BASKERVILLE FAMILY HISTORY
Supplied by Brian Erwin
Edited by Peter Baskerville Rance
In October 1990 an original copy of The Herefordshire Magazine dated 1907, published at 84 Broad Street, Hereford, containing an article on the Baskerville family, written by Madeline Hopton on Page 280, and was found. And this, along with our own family documents and other research, was used to correct the following account. Parts of which have been handed down the family since 1907. There are many Baskerville arms but those given to the Hereford line are appropriate to a family who have lived So much on the border of Wales and are now residing in the Principality. The arms are ‘Argent’, a chevron gullies between three heurts’. These heurts are taken from a small round berry called the ‘Whortle or Whin berry’ of deep blue color, which grows upon the Welsh mountains. The heraldic expression ‘hurt’ denotes color and shape of the charge on the shield.The crest is a wolf’s head erased holding in its mouth a broken spear with five drops of blood. In ‘olden tines’ wolves were hunted in Wales to exterminate them and no doubt some brave act of saving life from a wolf’s clutches may have given rise to this heraldic cognizance. The motto is ‘Spero ut Fidelis’ the translation of which has been stated to be “I hope as faithful” or “Hope through Faith”.
It has been claimed that the family of Baskerville can trace descent from the Emperor Charlemagne, Hugh Capet King of France, Kenneth King of Scotland, Rodrick King of Wales and MacMorrough King of Leinster in Ireland, [1990 P.B.R. In my research I have found nothing which justifies this claim].The Baskervilles have a truly royal ancestry, and their pedigree, which has been authentically deduced and duly registered in the College of Arms, is a large one. Burke writes of the family as ‘one of the most ancient and honorable in England.
Their connection with Herefordshire began with the ancestor who came over to help William the Conqueror, from Normandy, [They may have come over late in William I reign to assist Bernard Newmarch in his raid on Wales]. The name Baskerville is probably derived from Basquevillein in the Pays de Card, or Bosherville near Rouen. He was Nicholas de Basquerville a son of Balderic the Teuton, and was a cousin to William I.(From Nicholas and Baldric, so we learn from Wace’s ‘Roman de Rou’ came from Martels de Basqueville, who fought at Senlec. The same name does not appear in Domesday Book, but we find the ‘Martels’ in Essex and Suffolk.] It is said that Nicholas de Basqueville name, together with that of the founder of the ‘Mynors’ was on the Roll of Battle Abbey,[1990 P.B.R. Along with hundreds of other families who contributed money to the building of the Abbey, at Hastings. I believe these rolls were lost and are no longer available to prove this point.It is said that in the Roll of Battle Abbey the name is spelt ‘BECEURVILLE’ with arms ‘Argent, a chevron 3 hurts’ This coat may be a later addition, for temp; Henry III. It was charged with 3-torteaux gules. Soon after the torteaux appears as ‘hurts’ i.e. blue spherical roundels were substituted for red torteaux]
Erdisley or Eardisley was the Herefordshire stronghold of the Baskervilles, called ‘Herdelege’ in the Domesday Survey. The castle of those days stood in a forest, of which it is said the great oak of Eardisley, was still standing in 1907. This forest was in the valley of the River Wye and on the way to Wales, the castle in consequence, was exposed to attacks from Welsh marauders, and was also in the center of the district where the Wars of the Barons waged with great violence in our early history. It stood on the west side of the present parish church on high ground and was surrounded by a triple moat and had a strong dungeon. [1990 P.B.R. When I visited the site in 1970 and 1990, the moat was still visible as a very wet circle surrounding a mound of about fifteen feet in height. The lime (?) stone, used to build the nearby farmhouse, was obviously taken from the castle ruins although the no vestige of the castle retained beyond a few broken stones]. This castle was burnt down during the Civil War in November 1645, [See Appendix ‘A’]. There is a Richard de Baskerville listed in the church as a Rector of Eardisley in 1373, and Madeline Hopton writes “The helmets of the Baskerville knights are in the side chapel of the parish church, now used as a vestry.
The Baskervilles also had another castle closer to the Wye at Bredwardine, which stood on the right bank of the river, commanding the ferry by which means alone it could be crossed.
