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March 2020

From Geoffrey Vevers:
"David Brigstocke did not mention your contact.  We are great friends,(he is godfather to our younger daughter) so I shall tease him. 
I have just given his recently qualified daughter the William Bowen Davies sovereign bowl which had belonged to his (WBD’s)  predecessor as she is the next medical doctor in our family".

January 2019

From Chris Bowen-Davies:

"Hi Martin, Thanks for the email and apologies for the delayed reply as checking emails this morning. I will ask Rhian and David if they have detailed information ref this date query as to date I cannot unfortunately find any.
We are meeting up later to meet the Leslie Family regarding Leonard Kemp who was their late relation who worked and lived with our family.
So it’s thanks to your website that we have made contact together.
Many thanks for this information and photos - we appreciate all the work that you have done to help families like ours to find out more about our roots etc.
All the best. Kind regards, Chris Bowen-Davies".

December 2018

Alicia Rankin (nee Foster)

Family members will be sorry to learn that Alicia, widow of the late Patrick, died on 4th December. Her daughter, Annabelle, sent me a message telling me that, after many years of various illnesses associated with old age, her mother had died in her sleep at home.

November 2018

I heard recently from Rebecca Major who told me: "I read with interest your website on the Rankins of Essex, especially the Bowen-Davies part. Just a correction, Elystan Bowen-Davies (1884 - 1947) married my great-aunt Catherine Davies (1891 - 1971) in 1920".

I queried this as I had Elystan's wife as Katy Guinlan, but Rebecca replied: "No, it was Catherine Davies.  I was wondering whether he had been married before as he's quite a bit older than her".

Rebecca also sent me these interesting news clippings:
The one at top left is of Cardiff Races in 1924, and the caption reads: "There were many well-known county people at the Cardiff races 1) The Hon. Mrs Basil Mundy crossing the course with a friend 2) Lady Cory and Mrs J.Frazer in the paddock, and 3) Miss M.Davies, Mrs Bowen-Davies, Mr L.E.Williams is seen at the back (South Wales News photo)".




November 2017

Back in March last year, the sadly now late David Scales sent me some old photos taken in and around Great Stambridge, which I am pleased to display below:

Stambridge Mill
Stambridge Mill
Tidal Dam

October 2017Jessie

David Brigstocke has found another photo showing a younger Jessie Rankin (on the left) with her two sisters Marian and Ada:

April 2017
The Keightley Family

I have received a letter from Peter Keightley who lives in Australia:

"Dear Martin,
In researching the life of my father – Henry John Keightley (1894-1970) I was aware of many references in his letters home during WW1 to good times spent with the “Rankin cousins” at Broomhills & Fryering Hall. He was an artillery Captain with the Australian 4th Division at Ypres and on the Villers Bretonneux front in 1917 & 1918.

Not being sure of the connection I “googled” Rankin and discovered your superb web page. From the family tree I discovered the connection.  My great grandfather Henry Mccrummin Keightley who migrated to Australia in 1853 was the younger brother of  Rev. George Wilson Keightley whose two youngest daughters Grace & Blanche married Harold & Alfred Rankin in 1894 & 1900. 

I have further discovered that  my grandfather visited at Broomhills during  a visit to the UK in 1911.

On your web page dated Jan. 2013, Jonathan Ionides  asked the question “Who was the solo violinist who became a nun?”

My sister Anne (1937 – 2013) went to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with the aim of becoming a soloist, after playing in the Melbourne Symphony in the late 50’s. She records a visit in June of 1961 to Broomhils with the Kent Hughes and particularly mentions Linda. About a year later she entered the Franciscans in Coldash Berkshire. She did graduate and taught music for many years.

So there are three consecutive generations of  the Australian Keightleys who have been part of the Broomhills era.

Many thanks for your wonderful achievement.
Peter J Keightley.J R Scott

[Peter's letter led me to contact Julia Grollman whose father Dr.John Russell Scott (right) kept a detailed family archive including much about the Keightley family, and I was sorry to learn from her that John passed peacefully away on 25th November last year (2016), three weeks after his 92nd birthday.]

