My great great grandfather John Brockbank married Margaret Coward in 1855 in Ambleside, which was across the county line in Westmorland, so only the banns are recorded in the Lancashire Parish Registers:
On 22 November 1905, The Lakes Chronicle and Reporter published an article “Golden Wedding at Hawkshead” that gives a great insight into the life of my great-great grandparents. From a second cousin, we are lucky to have a photo of John, who was a joiner. I bet he made that amazing chair!
John Brockbank was involved in a lawsuit in 1875 against Colonel Myles Sandys of Graythwaite Hall, over fishing rights on Esthwaite Water. It was heard at the Liverpool Asizes, and I probably don’t need to tell you that my gg grandfather lost. Details in this post: John Brockbank’s 1875 Lawsuit against Colonel Sandys.
The Lakes Chronicle article states that the couple had 13 children “six sons and seven daughters, of whom four sons and three daughters are still alive”. Before I came across the article, I thought there were only seven children, so immediately rose to the challenge of finding out about the others. Four of the five boys had large families of their own, and have separate posts:
Robert Brockbank (1856–1910) who married Sarah Proctor
Matthew Brockbank (1863–1932) who married Mary Alice Oldcorn
William James Brockbank (1865–1932) who married Ann Clark (our branch)
John Brockbank (1867–1941) who married Sarah Elizabeth Woodburn (no children)
Edward Brockbank (1873–1950) who married Louisa Barnes
Between them, the boys produced 26 grandchildren. This post will concentrate on the descendants of John and Margaret’s daughters, accounting for a further 5 grandchildren … leaving a tantalising 4 grandchildren untraced!
Jane Brockbank 1860–1933
The daughter we know most about is Jane, born in 1860. The Golden Wedding article mentions that John and Margaret spent part of their month-long holiday in Kidderminster, which made me think that one of their daughters must have settled there. Sure enough, here they are the 1911 Census, Jane’s birth place emphasised.
Here is Jane’s marriage record:
Jane and Charles’ son Richard married Mary Johnson in 1912. I was thrilled when one of Richard and Mary’s grandchildren – a younger Richard Peaver – got in touch. Richard shared his tree and photos. I also learnt that Jane Brockbank was actually Jane Catherine Brockbank (the Parish Registers had not listed her middle name). Lovely to see a Catherine in the family tree!
Richard told me that the Johnson family owned Victoria Carpets and moved the firm from Scotland to Kidderminster in the early twentieth century – obviously before 1912 when Richard Peever (senior) married Mary Johnson. He told me he learnt of his Brockbank connection quite recently from the Family Bible belonging to his Aunt Catherine, which he has inherited.
Richard was able to come to the Lakes and meet my Dad, brother and myself in September 2020. There are some photos of our (socially distanced) trip to Hawkshead at the bottom of this post.
Agnes Brockbank 1861–1898
Agnes was baptised on 9 June 1861, and named after a sister who had died in March of that year aged just 3. She married Wilson Rigg of Roger Ground, immediately south-west of Hannakin in 1885:
The couple had one son, William Rigg, born 1890 (he counts as one of the 35 grandchildren of John and Margaret). Agnes died at Hannakin aged just 37 in 1898. Wilson Rigg remarried in 1907 Catherine [surname unknown but born on the Isle of Mann], and William is living with them in Ambleside in 1911, a waller aged 21.
Sarah Ann Brockbank 1870–1937
Sarah Ann was baptised 11 December 1870. She had an illegitimate son in 1892:
Sarah Ann married George Rigg around 1902 (although no record appears in the Parish Registers). In 1911 they are recorded as living it High Arnside, Coniston, with their son John Rigg.
I wondered if two Brockbank sisters married two Rigg brothers, but this was not the case. Wilson Rigg was baptised at St Mary Magdalene Broughton in Furness, while the right hand column of the census above tells us that George was born in Westmorland.
Returning to Sarah Ann’s son Ernest Brockbank, he was brought up by his grandparents in Hannakin. The 1901 Census below shows how the Brockbank extended family had almost taken over the hamlet.
I couldn’t find Ernest in the 1911 Census, even outside Lancashire. With men of his age, I always check Forces War Records, and found that an Ernest Brockbank from the Ulverston district was killed in World War I. Looking up the service number in Commonwealth War Graves shows he is commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.
Meet-up with Richard Peaver, September 2020
Richard brought the Bible he inherited in 2006 to show us. It was purchased by his great-grandfather in 1912, but looked very similar to our Bible from 1886.
After lunch kindly bought by Richard, we went up to St Michael’s and All Angels via Hawkshead Grammar School. I’m not sure if our Brockbank ancestors would have attended that school, but then again, was Hawkshead large enough to have two schools?
I was thrilled to be able to go inside the church, as I’d never been before. In the right hand corner was the chest that was used to keep the Parish Registers safe “to comply with an eclesiastical mandate of 1603” made from a single oak log.
Outside, we found the red sandstone World War One Memorial where Ernest Brockbank and Mervyn Keats Sandys are commemorated.
In addition to the Brockbank and Sandys on the memorial, there is Robert Campbell, who was the first grandson of John and Margaret Brockbank. Many of the other names are familiar, too.