Picture by Rupert Fox from a design by Michael William Alabaster

 

The Alabaster Chronicle 

The Journal of the Alabaster Society 

 

NUMBER TWENTY-ONE,  AUTUMN 2003 

Contents

      • Ten Years On, a poem by Tricia Dyer (nee Alabaster) (IIA).
      • Alabaster Research, by Peter Copsey & Laraine Hake.
      • Interesting Baptism, by Millie Knox (WofW).
      • Tales from Therfield, Hertfordshire, by John S Alabaster (I).
      • Visit to Landulph Church, by John S. Alabaster (I)
      • News from Around the World:
        Deaths in WWI, and Alabaster House, East Peckham, by Sue Hill (IIIB)
        Home demolished in the Blitz,
                 and Descendants of Agnes Alabaster, by Steve Abbott (IIIB)
        Annie Margaret Alabaster (IIIA) married in 1874, by Sandra Stevens
        Book from Thailand (in Thai) received by Angela Alabaster (IIA)
        A Photograph of Sidney Herbert Alabaster, by Tony Moore (IIA)
        New Motor Yacht by Jim Alabaster (IIA)
        Larbalestier memorial in Jersey, pictured by Tony Springall (IIA)
        Egyptian Alabaster met by Ian Alabaster (WofW)
        William John James born, by Monica Alabaster (WofW)
        Family Celebrates Moe Alabaster`s (IV) 75th birthday (photo)
        W. G. Alabaster treated for Consumption (TB) in Ventnor, by Ivor Smith (IV)
        George Brian Armstrong born to Samantha & Phil (IIA)
        Phoebe Zonne Videbeck born in New Zealand, by Kelley Videbeck (IV)
        Henry Alabaster`s Tomb visited by Laura Brown (IIIB)
        Congratulations and Thanks from Beryl Neumann (IIA), Australia
 
The Cover of the Anniversary Edition is designed by Rupert Fox
To Contents

Editorial

by Laraine Hake - Autumn 2003 

Ten years have elapsed since the first Alabaster Chronicle was produced - for many of us, that represents at least ten years that we have known each other. A decade in history! How much have our lives changed in that time, immensely or not at all?

Roy Tricker at the Alabaster Gathering 2005One aspect of the Alabaster Society that many have enjoyed has been the Alabaster Gatherings. Please make a note now that the seventh Alabaster Gathering is being planned for Saturday, 23rd April 2005, at The Old School in Hadleigh. I am sure many will be delighted to know that we have already booked Roy Tricker (pictured, left) as our after-dinner speaker!

I have so much more to say, as ever, and so little space! There are very many "thank-yous" to be expressed; firstly to so many of you who made the effort to contribute something towards this, our tenth anniversary edition - note the lengthy "Laraine`s Letters Page" actually pages 30-44 - then to the others amongst you who so kindly lightened my load by volunteering to proof-read various of the articles. Thank you, too, to my son-in-law, Rupert, who designed the cover for this one-off special edition. Thank you to John Stammers Alabaster, whose generosity in contributing to the cost of the publication of a book on William Alabaster means that all paid-up members will receive a copy, free, with the next Chronicle (see page 3), and to Siddhi Savetsila for the donation of a book referring to the life of his grandfather, Henry Alabaster (see page 35).

It has been suggested that an index should be produced to past copies of the Chronicle. I have not yet managed to organise this, but have made the effort in this edition to add footnotes with details of the past Chronicles in which further information and references can be found. If you do not have a set of back copies, do remember that they can be ordered directly from me, see inside front cover. One thing that has really changed in ten years is technology; the comparatively poor quality of the early editions is a historical lesson in itself, although I believe that the content is still of great interest!

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Ten Years On

by Tricia Dyer (nee Alabaster)

              Take two thousand, add on three,
              Finds our tenth anniversary.
              Alabasters, young and old
              Have heard the call, and joined the fold.

              Many countries swelled our number ­
              Even from the deep "Down Under".
              Long lost relatives retrieved,
              Recovered from the Family Tree.

              Friendships made and some re-kindled,
              Scattered by the march of time.
              Skeletons from the family closets
              Taking shape in memory`s mind.

              "Gatherings" in the old School Hall,
              Churchyards, tombstones and Guildhall.
              Chronicles, coachtrips and outings took
              And the ALABASTER BOOK!

              Looking back on last Decade ­
              All these memories will not fade.
              Hope the next one proves as good ­
              GOD BLESS THE ALABASTER BROOD!

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A Forthcoming Publication for the Alabaster Society:

William Alabaster the Poet

by John Stammers Alabaster 

Tony Springall writes:

The biannual publication the Alabaster Chronicle has been a very successful vehicle for distributing news and information about the Alabaster family, past and present. For the last few years, however, as increasing historical information concerning the family has come to light, it has become apparent that the Chronicle format has disadvantages for articles of more than sixteen pages and that a second form of publication is needed to augment the Chronicle.

At the 2002 committee meeting it was decided that the Society should publish occasional monographs as suitable material became available and Society resources permitted. Since John Stammers Alabaster has been researching William Alabaster the poet for some years, and was well advanced with writing up his findings, it was decided to publish his work as the inaugural monograph.

