We have just returned from a couple of pleasant days in Somerset. We drove across the Mendip hills where there were piles of snow still lying under hedgerows and edging the roads. But the sun was shining and the sky was blue and there was a hint of spring in the air.
We explored the beautiful ancient city of Wells, with its moated Bishops Palace and fresh water wells, and an amazingly preserved medieval street of houses. And that’s not mentioning the cathedral with its quirky carvings, ribbed vaulting and almost modern looking scissor arched nave.
The following day we wandered around the gothic style house and sprawling estate at Tyntesfield. So much to see inside and out, the kitchen garden glasshouses holding almost as many treasures as the inside rooms!
Our journey into the past continued as we drove on to Weston-Super -Mare, a Victorian seaside resort much influenced by the coming of the Great Western Railway. We were searching for another, small and humbler, house which had belonged to my great grandfather Henry Bartlett. In 1911 he was living on The Boulevard, Weston-Super-Mare, a wide tree lined street of Victorian built houses. By an amazing coincidence of timing we met the lady who lives there now, and she asked us inside and we were able to stand inside his drawing room and look out of the window, This was the house where my grandfather Sydney Bartlett grew up with his little brother Ernest.
We drove a few streets further on and found the large town cemetery where I thought my great grandmother Lilian Mary Bartlett, Henry’s wife, might be buried. I had a photo of her grave taken in 1923 when she died of meningitis aged 52. By another amazing coincidence we met a cemetery worker who was able to help us locate the grave, now nearly 100 years old. To my surprise I found that not only was Henry Bartlett buried there in 1947, but another wife, Edith, who died in the 1960’s, well after I was born and yet I never knew anything about her! I do love family history surprises.
The modern photo includes me with the cemetery worker who has tended these graves for over thirty years and was so helpful.