Picture by Rupert Fox from a design by Michael William Alabaster

 

The Alabaster Chronicle 

The Journal of the Alabaster Society 

 

NUMBER TWENTY-THREE,  AUTUMN 2004 

Contents

Editorial

by Laraine Hake - March 1996 

A very warm welcome to Chronicle Number 23!
I was about to apologise that this issue was late  but I have just looked back at the Autumn / Winter issues for 2002 and 2001 and discovered that I am actually almost a month ahead of myself - well, ahead of the time I was behind last year! Put it down to the fact that I am at home, suffering with shingles, so have had the time to put it together!
If we are in the unusual position of me being a little ahead of myself, please do not think that gives YOU the right to relax. No, please do deal with the various enclosures ASAP! I do hope you will find them of immense interest.
Firstly, there is the next Alabaster Gathering -- a mere six months away -- page 24. I do hope you have had the date booked in your 2005 diary for ages; now complete the booking form please.
Secondly, there is a flyer giving details of a super new book written by Tony Springall and Sue Andrews on Hadleigh and the Alabaster Family. Bliss! Here is your opportunity to order your copy in advance and get your own name printed in it in the list of subscribers. As I was asked to write a Foreword to the book, I have used my own words to describe the book, page 47.
Thirdly, subscriptions are due for the year 1st September 2004 to 31st August 2005: this is not quite as exciting, but still needs to be done!
My own, very, very exciting news is that I am to become a grandmother in November, for the first time, Dv. Words fail me to convey my delight!
This is the last Alabaster Chronicle that I will write as Editor - page 22 - although I still hope to be able to contribute articles. Very many thanks for the support I have received over the past eleven years. Please, please still write to me as the secretary of the Alabaster Society! I look forward to seeing many of you next April!

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News from Around the World

Firstly let me remind you all that with the trauma of computer problems, etc., there was no Letters Page in the previous Chronicle, Number 22, hence my apologies that some of the communications below date back several months! I do hope they are of interest regardless. (As ever, anything in italics is my comment! -- Laraine).

Dr. Erica Alabaster (IIB) writes on the13th Jan 2004:
After several years of juggling part-time study with a full-time lectureship, putting life on hold and Martin so generously accepting my research as 'the third' in our marriage for so long, I`m pleased to report that I was awarded a category 1 Ph.D. at the end of November 2003. As an Alabaster I had to be different and made history at the 5 * rated Cardiff School of Social Sciences (Education) by sitting the viva examination by videoconference. The external examiner was in the midst of a visiting professorship in Perth, Australia.
My thesis was broadly concerned with nursing students` occupational socialisation through an exploration of their experiences of working with older people. Completing the study was far from straightforward, not the least due to unremitting change in the world of nurse education and rising student numbers. This meant that my day job never stood still, an ever increasing workload and accommodating all the homework this generated.
In addition, and despite such careful planning, complications arose at every stage of the research. This was the case right up to the wire. I had allowed time for the bookbinders to make a small post-viva addition and hard bind before final submission but they found the work more difficult than anticipated and didn`t complete it. Time was running short with the university closing for Christmas the following day. Suffice it to say that I eventually picked it up and drove (carefully) through very busy seasonal traffic to deliver just twenty minutes before the doors closed!
It hasn`t quite sunk in that I`ve 'got it', but Martin and I very much enjoyed having a word processor-free holiday for once.
Ten months later, I am sure that Erica has now got used to being (yet another!) Dr Alabaster. On behalf of us all, I do send sincere congratulations.

Ivor Smith (IV) July 7th 2004
Just out of interest - I received a message over the weekend from Jordan. A lady there was trying to trace her Smith roots to Sunderland and guess what - yes she turned out to be a 2nd cousin. The granddaughter of my grandfather`s sister. We had lost all trace of her descendants from Sunderland and could not find any links anywhere. She found my query on a genealogy web site and the rest is history!
Well done lvor! So far, I have been able to place every Alabaster by whom I have been contacted ..... but to place a Smith .....!

Oriole Veldhuis (IIC) 21 st July 2004
Criddle Vane Homestead Provincial Park Official Opening
July 17, 2004 was one of the few warm sunny days of this record breaking cold summer. Nan Criddle Kenyon and her husband Gordon came from British Columbia to take part in the ceremonies. Manitoba`s Conservation Minister, Stan Struthers, local Members of Parliament, came to support the members of a group, the Criddle/Vane Homestead Heritage Committee, who had worked long and hard toward dedicating and preserving this 130-hectare piece of prairie for the future generations. People of all walks of life will be able to walk the self-interpretative trails, enjoy the birds and wild flowers in season.
The Criddle and Vane families were well known for their contribution to the fields of natural science. The site includes the remaining structure of the first entomological field station in Western Canada. Norman Criddle collected insect specimens from the region, which have been preserved and are still studied to this day. His watercolour illustrations of the prairie plants were published by the department of agriculture in the book, Farm Weeds of Canada, and carried now by Lee Valley Tools.
All members of the family enjoyed gardening. - Stuart specialised in lilies and at the age of 91 was recognised at the first convocation of Brandon University for his lifelong work in studying mammals. His garden was a marvel of pansies, roses, sunflowers and lilies. He developed a strain of lily that was named after him - Lilium Stuart Criddle.
Harry Vane planted thousands of trees to beautify and shelter homes and fields. Anyone driving in the area now will see mature trees, where at the early part of the 20th century there were none. Early pictures show the Vane home, St. John`s, standing stark against the sky, whereas I have only known the home and garden surrounded by stately trees. Uncle Harry`s rose garden was a great marvel with people from far and wide dropping in to view the varieties of blooms. Many a bride, including myself, carried a bouquet of roses from his garden well into his 90s."
Oriole Veldhuis (nee Vane) and Nan Kenyon (nee Criddle) are descendants of Percy Criddle and his mother, Mary Ann Rebecca Alabaster

Olivia Alabaster (IIA) 3rd August 2004
I`m Olivia Alabaster (don`t know which branch!) and am 17 years old. I was just reading issue number twenty-two and remembered that several years ago on a school-trip to the French and Belgian trenches and cemeteries of the First World War, I happened to notice my family name among the names of the dead on the Menin Gate. Although some of my school-friends had been desperately looking in the books at each cemetery to find someone bearing their family name, I presumed I would never find an Alabaster so didn`t want to disappoint myself by looking in every book! Imagine my surprise when I saw the name "Alabaster" on the Menin Gate! I hope the attached photo is interesting to you and maybe even the society. Perhaps someone would like to research who R.G Alabaster, rifleman, was exactly.
Thank you Olivia! I can tell you that Rifleman R. G. Alabaster was Roger George Alabaster, Branch IIIA, son of Roger George and Mary Ellen Alabaster of Romford, Essex. He was killed in action on 16th August, 1917, at the age of 25.