A major problem for the Society in publishing any monograph is cost and it seemed out of the question to proceed unless most of the expenditure could be recouped by selling copies to members. However, John generously offered to contribute to the cost of the monograph and this will enable the Society to include a free copy of the monograph when Alabaster Chronicle No. 22 is posted to fully paid-up members, in the Spring of 2004. If you are interested in the life of one of the most famous Alabasters, you must read John`s splendid monograph.

Now there`s an incentive to pay your subscription in good time!

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Alabaster Research

by Peter Copsey and Laraine Hake

Once again fellow researcher Peter Copsey has made a note of any Alabaster entries he has found during his search for Copsey baptisms. Here are the ones he sent me entitled "Alabasters for Easter"!
(parish register details in normal font, my comments in italics!)

St Mathias, Cheshire Street (Bethnal Green R D) - Baptisms

1863 Aug 30 Thomas John son of John & Caroline ALABASTER, Hare Street. Carpenter. Born 13 Aug.
WofW Branch - Thomas John was the grandfather of our member, Ian Alabaster.

1863 Dec 13 Walter son of John James & Martha ALABASTER, 13 Austin Street. Chair maker. Born 20 Nov.
Branch IIIB - Walter was the third son of the ten children of John James and Martha, the first nine of whom were boys! John James and Martha were the ancestors of several members of the Alabaster Society, including their gt grandson, Ray Williamson, who joined since the last Chronicle!

1864 Jan 3 David son of Joseph & Elizabeth ALABASTER, 16 Turk Street. Chair maker. Born 16 Dec 1863.
Branch IIIB - David was the fourth child of Joseph and Elizabeth. Joseph died in 1866 and Elizabeth went on to marry Joseph `s younger brother and raise an even larger family. Steve Abbott has written about this in detail in Chronicle 17, Autumn/Winter 2001, pp 8-34 "The Alabaster Family - A Cockney History" by Steve Abbott

St Michael and All Angels, Walthamstow (West Ham R D) ­ Baptisms

1905 Nov 23 Alfred John, son of George Thomas & Charlotte Caroline ALABASTER, 25 Haroldstone Road. Labourer. No birth date given.
1907 Sept 22 Louisa Hilda, dau of George Thomas & Charlotte ALABASTER, 43 Tenby Road. Labourer. No birth date given.
This is William of Woodford Branch again. Alfred John was the grandfather of our member Malcolm Alabaster.
Alfred was first cousin, once removed, of Thomas John (opposite), gt grandson and grandson, respectively, of William Alabaster who married Mary Plummer in St Pancras in 1806, leaving the words "of the parish of Woodford, Essex" in the marriage register. Almost 200 years later, we still use those words when referring to his descendants, although we have no other indications that he actually had any connections with Woodford at all!

St Mary the Virgin, Walthamstow (West Ham R D) - Baptisms

1908 Feb 12 Charles George son of George & Fanny ALABASTER, 47 Aubrey Road. Soldier. Born 6 May 1907.
Branch IIA - George, the father of Charles George, was the elder brother of my grandmother. Of her nine brothers, he was one of only two who lived past the age of 30, so many of the children dying as infants or young children. See Chronicle 8, Spring / Summer 1997, pp 9 - 20. "A Family Bible" by Laraine Hake

St Saviour, Walthamstow (West Ham RD) - Baptisms

1916 Oct 29 Laurie Arthur, son of George Thomas & Charlotte ALABASTER, 70 Gosport Road. Furniture porter. Born 6 Oct.
WofW Branch again. Laurie Arthur was the younger brother of Alfred and Louisa (see above). A family tree and photographs of some of the descendants of George and Celia Charlotte, parents of George Thomas, appeared in Chronicle 3, Autumn / Winter 1994, pp 8-11, "Did you know Grandma was an Alabaster" by Millie Knox

St Michael and All Angels, Manor Park (West Ham R D) - Baptism

1913 Aug 31 John Henry son of John Henry William & Florence ALABASTER, 49 Mafeking Road. Labourer. Born 5 Aug.
1915 Jan 2 Lilian May dau of John Henry & Florence ALABASTER, 49 Mafeking Road. Stoker. Born 14 Dec.
Branch IIB - John Henry William Alabaster, father, was the gt grandson of William Alabaster and Arabella Lucas.

St Mary Magdalene, East Ham - Baptisms

1898 Nov 13 Clare Constance May dau of Richard Rickard & Clara ALABASTER, 167 Katherine Road, plasterer. No birth date given.
1900 Feb 18 Edward Richard son of Richard & Clara ALABASTER, 129 Katherine Road, builder. No birth date given.

