30 SEPTEMBER 2019. BARBARA PHIPPS: CHARLES WATERTON – WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
In a well-illustrated talk, Barbara gave the audience a fascinating introduction to Charles Waterton’s life and family. The Watertons had lived in the Walton area for many generations, stretching back to the early Middle Ages. The last to hold public office was Sir Thomas, who was High Sheriff of Yorkshire during the reign of Tudor Queen Mary. As the family remained staunchly Catholic, they were later unable to participate in public life and service. Charles himself, one of seven children, attended Stoneyhurst, a Jesuit school in Lancashire. He later went out to Demerara in South America to manage the family’s sugar plantations. As he felt that slavery could not be defended, the administration of the plantations fell to his brothers and cousins after the death of their father. Charles married Anne Edmonstone at the Convent des Anglais in Bruges .Sadly Anne died soon after the birth of their son, Edmund, who was brought up by his aunts. Charles made many changes to the parkland, building a long wall to keep out vermin and poachers. His intention was to establish a nature reserve to protect and attract wildlife. A kind and generous man, he encouraged visitors to the park’s Grotto, particularly local people and inmates of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Charles died in 1865 and is buried in a secluded spot in the woodland. Widely regarded in his own time as eccentric, he was, in fact, a pioneer conservationist.
BLUE PLAQUE HONOURS REGINALD EARNSHAW (1927 – 1941)
Ossett’s first blue plaque was unveiled on Saturday 28th September 2019 to commemorate Reginald Earnshaw who lost his life in the Second World War. The plaque is sited on the Brewer’s Pride pub, formerly the Millers Arms, at Healey. Reggie lived here with his mother and her widowed father, the licensee, for five years, before moving to Dewsbury when his mother married Eric Shires. The family later moved to Edinburgh, where Reggie joined the Merchant Navy, aged 14 years in 1941. Only five months later he was killed when his ship was attacked by enemy planes.
Despite heavy rain a large crowd, including members of the Ossett Historical Society, watched John Hirst, also formerly of the wartime Merchant Navy Service, unveil the plaque and Reggie’s surviving sister and family laid a wreath.
This is the first of a number of blue plaques planned for the town of Ossett.
OSSETT LOCAL AND FAMILY HISTORY NETWORK
The network meets monthly with the aim of bringing together both beginners and more experienced local and family historians in order to exchange advice and information. Meetings are held on the second Friday of each month, usually in Ossett Library. However, as the Library is currently in temporary premises in the Town Hall , meetings will be held in Horbury Library from 11.00am to 12.30pm. On October 11th we will be discussing Ethical Dilemmas for Family Historians.