November 2016
David Scales, 12 May 1927 ~ 16 Nov 2016

David ScalesI was sorry to learn from Sonia Scales that her brother David died in hospital earlier this month. "He had just started to live in a lovely care home in Morpeth and had been there for a few weeks when he had a fall". David was present at the launch of my book in 2012 and brought along some lovely family photos. 


June 2016
Notes from the Scales Family

David and Sonia Scales have sent me some notes on their family from which I am building a new web page entitled "The Scales Family". Photos and other items will follow.

September 2015


Patrick Rankin, 1928 to 2015

I am very sorry to have to report another death in the family, that of Patrick Rankin of Little Stambridge Hall, on September 1st. Patrick and Alicia were an enormous help to us when researching and publishing "Gummy's Story" - not the title he would, I think, have chosen for the family history though he was full of praise for it. A delightful charming and friendly man, I know he will be very sadly missed by us all. A large crowd of friends, family and other mourners attended Patrick's funeral service at the little church of St Mary & All Saints at Great Stambridge on 24th September. Six grandchildren carried the wicker coffin and eight members of the family read poems or lessons including his elder daughter Annabelle who gave a lovely tribute to her father by reading his eulogy. After the service there was a wake in a big marquee in the garden at Little Stambridge Hall where Patrick was born, and died at the age of 87. We send our sincere condolences to Alicia and the immediate family.

Ralph Rankin Brown 1935 to 2015


has sadly also died earlier this month, (Sept 9th) out in Canada after a long battle with cancer. The eldest of four sons of Ralph (Snr) and Madge Rankin his funeral was also held on September 24th. His grandfather was Charles Shalders Rankin, brother of Harold, Patrick Rankin's grandfather, making Ralph and Patrick 2nd cousins. An obituary can be found in the Delta Optimist. We send our sincere condolences to all the family out in Vancouver.



August 2015

I have been making some progress with my Bowen-Davies page having had some recent correspondence with a member of that family. Hopefully we will be able to identify more of the old photographs and learn more to add to the page very soon.

June 2015

Simone Howells dies at 98Simone

I was very sorry to learn of the death of Simone in Australia on 25th May. The last of the siblings born to Carl Maufe and Joyce (Rankin), she was one of Harold Rankin's (of Broomhills) grand-daughters. One of her four children, Gay Landau, tells me she was doing cryptic crosswords with her only a month or so ago and she asked about the British election shortly before she died. She had a long and good life, and will be much missed. See the Maufe Family web page for daughter Sheridan's story of how the family went out to Australia as "Ten Pound Poms".

Stambridge Mill

Stambridge Mill. This lovely painting (left) of the mill was sent to me by David Scales, and was painted by Simone's mother, Joyce (Maufe, née Rankin) in about 1947. (Click it to enlarge)





April 2015

Three interesting news items this month:

Rankin pastel drawing at auction in CheshireWilliam Rankin

I recently received an email from Karen Reed, an antique dealer near Chester, who had picked up a pastel drawing of William Rankin of Lyons Hall, 1767 to 1833, together with a bundle of photographs and other documents, at an auction in Nantwich. Not wishing to see this family heirloom disappear we decided to purchase it and would now like to trace its origins and try to name some of those depicted in the accompanying photographs. We believe that they have come from the Gibbons family - (Jessie Constance Rankin married Dr William Bowen-Davies, and their daughter Essylt married James Gibbons). Perhaps someone out there can help us with identifying the photos? One of Jessie's sons, Gerwyn, went to live in Essex where he later farmed and members of the Bowen-Davies family live there to this day. Gerwyn married Olive and they had 3 sons.

Are we related to George Shalders, landscape painter, 1826 to 1873?

