Boating in lockdown: annual review

Essential cruising, broken alternators, and the cost of living on the cut in the tax year 2020-2021.

Field path near Cropredy, Oxfordshire.

At the start of the tax year just ended I was moored at Cropredy in Oxfordshire, it was the thirteenth day of lockdown. Although I have not counted miles walked, I must have covered many times the distance travelled by boat, which was a mere 155.7 miles. For much of the year boat travel has been restricted to the essential, so my exercise on foot has covered much more ground.

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Viking hokey-cokey

Back in July Ancestry revised their output on DNA, based on a much larger, and growing sample of test results, 44,000+.

Previously, I have considered this topic in Ancestry Genetic Communities (March 2017), and Pardon my French! (September 2018). In the second of these I found it hard to believe the complete absence of any Scandinavian component to my genetic heritage, other than indirectly via Normandy.

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Another Bick in the wall

A while back I found a hint on Ancestry about John Cowley, the ancestor of Ellen, who married Tom Dennis, long time publican of the Railway Inn / Tavern, in Ogley Hay, then in Staffordshire. Previous episodes in this strand can be found at: Excavating the Cowley branch, Cowley’s the Name, and Navvy army. These are not direct ancestors, but I have found their story intriguing.

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Remembrance: Pte 306722 David Caulton

Here is another in my occasional series about the men commemorated on the war memorial in the churchyard to St James, Ogley Hay, in the West Midlands of England. There is no particular order to these posts. Previously, I have tried to focus on the actions that the men were involved in, but for many there is little information available online (without subscriptions beyond the ones I already have), and this is mostly the case this time. This means that my research is incomplete, but I am encouraged by a recent positive reply to my exploration of Pte Hubert Sanders. But what of the man prior to the war?

My first port of call was Ancestry, where I discovered that Pte David Caulton (in military records “Coulton”) died on 3 May 1917, and that he was born on 13 Nov 1893, mother Annie Elizabeth Crannage. From there I was able to locate him in the 1901 Census:

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The Mystery of Edwin Owen

A long, long time ago, when my family history research was in its infancy, I came across one of those pieces that don’t seem to fit the puzzle. Now, thanks to a reply from Emma, it is a mystery no more.

Compton Bridge House, 2019.
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Remembrance: Pte. C Dennis

Fazeley cenotaph

It is rare to find men named Dennis commemorated on war memorials, as most of them were miners, or in other reserved occupations, so it was a surprise to find one C Dennis on the cenotaph at Fazeley, Staffordshire, near to Tamworth. So who was he? Was he related to me?

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Dusting off the Shelve

St Michael and All Angels, Wentnor, Shropshire.  Geograph: copyright Richard Law reused under creative commons.

There was a time when I thought I had probably gone as far as I could in tracing direct ancestry, but I am still chipping away.  This time I have piggy-backed a little on another Ancestry tree builder:  rogerv190 and his Vaughan and Powell Family Tree, via Ancestry.  Roger had unearthed a couple of wills (transcribed) and related documents that provided some links that searching databases of parish records does not reveal.

For example: one Orlando Rowson, of Shelve, Shropshire, whose baptism record remains illusive unless you know where to look.  Orlando?  Now there is a surprise, especially after all those quintessentially British Johns, Williams and Thomases. Continue reading “Dusting off the Shelve”

Locks and clocks

Claydon top lock nb Equinox
Claydon Flight, approaching the top lock.

I have passed this way several times, and moored both above and below the locks.  I have even walked across the fields to the east, over lawn hill, but had not visited the village itself.  To be fair there is not much to attract passing boaters: no shop, or pub, but there is marked on the Ordnance Survey and “M” for museum, and, as in most English villages a church of some age.  So I took a short excursion away from the canal, taking the unnamed lane from the bridge by Claydon Middle Lock.

It was a brighter day when I side-tracked to Oxfordshire’s most northerly village, and here are a few images:

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Sadly, due to the virus, the church was not open, but it might be worth a revisit another time.

The Church of St James the Great serves the parish of Claydon with Clattercote.  Originally Norman, built around 1100, some features remain from that time, including the south door.  The bell tower was added in the fourteenth century, and the nave extended eastwards at about the same time.

The Knibbs were clock and instrument makers of some reputation, operating mainly in Oxford and London.    Joseph Knibb was the most famous.  He supplied a turret clock to Windsor Castle and counted King Charles II among his clientele.  According to the BBC one of his long case clocks sold at auction at Donnington Priory, Newbury, in March 2014, for £286,800.  Apparently, three others survive, as well as other clocks.

The privately owned Bygones Museum is no longer operating.

Once upon a time there were three pubs, but the last closed thirty years since.