Sunday, December 26, 2010

Langley and Brightley

An interesting sideline to stalking dead people is researching the house in which your ancestors lived. This is particularly rewarding in situations where the house still exists, especially when the house goes on the market, as is currently the case with Langley Barton in Yarnscombe, Devon and Brightley Barton in Dolton, Devon.

In 1783, my gggg-grandfather George COOKE purchased Langley Barton for £1935 but did not take up residency until 1788. At the time Langley Barton was considered part of the parish of High Bickington. My ggg-grandfather, William COOKE, was born at Langley Barton in 1791 although he emigrated to Newfoundland in 1817. His older brother, Michael COOKE, inherited the property in 1821 and lived there until his death in 1866. Michael's son, George, then inherited Langley Barton, however, he sold the property in 1878 and retired to Bideford.

Langley Barton is a Grade II listed manor house believed to date from the early 17th century. The house was previously the home of the Pollard family and it is believed that the Pollards lived there from 1303 to 1732. The Pollard coat of arms are carved above the entrance and a concealed fireplace stone bears the initials RP (most likely Richard Pollard) and the date 1624. The house has a five bay south-facing front and retains numerous 17th century features including a staircase, panelled door and fireplace.

The property is currently listed at £799,500.

Brightly Barton in Dolton, Devon was the birthplace of my gg-grandmother, Elizabeth Tucker BUDD (1921), daughter of John BUDD and Elizabeth Southcombe TUCKER. It is not certain how long Brightly Barton was occupied by the BUDD family. In the 1842 Tithe Apportionments, John BUDD is shown as the occupier while Thomas OWEN is listed at the owner. John BUDD was at Brightly Barton at the time of the 1841 and 1851 Census but by the time of the 1861 Census was living elsewhere.

Brightly Barton is a Grade II listed farmhouse dating from the late 15th century but rebuilt with additions in the 17th century and 19th century. The house is of cob and stone and was thought to have been originally built as an open hall house with a central heath. It is currently listed at £965,000.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2Lt Geoffrey Plateras Lawson Jacques

Perhaps the most unusual name in my ancestry is my maternal gg-grandfather, Plateras Lawson Jacques (1828-1870) of Keighley, Yorkshire. The Lawson part of the name is fairly straightforward. Plateras's maternal grandparents were John Corlass and Alice Lawson (1767- ?). The Plateras part is a bit trickier, but is most likely a corruption of Playtress. Alice Lawson was the daughter of Robert Lawson and Mary Playtress.

My gg-grandfather died young, however, he did have two nephews named after him, as well as one grandson: Geoffrey Plateras Lawson Jacques. Geoffrey was the son of John Henry Jacques (1868-1939) and Marion Cane (1869) of Loughton, Essex. Geoffrey was born in 1898, two years after his cousin, my grandfather, Alfred George Jacques (1896-1939). Geoffrey joined the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 3 Jul 1916. Unfortunately 2Lt Jacques died in a mid-air collision on 5 Oct 1916 while flying a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2 over Salisbury Plain. Although Geoffrey's death was a tragedy, accidents involving the BE2 were quite common. What was remarkable about this accident was the identity of the other deceased pilot, Captain Keith Lucas, inventor of the aeronautical compass.

2Lt Geoffrey Plateras Lawson Jacques was buried in the Loughton Cemetery and is commemorated on the Loughton War Memorial.

Monday, December 6, 2010

George Jacques and the National Probate Calendar

Recently, I discovered that Ancestry now has the National Probate Calendar online. The National Probate Calendar serves as an index to wills proved and administrations granted from 1858 until 1941. Using the calendar, I've been able to establish death dates and locations for many of my relations. Prior to this I had often only been able to establish the year of death using FreeBMD.

One of the more interesting finds in the National Probate Calendar is the entry for George JACQUES (1832-1895), a brother of my gg-grandfather Plateras Lawson JACQUES (1828-1870). Named after his uncle who is said to have died at the Battle of Waterloo, George began his career as a wool spinner in Keighley, Yorkshire. When the Waterloo Mills was built in nearby Silsden, George was one of the purchasers and soon became the sole owner. In the 1870s, George had a home called Springbank built on Howden Road in Silsden. Springbank is now a nursing home.

When George died in 1895, ownership of Waterloo Mills and Springbank passed to his son, Plateras Lawson JACQUES (1863-1935). According to the entry in the National Probate Calendar, George's estate was valued at just over £72,000. Today this would be worth over £4,000,000. When Plateras died in 1935 his worth had increased to over £350,000 (£13,000,000).

Plateras married late in life and had no children. He did, however, travel extensively. Records exist showing a passage from Japan to Vancouver in 1922 and a passage a few months from Quebec City to Southhampton.