The first Baskerville (died 1109) who is mentioned as living in Eardisley castle, about forty-three years after the Conquest, was one Robert, a knight, whose wife Agnes, was daughter and heiress of Nasta, daughter of Rees ap Griffiths, Prince of South Wales.
Phillips the antiquarian makes Robert’s son Sir Ralph (died 1127) marry an Olwen of Eardisland, and Sir Ralph’s son, called Ralph,(died 1148) is mentioned in Duncan’s History of Herefordshire as paying a fee to the Crown for his land. He married the daughter of Lord Clifford and the following incident is related concerning them; -“Sir Ralph [or Robert] accused Lord Clifford of unjustly seizing the property of Colwyn castle, and challenged him to single combat in the churchyard of Llowes, where Lord Clifford was killed. Sir Ralph Baskerville obtained a pardon from the Pope, who was very angry that the churchyard had been desecrated. There is a curious upright stone in LIowes churchyard, which tradition points out as having been erected on the spot where Lord Clifford fell”.
Duncan, quoting from the Welsh Chronicle, gives quite another place as the scene of the duel;- “They fought near Hereford, where afterwards a white cross was erected.” In the Roll of landowners liable to impose on the occasion of the marriage of King Henry 1st eldest daughter, Maud in 1109 the Rev John Duncan (1812) quotes;-“… those of Herefordshire and among them Ralph de Baskerville.”
In the Great Roll of the Pipe we find an entryshowing that Walter de Baskerville owned land’s in Gloucestershire.
[P.B.R. Madeline Hopton’s account at this point appears to leave out a number of generations, which are shown on most visitations available, so I have included the missing inheritors]. Ralph (died 1148) had a son, Sir Roger [or Robert] (died 1176) who married Juliana daughter of Nicholas de Stafford, Their son, Ralph of Eardisley (died 1194) married Ann Owen, they had a son Roger of Eardisley who married Bridget Hunterston, whose son Walter of Eardisley married Elizabeth Pembrugge. They had a son Walter of Eardisley (alive in 1277) who married Susanna Crigdon and who’s first Son, Sir Roger married a daughter and heiress of Rothes de Gros, knight of Orcop, which manor remained in the family till the year 1528. After Roger came three Sir Walter’s in succession, the last of them left two daughters. After them the castle and manor went to Sir Walter and Susanna’s second son Sir Richard. He married the daughter of Sir Solers. Another brother George, became lord of Lawton and Picthorne in the Countyof Salop, whose descendants were lords of Picthorne for three generations, and then ended with an heiress.
Sir Richard, who became lord of Eardisley and High Sheriff of Hereford, was M.P., for the County of Herefordshire, in which office the family served in eleven Parliaments during the next 400 years. They also served the Office of High Sheriff for the County twenty-one times. Richard and was succeeded by his son Walter Baskerville (died 1319) who was called lord of Combe. His wife Sibella [or Sybil] daughter of Peter of Caux, and their son (died 1342), grandson (died 1373) and great, grand son (died 1394) all named Richard, were Knighted. The last son, Sir John of Eardisley (died 1403). Married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Brugge of Letton and Stanton. They had issue, Sir John (died 1455) who also was called Knight of Combe, when quite a young boy followed King Henry to the Battle of Agincourt.14l5 AD He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Touchet, Lord Audley. His brother Ralph Baskerville married Anne, daughter and heiress of Sir John Blacket of Icomb, whose daughter, Jane became the wife of Symon Milbourne and mother to thirteen children!
