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last updated 6 October 2014


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Jimmy Sproule (1887-1955), Adrian's mother's father, was a career Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) Officer who joined the army in 1912 after training as a doctor in Dublin.  With 2014 Britain limbering up to 4 years of WWI centenary projects and activities we decided to have a drive around Aldershot to get in the mood and limber up the cameras.  The Aldershot "Camp" is a huge area which became the main base for the British Army in the second half of the 1800s, and which also housed the headquarters of the RAMC.  Jimmy Sproule was posted there a couple of times, and early in his army career he went to the Aldershot riding school - army doctors were all issued with horses in those days!  So this first pic of our 2014 road trip is from 100 years' ago - a class photo of the 1912-13 Aldershot riding school, with Lt Sproule looking unnatural on the right ....



Aldershot 1912-13 (Nov-Jan) 5th Dragoon Guards Riding School


Lieuts L.J.Poole, H.F.Pauton, R.B.Phillips, I.H.Balfour, Sgt Howard (5th Dragoon Guards), J.E.Hepper, R.C.Carlyle, H.J.S.Shields, J.C.Sproule


101 years' later, in 2014, as we were driving around the eerie expanses of empty soldierless Aldershot barracks, we happened upon the Duke of Wellington again ... restored and well and now overlooking a car park ...





A short hill leads from the car park to the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints.  It is called the




The 1914 Star medal (colloquially the Mons Star or the Old Contemptibles Medal) was awarded to British Expeditionary Force soldiers who went to France between 5 August (Jimmy Sproule went  on the 9th as the Medical Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers) and 22 November 1914, with a bar signifying service under enemy fire.




Tree blossom outside the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints, Aldershot







St Peter & St Paul, Godalming - Adrian's 5 x Grt Grandparents Mary (bu 3 November 1796) and Thomas (bu 5 April 1803) Stevenson are buried here, but lichen has made the older grave stones mostly impossible to read. 


Earlier in their lives they were parishioners of Saint Martin in the Fields (Westminster) where they married off their only surviving daughter Elizabeth to Thomas Seward on 10 October 1776.  We don't yet know what Daddy S did for a living.



Yeoman Thomas Seward (Adrian's 4 x Grt Grandfather) (1748 - 1817 (69)) was born in the family farm / water mill at Brewhurst, Loxwood (north of Wisborough Green).  He was the third of 6 brothers (and an unknown number of sisters).


At the turn of the Century, aged just over 50, Thomas the Yeoman Miller uprooted his family and took over the tenancy of a large farm at Weston, near Buriton (Hampshire), where he built a humungous windmill which kick started 100 expansionary years in the sun for the Sewards in Weston.  






Yeoman John Seward (Adrian's 5 x Grt Grandfather, c1720 - c1765 (45)) and his wife Hannah (Lidbetter) (1719 - 1799 (80)) were married in St Andrew, Steyning, on 1 July 1742.  Hannah came from a wealthy Steyning / Bramber / Sussex family, and she and Yeoman John lived in (and probably owned) Brewhurst farm and (water) mill, just south east of Loxwood, all of which we visited just before Easter (April 2014). 




The Brewhurst water mill (which extends for another two stories downwards over the water race) and some of the farm buildings.






St Nicholas was part of the now deceased Bramber Castle (built by William de Broase in 1073).  Hannah Seward (Lidbetter) was christened (30 January 1719) and buried (24 June 1799) here, but we know not whether her gravestone survives as they are mostly unreadable.



Remnants of a yesteryear capital eating doodle in St Nicholas church Bramber.




John and Hannah were married in St Andrew, Steyning, on 1 July 1742.  The nave is your genuine magnificent Norman, the only survivor from a huge abbey church.  Back in 1742 the nave was all there was left and the arch at the end was boarded up!








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



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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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