Friday 5 April 2013

Daniel Harle is from Kirkwhelpington - what a great place name!

Working in our office today - that sounds posh, but it's actually the front bedroom which has a big bay window onto the main road that the sun is currently pouring into.  It may be cold outside but in here it's quite warm.  My cat likes it too - we often find her up here sunning herself and tormenting (unwittingly) the little dog across the road.  When we moved into this house eighteen months ago we decided the front room was far too big for a bedroom so the OH put in a custom made 'two person' computer desk (we can see each other as we work) and I filled the rest with bookshelves!

Kirkwhelpington - I'd never heard of it before I found it mentioned on one of the Harle baptisms last week. 
From the baptism of Sarah Harle in Gosforth 1805 (from Family Search)
The wonderfully detailed baptism record for my 3x great grandfather's sister Sarah in 1805 reads "Daniel Harle Brakesman N [native] of Kirkwhelpington by his wife Isabella Dr [daughter] of William Penman N [native] of Whickham". 

On the baptism of John Harle in 1809 Daniel's origin is fine tuned a little more - this time he is noted as a native of "Great Bavington".
Snip from Kirkwhelpington Parish Register showing Daniel Harle's baptism in 1781 (from Family Search)
Daniel Harle was born around 1781 to John and Sarah Harle, of Great Bavington, and baptised in the church at Kirkwhelpington.  These registers don't give as much information - the local clergy were not required to follow any particular format at that time, although from 1798 the new Bishop of Durham encouraged an eponymous system with the extra detail we have seen in the later Gosforth registers. Note that the entries on either side of Daniel mention Whelpington, without the prefix 'Kirk'.  My Oxford Names Companion says the place name is Old English meaning "the estate associated with a man named Hwelp" and that the Kirk will have been added later from Old Scandinavian.  It all sounds very Anglo-Saxon and Viking.  St Bartholomew's church is 13th century (or earlier) and appears to have been larger in the past.
St Bartholomew's, Kirkwhelpington (from Google Maps)
Kirkwhelpington is 21 miles north west of Newcastle upon Tyne which is too big a distance to even think about fitting them on the same map snip for the purposes of illustration. 
Map of Kirkwhelpington and Great Bavington (from Bing maps)

Great Bavington is about four miles south of Kirkwhelpington; the map snip above shows a bridle path that seems to follow a shorter route than either of the roads - though when I Google map'd the roads they were pretty narrow. 

Interestingly the Genuki listing for Kirkwhelpington quotes from an 1855 Topography of Northumberland that "instances of longevity are not at all uncommon" - well that sounds good.  Unfortunately the same source notes that the population was in decline from as early as 1821, "in 1811, 814; in 1821, 793; in 1831, 789; in 1841, 705; and in 1851, 679 souls" and a Bartholomew's Gazetter I have notes that in 1963 the population was 230.  Wikipedia says that the village had a school between 1858 and 1972, but it is now a private house.  A memorial hall was built in 1924 to the men from the village who died in the First World War.  I can see four men from WW1 and one from WW2 on the Commonwealth War Graves site - there may be others whose inscription doesn't mention the village by name or who came from the surrounding hamlets.
Great Bavington from the north east, on the road from Kirkwhelpington (from Google maps)
Great Bavington looks lovely and peaceful from the images online, but I don't think I'd like to be there in a bad winter.
Newcastle Courant 13th January 1781 (from Find My Past)
I found this newspaper cutting from 1781, the year of Daniel's birth, which mentions a Mr John Harle of Great Bavington, this is probably his father.  Their comment "conveniently situate for Morpeth, Hexham and Newcastle markets" suggests the distances between these places were not a problem. 
1919-24 Bartholomew's map of Kirkwhelpington (from National Library of Scotland)
Of course there were trains to more places in times gone by - compare this snip from a 1919-24 map to the modern one above - that black line wandering across the top is a train line - on the modern map you can just see the red dotted footpath that presumably follows the old track now.  The railway from Morpeth reached Knowesgate station, at the top centre of the map in 1864 and it was open for passengers between 1865 and 1959.  For short distances our ancestors would have used their own horse and conveyance (cart, carriage) or used a paid service, a carrier's cart or mail coach. 
Morpeth Herald Saturday 10 September 1881 (from Find My Past)
We can see from this newspaper cutting that in 1881 it took about three and a half hours to travel the 21 miles to Newcastle by coach.  The overcrowding accident reported (it sounds like the pushy passengers might have been overindulging in the local pub!) resulted in some broken limbs but no fatalities fortunately.

A "Mr John Harle of Great Bavington" is buried at Kirkwhelpington in 1788, when Daniel would only have been seven years old.  He was John Harle's eldest son to Sarah, however there are some baptisms where the father is a John Harle, without a mother's name mentioned, recorded between ten and twenty years before Daniel's birth, so he may have been a younger son to a second wife and not entitled to any inheritance from his father.  He could have left Great Bavington and Kirkwhelpington as quite a young man to find work in the collieries around Newcastle.  Daniel marries Isabella Penman in Gosforth in 1804 and his first child Sarah is born in 1805.

More about Daniel sometime soon.


Tracy said...

Hello! I'm a descendant of Thomas Harle born in Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1782. I've just stubble upon your blog while doing yet another search for any and all information on my family. This is the farthest back I've found for my Harle family ancestors. I thought you might be interested!
Chicago, Illinois

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Your Thomas and my Daniel (b.1781 in Great Bavington) are the same age but born a fair way apart - in England 25 miles is a long way! Harle and Hall are quite common names in the North East of England - but there might be a connection a lot further back! Good luck with your research. Linda.