The Boy With The Gun

Boy With Gun Cropped

My final post relating to the Barnstaple Album… for a while, at least. I still have some interesting photographs to go through but none that can be easily identified. Take this one for example; a serious looking boy wearing a bowler hat with a gun slung over his shoulder. Norfolk, where the photograph was taken, is a rural area and (rightly or wrongly) hunting was a popular activity.

Two additional cartes-de-visite show a group of boys, presumably brothers. The boy in the centre of the second one appears to be the boy with the gun. Note that his jacket is the same in both images:

Brothers 1   Brothers 2

I am going to move on to a new album in my next post, one that originates in Wales. Watch this space!

Boy With Gun Brothers1 Brothers2

Is This You, Agnes Phillips?

I am now delving into the not-so-easily identified selection of images from the Barnstaple Album in the hope they might provide clues and maybe, just maybe, someone will recognise them as they browse the internet.


Above is a carte-de-visite of a Victorian lady in her finery, with the following inscription on the reverse: For Agnes Phillips with K.F.P’s love. Or perhaps V.F.P.? Either way, I originally assumed the initials belonged to the sender, the image being the sender’s image.

But could it be the reverse? Perhaps the image is that of Agnes Phillips herself, the photograph being a present from K.F.P.?

A little research shows that Agnes Phillips was the daughter of John South Phillips and niece of Fanny Heigham. Her full name was Agnes Maria Desborough Phillips, and she married Rev. Alfred Edward Gover in 1887 when she was about 37 years old:

Bury and Norwich Post - 4 Oct 1887
Bury and Norwich Post – 4th October 1887

According to the newspaper article, the guests included various members of the Heigham family and Mr and Mrs W. N. King, whose wedding gift was a photograph book. Mr and Mrs Raymond Smythies gifted a brass inkstand, candlestick and paper knife, and Colonel Alderson a china basket.

Cousin Jane

A second Carte-de-Visite (above) shows the portrait of a woman who is labelled Cousin Jane. I have yet to find a Jane. I am struck by her resemblance to Agnes Phillips / K.F.P., though, so I am sure she cannot hide for too long!

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Another Haggard?

Unknown Haggard

To my eyes, this man bears a resemblance to the author H Rider Haggard, whose family I’ve already referred to in my previous posts (see here and here). The National Portrait Gallery website has some great images of the author, though he is older in most of them. This one, for instance:

NPG x6513; Sir (Henry) Rider Haggard by George Charles Beresford
by George Charles Beresford, half-plate glass negative, 1902

On close inspection, the noses are different. And I’ve yet to come across a photograph of Henry Rider Haggard sporting such a large beard. So I’m inclined towards the theory that the man on the carte-de-visite was an older brother, either Alfred Hinuber Haggard, Bazett Michael Haggard or William Henry Doveton Haggard, who would all have been in their twenties when the photograph was taken.

In The Dog-Cart!


When my grandmother was annoyed with my grandfather she would refer to him as ‘being in the dog-house’; in other words, he had acted stupidly (in her eyes) and she wasn’t going to bother with him for a while. Of course, her mood never lasted long, but the phrase has stuck with me. So when I saw ‘in the dog-cart’ written on the back of this carte-de-visite from the Barnstaple Album, I immediately thought back to my grandmother. And although I can find no specific reference to the dog-cart variation, I assume it had a similar meaning, and that someone was annoyed with this gentleman.

Quite what he had done to deserve this, if it is directed at him, is a mystery!

Another mystery is his identity. I can connect him to the Haggard Family, since both this and a CDV from my previous post are labelled Barton (Lodge). Perhaps C.E.H. are his initials, which would be consistent with Haggard.

I think, though, that the surname is more likely to be ‘Heigham’ since, in 1861, Fanny Heigham can be found at the home of her brother-in-law John South Phillips in Great Barton, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. But I could be wrong.

The Sportsman - 3 Apr 1869
The Sportsman – 3rd April 1869

As for the dog-cart, I may be wrong about that too. Wikipedia describes it as a ‘light horse-drawn vehicle’, much like the one above from an 1869 newspaper. Whereas, I’m thinking of a cart pulled by a dog (see here).

If anyone can enlighten me with anything regarding this photograph, please do!

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Haggard Family – Part II

Among the photographs from the Barnstaple Album are others relating to the Haggards of Bradenham Hall, Norfolk. Two are sons of William Meybohm Rider Haggard (see previous post), and two have a connection but it’s unclear exactly who they are… yet!