Charlotte Alabaster (Branch IV) 10th August 2004
We`re good here ... just returned last evening from a trip to North Carolina. One of our sons had rented a house on the "outer banks" and invited us to join him, his three children along with our other son and his son. The occasion for this get-together was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary (which was Aug. 1) and we all had a wonderful time.
Our eldest granddaughter was not able to join us from Arizona but she wrote a very special note as to why. 
Back the end of May, Moe and I were at that same area for the beach wedding of Gwen and Larry Rocque`s daughter Holly. (Holly was with them at the last gathering in Hadleigh). Robbin and John Churchill were also there with their whole family so that was another good time for the Alabaster family here in the States.

Kelley Videbeck (IV) August 2004
Just wanted to drop you off a quick reply because you did mention about putting that bottle into the next Chronicle. So just let me know if you have all the info you need!
Kelley had emailed me from New Zealand during the month of May to let me know that an item entitled "Green ALABASTER LONDON bottle" was being auctioned on a website by a company called TRADEME! With my encouragement, Kelley bid for it successfully and is now the proud owner of this bottle! I presume that this bottle would once have contained ginger beer or mineral water manufactured in Shoreditch! (Chronicle 19 Autumn / Winter 2002, p.17)
Kelley went on to say, Did I let you know also that I found the marriage of Daniel Alabaster (Captain Dan) & Isabella Fenwick earlier this year (Chronicle 18, Spring / Summer 2002 pp 10-19)? It turns out they were married in 1871 (all their children being born in the 1860`s!).
So, we`ve been on a bit of a wild goose chase for years, and it was so exciting to find them at last.
No amazing story really - just a new source came to my hands!! The NZ Society of Genealogists have compiled an index of many of their indexes on CD which they sell, and the marriage was on the latest version which came out earlier this year ... So I just did the old "Alabaster" trawl, not really expecting anything new, and voila! Thank goodness for the index-makers of this world!! Because Isabella was always given as "Isabella Alabaster, formerly Fenwick" on all her children`s births, it simply never occurred to me that they might not have been legally married all that time. I`m sure there`s a great story there somewhere!
Copied from marriage certificate:
January 24th 1871    Daniel Alabaster 33 Mariner Bachelor    Isabella Fenwick 28 Spinster   Registrar Office, Cobden (New Zealand)

Eileen Fowler (W ofW) 11th August 2004
We have had an addition to the family. Stephen and Lys had their first child, Daniel James,on 13th April. We now have two grandchildren, one of each sex, so it will be fun to compare their development.
Congratulations to Eileen, Stephen and Lys - and to Daniel James, of course!

Shirley Rowe (IIA) 15th September 2004
I was hunting for 3 baptisms in my father`s family (with no luck) However, I was going through St Matthias, Wordsworth Road, Stoke Newington and came across the following:-
July 25 1879 Maude Mary, of Henry & Louisa Alabaster, 32 Watson Street, Carpenter
Also: Ellen Susan.
I expect you have this information, but thought I would send it in case you didn`t.
I did NOT have this information previously, so many thanks to Shirley! Maude and Ellen were daughters of Henry & Louisa (nee Pitt) Alabaster, WojW branch. They were aunts of John Henry Alabaster.

and ......................... found on the internet.......
Candidates` use of newsletter still controversial

The Alabaster Newsletter became the focus of campaign controversy for a second time this election season Monday night.
Amy Milliron, a candidate for the City Council Ward 4 seat, questioned why her photo was removed from a business ad that had been publishing for about a year when the entire Alabaster City Council was pictured on the back page of the August 2004 city newsletter.
Do they mean us ?!
With a mixture of disappointment and relief, I realised this was referring to Alabaster, Alabama, USA!

Very many thanks to all of you who write to me and allow me to develop our correspondence into something of interest to others. As I have mentioned elsewhere, if members are willing to continue to send me letters, emai/s with news and comments then, as secretary, I will be very happy to continue to provide such pages for future Chronicles, with the Editor`s permission

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William Alabaster`s Stolen Letter and the Earl of Essex

by John S. Alabaster (I)

