Archive for July 2015

Sentimental Sunday: My visit to the charming village of Curry Rivel in Somerset

Category: Making Memories

Whilst away recently on a short break, hubby and I took the opportunity to stop off at the quaint village of Curry Rivel on our return journey. Tucked away in the Somerset countryside, the village features a church, parts of which date back to the Norman period, a village green and some lovely character properties.

St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel
St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel

Curry Rivel was the home of my Weaver family for centuries; my 6 x great-grandparents married in St Andrew's Church on 5th August 1745 and there is evidence of numerous generations of Weavers living there before them. I've been reluctant to include these generations in my tree without further documentation but I may revisit this again some time in the future and take a view.

Whilst I explored the churchyard I happened upon three Weaver headstones, one of which belonged to my 4 x great-grandparents, Robert Weaver and his wife, Sarah nee Street. Robert and Sarah were 80 and 82 years old respectively when they passed away.

The headstone of Robert Weaver and his wife, Sarah nee Street
The headstone of Robert Weaver and his wife, Sarah nee Street

Inside the church, on the War Memorial board I saw the name of my great-grandfather, Henry James Weaver. Someone had taken the trouble to compile a folder entitled, "Men of Curry Rivel Who Died in the Great War 1914-1918". Killed in September 1916, Henry had stood or knelt at the altar of this same church only nine months earlier when he'd married his bride, Florence Smale.

The altar inside St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel
The altar inside St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel

I wrote in the visitor's book and, at the last minute, I went back and added my email address. By a strange co-incidence, three days later, I received an email from the great-grand-daughter of one of Henry's sisters who had just visited the church and had seen my message.

A committee, formed in 1919, decided the main village War Memorial should be situated "on the roadside, on the King's highway, so that not only the inhabitants of this district could see it, but also all those who passed by on that road ..." Henry is remembered on this memorial which was dedicated at a moving service attended by the whole village on 7th November 1920. I have no idea if there were any representatives from the Smale side of the family (his widow and child lived in Tavistock in West Devon) but I would imagine Henry's parents, and perhaps some of his siblings, would have been present.

The War Memorial at Curry Rivel
The War Memorial at Curry Rivel

My gran (Henry and Florence's daughter), lost touch with her father's side of the family after she was orphaned when she was quite small. Later, in 1939, she travelled to Curry Rivel from her home in Tavistock with my mum who was then a baby, to see if she could find family. She asked someone whether there were any Weavers still in the village and was directed to the home of her Uncle Dick (Richard Arthur Weaver) and his wife, Alice. I believe Dick wasn't there at the time but to my gran's amazement, the person who came to the door was her 91 year old grandfather, William Henry Weaver (1848-1944). They were both thrilled - my gran hadn't known the old man was still alive.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you may like to take a moment to view the short video I took during my brief visit.

[Why Sentimental Sunday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Visiting Westminster College, Cambridge

Category: Making Memories

Last week, Harvey and I took a short break, spending time in the Cambridgeshire/Essex/Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire area. Whilst we were there, we visited Westminster College in Cambridge, a centre for learning within the United Reformed Church, which also houses several sets of archives:
  • The records of Cheshunt College (including correspondence with the Countess of Huntingdon).
  • The Presbyterian Church of England archive.
  • The United Reformed Church History Society collection.
  • The records of Westminster College.
  • The Churches of Christ archive.

Westminster College
Westminster College, Cambridge

I've mentioned before how my 6 x great-grandfather, John Dando the elder, wrote to the Countess of Huntingdon in 1771, having first been introduced by letter by Rev'd Rowland Hill, an itinerant preacher with whom John was acquainted.

Rev'd Hill wrote…

"According to your Ladysps orders I have spoken to a Hatter who has sent his terms in Letter By Mr. Hawksworth. I shall also this evening speak to a clothier who shall also write you his terms. as I believe them both to be real Xtians I hope there is no reason to doubt but you will have Xtian treatment from ym both."

Letter written by Rowland Hill

Letter written by Rowland Hill
Letter written by Rev'd Rowland Hill to the Countess of Huntingdon
(Click the images above to see larger versions.)

In his letter, John informed the Countess of the price of his hats and went on to discuss the evangelical revival taking place in his area. This would, no doubt, have been of interest to the Countess who had founded the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist Church.

Letter written by John Dando

Letter written by John Dando
Letter written by John Dando to the Countess of Huntingdon
(Click the images above to see larger versions.)

It was great to see the original letter in person and I would like to mention the wonderful enthusiasm of Helen, the archivist at the College.

The Lodge at Westminster College
The Lodge at Westminster College, Cambridge

Westminster College is a lovely Grade II listed building with some beautiful architecture and I especially liked the library and the Chapel. Had I known in advance that they offer accommodation, I think I'd have been tempted to stay for a couple of days!

Letters reproduced here with the permission of the Trustees of the Cheshunt Foundation, Westminster College, Cambridge.
Rev'd Rowland Hill Letter Reference: (F1/1200)
John Dando Letter Reference: (F1/141)


[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]