Tag Archives: kinghorn

Finding the Broken Bridge: Part One

13 Sep

One of the key sources in finding the location of the bridge where the accident that nearly cost Thomas KINGHORN his life took place has been a book called The Manchester and Glasgow Road: Vol 2 by Charles George Harper. Published by Chapman & Hall Ltd, London in 1907 it is now available for download on Internet Archive.

Chapter 34 of the book describes the road leading up to the bridge, albeit from the opposite direction from which the mail coach was travelling on that fateful night:

The old Glasgow road, that goes up from Moffat past Meikleholmside, and so across Ericstane Muir, is everything a road should not be. It is steep, narrow, exposed, and rugged, and, except as an object-lesson in what our ancestors had to put up with, is a very undesirable route and one in which no one would wish to find himself. It has not even the merit of being picturesque.

Further along the road things did improve, apparently due to the efforts of Thomas Telford:

The road that Telford made continues onward from Beattock in more suave fashion. It follows the glen of Evan Water for nine miles, and the three of them-road, river, and Caledonian Railway-go amicably side by side under the hills, to Beattock Summit and down to Elvanfoot, where the Elvanfoot Inn of other days now stands as a shooting-lodge.

Finally the author describes the bridge where the accident happened:

Elvanfoot Bridge, that carries the road over the Evan (i.e. Avon) Water, looks down upon a pretty scene of rushing stream, boulders, and ferns, or "furruns," as a Scotsman would enunciate the word.

It all sound quite picturesque and the author even includes a sketch of the scene:

The Broken Bridge

Of course if you have read my earlier blog posts (like this one) you will know that on the night of the 25th October 1808 the bridge gave way and sent the mail coach, passengers, driver, guard and horses plummeting into the swollen river below.

The author describes the incident in some detail, although it is not clear where he got his information from, or whether it can be relied on, although the facts do pretty much tie-up with the newspaper reports. This uncertainty is a shame because the book provides an excellent piece of evidence for the exact location of the bridge:

For many years the bridge was not properly mended, funds being scarce on these roads; and the mail, slowing for it, lost five minutes on every journey. The part that fell may still be traced by the shorter lime stalactites hanging from the repaired arch. It is still known as "Broken Bridge," in addition to "Milestone Brig," from the milestone on it, marking the midway distance between Carlisle and Glasgow: "Carlisle 47 1/2 miles. Glasgow 47 miles."

That milestone would be the key to finding the location of the bridge, in the days before detailed Ordnance Survey maps and long before GPS it is a fixed point on a certain route (the road between Glasgow and Carlisle) and even if it wasn’t there now it would probably be shown on earlier maps. If all else failed I could resort to tracing the route on a map and measuring the distance.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 37

12 Sep

I was totally distracted last week, fortunately it was a genealogical distraction. I am sometimes amazed at the direction my research takes, I had no real intention of re-visiting the story of Thomas KINGHORN and his mail coach accident in any detail at the moment, but that is where I have ended up this week.

Lots of newspapers mention the accident but they are all largely based on the same report, also there are several books that mention the accident, so I have been making a start on gathering together all the pieces of "evidence". Also I have been thinking about where else I am going to find details.

Then my attention shifted to maps, trying to locate the exact spot where the accident happened. As a lover of maps this has been such a joy for me, forcing me to explore more online map sites, including the wonderful Maps of Scotland at the National Library of Scotland. I am pretty certain I have located the spot where the bridge was, I just need to bring together all the information.

This week I will carry on looking at mail coaches and maps, trying to pull together all the information into some sort of logical framework which will act as a basis for future research and a visit to the site. The icing on the cake this week was being contacted by a descendant of one of the passengers on the mail coach, who sadly died as a result of the accident. Don’t you just love the power of blogging?

More about Thomas KINGHORN’s “dreadful accident”

9 Sep

Long time readers of my blog might remember me writing about my 4x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and the accident he was involved in whilst working as a guard on the mail coaches.

I haven’t given up on the idea of finding out more about Thomas KINGHORN and the accident. Ideally I would like to be able to find out where the accident occurred so that one day I will be able to go and visit the spot where my 4x great-grandfather nearly lost his life.

