This photograph from the chest is of my own Grandad ‘Leslie Caswell’. He is age 3 in the photograph. He was born 02.05.1906 in Medomsley, Durham. He died before I was born, so unfortunately I never got the chance to meet him. He does look gorgeous in this photograph though 🙂
Within the chest is an IOU signed by Robert Charlton who is borrowing money from William Charlton.
The transcription is:
BILL THREE PENCE OR NOTE
July 18th 1895
I promise to pay to William Charlton of Broomhill on demand the sum of Eighteen Pounds with Interest at Five% pr anuam
Signed Robert Charlton
I think that the ‘Robert Charlton’ who is borrowing the money is probably William’s younger brother who was born at Blackhall Hill, Durham in 1837.
I wonder if the fact that it still exists means that it was never paid back?
Esther Caswell’s (nee Charlton) father William, started his ‘black’ diary on February 10th 1876 and finishes on the 24th June 1884. This evening I finished scanning in the complete diary. One day I will transcribe it, but till then, here is the complete diary. It is a wonderful record of farming life in the late 1800’s.
This is an image of the inside front cover and first page of the diary. It actually solves a little bit of a mystery! In the lower left hand corner there is the address of a John Charlton. This is actually William’s older brother, I knew that his family had moved to the US – but didn’t know where – until I received the diary. What a discovery!!
This beautiful little girl is Margaretta Caswell, she is the daughter of Esther Elizabeth Charlton and Frederick Henderson Caswell. She was born on the 2nd June 1908, in Villa Real Hospital, Leadgate, Co. Durham. Which seems quite unusual as most of her siblings are believed to have been born at home. A large portrait used to hang in the home of Esther – Balfour House, Medomsley Road, Consett – but alas it is no longer in the possession of the family.
She died on the 17th January 1914, my mum believes that the cause was diptheria, but she isn’t sure so I am going to have to investigate. Diptheria is an upper respiratory tract infection which typically affects the nose and throat. Today all of my children hve been vaccinated to help prevent them from contracting this devastating disease, but back in Margaretta’s time there was no such prevention available.
She was buried on the 21st January, 1914 in Medomsley churchyard, Consett. Esther had seven children in total (including a set of twins). Margaretta was the only one not to survive to adulthood.
This was her funeral card:
Within the chest is a tiny band of black ribbon with the initial ‘M’ threaded onto it. I have discovered that it is most likely an Edwardian mourning wrist band. I imagine that Esther had it made after the death of her precious daughter, so that she would always be with her.
Within ‘The Chest’ is the Probate of the Will of Esther’s Father – William Charlton. It is quite a large document and even has a seal. The paper feels quite waxy to the touch.
What I like most about the Will, is that unlike other Wills I have read over the years, this is the first one to divide the Estate equally between his two children: William and Esther. Esther was not only the youngest child, but she was (obviously) a girl. I think that a will dividing the Estate in this way would have been very unusual. Gender equality in 1896 – William Charlton was considerably ahead of his time!
In the High Court of Justice Durham Probate Registry
Probate of the Will
William Charlton deceased
Dated 28th January 1897
Extracted by J.W. Welford
Probate The District Registry at Durham
In Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice
BE IT KNOWN, that at the date hereunder written, the last Will and Testament (a Copy whereof is hereunto annexed) of William Charlton of the Station Hotel Ebchester in the County of Durham Licensed Victualler deceased, who died on the ninth day of October 1896, at The Station Hotel aforesaid, and who at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode at The Station Hotel aforesaid within the District of the County of Durham was proved and registered in the District Probate Registry of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice, at Durham and that Administration of the personal estate of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to Margaret Charlton, Widow the Relict of the said deceased and Charles David William Balleny, the Executors named in the said Will, they having been first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.
And it is hereby certified that an Affidavit for Inland Revenue has been delivered, wherein it is shewn that the gross value of the personal estate of the said deceased within the United Kingdom (exclusive of what the said deceased may have been possessed of or entitled to as a Trustee and not beneficially) amounts to £580:18:6
And it is further certified that it appears by a Receipt signed by an Inland Revenue Officer on the said Affidavit that £45:2:2 for Estate Duty and interest on such duty has been paid, the duty being charged at the rate of £3 per cent.
Dated the twenty eighth day of January 1897
(side note: Extracted by J. W. Welford, Solr, Consett)
This is the last Will and Testament of me William Charlton of Ebchester in the County of Durham Farmer and Publican made this _________ day of ____________ one thousand eight hundred and ninety two. I appoint my wife Margaret Charlton and my friend Charles David William Balleny Exectutors and Trustees of this my Will I devise herein before named upon trust to pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and all my first debts and subject to the payment of the same to pay the net annual income of my estate to my wife for her life or so long as she shall continue my widow upon her death or second marriage whichever shall first happen I direct that my estate shall be divided in equal shares between my son William Hedley Charlton and my daughter Esther Elizabeth Charlton as tenants in common and not as joint tenants for their sole use and benefit I further direct that my Executors and Trustees shall not be responsible the one for the acts of the other I revoke all former and other Wills by me heretofore made In witness whereof I the said William Charlton have to this my Will set my hand _____ Signed by the said testator as his last Will in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence and his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses
William Charlton Sept 5th 1896
I love this photograph. It is of William Charlton who was born in 1801 (he was baptised at Ebchester on the 12th April 1801). He is Esther’s Grandfather.
On the reverse of the photograph is printed:
Photographed by R. Von Dix. 10, Mount Pleasant, Consett
Someone has written in pencil on the back:
Wm. Charlton Farmer Rowley
Son William Charlton Ebchester
Was first on farm Blackhall Mill
Milkwellburn Farm (maybe he was visiting his son?)
Note to self: Will have to research Blackhall Mill, it is about 2 miles north of Ebchester, Durham,
This somewhat imposing figure is William Henry Charlton (b1829 – 1896); Esther’s father and the author of the diaries. He is the son of William Charlton (b1801 – 1892) and Esther Wilkinson (b1795 – 1851).
The photograph was taken (I believe) when he ran the Station Hotel, Ebchester, Durham.
This is a photograph of Leslie Caswell (b.1906), the third child of Esther Elizabeth Charlton and Frederick Caswell. He looks a little like ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ doesn’t he?
In his butcher’s garb
Family stories say that when he left school he got an apprenticeship to be an electrician at the Consett Iron Works. However, his father Fred Caswell was regularly drunk. It became impossible to bring friends over, because they never knew how Fred would behave. One day Fred came home rather the worse for drink and Esther locked him out. Bill and his brother Leslie helped ensure that Fred was put out of the house for good. He ended up at Lanchester Workhouse. This change in events meant that Fred was no longer running the butchers shop and reluctantly Leslie gave up his apprenticeship and took over the shop. That said he was a very good butcher and had the qualification of master butcher.
He sadly died in 1973 in Consett, County Durham.
Esther’s parents – William Charlton and Margaret Hedley (2nd wife) were married on the 9th March 1871 at Benfieldside (a Parish in the County of Durham). This is a photograph that was taken on their wedding day – they don’t looked too thrilled about it!