I Am Your Ever Lovely Son Willie

William Hedley Charlton (born 21 June 1872, Broom Hill, Durham) was Esther’s older brother. He was by all accounts the apple of his mother’s eye, whereas Esther was reported to be a daddy’s girl. This certainly looks to be the case when you look at their respective gravestones. Esther is buried with her father in St. Ebba’s Church, Ebchester. Whereas, Margaret and William are buried in Hamsterley Church yard.

He died at the young age of 29 years (1 September 1902, Station Hotel, Ebchester). According to his death certificate the cause of death was:

 Tubercular Disease of Kidney – 6 years
Angloid Diseased Liver, Kidney and Bowel – 1 year

Death Certificate - William Hedley Charlton
Death Certificate – William Hedley Charlton

At least once during his illness, his mother Margaret sent William to Whitby to convalesce. This letter was in Esther’s chest, it was sent to his mother from Whitby.

Letter from William Charlton to his mother (p1)
Letter from William Charlton to his mother (p1)
Letter from William Charlton to his mother (p2)
Letter from William Charlton to his mother (p2)

I have transcribed the letter but there are a couple of words that I can’t quite decipher.

Whitby

Dear Mother

I received your most welcome, welcome letter. I am still in bed, my back is sore. This place is what I call a butter and bread shop, you get things very spareling  here. I had my best dinner to day roast lamb. I am bad with the loose bowels I have twice made a bit of a mess. She *** like that. My meat is all cold when I get it. I have found fault***, but no change. I should have a different set away for 3 quit u what I am getting. So you can talk to Mrs Jackson about it, at 6 o’clock in the morning I get butter and bread and a tea warm up.

a small piece of bacon (drawn) and butter and bread at 9 o’clock dinner time 2 potatoes sad and back boiled meat. tea butter at 4 supper, bovril? and a little cold fish. I think the bill if fare is not a very app**** one. So mother if you think I should stop another week I will and if not send Mary Ann on Monday and she will have to bring a cab with her she will get one at Tynemouth.

So dear Mother I will do what you say. I think I have no more to say Mother with my best love with my best love to you and Lizzie? Matron sent best respects.

I am your ever lovely son Willie

There is no date on the letter but the fact that he describes his loose bowels makes me suspect that it was in the final year of his life. It is an incredibly sad letter, especially as we now know that he was dying at the time of his writing it.

Margaret Charlton (nee Hedley) d1907

One of the most numerous document types in the chest are Funeral Cards. Sometimes there are more than one copy of the same card, I can only assume that they were made by a member of the family and they had a few spares.

This first one is for Esther’s mother – Margaret Charlton (nee Hedley). Her Funeral card reads as follows.

Front: In Loving Memory

Inside left:

Her toils are o’er, her work is done,
And she is fully blest,
She fought the fight, the victory won,
And entered into rest.

Robert Jackson Printer, Consett

Inside right:

IN LOVING MEMORY
OF
MARGARET

Widow of the late William Charlton, of Station Hotel, Ebchester,

Who died Sept. 30th, 1907,

AGED 74 YEARS

Interment at Christ Church, Hamsterley,
Oct. 4th at 4 p.m.

William Henry Charlton

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.

The Wedding of William Charlton to Margaret Hedley

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!