Thursday, 24 June 2010


The Washerwoman of Barrington

When my late cousin David Chant and I were discussing a particular William Chant from Stoke-sub-Hamdon we always knew which of the many we meant by differentiating the family using his wife's census description. William does not appear with Elizabeth (Male) in any of the censuses and the only references we have to them are the marriage at St Mary's in Stoke and his name on the children's birth certificates.
They had six children and after William's death the family moved to Australia. There is a large tree coming from the children, particularly Alexander, who fathered thirteen. Trouble is that we do not know which William he might be, so cannot take the line back further or say if that family is related to mine or any other known one.
On Monday one of Alexander's great grandchildren came to see me and I took him, a namesake, and his wife to those local places we thought would be of interest. We stopped at St Mary's but also went to look at the church and graveyard at Barrington, and then went on to look at the estate where a great many of the Barrington labourers must have worked, including members of John's family. Barrington Court is now owned by the National Trust.
Here is John with the house in the background.

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Monday, 21 June 2010


Women who made a difference

Last weekend saw the annual flower festival in the church at Chiselborough. It is always interesting to see a theme in place and how the arrangers have interpreted it. Women who have made a difference was this year and I can think of several others I should like to have seen on display.

To be fair there was a suffragette, but instead of Emmeline Pankhurst, how about Laura Ormiston Chant? She earned the enmity of Winston Churchill and the censure of George Bernard Shaw, among others.

Then there is my third cousin Sylvia, a professor at the London School of Economics. Sylvia is quite a prolific author (with others) in the field of improving the lot of women in the third world and is a not infrequent visitor to conferences on the subject.

A third example of a Chant with a mission is Margaret. Her family line is from Odcombe, although she is American. Her father-in-law was Greek Prime Minister, her husband was Greek Prime Minister and her son is the current Greek Prime Minister.

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