1901 March 3 Nellie dau of Richard Rickard & Clara ALABASTER, 129 Katherine Road, plasterer. No birth date given.
This is Branch I. The first named was "May" Millican, nee Alabaster (1898-1994), one of the very earliest members of the Alabaster Society (No. 12), and certainly the first born! She was the mother of member, Joan Millican. May contributed to one of the earliest Alabaster Chronicles: Chronicle 2, Spring / Summer 1994, pp 7-9 "Some Early Memories" by May Millican. Following her death, later that year, Robin Alabaster named his most recently flowering strain of Nerine Samiensis (a Guernsey Lily), "May Millican" in her memory: Chronicle 4, Spring\Summer 1995, p 4 "May Millican" by Robin Alabaster.
Edward Richard, (or Edwin Rickard) was the only son born to Richard and Clara. He lived for less than a year. Two further daughters were born to this family.

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An Interesting Baptism

by Millie Knox (W of W)

While having my elevenses on Saturday morning, just about three hours after receiving the latest Chronicle, I was reading the interesting entries from Peter Copsey. One particularly caught my eye, namely the baptism of Florence Grace Dorothy ALABASTER (pictured right) in August 1910.

What a surprise to see that she and her family lived at 22 Hartington Road, Walthamstow, because in 1904 George`s grandfather William KNOX (plasterer and bricklayer) moved into 66 Hartington Road with his wife Jane and their family, including George`s father, Arthur .

Arthur was still living with his parents until 1922 when he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Elizabeth Caroline Johnson nee Alabaster. The newly weds moved away until George was born and then the little family moved back to number 66 where George spent the early years of his life, living with the extended family including his grandparents and two aunts.

This is not the first time that the two families have lived in close proximity in the same road. On the 1881 census, William Knox`s brother Alexander (Alick) was shown as living at 6 Digby Walk, Bethnal Green with his family, and the Alabaster family of William, Dinah and daughter Ellen, were living at number 10 Digby Walk.

It would appear that it was not until the marriage in 1922 of George`s mother and father, that the two families were united, although it seems highly likely that they would have known of each other`s existence. A small world indeed.

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Tales from Therfield, Hertfordshire

by John S. Alabaster (I)

When we first came to Stevenage, Hertfordshire in 1954 we were thrilled to discover that Therfield, where Dr. William Alabaster had been rector from 1614 to 1640, lay only a few miles away. Visits to his church and the rectory, and contact with local historians, whetted our appetites for more information, since when, with help from many quarters, a picture of his life there has been gradually emerging.

Of course before taking up his post, William, at 46, had already led a rather full and controversial life for, after doing well at Trinity College, Cambridge, with the promise of advancement in the Church, he had converted to Catholicism, much to everyone`s surprise and dismay, and later suffered banishment, and had even become involved in espionage. Subsequently, disillusioned with Rome he became reconciled to the Church of England, and finally, by dint of preaching before James I, and composing erudite and flattering verses to him and his favourites, had come into royal favour, even gaining a Doctorate of Divinity to boot!

Not that he was welcomed with open arms in Therfield. Roger Goad, for one, the minister, was not too pleased, probably because he had learned something of William`s earlier recusancy from his father who had been one of several visiting clergymen entertained by Adam Winthrop, William`s uncle, at Groton, near Hadleigh, Suffolk.

But life went on for William. With a handsome income of £200 a year, he could afford to ignore local hostility. He could also afford to marry, and chose Katherine Fludd, a widow with two young boys one of whom later married Bridget Blancks at Therfield whose family was well known in the village. Her son was actually baptised Alabaster Fludd, which was quite a tribute to William.

So, we can imagine William and his extended family (wife, stepsons, daughter-in-law and grandson, not to mention servants), all in residence at the capacious rectory. But, as the family grew up, perhaps William`s need for family privacy was what led him to install his curate in the schoolhouse adjoining the churchyard, 'pretending it to have been part of the parsonage'. This would have been acceptable had William paid the rent! But for three years he didn`t, and then had to be taken to court for recovery of the arrears.

Money was the cause of more litigation about his wife`s inheritance, which was in dispute. And although it is easy to conjure up an image in one`s mind of William`s wife`s mother-in-law`s jewels being spirited away by the wagonload in the dead of night, further research needs to be done to winkle out the truth of the situation.

In one case William was the complainant, several of his pigs having been stolen on Christmas Eve - not the best timing to foster the festive spirit! The accused, a multi-talented gang indeed, included; first, a labourer from the nearby village of Barkway, who presumably knew how to herd the pigs away without too much squealing; secondly, a butcher, no doubt chosen for his ability to transform the booty into saleable joints; next a victualler from Hitchin, 10 miles away, who could sell on the meat, far enough removed from the scene of the crime to allay suspicion; and fmally, a 'gent', presumably the brains behind the venture and who, not surprisingly perhaps was found not guilty! Ironically, for a theft from a clergyman, one of the accused was allowed the 'benefit of clergy' and acquitted, evidently having proved himself literate by reading (or perhaps even memorising) a verse of scripture!

How these tales would have kept the gossipers busy at Therfield, and may have amused you too a little. These events are just a few that are included in the much fuller biography of William that I have now published through the Alabaster Society (see above: "A forthcoming publication for the Alabaster Society", for details).