Sir John Baskerville’s second son, John, married Eleanor, heiress of Thomas Helcott of Wotton, of which place he became possessed in the right of his wife, and their son William, had three daughters, one of whom married Thomas Pembridge of Mancel Gamage. Sir John’s only daughter, Sibella, was wife to Richard Rowdon. He died in 1455 and was succeeded by his eldest son James Baskerville, who was made knight banneret on the Battlefield of Stoke and Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of Henry II. His wife Sybella or Katherine, Devereaux, was daughter of lord Farrers of Chartley. Through this alliance the Baskerville family derived the royal blood of the Plantagenets, along with that of Castile and Leon. This couple’s third son was Philip who married the widow of John Scudmore and he had a son Thomas of Netherwood, in the parish of Thornbury. [1990 P.B.R. My research shows that it is from this Thomas that my own branch of the Baskervilles is descended (See recently published copy of our Family tree)]
His eldest son Sir Walter, who was created a knight on the marriage of Prince Authur in 1501, succeeded Sir James. Sir Walter married twice and had nine children. His first wife Anne Morgan of Pencoyd, was mother to hisson James, who took to wife Elizabeth, heiress of John Breyton, whose wife Sibella was third daughter of Symon Milbourne. They had five sons, James Baskerville the eldest had no issue by Catherine daughter of Walter, Viscount Hereford, so the second son John Baskerville, became knight of Eardisley. Burke writes, “This male issue terminated upon the demise of his grandson, Sir Humphery Baskerville in 1617, whose wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Coningsby of Hampton Court”, but Robinson in his,”Mansions and Manors of Herefordshire” gives, in the Baskerville pedigree, two more generations. Robinson also in “Castles of Herefordshire and their Lords,” writes of Sir Humphrey Baskerville in the Civil War, “. Though he took the King’s side, he was not actively engaged in the struggle.” The importance of the family declined, find [ran receiving £3,000 a year, they were reduced to £300. The castle was burnt to the ground, leaving only one gatehouse standing, in which, the representative of the family was living in 1670 as a comparatively poor man. There is certainly no mention of the family in Webb’s “Memorials of the Civil War in Herefordshire”.[1990. P.B.R. This is not correct a James Baskerville was one of seven men who surprised the defenders of Hereford’s Bishops gate in 1645 and captured the city for the Parliamentary army .See Appendix ‘A’.]
Sir James Baskerville had a third son, Thomas, who married the widow of John Dabsey of Brinsop, which is also called Wolveshill in “Nash’s Worcestershire”. He left a daughter and heiress, Eleanor. Sir Thomas Baskerville was commander of Queen Elizabeth’s troops in Picardy and served in the Netherlands, Spain and Indies. He was also an Admiral and fought the Spanish on the Spanish Main with Sir Francis Drake, with whom he quarreled and parted company. There is extant a letter from Elizabeth I thanking him for his services. He was buried in Old St. Paul’s church, London. In 1597 there was a monument to him in the church. “To the Memory of this right worthy and valiant gentleman” along with the following verse [1990 not given in full by Madeline Hopton but recently discovered by my research. P.B.R.]
These are the glories of a worthy Praise
Which noble Baskerville, here now read,
In honour of thy life and latter days,
To number thee among the blessed dead.
A pure regard to thy immortal part,
A spotless mind, a body prone to pain,
A giving hand and unvanquished heart,
And all these virtues void of all distain,
And all these virtues yet unknown,
But Netherlands, Seas, India, Spain and France,
Can witness that these honours were thine own,
Which they reserve, thy merit to advance,
That valour should not perish from void of fame,
For noble deeds but leave a noble name.
Walter Baskerville, the fourth son died ‘sine prole’, but the fifth son, Humphrey, who was of Aberedw and Lambedr in Randnorshire, acquired estates by his marriage to Eleanor daughter of John ap Gwillin. Sixth in descent from the above Humphrey, was Thomas Baskerville of Aberedw Court, who married in 1726 Meliora the eldest daughter of Richard Baskerville Esq., of Richardston in the County of Wiltshire, ancestor of the Baskervilles of Crowsley Park Oxon. And by her had an only daughter and heiress called Philippa. She married in 1767 the Rev. John Powell, possessor of Clyro Court Estates. This Philippa (nee Baskerville) left an only child and heiress, Meliora, who married, in 1787, Peter Rickards Mynors Esq., of Treago).
At this point we must now return to the family of Sir Walter Baskerville of Eardisley, knighted in 1501. The Baskerville pedigree from here on gets intricate because of intermarriage. Sir Walter’s second son Johnhad an only son, of whom more is traceable. Sir Walter’s third son Thomas Baskerville of Pontrilas had an illegitimate son called Walter, whose wife Jane, daughter and heiress of Richard Monington by his wife Joan, daughter of John Baskerville. Their son John married Sybilla, daughter of Humphrey Baskerville of Eardisley.