I recently heard from Deva Armstrong who wrote: "the Shalders were the subject of my drama thesis at university, and I have remained interested ever since. Ellen Shalders' father, William Shalders (1800-1872/3) was a theatrical manager who ran the Portsmouth, Salisbury and Southampton theatre circuit. He was a highly respected comedian and scenic artist to boot. He had numerous children; Charles William, George, John Jackson, Amelia Jane, Julia, Josephine Jane, and Ellen. The eldest, Charles William Shalders, was also a well-known scenic artist and comedian. He painted scenery for Covent Garden, the Olympic and the Marylebone Theatres as well as many otheGeorge Shaldersrs. The next eldest was George Shalders, RA. Google him! Julia and John Jackson died in their late teens and Amelia and Josephine went on to be very successful actresses. Amelia married Montague Portius Smythson, and was known as Mrs M. Smythson. Josephine  (famous for playing West End hags in her later years), married Francis Huntley the actor son of the notorious James Saward, aka 'Jim The Penman', and produced her own theatrical dynasty including the famous comedian GP Huntley 1865-1927. Google that, too! There is already a book about Jim the Penman and the same author is planning or has already published a book about G.P.Huntley. Ellen herself was an small-part actress before marrying, appearing several times alongside her brother Charles William at the London Olympic in the 1850s. She then fell off the radar. I cannot of course prove that our Ellens are the same ones without a marriage certificate. However, after thirty years of searching, the coincidence of dates (she marries in the year she disappears off the radar),  birthplace, the names of Ellen's children (Charles Shalders, George...) and the fact that her daughter Nell was an artist in a very similar style to George Shalders, all seem overwhelming. Can't wait to read the book!"

Unfortunately, in a subsequent email, Deva writes: "Came across a newspaper article recording Ellen Shalders, daughter of Edward Shalders, bookseller, marrying into the Rankins, so sadly I may have the wrong Ellen. However, due to the amazing name, date and talent coincidence, I intend to investigate further; there may still be a link to my Shalders line via her father".

I recall that while I was researching my book one of our Rankin relatives mentioned this connection with the painter, George Shalders - now we just need to find the link. Any ideas? Feedback please.

Hellingly Water Mill

Will Rankin was manager of the mill at Hellingly, near Hailsham in Sussex aHellingly Millt the time of his marriage to Mary Robinson in 1892. That same mill is currently on the market for sale through Ross & Co of Eastbourne, at an asking price of £1.95m so if you are thinking of spending that pension pot ~ why not take this rare opportunity?

* * * * * * * *

May 2014

A letter from Gill Wright whose relative was employed as a Day Nurse at "Broomhills" before 1920. See "Your Comments".

April 2014

Letter from Bronwen - see "Your Comments".

March 2014

The Death of Leo

In the course of his research into the history of the Broomhills Cricket Club, Brian Pettit recently discovered, in an issue of the Southend Standard for July, 1909 a report on the "Death and Funeral of Lionel George Rankin". Known as Leo, Lionel George suffered from TB, or consumption as it was known in those days. He had been expected to become a partner in the family firm of A.M. & H. Rankin Ltd alongside his father, Hugh, but unfortunately his illness and early death prevented it. A fair copy of the report is attached. [Thanks go to Brian for this contribution to the website]

Norman H Rankin, and Donny Stranks - also from Brian Pettit.

See "Your Comments".

October 2013

New photo of Joy Maufe (see Gallery)

kindly supplied by Nick Maufe (California)

Family Gathering at Stambridge

Following the success of last year's book launch at Stambridge in Essex several of those who attended suggested we might repeat the gathering a year on, when everyone had had a chance to read and digest Gummy's Story. As a result 33 members of the family met once again at the Stambridge Memorial Hall on 12th October. While last year we were joined by Peter and Denise Rankin from Canada, this time we had three ladies from 'down under': two of Tina Rankin's great grand-daughters Judy Whiting and Barbara Peattie were visiting England, as was Harold Rankin's great grand-daughter Gay Landau giving their numerous cousins a chance to meet them for the very first time, or at least, for many years. Rankin GroupAmbrose Maufe brought along five members of his family, some of whom were good enough to take on a lot of work in the kitchen. I endeavoured to introduce everyone in a short presentation followed by a slideshow of 150 photos of family members and local views, after which others introduced their mementos or told of their reminiscences. Next came a buffet lunch prepared by my wife, Susan, after which we all chatted the rest of the time away. I think the event was generally well-received and enjoyed by all who attended. (Click photo to enlarge).