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"Alabaster" as a Second Forename

FreeBMD is a website onto which all the Birth, Marriage and Death indexes produced by the GRO, previously held at St Catherine`s House but now at the Family History Centre in London, are being placed. This means that they can be searched and copied from a home computer, rather than necessitating a visit to London. Of course, they still represent only the index of the events so for full details it is essential to buy the birth, marriage or death certificate in question. However, with some ingenuity, it is surprising how many "facts" can be deduced from the index alone!

It was suggested by a contributor to the Guild of One Name Studies` email forum that searching FreeBMD using- an asterisk as a "wild card" could throw up any entries using the surname of interest as a second forename. I could not resist this so searched on * Alabaster, and was to have a return of no fewer than fifteen results. I have spent some time hypothesising on where these people fit into our family tree, but I would be very pleased to receive any comments or opinions from you, particularly if you have some further knowledge.

September 1844 Death
James Alabaster Libbis             Yarmouth
This is probably the grandson of Hannah Alabaster(IV) who married James Libbis, 2nd June 1816, in Gt Yarmouth. Hannah certainly named her eldest son, James Alabaster Libbis. He was married in 1838 and lived until March 1869 when he died in North Quay, Gt Yarmouth. In turn, he had a son, James, born 1839. It seems likely that this was the James who died.
Hannah was the sister of Robert Alabaster who married Mary Ann West and raised a large family in Yarmouth.

June 1847 Birth
Harriet Alabaster Patten Romford

This is the eldest daughter of Louisa Patten who married Walter Goddard Alabaster (IIIA) in October 1848. Since Harriet was born before the marriage, it is likely that the second forename was used to identify the father as Walter. Their marriage took place the month after Walter was 21, in All Saints, Poplar, despite the fact that both parties came from Hornchurch, near Romford, Essex, and clearly went back there to live following the marriage. Each of their eleven children, including Harriet, was born back in Essex!

Dec 1861 Birth
Kate Alabaster Berry           Chelsea

This one is a mystery to me. If anybody has any suggestions, I would be delighted to hear them!

June 1873 Marriage
Mary Alabaster Greeves            Kensington

This is the daughter of Katherine Alabaster(IIC) who married John Greeves in July 1837. Katherine was the youngest daughter of Charles Alabaster and Mary Dearmer. She was, thus, the sister of James Chaloner Alabaster and Mary Ann Rebecca Alabaster.

September 1874 Birth
Louisa Alabaster West              Cookham

and

June 1876 Birth
Letitia Alabaster West             Cookham

These two are daughters of Henry William West Alabaster(IV} and Elizabeth Ann Lee during the time they were using the surname West, whilst Henry was still married to his first wife. Henry and Elizabeth eventually married in May 1893, immediately following the death of Henry`s first wife and just weeks before the death of Henry himself.

September 1883 Marriage
Mary Alabaster Warner                 Oxford

There is no obvious link with Alabaster blood here, but I wonder whether Mary could be the daughter of a brother, say, of Anne O`Connor Warner who married Charles Alabaster(IIC) in Oxford in September 1858. Anne and Charles emigrated to New Zealand, arriving there in January 1859. Charles died in 1865. There is a memorial to him in St John`s Cathedral, Christchurch.
See Chronicle 3, Autumn/Winter 1994, pp 3-5 "A New Zealand Connection" by Margaret Francis (nee Alabaster)

June 1889 Marriage
Edward Alabaster Benton                Whitechapel

Edward was probably a grandson of Martha Alabaster(I) who married William Benton in September 1823 in Christchurch, Stepney. A1artha was the third daughter of John Alabaster who had the lease of the Half Moon public house in Rayleigh, Essex for many years at the beginning of the 19th century.

September 1891 Birth
May Alabaster Burkett        St Olave

and

March 1893 Birth Edward Alabaster Burkett         St Olave
I did have to use some ingenuity to solve the problem of where these two births fitted in. Using the search facility on FreeBMD, I looked for a Burkett marriage between 1880 and 1890 in the registration district of St Olave - which is up on the Norfolk coast, near Yarmouth. I found one Edward Childs Burkett who married Emma Vincent ALABASTER in December 1889. This was a real puzzle because I did not have a birth of an Emma Vincent Alabaster! Eventually I managed to trace the marriage of an Emma Vincent Forsdick to William West Alabaster (IV) in June 1882.
William West Alabaster was the youngest son of Horace West Alabaster and Mary Ann Ellis, grandson of Robert Alabaster and Mary Ann West. He died on January 1888.
It would appear that William`s widow, Emma, gave two of her children the second name Alabaster, in memory of her first husband!

September 1892 Marriage
William Alabaster Austin            Cuckfield

December 1896 Death
William Alabaster Austin age 33           Hastings

I am unable to be sure about this connection, but it seems likely that William Alabaster Austin could be the son of Sarah Shaw Alabaster(IIIA) who married William Austin in May 1856. Sarah Shaw was the daughter of Roger Alabaster and Margaret Hedges, Iron Founder of Romford, Essex.