Sir Walter’s eighth son, Simon, by his second wife, Elizabeth ap Harry of Poston, and his grandson was Thomas Baskerville of Richardston in the County of Wiltshire. Thomas was succeeded by his son Francis, who married Margaret, (daughter of Sir John Ganvill of Broadhinton in Wiltshire. Margaret’s grandson, George Baskerville, of Winterbourne Basset, had a daughter who married her cousin, Thomas Baskerville of Richardston. Another grandson was Richard Baskerville, who married Jane, daughter of Sir Richard Gore of Baron’s Court, in the County of Somerset. It was his daughter Meliora who married her cousin Thomas Baskerville of Aberedw court and left an heiress Philippa Baskerville who, as we have already seen above, married the Rev. John Powell and whose daughter Meliora Powell became the wife of Peter Rickards Mynors of Treago).
Meliora Powell, married in 1787, had a brother, Thomas Powell of Richardston, who married his cousin Jane Baskerville of Winterbourne Basset. They had an only son Thomas, who though twice married left no children, so his estates were devolved upon Thomas the second son of Meliora and Peter Rickards Mynors in 1818. This Thomas assumed the name Thomas Mynors Baskerville in 1818. Meliora’s first son Peter inherited the Treago estates.
Thomas Mynors Baskerville succeeded to the Clyro Court property through his mother Meliora Powell. Thomas married twice. His first wife Anne, the daughter and heiress of John Hancock of Marlborough, by whom he had no issue. His second wife Elizabeth, the daughter of the Rev. P. C. Quise, had six children.
The eldest Son of Thomas and Elizabeth was Walter Mynors Baskerville who succeeded to Clyro Court. He married Bertha Maria, third daughter and heiress of John Hopton of Canon-Ffrome Court and Kemerton Court in Gloucestershire. Walter’s son Ralph Hopton Baskerville, born 1884, was not twenty-one when his father died in 1905. [1990 P.B.R. There is something wrong with Madeline Hopton’s Mathematics here.
The Rev.John Webb’s book, ‘Memorials of the Civil War between King and Parliament’ Vol.11. Written in 1870 gives an account of how Eardisley Castle came to be burnt down and the activities of Ja (James?) Baskerville at the fall of Hereford in Dec. l645.
In November there were many skirmishes between Parliamentary troops and the King’s army in Herefordshire. This resulted in the local population arming themselves with anything available to protect their property from deserters and the criminal elements of society who find war a good time for looting and plunder. These locals banded together from time to time armed with clubs to demand their rights and are referred to in some documents as ‘Clubmen’. However in Chapter 15, the Rev. Webb writes, and I quote,”Sir Barnabas Scudmore, the Governor and High Sheriff of Hereford (Kings army) kept his own men in action, but about this tine ‘roysters from Hereford’ as Mercurious Civicus calls them, (probably Clubmen), burnt down Sir Robert Welch’s house)(?), Eardisley Castle, and other houses in the neighborhood, but laid aside a similar design against Monington. The market days at Ross brought scenes of plunder.”
We know from other documents that Webb’s (?) was well merited because Eardisley belonged to a Thomas Baskerville who died 17.2.1682 [Married Frances Pember who died 22.5.1683]
Webb also reproduces an account of how Hereford City fell in Dec.1645. I quote. “In December 1645, a Colonel Birch (one time merchant of Bristol) after the failure of a plan to capture Hereford town due to a heavy snow fall. Being a man of fertile mind in military matters devised a new scheme for seizing one of the gates of the city by stealth. Colonel Birch rode to the garrison at Cannon Frome, where he chose six boorish foresters, one of who was Ja Baskerville, and Lieutenant named Berrow to impersonate a local constable. Who was equipped with a false warrant to enter the city of Hereford on the pretext that the six workmen accompanying him were forced labour entering to clear the snow from the city’s defenses. When Colonel Birch arrived at Hereford, on an extremely cold night, he informed his seven men of his plan to get the men near enough to seize Hereford’s Bishop Gate prior to a general assault in the morning. The Original account, sent to Parliamentary troops Headquarters reads as follows “The false Constable being heavy with cold, which made him and his men go as if starved (very cold), and also by reason of their broad hats, great breeches, spades. Pickaxes and bundles of bread and cheese, they might well deceive a wise and vigilant guard commander. As the morning was extremely cold it had driven most of the guard to huddle round their fire”. The rouse was successful and after the gateway was taken the general assault took place and the city fell. The following is a copy of the false warrant’ – Whereas we have received from the Honorable Governor of Hereford, for the bringing into the Garrison six able workmen, with tools as are fit for your said purpose, we have with obedience by our neighbor Hugh Morris sent a return of the names of the said parties, viz.-John Bailey. , Wil. Edwards. Rich. Deems, Phil. Mason. , Ja. Baskerville. , Wil.King., (P.B.R.1989 Can we assure Ja. is short for James?)
