de Crespigny (1858 – 1937), owned a Thoroughbred called Saint Marnocks, probably named after a village near Dublin with a connection with the Beggs family.
The Australasian of 19 September 1891 reported that:
Mr. Francis Beggs, Eurambeen, Beaufort, requests permission to supplement our correspondent’s report of the Ararat show by stating that his colt Saint Marnocks, by Macgregor-Nightlight, took first prize at Ararat in the class for two and three year old thoroughbreds, and also Messrs. Briscoe’s special prize for the best thoroughbred stallion in the yard. In the light-weight hack class his horse Malahide, by Macgregor, took first prize.
In March 1892 St Marnocks was reported as being 3 years old when he came third in the one mile Trial Stakes at the Buangor Races on 15 March. His sibling Elphinstone, also by Macgregor-Nightlight, came first. Later in the day St Marnocks came third again in the one mile Welter Handicap. The newspapers over the next two decades have many report of St Marnocks.
In the annual races of the Beaufort Jockey Club on New Year’s Day 1894 St Marnocks won the Handicap race by a neck. In 1899 he won the three quarters of a mile Flying Handicap at the Beaufort races. The Ballarat Star reported that the win was “A gift to St Marnocks, who won in the last few strides by two lengths in 1 min. 35 sec.”
At the March 1899 Beaufort Show St Marnocks won first prize for best blood entire horse and also the Champion prize for best blood horse or mare, any age, in the yard.
In the next decade Aloha, the son of St Marnocks, began to feature in the turf reports. St Marnocks again won first prize for blood entire and also Champion at the 1902 Beaufort show. St Marnocks sired many progeny, for example in 1908 10 horses all sired by St Marnocks were offered for sale by Mr Francis Beggs of Eurambeen.
On 13 August 1908 Melbourne Punch reported “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Beggs, who for many years have lived at Eurambeen East, are now settled in their new home at St. Marnocks, Mr. Beggs having purchased part of the Stoneleigh Estate in the Beaufort District.” The new property was named after their successful horse.
Punch reported in January 1909 “Mrs. C. De Crespigny, of Brunswick-street, Fitzroy, and her little son, are visiting their relative, Mrs. Frank Beggs, of St. Marnock’s, Beaufort.” The ‘little son’ was my grandfather Geoff (1907 – 1966); his mother was Beatrix de Crespigny nee Hughes (1884 – 1943).
Frank Beggs and Geoff de Crespigny St Marnocks 1908
In 1927 an article in the Australasian reported that Francis Beggs was responsible for building the homestead and outbuildings. He also established plantations to provide shelter for the paddocks and a created a garden surrounded by acacias. After the death of Frank Beggs in 1921 the property was taken over by his nephew Theodore George Beggs (1903 – 1936).
Marjorie Young, Violet Buckley, Roy Sullivan, Joyce Sullivan, Jack Buckley, Arthur Sullivan
Greg’s maternal grandparents Arthur Sullivan (1891 – 1975) and Stella Sullivan nee Dawson (1894 – 1975) had six children:
Stella Violet (Violet) Sullivan 1914–2005
She married John Buckley in 1938. He served in the Australian Army (AIF) from 1942 and was discharged 14 March 1946. On the 1946 electoral roll John and Stella Violet Buckley were living at Napier Street Bendigo.
Lillian Mavis Sullivan 1915–2009
She married Alan Wilson 1934. In the 1940s were farming at Tongala with a family of children. They are not in the pictures at Bendigo.
Arthur Stanley Sullivan 1919–2014
He married Joyce Robbins 1941. He served in the AIF from 1943 and was discharged 4 December 1945
Marjorie Winifred Sullivan 1920–2007
She married Peter Young 1944. He served in the AIF from 1943 and was discharged 25 February 1946
Royle Lawrence Sullivan 1926–2009
He enlisted in the RAAF in 1944 and was discharged in August 1946 He married Grace in 1956. She is not in the photos at Bendigo.
Gwendolyn Phyllis Sullivan 1933–1935
She died of meningitis aged 17 months.
Peter Young, Violet Buckley, Roy Sullivan, Joyce Sullivan, Jack Buckley, Arthur Sullivan
Roy and Marjorie
Roy, Violet, Marjorie, Mum, Pop, Arthur
Roy, Jack Buckley, Arthur,Marjorie, Violet, Stella, Arthur senior, Joyce
I thought at first I might be able to date the photos from when the men were discharged after the War. But I think that some of them might have been on leave at the time, not yet demobbed. Peter and Marjorie had their first child in late 1946 and there is no sign of a baby in the pictures. He arrived back in Australia in late December 1945. Arthur and Joyce had their first child in early 1947.