Andrew Charles Parker Haggard

Andrew C P Haggard

Born 1854, Andrew C P Haggard was the sixth child of William Haggard and his wife Ella Doveton. He appears to have been close to his next youngest sibling, judging by the various references made in Henry Rider Haggard’s autobiography “The Days of My Life“. One story in particular stands out, when Rider Haggard confesses that he almost shot {his} brother Andrew through a fence. Perhaps they weren’t so close after all!

Andrew spent the early part of his adulthood in the British Army, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and the latter part of his life writing books and living / travelling in Canada and North America. He died in 1923, age 69, at St Leonard’s-On-Sea, Sussex. According to the probate record he left more than £1500 to his widow Jennie Ethel Haggard.

John George Haggard

John George Haggard

Four years older than his brother Andrew, above, John George Haggard was often referred to as Jack. In his autobiography, Henry Rider Haggard tells us that Jack the sailor {sic} did not have the advantage of a public school education. This does not seem to have held him back, however, serving initially in the Royal Navy and later in the Consular Service, stationed in various parts of the world including Madagascar, France, and Malaga (Spain) where he died in 1908 at the age of 58.

Interestingly, Jack appears to have been something of an inventor, being given credit for improving a whistle used in the Royal Navy, formerly known as the ‘Boatswain’s call’ and later as the ‘Haggard call’ after John George Haggard:

Portsmouth Evening News - 15 Sep 1897
Portsmouth Evening News – 15th September 1897

I’ll leave the ‘unknown Haggards’ for my next post. I need more time to look for clues as to their identities!

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Haggard Family – Part I

William Meybohm Rider Haggard

Well, I wasn’t expecting to find tales about ‘gibbet irons’ when I started researching my latest photograph from the Barnstaple Album. This gentleman has the impressive name of William Meybohm Rider Haggard, and he was easily traced from the inscription on the back of the carte-de-visite which says ‘The Old Squire / W. Bradenham / for my friend A.D.P. Oct 20 – 1880 / Wm Haggard’. It turns out there is plenty of information on the web about William M R Haggard (see here for instance) so I’ll keep his biography brief and thereby move more quickly to the ‘gibbet irons’.

William Meybohm Rider Haggard

William was born 19th April 1817 in St Petersburg, Russia, to parents William Haggard and Elizabeth Meybohm, and he inherited Bradenham Hall which is situated between Dereham and Swaffham in Norfolk. As his image suggests he appears to have been an imposing man of not only considerable wealth, but also considerable qualifications and titles, being described in various censuses as ‘Barrister’, ‘Justice of the Peace’, ‘Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk’, ‘Captain of the East Norfolk Militia’, ‘Chairman of the Quarter Sessions’ and (not forgetting) ‘Landowner’.

In 1844, he married Ella Doveton and together they had ten children, one of whom became the author H Rider Haggard, best known for his book ‘King Solomon’s Mines’.

Banging of Doors

H Rider Haggard’s account of his father in his autobiography ‘Days of my Life’ gives the impression of a loud man, one who made his presence felt whatever the occasion. For instance, during arguments that sprang up at the table… he {father} would rise majestically, announce in solemn tones that he refused to be insulted in his own house, and departed, banging the door loudly behind him. Across the hall he went and banged that door, out of the drawing room into the vestibule (here there are two doors, so the bang was double-barrelled), through the vestibule into the garden, if the row was of the first magnitude. If not, he banged his way back into the dining room by the serving-entrance…

The author goes on to remark: Only the other day I examined those Bradenham doors and their hinges. The workmanship of them is really wonderful.

A Benevolent Side

Despite his moody temperament, William Haggard also displayed a more compassionate nature as demonstrated at the wedding of his eldest daughter, Ella Doveton Haggard. The ‘poor of the parish’ were brought in, although separately, to join the marriage celebrations:

Norfolk Chronicle - 24 Jul 1869
Norfolk Chronicle – 24th July 1869

There are other examples of his benevolence, a trait he seems to have inherited from his father who once supplied the ‘poor of the parish’ with blankets:

Bury and Norwich Post - 11 Nov 1829
Bury and Norwich Post – 11th November 1829

It would be nice to think these acts of kindness were carried out with sincerity.

