Tamworth and the Lost Family

Today was the day that I had been anticipating for a very long time. Today I was going to meet my second cousin that I did not even know existed until just a few years ago. The story goes that my great grandfather Wilmot I (on my Dad’s side) moved to London and married Charlotte Edmonds and they had four children. Tragically they both died when the children were still quite young and the children were taken in by some relatives which did not treat them very nice. When my grandfather (Wilmot II) was old enough, he emigrated to Canada and started a family there with my Gran (who had emigrated from Wales with her parents). My dad (Wilmot III) is the result of that union. The rest of the children scattered and we have been able to track down some of the family (remember way back when we met Norman in Australia?). However, we have since found out that our cheeky great grandfather had originally married a young lady from Liverpool and they had a daughter Louise.  Louise consequently had a son Joe who married and had two daughters Glenys and Elayne. Once they started digging into their family history, they connected all the dots that lead to us.  My mom and Glenys have been corresponding for some time and I could hardly wait to meet her.

We drove the hour and a half up to Tamworth from our BNB in Cheltenham and were greeted at the door by Ron and Glenys Bagley. They were as excited to see us as we were them. We swapped some stories, watched a short video that Glenys and Ron had made documenting some family history, had a little lunch and then they took us around the Tamworth area. Our first stop was the little house where Glenys’ dad grew up. She remembers playing there as a child and thinks that she was allowed to run quite wild while she was there. We then stopped at No Man’s Heath, which is where Wilmot I’s parents lived and farmed and where he was born. There is a town there now but none of the original buildings from the 1850’s still exist. We continued on to the small village of Chilcote and stopped at St. Matthews Church. Wilmot’s parents are buried here and it was very emotional for me to see the headstone of William Wileman (died January 23, 1884 aged 71) and Mary Ann Wileman (died March 4, 1895 aged 79) – my great-great grandparents. How absolutely amazing!!

Next to Chilcote is the village of Netherseal. It was here while working as a governess at Netherseal Hall, Louise, Glenys’ grandmother met her husband, a coachman. Life was not kind to Louise and she lost her husband while her children were very young. Poor Louise succumbed to TB only a couple of years later leaving her children orphaned.  The children were placed with an elderly aunt until they were able to make their way in the world. Joe, Glenys’ dad, joined the Navy at the start of WWII while her Auntie Mary married. Both lived long lives, with Joe dying just a couple of years ago at the age of 102.

We headed back to the house and after having some tea, we decided that we will go back tomorrow to meet Elayne and spend a few more hours with our “new” family. How wonderful!!


The area near where William and Mary Wileman farmedimg_5271

Netherseal Hall


Glenys and Col in front of the school attended by Wilmot I and his brothers. It is still in use as a nursery school.


St. Matthews Church


William and Mary’s Headstone




The Cotswolds

I have always heard that the Cotswolds were beautiful and today we were going to find out for ourselves. Our BNB hosts suggested that we stop at Bourton-on-the-Water to get the essence of the area. This cute little village is known for its picturesque High Street, flanked by long wide greens and the River Windrush that runs through them. The river is crossed by five low, arched stone bridges. They were built between 1654 and 1953, leading to the nickname “Venice of the Cotswolds”. Talk about stepping back in time!! We walked along the quaint little streets, admiring the stone buildings and eating Cotswold ice cream. It was a great start to this day!

We headed off to Stow on the Wold, another sweet little village. We only drove through this one as we could not find a place to park. Again, it was so very cute.

The next stop on our list was Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. We had some lunch and wandered the streets, checking out the shops, taking pictures and enjoying the history in a touristy setting. No regrets stopping here!!

A few miles down the road was Warwick Castle. Unfortunately by the time we arrived here, the castle was about to close. We wandered the gardens and were able to take some pictures of the exterior. This medieval castle was built by William the Conqueror during the 12th century. We were sorry that we were unable to tour the interior but I am sure that we will be able to see another castle or two before we leave the UK.

Our last stop of the day was Worcester Beacon in the Malvern Hills. We drove the winding narrow road as high up the hill as we could and then hoofed it from there. Rain was threatening but we decided to hike it to the top. It was a tough climb but the views were well worth it!! We spent a few minutes admiring the panorama before we decided to head back down. Unfortunately, we spent a few minutes too long because it started to pour. By the time we reached the car, we were soaked. It was a pretty wet ride home!!

It was a long day but the proof is in – the Cotswolds are beautiful!! Well worth a visit!!

Bourton on the water.




Shakespeare’s birthplace.img_5233

Warwick Castle and Gardens.


Beacon Hill