In 1946 Violet and John Buckley’s house was on Napier Street (the Midland Highway), so I suppose the group might have met there before going on to the pool. Unfortunately the Electoral Roll gives no number for their house, and Napier Street runs for several miles.
At this time, Violet’s parents, Arthur and Stella Sullivan, were living in Castlemaine. On the 1946 Electoral Roll Arthur and Joyce Sullivan were living in 251 Auburn Road, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Marjorie was registered as living at 1 Yarra Street, Toorak, with the occupation of weaver. Roy, only twenty, was too young to be enrolled to
It seems likely that these photographs were taken when Violet’s parents and brothers joined Violet and Jack in Bendigo for a holiday in early 1946.
All of Arthur and Stella’s sons and their and son-in-law got back unhurt from the war. This was something to celebrate.
Marjorie and Peter Young. I think this was taken at a similar time but at Marjorie’s parents’ house in Castlemaine.
I have been reading about X-DNA inheritance. Greg inherited 12½% of his X-DNA from his 3rd great-grandmother Mary Skerritt nee Brown (1804 – 1879), so I thought I would see what I could learn about her. I found her christening record and added her parents. Doing this brought my family tree up to 10,000 people.
Greg’s X-DNA inheritance is research in progress, a story for another day. However, I thought I would commemorate the 10,000 people milestone by writing about Mary.
Mary Brown, born in 1804, was baptised on 26 August 1804 at Sapperton, Lincolnshire, England. Her parents were John Brown and Jane [probably Jane Shipwright].
Map highlighting places in Lincolnshire associated with Mary Skerritt nee Brown’s life. From Sapperton to Grantham is only 8 miles.
On 26 June 1792 John Brown, bachelor of Sapperton, married Jane Shipwright at St Wulfram’s Grantham. She was ‘of this parish’. John could not sign his name but Jane Shipwright could. The witnesses were William Marshall and John Scarborough.
“North East View of Grantham Church, Lincolnshire” by J M W Turner watercolour c 1797. The church has been described as having the finest steeple in England.
I have found no other children of John Brown and Jane baptised at Sapperton. I think it is likely that Mary Brown had siblings, but Brown is a common surname and without knowing which parish the baptisms took place it is hard to link family members. It is possible that Elizabeth Brown baptised in 1805 in Osbournby, Lincolnshire and William Brown also baptised 1806 in Osbournby are siblings. Osbournby is 6 miles north-east of Sapperton. I haven’t have enough information to decide. There are also children baptised at Grantham to John Brown and Jane but these include another Mary baptised in 1812. It is quite likely that more than one family surnamed Brown is included in these baptisms.
Similarly I have not yet been able to identify John and Mary Brown’s deaths or find out more about them; the names are too common.
On 26 November 1829 Mary Brown married Robert Skerrett at Welby, Lincolnshire. Welby is 5 miles north-west of Sapperton. Neither Mary nor Robert could sign their name. Both were of the parish. The witnesses were John Fisher, Catherine Sensicall, and John Cheetham.
Robert and Mary Skerritt had at least the following children:
Robert Skerrit 1830-
Jane Skerritt 1833- 1835
Ann Skerrit 1836- 1906
Eliza Skerrit 1838-1899
John Skerrit 1841-
Lucy Skerritt 1843–1888
George Skerrit 1846–
The following baptisms in St Wulfram’s, the parish of Grantham, Lincolnshire, are recorded for the children of Robert Skerritt and Mary
Robert baptised 26 September 1830, Robert is a labourer, their abode is Grantham
Ann 27 December 1835, Robert is a labourer, their abode is Little Gonerby
Eliza 2 April 1838, Robert is a labourer, their abode is Little Gonerby
John 8 January 1841, Robert is a labourer, their abode is Little Gonerby
Lucy 3 January 1844, Robert is a labourer, their abode is Little Gonerby
George 3 September 1846, Robert is a labourer, their abode is Little Gonerby
The following burial appear to be of Mary’s infant child
Jane Skerrett aged 1 of Little Gonerby was buried in Grantham on 10 March 1835
On the 1841 census Mary Skerrett aged 30 was living at Manthorpe cum Little Gonerby with Robert Skerrett aged 35, a labourer. In the same household were John (? probably Jane) aged 12, Robert aged 10, Nora (? probably Ann) aged 6, Eliza aged 3, John aged 6 months. All members of the household were born in Lincolnshire.
