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Adrian Fletcher & Sons and Dom Paradox in Britain, September - November 2009


last updated 13 February 2010





1. East South and West of England


2. North East of England (this page)


4. West Midlands


3. North West of England





Time-wise, the earliest visits are at the top of this page







The Parish Church of All Saints, Bubwith (south of York), where John & Sarah Ashton (Stubbings) were married on 20 Oct 1783, and Sarah's parents Joseph & Sarah Stubbings (Heels) were married on 26 Nov 1745.  The church has (computer data-based) lists of  weddings (and possibly baptisms and burials) in which James & Adrian found confirmations of the wedding dates.  There is also a grave map through which we found the only Stubbin(g)s grave - but it was not that of Joseph and Sarah.  Original records are kept at the Borthwick Institute (York University) - not (yet) visited - though we have now managed to get a CD of these. 


There is an outstanding "One Place Study" website about Bubwith


The River Derwent flows along the edge of the church grave-yard.  Further east along the Derwent, the Battle of Stamford  Bridge (curtain raiser to Hastings) took place in 1066.  Needless to say the bridge (or that bridge correctly) is no longer there.





York was an important Roman city, and the headquarters of the 6th Legion was where the Minster Cathedral now stands.  Constantine was proclaimed Roman Emperor here in 306.  Until the Normans reorganized England, York (along with the Prince Bishop enforcers and Northern Saints of Durham) was the HQ of the Christian church in England.  The medieval church (which replaced an earlier Norman job) is the biggest medieval structure in England.  It is called a minster though it never had a monastic community.  It's a wonderful building, let down by the fact that the chapter house - one of it's jewels - was in gloom with not a single light on.  We have a particular thing about churches who do this after making mandatory entry charges.


Link to York Minster page in Paradoxplace




All Saints Church, North Street, York, hammer beamed church where Robert Procter married Elizabeth Ashton on 24 Jan 1819 under the watchful gaze of the chancel angels.  We also walked down George Street, Walmgate, where Robert and Elizabeth lived and he was a chemyst.  It was said to be a really poor and rough area with women sitting on the kerbstones drinking and smoking pipes.




Pickering - Team Fletcher snags a time-warp weekend in Pickering when literally thousands of people get dressed up like it's still WWII.  You name it, they're there, including the Gestapo and the French Resistance!  It is an amazing event which lends itself to photos (but not ours as there was nowhere to park).  Here's one of the more prolific photo records BBC Report.




The Blacksmith's Arms Pub, opposite St Cedd's Church of St Mary, in the North Yorkshire Moors village of Lastingham.



Thanks to George for this photo of the Blacksmith's in the snow earlier in 2009.




Part of a Viking hog's head tomb in St Cedd's crypt of the Parish Church of St Mary, Lastingham, and (right) the "Full English" at the Blacksmith's Arms Pub.






Adrian and James visit Saint Aelred's mid 1100s Rievaulx - the most magnificently evocative of the British Cistercian Abbey ruins.




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Link to Rievaulx Page in Paradoxplace





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The fishing town of Bridlington - Priory Church of St Mary.




"Old Scarborough", the town of the Stringers and Dobsons, was clustered round the fishing harbour (just to the right of the photo) and overlooked by the (then) huge castle and the Parish Church of Saint Mary (top left).  "New Scarborough", the town of the John Fletcher and Joseph Procter families, was centred around Westborough and its Victorian railway station (to the left of the photo).




Link to St Mary's website



Scarborough - the imposingly sited, attractively weathered but sadly locked Parish Church of St Mary (above) where (Adrian's great great great grandfather) Matthew Dobson (Sailor) married Elizabeth Stringer on 27 Dec 1827, and earlier (we discovered from a day's library research), Elizabeth's father William Stringer married Mary Short  on 3 Aug 1797, William's father Edmond Stringer married Elizabeth Irish on  31 Oct 1776 and where Edmond's father (g-g-g-g-g-g grandfather) Francis Stringer married Arabella Darlinghurst on 31 Mar 1743.  Our ambition to backtrack to the 1600s was thwarted at this point when we could not find Francis' baptism record (and therefore parents, their marriage etc).  Must have been a foreigner (to Scarborough)!  The church apparently started life as a Cistercian Nunnery - daughter of the foundation Burgundian Cistercian Abbey of Citeaux.  Over the centuries it has survived weather and people - though it did get badly beaten up by the castle mob who were on the other side in the English Civil War (mid 1600s).


Some of the Stringers must have been buried here, but we could not find any of their headstones, though after the day of library name records it felt as though one was wandering amongst friends with several of the other names.  We discovered later that John and Maria Fletcher, Joseph and Elizabeth Procter and Elizabeth's mother Elizabeth Dobson are buried in the Manor and Dean Road Cemeteries.