My introduction to the guests - an attempt to introduce them to one another:

“Here on the screen we have a photo of Harold Rankin who lived and farmed here in Stambridge for over 50 years. I’m sure you are aware that he had many brothers and sisters, the eldest of whom was Nell who produced so many wonderful sketches and watercolours. Harold and Nell’s eldest brother was Ernest and his grand-daughter Jane Cathie with her daughter Peta (Austin) are here today. Next eldest sister was Tina, who married Dr Wilfred Kent Hughes and went to live in Australia. Two of Tina’s great grand-daughters, Judy (Whiting) and Barbara (Peattie) share the prize for having travelled the greatest distance, from Australia and New Zealand respectively, to be with us today. Harold’s next elder brother, Will, is represented by Linnet, a daughter of James and Peggy Allardyce, and Andrew, Kate (Rankin) and Rebecca (Easton), children of Will’s son Geoff and his wife. Harold himself had 5 children the eldest of whom was Joy(ce) and we are delighted to have her grand-daughters, Gay Landau (another visitor all the way from Australia) and Sheridan Lynch, and their uncle, Ambrose Maufe with several members of his family. Harold’s second daughter was Irene, who married schoolmaster Rollo Scott and his daughter Delia (Haythornthwaite) is also here. Then, most importantly, comes Harold’s grandson Patrick (Rankin) who was born and still lives today just round the corner at Little Stambridge Hall with his wife, Alicia. Last of Harold’s grandchildren is Sonia (Scales) who is accompanied by her son, Ross. One of Harold’s younger brothers was the Rev Stanley M. Rankin whose grand-daughter Sarah Hare also joins us.
Harold’s uncle Hugh Rankin is the link to John Symon and his sister Anna Brown, and another of Hugh’s grand-children, Mark Wilcox.
I, and my sister, Sue (Martin) are a little removed from all the rest of you being great grand-children of Alfred Rankin, whose brother William Hugh was Harold Rankin’s grandfather”.

May 2013

I was sorry to learn earlier this month that Jenny Crew, one of Tina Hughes, née Rankin's granddaughters had died at the age of 80 following a stroke. Judy Whiting tells me: "She had a wonderful mind and was generous with her knowledge and time....as she approached retirement from the University she did a Law Degree so she would have something to do".

Judy also sent me the following obituary (source unknown)

Jenny CrewJenny Crew OAM, pictured (left of the two ladies), was born on July 11, 1932 in Melbourne. She was the eldest child of Gwendolen Kent Hughes and Neville Crew.

Mrs Crew joined the staff of the University of New England in 1960 as a moral tutor to Mary White College and retired as a senior lecturer in 1991. 

She held a bachelor of arts and master of arts from the University of Melbourne, and a bachelor of legal studies from Macquarie University. She was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1992 and was elected dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1987-1990 and assistant dean from 1990-1991.

She was instrumental in establishing the external studies advisory committee, and was a member of the teaching and learning committee.

Mrs Crew was also the first secretary of the NUAS Aboriginal Scholarship Appeal in the 1950s.

But Mrs Crew’s contribution to the Armidale district extended beyond UNE.

She was a councillor on the now Armidale Dumeresq Council and joined a committee to establish the Jessie Street National Women’s Library.

In 1992 Mrs Crew organised a legal advisory centre with local solicitors, and in 1994 became chairwoman of its board of management. In 1998 she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the Armidale community, particularly through the North and North-West Legal Service, and the Guyra Local Aboriginal Land Council and other community organisations.