On the 1851 census Mary Skerritt age 46 born Sapperton was recorded as living at New Street in Manthorpe cum Little Gonerby with her husband Robert aged 50, a labourer, born Barrowby. In the same household were Robert unmarried aged 20, a labourer born Little Gonerby; Ann unmarried aged 15, a servant, born Little Gonerby; Louisa (Eliza?) aged 13, a servant, born Little Gonerby; John aged 10; Lucretia (Lucy) aged 7; George aged 4. The three youngest children had no occupation and were all born in Little Gonerby. Six of Mary’s seven children had survived infancy and all were living at home in 1851.
On the 1861 census Mary aged 51 or perhaps aged 57 was living with her husband Robert aged 60 and their unmarried son George aged 16. Both Robert and George were Agricultural Labourers. Also in the same household was their daughter Ann, her husband George Futcher and two grandchildren aged 3 and 1.
On the 1871 census Mary Skerritt, aged 66, was lodging with her oldest son Robert. Robert had been recently widowed and had 4 children aged between 13 and 3. Mary was described as a charwoman.
I have not been able to locate Robert Skerritt senior on the 1871 census.
Mary’s husband Robert died on 17 September 1877 at Little Gonerby. He was aged 77. His death was announced in the Grantham Journal of 22 September 1877.
Mary died exactly two years later on 17 September 1879. Her death was announced in the Grantham Journal of 20 September 1879.
death notice of Mary Skerritt published in the Grantham Journal 20 September 1879 page 4. Image retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive via FindMyPast
Mary’s parents were the 9,999th and 10,000th relatives added to my family tree. My tree also has 1,979 photos (including images of records), 267 stories, and 14,749 attached records. Much research remains to be done.
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [database on-line] Name: Mary Brown Gender: Female Baptism Date: 26 Aug 1804 Baptism Place: Sapperton,Lincoln,England Father: John Brown Mother: Jane FHL Film Number: 504748, 508033
England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973 [database on-line] Name: John Brown Gender: Male Marriage Date: 26 Jun 1792 Marriage Place: Grantham, Lincoln, England Spouse: Jane Shipwright FHL Film Number: 432509, 432510, 432511, 432512, 436035
England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973 [database on-line] Name: Mary Brown Gender: Female Marriage Date: 26 Nov 1829 Marriage Place: Welby,Lincoln,England Spouse: Robert Skellet [mistranscribed should be Skerrett] FHL Film Number: 508084
My husband Greg’s great-great grandfather George Young (1826 – 1890) was from Liverpool. George probably arrived in Australia at the time of the gold discoveries in Victoria, perhaps lured by the chance of striking it rich, though it’s hard to be sure, for as yet I don’t know exactly when or why he emigrated, and I know nothing about his parents or his family.
This photo of George Young was passed to us by Noel Tunks of Maryborough
In any case, by 1853 George, following the rushes, was trying his luck on the goldfields. He met his wife-to-be Caroline Clarke on the Ovens diggings, near the border with New South Wales. Their first child was a boy, George, who was born and died as an infant at Beechworth in 1854. George and Caroline had twelve more children. Greg is descended from their oldest surviving child John Young (1856 – 1928).
Greg has had his DNA analysed by Ancestry.com. I have uploaded the results to Family Tree DNA, My Heritage, and GedMatch. His aunt B S has also tested her DNA. Through the DNA results we have connected with cousins descended from George Young and Caroline Clarke. This confirms the documentary evidence for the Young family in Australia, such as it is.
spreadsheet of DNA cousins who are descendants of George Young and Caroline Clarke and have tested at either AncestryDNA or MyHeritage
Greg and the cousins descended from George Young also share DNA with descendants of two men, James Young, born about 1838 in Liverpool, and Philip Young born about 1837 or a few years later in Liverpool.
We don’t yet know how George, James, and Philip are related.
From the amount of the DNA they share we know that B S and her second cousin P L (both great granddaughters of George Young) can be estimated to be about fourth cousins of A A, who is descended from James, and of H S F, who is descended from Philip. H S F and A A can be estimated from the DNA evidence to be about second cousins. Fourth cousins share third great grandparents and second cousins share great grandparents.
spreadsheet showing DNA matches with great grand daughters of George Young and descendants of John Young from Liverpool, plus some other matches that are related but we don’t yet know how.
H S F and A A are likely to share great grandparents, so it is possible that James Young born about 1838 and Philip Young born about 1840 were brothers.
If B S and P L are 4th cousins of H S F and A A, then it seems possible that George Young’s grandfather was also the grandfather of James and Philip Young. That is George was a first cousin of James and Philip.
I have traced the forebears of A A and I P. They are both grand daughters of Christopher Young (1875 – 1927), the son of Philip Young (born about 1837-1840, died 1910).