An Interesting Will

William M R Haggard died at Bradenham Hall on 21st April 1893 at the age of 76. His Will, written in his own handwriting on 10th April 1893, was deemed interesting enough to be summarised in several newspapers.

Elizabeth Hocking:

He left his cottages at Half-mile Drift to Elizabeth Hocking who was maid to his wife Ella, who pre-deceased him. The Will states this is in order that she {Hocking} may take care of her late mistress’s grave. Hocking is described in H Rider Haggard’s autobiography as a handsome, vigorous, black-eyed, raw-boned Cornishwoman, and it was back to Cornwall she went, and can be found in her birthplace of Helston on the 1901 census. Perhaps Elizabeth didn’t like taking orders from beyond the grave!

A Gruesome Relic:

And so we reach the tale of the ‘gibbet irons’. A second request by William Haggard was that his collection of armour may be preserved. I can find no further reference to the armour, but a report in the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser dated 30th September 1898 describes a gibbet discovered by William Haggard at the corner of East Bradenham Common in 1882. The gruesome part being that a portion of the skull was still visible in the upper part of the gibbet!

Cheltenham Chronicle - 24 Feb 1906
Cheltenham Chronicle – 24th February 1906

The contraption was donated to Norwich Castle Museum. According to the Norfolk Heritage Explorer website the owner of the skull fragment was called Watson, and hence the gruesomeness continues. A newspaper report from 1801 describes how a starling’s nest… was taken from out the breast of Watson, who hangs on the gibbet on Bradenham Common…

The Ipswich Journal - 27 Jun 1801
Ipswich Journal – 27th June 1801

I wonder what William M R Haggard would have made of this snippet of information?

William Meybohm Rider Haggard CDV

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Edward Mott Alderson

The following carte-de-visites were included in a collection of photographs that originated from a family album purchased in Barnstaple, Devon. By sharing them, I hope to form links between the various (identified) people and perhaps even reunite them with descendants who might come across this blog. If all else fails, the stories are often interesting and will hopefully provide some entertainment!

Edward Mott Alderson

Although the CDV of this gentleman isn’t named, I have identified him as Colonel Alderson, the name written on the back of a similar image that was sold separately but I wasn’t quick enough to purchase! On that CDV he was in full army uniform. Here he is in a more relaxed pose, through he still strikes me as a military man.

The back of the CDV is inscribed ‘Ipswich – July 1877’ and ‘Norwich Road’. The 1911 census has Edward Mott Alderson, age 75, living at Poyle House, 171 Norwich Road, Ipswich (Suffolk). His occupation is given as ‘Lt Colonel Retired’  and his birthplace as Baconsthorpe, Norfolk. In 1881 (closer to the date of the CDV) he is living in ‘Buttermarket’, a street further into the centre of Ipswich. However, I think he moved around over the years, and he certainly had a connection to Norwich Road in the mid 1870s (see below).

Family Life

Edward Mott Alderson was born 24th March 1836 in Baconsthorpe, Norfolk to parents Rev. Robert Davis Cole Alderson and Sophia Sarah. In 1858, age 22, he married Catherine Harriet Swainson:

Bury and Norwich Post - 27 Jul 1858
Bury and Norwich Post – 27 July 1858

They went on to have two children, Edwin A H Alderson b.1859 and Kathleen E Alderson b.1860. Sadly, at the beginning of 1876, Edward’s wife Catherine passed away at Norwich Road, Ipswich:

Essex Standard - 7 Jan 1876
Essex Standard – 7 January 1876

And tragedy struck again, with the death of daughter Kathleen in early 1897:

London Evening Standard - 11 Feb 1897
London Evening Standard – 11 February 1897

I can only imagine how this event affected the mood of the wedding celebration that followed just a short time afterwards, when Colonel Alderson married for the second time, to Augusta Mary Rogers. Or perhaps his daughter’s death precipitated his decision to marry again. Either way, the wedding did take place at Chesterton, Cambridgeshire in the second quarter of the same year.

By this stage, Edward Alderson had retired from the Army and moved with his wife to Poyle House, Ipswich, where he ended his days. On 30 Sep 1912, Edward Mott Alderson died age 76, leaving an estate worth £11,441 3s, and probate to his only son, Edwin.


