Yy is for – Yesterdays in Windhill, Yorkshire.

He died 5 years ago, in his 95th year, but my dad’s words, “I’m BRITISH and proud of it!”, still ring in my ears. In this post to Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet” Challenge I’ll share just a snippet of his story and dedicate this post to my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout (1912-2007) and his beloved “mam” Marie (Ogilvie) Crout (1880-1931).

Harry Scarborough Crout aged 29years. (c) C.Crout-Habel

Those who are not family members might also like to join me, and mine, in this remembering of my dad’s “Yesterdays in Windhill, Yorkshire”.

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First matter I want to address is why would my dad be so vehemently proclaiming such pride in his heritage? … Easy answer to that is that, after being lured to Australia, as a 16 year old lad in 1928 …  a “Dreadnought Boy”, he was constantly battling the put-down names of cocky little pommie bastard” etc. Just click here to read about his experiences as part of the “Dreadnought Scheme.”

My memory is that dad started loudly proclaiming, “I’m BRITISH and proud of it!” when we, his Ozzie children, picked up the derogatory terminology… i.e.  “pommie” to describe someone born in England.  It was then that dad began to slowly give us his side of the story and, over time, I’ve researched and come to truly appreciate this wonderfully unique part of my Heritage which I’m now passing on to my children/ grand-children and all of dad’s descendants via this blog.

My dad, Harry Scarborough Crout, was indeed  a “Yorkshire lad” , born in Leeds on 4 Mar 1912 to Marie (Ogilvie) Crout and Henry Eden Crout (Jun). You can read about this HERE.  His mum, Marie, was a “Yorkshire lass” who was born to another “Yorkshire lass” Emma Chadwick (1854-1919) whose parents were also Yorkshire born.

Dreadnought Boys arriving in Sydney on the “SS Ballarat” – 1928

Dad came to Australia as a 16 year old and never intended to stay. His intention was to make lots of money to take back home to his beloved “mam”. He steamed into Sydney Harbour, Australia, with other “Dreadnought Boys” aboard the “Ballarat” on 13 Jun 1928 just as the inconic Sydney Harbour Bridge was in it’s final stages of completion and, unfortunately, the Great Depression was starting to take it’s toll.

Nab Wood Cemetery, Shipley, Yorkshire, England

Australia was not the Utopia dad had imagined and his beloved “mam” died in the North Brierley Workhouse and buried in a Pauper’s Grave in Nab Wood Cemetery, just 3 years after dad left his homeland. He was just 19 years old, adrift in a foreign land and orphaned. Well, I’ve since learnt that his dad was still living but that’s another story for another time.

So, that’s the background and now moving onto Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England. 🙂

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As I wrote in ABOUT, on this blog … as dad’s health & senses were declining he became more and more agitated that no-one in the family had been able to find his childhood home. On my return to Ireland, in 1995, I just HAD to take the trip across the Irish Sea to check out this matter, in Yorkshire, which was causing dad such anguish.

“Shipley” can be seen just above “Bradford” on this West Yorkshire County map from Wikipedia.

A ferry trip from Dublin, Ireland to Holyhead, Wales. A  bus trip across England to Leeds and the train to Shipley, soon had me close to dad’s childhood home However it soon  began to seem like a HUGE “wild goose chase” and still remember how much my hips began to ache as the “backpack” was weighing me down … then almost like magic the most amazing of people came to my aid.

Map showing 42 Mossman Street, Windhill before the re-development of the 1960’s.

The young woman in the B&B said how her Aunt knew all about Mossman Street. I was sent to the Library and given maps to show how the re-development had removed the street of dad’s childhood home. It now became clear why nobody had been able to find 42 Mossman Street (off Crag Road) Windhill, Yorkshire, England.

Crag Road Methodist Church, Windhill, Shipley, Yorkshire, England

Crag Road Methodist Church

This same map also shows the location of dad’s school, Crag Road Primary School, as well as the Methodist Church where he attended Sunday School and the empty field he used as a short cut.

Dad’s Sunday School teacher, Miss Murgatroyd, continued writing to him until way into the early 1960’s.

Windhill Community Centre

I visited the “Windhill Community Centre”… met with some people from the  “Memories Group” and was told that one of their friends remembered my dad who had gone to Australia, but it didn’t end there.  On my return home, I began receiving letters full of information from other members of the “Memories Group” which is how I located my Grand -mother’s burial spot.  

As a child dad loved books, reading and writing, and was proud of winning an essay competition at school.  He spoke often about his weekly visit to the library, down the hill, and his battle up Crag Road laden with books.

Carnegie Library – 1900 (http://yorksphotos.blogspot.com.au)

I would to laugh when he’d speak about how on very windy days he’d get blown over. Well, I never knew what a long contuinuous haul it was up that Crag Road until trekking it myself. What a delight it was to turn right off Briggate and almost in front of me was the Carnegie Library, with Carr Lane forking off to the left and Crag Road to the right, just as dad had described it. 