Also in Scarborough is the impenetrable and very dour looking Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (below).  The present building is a late Victorian rebuild after a fire, so it was in its predecessor that Frank Edward Fletcher married Elizabeth Procter on 24 Apr 1889, and  Elizabeth's father Joseph Procter (son of York based Robert) married Elizabeth Dobson on 8 Mar 1859.


In the Scarborough library we also uncovered Commercial and street directory entries relating to the businesses of both John Fletcher (ironmonger of North Street) and Joseph Procter (draper of Westborough) in the second half of the 1800s, and an advertisement (right) placed by Procter in the Hagyard Directory of 1892.  We got photos of the two houses in North Marine Road where John and Maria Fletcher and their large family lived, but sadly both the shops in the town centre have gone.


John Fletcher's ironmonger shop in North Street was near to the new (then) main drag of Westborough and the Procter shop cum residence, and one can imagine the teenage Frank Edward Fletcher (b Feb 1864), ironmongers' apprentice but really a music buff, finding excuses to slip round the corner to the Procters to chat up their daughter Elizabeth Stringer Procter (b Boxing Day 1865). 


Oddly, there was no literature anywhere to be found about Scarborough Fair - one of the major medieval trade events which ran for 45 days a year for something like 500 years from January 1253.



Historical data about Scarborough



from the Hagyard Directory for Scarborough - 1882.  You can just read the "J Procter" sign in the shop at the end of the road below.





The Wesleyan Methodist Centenary Chapel (now called less attractively "Central Hall") is set back from Queen Street further down on the left.  The houses in this part of Queen Street, including the Black Swan pub, are  probably now basically the same as those that were there when great great grandparents Joseph Procter and Elizabeth Dobson married on 8 March 1859, and their daughter Elizabeth married Frank Edward Fletcher on 24 April 1889.  There would certainly have been a wedding photo or two from the second event but we ain't got them!




The bleak and locked Wesleyan Methodist Centenary Chapel in Queen Street.  The original was built in 1839 at a cost of 7,000 to seat 1,800 people, but this lump seems to be an early 1900s rebuild after a fire.




Victorian Scarborough - the morning misted Spa seen from Paradox HQ in the Grand Hotel.


More about Scarborough




The rain clears, the dogs bark, and the caravan moves on.  Whitby - the dramatic outline of the abbey ruins on the cliff top is the closest we'll get this time as we're on a mission to get to .......







Barnard Castle's "Victorian improved" butter market - now sadly isolated as an unvisited roundabout in the market town's wide and otherwise attractive main drag.  The white shop immediately right of the edge of the butter market roof (below) is where Joseph Procter (Adrian's g-g-g-g grandfather) was a chemyst and druggist and probably a grocer in the early 1800s.





The Parish Church of St Mary, Barnard Castle, where Adrian's g-g-g-g grandfather Joseph Procter married  Mary Harrison on 12 March 1792,  and also where she was buried only five years' later in 1797, aged 33 years.



The tombstone for g-g-g-g grandmother Mary Procter (Harrison)  (1764 - 1797 ((33)), along with Joseph's two other wives and some children - has Joseph's own name sunk into the earth?




The Rose and Crown at Romaldkirk (just north of Barnard Castle) - outstanding gastro and small hotel choice plus perfect village ensemble with (locked) church and greens.  Stay in the annex where you can park the car outside and do not have to lug bags upstairs.


Winner of the Club Paradox 2009 Overnighter Award.




The Premonstratensian Abbey of Egglestone, near Barnard Castle.





And would you believe that the sepulchral plate of the only remaining abbot's tomb in the ruined nave, like that of the Abbess of Romsey, features his hand forlornly trying to cling on to his worldly crozier ....




1. East South and West of England


2. North East of England (this page)


4. West Midlands


3. North West of England








Adrian Fletcher's main website



Paradoxplace, a place full of  the buildings (especially abbeys cathedrals and churches), art, books, history and stories of the movers and shakers of Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern Europe / Renaissance Italy and Western Europe plus lots of foodie stuff. 



Paradoxplace photo pages about Britain



Bellatrovata is the original "on the road" site for Adrian (aka Adriano and Dom Paradox) Fletcher's European explorations.  Material relating to explorations in Italy (including Tuscany, Rome and Venice), Spain, France and Britain between 2004 and 2006 has now been transferred to Adrian's main web site - Paradoxplace - and Bellatrovata has been spring cleaned in preparation for the next road trips in England (Autumn 2009) and  Northern Italy and Burgundy (May 2010).



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