Mrs Crew continued working with community organisations including Jobs Australia, the Neighbourhood Centre, council sub-committees, the Armidale City Band, Armidale Eisteddfod Society, the UNE Alumni and the Friends of the Old Teachers College.

New England MP Tony Windsor said yesterday: “Jenny Crew made an extraordinary contribution to both academic and social life in the Armidale region and always worked for those who needed a helping hand in our community. I valued Jenny’s counsel on many issues in the political arena. She will be a great loss to our area.”

Mrs Crew was the mother of Catherine, Megan, David, Bronwen and Victor and grandmother of Meredith and Dale, Elizabeth, Deborah, Phoebe and Hannah, Steven and Laura, Ellen and Geoffrey, Shania, Curtis, Tristen and Jacoebi, and great grandmother of Steven.


March 2013

Emily Elphinstone Keightley (née Donaldson)

Donaldson SketchDavid Scales has kindly sent in this 1830's sketch of the three children "of Capt. and Mrs. Donaldson, Henrietta (afterwards Mrs. Harte), Ann Eliza (afterwards Mrs. Warmesley) and Emily Elphinstone (afterwards Mrs. Keightley). The last named would be my grandmother and mother-in-law to Harold Rankin".

Kindly scanned and enhanced by Otto Meth Cohn



Lord William J.M. Watson-ArmstrongLord Watson-Armstrong

(see page 245 of "Gummy's Story")
You may recall that "Captain" Watson-Armstrong became a fairly frequent visitor at Frank and Nita's little house in North Vancouver in the 1940's before his return to England. I discovered recently that there is a portrait of him displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in London (right, click to enlarge), and there is another in which he is shown with his wife, Zaida: © National Portrait Gallery, London

Arthur Lett-Haines:

Susan and I recently visited the Mascalls Gallery at Paddock Wood in Kent where Nathaniel Hepburn is holding an exhibition of paintings by Cedric Morris and Christopher Wood. Soon after we arrived I noticed a large painting of Arthur Lett-Haines (pages 40/41 in my book) by his 'partner' Cedric Morris. We had a long chat with Nathaniel who has produced a fully illustrated book entitled "A Forgotten Friendship" in which there are several photos of Arthur as well as mention of his sister Œnid. I have now applied for a copy of her will to determine the names of her children who, I think, were probably born in Ceylon, to complete the family tree.

* * * * * * * *

Mark Churchill has kindly supplied additional information about James and Peggy Allardyce from his book "Charlton Marshall. Aspects of our Story". See Peggy & David, a new web page which details the art career of Peggy (née Rankin) and throws new light on the early death of her brother, David.

* * * * * * * *

Mark Wilcox has kindly provided a copy of Nell Rankin's painting of "The Neapolitan Boy" copied from the original hanging in a gallery in Rome, while on her 'Grand Tour'.

February 2013:

Family Notes recorded with Sheridan Lynch:

In the months since the launch of “Gummy’s Story”, a number of ‘new’ relatives have made contact with me including Julia Grollman, daughter of John Russell Scott, Andrew Rankin, son of Anthony in South Africa and most recently Sheridan Lynch, one of Simone Howells’ daughters and a great grand-daughter of Harold Rankin. Simone is now 95 and continues to enjoy good health in Australia. She was the “eldest child of Harold’s eldest child”, Joy, or Joyce, Maufe (née Rankin).

Sheridan has just returned from a trip down under to visit her mother and her arrival coincided with the delivery of my book so that they were able to explore the family history together.

On her return to the UK, Sheridan kindly invited us to visit her at her home at Seaford in Sussex. She told us of her birth in Yorkshire and how at the age of 7, in 1957, she and her family travelled by ocean-going liner to Australia as ‘Ten Pound Poms’. Her father was to take up a senior medical post out there. The voyage took some five weeks to Perth after which the ship hopped along the continent’s southern coast from port to port before they could disembark in Sydney. On arrival they were welcomed to Australia by their relative Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes, and a few years later Sheridan remembers staying at Armidale with Nell (Dr Ellen Mary Kent Hughes, or “Kentie” as she was often known). Nell had been something of a pioneer as a female doctor, and her early years of medical practice in western Queensland covered a vast area, often traversed by pony and trap.

