Putting a Cat on the Fire

Last week after Christmas I was walking around the graveyard in Haworth with my daughter. We stopped by the gravestone of Tabitha Ackroyd, housekeeper to the Bronte children for 30 years. She was apparently much loved by the family, a great storyteller and was the source for the narrating character of Nellie Dean in WutheringContinue reading “Putting a Cat on the Fire”

It started with an ‘X’: How my family came to read and write.

My grandmother’s great grandmother, Mary Treeby, signed her name with an ‘x’ on her wedding certificate in 1794. Her name is from Old English meaning a curve in the river, dating from a time when people had toponymic names. She was marrying Joseph Daw a shipwright working in Devonport dockyard. I see from the records theyContinue reading “It started with an ‘X’: How my family came to read and write.”

‘Here was I living in Paradise and I didn’t know it’.

An American couple having enjoyed a Kit Hill moorland walk one sunny morning in the 1960s came down the footpath and into our farmyard where Dad was carrying on the business of the day and said, ‘You might want to know there’s a fawn in the gorse bushes over there?’ Dad realising they had mistakenContinue reading “‘Here was I living in Paradise and I didn’t know it’.”

Hiding in Plain Sight

From personal experience and my interviews with grandmothers, some things in families can be hiding in plain sight. Here is the familiar visage of the Sutton Hoo helmet. It has recently been in the news because of the film ‘The Dig’.  It was only pieced together after the war and the reconstructed regal anglo-saxon helmetContinue reading “Hiding in Plain Sight”