March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?
Still focusing on the marriage featured yesterday. How did my 3 x Great Grandparents meet? I have actually no idea. There have been no dairies left to indicate, so I am using a little poetic license to cast a speculative thought out into the ether.
William Elstone was born in Headley across the Hampshire border in 1800. He was married in Bramshott, a nearby village in 1828. There is consistent movement between lots of the parishioners with these two parishes and the nearby parish of Frensham Surrey and across to Petworth and other parishes, which are just into the County of Sussex.
His Bride, Eliza Bridger was born in Puttenham Surrey in 1809. Her mother was a native of Puttenham and her father came from Headley in Hampshire.
The Villages would have been independent of one another, yet in some ways consistent with the image portrayed in the BBC drama, Lark Rise to Candleford, there would have been movement and connections with the surrounding villages. Bramshott, although having a paper mill, was also, like the other parishes rural. Farming and working on the land would have been a major source of income. From this point, enters the concept of market days.
Puttenham is 4 miles or so from Guildford, which was an essential market town, and a direct route from Winchester to London. Puttenham is also about 4 miles from Farnham in the opposite direction from Guildford and also on route from Winchester to London. Headley and Bramshott are within easy walking distance of Farnham. Farnham to Puttenham is only 6 miles, and probably less walking across the fields.
The probability was that William and Eliza met at the local market town, I have a gut feeling Farnham, but no specific reason why that would be the case. The other possibility is that they shared a relationship with a third party – a friend or cousin and met through them.
This modern postcard, which I think I have featured before is a good quick reference to establish the locations of the various parishes; I often use it for inspiration!
We often judge distances by modern values, with roads and motorways. We need to think about walking. What we consider a pleasure; to walk 10 miles our ancestors did possibly daily, not for pleasure, but out of necessity. Our ancestors would have walked across the fields, enjoying the fresh spring and summer airs, but also enduring the wet and cold of Autumn and Winter.