A Disorderly House

In the crowded and busy thoroughfare of St. Albans in the mid-nineteenth century a Gypsy turned inn-keeper was the landlord of St. Christopher’s, located along a narrow cobbled back street.  His name was Neptune Smith, and he had been baptised at Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1816, the son of William … Continue reading

Isaiah and Thomas Holland

In January 1907 a local newspaper reported a terrible accident at Hartshill in Warwickshire: The 11-year-old son of Isaiah Holland of Coppice Lane was lighting the fire in the early hours of the morning when the flames caught his nightshirt, which immediately blazed up. The lad screamed and his uncle, … Continue reading

Stealing Berried Holly

The Cheltenham Examiner of January 1874 reflected on a theft of holly that had taken place before Christmas, one of the very many in which the local population helped themselves to these symbols of Christmas celebrations.  The newspaper remarked that ‘two girls, Elizabeth Loveridge and Sophia Scarrott, were summoned for … Continue reading

Scenteraina Holland

Scenteraina was baptised at Church Gresley in Derbyshire at the end of November 1901, the daughter of Thomas Holland and his wife, Violet Annie, formerly Haywood.  Her parents had married in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire in 1896 and can be found in the 1911 census in Derbyshire, with children Thomas … Continue reading


Siberetta, the wife of Charles Brinkley, had been named after her grandmother. Formerly a Welch, she was born in Suffolk in 1852, and registered as a Celeretta Welch, in the June quarter of that year, in the district of Risbridge. Siberetta was the daughter of James Welch, tinker, and his … Continue reading