An IOU from 1895

Within the chest is an IOU signed by Robert Charlton who is borrowing money from William Charlton.

The transcription is:


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?

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.


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.

William Charlton’s Complete Diary.

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. (9MB)

Page 3 of William Charlton’s Diary

1876 Feb
10 At Shotley Bridge with Copland and at Medomsley Shop with the Horse Stormy
Fri 11 At Medomsley with Copland and the Tythe rent gatherer
S 12 At home stormy
S 13 At Coal Burns with Jame Mews and Green Sids
M 14 At Medomsley with Mr Lister from the station. Stormy.
Tu 15 At Medomsley and Leadgate got summons from the Countess of Derwentwater
Wed 16 At Shotley for the Sommons for Jackson and Leadbitter
17 At Medomsley and at Home
18 At Hedley  for my fathers x at Broom Hill
19 At the sale and at home Stage House
S 20 At Chopwell to see Bolam
M 21 At the Sale at Castledean
Tu 22 At Leadgate and Consett with M Copland and home
W 23 At Home Layon manure
Th 24 At Alendale for cement and at home.
F 25 At Home very Stormy
S 26 To Consett and Dickinson got stones out the field 26 Load
S 27 In home
M 28 At Home Leading stones very wet in the afternoon
T 29 At Home Leading stones very fine


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!!


Will of William Charlton 1829 – 1896

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 Letter

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

Joshua Earles

District Registrar

(side note: Extracted by J. W. Welford, Solr, Consett)


William Charlton Will 1896

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 Davidson

Archbold Burns

Extracted Will of John Thirlewall

This is one of my mum’s favourite documents in the chest and she suggested that I Blog about it next. It is a most unusual document as it is sewn into the pages of a newspaper! It is a will of a gentleman called John Thirlewall of Newbegun (assume Newbiggin?, Northumberland) who died in 1699. The dates on the newspaper indicate that it was published in 1844. I do not know of any family connection with the Thirlewall family. Why it is in the chest, I have no idea, and quite probably will never know – however it does make for interesting reading! Attached is a scan of the original document together with my transcription (as far as possible the original punctuation, spelling, capitalisation have been copied). Just clock the link below.

Extracted will of John Thirlewall

Hot off the press! My mum has now discovered this: In 1711, a certain William Charlton was involved in a quarrel with Henry Widdrington of Buteland and the latter as killed. His body was taken to the church and buried by the door of the Charlton’s pew which would require Charlton to step over the grave every time he attended church. That he was put off entering church may have been no great sacrifice Source. A William Widdrington was one of the executors of John Thirlewall’s will! There must surely be some connection to my family of Charltons.

My Silver Surfing Mother has also discovered his family tree just click here

William Charlton b1801

I love this photograph. It is of William Turnbull 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,

The Fatal Pleasure Trip

Within the chest are a number of newspaper cuttings. Several of which are poems or songs. This first one is from within the pages of his diary, unfortunately there is no date.

The Fatal Pleasure Trip



A boat had left the banks of Tyne,
Her snowy sails spread to the wind,
And gallant rides the stormy bar,
The port receding fast behind.

Tho’ strong the gale, the sky is fair,
The hardy crew are stout and brave,
And two are young who love to dare,
And joy to mount the swelling wave.

Yes, two are young, and one by love
Is held in sweet but willing thrall;
And seeks the briny flood to rove,
Obedient to his lady’s call.

What tho’ the gale be rising high,
What tho’ the billows higher swell,
They deem not danger hovers nigh,
While hands can guide with ready skill.

Onward they speed o’er crested foam.
Until the anxious lovers spies
His lady’s lonely seaward home,
Where Marsden Rock is seen to rise.

As soldiers who have braved the storm
Of battle, think of camp’s repose,
Till sudden rings the death alarm!
When rise their unexpected foes;

So the glad crew, who sought to land,
Where peace and joy, and beauty smiled,
Whi e losing of their bark command,
Were cast amid the breakers wild.

And wave on wave remorseless dashed
Upon the bark they strove to save,
Till one huge surging billow washed
Her struggling victims ‘neath the wave.

They rose again – bold swimmers strong –
They shrieked for aid, the land was near,
And some would spy them there ere long
They thought while wrestled hope with fear.

But oh! In vain the floods prevailed,
And three to bubbling death were borne,
And he beside his lover’s home
Was ever from his lover torn!

One, only one, remained to brave
The waters wild, who sought the shore,
And he who strove a friend to save,
Heard death in every billow’s roar!


But who is she, that maiden young,
Who, quite regardless of the danger,
Runs boldly ‘mid the waters strong,
To help ashore the fainting stranger?

He’s saved! But oh! That maiden pale
Hears from his lips a tale of sorrow!
Which, for to thrill her bosom’s care,
No vulgar arts need borrow.

It is enough to hear his name,
Her fancy cand the rest discover,
How strong devouring floods o’ercame
Her young and faithful lover.

It is enough, – in dark despair,
The torch of hope is plunged for ever;
The dream of life is fled, and ne’er
Can aught from woe her heart deliver

It is enough, the rocks reply,
While loud she shrieks in lamentation;
While anguish gleams from tearless eye,
And vainly whispers resignation.

Such wild emotions troubled swell,
Like sudden floods on peaceful river;
It is her throbbing heart’s farewell,
For him, the loved but lost for ever!

Newcastle-on-Tyne A.W.

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.