A day of farewells and moving on…

This morning it was time to pack and make sure we left our lovely Freshford home clean & tidy.

Firstly we farewelled George and Graeme who walked to the little station down the hill at Freshford to train to Bath & then Paddington then Kings Cross then to their new home in York. I’m pleased to say that they made their fast changes and arrived safely.

Then Ben loaded up the car with our luggage, dropped us off at the Bath Spa Station & returned our car. Then the four of us sat in the station lounge until our train to Paddington at 13:13. Once there we hopped on the Heathrow Express and then cabbed to the Ibis Styles Hotel where we are staying the night.

We’ve just had a very pleasant dinner in the hotel restaurant with Kay and Ben & have said our goodbyes. It’s a long way from Canada to Australia. Will we see them again? I certainly hope so. I’m feeling very sad that we have parted once more.

Queen Elizabeth’s death was announced whilst we were having dinner. I think Australia should be a republic and have our own flag but I still feel sad. She was a great lady who worked long and hard and I admired her for that.

Tomorrow we are off to Munich bright and early so now it’s time to sleep.

We are so lucky to have spent this week with our extended ALLEY family; to have met new members and to have explored the places where our ancestors lived. It’s been absolutely great. Thanks everyone.

Roaming Lacock & Trowbridge searching for our lot

This morning we headed off early to Lacock, a beautiful little village taken over by the National Trust after WWII to maintain as it was then.

It is beautiful and people still lived there. My photos are a bit spoiled by the cars parked in the street but I think they do show how lovely it is.

Two Harry Potter movies, Pride and Prejudice and numerous other shows have been filmed here and you can see why.

This is St Cyriac Church in Lacock. We have some burials in Lacock but we couldn’t find any headstones for names we recognised.

The graveyard of St Cyriac Church, Lacock

Then it was off to Trowbridge where Ben found a great car park but then we lost ourselves. We had a wonderful walk alongside the river trying to find the street. When we emerged from this pathway we were in Castle Street, just where we wanted to be. This street was very relevant to our search.

After lunch in a dodgy cafe, we went looking for 62 Castle St where Frederick ALLEY (my GGrandfather) was born to Job ALLEY & Ann RICHMAN on 12 March 1845. Most places had no number so it was very difficult to actually locate No 62.

This was the best we could do. Is one of these No 52? We were not sure.

On 30th March, 1851 the family stilled lived there and Job, aged 52, was a dyer. Martha, their 13 year old daughter was a dressmaker. We couldn’t identify No 75 Castle St either where the family lived on 7 April, 1861. Here my G Grandfather Frederick was a cordwinder or shoemaker & his mother Ann ALLEY nee Richards was a grocer. Her daughter, Annie helped in the shop.

We then went searching for the Baptist Church and there we had a great find it is no longer a Baptist Church but is a Vineyard Church. We were very lucky that the Minister was there and he let us into the church.

Inside the Vineyard Church which used to be The Baptist Church and on the back wall we found……..
A plaque on the wall of the Trowbridge Baptist church honouring Louisa Matilda Richman ALLEY, my Great Grand Aunt, Frederick’s sister. She was involved in the church and lived to be 104.

It was in this church that my great grandparents Frederick ALLEY and Elizabeth GOULD were married on 14 July 1864. I think it was a very important part of the life of that family.

As we walked along the street we passed the Alms House where Ann ALLEY nee RICHMAN died 11 Oct 1892. She was 83 years old and had been born in Hilperton.

The Trowbridge Alms Houses where Ann ALLEY nee RICHMAN died. It’s the left hand one of the 4 matching gables on the left hand side of the picture. They looked very pretty today not sure what they would have been like in 1892.

We found the remains of The Baptist Tabernacle but unfortunately it’s a building site and is becoming apartments so we couldn’t really take a good photo. This was where my grandparents Frederick Ernest ALLEY and Rose YORK were married.

At St James Church my GGG Grandparents, Thomas RICHMAN and Martha MARTIN were married on 3 April 1804. William ALLEY, son of Job ALLEY and Sarah GUNNER was a bellringer here and was very famous for his skill.

St James Church, Trowbridge.

We searched the graveyard here but the inscriptions were very hard to read so we didn’t find any we recognised. On our way back to the car, we found the free Trowbridge museum which showed much about the wool trade which was interesting.

Then it was time to head back to Freshford, being chauffeured by our trusty driver Ben. At home, the kettle was quickly on, tea made and we sampled the traditional Wiltshire cake, The Lardy Cake, so named because it’s made with …. You guessed it – lard. Not our favourite but we had to try it because we all leave Wiltshire tomorrow.

Pieces of Wiltshire Lardy Cake.
Our trusty driver Ben!

It’s quite sad that tomorrow we all go our separate ways. We’ve had a lovely time, we’ve reconnected with Wendy and Frances and it’s been great. Thanks everyone.

STEAM museum at Swindon

I’m celebrating. My body clock has realigned. Lights out at 10ish, wake about 6:30. Thank goodness!

Yesterday we returned to Swindon to visit Steam which is a museum telling the story of Great Western Railways. Everyone agreed that it’s one of the best museums they’ve seen. So many of the men in our family worked here and many did their apprenticeships there.