In the last number of the Alabaster Chronicle (Alabaster, John S. (2004) Postscript and Index to `A Closer Look at William Alabaster`. Alabaster Chronicle, Spring/Summer 2004, pp. 1-5) mention was made of the possibility that a letter, said by William to have been stolen from him, had been found and identified as his. It has, indeed, been found ­ by Professor Cyndia Clegg of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. The news came from Professor Dana F. Sutton of the University of California, Irvine (personal communication) who had identified it as William`s from its distinctive capital As compared with those in a letter William wrote to Thomas Egerton. The same characteristic is found in the script he used in two other letters to Cecil - from Framlingham (see inside the back cover of William`s biography (Alabaster, John S. (2003) A Closer Look at William Alabaster (1568-1640): Poet, Theologian, and Spy. Occasional Monograph No. 1. The Alabaster Society. 159 pp) and the King`s Bench, and also in his autograph on a copy of the Greek Anthology by Henricius Stephanus, from which, incidentally, William based a love poem (No. XII). There are other close similarities in script between all the documents.From the official account of William`s interrogation in the Tower in July 1600 (Guiney, Louise Imogen (1938) Recusant Poets. XXXII. William Alabaster pp. 335-349. London & New York: Sheed & Ward), it was obvious that he was involved in spying in some way, but it had been difficult to decide exactly how. The letter, a personal statement, unsigned and not addressed to anyone in particular, taken at face value, clarifies matters, and suggests that the official account was, to use a modem phrase, 'rather sexed up' by the Attorney General, Sir Edward Coke! William appears as a loyal subject to the Queen, proposing to the Spaniards to act as a messenger between them and Essex (who was then in Ireland), his object being simply to gain their confidence and allow him to collect intelligence about their intentions against England.
The two sources differ in several significant respects. Coke reported a Spanish invasion fleet, whereas William wrote of ships to protect the coast of Spain, defend the coast from English men of war and intercept English ships in the straits [of Dover]. Coke affirmed that William carried letters from the Pope and the King of Spain, something William`s letter explicitly denied. Chamberlain reported (presumably from official sources) that William 'is brought in coram [i.e., face to face?] again being sent from Rochell', whereas the letter stated that he was released by the Mayor after three weeks in custody; the Mayor, having found neither letters nor any suspicion of farther matters, uppon my often and earnest entreaty to be sent to her Ma[jes]tie favours, I was lett goe'.The letter reports men to be sent to Ireland, following money already dispatched to Derry, as well as ships of armour. As for a direct offensive against England, it was reported as unlikely during 1599 or the following year, although the Spaniards feared that, should a treaty be concluded between England and Spain, English Catholics gaining greater toleration, would be more likely to support an English, rather than a Spanish succession at the Queen Elizabeth`s death. There was 'a secret deliberation' on the desirability of war or peace with England. Finally the Duke of Parma wanted the Pope to confirm his title to the crown of England.
Appended to the letter was a list of seemingly desirable courses of English reaction, namely: breaking the link between Philip and the Catholics [of England]; encouraging both sides to an honourable peace; and dealing with pretenders to the English throne and discouraging their support by the Pope.
Altogether, there was considerable military and political intelligence in the letter, together with some advice, that subsequent events show was reasonably sound. For example, it was at Derry, in the north, that the English commander, Mountjoy later (in 1600) engaged the Irish rebel, O`Neill, and subsequently in December 1601 defeated him and his Spanish allies at Kinsale in the south (Hayes-McCoy, G. A. (1994), The Tudor Conquest (1534-1603), pp. 174-189. Chapter 11, in The Course of Irish History by T. W. Moody & F. X. Martin (Eds.), Mercier Press, 504 pp), despite the landing of Spaniards the previous September. And in October of 1599 the Archduke, who ruled the Netherlands for Spain, had sent an envoy secretly to London to set up peace negotiations in Bologne the following spring.
As for Parma, he, like other descendants of John of Gaunt, were not popular choices for the throne, and Philip III was not sufficiently interested to pursue them; Philip was less fanatical than his father and continued the war in a desultory fashion - namely, as described in the letter, to maintain it 'in an ordinary manner' ..Clegg (personal communication) sees the letter being used by Robert Cecil to denigrate the Earl of Essex (Clegg, Cyndia S. - undated typescript - The Untried Treason Case against Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. 32 pp), and although a charge of treason was drawn up, it was not pursued, the case being too weak. If the authorities believed from this letter that there was not a genuine attempt by William to compromise Essex, this might explain in part why his trial had been delayed so long after William`s return to London, presumably overtaken by much harder evidence of treason that was to follow.
The conclusions that William had really converted to Catholicism, but was an Appellant, loyal to the queen, and had acted adventitiously as a spy for Cccil arc not challenged by the letter. And it is notable that he resented being taken for a Jesuit when he confided his business to an English merchantman with whom he travelled to La Rochelle from Bordeaux after leaving Spain. The genuineness of his endeavour would explain his ire at not being allowed to see Cecil or the Queen when he was in the Tower.
I had written that 'the one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it', but I never thought I would have to do it so soon! Not that this is the last word, for we are still left with several unanswered questions. What happened after he was released in La Rochelle? When and where did he write the letter? Was it when he was in custody in the Tower? And to whom was it to have been given? Cecil? NOTE: The complete transcription of the letter, with detailed commentary and notes is available in The Philological Museum, http://eee.uci.edu/~papyri/alabletter.html  (link no longer valid).  

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The Alabaster Chronicle: Editor needed

We need a member of the Alabaster Society who is willing to edit the Alabaster Chronicle in the future. This probably needs a bit more explanation! We are NOT looking for somebody willing to take on my role within the Society - providing I get re-elected at the General Meeting next April (held as part of the Gathering) I would like to remain as Secretary, please!
What we DO need is somebody who is willing to oversee the production of the Alabaster Chronicle. That is, collecting contributions :trom members, pasting them together and sending it to the printers, and maybe writing a single-page editorial. We already have a member who has offered to take delivery of the completed journals and despatch them to members world-wide, we can also count on some regular contributions to the magazine, e.g. the children`s quiz pages and Secretary`s Letters` Page.
The Chronicle does not have to be in the same form as it is now - it could be changed to a Newsletter style, possibly even produced annually rather than twice a year; now that we have Occasional Monographs, these could fill the gap.The copy can be sent to the printers either as hard copy (camera-ready) as I do at present or as a PDF file if it were somebody more computer literate than I am! I have always worked in Word, but I am told that` there are better methods, e.g. Publisher.
Please contact me and let me know that you are interested in knowing more!  

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General Meeting

As per our constitution, the General Meeting held at the tri-annual Gathering, is where decisions are made that relate to the future of the Society.
If you want to have a say, this is the place to do so! At the meeting in April 2005 we will, as usual, be electing or re-electing members of the Committee. If you would like to nominate somebody to be a member, or want to be a member yourself, please do write and let me know.
It is likely that we will be discussing the possibility of raising the level of subscriptions at some point in the future if it were deemed necessary.
If you have a comment on this matter, or any other, once again, please let me know, particularly if you are unable to attend the meeting yourself. In this way we can try to consider the opinions of all our members!  

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Alabaster Gathering - 23rd and 24th April 2005

The next Alabaster Gathering is a mere six months away - can it really be almost three years since we last met in Hadleigh?! Building on the great success of the previous two meetings, we are once again "gathering" on Saturday 23rd in the Old School in Hadleigh - built on the site of the Alabaster School, provision for which was made in the Will of John Alabaster in 1637 ......but even more to record and contribution to the history of the Alabaster family.the point, welcoming hosts, pleasing facilities, good food all set in the heart of Alabaster country! A booking form is enclosed with this issue of the Chronicle. I do hope you will make it a priority to complete and post it now, to let us know you will be joining us on the day!
Miranda and Tom McIntosh, of the Old School, will be providing morning and afternoon tea and coffee and a buffet lunch for us to enjoy. As in past years, there will be displays, talks, a general meeting of the Alabaster Society and plenty of time to catch up with old :&iends and relations and to meet new ones! There will be another opportunity to leaf through the pages ofthe Book of the Alabaster Family, 2001, to which so many of you contributed and which is our own, unique Many people bring with them items of Alabaster memorabilia; photographs, documents, books etc, for others to see and enjoy. This year, Betty Alabaster West is going to "man" a memorabilia table to ensure that we all get the opportunity to look at these items and to keep them secure. Do have a good think over the next six months as to what you could bring. Do you have a photograph of your Alabaster grandparents, a war record, a medal or something else that has not yet been considered? Please, please bring it with you for us all to share! We will also be having a raffle, as we did at the last Gathering, so please think about bringing a contribution of a prize with you. All income from the raffle will be given as donations to the churches, etc, that welcome us over the weekend. Of course we will have talks for you to enjoy as well. In 2002, Tony Springall gave an excellent talk on how pre-Hadleigh ancestors had been traced. Sue Andrews, Hadleigh Archivist, spoke about the lands and buildings in which the Alabasters had lived in Hadleigh and how she had researched them. As you will see elsewhere, they have now combined their experiences and expertise to produce a book, "Hadleigh and the Alabaster Family: The Story of a Suffolk Town during the Tudor and Stuart periods". Tony has been persuaded to tell us more about the Alabasters in Hadleigh, and I hope that Sue will be willing to contribute as well!
During Saturday afternoon, there will be the usual places of interest to visit in Hadleigh. However far we have roamed, Hadleigh still remains the town that contains more Alabaster memories than any other. Those of us who have been there before still enjoy the opportunity of another visit to Hadleigh Church, with its Alabaster family brasses and window, as well as a look at the Guildhall with its Alabaster family associations. Sue Andrews has said she will have the Hadleigh Archives Office open at the Guildhall with some of the documents relating to the Alabaster family on display. For those who have not previously been to Hadleigh, these visits are a must! In fact we are hoping that the Deanery Tower, Hadleigh, will also be available during Saturday afternoon. This is a very special opportunity because the Tower, with its fine views, is not usually open to the public. We will return to the Old School for tea and the drawing of the raffle. During the evening, there will be a dinner at the Old School. Roy Tricker is our after dinner speaker! Many of you will remember Roy from 1996 when he guided us around the church at Claydon, and then in 1999 when he spoke to us about Suffolk churches. I hope that he will be able to tell us something about the Norfolk churches in the parishes of our early Alabaster ancestors in his usual light-hearted style. Roy is always a Joy to listen to, especially after a good meal! Plans for Sunday 241 I April are still in the melting pot, but it is intended that we will visit the Suffolk churches of Snape and Friston, both with Alabaster associations, and gravestones (!) as we did at the first Gathering, fifteen years ago in April 1990. Hopefully we can also visit Framlingham Castle and enjoy Sunday lunch together before we say goodbye!

