Saturday, September 12, 2009


James Ridley Monk

Lots of good things today.
We peered through the window and saw our foxes – they look healthy. I wonder if they will stay once the medical centre is built.

We have been to two car boot sales.
The one this morning, at Faygate, had little for us to sell; but I do have a new keyboard for £3. The other one was working fine – but what a joy to have one devoid of crumbs! I do tend to nibble as I work and play at the computer. It is really good to use.
Later we went to Edenbridge – to the rutted farmer’s field which is so difficult to push my trolley over.
There were lots of stalls. We bought things which will sell when we get around to it. I have some interesting bar jugs and what are supposed to be Victorian christening mugs in pewter.
We also have a framed map for the wall – it’s big and I am not sure where we shall put it. There are 2 large circles with maps, having Blindley Heath at their centre – but this does include family places like Lingfield and Dormansland. One map is a modern OS map and the other dates from 1880.

Family history was on our minds anyway.
We noticed on Thursday when we drove past Horne church that this weekend was a heritage weekend and the church would be open.
We were on our way back from cousin Ann’s on Thursday and only on that road because of the long term roadworks near Copthorne which have closed the road we would normally use.
Lucky for us!
Horne church features on the Monk family tree.
Bill’s great great great grandfather James Ridley Monk was married there to Joanna Terrey in 1772.
The church would have been much smaller then; in late Victorian times considerable renovation, repair and some expansions were undertaken.
But there are still old tomb stones laid in the aisle to remind us of its history.
James Ridley Monk has fascinated me.
He was the child of Jane Monk, youngest daughter of William Monk and Mary Harp.
Probably our Jane was sent off to work in a big house as a serving girl and at the tender age of 16 produced her son. She named him James Ridley Monk.
One assumes that perhaps the father of her child was from the Ridley family – there was one in a big house between Horley and Charlwood.

The church registers at Horne were on display on the altar. There were quite a few welcoming people, eager to hear our story and very quickly pages were turned and there were the details of the marriage at the top of the page.
I was moved to see that James could write his name. It was a good moment to look hard at the words an ancestor had written.
Joanna, his bride, could only make a cross by the side of her name.

We did ask about the baptisms of James and Joanna’s children. I have them down as being baptised in Horley and assumed that maybe this could refer to Horne for they are very close. But no, Horne comes under Bletchingly, not Horley.
Their first child, Elizabeth, was baptised only about 6 weeks after the marriage.

A little later, we wondered if 1772 was the only time that James had signed his name in the church.
We found an earlier marriage.
This time the signature was just James Ridley. But the writing looked remarkably similar.
I shall have to research a marriage between James Ridley and Anne Taylor that took place when our James was only 18. Maybe they are one and the same, maybe not.

We found some details of marriages of Joanna’s siblings and very possibly her parents. If these are correct then we have the names of the gr gr gr gr grandparents through Joanna – we already know of the Monk ancestors.

But it was not all about ancient history. The man who wrote a book about the Horne RAF base during WW2 was there and gave a short talk. The base only existed for 7 weeks in 1944 but our man had tracked down half the pilots who flew from there. Bill already has the book (bought at a car boot sale) and we met the author once before.

We had a cup of tea and a piece of home made cake, took some photographs and made our way home.

I had a few things finishing on EBay, dinner to cook and X Factor to watch.
It has been a good day – and felt much warmer today as the wind dropped.
Now here are the two marriage entries in the church register.
The first one is for James Ridley Monk and is the one I know of . This couple are Bill's ancestors - parents of George Monk, his great great grandfather.

Just a word of advice to newcomer visitors to my blog, you can enlarge the image by clicking on it and then return to the blog with the back arrow.

And now here is the Marriage of James Ridley, 8 years earlier.
The signatures do seem to suggest that our James might have married twice - and perhaps his first bride was abandoned in favour of the second.
By using a slight modification of name maybe James could get away with that.
Or maybe Anne, the first wife died.

Or maybe I am letting my imagination run away with me..... what do you think?

Horne Church in beautiful sunshine.