Thursday 28 February 2013

Those Places Thursday - a Walk in Durham 2003 pt2

Yesterday I started a new ramble through my family tree with a re-creation of a walk the OH and I did in 2003.  We were on holiday and usual rules, I can look for ancestors, if he can visit real ales pubs and breweries.  I like the beer too, don't get me wrong, but it's not an end in itself for me.

The route of our walk in 2003 - red stars from Helmington Row to Witton le Wear
green stars back to Crook (map from Bing Maps)
So to continue - we had reached Howden le Wear and passed the 1891 home of my great grandmother, Sarah Ellen Nutley and her family on Railway Street.  Sarah Ellen married my grandfather Joseph Bormond Hutton in 1900 and they lived in Crook after that.  Meanwhile James Nutley, her father had moved to Hargill Road leading to Hargill Hill, the red star on the walk.  I have no information for James Nutley prior to his marriage to Eleanor Joll(e)y in 1872 - the family story is that he was born in Ireland and came over here escaping from the potato famine and married a publican's daughter in Liverpool.  Hmm, he wasn't born until 1852 (too late for the famine), he gives his place of birth consistently as Whitehaven, Cumberland and he married Eleanor (admittedly a publican's daughter) in the Register Office in Auckland.

Sarah Ellen Nutley was born at Salmon Hall, North Bedburn in 1878 and this appears to be  a small cluster of houses on the road between Howden le Wear and Fir Tree.  In the 1861 census returns Salmon Hall appears after Howden and before Hargill Hill, but that might not signify anything - the settlements on the maps look so far apart the order of listing by the enumerator may not reflect the way he walked to collect the schedules.  The Green Tree pub that I mentioned yesterday as a Good Beer Guide entry was listed in Howden in that year though!

I'm currently being a little bemused by the location of the church where the Nutley's held their vital events (baptisms, marriages, burials).  I have notes of the baptisms of twelve of James' thirteen children at St Mary the Virgin, Fir Tree - but last year on our way to another short break in Durham I got the OH to detour through Fir Tree, which is just to the north west of Howden le Wear, and I couldn't see a church.  The Durham County Record Office site lists the church as being in 'business' from 1862 to 2008 which is a clue ... another hit, on the website for the Howden le Wear Local History Society tells me that the church there closed in 2008.  I think the church in Howden le Wear is the only one, so the Fir Tree in the title is a misnomer, boundary oddities again, however it would have been very handy for the Nutley's as they practically lived next door.  It also means that  in 2003 we probably walked right past it and didn't go in.  Note to self: look around churchyards in the vicinity of ancestors, they didn't always stay in the same place and boundaries are weird.

The west of Howden the Wear in the 1890s (from Digimaps)
The map snip above shows the church on Railway Street, it has a sizeable graveyard, but the Howden le Wear Local History Group website says the church is now in private hands, can you still get into see the gravestones? James Nutley died at 35 Hargill Road in 1927, he is buried at St Mary the Virgin, I wonder if I'll ever find out if he or any of his family have a gravestone there?

Hargill Road runs off south west, as I recall it was a steady upward climb, not as steep as the drop we had come down on the other side of the beck though.  I remember we stopped halfway up, on a handy bench, for our sandwiches. 

We know that James' wife Eleanor Joll(e)y was born at Hargill Hill in 1854, I have her birth certificate.  Her place of birth varies on the census returns, sometimes Hargill Hill, sometimes North Bedburn.  In the 1861 census Thomas Joll(e)y her father was a Publican and Coal Miner at the Board Inn on Hargill Hill.  I can only see one pub on the old maps, called the Bay Horse in the 1890s, but that's not listed in the earlier census returns.  Thomas is still a Licensed Victualler on Hargill Hill in 1871, but the pub is not named this time.  In 1881 the only pub on Hargill Hill is the Black Horse and there's a Grey Horse at Low Beechburn.  I think it must be the same pub, maybe when it changes hands it changes names.  There are a couple of cottages on the site today, called the Bay Horse Cottages.  No pub!

Thomas Joll(e)y goes off to another pub though  - this time in Witton le Wear, the next stop on the walk.  I even have a photo of this one, thanks to a kind correspondent in 1997.
The Grey Mare in Witton le Wear from around the 1890s (thanks to Tom Manners)
Unfortunately the Grey Mare (horsey pub names seem popular!) was a victim of road widening in the 1960s (ish) and can only be commemorated on a grass verge at the side of the A68 - where my last red star is on the far left.  You can see Thomas' name on the board above the door.  It would be nice to think that this is a picture of the Jolly family, certainly my correspondent had been told that it is a picture of Thomas Jolly as an old man, possibly on the occasion of a daughter's wedding.

Ah, I missed out a star - we stopped at the cemetery on the edge of Witton le Wear after we'd topped Hargill Hill and were walking down towards the village. 

Thomas and Sarah Jolly's Gravestone in Witton le Wear Cemetery
This is the photo that started me off yesterday - I found it on an old back up disk of the OH's pictures, along with a very few snaps of Beamish museum.  Thomas Jolly (that stray e seems to have vanished for good) died in 1912 in Crook, where he had been living with a widowed daughter in 1911, occupation, retired publican.  He had the Grey Mare through the 1891 and 1901 census returns, so that will be where Sarah, his wife and my 3x great grandmother died in 1900.  In 1901 he was 76 years old, and was running the pub with the help of a son, a daughter and a grandaughter.  He had nine children and 38 grandchildren, that I know of, though the family doesn't seem to run to sons, so not many of his grandchildren are Jollys.  The son that was helping in the pub, his youngest, another Thomas Jolly (there's an earlier Thomas in the family but he dies about four years before this one was born), is still in Witton le Wear in 1911, now married with two children. He doesn't hang around though, there's a couple of public trees on Ancestry which have him going to Canada in 1924.

As the Grey Mare wasn't around any more the OH and I had a beer in the Dun Cow, a Good Beer Guide listed pub in the middle of the village.  It is still in the Guide now, selling Black Sheep Best Bitter, Jennings Cumberland (one of my favourites) and Wells Bombardier.  The maps show yet another, the Victoria, but I can't say I noticed it on our visit although a Google search suggests it might have real ales these days having been "saved from closure by the locals" in 2011.  Hooray!

Tomorrow (or the next day) we'll start walking back to Crook and see what we can find.

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