      Laraine Hake 
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The Alabaster Chronicle Quiz Page

(intended for those of tender years)

Look back in Chronicle TWENTY-TWO to find the answers
(when you have answered all you can, check them on page 48, or at the end of this web page).

1. Who is the secretary of the Alabaster Society

2. What illness did Nan Criddle develop on V.E. Day, May 8th 1945?

3. How many awards did R. Clifford Alabaster (IlIA) receive throughout World War II ?

4. How big was the diary that Angela Alabaster tells us was a Christmas present to Kerrison in 1898?

5. On what date in 1624 was John Alabaster baptised in Hadleigh?

6. How many children did Walter Goddard Alabaster and his wife Louisa, have?

7. What was the profession of Harry Alabaster who lived in High Street Hornchurch?

8. Where was Sir Chaloner Alabaster educated?

9. How much money was given as a donation to the Alabaster Society, as shown in.the accounts?

10. When will the next Alabaster Gathering be held?  

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A Word Search about Alabasters

See if you can find the following words:

ARCHER CROSSBOW GENES FAMILY
ARROW BOLT GATHERING TREES ANCESTOR
HADLEIGH ALABASTER SHIELD CHRONICLE

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How many more can you fmd? We found seventeen, words like SAME and SAT  

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Henry William West Alabaster - Branch IV

by Ivor Smith

With acknowledgement to Ronald Alabaster West, and of course Laraine, for their assistance in putting this piece together.

This part of Branch IV begins with:

Robert Alabaster 1748 - 1826
+Sarah Ward b: in Kessingland Suffolk
............Hannah Alabaster 1793 - 1856 b: 08 May 1793
............Robert Alabaster b1787 -
............+Mary Ann West b1787 –

The story of Robert Alabaster and Mary Ann West who had a total of 11 children appears in edition V of the Chronicle. Their descendants are spread far and wide around the world. This article however concentrates on the story of Henry William West Alabaster, their youngest son.

Robert Alabaster b: 23 January 1783 in Kessingland, d: 06 May 1850 in Yarmouth
+Mary Ann West b: 1787 in Wrentham Suffolk, d: September 1870 in Yarmouth
m: 12 August 1807 St Mary`s Whitechapel
...........Lettice Alabaster b: 12 February 1808 in Kessingland
...........Samuel West Alabaster b: 11 May 1809 in Kessingland Suffolk, d: 03 March 1869 in Nerringundah New South Wales Australia
...........William Alabaster b: 23 September 1810 in Kessingland Suffolk, d: 17 April 1855 in Bredfield Street Woodbridge Suffolk
...........Daniel Alabaster b: 08 February 1812 in Kessingland Suffolk, d: 02 January 1866 in White Lion Inn, March Cambs
...........Robert Alabaster b: 1814 in Yarmouth, d: June 1832
...........Horace Alabaster b: 1819 in Yarmouth, d: August 1819
...........Mary Ann West Alabaster b: 1821 in Yarmouth
...........Horace West Alabaster b: 1823, d: 1864
...........Martha West Alabaster b: 1824
...........Virtue West Alabaster b: 1826
...........Henry William West Alabaster b: 15 April 1828 in Yarmouth, d: 13 July 1893 East Preston, Brighton

Trying to piece together the story of my great great grandfather Henry William West Alabaster has been like trying to put together one of the hardest jigsaw puzzles I have ever tried. With more and more resources gradually becoming available online and accessible through the Internet, some of the more difficult pieces of the jigsaw are now starting to fall into place without having to travel up to London to view the records.

Henry was born on the 15th April 1828 at Yarmouth. It is important to bear in mind that the maiden name of his mother, West, is included in his full name. His early childhood must have been spent in Yarmouth but at sometime he moved to London. Perhaps he came to be with his older brother Samuel West Alabaster who was a baker in Widegate Street, Bishopsgate.

On the 5th December 1847 at the age of 19, he married Eliza Grey of full age (born 1821 at Chesterton Cambridge) at St Botolph Church, Aldgate. The marriage certificate shows that his father Robert Alabaster was a shoemaker and that Eliza Grey was the daughter of William Grey a baker. Both are shown as living in Aldgate. At the time of his marriage Henry’s profession is recorded as Baker. The certificate is signed by Henry Alabaster and Eliza Grey made her mark. The witnesses to the marriage are shown as a Mr Biggs and John Smith.

Henry and Eliza had two children, Horace Robert Alabaster (December 1850) and Virtue West Alabaster (July 1853). Little is known of what happened to Horace but through the internet Valerie Knobloch made contact with Laraine and has been able to complete a lot of details on this twig of the family as she is descended from Virtue and her marriage to John Haines at West Ham in 1872

In the 1851 census Henry Alabaster, baker aged 33 originating from Norfolk, was at Waterworks Row, Stratford. He had no family with him on the night of the census but they could have been elsewhere. The London post office directory of 1856 shows a Henry Alabaster, baker at Castle Terrace Stratford New Town and the 1861 census shows Henry Allibaster(sic) baker of 1 Castle Terrace. With him were his wife Eliza and two children Horace aged 11 and Virtue aged 9. It would appear that he had named his two children after his brother Horace and sister Virtue.

In 1866 according to the Will of his mother[1], Henry was living at 28 White Street, Borough, London, a Baker. White Street no longer exists but was a road to the east of Borough High Street, just north of the junction with Great Suffolk Street, Southwark.

