Blythe Spirit 239

Recently, I spent some time in the upper valley of the river Leam (pronounced Lemm), which flows through the Warwickshire countryside, past Leamington Hastings, Frankton (where it forms the southern parish boundary),  meandering generally westward, by Wappenbury, and Offchurch to Royal Leaminton Spa, where it is tributary to the Avon.

I didn’t get to the small, almost secret village of Frankton, where I knew some of my ancestors once lived.  These include my fourth great grandfather William Blythe (not to be confused with he of HMS Bounty), and his father Roger.

For a time I was confused and led astray by the parish register.  The opening page of the online copy indicates that it belonged to the parish Frankton, benefice of Bourton-with-Frankton.  The baptism record does not include abode, simply the date, 2 April 1780, precisely 239 years ago today, and parents Roger and Sarah Blythe.

frankton deposit slip
Deposit slip from parish records for Frankton, Warwickshire.

At least one researcher has inferred that the baptism took place at Bourton, but a little research reveals that this other village belonged to the parish of Bourton and Draycote.  Indeed, British History Online (BHO), says that the union with the benefice of Bourton on Dunsmore took place in 1932.  Further, the parish boundary between the two settlements is shown on the Ordnance Survey mapping of 1886.

frankton os 1885 1886
Frankton and Bourton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire.  Parish boundary indicated by arrows. Ordnance Survey. Surveyed 1885, published 1886. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

BHO also sets out details of the advowson that entitled a succession of lords of the manor to nominate a person to the “living” – to be the rector, and this is how Thomas Biker came to officiate at the wedding of William’s parents, Roger Blythe and Sarah Whitehead in 1773.

By the time of the first census in 1841, William, aged 61, and his wife of 31 years Elizabeth had moved to Hodgetts Lane, Berkswell, where William was an agricultural labourer.  By that time all children had left home.  These were hard times for farm hands, as agricultural practices changed and demand for labour in the fields decreased, as the burgeoning cities cried out for all they could get.  I believe William died in 1845 (at least the most likely record indicates that).  In 1851 widowed Elizabeth, after a spell as a domestic servant, lived alone in Ryton on Dunsmore, where she died in 1857.

St John the Baptist, Berkswell, Warwickshire. A place William and Elizabeth would recognise.

From Andrew to Roger Blythe

Tree A to Roger Blythe



One thought on “Blythe Spirit 239

  1. I read with interest the latest blog and the ancestral information and updated my Medlicott family tree incorporating the information provided. You have been provided access on if you wish to view the tree
    William J Anhorn


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