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.
Yesterday, at The Kings Arms, a lovely old pub in Swindon, there was a gathering of more than 30 descendants of Frederick ALLEY and Elizabeth ALLEY née GOULD, my great great grandparents and their spouses. Many thanks to my second cousin, Wendy BURROWS and third cousin, Christine PRICE and Fran BEVAN, a wonderful genealogist who linked me into the ALLEY family when I first started my journey to see where I came from after discovering that I was adopted. These three ladies organised the day for us.
The room was a buzz of noise. Everyone was very busy chatting, catching up with old friends or making new connections and establishing how we were related. I have to admit that I cannot remember the names of all those people or place them in the tree. Thank goodness we will meet with Wendy in Swindon later in the week and she will sort us out.
My grandparents were Frederick Ernest ALLEY and Rose YORK. They had 5 children and descendants of three out of the five were here. William Frederick was the eldest and Kay PROSSER is his granddaughter. George was the second son and Colin McMurdy is his grandson. Their third child was Louisa and as far as we know she never married or had children. Then came my father, Sidney Herbert who is Georgina’s grandfather as her Dad George was my big brother. Last was Grace but Kirsty JUDD, her great granddaughter was unable to be with us.
After lunch, we went to the Radnor Street Cemetery where Frederick ALLEY, Elizabeth GOULD and their son Edgar Gould ALLEY are buried in the one plot, Section C, number 3526. Fran had researched and prepared her tour well, of course, as she writes a wonderful blog about the cemetery, nearly every day. The cemetery was created for the non-conformists and as Frederick and his family were very involved in the Baptist Church, this was where they were buried. Andy BINKS joined us to show us the on-site chapel where the services took place.
Frederick and Elizabeth had 18 children. Sadly 7 of them died as babies and three are buried in this cemetery. There are no records of where they were buried so Fran suggests that they would have been in a massed grave. So sad! How would you cope with that?
Frederick’s brother, George Richman ALLEY, had seven daughters and one son. Those ALLEY women were all amazing women, living to great ages and achieving much. Fran is particularly excited by the story of Emma Louise HULL née ALLEY who was a suffragette campaigning for the right for women to vote. She had three short spells in jail, even though she was not a militant campaigner.
We all had a wonderful day, a simple dinner at home and I was early to bed. I’d like my body clock to adjust a bit better so I could stay up later and sleep past 4:30. Maybe tonight?
Our second day here in Freshford began with bacon & eggs for breakfast. These had been left for us by our landlords. That depleted our food stores so it was off to the beautiful farm shop run by volunteers, Galleries Shop & Cafe, about 3 miles away. Poor Ben had to cope with a few back seat drivers whilst driving down really narrow lanes in an unfamiliar 7 seater Suzuki with clunky gears. He managed very well! I was very happy that I was not the driver.
We stocked up on necessities and lovely fresh fruit & veg. I can’t wait to get into the strawberries at breakfast.
We decided we’d like to go into Bath so we caught the train. The station is only a couple of hundred metres down hill so it was an easy walk & a 10 min ride into town. I have been having trouble with the roaming on my phone so David and I hurried off to the Apple store where 2 genii checked it over. I had it set up properly but they couldn’t find out why I’m not receiving texts or emails when I’m out and about. Very annoying! So we’re having to rely on Messenger to keep in touch and arrange meeting points. I’ve also been having trouble with sore gums where my dentures were rubbing ( my dentist at home interfered with them during my recent check-up). Luckily I found a lovely dentist who fixed them for me.
Bath is a beautiful city. David and I spent a few days exploring it in 2007 on our first trip to the UK so I wasn’t too upset that I spent my time at Apple and the dentist. Here’s a few pics
At home, we had a relaxing time chatting and then George cooked us up a lovely dinner with our fresh vegetables which was a fitting end to a good day.
Each day we have ridden on a Great Western Railway (GWR) train which has been quite special. My great grandfather, Frederick ALLEY and his wife, Elizabeth GOULD, moved to Swindon about 1870 and Frederick worked at GWR. Many of their sons did apprenticeships at GWR.
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!