You can find Eliza Alabaster aged 55 in the 1871 census as an annuitant living with her daughter Virtue W Alabaster, a dress maker aged 19, at 1a Charles Street, Plaistow. Searches of the available sections of the 1871 census have so far failed to find any trace of Henry or his son Horace.

Henry William West AlabasterIt may be safe to assume that because she is shown as an annuitant that Henry had left his wife Eliza and daughter Virtue. What becomes of Horace, his son, remains a mystery. (Definition of Annuitant ~ The term annuitant could describe someone on an annual allowance as well as someone receiving annual income from an investment. Often however, it was also used for institutionalised pensioners.)

The next trace of Henry is at Portsea Island in Hampshire. I have obtained the birth Certificate of his son Henry William Alabaster. Henry was born on the 9th December 1872 at 80 William Street, Southsea. His father is shown as Henry William West Alabaster and his mother – Elizabeth Ann West Alabaster, late Coster formerly Lee. Henry’s occupation is given as retired baker (Master) after all he is 44 years of age! The birth was registered on the sixteenth of January 1873.

Henry William West Alabaster (1828-1893) (pictured, left)

Elizabeth was the daughter of James Lee a school slate maker of Lambeth, born on the 4th May 1845 at 53 Whitehorse Street, Waterloo, Lambeth. She was only 26 years of age when she gave birth to Henry, 24 years younger than Eliza Grey. She had married Edward Coster on the 17th February 1868 at St Saviours Southwark and at the time their addresses were given at Great Suffolk Street. Edward Coster’s occupation is given as baker and you would be forgiven for thinking of a link to Henry at this time as you will remember from a previous paragraph that Henry was a baker with an address at 28 White Street, quite close to Great Suffolk Street.

Elizabeth and Edward had a daughter whom they named Elizabeth Ann Coster who was born in 1866, and we can see that in the following years she stayed with her mother. What happened to Edward Coster? This is a piece of the jigsaw I still have to find but remember the name for later on in this story.

The indications are that after the birth of their son Henry, Henry and Elizabeth together with Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s daughter by her marriage to Edward Coster, decided to move to Cookham in Berkshire, where they settled and brought up the rest of their family whilst running a baker`s business at 5 Queens Street. They had a further five children listed below with Arthur (my great grandfather) Frederick and Walter all being named Alabaster West. It is interesting to note that whilst in Cookham they appeared to have used the family name of West or Alabaster-West as their family surname.

Descendants of Henry William West Alabaster and Elizabeth Ann Lee

    Elizabeth Coster b: 1866 in Lambeth Surrey
    Henry William West Alabaster b: March 1873 Portsea, Hampshire d: 06 November 1959
    Louise Alabaster b: 1875 in Maidenhead Berkshire
    Letitia Alabaster b: May 1877 in Maidenhead Berkshire,  d: 06 September 1969 in Victoria BC Canada
    Arthur Alabaster West b: 01 April 1878 in Maidenhead,  d: 14 March 1957 in London
    Frederick William Alabaster West b: September 1879 in Maidenhead,  d: in Redhill Surrey
    Walter Alabaster West b: 11 September 1885 in 5 Queen St Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire

The 1891 census shows that the family had returned to South London where, apart from the daughter Elizabeth who had married, they can be found living together at 178 Camberwell Road (West Side), Southwark. Henry is shown as being a Master Baker

At some point during the following two years Henry and Elizabeth moved to 10 St. George’s Place, Brighton. One can only speculate on the reason for this move but there followed, in 1893, three significant events.

Firstly, in the second quarter of 1893, Eliza, Henry’s first wife died in West Ham.

Secondly, on the 24th May 1893 at the Parish Church Brighton, Henry William West Alabaster aged 65, widower and retired businessman, married Elizabeth Ann Coster aged 48 a widow. Henry’s father is shown as Robert Alabaster deceased shoemaker and Elizabeth’s father is shown as James Lee deceased slate merchant. The marriage was witnessed by W. Robinson and John Henry Newman.

The third event was the death of Henry, himself, on the 13th July 1893

On the 19th December 1899 Elizabeth also died and is buried with Henry in a Victorian Cemetery at Worthing.[2]

By using the surname West, Henry can be attributed with causing my part of the family some very early confusion, but the picture is becoming clearer as pieces of the jigsaw come together

The Children.

The 1901 Census shows us that most of Henry and Elizabeth’s children were living in the Woolwich and Plumstead area of South London.

Next is an outline of the family with updates of my current research which has been gleaned from many of the on line sources, visits to records offices, certificates and a strict family history budget.

Descendants of Henry William West Alabaster and Elizabeth Ann Coster

1. Elizabeth Coster – Elizabeth was born in 1866. In the 1881 census at Cookham her name is shown as Elizabeth West. In December 1883 she married William Stanley a greengrocer of 11 Queen Street, Cookham and in 1886 gave birth to a son Charles William Stanley. Originally I could not find her name in the 1891 census but eventually tracked her down to The Signal Hotel, Portman Street, Croydon, where she was staying with her Uncle, William Coster, age 49, a Licensed Victualler, and his wife Mary Ann Coster. Also at the address was Harriet Hammerton, a widow, who is recorded as being the mother, but whether she had remarried or was in fact the mother of Mary Ann is not known yet. However, the information may help me eventually to identify Edward Coster and the rest of his family. I think a visit to the pub would be in order here, in the furtherance of my enquiries of course!

In the 1891 census, Elizabeth’s son Charles can be found staying with his grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth at Camberwell whilst her husband William is still at the Grocers shop in Cookham but in the 1901 census I cannot identify Elizabeth or William Stanley or any record relating to either of them.

In 1897 there is a death recorded in the last quarter of 1897 of an Elizabeth Stanley, aged 3,1 in Lambeth. This will need to be checked in next months FH budget.

Elizabeth’s son Charles, appears in the 1901 census at a boarding school in Margate and enquiries to trace him and/or his descendants continue.

2. Henry William West Alabaster b:9th December 1872 Southsea, Portsea Island Hampshire;  d: 6th November 1959 in Middlesex

Some may say, like father like son but there are many unanswered questions about Henry. Having been born in Southsea, Henry lived his early life in Cookham where he can be found in the 1881 census. The 1891 Census tells us he was living with his parents at Camberwell and his occupation is shown as that of Baker`s Assistant.

In 1896 Henry married Edith Taylor at Cookham, Berkshire.

    + Edith Taylor b: 1871,  d: 06 May 1898 in 163 Balls Pond Road Dalston m: December 1896 Cookham Maidenhead.

