Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I’ll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time,
To tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?
Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.
You know you are addicted to genealogy when you hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery and would rather browse that cemetery than go shopping any day of the week.
You can reel off, name after name, of your ancestors without even thinking about it.
Your storage is overflowing with certificate, old photos, paperwork and reference books and you would rather examine a census than read a book.
You are more interested in what happened hundreds of year ago than what’s happening now in 2022.
And you have traced every one of your ancestral lines back to nearly Adam and Eve, and still don’t want to quit.
This is Sarah and I through and through, we are hook, line and sinker and love, love, love it.
Our homes maybe far from perfect but who wants to be remember for that. We would rather be remembered for our passion, our determination and the love we have for ancestors and their humble lives.
Some may say, we are wasting our time, that no one cares but in a hundred years time, would you rather your crumbling ivy covered headstone lay deserted, long forgotten or a single rose laid at it base, as your descendants remember you and honour the life you lived and the life you gave to others, in turn giving them life.
It’s our ancestors humble lives and their stories that may have lead you here today, as we honour the ones that came before as we invite you to travel back in time to learn all about our family, be it through riches or rags, fact or suspicion, these wonderful lost souls are no longer forgotten, instead they are imprint upon these pages as well as our hearts.
It is with the greatest honour and respect that today I get to share with you, to the best of my knowledge, the life story of one of my ancestors, Christian Luke.
She is a character that’s for sure and one whom will not easily be forgotten. I hope you enjoy reading about her as much as I enjoyed piecing together her life through documentation.
So without further ado I give you,
The Life Of Christian Luke.
Welcome to the year 1808, England. George III was on the throne, William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (Tory) was Prime Minister, George Canning was Foreign Secretary and it was the 4th Parliament.
My fourth great Grandparenrs, Moses Luke, son of Moses Luke and Hannah Luke nee Grey and Catherine Kitty Mason, daughter of Jonathan Mason and Catherine Southwell and their 5 children, (my 3rd Great Uncles and Aunts), Moses, Sarah, Phoebe, John and William, were residing in the small country village, Lockerley, previously known as Lockerslei and Lockerlega.
Lockerley is a village and civil parish in Hampshire, England, on the border with Wiltshire. The village lies on the southern bank of the River Dun about two miles upstream from its confluence with the River Test and about 2.5 miles east of West Dean which is just over the Wiltshire border. The nearest town is Romsey, about 5 miles to the south-east and is about 13 miles from Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
The village is grouped round Butts Green in the north of the parish.
To the east is a brick farm-house of early 18th-century date.
North of the village and separated from it by the London and South Western Railway are the church and rectory. West of the church is Lockerley or Ford Mill apparently of late 17th-century date, now much modernized.
North-west of Lockerley village is Lockerley Green, the two villages being practically joined by their straggling outskirts.
East of Lockerley village between the Manor Farm and Canefield is a large earthwork. Painshill is in the south-west of the parish, Holbury, which lies north, is now partly included in the parish of East Tytherley.
Holbury Mill is said to stand on the site of one of the mills mentioned in Domesday Book, and there are many references to it in records.
Roman coins and pottery have been found near Holbury Farm, and the remains of two ancient camps and a Roman villa are still to be seen in the neighbourhood.
The subsoil is gravel, the soil chalk and clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats and turnips.
Butler’s Wood was inclosed in July 1815, under the Act of 1811.
Now you know a little of the area, lets get back to it.
About 1808 Catherine gave birth to my paternal 3rd Great Aunt, Christian Luke, who was also went by the name of, Catherine Luke.
She was born in quaint village of Lockerley, Hampshire, England.
Moses and Catherine, baptised Christian, at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, on Sunday the 12th of June 1808.
James Pitkin the current priest of, St John, very kindly confirmed her baptism.
The original Chapel of St. John The Evangelist, was built by William Briwere, founder of Mottisfont Abbey in C1200.
