About Me

Born Aberystwyth. Student London and Wells;in Birmingham U chaplain, theatre critic, arts administrator, as a poet pt posts at Warwick (Writing Programme) and Birmingham U (Lifelong Learning) U; residencies at poetry festivals, in psychiatric and general hospitals and at Worcester Cathedral; Birmingham Poet Laureate 1997-98, has won 1st and 2nd in National Poetry Comp.. My Running out, Five Seasons Press is a collecting together of work since Setting the poem to words (1998) and Crag Inspector (2002). My ancestry is in London, mainly the East End (and South Essex), where people I can trace came from across the country in the late 18th to mid-19thC. Names include on my father's side: Hart, Restell, Lewis, Yelverton, Copeland, Wrenn,. And on my mother's side: Cole, Brown, Stanley, Pond, Bradley. I am an elected Member of the Welsh Academy. Titanic Cafe poem booklet 2009 and Misky (Flarestack). 2012-13 Library of Birmingham Poet. Library Inspector or The One Book Library (Nine Arches, 2015). Currently working on poems.Email djhart11(at)mac.com.

Wednesday 6 June 2007

Henry Lewis silk weaver

In 1835 Henry Lewis married Mary Ann Yelverton at St Leonard's, Shoreditch (one of the witnesses was Edward Buckingham, a policeman) and, registering the birth of their son William Henry Lewis in 1838, Henry is shown as a silk weaver, living at Union Buildings, Kingsland Rd, Shoreditch.

As to Henry's birth, perhaps 1808, Shoreditch, parents William and Elizabeth. From where before then I don't know. There was a thought in the more recent family of Welsh heritage, but I can't find that and perhaps it was simply the name 'Lewis' suggested it. I was told in my hazy past of a man who had 'walked from Wales to London' - so maybe.

Mary Ann Yelverton had been born 1815 in London, her parents Edward and Martha Yelverton, Edward's father having been William, a goldsmith in Great Portand St, married to Lydia - who is a mystery. And the previous Yelvertons may have been those in Northamptonshire or in Norfolfk or maybe Ireland, I don't know.

Silk weaving was falling on hard times and Henry Lewis, his son William following on, became a tin plate worker. William married Sarah Clark and their daughter, Mary Ann Lewis, tailoress, married Henry Charles Restell, labourer (his father Henry a wheelwright) in 1888 at Trinity Church, Stepney, and lived in Alma Rd. Their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Restell, was my grandmother, married to Alfred Chappell Hart, in Mile End.

The Restells had moved east perhaps from Holborn, and before then perhaps from where there were many Restells, in Gloucestershire & the Welsh border. Perhaps here was the gift of Welsh.

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Sarah Ann Hart in Eastcheap 1851

Sarah Ann Hart's husband, John William Hart, is a mystery to me. He is missing from any census with her. His only appearance known to me is in his son William's marriage (to Mary Ann Copeland) certificate, 1858 in Stepney - and he may not even have been present - as an eating house keeper. There seems as with other branches of my ancestry to have been a movement from central London & the City, eastwards.

Sarah Ann & I suppose William John had a daughter, also Sarah Ann, and two sons, William and Henry. Sarah was nee Thomas, her widowed mother Sarah Thomas, said to have been born in Armagh, Ireland, was with her and the children in 1841 at Talbot Court, St Benet Gracechurch.

The Copelands: Mary Ann was daughter of Robert, a carman, born Stepney, and Susan (nee Wrenn) born Hoddesdon, Herts. Robert's parents were Robert, also a carman, born Shoreditch, and Emma, nee Webb, born Hyde, Wilts. In 1851 they were all living at 11, High Street, Whitechapel, and in 1861 some of them at 30, Anglesea St, Bethnal Green. The shift then was to Alfred St (later named Shandy St) in Mile End, where William Hart was a fellowship porter and Mary Ann was a collar maker.

My grandfather, Alfred Chappell Hart, b.1887, is something of a mystery. Although his b.certificate shows his parents as Alfred Hart and Alice Harriet Hart nee Copeland, that second mix of Hart and Copeland looks strange and that middle name 'Chappell' has no precedent within what I know of his ancestry. In no census does he appear with his parents (nor can they be found together), and seems from the records to have been brought up by his grandmother. He was a cork sorter, married to Sarah Elizabeth Restell, a tailor, nee Lewis, and when I - as a child - knew them they lived in Coutts Rd near the Regents Canal, those streets between the canal and Burdett Rd now demolished & become Mile End Park.