Little is known of Edith Taylor at the moment but it would appear she might have been the daughter of the local Police Superintendent (1881 Census). In 1898 Henry was living at 163 Balls Pond Road, Dalston where the death of Edith Taylor is recorded. She apparently left him nothing in her Will so this may not have been a very happy marriage. It is strange that I cannot identify Henry in the 1901 census but he does come to light in October 1901.

On the 26th October 1901 at St Nicholas Church, Plumstead, Henry married Jane Caroline Graham.

    + Jane Caroline Graham b: 9th April 1876 in St Saviour Southwark,  d: 23rd June 1960 in Middlesex.

Jane Caroline Graham was the daughter of James and Caroline Graham (nee Bartlett). On her birth certificate, James is shown as a joiner and the family were living at 78 Manor Place, Walworth. In the 1881 Census she was living with her mother aged 30 and father aged 29 at 68 Cambridge St Newington. She had an elder brother Charles Graham, aged 6 and a younger sister Florence aged 2.

In 1891 she was living with her mother and father at 7 Fletton Road, Tottenham (near to Bounds Green Tube station) where she is shown as being named Jenny and a scholar. The family was still there in 1901 but Jane had left.

But here comes another mystery. Where were Henry and Jane on the night of the 1901 census? I still cannot identify Henry in the 1901 but whilst searching the index for Jane, I came across a Jenny Graham at 550 Kingsland Road Hackney. Jenny is aged 24, shown as being born in Islington, but the interesting bit is that she is also shown as being a servant at this address where the head of the household, Alice M Granger, is a Baker.

On the marriage certificate of Henry and Jane, Henry is shown as Henry William Westalabaster, a baker aged 28 and a widower, the son of Henry William Westalabaster (deceased - master baker). Note that he is recorded as being Henry William Westalabaster. Jane Caroline Graham is shown as being aged 25 a spinster, her father being James Graham, a Foreman Fitter. Both are shown as living at 79 Keavitree Road, Plumpstead. On checking a map you will be able to see that this address it is only a few streets away from the address of his younger sister Letitia. During their marriage Henry and Jane had four children Doris, Frank, Violet and Constance. But more about them in a later edition.

It would appear that Henry and Jane lived at various addresses in London and it was most interesting to note that there are references to him and Jane living in South London from the address book of his sister Letitia. where Jane is also referred to as Jenny.

Letitia’s address book gives various addresses for Jane. Henry is not mentioned specifically, but the entries read:

    Mrs J West 124 Wickersly ??, Lavender Hill, SW,
    Mrs J West, 69 Headfield Rd, Wandsworth SW,
    Mrs J West, 68 Longbridge Rd Clapham Common, SW,
    Jenny 15 Hampton Road, Twickenham

Henry died on the 6th November 1959 at 15 Hampton Road, Twickenham. On the death certificate he is shown as being Henry William West-Alabaster known as Henry William West. He was aged 86 years when he died, a retired Baker and Confectioner. Death was due to aplastic anaemia and myslo fibrosis. The informant was his daughter Doris Stockham who was present at the death

Jane Caroline West otherwise Jane Caroline West-Alabaster died on the 23rd June 1960 at 15 Hampton Road, Twickenham aged 84. Her cause of death is shown as bronchopneumonia, and cerebral thrombosis, auricular fibrillation, pernicious anaemia. The informant for the death was her daughter Doris Stockham

To date I have not been able to trace their children, Doris, Frank, Violet and Constance but enquiries will continue and any information which can lead me to their descendants would be gratefully received.

3. Louise Alabaster West b: 1875 in Maidenhead Berkshire
m: Sidney Walter Turner

I have traced a marriage on the internet at freebmd which records the marriage of Louise Alabaster West and Sidney Walter Turner Sept 1898 Camberwell 1D 1423. Despite this information I have not been able to trace either of them in the 1901 census so further enquiries will have to continue.

4. Letitia Alabaster b: May 1877 in Maidenhead Berkshire,  d: 06 September 1969 in Victoria BC Canada

Letitia was born in Maidenhead in 1877 and appears in the1881 census at 5 Queen Street and in the 1891 census with the family at 178 Camberwell Road.(West Side).

On the 4th December 1895 at St Johns Church, Lambeth, she married Edward Coster
+ Edward Coster aged 28, a bachelor and Master Baker of 19 Frances Street, Lambeth.

Edward is shown as being the son of Edward Coster (deceased master baker). At the time of her marriage Letitia is shown as living at 90 Waterloo Road, Lambeth. The witnesses to the marriage are Henry William Alabaster, Elizabeth Alabaster, Louise Alabaster and Mary Ashfield

It is perhaps worthy to note that at this marriage Letitia and her brothers and sisters used the surname of Alabaster even though through most of their life it would appear that they had been known as West.

The question is – who was Edward Coster and perhaps more importantly who was his father – remembering that Elizabeth (Letitia’s mother) was originally married to an Edward Coster. It is not the same one because of the age difference but this is one mystery which remains in the closet at the moment and is being very difficult to resolve.

To help with this enquiry you may also recall that I earlier mentioned that Letitia’s half sister Elizabeth Stanley (nee Coster) was staying with her Uncle William Coster of the Royal Signal PH Croydon. Despite this information it is still proving difficult to identify Edward.

Letitia and Edward gave birth to a daughter, Letitia Elizabeth, on the 3rd June 1897, whilst living at 18 Greyhound Road, Fulham, and on the birth certificate Edwards’s profession is shown as master baker.

The 1901 Census indicates that Edward and Letitia had moved to 157 Benares Road, Plumstead. This address is just a few streets away from Heavitree Road where her elder brother Henry lived at the time of his marriage to Jane Graham. Also registered at the address in the census is a Walter Coster shown as a nephew aged 15 born in Maidenhead, Berkshire. This compares favorably with the identity of Walter Leonard Alabaster West, the youngest son of this family (see below).

In about 1906 Letitia, Edward, and baby Letitia, moved to Canada. At first they settled in Winnipeg, but in 1912 Edward Coster died leaving both Letitias alone in Canada. The story could have ended there but for some letters my mother and Aunt Rene held which showed that “Great Aunt Letty” had family in Canada. Despite inquiries at the last known addresses and the finding of the death record of Letitia in Vancouver in 1969 the trail went cold. All I could find out was that Letitia’s daughter had married a Felix Turner and that they had a son Gordon.

Laraine suggested I contact Oriole Veldhuis a member of the Alabaster Society who lived in Winnipeg. Oriole came up trumps with a newspaper cutting of the death of Felix Guy Turner. This led to many other lines of enquiry as I tried to trace his sons, Gordon and Lawrence Turner, who were mentioned in the obituary Oriel sent me. Eventually, in desperation, and using the 411 on line telephone directory service, I picked up the phone and dialed a Lawrence Turner in Vancouver. He was Gordon’s younger brother – the grandson of Letitia Alabaster. Contact with this part of the family has now been established though enquiries continue to trace Gordon’s daughter Sharon.