In 1862, when Philip Young married Mary Code (also spelt Coad) he gave his father’s name as John Young. [Liverpool Record Office; Liverpool, England; Liverpool Catholic Parish Registers; Reference Number: 282 NIC/2/2 retrieved through Ancestry.com]
I have traced the forebears of H S F. She is the daughter of Gerald Salter (1903 – 1986). Gerald was the son of Ellen Alice Young (1871 – 1962). She was the daughter of James Young born 1839, a seaman rigger. When James married Mary Martin in 1864 he stated he was a mariner living at Cropper Street Liverpool and his father was John Young, an engineer. [ Liverpool, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 Liverpool Record Office; Liverpool, England; Reference Number: 283-PET-3-67 retrieved through Ancestry.com]
Another researcher has suggested that James Young’s marriage record is in error and his father was in fact James Young, engineer/engine turner, who was born about 1810 in Dundee and died in 1859 (‘late of Monks Coppenhall in Cheshire’). James had a son named James who in 1859 was named as one of the executors in his estate. He was described in the will as an engine fitter of 46 Manchester Street Crewe in the Parish of Monks Coppenhall. [England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) 1860 for James Young retrieved through Ancestry.com]
I have traced the family of James Young 1810 – 1859. In 1861 some of the children were living with their widowed mother, Mary Young nee Harrison, at Manchester Street, Crewe in the Parish of Monks Coppenhall. James, then twenty-three and unmarried was an engine fitter living with his mother. [1861 census viewed through ancestry.com Class: RG 9; Piece: 2616; Folio: 74; Page: 24; GSU roll: 543000]
I have not yet found the death of Mary Young nee Harrison. She does not seem to be on the 1871 census. A possible death is Name: Mary Young Estimated birth year: abt 1813 Registration Year: 1869 Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar Age at Death: 56 Registration district: Nantwich Inferred County: Cheshire Volume: 8a Page: 224
It is possible that James Young, engine fitter, died before marrying and before the 1871 census. I cannot find him on the 1871 census in Crewe, Cheshire. A possible death of James Young engine fitter is : Name: James Young Estimated birth year: abt 1838 Registration Year: 1868 Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep Age at Death: 30 Registration district: Nantwich Inferred County: Cheshire Volume: 8a Page: 236 It seems unlikely that James Young engine fitter moved away from Crewe Cheshire and changed occupation to mariner, and it is also unlikely that his father’s name was wrongly recorded on the marriage document.
The family of James Young engineer does not include a Philip Young. The DNA evidence and the evidence of one Canadian shipping record supports the conclusion that James and Philip Young were probably brothers.
The Canada, Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1789-1935 records retrieved from ancestry.com have a James Young age 43 (born about 1845) on board the barque “Olive Mount” which departed Liverpool 19 March 1888 (discharged with mutual consent). He was discharged 12 March 1888 at Penarth Wales. He was not literate, he signed his name with an x. He was related to another crew member aboard. James was crew number 12 and his rank was able-bodied seaman. Also on board was Philip Young, crew number 11 – I believe this is James’s brother. Although the age is young, I suspect there was pressure for the men to understate their age so as to appear fit for the job.
It is my guess that James Young, forebear of H S F and also A O and P N is the son of a John Young engineer, not James Young (c 1811 – 1859).
Hypothesis: John Young is George Young’s uncle; John Young is father to Philip and James and George Young is their cousin -> A A and H S F are 3rd cousins. B S and P L 4th cousins to A A and H S F. As far as I know A O and P N have not tested their DNA.
Update: A O and P N have tested their DNA with AncestryDNA but neither shares DNA with Greg or his aunt B S. A O and P N are 1st cousins and share 1.104 centimorgans. P N shares 42 cM DNA with I P thus they are estimated 4th cousins. M F C, another descendant of Philip Young, also shares DNA with P N; they share 66 cM – also estimated 4th cousins. M F C shares a small amount of DNA with Greg but does not share DNA with Greg’s aunt B S.
On Wednesday 8 May we drove north from Bath, calling in at the village of Whitmore in Staffordshire, near Stoke-on-Trent, to visit some of my cousins. On the way we stopped at Tewkesbury, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, to look at the abbey there. From Whitmore we went on to West Didsbury near Manchester, our next base.
One of my fifteenth great grandfathers, William Vaux (1435 – 1471), who fought in the War of the Roses for the Red Rose of Lancaster, was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May 1471. He is said to have been buried at the Abbey, but I have been unable to find any record of this in the Abbey archives, and the list of inscriptions in the Tewkesbury Abbey church does not mention his name. This didn’t matter, for if you had an untraceable ancestor said to have been buried somewhere you couldn’t do better than not have him in Tewkesbury. It’s a lovely old church, said to be the one of the finest Norman abbeys in England.