I saw the remaining “back to backs”,  like dad’s home in Mossman Street, and remembered his stories about the washing stretched across the road, on washing day. The walled middens at the front, which were emptied weekly and his frustration that “mam” would not allow him to wear “hob nailed boots”, like those of “the Mill children.” How he envied them making sparks as they scraped their boots across the street which I seem to remember dad described as “cobbled.”  He also laughed when talking about how his Auntie would often say … “You could eat your dinner  off Marie’s doorstep!” It seems my Grandmother was seen to be extremely house proud.

Well, I came home with a pile of photographs and maps to share with dad. I’ll never forget the look of wonder on his aged faced as he smiled, pointed at the photos and shared so many memories that came flooding back along with those pictures of his childhood. e.g he actually remembered his mother’s number which she used at the Co-op on Briggate.

As I’ve already written,  I am sure it was the spirit of dad’s beloved “mam” which kept me going as I struggled up that seemingly endless hill. Maybe she knew that it was only a short time before the dementia would over take her little boy and his memories would be lost forever? 

Dad aged 17, riding pillion, with Sammy on their first Australian adventure – NSW 1929 (C)2012.C.A.Crout-Habel

Dad was delighted with the booklet I made for him with the photos, and his words, which not only brought many of his memories back but helped keep them alive. Eventually, Mum advised that it was probably time for me to take the book back as dad had lost interest and other family had their eyes on it. Well, I didn’t because I figured that maybe he still needed it and it did disappear, which is pretty sad, however no-one can take away the joyous rememberings of that special time with my dad. 

I can still hear his proud, young, strong voice loudly declaring,
 
“I’m BRITISH and proud of it!!!”
 
May you always RIP, Harry Scarborough Crout
 
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RESOURCES & FURTHER READING:
 
© 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel 

Ee – is for Elgin, Scotland

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

As my heart thrilled to the story of the notorious “Wolf of Badenoch” – those “wyld, wykked Heland-men” burning the famed and majestic Elgin Cathedral I had no idea that later research would show the burial site of John Ogilvie, my Great Great Grand-father, to be in this very same Cathedral Churchyard. John Ogilvie is my dad’s Great Grandfather and the Grandfather of my Grandmother Marie. So it is that Elgin represents the letter Ee in my latest “Family History Through the Alphabet” post.

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King David I

Elgin, as the administrative and commercial capital of  Moray,Scotland,has a long and fascinating history. Situated on a low ridge, between the loops of the River Lossie, Elgin was made a Royal Burgh in the 12th Century, by King David I, and in 1107 was chosen as the seat of the Bishop of Moray with its Cathedral located at Spynie, 3kms to the north. The new Elgin Cathedral was not built until 1224 and on area of ground granted by Alexander II close to the River Lossie and outside of the Burgh of Elgin. It was a thriving town with its castle on top of Lady Hill in the west and the great Cathedral in the east. Originally the Cathedral was built as a simple cruciform but, after being damaged by fire in 1270, was expanded with the choir doubled in length, aisles added on each side and an octagonal Chapter House built opening off the north aisle.

Tomb of “Wolf of Badenoch”

This magnificent Elgin Cathedral was sometimes known as The Lantern of the North” but, 120 years after being built, it came under attack and is now a historic ruin. In 1390 Alexander Stewart (Alasdair Mór mac an Rígh), Earl of Buchan and the third surviving son of King Robert II of Scotand, quarrelled seriously with Bishop Alexander Burr, of Moray, who responded by ex-communicating the Earl. An infuriated Stewart, in May 1390 and accompanied by his brigands, descended from his castle in Lochindorb and burned and ransacked the town of Forres. Not satisfied, the following month he burned much of Elgin, incuding two monasteries, St Giles Church, the Hospital of Maison Dieu and the Cathedral, destroying many of its records – legal and monastic. These were irreplaceable and a terrible loss. Terrifying the people of Elgin, and forcing them to flee into the countryside, Alexander Stewart became known “The Wolf of Badenoch” and is forever remembered for his burning of the Royal Burgh of Elgin and the destruction of its Cathedral.

“His nickname ‘the Wolf of Badenoch’ was earned due to his notorious cruelty and rapacity but there is no proof that it was used during his lifetime.”

Destruction of Elgin Cathedral – 1390

Alexander Stewart lived from 1343 to 20 Jun 1405 and held the positions of Lord Badenoch, Earl of Buchanan and later was his brother’s Royal Deputy in Scotland. Under his father’s watchful eye, nobles and many church dignitaries, Alexander Stewart did penance for his wanton destruction, was pardoned and accepted back into the church.

“Unfortunately his repentance was superficial.”

MacDonald – Lord of the Isles

In 1402 the Cathedral precent again suffered an incendiary attack. This time by the followers of the Lord of the Isles and took over 100 years to rebuild. Not completed until 1538 much of the re-construction has since crumbled away, due to the inferior quality of the stone made available to the 15th and 16th century masons, whilst the 13th century construction remains.