Here is charming water colour by Jane Austen’s elder sister Cassandra showing the old St John’s church in 1787. It is a view from the river Dun and shows the rectory as it was at the time.
Amongst the parish registers a loose sheet of paper dated 1745 gives a seating plan of the old church. Familiar family names reappear, Edney, Betteridge, Pragnell and amongst the houses to which seats are allocated are The Manor Farm, The Charity School Farm and Painshill. There were separate seats for strangers and also Wummen’s Setes!
The 1855 census describes the old Saxon church as “a small mean building with tile roof and wooden belfry containing two bells”. Perhaps this is why the Dalgety family felt the need to rebuild. In the churchyard in spring, rows of daffodils mark the outline of the walls of the old church; the cornerstones remain and an old tombstone placed horizontally marks the site of the altar. A model of the old church, presented by Captain Dalgety, is on view in the porch. Little else remains of the old church, once again in the porch, you will notice the old font and, set in the wall above the inner doorway, are the weather cock and a piece of carved oak from the gallery.
The present church was consecrated on October 16th 1890 and was built alongside the old Saxon church which was demolished. The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 10th August 1889 by Frederick Gonnerman Dalgety of Lockerley Hall and he built the church at his sole expense.
The Luke family history shows the family using, The church of St. John The Evangelist, for hundreds of generations. The Church is very special to my hubbie and I as our boys were baptised here and we renewed our wedding vows there not long ago. My in-laws Roger and Janet, were also married there and I hope one day to be buried there along side my many ancestors.
Very little is known about Christians life over the next 20 odd years, apart from the births of her Siblings.
Charlotte Luke, was born on Tuesday the 7th of May 1811 and baptised on Sunday the 16th of June 1811 at The church of St. John The Evangelist.
Charlotte went on to marry, John Dunn, son of John Dunn and Eliz, on Tuesday the 22nd of April 1834 at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire.
Charlotte died in the March quarter of 1752, ages 44, in the Romsey District. (GRO Reference: 1852 M Quarter in ROMSEY, Volume 02C Page 3.)
It is believed she was laid to rest in Romsey on the 4th January 1852.
Henry Luke, was born about 1814 and was baptisped at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, on Sunday the 15th of May 1814.
Henry went on to wed, Elizabeth Burnett, in the September quarter of 1845, in the Romsey district. (Volume 7, Page 273).
Henry Died aged 85, in the December quarter of 1901, in the Romsey District. (Volume 2c, Page 65.)
And Susanna Luke, my 3rd Great Grandmother, was born about 1820 and was baptised on Sunday the 9th of January 1820, at, The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire.
You can read all about her life here and here.
I’m sorry to say yet again, not much is know about the next ten year, but I can promise you her life gets interesting from here on out.
It was in the year 1830, Christian made a life changing decisions that would start a roller coaster of events that would end her up in a lot of trouble.
It all started with a marriage to a gentleman called Mr. George Collins.
Christian and George made the sacred promise of marriage, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do them part, on Sunday the 18th of July 1830, at The Church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire.
I wonder what their wedding would have been like?
James Pitkin told me, “A wedding in 1830 would follow the Wedding Service in the Book of Common Prayer. (James, has kindly given me a copy, if you are interested in reading it please let me know.)
There would have been no paperwork, apart from an entry in the Registers, which are now located at Hampshire Records Office, in Winchester.”
Had Christian, her mother Catherine and her sister, Sarah, Phoebe, Charlotte and Susan, made a dress for Christian to wear on her big day? Would they have picked flowers from their garden for bouquets or to wear in the hair? Or would it have been a matter of throwing on their Sunday best and making do?
Who would have walked her down the aisle? Would there have been bridesmaids?
What would the groom George have worn?
How did they celebrate after?
And how nervous would Christain have never been about the consummating of their marriage? Or had they already done the deed?
Would they honour their vows or would the twisted hand of fate, change their paths forever?
As you can see, Christian and George had not saved themselves for marriage as their daughter, who they named Anne Collins, was born about 1830.