During his teenage years, Colonel Alderson attended the King Edward 6th Free Grammar School in Ipswich, where he can be found on the 1851 census. Four years later, at age 19, he joined the 97th Foot Regiment of the British Army:

Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service
Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service (image source:

He was promoted quickly from Ensign to Lieutenant and served at the siege of Sebastopol in 1855, for which he was awarded a Crimean Medal plus clasp for Sebastopol.

Note: it is here that we find a link to Fanny Heigham from my previous post, since her eldest brother Clement Henry John Heigham was a Major in the 17th Regiment and also served in the Crimea around the same time.

In 1860 Edward Alderson joined the Essex Rifle Volunteers, and in 1862 the Morning Post reported that he was promoted to First Lieutenant of the Norfolk Artillary Regiment of Militia. Furthermore, an entry in The Ipswich Journal on 23rd September 1879 reports that Captain Edward Mott Alderson was promoted to Major, and in 1884 he was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenent-Colonel.

The career of Colonel Alderson, however, was somewhat eclipsed by his son Edwin Alderson, who followed his father’s footsteps into the British Army. Edwin was knighted in 1916 to become Lieutenant General Sir Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson KCB. His father would no doubt have been proud, and the likeness of son to father is uncanny! Taken from the Dundee Evening Telegraph, 14th December 1927, Edwin remembers his father: ...Mr Edward Mott Alderson, of Poyle House, Ipswich, was a famous master of Foxhounds. “He taught me,” writes the general {Edwin} in the preface to one of his books, “that which I have found of more value than anything I ever learnt—namely, to ride.”

Mystery Woman!


This carte-de-visite was taken by the same photographer and bears the same inscription as that of Edward Mott Alderson, and I initially assumed it was an image of his wife and placed them side-by-side in my album. However, if this photograph was truly taken in 1877, then Catherine Harriet (Colonel Alderson’s first wife) would have been dead a year, and he didn’t remarry until 1897. Perhaps this is his daughter, born 1860? Yet she looks older than seventeen years to my eyes. There is definitely a connection, probably a family one, but this lady may just have to remain a mystery!

Col Alderson CDV   Unknown CDV

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Fanny Heigham and Hunston Hall

Fanny Heigham

Fanny Heigham was a twin. Her sister, Henrietta, and herself were baptised on 7th September 1834 or 1835 (depending on the source). The baptism took place at the family home of Hunston Hall, Suffolk, where Fanny appears to have lived until her marriage to Rev. Henry Raymond Smythies in 1872; see previous post. Henrietta on the other hand, never married and lived on and off with her sister until 1919, the year in which they both passed away.

Fanny and Henrietta were the youngest children of John Henry Heigham and Maria Catherine Gould. Their mother died in November 1837 when the twins were just three years old, and their father remarried nine years later, to Lydia Birch. Much of the family tree is documented in ‘Visitation of the County of Suffolk’ by William Hervey and the book is freely available online. According to this document, Hunston Hall originally belonged to a parcel of land that was granted by King Henry VIII, in 1538, to Richard Codington and was subsequently purchased by John Lurkin in 1614 from the Ashfield family who resided there. Mary Lurkin, great granddaughter of John Lurkin, married into the Heigham family in 1701, thereby associating Hunston Hall and the area around it with the Heigham name for roughly the next two hundred years.

An entry in The Ipswich Journal dated 10th May 1884, describes Hunston Hall in some detail: Hunston Hall, which is most pleasantly situated in a picturesque country of a purely English character, well wooded, stands on the border of park-like pasture, and the surroundings have that charm of peacefulness and freshness often so characteristic of fine old country mansions. Some parts of Hunston Hall date several centuries back, but the hall has been added to from time to time, and now possesses a front of an Italian order, with the enrichment and effective appearance peculiar to that style, and nestles very cosily behind the fine timber, some of which appears to be nearly as old as the family itself. A pleasant parterre has been made on the park-side, and altogether there is a charm about the ancient building and its delightful surroundings.

Bury Free Press - 4 Aug 1917 c

It is a great shame, therefore, that tragedy struck in the form of a fire, and in early August 1917 the Hall was burnt down. A report in the Bury Free Press states that though it had been the home of the Heigham family for many years, it was unoccupied and unfurnished prior to the fire. The article concludes by saying: The cause of the fire is a mystery. We understand that the property is insured.

Fanny and Henrietta ended their days in Somerset, dying within a short time of each another. Fanny died 18th February 1919 at 6 Henrietta Street, Bath, according to her probate record, and Henrietta died at the same address on 10th April 1919. Their feelings about the fire at Hunston Hall will remain unknown, although they must surely have formed some attachment to it over the many years they lived there.

