George Tatham's church interior and a gamekeeper



Sent from Blakeney  Dec 15th 1911:



This reads:


Dr W Hope you are still going on

alright, haven’t got time

for a letter just now will

write next week. This P.C. is the

interior of the church where

Granny & Grandpa were married

and where your mother was 

christened so you can put it

in your album Alec has just

gone to school and its pouring

with rain, I expect he’ll 

get wet. Have you been out 

yet. We all send our love to

you all & lots of kisses





Miss W. Forsdick

38 Wenlock Street


London N.



There is a good deal of information on this card to help trace the source of

the card and the Census of 1911 finds a family of the right name in Blakeney:


An elderly couple John and Emma Forsdick aged 70 and 60 respectively,

together with a 29 year old daughter, Helen Emma (Charlotte) Forsdick

and grandson 9 year old  Edwin Alexander Forsdick. If the initials of the

sender are indeed H.F. and Alec is the grandson of the Census then we

have hit the jackpot quite quickly! However the other information needs to

be checked and cross examined:


On the supposition that John and Emma are Granny & Grandpa then the next

thing was to locate them in the Ryburgh registers and indeed they too were

easy to find, being married at St Andrews on December 21 1870. She was

Emma Spearing the daughter of a Bailiff, David  and John was a gamekeeper,

as was his father, Benjamin. He is recorded as a widower and ten years

Emma’s senior. 


His late wife Jane Watt 29, and 16 month old daughter Louisa Maud were both

buried in 1868 at St Andrews within  a space of 3 months. John and Jane had

married in 1862 on May 2nd. at Killin in Perthshire where John was working as

an under-keeper at Margmore Glenlochay House. They had two daughters,

Christina and Sarah, born whilst in Scotland before they moved south to

Sennowe.  But there is no trace of John Forsdick's Scottish family in

Ryburgh which brings home just how hard life was for very many in those

not so far off days.

Ten years after his marriage to Emma Spearing misfortune hit John

in the course of his work as Sennowe gamekeeper, reported here in this

press clipping from The Peoples Weekly Journal, otherwise known as the

Dereham & Fakenham Times for October 30th 1880 :



Following this accident the family moved to Blakeney to run the White Horse

Public House for ten years from May 1883- 1893. after which time he seems

to have returned to work as a gamekeeper. He is described thus in the next

two Census returns.


Checking the register for the daughters of John and Emma Forsdick (and

therefore the potential mother of the card’s addressee) who were

christened at St Andrew’s we find two:  Ada Rachel, and the younger

sister Helen Emma Charlotte, who we think may have written the post card.

The next port of call was  38 Wenlock Street, Hoxton, London N. where in the

1911 Census we find Ada Rachel married for 12 years to James William Jarvis

from Blakeney. They had no children, except that 11 year old niece, 

Miss W(inifred Emma) Forsdick is living at the same address as the post card

testifies to some nine months later. This adds to the evidence that the writer of

the card might be Winifred’s mother and her daughter is being raised by her

childless sister in London.


However, looking back to 1901 we find Helen and Ada’s older brother

Edwin Spearing Forsdick (a coachman in domestic service who in later years

went on to be a chauffeur)  and his wife Annie  living in London with their

family of 5 children the youngest being 1 year old  Winifred. 1901 was the

year that Annie died and there now seems two plusible hypotheses :

The first is that Helen was the mother of Winifred, born when her mother had

been in service. (She was in service as a kitchenmaid in Hove in 1901) 

Edwin and Annie take the child at the time but after Annie’s death, she was

brought up by Ada and James Jarvis.


The second hypothesis is that with 5 children under 7, Edwin needed help so

that Ada and James took the baby Winifred to live with them. Edwin remarried

in 1903 and the 1911 Census says that there are 3 children of the new

marriage. Edwin is named as Winifred’s father on her marriage certificate to

William Chapman in 1926.


John Forsdick died in 1922 and Emma in 1929. Helen married Walter Allen in

1927 and together with Ada and James, who had returned to live in Blakeney

 by the time of the 1939 Register, they are now close neighbours.


Returning to the Alec of the card, without consulting the child’s birth

certificate, it is not possible to say anything definitive about his parents

except to say that from investigating the families of Edwin, Alexander

and Harry Forsdick, (the three brothers of Ada and Helen) they would appear

to have had no child of that name and age. Inevitably one is drawn to the

thought that Helen is the mother of Edwin Alexander and this card represents

a family communication of a mother and her two children who are possibly

half siblings.


In my own family in the past, different parts of the family dealt with just such

a situation differently so that each could accept it in a way with which they

were most comfortable or deemed it socially acceptable, whilst never turning

their backs on the child and family. Today the climate is very different, and to

very many, it just does not matter!


Whatever the truth behind all the relationships that this card has revealed,

the overall story conveyed is one of a family caring for each other whatever

the situation, as do the majority the world over.





Page last updated: Saturday 29th August 2020 7:25 PM
Powered by Church Edit