Tag Archives: driver

Blogging to you live from High Hurstwood, Sussex (well nearly)

19 Aug

This is the first time my new netbook has been out in the field with me, and although it is extra weight to carry, this is only a gentle walk today so it is not too bad.

I have made my way to Holy Trinity Church, High Hurstwood, Sussex first by bus (or rather buses) and then about an hours walk. I am sitting on a bench in the churchyard and this is the wonderful view I can see.

View from a bench at High Hurstwood, Sussex

View from a bench at High Hurstwood, Sussex

Holy Trinity is to my mind quite an unusual church because of it’s shape, all sorts of odd bits are sticking out here and there. I think quirky would be a good word to describe it. The photo from the front (below) will show you what I mean.

Holy Trinity Church, High Hurstwood, Sussex

Holy Trinity Church, High Hurstwood, Sussex

My route here took me past Stone House Cottage, just outside High Hurstwood itself, where my grandmother Annie HEMSLEY was born and where her father Henry Herbert HEMSLEY died. It is his gravestone that I am hoping to find here at Holy Trinity Church, although I have no idea whether he was buried or cremated here or not.

The other reason for visiting Holy Trinity is because my widowed great grandmother Minnie DRIVER (HEMSLEY as she was then) married Moses FARLOW here in February 1925.

From here I will head back along the Vanguard Way to Buxted and visit the church there and then probably along to Buxted Park and visit the church there, before making my way back to Uckfield to catch a bus back to Brighton and home.

[Just as I tried to send this post I discovered I had no mobile broadband signal, so it had to wait until I was back in Uckfield on the bus to send it]

Ambrose DRIVER and the day Sussex died

17 Aug

Today I was doing some sorting out of the photos I took last May over at Framfield, Sussex. I have been meaning to get all the gravestones sorted out, transcribed and where possible integrated into Family Historian. As I was separating the gravestone photos from general photos of the church and churchyard I took a closer look at the war memorial inside the church.

Framfield War Memorial (inside the church)

Framfield War Memorial (inside the church)

I hadn’t really paid much attention to it before, I think I checked for HEMSLEYs when I was there but there weren’t any, as I looked down the list I noticed the name Ambrose DRIVER. That name rang a bell and I was certain he was in my family tree.

I checked my family tree and sure enough I had an Ambrose DRIVER, my 2x great uncle. I checked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and there he was at the top of the search results, and he was listed as the son of Thomas and Ellen DRIVER my 2x great grandparents. No doubt about it.

I did the usual searches on ancestry.co.uk for a medal roll index card, service record and Soldiers Died in the Great War, picking up bits and pieces here and there. There appears to be no surviving service record (which is not surprising) but I now have a basic outline of his details, and perhaps I can find more with a search in the local newspapers. The Royal Sussex Living History Group website even has a photo of Ambrose’s gravestone at Bethune Town Cemetery, which is not really a substitute for going and visiting in person, but is probably the closest I will get for the time being.

Not only that but I also have a pretty good idea of the action in which he was wounded and which lead to his death. It appears the he would have been part of the Battle of the Boar’s Head on the 30th June 1916. This little known action has been overshadowed by the Battle of the Somme, but it became known as “the day Sussex died” because of the huge loss of life amongst the three battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment that were involved.

His battalion’s war diary is available online through The National Archives DocumentsOnline service, so I will probably be downloading a copy of that shortly, as well as checking in my local library for the regimental history.

In those famous words, whether it is in a church on Armistice Day, at a cemetery in some foreign field, in our hearts or in our family trees, “we will remember them”.

Framfield War Memorial

Framfield War Memorial

Cheering myself up with the COTTINGTONs, a genealogical pick me up

22 Jun

Last night I needed to do a quick bit of family history research that would stop me feeling sorry for myself and give me the satisfaction that I had achieved something with my family history this weekend.

I chose the COTTINGTONs of Framfield, Sussex because I knew it would be quite easy to fill in some details and make some quick progress, although I hadn’t really looked at them in any depth before, but with a surname like COTTINGTON how difficult could it be?

Caroline COTTINGTON was my 3x great grandmother and married Thomas DRIVER in Framfield on the 25th December 1855. From the marriage entry I knew her father was James COTTINGTON and she was born around 1834. So my first step was to find her in the census as the daughter of James COTTINGTON rather than as the wife of Thomas DRIVER.

This proved to be even easier than I had expected, but with the help of the Sussex Marriage Index (thanks to the Sussex Family History Group) I discovered that James had been married twice, and was widowed twice by the 1851 census.

I then had the task of picking through the children in the census and with the help of the Sussex Baptism Index (thanks again to the SFHG), allocating each one to the correct set of parents.

That was just the sort of quick challenge I needed to get my brain focused again. I could now go to bed knowing that I had added another family (or two depending on how you look at it) to my tree and taken that branch back further still.

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