Having recently joined the Surrey library service I have been able to take advantage of free access to the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection. I had previously found a brief mention of the “dreadful accident” in The Times newspaper and it seems the story was widely reported across the country.

The source of the various different articles appears to have been a report from Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland which was possibly first published in the Carlisle Journal, which is not part of the collection, but it does appear to have been reprinted, possibly in full, in the Caledonian Mercury.

The report in the Caledonian Mercury (published in Edinburgh, Scotland) on the 29th October 1808 contains much useful additional information, naming several of the key figures involved in the rescue who are not mentioned in any of the other reports as far I am aware.

MOFFAT, Oct. 26.-We had yesterday a most dreadful storm of wind and rain, and the rivers in the neighbourhood came down in torrents, such as have never been seen by the oldest people here. Among other damage occasioned by it, we are sorry to state that a shocking accident has happened to the mail coach from Glasgow to Carlisle. At the bridge over the river Avon, about nine miles from this, at Howcleuch, betwixt nine and ten o’clock last night, the coach had just got about half way over, when the bridge gave way in the middle of the arch, and the coach, passengers, horses, &c. were instantly precipitated in the river, a fall of about 30 feet. There were four inside and two outside passengers. The two outside passengers, and two of the horses were killed upon the spot, and the other passengers made a miraculous escape with their lives; though we are sorry to say they were all very considerably hurt. The coachman and guard were also much hurt; the former had his arm broken, and was otherwise much bruised, and the guard received a severe contusion on the head.

The other coach from Carlisle to Glasgow, was narrowly prevented from falling into the same precipice. It was coming up just about the time the accident happened, and, from the darkness of the night, and the rate the coach necessarily goes at, must inevitably have gone into the river, at the same breach in the arch, had not one of the passengers who escaped given the alarm.
"By the exertion of the coachman and guard of the other coach, the passengers who survived (a lady and three gentlemen) with the coachman and guard, who had fallen into the precipice, were enabled to extricate themselves from the dreadful situation into which they were thrown, and conducted to a place of safety till other assistance was afforded them.

Much praise is due to Mr Rae, the postmaster here, one of the proprietors of the coach, for his exertions and assistance on the occasion. Immediately, on hearing of the accident, he set out, in the middle of the night, with several of his servants and others, in two post chaises, and gave every possible assistance to the passengers, &c. and, by this means, we are happy to say, the London mail and other valuable articles in the coach have been saved.

Mr Clapperton, surgeon, is also entitled to much praise for his ready assistance upon this occasion; and the exertions of John Giddes, one of Mr Rae’s servants, are particularly deserving of notice, who, at the risk of his life, went down into the river with a rope fastened to his body, and saved the life of the lady (one of the passengers) and some of the mail bags, which must otherwise have been carried down the stream.

The coach and harness are completely destroyed. Mr Rae has loft two valuable horses by the accident, and the other two are severely hurt and bruised.

The bodies of the two passengers who were killed, have been found, and have been brought here this morning; they are Mr William Brand, merchant in Ecclefechan, and Mr Lund, of the house of Lund & Toulmin, of Bond-street, London."

As you can see there is much information contained in this report that I need to follow up. Did Mr Rae (the postmaster) or Mr Clapperton (the surgeon) keep a diary? Were any of the rescuers recognised for their bravery?Where were the two victims buried? Were their deaths reported elsewhere?

Then of course there are further questions, such as what were the names of the four passengers that survived? When was the bridge rebuilt and was it’s re-opening reported? and most importantly where exactly was the bridge?

‘C’ is for Confusion in Carlisle

1 Sep

I went to bed last night (slightly later than I had hoped) feeling very pleased with myself, I had managed to clear a name off my list of unidentified wives. Every time I opened up my family history software (Family Historian) the alphabetical list of names begins with a section of seventeen women whose surname is unknown, and it has been bugging me that I haven’t found out who they are.

