Posted in family, Travel

Tiny Research Steps

The steps today seemed tiny and, on occasion, even a bit futile. Which seems like a strange thing to say about a day touring around in a foreign country.

Our visit to the Liverpool area was twofold. We wanted to visit our friends who live there and do some research into my great uncle’s life, death and perhaps final resting place. The computer “paper” trail of my great uncle’s life has gone a bit cold. I was lucky that my Canadian cousin did a lot of base research. Born 1886 in a poorhouse in Ormskirk, that’s also where we believe he died. A brief stint in Canada from 1911 to 1925 but as he was an “undesirable” due to some sort of mental illness that rendered him unemployable, he was deported from Canada shortly after his mother’s death.

So armed with a great local driver we set off for Ormskirk. The history section and a librarian were a good start.

So then info turned up that the Ormskirk work house was closed in the 30’s when it became the Ormskirk County Hospital.

Which was then closed in 1948 and the patients were farmed out. So we’ve managed a couple of descent suppositions about where he went in the as either Greaves Hall Hospital or Sefton House Hospital.

The National Registry office at Ormskirk sent us to Preston. Preston to Liverpool. Liverpool had already replied to my email in the negative. Ah fun and games. Perhaps I wasn’t asking for the right info from the right place?

Our heads full, my research assistants and I went to the beach to check out a cool art display there.

Then this evening, as we told info to our lovely friend, she picks up her tablet and starts finding connections. More info to tract down and possible places to look for more info. Plus an offer to check out records if my future email inquires turn up more leads. It really helps us that she grew up here and totally understands the changes to boundaries etc.

One tiny step closer to perhaps finding out an answer or two. First up though sleep!


Ps never managed to hit post last night as it was a long day, late evening and then an early morning today.

Posted in Travel

Medieval Steps

Today we ventured into the medieval past and stepped back to 1460 at Gainsborough Hall. This is a wonderfully preserved specimen of a rich baron’s home.

As two people who love architectural and historical details it was a win win for sure. Add to that how well it was presented and the fact that we got in for the “concession” rate available for seniors it was a double bonus.

The great hall is so wonderfully preserved. The ceiling alone is worth the admission price. The stone tower, the buttery (where the butler stored the beer,wine and meed) and the pantry added to the ambience.

The half timbered building was started by the Burgh family who have the most interesting history and connections to royalty. It was built between 1460 & 1470 by Sir Thomas Burgh; a wealthy, powerful and flamboyant man.
His grandson died in 1528, leaving his eldest son, sir Thomas as head of the family. In 1529, his son and heir, Sir Edward, married Catherine Parr, The couple would stay at Gainsborough Old Hall until 1530, when they were granted their own manor in Village of Kirton-in-Lindsay.(see side note in an upcoming post about that town and my connection to it).

In this hall both Richard the 3rd and Henry 8th dined. The latter visited Gainsborough twice; once in 1509 and again in 1541 with the doomed Queen Catherine Howard. The Queen was accused of indiscretions both at Gainsborough & Lincoln and she was executed. Catherine Parr, by this time a widow became the final wife of Henry 8th.

But what really fascinated both of us was the kitchen rooms. They hadn’t been modernized anywhere along the way and the interpretive displays were so well done. Even the ceiling was fascinating with a cupola for letting out smoke still intact. The size of the fireplaces was so massif and the 2 bread ovens were amazing. The kitchen servants lived above the kitchen in assorted little rooms.

The family had the east wing complete with the tour room while the guests stayed in the West wing. Outside on south was a garden which replaces the original market that stood there. It’s a great example of what a medieval garden would have looked like.

The windows alone show the amount of money that was poured into this establishment. That doesn’t even touch upon all the other items that highlight what am amazingly well preserved manor home this is.

We climbed the 49 steps up to the top of the tower. We saw the amazing views but also the Tudor Rose carved into a ceiling that Henry 8th was never going to see even though it was put there to prove their loyalty. Instead; tourists hundreds of years later stare at it and are amazed at the workmanship.

There are more pictures, says the person with hundreds of photos on her phone, but alas I have not figured out how to do a slide show of them here from my phone. I also can’t remember what program my friend uses for putting hers into a gallery of nine. So that means that’s it for this post.


I just learnt tonight that my cousin and her husband went to a Hunt Ball in the late 70’s in the great hall before it became a museum. How cool is that?