September 1898 Marriage
Louise Alabaster West          Camberwell

and

December 1899 Marriage 
Arthur Alabaster West             Lambeth

This is the same Louise Alabaster West born 1876, above, and her brother Arthur Alabaster West, children of Henry William West Alabaster. They continued to use the surname of West after the marriage of their parents, as they had done all their lives. Arthur Alabaster West was the grandfather of Ron Alabaster West and Irene Alabaster Healey (nee West), and the gt grandfather of Ivor Smith. Until Rene and Ron joined the Alabaster Society, they did not know the origin of their middle names!!! 

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A visit to Landulph Church, Cornwall

by John & Beryl Alabaster (I)

When on holiday recently in Cornwall, we took the opportunity to pay a visit to Landulph church where William Alabaster of Hadleigh might well at one time have made a name for himself as rector. For soon after the Earl of Essex had returned to Plymouth on 6 August 1596 from his trip to Cadiz, he presented William (who had accompanied him on the expedition) to the rectory of Landulph, for the first rruits of which he confounded on 8 September; the living was then worth £100 per year. [PRO First Fruits Composition Book xiii f 60] He may have visited the church when he landed at Plymouth, it being only a few miles away, but it is doubtful whether he actually took up residence there, as he was known to have been in Cambridge or London for the next couple of years. In any case, William later recounted that on 21 February 1598 he was brought before the Bishop of London, Lord Buckhurst for the Privy Council, Mr. Cooke the Queen`s attorney, and others, and, in the Queen`s name, 'disgraded of my orders of ministry', this being the time he chose to become a Catholic! [Alabaster`s Conversion, The English College Archives Liber 1394, English College, Rome]

We wondered what he had missed. We soon found out! Landulph is a very small hamlet situated barely two miles from Saltash on the right bank of the River Tamar, and is reached by a narrow winding lane sloping steeply downhill to the river, and seems to have changed little since Elizabethan times. The church stands a little higher than the rectory, which is on very low-lying land and, as we learned from a local historian, would have been liable to flooding on high spring tides, the more so when the river was also in spate, the water lapping up to the churchyard wall. [Andrew Mark Barrett (2000) A History of the Ancient Parish Church of St. Leonard and St. Dilph. 61 pp]

When the water had receded, the stench from the mud deposited in the rectory (on an earth floor in the Hall) and would have been unbearable. On those occasions the rector had had to reach the church by boat! So, perhaps, on this account, it was just as well that the Queen had deprived him. The rectory is now protected by a great embankment that had been built in the early 1800`s by the rector, to his ruination!

We also noticed another connection with Hadleigh that we remembered had been touched on by Mr. W. A. B. Jones* . Mary Balls, daughter of William Balls of Hadleigh had married in 1600 Theodore Paleologus who had died in 1636 and been buried in the church. His great uncle had been the Emperor Constantine Peleologus who died defending Constantinople from the Turks in 1453. All the children of Theodore and Mary died without issue, so when in 1829 a deputation from the provisional government of Greece came to Landulph in an attempt to find a possible remaining relative as heir to the throne, they were disappointed.

Incidentally, two of the sons had fought for Charles I at the battle of Naseby in 1645 and one had fallen, whilst another son had supported the parliamentarians! Here is just one of many examples of polarised political positions that must have caused division and dissension within a family during the Civil War. And just as damaging divisions had been caused by the doctrinal differences between Catholic and Protestant in which William had been involved fifty years earlier.

* W. A. B. Jones (1989) Hadleigh through the Ages. East Anglian Magazine Publishing Ltd., 136 pp. 

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News from Around the World

28th November 2002. Pauline and Brian Alabaster (WofW) report from Canberra, Australia, to say that while visiting Strahan in Tasmania they found the following item in a leaflet:
 

Places of Special Interest
Old Cemetery   Some of the original headboards made from Huon Pine are still in place -- Alice Leatherbarrow`s was stolen a few years ago but recovered in Hobart when police stopped a speeding ute.
Some quite extraordinary graves from the 1890s.
Customs House   Now the Parks and Wildlife Offices, Post Office, Online Access Centre & Library. With Federation in 1901 the Port of Strahan demanded the presence of Customs Offices. The floor of the Telegraph Room bears traces of the protest signs painted for the Gordon-below-Franklin Dam campaign (not for public viewing). The building is haunted by Rupert Cecil Alabaster.
 

The very sad story of Rupert Cecil Alabaster was told in detail in Chronicle 15 (see notes 1 and 2 below). However, although I was aware of a rumour that his spirit haunted the building, I was certainly unaware that this was used on literature about the area.
It is interesting to note that another Alabaster, Sidney Herbert, is also said to haunt his former abode
(3).

1. Chronicle 15, Autumn / Winter 2000, pp14-17, "A Sad Death in Tasmania" by Beryl Neumann.
2 A Quintet of Alabasters by Adrian Alabaster. Available from Angela Alabaster, address on request.
3 Chronicle 18, Spring / Summer 2002, pp 7-8 "Seen through the eyes of a child" by Samantha Armstrong (nee Alabaster).