Christian/Catherine had Anne Baptised on Sunday the 24th of October 1830, at St Marys Church, Mitchelmersh, Hampshire.
James confirmed this but added that Anne was a premature birth.
It was not long until there were troubled waters. In the summer of 1830, The ‘Swing’ riots had started, originating from Kent, England. After major riots in the North the riots had spread to the south especially in the Lower Test Valley area of Hampshire.
On the Monday morning of the 22nd of November 1830, a meeting of local farmers took place in the Vestry of St Mary’s Church, Michelmersh to discuss raising the wages of their farm labourers.
As the meeting took place, about a hundred or so labourers gathered outside the church to hear the results.
The crowd became excited and James Futcher, farmer of Hall Farm, heard cries of.
“On to Hall Farm.”
He rushed out of the meeting and pursued the mob as they made their way to his farm. On the way one of the labourers, Arthur Fielder, demanded half a crown from James Futcher. It seems that this was money he was owed but his manner of demanding it was threatening and he was later charged with extorting money by threats although the charge was dismissed.
At Hall Farm the mob found George Collins, Christians husband, who had been guarding James Futcher’s ricks, for fear of incendiary attacks for the preceding 3 nights.
Arthur Fielder a carpenter and John Tongs a blacksmith, were armed with hammers, Christians brother In-Law John Collins, George Palmer and Henry Rogers carried sticks. They went to the barn and destroyed the threshing machine.
John Tongs, Henry Rogers and Arthur Fielder were seen to be taking an active part in the destruction while George Palmer and Christians brother In-Law, John Collins, stood by and called out. George Collins appears to have joined the mob after this and gone on with them to smash a second threshing machine at, Mr Gale’s farm.
(Arthur Fielder and John Tongs took no further part in rioting. They later made a public apology to the local farmers which seems to have been accepted.)
George and John Collins, George Palmer and Henry Rogers, continued into the markt town of Romsey and joined the already gathered mob there.
In the evening they were involved with the mob approaching Captain Heathcote’s house at Jermyns. Having been dispersed by special constables from Romsey, the mob went from farm to farm destroying machines and levying contributions.
After midnight they arrived at, Luzborough Farm, where a detachment of special constables were waiting and captured 12 of the ringleaders, including George and John Collins, George Palmer and Henry Rogers.
They were taken to Romsey, placed in gaol and later transferred to Winchester.
The scale of the rioting in Hampshire led to a Special Commission of Assize being called. Two days before it opened, Fielder and Tongs were arrested and taken to join the others in Winchester Gaol.
Their charges and sentences were as follows,
George Collins – Riotous and illegal assembly and extortion. – Transportation 7 Years.
John Collins – Money from several persons. – Transportation 7 Years.
Henry Rogers – Riotous and illegal assembly and extortion money from several persons. – 1 year in prison with hard labour
George Palmer – Destruction of threshing machines. – Transportation 7 Years.
Arthur Fielder – Destruction of threshing machines.Felonious assault on James Futcher, putting him in ‘bodily fear’ and taking from him three shillings – no evidence was brought for this second charge and it was dismissed. – Transportation 7 Years.
John Tongs – Riotous assembly and destruction of threshing Machines
Of the hundred strong mob, who smashed the threshing machines in Michelmersh only 6 were arrested and punished.
Justice Vaughan, in his addresses to the Special Commission made it clear that the policy of the court was to make examples of the ring leaders.
Justice Vaughan also made it clear that he had more sympathy with the genuinely poor labourers. Many groups of farmers had already acknowledged that wages were too low for labourers to manage on.
However heavy punishments were therefore given to those involved who did not fall into this category for example, the craftsmen and better educated labourers who already earned more than the 12 shillings a week the labourers were asking for. George and John Collins fall into the category.
It is unfortunate that many of the men in this category were called on by fellow labourers because they had access to heavy tools, like blacksmiths’ hammers, needed to destroy the threshing machines, as well as being generally well respected by their neighbours. Many of these men were recommended for mercy by the Grand Jury and many also presented letters recording their previous good conduct.
