29 July 2010

my own Midsomer Murder

This is Cairn Cottage, on Market Square, in Hanslope Buckinghamshire.
Hanslope is in The Domesday Book.
My ancestor was the cottage tenant in 1779, leasing it from the Lord of the Manor Edward Watts, who owned everything in Hanslope, except the two houses opposite this one, owned by my ancestor's brother - the local butcher.

The Hanslope church of St. James The Great has a huge spire and my lot William Law and Frances were married there in 1728,
their son Richard was married there in 1777 to another Frances and those two were the cottage tenants.
They had a daughter named Frances and her wild sons Elijah and Eli were swinging machinery smashers in the Aylesbury Swing Riots of 1830.
So Eli, my grandfather's grandfather got a free cruise to Tasmania for that one (his brother got 2 months in the local slammer).
After his pardon he came to Victoria, where his daughter married in 1859 and had my great grandmother named ... Frances.
(Clearly my ancestor's had a names issue. My other side had this guy Robert Lyon Milne b.1854 Adelaide, who had used several variations of it and is well-documented. I must discuss this with Bwca Brownie and Marshall Stacks.)

The Lord Of Hanslope Manor's grandson fared a lot worse than our above tenants - his was a mid-summer murder in 1912, walking home from church with his wife when he was murdered in front of her. Maybe C.I. Barnaby's grandfather investigated it.
The victim had the same name as his father and grandfather. You could do that when one's circle was only the immediate village and they all knew who was who; and this was a snip in the days before credit cards connected Debt to ID and made it more meaningful.

Here's a photo of my great-grandmother Frances with her husband William Brown and his brother George Brown.
They were all born in far western Victoria in the 1860's. Frances never set foot in a pub, and nobody ever mentioned the ex-con.