Signed, “The mark of S.J. Jo. Searle,
Roger Hill, Constable.”
Dated 17th Dec. l645.
N.B. P.B.R.1989. There are other accounts of this action which includes one from Scudmore which claims the gate was opened by treachery. If this is so why have we got the report from the Parliamentary army? Being an old soldier myself I am well aware of what officers, like Scudmore, will say at a later date when called upon to account for the loss of their command. I feel the above account rings very true for the simple reason the whole affair was one which would appeal to any soldier’s sense of humor when faced with the chance of putting one over the enemy.
Part One. John Baskerville 1706 to 1775 [Printer, inventor of Baskerville Type)
A letter from Mr.John Cockcroft, Curator of City of Nottingham Wollaton Park Museum dated 3rd Nov. 1989. Says; We have three carriages with Baskerville connections. They came to Nottingham castle in the 1920’s from Fuller’s Coachbuilders Bath, where they had been displayed for some time.Previously they had bean stored at Manton in Wiltshire. Two carriages have connections with John Baskerville of Birmingham. The third is of a later date. All have Baskerville Arms on their bodywork. John Baskerville of Birmingham had no known links with the titled Baskervilles. How he acquired the carriages and how they came to be at Manton in Wiltshire is a mystery. A date of 1698 is associated with them in connection with one of the titled Baskervilles who was High Sheriff of Wiltshire at the time. I have seen no documentary proof of this but it has always been claimed. The coach bodies are certainly of a later date, though the chassis with no springs, merely leather suspension straps, could be earlier. One vehicle is a dress landau, the Phaeton. It is said that John Baskerville liked gold and green colors, which are the basic colors of all the vehicles. I have seen no documentary proof of the link with the vehicles and John Baskerville, though the heraldic devices are completely spurious – except for the Baskerville element, and this supports the “imposter” argument. The elaborate decoration was said to have been applied by Baskerville’s japanning workers, who worked with lacquer decoration on paper-mache boxes and trays. He had a number of business interests and was a prosperous man. His interest in letter design was more of a hobby than an occupation. Read ‘John Baskerville of Birmingham, letter Founder and Printer’ by F.E.Pardoe published by Fredrick Muller Ltd., London 1975,Isbn 0584 103549.”
Records found in Worcester Record Office Dec.1989. by P.B.Rance.
Parcel of papers called; “Foley Scrap Book” Ref 140.3762/8 for May 1821. This scrapbook was probably made up from Birmingham newspapers, perhaps the Birmingham Post or its ancestor.
This copy of a newspaper cutting dated May 1827.
” Disinterment – On Friday the remains of the celebrated John Baskerville, were disinterred in Birmingham. This gentleman, well known for the improvement he made in letter founding; was buried by an express direction contained in his will, in his own ground, in a Mausoleum erected for the purpose previous to his death. After his death the ground passed into the hands of Samual Ryland, Esq., who demised it to Mr. Gibson, who has since cut a canal through it. Soon after Mr.Ryland became possessor of this property, the Mausoleum erected for the purpose, which was a small conical building, was taken down and it was rumored at the tine, that the body had been removed. This proves to be ill founded, for it appears that a short tine before Christmas last, some workmen who were employed in getting gravel, discovered the leaden coffin. It was however immediately covered up, and remained untouched until Friday last, when the coffin was disinterred. The body was in a singular state of preservation, considering that it had been underground for about 46 years. It was wrapped in a linen shroud, which was very perfect and white, and on the breast lay a branch of laurel, faded but entire, and firm in texture. There were also leaves and sprigs of bay and laurel in other parts of the coffin and on the body. The skin on the face was dry but perfect. The eyes were gone, but eye brows, the eye lashes, lips and teeth remained. The skin on the abdomen and body generally was in the same state with the face. An exceedingly offensive and oppressive effluvia strongly resembling decayed cheese, arose from the body, and rendered it necessary to close the coffin in a short tine, and it was reentered. The putrefactive process must have been arrested by the leaden coffin having been sealed hermetically, and thus access of the air prevented. Mr. Baskerville was born at Wolverly, in this county, in 1706 and inherited a small paternal estate. He was Possessed of a natural elegance of taste, which distinguished every thing which came from his hands. His house, planned by himself, was more decorated with architectural ornament than any in Birmingham. The panels of his carriage were elegant pictures, and a pair of beautiful cream horses drew him. He loved fine clothes, and indeed seems in all respects to have been fond of show, united with something of singularity.” [Hand written on this document is;- ‘May 1821’]
Details from a handwritten document dated circa 1900.