Simone and OliverSheila & Janet We talked at some length about Harold and Grace Rankins’ seven children. Simone had told Sheridan that Janet was great fun and quite glamorous. After Grace’s death she and her sister Sheila, the two youngest children, had to assume their mother’s household duties to which they were unused, while their father grieved and apparently they “went a bit wild”. until each left home to be married.
[Left: Sheila & Janet in Sept 1924, and right: Simone with her little brother Oliver who sadly died aged only 3½ - click to enlarge]

In 1940 Joyce’s husband, Sheridan’s grandfather, Carl Maufe, who was then serving in the Home Guard suffered a fatal accident when he fell down a railway embankment, at the age of oFar Scarnly 50. Their home at Grassington, built about 1920 was called “Far Scar”, pictured right, a house designed by Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe KBE, R.A, F.R.I.B.A., an architect known for having also designed Guildford Cathedral. He was a young architect at the time, thought to have been a cousin of Carl who was keen to support him.

Sheridan (Annette Sheridan) has a sister Gay (Barbara Gay) Landau in Canberra, Australia, who has been in touch with me, and two brothers: Lynden in Hobart, Tasmania and Robin in North London, England. She also has several first cousins: Gordon Maufe’s children - Nicholas (California), Andrew (Doncaster), and Barry (Brighton, Sussex), and Ambrose Maufe’s children Julie (Ilkley, Yorks), Carl (Cheshire) and Stephen (living in  Southern England). 

Sheridan has kindly provided a number of other photos of family groups on the gallery page. 

Œnid Esmé Stewart (neé Haines)

When I finished writing "Gummy's Story" there were inevitably various little niggles which I had been unable to resolve. In the chapter on the Cook Family I said (page 41) that my mother Audrey's second cousin Œnid Esmé was believed to have had two daughters, and later that she went to live in Suffolk to live near her son. I regret that both these statements are clearly wrong. Œnid married George King Stewart in 1919 and I now find that in the following year the couple sailed to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). George's reason for going is shown as "Mercantile Mne", whatever that may be. He was then 28, and she 24. Œnid died there in 1931, aged only 35 - her probate granted in London 4 years later. George must have re-married as he returned to Ceylon in 1938 with a new wife. He eventually died at Maidstone in Kent in 1953. I am still checking to see whether Œnid and George had any surviving children.

More of Nell's watercolours sent in by David Scales
and more Comments

Another little book correction: the date at the foot of Page 97 should read 1914.

January 2013:

The books are finally all delivered

After some considerable delay throughout the autumn I am pleased to say that a total of 120 books have now been distributed to family members and others around the world including Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Some 30 copies remain in stock should anyone else require one in the future. Thank you all for your lovely comments ~ it is great to hear that so many of you are enjoying reading the story. Please keep the little anecdotes coming, as well as any family photos or copies of paintings and other memorable items which I can add to this website.

Who was the solo-violinist who became a nun?

Jonathan Ionides mentioned to me in one of his emails: "I remember meeting a tall handsome young Lady in the 50's who came over to England as a solo concert violinist and subsequently joined a convent as a novice. Am I correct in thinking she was a Kent Hughes? She did not ever visit us in Brockham again". Brockham Green in Surrey was his family's home from the late 40's until the early 60's when his parents (Meynell and Linda) moved to Suffolk. The house in Brockham was called Surrey House and had been condemned at the end of the War, but they managed to get the order lifted. Linda found a semi-detached cottage for Nancy Rankin (her cousin) Billy & Lindain a hamlet about 3 miles south of the Green. She became known as Thistle following her magnificant work on the Queen's Coronation robe. Jonathan recalls using her Lambretta to obtain his motorcycle licence! He and his brother Nicholas travelled to prep-school in Reigate. (Linda with Billy Kent Hughes at Broomhills, right)

Can anyone identify the handsome young lady violinist?

