Monthly Archives: June 2014

The things you find on the internet

This morning Ian was trying out a new search engine he’d heard about called Duckduckgo. Typing in “Morland Court Lodge” revealed a few things we haven’t come across before. One of them was a document about different types of peals performed by bell ringers. The document is called Fun Methods! It’s an extract from a book entitled The Method Ringers Companion, by Steve Coleman pp402-408.

One of these fun methods is called “Bastow Little Court”, and this is what it says about it:

“Bastow Little Court is one of the few methods to be named after a person rather than a place. It was first rung on 6th October 1934 in a peal at Lamberhurst in Kent to celebrate the marriage of Miss G.L. Bastow of Kensington to Mr. J.C. Morland of Court Lodge. For good measure the band also rang Morland Special Alliance but we are not concerned with that here.”

Miss G.L Bastow and Mr J.C. Morland were my grandparents! I never met John, my grandfather, as he died before I was born, but Gwennie, my grandmother was very much a grandmotherly presence in my childhood. This is a picture of them on their wedding day, taken in the conservatory at Court Lodge:

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I love the fact that the author of Fun Methods is not concerned with the fact that they also played the “Morland Special Alliance”! Are either of these peals ever still played? Are they ever played at Lamberhurst?

The document, Fun Methods, continues:

“Whether or not Mrs. Morland is still enjoying a long and happy marriage, I do not know. But her maiden name lives on in a method which has enjoyed a consistent, if limited, popularity ever since. Pronounced to rhyme with hoe rather than with cow, it is an extremely useful method for providing the struggling band with a step between Plain Bob and Kent.”

Sadly Mrs Morland did not enjoy a long and happy marriage, as she and John separated and divorced after only a few years. But they were together long enough to produce my father.

I’m glad to know that Granny has left as a legacy such a useful and fun method!

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Anna Eleanora Morland

While on a camping trip to Dorset over half term, my family and I paid a visit to the village of Sydling St. Nicholas. One of my female Morland ancestors married Sir John Smith, Baronet, of Sydling St. Nicholas, and lived at Sydling Court. I had learned that there was a plaque in the church to Anna Eleanora, and had been in touch with Angela Shaw, one of the Friends of the Church of Sydling St. Nicholas. I wanted to see the plaque, and also see what other information I could find out about her. This is a portrait of Anna Eleanora, which hangs in the dining room at Court Lodge:

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The plaque is located in quite a prominent position in the chancel of the church. This is a close up of it:

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It states that it was erected by her son in law, Sir John Wyldbore Smith, which was puzzling as she and her husband didn’t have any children. I’ve since done a little more digging around though, and found out that Anna Eleanora was Sir John Smith’s second wife. Sir John Wyldbore Smith was his son from his first marriage to Elizabeth Wyldbore (great name!). So he was in fact Anna Eleanora’s step-son. I think it’s not too far fetched to think that the term ‘son in law’ might refer to this sort of filial relationship. The next photo shows the position of the plaque in the chancel. It is the middle one on the right:

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The plaque also states that Anna Eleanora “lies here interred”. Angela told me that all of the Smith family named on the plaques in the church were interred in a vault beneath the chancel. Some years ago, when they were restoring the floor of the chancel, the then vicar attached a camera to a stick and photographed what lies beneath… and this is what the camera revealed:

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The coffins look very ornate, and in remarkably good shape!

Anna Eleanora and Sir John Smith lived at Sydling Court, and it turns out that, like Court Lodge, Sydling Court is right next door to the church. Also like Court Lodge, it is a Georgian building. I couldn’t get a very good view of it, but here is a glimpse:

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And this is a picture of the Church:

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There are links between the Smith family that Anna Eleanora married into and Jane Austen’s family, and another plaque revealed something of this link. Sir John Wyldbore Smith married Elizabeth Ann, daughter of the Rev. James Marriott of Horsmonden:

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Their children became Smith-Marriotts, and a couple of generations later a William Bosworth Smith-Marriott married Charlotte Marianne Austen, of the Kent branch of the Austen family.

I have also been looking more into the connections between the Morlands and the Austens, and there is more to update on that front too, but that will have to wait for another post.

I feel extremely privileged to be able to link the names in my family tree with portraits that hang on the walls of Court Lodge, and also with buildings and memorials that are still standing. I’m able to trace my ancestors geographically as well as chronologically, and I feel more a part of the family network as a result.