Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Riding the Bounds in 1947

Adam Storey, my 2x great-grandfather, had once been secretary to the Newbiggin freeholders. He resigned at an advanced age, and in 1947 was a bailiff to the organisation.

Adam Storey

He was a keen historian in his own right, and could hark back to his early years with apparent ease. Adam was 93 at that particular riding.

Below are a few extracts from the Morpeth Herald, who reported on the riding of the bounds in May 1947 - 70 years ago this month.

It is rather humbling to read what Adam had to say on the tradition and custom. He speaks with such pride.
Newbiggin Ceremony
The ancient custom of "dunting" new Freeholders was performed on Wednesday when, at the annual riding of the boundaries by Newbiggin's Lords of the Manor, two lady members were initiated in accordance with the age-old ritual of three bumps on the "Dunting Stone."

This initiation service was not carried out during the war years. The boundaries, however, were still ridden, although perhaps not in the old style of each freeholder being mounted on his horse.

At Wednesday's ceremony, the boundaries were ridden in a modern car and a horse and trap.


Veteran Makes Proclamation

Wednesday's ceremony at the stone saw the initiations of Miss Anne Mann, of 88, Front Street, and Mrs. Arthur Brown, of Hesleyside, Newbiggin. The proclamation was made by the Freeholders' old stalwart, 93-year-old Adam Storey, who has traversed the Freeholders' estates both as a youngster and since he was 23 as a Freeholder.

Mr. Storey, Newbiggin's grand old man, has only missed attending the ceremony when, during the 80's he was away with the fishing fleet. He recalls that his relatives performed the ancient ceremony in the 17th Century.

"I remember when we used to do this bare-footed and all the Freeholders were mounted on their own horses. We used to have a great big dinner which cost £5, with beer, which was cheap in those days. We used to have the dinner in different public houses," declared Mr. Storey. 

Another interesting feature he recalled was a horse race by all Freeholders on the sands and extending up the Fair Banks.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Natural Daughter of Mary Rutter

In his will, William Watson, Esquire, of North Seaton, Northumberland, made certain provisions for a woman named Mary Rutter. He also gave money to Mary's natural daughter, also named Mary Rutter. 

Although he doesn't name her as such, it is obvious that the younger Mary Rutter was William's illegitimate daughter.

I decided to research the Watson family a little after discovering that William's grandson, William John Pearson Watson, was a close friend of my 3x great-grandfather, Adam Storey. 
"I give and bequeath to Mary Rutter the daughter of Mary Rutter of Longhirst an annuity of twenty pounds and to Mary Rutter the natural daughter of the said Mary Rutter an annuity of twenty pounds for the terms of their natural lives..."
Both the original will and the copy share the above mistake. There are too many Mary Rutters mentioned!

William Watson's original will was dated the 24 November 1818, although two codicils were later added following the births of his legitimate children. None of these concerned Mary Rutter.

Mary Rutter gave birth on 28 November 1808, but her baby girl wasn't baptised until 13 October 1809 at Morpeth. Mary was described as a single woman on the baptism, and no father is listed. The baptism does mention that Mary was a native of Cramlington, and her daughter was illegitimate.

Mary was obviously a clever woman. The baby's father was a wealthy and landed man, and it would have been so easy for him to shirk responsibility completely. It was impossible for Mary to name William Watson as the father of her baby as they weren't married, and it can be assumed that he was not present on the day. However Mary had other options and other ways to force William into taking responsibility. Mary gave her daughter the name Mary Watson Rutter.

Mary Watson Rutter's baptism at Morpeth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.

I can only assume that William Watson and Mary Rutter had a dalliance in early 1808, resulting in Mary's pregnancy and the birth of their daughter in November. 

William Watson married Elizabeth Reed on 24 July 1809 at Warkworth. Naturally, Elizabeth's family were also incredibly wealthy.

William Watson and Elizabeth Reed's marriage at Warkworth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
The transcript says June.

Now, Mary Watson Rutter was baptised three months later. Could it be that Mary had her christened with that particular name in the hope that William wouldn't forget about his illegitimate first child? If that were the case, it worked, and Mary Watson Rutter and her mother were both given allowances when William Watson died on 23 March 1830.

Mary Rutter married John Davison on 19 May 1821 at Bothal. She had more children, and eventually died in 1868.

Mary Watson Rutter married Robert Hindhaugh, a carpenter and later inn-keeper, on 16 February 1832 at Bothal. Mary Watson Hindhaugh (née Rutter) died at Bothal on 6 November 1882, and was buried in the little churchyard there four days later.

Robert and Mary Hindhaugh's marriage license.