“John Baskerville a native of Worcestershire and printer is entitled to notice only for the beautiful type which he employed in the printing of several works which are distinguished by the name Baskerville editions. The same John Baskerville a celebrated letter founder and printer in the forms of the types and various print processes of printing. He raised the art to a higher state than it had reached before, but his labors appear to have been but faintly appreciated. It has been remarked that his books are more elegantly than correctly printed. Gainsborough painted John Baskerville’s portrait. He was buried, by his own desire, in a tomb in his own garden. He was born at Wolverley in Worcestershire in 1706 and died 1775.”
Important Note. John Baskerville
Refer to; – Page VI. Baskervilles of Eardisley Branch, [My 1990 Baskerville family tree]
Many historians say that the Eardisley branch of the family died out after the Civil War when the castle was burnt down and the surviving members of the family were much reduced in wealth. During the course of my research documents showed that certain historians traced this branch down to Mary b.1640, John 1642 Benhaile 1642, Thomas 1642, Francis 1643, Humphrey Circa 1644, Herbert 1645, Frances 16??, Ann 1647. Who were the children of Thomas Baskerville and Frances Pember who lived until 1682 and 1683 respectively. Through the good offices of Mr. John Harden I have traced this branch for another four generations, see revised list for this branch on Page [I of this booklet. In 1678 a John Baskerville was born on the 26th March [Eardisley Registers 1660 to 1740] Although, as yet, I cannot prove it, I believe this John was the father of John Baskerville [The Printer] who was born at Wolverley [Nr.Kiddenninster) in 1706 and who died in Birmingham in 1775. Again this leads to controversy, as some historians believe John Baskerville [The Printer] was a social upstart. They have described his ‘Baskerville cresting’ of his coaches, now in the Nottingham Museum, as something to which he had no right, as he was in no way connected to the main Eardisley branch of the Baskervilles. Since I discovered the account of his exhumation/disinternment in May 1827 [Foley Scrap book in the Worcester Record Office] I believe previous historians are completely wrong as this account distinctly says ‘He [John Baskerville] inherited a small paternal estate’.
If One of John’s parent’s wills can be found we may well resolve this riddle quite easily but if we carefully consider the dates of birth which we already have, their sequence shows that, John [Senior] was baptized on 26th March 1678 and John [The Printer] in 1706. This would have made John [senior] 28 years old at the time of John’s [The Printer] birth in 1706.
To me, this very tidy run of dates. Plus the Baskerville custom of giving their children, their own christen names, makes me almost certain that my suggested connection to the main family is correct. Although I agree John Baskerville’s [The Printer] claim to a Baskerville crest on his coaches may be a little tenuous. But there again they are not exact copies of the true Baskerville crest, so he may have altered them enough to prevent any legal backlash from those of his relations entitled to the original Baskerville crest. After all it is generally acknowledged by all his historians that he was a smooth operator commercially and what better than an ancient family crest to attract customers in the eighteenth century? It is also very interesting to note that Woverley, nr. Kidderminister is approximately 18 miles from Sapey Common, near what is now called Woodbury Hill [old name Wolveshill?] which was the home of Sir Thomas Baskerville who married Eleanor Habingdon of Brookhampton Circa 1600. If John Baskerville [printer] was related to the main branch of the Baskervilles this may he another source to the estate he inherited, as Thomas Baskerville only had one daughter, who was the mother of the 10th Earl of Shrewsbury.
Lieutenant Peter Baskerville 1785
A Lieutenant Peter Baskerville was at the Siege of Louisbourgh, U.S.A., in 1785. From which branch of the family he came is not known.(P.B.R.1989)
Part Four. Peter Baskerville Rance – Born 1923.