[It turns out she was Anne Keightley, 1937 to 2013 - see Peter Keightley's letter above, April 2017.]

December 2012:

Does anyone have any of Tina's Letters?

Judy Whiting, a resident of New Zealand, is one of the many great-grandchildren of Clementina Jane Kent-Hughes (née Rankin). She has recently been staying with her family in Adelaide, Australia where she "came across some fantastic family bits and pieces including a letter from one of Tina's sisters to (?) one of her daughters. It describes Tina and Wilfred's wedding. I am wondering if there are any of Tina's letters home still in existence...would love to read them if they exist.....have a letter from Nell to Winifred which is also interesting reading......Robbie and Ant have an early painting of Nell's and I have an unsigned painting that was in Gran's papers that could be a very early one as well but that could well be wishful thinking!!"

If you have any letters that Tina wrote to members of the family please let me know.

Book Distribution:

Forty-four books have gone out over the last week (13th to 18th Dec) to relatives, and also others connected with my research, these going to Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as well as to all parts of the UK.

William Rankin's wallet from 1743

Wallet 1743Andrew Rankin has sent me the accompanying photograph of a leather wallet in his possession, in which his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather kept his precious notes nearly 270 years ago. It is still in amazing condition and Andrew thinks it probably came down to him through his great-aunt Poppy (Florence Rankin), the family historian, and after she died to his grandfather Will, and so on, to him. The William Rankin who owned it married Sarah Ruggles in 1719, and he died in 1762.

November 2012:

Northern Lights:

It has been good to hear that, following the book launch, some of those who attended from the north of England have made further contact with each other. Andrew Rankin, who divides his time between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Hexham, Northumberland, discovered that Sally Wilcox has a second home at Haltwhistle and I gather they have met up on a couple of occasions recently. This, in turn, led to Andrew meeting Sally's brother Michael, a well-known playwright as well as a collector of LP records. By coincidence Andrew's son Jacob was in a record shop some months before and got talking to a man who told him he had 30,000 LPs in his collection. Jacob mentioned that his father was also an avid collector so the man gave him his phone number. Andrew never got around to phoning him but when Jacob turned up at the time of Michael's visit he realised they had met before - small World!

David Scales used to farm in Whitby but, in retirement, lives near Morpeth. He heard about the book so contacted Michael Wilcox who, not being particularly interested in family history, passed him on to Andrew Rankin who is planning to meet up with him shortly.

You will have gathered I rather enjoy all these family meetings/re-unions.

Family Trees:

I have now added a Rankin family tree, and an extended Hughes, or (Kent) Hughes family tree. (Click on these red coloured links for access).

New Pictures:

Norman Hugh
Norman and Edward 8
River Roach
Another of Nell's watercolours, again of the River Roach. Her brother, Harold, took it out to Canada to give to another brother, Charles. Ralph Brown (Charles' grandson) kindly gave it to us and we brought it 'home' in 2008.
BBH & boathouse
Broomhills and the boathouse from the river, 1920.

[Also several more photos in the Gallery - Places]
Norman Hugh Rankin 1878 - 1965 (left) and with the former King Edward VIII (right) - photos from Brenda Halsey's photo album, courtesy of John Symon

Another of Nell's Sketches has come to light & a 117 year old Rankin Will has come home from America!