The first was my GG Grandfather, Frederick ALLEY, who moved his family to Swindon about 1869, 1870 and he started work as a labourer. Prior to that he was a cordwinder or shoemaker in Trowbridge. By 1881 he was a machine man and his son Frederic Ernest (my grandfather) was apprenticed as a boiler maker. His younger sons became apprenticed as they reached the age of 15. Twins, Frank & Jesse, we’re too; Frank as a tin smith and Jesse as an engine painter. Jesse’ apprenticeship was for 6 years! Others of the family joined the company too. When Frederick retired he was instrumental in forming an organisation for the retired men & he was secretary of it for many years.

When we arrived at Steam we were very happy to meet up with Fran and Wendy once more. (Christine was too busy getting ready to fly to the Greek Islands). Wendy showed us a wonderful old family bible given to my GG Grandmother, Elizabeth GOULD, by her mother Ann GOULD née MILLARD on her 21st birthday. It has all the family dates written in the front. What a find!

A page from the bible

I’ll tell the story of the museum in pictures

The wheels used initially. It was 7ft
It was tough. Only 10 minute toilet breaks or you were docked pay

Life was tough. There was no safety equipment of any kind not even noise protection and there were many horrible accidents. The company built a whole town of housing and set up a health system which became the beginning of the National Health.

We really enjoyed our visit to Steam to see how and where our ancestors worked.

Who would we find?

Day 4 was a busy day driving around Wiltshire visiting villages searching for links to our ancestors. Our fearless driver, Ben finds his way through narrow lanes, in and out of tight spots. I’m so glad I’m sitting quietly in the back seat.

Our first destination was Winsley where we found nothing bud did think about my 3rd great grandparents, John YORK and Sarah SHINGLE who married on 29 November 1798. Then in South Wraxall, it was my GG Grandparents, Hannah HUDD and George YORK who married.

Views of Winsley

We then drove through Hawkeridge which seems to now be an industrial estate. It was there that Thomas ALLEY, my 4th Great Grandfather was born to Henry & Jane ALLEY on 14th October 1700. Near there in Holt, on 6th April, 1817 my GGG Grandparents William HARRINGTON & Ann POWELL were married.

Westbury was our next stop and it was coffee time. Fortunately we found a little take-away shop open & it had beautiful carrot cake. We walked down the street to find Holy Trinity Church. I just loved this tree – I wonder how old it is

How old is this tree in Westbury?

The church we found was The Parish Church of All Saints. Whereas we were looking for The Holy Trinity Church. It was a lovely old church and we searched the graveyard for any names from our tree.

Taken from “A Short History”
The church was quite large and had many beautiful stained glass windows.

We stocked up on groceries in Westbury and then found the Baptist Church on our way out of town but found nothing of importance there. We couldn’t leave town without seeing the famous Westbury white horse and here it is:https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/wiltshire/ancient/westbury-white-horse.htm

Then we were off to Dilton Marsh where we found St Mary’s Church where my GG Grandmother was baptised on 21 October 1808.

Kay, George & I in front of the very font! Wow!

We searched for gravestones we might recognise but found none. It’s very sad to see the state of so many graves and graveyards.

We then moved onto the Dilton Baptist Chapel where my GGGG grandparents, Thomas ALLEY & Martha TAYLER were married on 15 September 1730 and my GG Grandparents, john GOULD & Ann MILLARD were married on 24 September 1827. Their son, Alfred GOULD was baptised in the church on 26 March 1832.

Dilton Chapel

There were many graves here and we took photos of those with names we recognised. There were many MILLARDS & as we check our family trees we will probably find some that match.

Sunday roast at The Hollies in Dilton was next and was delicious!

Then onto North Bradley where we were hunting the GULY or GULEY family. We found the very large grave of Gifford GULY & his wife Ann TADD. It was most impressive!

Gifford GULY & Ann TADD with a Vault memorial.
St Nicholas Church with the GULY Vault

We found other GULY graves too and will try to match them to our tree but it was time to head back to Freshford to put our feet up. What a day!

Travelling again

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged and even longer since we’ve been out of Australia but over the last couple of days we have safely, but wearily, travelled to the UK and we are now very comfortably settled into our home for the week in Freshford, a beautiful little village in Somerset. It’s just over the border from Wiltshire; which is why we are here.

Also with us are my Canadian cousin Kay & her husband Ben and my niece, Georgina (George as she likes to be called) and her husband Graeme from Geelong in Australia. They are all from a ‘Victoria’, just not the same one.

So why are we here? We three women are all descendants of Frederick Ernest ALLEY and Rose YORK and we have traced the ALLEY and YORK families back to somewhere around 1750 in Wiltshire. We are on a pilgrimage to go back in time and to visit the places where they lived and died. More of that in the following days.

George, Graeme, David & I travelled by train from Paddington to Bath Spa on the Bristol line on the Great Western Line through Swindon which was very relevant to our current search. There we met up with Kay & Ben and since our hire car wasn’t ready we caught taxis to our home for the week.

We have a delightful 6 bed home in Freshford and the whole area is so pretty. Here are the Victorians chatting (the men about football and the women sharing family pics) meanwhile David was catching up on the news from home

This is “The Freshford Inn” where we had a refreshing ale and a delcious dinner last night. David and I were very weary so we came home to bed (only 200m or so but very steep) and left the others to party.

It promises to be a wonderful week and we are all looking forward to tomorrow when we meet some of our relatives who still live in England. What fun!