18th May 2003. Sue Hill (IIIB), East Peckham, Kent, writes:

Reg & I visited France & Belgium last month to see the Somme and Flanders Battlefields and to visit the graves of our known ancestors. Now we learn that Reg had another great uncle who died just after the end of the war, and you have a copy of his war record! How`s that for coincidence? Another of Reg`s uncles (on his mother`s side) died in 1918 just before the armistice, it was all so tragic. Joseph Alabaster would have been in his forties, which was much older than the majority who died during this war.
We found one memorial to a 14 year old! -- and one inscription on a grave that I can not forget was -

                The Battles over
                Your duties done
                Hearts are sore for thee
                Brave son

and this was for a nineteen year old.

I was also struck by the article about the Borrowers film and the owners having the surname of Alabaster. Some years ago, in the village where we live, an old wooden working man`s club was demolished and a block of flats erected in its place and named Alabaster House. I managed to have a word with our local historian last week, I asked if she knew why Alabaster House was so called. It turns out that the road I live in, which is called The Freehold, is a relatively new road, built originally in the early part of the 19th century. At the time plots of land surrounding this road all seem to have been purchased, not by local people, but by investors trom London.
Our historian believes they may be named after the Londoners who originally purchased the land, but unfortunately she has not (so far) been able to fmd the original deeds to prove this. All deeds which she has uncovered so far prove the link with London investors. I have now established that the plots of land in the Freehold first went on sale in 1850.
So, do we have any likely Alabasters living in London during this period who may have made such a purchase?

Does anybody have any ideas on this one? LH


Steve Abbott (IIIB), London, SE13, 11th June 2003

Interesting to note in the last Chronicle that, among the info supplied by Peter Copsey, were the baptisms of three children of Frederick & Louisa Alabaster (IIA), who lived at 38 Dunedin Rd, Leyton, East London. There is another interesting Alabaster connection with Dunedin Road, as told to me by my second cousin Stephen Heard.

One of my great aunts was Stephen`s grandmother, Rosetta ("Rose") Elizabeth Alabaster (1903-1985), who married driver Reuben ("Rob") Ridley at St. Matthew`s, Bethnal Green, on Christmas Day 1924. The parish magazine for January 1925 shows that 15 couples married there on that day, as Christmas Day was one of the few holidays to which the working class were entitled. Rose & Rob were also living in Dunedin Road, at no. 63, with their three children, Rosetta Violet, Iris and Robert William (for photos of Rosetta & Iris, see Chronicle 18) until 19th October 1940 when their Victorian terraced house was one of about 15 destroyed by a large German bomb intended for the nearby Temple Mills marshalling yard (a major railhead). This was the height of the Blitz and the family were spending the night in the Anderson shelter which they had built in the back garden. As well as the five Ridleys, the shelter also contained Agnes Alabaster (Rose`s mother), Ivy Alice Alabaster (Rose`s sister) and some neighbours.

There was no sound, just a blinding flash and the electric light (installed thanks to one of the ` neighbours being an electrician) went out. Rob gingerly stuck his head out and said "Rose, you ought to see your house". It had been completely demolished save for a portion of one wall. Under the rubble were a new coat bought for Rosetta`s birthday the next day, a box of unbroken eggs and a leg of lamb which had been `cooked` by the heat of the explosion. Their dog, who had hidden under the bath, was unharmed. Rob described the bomb crater as "deep as a lamp-post". The family were unable to get into the street and had to cross the back gardens to get out.

Except for Rob, the family were evacuated to Skipton in Yorkshire (which they never liked)! After some temporary homes, they resettled in Dunedin Road, at number 75, which had been spared bomb damage and remained the family home until the 1980s.

I have produced an updated tree of the modem descendants of my great grandmother Agnes Alabaster. I`ve traced 135 direct descendants of hers, and since there was one branch of the tree that I haven`t been able to trace, there must be around 150 of their direct descendants! I`m sure Agnes would be utterly amazed at how large her family became!


Sandra Stevens, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 19th June 2003
I am a G.O.O.N.S. (Guild of One Name Studies) member collecting HAZELWOOD & variants, and through Free BMD have just come across an ALABASTER connection.
It seems that Henry George (Harry) HAZLEWOOD married Annie Margaret ALABASTER 1874 St Saviour. From the 1881 census Annie Margaret was born c. 1851 at Hornchurch, Essex. She died 1896 in Islington, aged 44. Do you know of her? If it is of interest, I can give you details of her descendants.
This is another example of the kindness of a fellow researcher passing on Alabaster information to us. Annie Margaret Alabaster was born 26 October 1851 in Hornchurch, the second daughter of Walter Goddard Alabaster and Louise Patten, so Branch IIIA, and gt aunt or gt gt aunt to several of our members!