Lawrence has been able to recall that after Edward Coster died, both Letitias met up with their future husbands, Lawrence McFadyen and Felix G Turner. Both served during the 1914 -1918 war in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and after the war, on the 3rd August 1919, both mother and daughter were married in a double ceremony at Assiniboia, Canada.

Letitia and her husband Lawrence McFadyen moved to Vancouver where they lived, until their deaths within a short period of each other in 1969.

Address book of Letitias? Yes. This has been kept and preserved in Canada by her grandson Lawrence Turner and his descendants. They were good enough to send it to me. It has now been scanned and has been sent back to Canada. The information in this address book has proved to be invaluable showing that her brother Henry lived in Wandsworth and Clapham Common before moving to Edmonton where he died in 1959

It is perhaps surprising that the address book only refers to Henry and Jane (Jenny), and my Great Grandfather, Arthur, Letitia's younger brother. Apart from a reference to my Grandfather Charles, and my Aunt Rene, there is no mention in it of any of the other members of the family.

NB –I find it interesting to note that there were many other Alabasters in Canada at this time – did they know each other?

2nd Husband of Letitia Alabaster:
+
Lawrence McFadyen b.14 June 1888 in Glasgow Scotland,  d: 1969 in Victoria BC Canada

5. Arthur Alabaster West b: 01 April 1878 in Maidenhead Berkshire,  d:14 March 1957 in London Middlesex

My great Granddad. This twig of the tree has many off shoots which are all fully traceable and accountable. Arthur was a baker by trade and kept in touch with his sister Letitia who referred to him as Arthur West in her address book. Arthur married Ellen Booth at Lambeth in 1899 and they appear in the 1901 Census as living at 71 Childeric Road, Deptford.

+Ellen Martha Ann Booth b: Abt. 1874,  d: 1953 in Wolverton Buckinghamshire

Ellen is believed to be the daughter of Charles and Mary Booth (nee Spencer) It’s at times like this that I realize that where one has concentrated on other members of the family I do not appear to have another side in complete order – (more work and another months FH budget). If I have the right Ellen Booth then she was born in Wimbledon. Her father and grandfather were London Carriers and the family all lived together at 28 West Place, Wimbledon (I bet she did not realise at this early age that she would marry a West).

In 1906 when my Grandfather was born Arthur and Ellen had moved to number 49 Childeric Road. Once again this address is just a few miles away from his sister Letitia and brother Henry in Plumstead.

Arthur was a Baker and I am the proud keeper of a watch which was given to me by my mother which is inscribed. Arthur West, London Exhibition, Foreman’s Prize, Hovis Championship 1907.

Arthur and Ellen had five children of which only two survived. Leslie Arthur Alabaster West born 1902 and Charles William Alabaster West (my grandfather) born on the 10th September 1904. Both were later separately awarded the MBE for public service.

Arthur served in the war as a Baker, firstly at Bath and then in France and his various addresses during the war are recorded in Letitia’s address book.

    Arthur - Pte A.A.West, 359011 Baker's Section, 24 River Street, Bath
        359011 Police Hut, 6th Field Bakeries, North of L of C, No 2 Base, B E F
    Mrs A. West, 2 St Edwards Road, Southsea Hants (This is where my mother went to recuperate after having a mastoid opeation) Southsea again.
    Mrs A West, 18 Timbercroft Lane. Plumstead Common, SE 18 another address just a short distance away from Henry and Letitia.
        2 Candler Street, Seven Sisters Road, South Tottenham
        7 Crestbrook Place N 13
        37 Hawthorne Avenue, Palmers Green, N13. This is the address of Arthur’s eldest son Leslie where he died on the 14th March 1957.

6. Frederick William Alabaster West b: September 1879 in Maidenhead Berkshire,  d: in Redhill Surrey

Frederick married Ada Sear in December 1906 whilst at West Ham. Though not much has been done to follow the history through, his grandson’s wife Freda Amy Lillian Peat-Gordon has been traced and now lives in Hampshire. Contact has been made with her son Robert Alabaster and I will need to do further research.

+Ada Sear - 1965 d: 09 March 1965 in Redhill Surrey m: December 1906 West Ham

7. Walter Alabaster West b: 11 September 1885 at 5 Queen Street, Cookham Maidenhead Berkshire

My last mystery piece of the jigsaw which is not a straight-edged piece. Walter Alabaster West, the youngest son of Elizabeth and Henry, was born on the 7th September 1885 at 5 Queen Street, Cookham, Bray, Berkshire. His father’s details are shown as Henry William West a Baker (Master). Walter`s mother is shown as Elizabeth Coster formerly Lee. The birth was not registered until the thirteenth of November 1885.

In the 1891 Census, he was living at the family home in Camberwell where his name is shown as Willie. After the death of his father and mother it would appear that he lived for a while with his sister Letitia. In the 1901 census he adopted the name of Walter Coster and is recorded as living with her aged 15 at 6 Benares Road Plumstead whilst working at the Royal Arsenal.

Letitia and her husband Edward Coster went to Canada in about 1906, and I do not believe he travelled with her to Canada, but there is no trace of his name in Letitia's address book which I find rather strange.

During the First World War he apparently served with the RFC (Information from a Picture Goer interview). After the war and between 1919 and 1923 Walter went on to become a film producer and a director in the silent movies.

According to records at the British Film Institute and in several picture and film magazines of the time, he owned several film companies in the early 1920’s including his main company Broadwest Films.

The company owned cinemas at Walthamstow, Croydon and Kew where he also had his film studios. His leading lady at the time was Violet Hopson (see below) and there is quite a lot of information about her but no gossip. It would appear that she was an American who came over here to make silent movies. At one time Walter even owned a Rolls Royce, but with the onset of bankruptcy in 1923 something had to go.

His bankruptcy records are held at Kew and make interesting reading. They reveal that he had a wife named Anne and four children all at boarding school, and that she moved to the Isle of Wight. In the bankruptcy papers, she made an application for maintenance of £6 per week for 9 weeks, and it states that he had four children aged 8,9,11 and 14 years.

One of the creditors is the owner of the Calleva Hall, Boarding School, Harpenden Heights, Henley-on-Thames. The application relates to two of his children named Marjorie and Stanley. I have not bee able to trace Anne nor any of the children but another visit to Kew is required to obtain more detail.

Between 1925 and 1933 I cannot find anything relating to Walter except a reference to the making of one more film in 1933. There are several articles about him on the internet and in Picture Goer Magazine but no obituary. I believe he lived under the name of Walter West right up until 1937 when I have found a Walter West in Twickenham of the right age, but nothing more. Walter continues to interest me and will require many more enquiries.

