our November Issue, we are pleased to welcome Sandra Ditzig as our guest
contributor. She brings us a story full of hope and inspiration - the
story of Eliza Stentiford and the man she married - Samuel Western.
an illegitimate child growing up in Coldridge, Eliza would have
felt the full force of the Poor Laws of the time, from the
moment the Parson wrote the words "base born" after
her name in the Parish Register, through the request for her
first petticoat or pair of boots (paid for by the village) to
her apprenticeship when she was bound into service until she was
21. Treating illegitimate children with incredible harshness and
turning them into second class citizens was supposed to deter
women from bringing such children into the world - in Eliza's
case, this certainly failed for her mother went on to have three
more. At least one of Eliza's sisters was born in the Workhouse
- the end of the line for the poor and needy.
rise above such a start in life so that your own children grew
up to mix socially in the elite circles of their day could not
have happened in England at that time - what Sandra has to tell,
through the pages of her Great Grandmother's Journal, could only
be an American story - not quite rags to riches, but very
definitely the tale of an escape to a totally different
lifestyle, full of hope and opportunity.
village of Chawleigh also features in this Issue. It was a more
prosperous place than Coldridge and offered more opportunities
for work to our ancestors. In Issue 2, we featured the sad story
of William Stentiford and Elizabeth May, six of whose children
lie in the quiet churchyard there - in future Issues, we
hope to write about other Stentifords whose lives were bound up
in that place.
Keep in touch.
Richard and Muriel