Angela Alabaster IIA, Reigate, Surrey 4th July 2003
I have been sent an interesting package from Thailand.
This proved to be a hefty book from Siddhi Savetsila entirely in Thai! I will quote his covering letter:
"Thank you for sending me Alabaster Chronicle No 20. I still try to read Henry`s poem and to understand it. Lately some local television asked to interview me about my Grandfather`s life and also from my son Thada, whom you met in London and also in Changmai. My fifth sister Poonsri passed away about four months ago ( I have eight sisters), her sons and daughter published a book about her life including my father`s and grandfather`s Henry with reference to Adrian`s and your research about Henry`s life unknown to our family or available records in our national Archive. Though I have edited some parts, the spelling of your `name `Angela` was not corrected. The whole book is in Thai, and yet I have to send you one for collection. The last picture is my uncle Thong Yoi ( Phya Indra Thipbodi) grandfather of Sakuni who hosted you at her house"
I long to read his version of Henry`s story,(but cannot read Thai) and the captions to the numerous photos.
The book is also an insight to the fimeral rituals for a wealthy family and their life style. Anyway it will be 'for the collection' and I will let you have it when we meet.

May I take this opportunity to thank Siddhi once again for the generous gift of a copy of this book to the Alabaster Society.


Sidney Herbert and Rosemary

 

 

Tony Moore (IIA) County Antrim, N. Ireland, 30th July 2003

Found this photograph (right) recently and thought it would be an addition to your records. It would have been taken in 1957 when Sidney Herbert would have been about 71. With him are my wife, Muriel (left) , and daughter, Rosemary. The picture was developed and printed by S. H. A. who was always into photography.

 


Jim Alabaster (IIA), The Netherlands 7th August 2003

Attached is a digital picture of the new 46 metre motor yacht I have just completed building in Holland. This was taken in the port of Rotterdam at the start of the trials back at the beginning of July. The yacht is now in the Mediterranean having voyaged from Holland with one brief stop in Gibraltar to pick up some fuel, the owner and his family will be enjoying her in this part of the world for the remainder of the summer.
I was very pleased with her and I think everyone associated with the project has been very complimentary. She has a stunning interior. There are several innovations aboard and she is very much up to date with developments on commercial ships in that the navigation and communication systems are computerised and fully integrated throughout. It may be of interest.

PS Did you see the picture that Tony Moore sent of my Dad? He looks exactly the same as I remember him .
Jim `s father was Sidney Herbert Alabaster - above right!
No photograph currently available. RW


Tony Springall (IIA), Clevedon, Avon 17th August 2003
Here is a photo I took of a memorial to a hero at the causeway approaching La Corbiere lighthouse in Jersey. At best he is only related back at the time of the Norman Conquest!!!

Peter Edwin Larbalestier memorial , Jersey


Ian Alabaster (W of W) Isle of Wight 21 st August 2003
My son, Keith, was on holiday in Egypt and used his credit card to make a purchase. When the factory owner took the card in his hand, he said, "but Alabaster is my name too". Although he was apparently Egyptian, he spoke fluent English and said his name was Max Alabaster. The name of the factory was, "The Select Factory", telephone number 002 095 312 280 .
Has anybody any suggestions?
Ian was also interested to read the reference in the last Chronicle to Bob Yeldham (IIIB). Ian pointed out that his grandmother was Alice Mary Yeldham, born about 1867 in Old Ford, London, who married Thomas John Alabaster in 1889 at St James the Less, Bethnal Green. Is there a connection, Ian wondered, between Alice and Bob`s grandfather, Leonard J. Yeldham, who married Selina Caroline Alabaster in 1925 in Hackney
.
Monica Alabaster (W of W) 21 st August 2003
Nick and Susan`s son born on the 19th Aug: 8 and half pounds - William - second names maybe John James!!
I have confirmed with Monica that William`s middle names are John James, after his gt grandfather, John James Charles Alabaster.
Charlotte Alabaster, (IV) Florida August 25 2003

Charlotte & Moe Alabaster Family

This is a picture of an Alabaster family gathering this past July. the picture was taken July 18, 2003, the actual date of Moe's 75th birthday. Moe and I, and our sons Thomas and Donald, along with their children and Don`s wife Cindy, met at a resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to celebrate Moe`s birthday. The photo was taken just prior to our special dinner and those pictured are all Alabasters­ Sydney, Sam, "Moe", Sofie; Amy and Justin are sitting on the sofa, and standing are Tom, Charlotte, Don and Cindy.
Just thought you`d enjoy seeing a picture of our family here in the states - all very proud Alabasters!


Ivor Smith (IV), Hornchurch, Essex 3rd September 2003 was given this information recently:
It is presumed this patient went back to Bethnal Green after leaving the Hospital.

Royal National Hospital for Consumption, Ventnor, Isle of Wight (record office ref: H03/El)

      name: W.G.ALABASTER.
      age: 38 yrs.
      weight: about 6 stone.
      occupation: Cabinet Maker.
      abode: South Street, Pollards Row, Bethnal Green, London.
      admission: 21 June 1870.
      last date in patient record: 16 July 1870.
      patients father: Died age 70 Dropsy.
      patients mother: Died age 56 Cancer of breast.
      brothers: Never had any.
      sisters: One half sister living age 50.

This was an email sent to Ivor, not me, by yet another helpful researcher. Ivor forwarded it on to me for information. I was fascinated by the amount of information contained therein. W G. Alabaster must have been Woodrow George Alabaster, grandson of Charles Henry Alabaster (IIA), whose address on 1871 census was 13 South Street, Bethnal Green. His profession is given as Cabinet Maker, employing 3 men and 3 boys. The 1871 census was taken on 2nd April that year. Woodrow died on 16th May 1871.