We drove on to Whitmore and had lunch and an edifying chat with my cousins about Brexit, which turns out to be a plot to deprive England of its sovereignty, like 1066. At least one Australian present was reminded of the joke about a headline in an English newspaper that read, ‘Fog in Channel. Continent cut off’. On the other hand, the German car we had hired was showing unmistakable signs of having been designed and assembled by a committee of bureaucrats in Brussels, so who knows?
Lunch was served on the family’s Minton china, commissioned by my great uncle Rafe Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1906 – 1995), a copy of a setting that his great great grandfather (my fourth great grandfather) Rowland Mainwaring (1783 – 1862) had ordered. Time moves slowly in the pottery towns, and Minton apparently still had the records from the first commission to run up a second one. When you got to the bottom of your plate, there was the family crest, an ass’s head on a crown. The motto is ‘Devant si je puis’ [Forward if I Can], a useful reminder to wait for the next course.
We had a tour of the house and stables and saw many family portraits. The house, now listed with Historic Houses, is open to the public. Our guide seemed very knowledgeable on the family history. In one or two places a section of the modern wall had been removed to expose the original structure. This had an interesting consequence. Breaching the wall had allowed a ghostly lady from an earlier era playing ghostly old music to wander into the present. There has been a house on the same site for over 900 years and it has belonged to the same family since the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, so I suppose you’d expect an apparition or two.
My fourth great grandfather Rowland Mainwaring kept a diary, now stored and displayed in an upstairs sitting room. Several volumes have been stolen unfortunately, probably souvenired by visitors. While we were at Whitmore my son Peter photographed some pages of the diary for me, including, sadly, the last entry, written by Rowland Mainwaring on the day he died.
Before we left we visited the churchyard and some family graves.
When you’re travelling and you’ve set up a comfortable base somewhere it is tempting to make short excursions from it, to go off exploring somewhere else. Of course the alternative is to look around you, where you are already. On Tuesday 7 May, still in Bath, we made an effort to explore the city where we were staying.
Charlotte and I first visited the Roman Baths and the museum associated with it. For no extra money we got the company of crowds of French schoolchildren. The Baths I’d seen before; the Museum, was new to me. It says much for how thoroughly I enjoyed it that I didn’t particularly mind the noisy school children.
After lunch we went to Bath Abbey, where an organ concert was in progress. Listening to this gave me time to sit quietly and gaze about. The fan vaulting and the east window are particularly wonderful.
Then we walked back up the hill to the Circus, to the Crescent and to Portland Place, all marvellous examples of Georgian architecture. 5 Portland Place was built by my (appropriately) 5th great grandfather Philip Champion Crespigny in 1786. He died there in 1803. The steps in front of 5 Portland Place had – and it’s still there – a ramp for the sedan chairs.
Back down to the Assembly Rooms again to visit the Fashion Museum and then on to the Victoria Art Gallery.
On Monday 6 May we drove from Bath to Salisbury to look at the Cathedral. About ten miles west of Salisbury we passed the Fovant Badges, regimental badges and other images cut into a chalk hill there. One of these incised badges is the Rising Sun, the official insignia of the Australian Army. Australian units stationed near Fovant from 1917 dug the turf and created the badge. Greg’s great uncle John Percy Young (1896-1918) was stationed at various military camps on the Salisbury Plain during 1917; he was possibly one of these soldiers.
We enjoyed Salisbury Cathedral and the many monuments it contains.
After lunch in a pub at Cholderton we drove north to Avebury. The gardener at the pub didn’t seem to understand plain English. No matter how loud and slowly we spoke to him he couldn’t tell us where we were. Our car’s GPS gave us a clue, but even it was a bit off course.
Avebury – possibly the cause of these strange geographical phenomena – is the site of a neolithic stone circle, the world’s largest. Avebury has a museum and nearby there is a manor with its garden. We looked in the museum, wandered around the garden, and walked half-way around the stone circle.
West Kennet Long Barrow just south of Avebury
It was May Day and we saw some May Day festivities, with maypole dancing and Morris dancing.
Back in Bath we went for a walk along the Avon and Kennet canal below our house on Widcombe Hill. Greg and Peter helped with opening the locks for a boat making its way up the canal. The help was possibly more of a hindrance: Greg caught a line from one of the boats and with a very fine Lighterman’s Hitch made it fast to a bollard. The bloke on the boat had to drag himself over and cast off.
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.