Fanny Smythies

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Reverend Henry Raymond Smythies

I do love finding photographs of couples, and always place them together, facing one another if possible. Here are two more people from the ‘Barnstaple Album’, both helpfully inscribed with names on the reverse of their carte-de-visite (see below).

Henry Smythies   Fanny Heigham

We start with their marriage this time; Henry Raymond Smythies and Fanny Heigham married in 1872 in the registration district of Stow, Suffolk. On the 1881 census they can be found boarding in Brighton on the south coast of England, where they remained for the duration of their marriage, until Henry’s death in July 1888 (aged 73). Fanny continued to live in Brighton for a further 31 years and never remarried. According to her probate record she died in Bath, Somerset, on 18th Feb 1919 although she was still a resident of Brighton at the time.

Henry Raymond Smythies was born c1815 in Stanground, Huntingdonshire. He had long career in the Church as outlined by numerous announcements in the newspapers of the day. Having graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts in 1837, he was ordained as a Deacon at Ely Cathedral in December 1838. Exactly one year later he was ordained as a Priest at the same Cathedral. And in May 1840 he obtained his Master of Arts, also from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. It was obviously a busy time of life for Henry and culminated in his first marriage, to Emily Roberts in 1842:

Lincolnshire Chronicle - 5 Aug 1842 copy
First marriage; Lincolnshire Chronicle – 5 Aug 1842

Emily was the youngest daughter of Reverend Robert Roberts, Rector of Barnwell and Wadenhoe, Northamptonshire. Henry and Emily moved home several times, dictated by Henry’s career within the Church, and lived in Herringswell (Suffolk), then Easthope (Shropshire) before moving back to Suffolk and the village of Sproughton. It is here that Emily, age 54, passed away on 27th February 1871, leaving Henry widowed after nearly 30 years of marriage.

Henry went on to find a new life partner in Fanny Heigham:

Cambridge Chronicle and Journal - 10 Aug 1872
Second marriage; Cambridge Chronicle and Journal – 10 Aug 1872

I’d like to think that Henry’s subsequent move to Brighton (via Chippenham, Cambridge and Southacre, Norfolk) was deliberate on the part of Henry and his second wife. Having spent his life moving from place to place, perhaps Henry yearned to be ‘by the seaside’. It does appear to have been something of a retirement, since I can find no record of a further Church appointment for this period of his life.

My next post will delve into the life of Fanny Smythies nee Heigham, and her family home of Hunston Hall.

Henry Smythies   Fanny Smythies

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Kings

This post and several others, all relate to a photograph album that was bought at auction in Barnstaple, North Devon (UK).

Two cabinet cards that are clearly related are identified as “W N King – born 1824” and “Mrs King”.

William Norman King   Harriette Anne Lanchester

Searching Ancestry brings up a William Norman King on the 1911 census, aged 86 and living in Great Barton, Suffolk. Since ‘Barton’ is inscribed on two other photographs from the same album, this seems to be our man. He is described as a ‘farmer and owner of land’ and was born in Gazely, Suffolk. Being widowed by this time, we have to go back to the 1901 census to find his wife Harriette, who was just two years younger and born in Fakenham, Suffolk. Furthermore, there is a marriage record for William Norman King and Harriette Anne Lanchester in 1847, in the district of Bury St Edmunds.

My impression of Mr. King is that of a relatively modest man, since it transpires that he was in fact a Justice of the Peace (J.P.). Three of his sons became Mayor of Bath, Bishop of Madagascar and Canon of Sydenham, as mentioned in his obituary from The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette,  11th April 1914.

Bath Chronicle 11 Apr 1914

Later in the year of his death, it was proposed that a memorial to Mr. King should be erected in Great Barton, one of the reasons being ‘there never was… a better life lived in a village’. The same article (from the Bury Free Press, 27 June 1914) goes on to say that Mr. King’s life ‘had been one long, good example’. I don’t know if the memorial ever became a reality, but it demonstrates how warmly the local community felt towards William King.

Bury Free Press 1914

Perhaps in a future post I’ll revisit this couple, Mrs. King in particular, who appears to be holding a photograph in her portrait; is this the image of another relative?

William Norman King - cabinet card   Harriette Anne Lanchester - cabinet card

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.