It is very well known that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Wrote a Book, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ but he also wrote another book, ‘A study in Scarlet’ in which a John Rance is a main character. (N.B.P.B.R.Perhaps, having combined these two names, is my only claim to fame!)
APPENDIX ‘C’ An account from the Independent Newspaper of 25th August 1989;-Part One
A mysterious animal is running amok near the village from which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got his inspiration for his story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, writes David Thomas. Dozens of sheep have had their throats ripped out on farmland a few miles from Powys village Clyro. Armed farmers are making nightly searches alongside thick forest and across remote moorland around Hay on Wye in Herefordshire and Welsh border villages to track down the killer, which strikes at night. Conan Doyle wrote the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’, which he set in Dartmoor, after hearing the tale of ‘The Black Dog of Hergest’ while staying twelve miles from Clyro. Pamela Harnsworth (41) Landlady of the ‘Baskerville Arms Inn,’ Clyro said, “At least two people have seen it. It’s bigger than a fox and dark in color. Many think it’s a large dog” Traces of the animal, such as a foot print, have not been found. One farmer has ‘so far, lost sheep worth £300. A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said, “As unlikely as it seems something appears to be going on out there.”
In 1938, while staying at their house ‘Homefells’ in Malvern, the following event took place. My Baskerville aunts, Florence, Clara and Eleanor were walking on the Malvern hills when the fog came down and they claim they were followed by a large black animal for most of the way to their house ‘Homefells’, which was very high up the Malvern hills, at Malvern Wyche. The family was worried for sometime afterwards as they thought it might signify a coming death in the family. I am pleased to relate this did not happen!
APPENDIX ‘D’ Extract from a letter from Mrs.N.A.D.Walker (Betty) dated 6th Nov.1989.
Weobley in Herefordshire has records of the following; -Church Wardens List shows Thomas Baskerville in l7l8,l732,1742,l748,~ John Baskerville, as Parish Clerk, in 1757 and 1777 and a Parish Clerk called Richard Baskerville in 1890. There are three at least three monuments to Baskervilles dated 1834, ~38, 1841, 1844, 1875,1886 and 1892. In Weobley church graveyard. I had John Baskerville’s tomb cleared of ivy in 1990, arid this revealed the following inscription; – This tablet records the death of Mr.John Baskerville who departed this life the 2Oth November 1834. Aged 64 years. Born 1770. “All the relative duties of his conduct was extemporary, kind, affectionate to his wife and children and benevolent to all his fellow creatures. He has left a name which will he long cherished with the fondest recollections by his disconsolate widow and wide circle of friends” Also on the opposite side, Elizabeth, wife of John Baskerville, who died 21st March 1838, Aged 67 years. “Let the dead rest from their labour and the living profit by the tine yet spared to them”
APPENDIX ‘E’ Baskerville letters found among my Aunt Nell’s papers 1957.
Letter dated 1815 from Tavistock (Baskerville) to Mrs. Francis Hill, 107 Swallow Street, opposite Little Argile St.London.
Chymsworthy Nov 15th 1815.
I received a letter form you the 6th day of November instant saying on your letter that you wanted the remainder part of the rent so I have send you Twenty Pounds which is all that I have got for the present. I am greatly obliged to you for forbearing me so long time -I hope you will please to forebear me for the remainder part the rent for one month or six weeks for it is very bad time to rise money for present. I hope you will be so kind as other landlords are that is to fall the rent very considerable indeed for it is impossible to rise the rents that have been given if times are not better.
Paid for one years property tax 7 0 0
Paid for firs and planting safe 3 0 0
Paid for Eding in coppis 3 3 0
Ten seems of plants 15 0
For thorns and beans and coting 6 0
One day’s work for the Mason by the Cortgate 2 6
For one man day binding round the trees 2 0
£14 8 6
Remains due to you £9 11 6
but I hope you please consider me sum thing for the times are so bad
I am very sorry to hear you have been so unwell
From your most obedient and humble servant. W. Baskerville
P.S. I have also deducted 1/6p for the stamp of the bill I have sent you, which the Barkers have charged me so that the draft is £19 18 6
Editors Note. This was probably William Baskerville bapt. 14.3.1773. How and why did these letters come to be among Aunt Nell’s papers? P.B.R.1990.