Elgin Cathedral continued in use until the reformation of 1560 then, in 1567 , the lead of the Cathedral roof was stripped, by order of the Privy Council and Regent Moray, and the process of decay began. In 1637 the choir roof collapsed, the rood-screen with its painting of the crucifixion was removed and destroyed in 1640 and on Easter Sunday, 1711, the great central tower fell destroying the north transept and the main arcades of the nave. By the end of the eighteenth century the once magnificent Cathedral was being used as a quarry for building stone, however, in 1824 the Exchequer assumed responsibility for the preservation of the structure. John Shanks was appointed keeper and began clearing the accumulated rubbish. It is said that John cleared;

“…3,000 barrowfuls and laying bare the foundations of the pillars of the nave, the elevations of the altar and the stairs at the western gate.” 

Elgin Cathedral

My Great Great Grandfather, John Ogilvie, was born in Elgin approximately 2 years after John Shanks began his work as a keeper for the Cathedral. At this time, the town had a population of less than 4,000 and was still largely confined to three parallel lines of streets running between the Castle and the precincts of the Cathedral. The 1841 Census shows that, 15 years later, John Ogilvie was living with his parents at “Clarks Close” and his father was working as a Carter whilst the restoration continued. Just 6 years later (1847-8) some of the old houses associated with the cathedral, on it’s west side, were demolished and a series of relative minor changes to the boundary completed. Two years later, on 7 Jun 1850, John Ogilvie married Christina McKenzie at the Elgin Parish Church. John and Christina had four children; Alexander, James (my great grandfather & father of my Marie Ogilvie), and Margaret Ann, followed by Jean.

On 10 Jan 1857 when their youngest child was just 3 months old, the family was living at “Mrs Phillip’s Close” and Christina was forced to apply for, and was granted, “Poor Relief”. John, unable to work for some time, had been admitted to Dr Gray’s Hospital and died 16 months later, at the age of 32, leaving Christina to raise their 4 children alone. My Great Grand-father, James Ogilvie, was just 5 years old with 1 older brother and 2 younger sisters.

Dr Gray’s Hospital

John Ogilvie’s Death Certificate shows he died at home, 49 High Street, Elgin on 8 May 1858, his brother James reported the death and a doctor’s certificate was provided. Although no cause of death is given, it’s clearly written that John was buried in the Cathedral Churchyard. On New Years Day 2012 I excitedly emailed the “Moray Burial Ground Research Group” to order photos of John Ogilvie’s gravestone from their on-line Elgin Cathedral Churchyard Index. With the marvels of technology two beautifully clear photos arrived on my computer the very next day. Unfortunately, although the MBGRG Index indicated a very likely match, it is not the gravestone on my John Ogilvie. Their Webmaster, Lindsay, was most hepful and wrote:

“From the death certificate, one can only assume that he was buried there. All the visible stone in that churchyard have been recorded and published and abstracted data is as on-line. This suggests that,

a)  there was no headstone
b)  a stone may have been placed but damaged, removed, lost over the years (this is not uncommon – some sandstone monuments suffer from frost and often delaminate – the inscribed surface just crumbling away
c)  the stone was a flat one, which has become buried over time

Elgin Cathedral is a very important archaelogical/historic site in Elgin, and is managed by Historic Scotland , who to date have not given us permission to investigate the presence of such buried stones. Also, we have cases where buried stones of this type are in fact blank – perhaps the family unable to afford to inscribe the stone.”

MBGRG logo

As John’s widow had sought “Poor Relief” only 16months earlier, it’s doubtful there was money for a gravestone, let alone an inscription. 

It also needs to be considered though that maybe John Ogilvie was not buried in the Cathedral Churchyard, after all, especially as in it’s Dec 2010 Newsletter the “Moray Burial Ground Research Group” reports that as early as March 1848 overcrowding in the Cathedral Churchyard was causing concern. Over the next 10 years the issue was raised several times and eventually, in the early months of 1857, land was purchased to the east of “New Elgin” for the establishment of a new cemetery.  On 28 Oct 1858, five months after John died,  the “Elgin Courant” reported the first internment.  Maybe John Ogilvie was one of the first to be buried in the new cemetery? … This certainly needs to be checked but, in my view, the most likely scenario is that my Great Great Grandfather is indeed buried in the Churchyard of the very Cathedral that those wyld, wykked Heland-men” tried to destroy. I wonder what John would think about having a whole branch of his ancestories, living here in South Australia, who are delighted to know of their familial link with his birthplace and his final resting place… Elgin, Scotland.

The restoration work continues and the conservation of Elgin Cathedral has been of great concern for successive government departments so that today the ruins remain one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in Scotland. Elgin’s population of less that 4,000, when John Ogilvie was a lad, has grown to 20,000 and much has been done, and continues to be done, to invigorate the centre of the town whilst retaining and restoring the old buildings. A relief road has been built to free the High Street of heavy traffic, and through traffic, and has opened up new vistas toward the Cathedral and Lady Hill.

To view magnificent photos of Elgin, as it is today, just click HERE.

If you have 24.55mins to spare, I recommend you settle down and enjoy the following Video of Elgin, it’s historic sites and talented people.

http://youtu.be/qhh6JmCUHA4

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SOURCES:  Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org
                      National Archives of Scotland:  http://en.wikipedia.org 
                      Elgin Scotland Org:  http://elginscotland.org

Copyright © 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family