Samantha Armstrong, nee Alabaster (IIA), Herne Bay, Kent, 8th September 2003
I am the daughter of Herbert S. Alabaster and granddaughter of Sidney H. Alabaster. I only joined the Society recently but would like to say how much I have enjoyed reading the Chronicle and The Alabaster Book. My Husband Phil. and I were blessed with another addition to our family - George Brian - born 9.10.02 . Congratulations on the Society`s 10th Birthday.

Kelley Videbeck (IV), New Zealand 10 September 2003
Baby Phoebe Zonne Videbeck arrived on Sunday 24th August, weighing in at 8lb 6oz (3.8kg), after some 14 hours of labour ending in a Caesarian section.
We are all doing fine, I`ve been home 10 days now & although somewhat shellshocked we are starting to settle down into more of a routine ......She`s an absolute darling (of course).
Phoebe Videbeck is the 4 x gt granddaughter of Captain Daniel Alabaster after whom Lake Alabaster in New Zealand is named!

Laura Brown, (IIIB) Gabriola Island, RC. 3rd October 2003
I found Henry Alabaster`s tomb in Bangkok! I was very excited.
We arrived in Bangkok at 6:00 am on August 25th after about 30 hours or more of travelling. "We" were myself and a colleague: his name is John Nash (no relation to the Nobel Laureate). We were met at the airport by the hotel driver and whisked to the Siam City Hotel. After checking in to our rooms and a quick wash and brush - we embarked on our adventure. Armed with the e-mail instructions from our Thai Alabaster cousin Virginia Bird, found by Laraine Hake (thank you Virginia and Laraine!) we asked the hotel to arrange for a car, thinking (wisely) that we could explain to the hotel staff and they could explain to the driver. Well, there were lots of frowns and gesticulations but we managed to figure it all out and the driver and John and I set out.
We drove and drove and the area became progressively more shop­oriented and then more industrial. Suddenly our driver parked - we could see no signs of a cemetery. He talked to some passers-by and told us that we would have to walk, as parking was difficult around the cemetery. This, by the way, was done in his limited English which was way better than my non-existent Thai!
We could see no signs of any tombs, graves, or other signs of mortality, until he gestured us in between two buildings, and there was the cemetery! Some of the graves are eroded and falling down, there are many there, Jewish, Protestant, American, German and English. Repairs seem to be going on in the walkway and the chapel. Most of the graves were in a sort of a swamp, so I was hoping Henry`s would be easy to see without getting my feet wet! I had noticed a very impressive tomb off in the distance, and I joked with John that this couldn`t be anyone related to me! However, I was wrong - that was Henry Alabaster`s tomb! I was very excited to see it.
It is very well taken care of and there are potted plants all around. Inside, at least 3 people could stand comfortably and look at the bust of Henry and read the inscriptions on the walls. John took pictures and noted the inscriptions in his notebook so I could send them to all of you.
It was really nice to have achieved our quest and to see that the tomb is well looked-after. Thanks again to Laraine and Virginia and to John for accompanying me and taking pictures and notes.
Laura`s mother, Jean Brown (nee Wood) has recently joined the Society. On reading the journal, Laura realised that through Henry Alabaster we had a close connection with Thailand and Laura was attending an Asia Pacific Economic Summit on DNA Technologies in Thailand at the end of August to give a paper on Canada`s position on bioinformatics and genomics. (Well I was immensely impressed)! Laura decided she would like to see Henry`s memorial whilst there and contacted me for details! .

Inscriptions on the walls of Henry Alabaster`s mausoleum, Bangkok, Thailand:
Left:  Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour
....Esther VI  9  (to be pedantic, it is verse 11, although verse 9 contains almost identical wording, the only change being that "unto" is "to" in verse 9).
Thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things
....Matthew XXV  28
    Centre, under the inscription:   A prophet is not without honour save in his own country
      Right:   The helm may rust, the laurel bough may fade,
      Oblivion`s grasp may blunt the victor`s blade;
      But that bright, holy wreath which learning gives
      Untorn by hate, Unharmed by envy lives
      ....Graham
      Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest
      ....Matthew XI  28

Beryl Neumann, (IIA) NSW, Australia 20th August 2003
Congratulations on our 21st Edition. I wrote to Laraine in November 1986 and can very clearly remember meeting her for the first time in April 1987 on a trip to England. A few days later I visited Hadleigh and was blown away. This was before the Alabaster Society was even thought of.
Little did I know then what would happen. Thank you Members for all your great participation over these years and to you, Laraine, for your tremendous enthusiasm and hard work. Where would we all be without her? Let us preserve our past, enjoy the present and look forward to the future.
Beryl has a great deal to answer for!!! It was her planned return trip to UK in 1990 that spurred myself, Adrian, and John Stammers Alabaster to take action and organise the first Alabaster Gathering and the rest, as they say, is history!

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