Violet Hopson

Violet Hopson was very well known in the silent movie world. She originated from California and came to England in the early 1900s She starred in many of Walter's films and in the bankruptcy papers is referred to as his second wife. Despite her popularity at the time I have so far been unable to trace any further information about her after her career apparently ended in the late 1920s.

Whilst researching the film side of Walter’s life I read up about another Film Producer of the time, Hepworth, with whom Walter had a friendship. In one article I came across the name of Alma Taylor, a film star who was well know in the 1910s – 1920 as one of the Tilley Girls in Hepworth’s films alongside her co-star Chrissie White. At one point she is referred to as the wife of that prolific film director Walter West. Her obituary in 1973 makes no mention of this relationship so once again further enquiries have yet to be made.

Discovering this branch of my family tree has been fascinating. There are still many unanswered questions about the life of Henry and Elizabeth but I hope that in time more and more may be revealed as more and more records become available in the public domain and access to them becomes easier. The sequel to the story is yet to be written and contact with even more cousins must be made so that some of the unanswered questions can be solved.

[1] Chronicle 5, Autumn/Winter 1995, p 9
[2] Chronicle 5, Autumn\Winter 1995,p 11  

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News from Thailand

by Angela Alabaster (IIA)

August 2004 marks onc hundred and twenty years since the death of Henry Alabaster, founder of the Savetsila family of Thailand. Henry`s grandson, Khun Siddhi, writes, "We renovated the tomb erected by H.M. King Rama V, put new paint and redecorated his grave. Sixty to seventy members of the third, fourth and fifth generations of Savetsilas gathered to pay our respects to him in February. We shall go again in August."

Talking of anniversaries, Siddhi himself had his eighty-fourth birthday in January. In Thailand life is counted in cycles and Siddhi has reached the grand Seventh Cycle. In celebration, H.M. the King. granted a private audience to him, his wife Thida and all their sons, daughters, and in-laws, for one and a half hours. "We felt so proud for the auspicious occasion. Last year we went to Changmai to make merits to the Forest Buddhist Monk Temple."

Khun Siddhi has made a very important contribution to Thailand himself, having served as Foreign Minister for many years, as Air Chief Marshal and his is still a valued Privy Councillor. So, our congratulations to him! 

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Something for the Westminster Archives

by John Stammers Alabaster (I)

When Beryl and I went to Canada some 10 years ago and met Nan Kenyon, the great grand daughter of Mary Ann Rebecca Alabaster (Branch IIC), we were amazed by the quantity of original documents she had on members of her family (some of which have already been commented upon -- see note below)

These included over 60 manuscripts (mainly letters and a diary), amounting to about 58,000 words and covering the period 1833 to 1853, mainly for 1837, that related to James Chaloner Alabaster (brother of Mary Ann Rebecca). His business was selling Straw Hats from premises in Piccadilly, London, but he paid a memorable visit to the New World. His main object of that journey was to establish the validity of some old deeds to two large tracts of land in Canada and America, travelling from New York to Toronto to do so and taking the opportunity to explore business openings and see the sights. His letters home to his wife and mother during this trip and the related documents make fascinating reading .

The collection is of great interest to the City of Westminster Archives where Nan has agreed the originals should be retained on indefinite loan (whereby ownership would be retained by Chaloner`s descendants), and they would then also be easily accessible to anyone interested. Everything has now been transcribed and this too has been deposited in the Archives. The Reference Accession Number is 2369.

A narrative account of the whole venture is now in preparation and will be made available to the Society in due course.

Note: John S. Alabaster (1994) A Memorable Trip to Canada. Alabaster Chronicle No. 2, pp. 10 to 11

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A New Book:
Hadleigh and the Alabaster Family,
The Story of a Suffolk Town during the Tudor and Stuart periods

by Sue Andrews and Touy Springall
FOREWORD

I am absolutely delighted that this book has been written and I am honoured to have been asked to write a foreword to it. I have been thrilled to have been able to read some of the chapters of this book whilst in preparation and I am proud to be able to contribute a little to the finished work. I believe that this book will provide a fascinating read for a wide variety of people with differing interests, whether that interest be the town of Hadleigh, the Alabaster family or, indeed, the history of England and the world during the Tudor and Stuart eras!Book: Hadleigh and the Alabaster Family

The Alabaster family and the town of Hadleigh have been inextricably linked in my mind since about twenty years ago, when I first picked up a copy of W.A.B. lones` book, Hadleigh through the ages in a bookshop in the town. I checked the index and realised that there were no less than six references to the Alabaster family within its covers. During the intervening years an amazing amount of further evidence has come to light of the part that the Alabaster family played in Hadleigh during the 16th and 17th century.

In 1989 it was decided to hold a "gathering" of Alabaster family members. Hadleigh was the obvious choice of venue and thus, in April 1990, more than one hundred and thirty descendants of Thomas Alabaster (cI519-1592) and their families met in the United Reform Church Hall. Two years later the Alabaster Society was formed and there have been no fewer than five more Alabaster Gatherings held in the Guildhall and the Old School, Bridge Street, Hadleigh.

Sue Andrews has been the Hadleigh Archivist since 1996, but I met her first in her capacity as an expert speaker on tracing the history of land and houses, when I was captivated by a talk that she gave to Suffolk Family History Society well before the Alabaster Society had been considered. She later become an honorary member of our society because of her interest in Susan Alabaster who married into the Beaumont family in Bildeston. In this book can be seen the excellent job that Sue has made of combining her knowledge and experience with the fascinating wealth of documents which survive in the Hadleigh Archives today.

In 1994 Tony Springall heard of the Alabaster Society and decided to join. The great grandson of an Alabaster, like the rest ofthe society he can claim Thomas Alabaster of Hadleigh as a many times great grandfather. Tony has a doctorate in statistical analysis and has used the clarity that this gives him to search the records, not only in Hadleigh, but also in record offices throughout the country. He has applied his literary ability to compile the evidence that they have revealed into a compelling narrative about the events of the lives of the Alabaster family and those with whom they came into contact in two centuries. The history of a provincial town and a single family name can be seen as actually having consequences that were felt in far-flung parts of Europe and America.

I sincerely recommend this book to the reader, and dedicate my minor contribution to it and the Alabaster Society to my grandmother, Adeline Bertha Alabaster (1881-1960).

Laraine Hake 
To Contents


Answers to the Quiz about Chronicle Twenty-two

          1. Laraine Hake. (Inside front cover)
          2. She caught pneumonia. ( Page 3 )
          3. Four awards. (Page 6 )
          4. 3 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. (Page 13 )
          5. 20th September 1624. (Page)
          6. Eight boys and three girls. ( Page 24 )
          7. Tailor. ( Page 27 )
          8. Kings College (London University). ( Page 10 )
          9. £5 . (Page 28)
          10. Saturday 23rd April 2005 .( Page 1 )

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