I hadn’t really set out to try and clear any of them last night, I didn’t really know what I was going to work on, but I ended up picking the first name off the top of the list and looking again at trying to find out who she was. The first name on the list was Alice, the first wife of George KINGHORN the son of Thomas KINGHORN the mail guard (my 4x great-grandfather).

I think George is probably the only one of Thomas’ children to remain in Carlisle, Cumberland, the rest appear to have moved down to London. The marriage of George KINGHORN and Alice should have taken place in Carlisle, the other end of the country from me, which explains why I hadn’t got around to identifying her yet.

Having reviewed the data and available online databases I found that there was still not much chance of finding her maiden name, George KINGHORN is in FreeBMD, marrying in Q1 1840 in Carlisle Registration District, but none of the spouses on the same page are named Alice. The most likely scenarios seemed to be that this was another George KINGHORN and that my George married prior to the start of civil registration in 1837, or that Alice wasn’t her real name but a nickname.

With nothing better to do I thought I would work forward and fill in some more detail on the family. It appeared I didn’t have an entry for the family in the 1851 census, but this turned out to be incorrect. I had entries for everyone except George and Alice’s daughter Sarah KINGHORN, so I decided to go in search of her. It was then that things started slotting into place.

She was living in Wetheral, Cumberland, with her uncle Thomas CARR and his mother Sarah CARR. Could Thomas be the brother of Alice? Both Thomas and Alice CARR were baptised in Carlisle, the children of Thomas and Sarah CARR (according to the IGI). Things were looking promising. Even Alice’s age was about right, this had to be her, but when did she get married and why was she not showing up as marrying George KINGHORN.

Searching FreeBMD for Alice’s marriage brought up the same details as George, Q1 1840 and Carlisle Registration District, so why hadn’t I found her before? Looking closer I noticed she was listed as being on page 25C of the register whereas George was on page 25 (both were in volume 25).

Something is not quite right with the index, there are eight people listed on page 25 and only one on page 25c, I don’t know what that extra C means, but it does mean that there is an odd number of people getting married in Carlisle that quarter.

It also means that there is still an element of doubt in my mind, there is enough evidence for me to identify the Alice in my database as Alice CARR daughter of Thomas and Sarah CARR, but I won’t 100% until I have seen a copy of the marriage certificate or the entry in the parish register.

I have solved one mystery but uncovered another. What does the C in the page number in birth index mean?

The marriage certificate of Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN

23 Aug

I ordered a copy of the marriage certificate for quite specific reasons. In the big scheme of things it was not that important, there were no big mysteries to be solved. If anything it was more about establishing my personal connection with Brighton, Sussex. It has always surprised my that Brighton has not played a bigger part in the lives of my ancestors, but so far my family connections with the city have been few and far between.

Personally I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Brighton. It is the closest city to where I live, and as such provides many facilities that I need to access from time to time (such as the Brighton History Centre) and acts as a transport hub with buses and trains heading across the country, but Brighton is usually far too busy for my liking, especially at this time of year.

But that’s enough about me, back to my ancestors. Henry BATEMAN married Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN on the 9th November 1881 at St. Peter’s Church, Brighton, Sussex. Henry was 22 years old and he was a groom, nothing surprising there, every other record I have seems to have his as a groom, stableman or coachman.

Dorothy was 27 years old and had no occupation shown. Neither of them had been married before and the marriage took place after banns had been read. The only possible mystery comes from the name of one of the witnesses, Mary Ann WATKINS. I have no idea who she was or whether she was related to either Henry or Dorothy, but I guess if she is a relation I will discover her identity in due course. The other witness was Dorothy’s brother Graham (actually Abraham Graham) KINGHORN.

The only surprise was that they were both living at separate addresses. Henry was at 58 Hanover Street and Dorothy was at 47 Jersey Street. I had expected to find them living at the same address, but I guess I was wrong. It was my impression that they had moved together from Spratton, Northamptonshire to Brighton after Dorothy became pregnant, perhaps they were still trying to maintain at least some impression of decency and doing the right thing. In the 1881 census Dorothy’s brother Graham was living at 79 Hanover Street, which probably explains why they were in that particular part of Brighton.