John Tongs presented a letter from Mr. Oak Esq of Southampton, to the archdeacon giving him an extremely good character.
Justice Vaughan seems to have felt that this made their conduct worse and no mercy was shown. John Tongs in his defence claimed that when he joined the Michelmersh mob he had no intention of harming anyone and only joined them in preference to being called on by the Timsbury mob which, he implied, was less well behaved. Unfortunately there is no record of any activity of the Timsbury mob.
All those sentenced for transportation were taken from Winchester Gaol to the Prison Hulk, York, at Portsmouth.
The York was built and launched from Rotherhithe yards, England in July 1807 and sailed to the West Indies with Hood’s squadron under Captain Robert Burton. The 74-gun third-rate ship had an eventful naval career including action in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1817, YORK returned to Portsmouth and was paid off, decommissioned and converted into a prison hulk in 1820.
Up to 500 convicts and their guards lived, ate and slept in the ship’s extremely cramped conditions. Serious overcrowding and a backlog of prisoners bound for Australia led to a rebellion aboard the YORK in 1848. The ship was finally taken out of service and ironically, broken up by convict labour in 1854.
From prison Hulk, York, they were transferred to the transportation ships. The Michelmersh men went on the Eliza on 6th February 1831. There were 224 convicts on board, you can see who they were here.
It was Eliza’s fifth convict voyage. She was under the command of John Groves and surgeon William Anderson. She left Portsmouth, England on 6 February 1831 and arrived at Hobart Town on 29 May.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a image or drawing of the Eliza.
Even while being transported the Swing rioters were regarded as rather different from the usual criminals.
From letters home written by the Masons from Sutton Scotney, it appears that they were not continuously shackled and were allowed to wear their own clothes when they went ashore in Australia.
On shore they were told not to associate with the ‘real’ criminals.
When the George, John and the other Michelmersh rioters, arrived in Van Diemans Land, on Saturday the 28th of May 1831, they were scattered serving different masters.
Back in England their families became immediately dependent on the Poor Relief, as soon as their menfolk were arrested. Most remained dependent for a long time.
A campaign to gain pardons for those transported was started immediately and received a good deal of support but the process took time, as you can imagine.
George and his motley Crew, were featured in the Saint James’s Chronicle on Thursday, the 30th of December, 1830.
George Collins, was one again in the papers, for having feloniously destroyed the thrashing machine of Mr Gale, as mentioned above.
Little is known about George, after he was deported, apart from on the 27 January 1835, in Van Diemans Land, Tasmania, Australia, he was found guilty of being in his master’s house at 12 o’clock at night in a state of intoxication. He was reprimanded. I wonder how, but then again, I think I would rather not know if he was harmed in anyway.
George was assigned to Mr Canttarden at Sorell and remained with him until he received his ticket of leave in 1835. He received his free pardon on the 3rd of February 1836.
The following year he married Mary McCaul, a convict woman, at Sorell, where he had been assigned. It looks like George and Mary, settled in Sorell.
George Collins, died at Sorell, in May 1859.
I wonder how Christian felt about her husband being deported? Would she have been supportive about the riots or was she mad as hell, for putting their married life in jeopardy and of course leaving her to bring up their wee bairn, all on her own.
Would she even had a choice in him protesting or would she have been silenced?
Did George say in contact?
Was she aware that he remarried?
Was that even legal or was it a case of what the devil doesn’t know cant hurt.
If Christian was left with a lot of what ifs, (as I am) and no information about what had happened to her husband, how was she meant to know how to move forward from then on out.
I’m pleased to say that her Christians Sister, Sarah Luke, who was married to, John Collins, (you may remember reading about in the above.) was also deported but stayed true to his vows and returned home to his wife Sarah. Sarah and John and their six children returned to Australia and stayed their until their deaths in 1875 and 1877.
