My maternal third great grandparents
Gold is for the mistress silver for the maid
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade
“Good” said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
But Iron, cold iron is master of them all”
So wrote Rudyard Kipling some 80 years after the birth of my third great grandfather and Blacksmith William Newell.
The village of Binsted in Hampshire was in 1830 the birthplace of William who was also husband to Eliza and parents of both Frances and James the latter of who would follow his father into the same trade. Located four miles east of Alton and two miles south of Bentley the probable birthplace of Eliza his wife, the churchyard of the parish church of the Holy Cross in Binsted, was to contain many years later the grave of Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein who spent his retirement in Alton.
We have no record as yet of his birth or that of his wife and for the moment can only use the census for 1851 as a guide which brings William into the world in the year 1830 and his wife in the year of 1825. As for the date of any marriage this also has to be guided and by the age of their eldest child James who at five years may have taken place in 1845 when William would have not have been of age so on this further research is needed in order to qualify.
As for the census itself for 1851 this clearly shows William along with his wife and two small children lodged along with a 15 year old house servant Martha Holloway at the home of his father and mother in-law James and Judith Simpson my maternal fourth great grandparents both of whom are shown as grocers. This was more than probably the family home for Eliza as we have her recorded with her parents and without siblings in 1841 at the age of 15 years where James is listed as a labourer and just Judith as a grocer.
For the moment and in the absence of one for 1861 we have to skip forward 20 years to the census for 1871 which shows the family still in Shaldon but without Eliza. Recorded are William, his son James now 25 and also a blacksmith, his daughter Eliza Francis, another son George aged 19 and another blacksmith but with the surname of Simpson for some reason, a daughter who seems to be named Clemensia aged five and a granddaughter by the name of Mary Ann Newell the illegitimate child of Eliza Frances and my future maternal great grandmother. Given the times and dangers of giving birth we may easily assume for the moment and given the age of William’s youngest daughter, that his wife Elizabeth may well have passed away in childbirth at the age of around 42 in 1867. Whatever the circumstances it must have been some household and some business with three blacksmiths and two small children.
With Shaldon on the edge and the railways on the rise, just how long William survived his wife, his trade as a blacksmith or even where he is laid to rest we have yet to discover along with just who his parents were. We already have noted the futures of his daughter Eliza and his granddaughter Mary Ann so perhaps our next view through the thinning of history should be of the parents of his late wife, James and Judith Simpson.