This certificate has proved quite useful, I now have several things I need to do to follow up the information provided on the certificate:

  1. Visit St. Peter’s Church and get some photographs.
  2. Visit 58 Hanover Street and 47 Jersey Street and get some photographs.
  3. Search the parish registers for St. Peter’s Church for the dates of the banns.
  4. Search the parish registers for St. Peter’s Church for the baptisms of their children.
  5. Check Brighton street directories to see who else was living at 58 Hanover Street and 47 Jersey Street.

Also this certificate has given me a definite connection with Brighton, and one of it’s most famous landmarks, St. Peter’s Church. Every time I go past it on the bus, or get off of the bus there to make my way to Brighton railway station I will be able to look at it knowing that my 2x great-grandparents were married there.

Ordering two BATEMAN certificates

9 Aug

Last night I ordered two certificates for my BATEMAN research, this is the first time since the price increase that I have ordered any, not really because of the price increase but because there weren’t any that I needed, now I have settled on two that I feel will help my research.

Birth certificate of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN

Although I have no doubts about who his parents were or where he was born, I would like to find out exactly where William was born. I know it was Brighton, Sussex, but even back in the 1880s that covered a wide area and several parishes.

If I can find the address, which was almost certainly his parent’s home then I should be able to find which parish they were living in, which should lead to a baptism record. If I can find William’s baptism then I will probably be able to find those of his two siblings who died as infants (and possibly their burials), thus saving me the cost of more certificates (or the possibility of ordering the wrong ones).

Marriage certificate of Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN

I already know roughly when my 2x great-grandparents married, it was Q4 1881, and I know it was in the Brighton Registration District, but once again I would like to find out some exact details. Once I know the parish I can look for baptisms of their children, because it might not be the same as that of William’s baptism.

There shouldn’t be any surprises with this certificate and the only new piece of information should be their address or addresses. I suspect they were probably already living together having both moved from Spratton in Northamptonshire, presumably when Dorothy became pregnant.

Both certificates should give me somewhere else to visit in Brighton and photograph. I already have one address in Preston (on the outskirts of Brighton) for them, 19 Yardley Street, so it will be good to be able expand my knowledge of their time in Brighton a little bit more.

Australian Relations: William Joseph Henry BATEMAN (The Early Years: 1882-1898)

28 Jul

This is the first in a series of articles about William Joseph Henry BATEMAN and his family from Australia. This is an ongoing research project and so far much of the research is based on index entries and is unverified, if you have more information or corrections then please get in touch.

William Joseph Henry (WJH) BATEMAN was my 2x great-uncle. He was born in Brighton, Sussex on the 19th January 1882. His birth was registered in Q1 1882 in the Brighton Registration District, although I don’t have a copy of his birth certificate yet. So far I have yet to find a record of his baptism, although I haven’t made a thorough search of all the parishes in Brighton yet.

His parents were Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN who were married in Brighton Registration District in Q4 1881, again I don’t have a copy of their certificate yet nor have I found their entry in the parish registers. This is an interesting marriage, Henry was from Gloucestershire and Dorothy was from London, and it appears that they met whilst working at Spratton, Northamptonshire.

In a very short space of time the couple have moved to Brighton, got married and had a child. The speed with which this happened makes me suspect this was all rather unplanned. In the 1881 census they are living close together (probably both working at Spratton Hall), by the end of the year they are married and at the start of the following year Dorothy gives birth to a son.

I don’t know a lot about WJH’s early years, he appears in the 1891 census as a nine year old boy living with his parents at 19 Yardley Street, Preston, Sussex (just on the outskirts of Brighton). Also living there with WJH is his one year old sister Dorothy May (my great-grandmother) and his grandmother Isabella KINGHORN.

The family appear to have moved to Yardley Street around 1889, but I don’t know where they were before then, other than Brighton. I have yet to find out which school WJH attended and when, but I am sure that given time I will uncover the details. Around 1897 the family moved to Hurstpierpoint, Sussex although it is not known whether WJH was still living at home at that time.

What is known is that at the start of 1898 WJH joined the Royal Navy and it was this that ultimately led to him settling in Australia several years later.

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