So what became of Christian? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Let jump forward in time to the year 1841, the year of the census, which was taken on the eve of Sunday the 6th June 1841.
The census shows, Christian was residing at, Butler’s wood, Lockerley, with her daughter Ann. Her father Moses, Mother Catherine Kitty and sister Susan, were either next door or occupying the same house.
Christian, doesn’t have a occupation listed so she was possible living of Poor Relief or her Father Moses was supporting her and her daughter Anne.
I’m sad to say, what came next in her already traumatic life, is the one thing we all dread throughout our own lives. I’m sure, as sure can be, that Christians heart was about to be broken, as on Friday the 16th of July 1841, at Lockerley, Hampshire, Christians mother, Catherine Kitty Luke nee Mason, aka Kitty, passed away.
Kitty died from Natural Decay at the age of 72 years.
Her husband Moses Luke, of Lockerley, registered her death on the 17th July 1841, in Romsey. He signed with an X.
Kitty was laid to rest at, The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, on Tuesday the 20th of July 1841.
I have the clearest picture in my mind, of the Luke family gathered around Kittys grave, each and every of them trying to be brave, wiping away the tears with their sodden handkerchiefs. Christian consoling her father, as her own heart breaks, seeing the loss and devastation in her fathers eyes.
How could life every be the same after such a great loss.
My soul seriously weeps for Christian, as I know the thought of loosing my own wonderful mum, makes every inch of my being ache with an unexplainable sorrow. I can’t even begin to think of it or I will start wailing and never stop.
Sadly more heartbreak followed, when Christine is brother, William Luke a labourer, died on Thursday the 23rd of February 1843, at Sherfield English, Romsey, Hampshire, England, when he was 46 years old.
William died from, Phthisis, also know as tuberculosis or white plague.
Harriet Moody, of Sherfield English, registered his death on the same day, Thursday the 23rd of February 1843, in Romsey.
William was laid to rest at The church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, on the 26th February 1843.
Had Christian and William been close?
Had she visited him in Carter Clay (my hubbies home hemlet) when he was living there in 1841 possible with the Morgan Family or a very least, the Morgan familys neighbours. What was Williams relationship with Harriet Moody?
I’m glad to say, Christian found a little happiness, as on Tuesday the 6th of June 1843, Christian married bachelor Mr. David Kemish, son of Mr. Benjamin Kemish and Mrs Charlotte Kemish nee Moody. (My 5th Great-Granduncle and Great-Grandaunt.)
They married in the parish of Fisherton Anger in Wiltshire.
Christian used the name Catharine Collins.
David gave his profession as, Traveller and their residence as Fisherton Anger. It looks like they didn’t give their Fathers names.
Their witnesses were, Henry Luke and Amelia Bailey.
They all signed with an X.
Fisherton-Anger, is a parish in the hundred of Branch and Dole, in the county of Wiltshire. It is situated on the western bank of the river Avon, and is a suburb of the city of Salisbury, with which it is connected by a stone bridge. A monastery of Black Friars was founded here about the 13th century. Both the Great Western and South-Western railways have stations here, and the gaol for the county, as well as the infirmary, are situated on the side of the river. There is also a private lunatic asylum conducted in Fisherton House.
I have not found any evidence that they actually lived there.
I’m not sure how legal their marriage was, but as you can see on their marriage certificate, Christian/Catharine has put herself as a spinster.
Hmmmmm thats not true now is it?
Her husband was alive and kicking, shacked up with his new bride in Australia.
Deary Deary me, there could be trouble ahead.
And yes I’m going to make you wait a little longer to find out. I’m a tease but in honesty, I’m awaiting some certificates. (They are taken a long time at the moment.)
Before I go, I must thank, Marry Harris, from the Romsey Local History Society for all your information on the Swing Riots. I greatly appreciate your help and knowledge.
Until next time,
Too-da-loo for now.
I have brought and paid for all certificates,
Please do not download or use them without my permission.
All you have to do is ask.