Alfred Mottram Rankin's Will:

I was recAMR Willently contacted, via the genealogy website Ancestry.co.uk, by a lady living in Oklahoma, USA named Celia Springer, who told me that she had found a Rankin family document and was trying to locate the family of Alfred M. Rankin whose wife was named Ellen and whose sons were Alfred Ernest and Edgar Napier. I replied that I was indeed connected to the family and she then told me:

"My father was a physician here in Tulsa, Oklahoma and he passed away a year ago. In his practice he had many really nice patients who gave him things over the years. One of his patients visited England a number of years ago and bought at a corner book store (we know not where) a couple of Last Will and Testaments/Probates. One of these is for Mr. Alfred Mottram Rankin who died 29 Jan 1896. I was in hopes of finding someone who would love and cherish this document. I believe this to be the original document or one of the originals not knowing if there was more than one copy. There is an embossed seal of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice on the Probate part of the Will. Are you interested in this? Or do you know someone who would be? As a genealogist myself I am wanting to find the right home for this".

Celia has since sent me the document which makes fascinating reading ~ to read it click 'my transcript'.

I had puzzled over why Alfred did not apparently leave Broomhills and the farm at Stambridge to his eldest son, Ernest, or to his next two sons, instead leaving Harold in charge and it was he who moved into Broomhills. This Will helps us AMR Willa little to understand the way things were: Harold had already been made a junior partner inthe firm, A.M & H. Rankin, while his elder brothers had been pursuing other ventures. I knew that Ernest and Will had been in Florida growing oranges and Edgar Napier had been teaching English in Germany. Each of the Alfred's six sons received £500 at one time or another ~ a tidy sum in those days, equivalent to at least £45,000 today and probably a great deal more. It seems that Waldens which is now occupied by Anthony Rankin and his family, was left to Ernest though I don't believe he ever lived there. While Nell received £100 from her father's estate, Clementina who was married and living in Australia got nothing. It is hard to tell exactly what the remaining five unmarried daughters received.

I wonder who in the family would fufill Celia's wish that it go to someone who would love and cherish such a historic document and safeguard its future?

October 2012:

Sonia Ennals' email about her family, the Kent Hughes


Those of you who have read 'the book' will know that the Penny family came from Weymouth where they inherited Bincleaves Farm and developed it as the Bincleaves Estate. They went on to call their two homes in Tonbridge by the same name, as did Amabel when she built her house at Peacehaven in Sussex. From Susie Clarke and her sister Mary Lancefield I now learn that their grandfather, Hubert, also called his first house Bincleaves. I knew that Amabel's eldest sister Emma married Henry Clarke and that he was born in Weymouth but I now gather that the Clarkes had a building firm there. We can't help wondering whether in fact the Clarkes built some of the houses on the estate which would explain Hubert's use of the name. Mary plans to investigate this next time she is in Dorset, so more of this 'to come'.

'Sally Wilcox tells me':

- that she learned from her grandmother, Phyllis (Warren), that after Clementina Rankin left home to train as a nurse she soon met Wilfrid Kent-Hughes. It was then, against the wishes of the family, that she married him and accompanied him to Australia. She was also told that Harold tended to shield his sisters from the attentions of male suitors and so they remained single, often becoming bored to the point of even knitting stockings to clothe the piano's legs! Sally also tells me that Donald's second wife, Stella Sowerby, had been close to him for a great many years.

Sally's grandfather Willie Warren lost his first wife to septicaemia following the birth of their baby daughter. It was eight or nine years before he could bring himself to look for another wife and after meeting Phyllis he returned to Canada to build a new house to which he could bring her after their marriage a year later. Phyllis tried to bring up her step-daughter, Louise, as a 'young lady' but she was quite wild and wouldWarren Wedding tear around riding horses bare-back. She later realised it had been silly to try to tame her, and Louise, equally felt she should not have been so difficult. She (Louise) married a man by the name of Featherstone -haugh, who was originally from Northumberland, and had several children of her own.

[The photo, right, was taken on the occasion of Phyllis and Willie's wedding in January 1913. On the left are Dr. George Watson, his wife Dorothy with daughters Doris (11) and Joan (9), then in the centre Edward Halsey stands behind his wife Joan and son, Nigel. To the right sits the bride, Phyllis, with her new husband Willie Warren. Dorothy Watson, Joan Halsey and Phyllis Warren were sisters, the daughters of Hugh and Nora Rankin.]

Martin Ingall