May 26, 2012

Three Short Genealogies from Watford Cemetery

I don't think this is what they meant when they said "eyes in the back of your head" © Copyright Glaciations of the World

There has been a lot of sun in the last few days and so A and I decided to make the most of it. The original plan had been to head for Brompton Cemetery. I have a few ideas for the research I’m doing but I want to find some more inspiration, in whatever way it may present itself.

Typically, Transport for London failed us. A trackside fire at Willesden Green meant delays on the Overground line and neither of us felt like sitting in that. Instead, we decided to explore Watford Cemetery. I had little hope of finding anything terribly interesting, such is my hatred of the town but it turns out I was nicely surprised.

Watford Cemetery opened in 1858 and is situated on 14 acres of land. The cemetery is now closed, apart from common graves (graves without owners).

The first name of interest, is the gent, Eleazar Christmas. A quick search on Google took me to the London Gazette, May 29 and tells me he was a coach builder, who, in 1863, applied for a patent to invent “improvements in carriages for common roads”. Unfortunately for Eleazar, he seems to have been forced into bankruptcy by May 6, 1864. Less than 12 months after he applied for his patent.

© Copyright Glaciations of the World

Digging a bit deeper I located the 1861 Census for Eleazar and his family. It shows, still living at home, his wife Hannah (40), Eleazar (Jnr 20), Thomas (14), Walter (12), Fanny (6), Emma (6), Elizabeth (5) and Clara (2). Clara is buried with her parents having predeceased them in March 1875, aged just 16.

Eleazar Jnr and his wife Maria are buried less than five meters away.

© Copyright Glaciations of the World

As per normal, in any graveyard, there were quite a few interesting graves in between the Christmas family and the next “famous” grave.

For example;

© Copyright Glaciations of the World
© Copyright Glaciations of the World

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It's always sad when this is the only marker of a life - © Copyright Glaciations of the World

Clinging to hope - © Copyright Glaciations of the World

The next person of interest is a man named Dennis Henry Herbert, 1st Baron Hemingford. Herbert was born in 25 February 1869. He married Mary Graeme Bell the daughter of Valentine Graeme Bell in 1902. Valentine is interesting in his own right, but I will return to him.

© Copyright Glaciations of the World

Herbert graduated from Oxford in 1892 with a Bachelor of Arts. In 1895 he was a solicitor with Beaumont & Sons and Clarke, Rawlins & Company in 1895. In 1901 he again graduated from Oxford, this time with a Master of Arts. Between 1918 and 1943 Herbert was a Member of Parliament, Unionist. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace for Hertfordshire. Further, he held the office of Deputy Lieutenant, Temporary Chairman of Committees, House of commons between 1924 and 1928. Was invested as Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire in 1929 and in 1933 he was invested as a Privy Counsellor. Herbert held the office of Deputy Speaker, House of Commons between September 1931 and 1943 before being created 1st Baron Hemingford of Watford in 1943.

Valentine Graeme Bell, buried again a few meters away from Herbert, was born in London in 1839. He was baptised at St Botolph Without, Aldgate and passed away, at the age of 68 at Fitzroy House, London. Bell was the resident engineer on the Cleveland Railway, Yorkshire between 1863 and 1865. He moved on as resident engineer on the Mont Cenis Railway between 1866 and 1868. In 1880 he was with the Colonial Office in Jamaica and was Director of Public Works between 1887 and 1908. He was invested as a Companion, Order of St Michael and St George in 1903.

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The third and final headstone I want to discuss is Lady Louisa Caroline Elizabeth Capel (nee Boyle) – second wife of Arthur Algernon Capell, 6th Earl of Essex and daughter of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan and Lady Catherine St Lawrence. Capell was born in 1803, the son of the Hon. John Thomas Capel and Lady Caroline Paget. Capell’s first marriaged was Lady Caroline Janetta Beauclerk, herself the daughter of William Beauclerk, 8th Duke of St Albans and Maria Janetta Nelthorpe. Louisa Boyle was Capell’s second wife. She passed away on 5 May 1876.

Watford Cemetery
Dennis Henry Herbert
Valentine Graeme Bell
Lousia Caroline Elizabeth Boyle
Arthur Algernon Capell,

May 23, 2012

Jumping on the Fun. bandwagon

We are young... Image Source

It will be of no surprise to my family, when they read this blog, to find that I love this song. Strike that. This band. (Admittedly, I haven't listened to the whole album yet).

I defy you not to dance when you listen to this.

May 02, 2012

If an injury has to be done...

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If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

This world is a nasty, vile, negative, bitchy, backstabbing place. I find myself less and less inclined to take any interest in what is going on around me.  I am so worn out by the hatred thrown around in the social world. 

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There are vipers in the media who focus on the physicality of an individual, whether they have the latest style haircut, immaculately dyed hair to hide those grey / white hairs; whether the clothing is modern or stylish or is dated and frumpy.

Currently, it is the war of words against Cambridge Professor, Mary Beard and her BBC production Meet the Romans.  The vitriol directed at Mary is eye watering and stomach churning. She must be a confident woman to put on such a strong face in public. I would not have been able to do it.

Mary Beard - Image Source
Twitter and A.A Gill launched the first attack.

A.A. Gill - Image Source
Now Samantha Brick is taking sloppy seconds, telling anyone who will listen, Mary is “too ugly for TV”. It makes me wonder how any woman sticks their head above the parapet when to do so is to unleash the hounds.

Samantha Brick - Image Source
Before they began their attacks, I had never heard of A.A Gill or Samantha Brick. Apparently one is a food critic, the other apparently writes a column in the D*i*y M*i*, a paper I will never buy or support.

Brick, about a month or so ago, wrote a column about how she is so beautiful nobody likes her. Her female friends are jealous when men buy her bottles of wine or pay for her train tickets. She goes into great depth in the article but I found in nauseating both then, and now so you will have to excuse me for not going into detail. I think Brick genuinely believes what she writes so power to her I guess.

Mary Beard wrote a brilliant repost to A.A. Gill, about her “revenge”. The piece beautifully thought out and executed. As my Aunty often said to me, “you can almost anything when you smile”. I wait in a small amount of anticipation at what might develop from Mary in response to Brick.

I think Mary is wonderful. From the first episode, I thought and knew here is a woman who knows her stuff. Knowledgeable, accurate, concise. What I like the most, she is someone who starts to giggle at the joke about to be made before it is made. It made the program feel like a conversation rather than a dry and dusty history lesson. For me, a dry and dusty history lesson is what the Romans had become for me. In my high-school history classes we learnt about their conquests, and on TV you learn about their bath houses, and their hyper-courses and their mosaics. All, unarguably, amazing achievements and in need of remembrance, but with little real meaning.  The ‘things’ I was given as learning tools for the Romans never told me who they were. I wanted to know what the women were doing, what were their social rituals, why did they do what they did. None of my teachers ever gave me this knowledge and, as a seventeen year old, there was no real reason why I would go and look this up because I had other historical avenues open to me that were, essentially, far more interesting.

So to Mary Beard, I say THANK YOU! Thank you for delving into who the Romans were. Thank you for taking me back to the history of a people I had come to not like very much because of my high school education and thank you for being such an amazing woman in the face of bigotry, misogyny and arrogance.