Quaker Wedding 1820 by Percy Bigland

We have a super Market in Bridport on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s. The Saturday one is the largest, and there are many selling Antiques and Vintage stuff.  I have often picked up Old Photos when we’ve been wandering along the stalls. On a recent visit I saw this large picture hanging outside a stallholders house, by his stall, an unusual one for me, certainly not a picture I would normally have bought.

I took this picture of it, then we carried on looking around, but I had to go back ! It had an information label printed out & stuck to the back & copied on the front. We got chatting to Roger the stallholder about it, and would you believe it, he & his wife came from Reading, Berkshire…Our home town & he actually knew of Dave’s family..long story ha ha. As a consequence of that, he let me have the picture for a good price..How lucky was that ! Thanks Roger !

Pic at Bridport

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Some great information on that label to get me started ! I started a new Tree for Percy Bigland on Ancestry, and gradually worked my way through, adding people. There were several trees on Ancestry already, but as usual I found lots of incorrect information..I do wish people would double check the facts before something is added, I always when I research anyone, start my own & do my own research, by far the best way. It’s good sometimes to get hints from other peoples trees, but I never ever add anything, unless I have confirmed it thoroughly myself, as best I can.

Margery Livesey. This is the closest & most likely Margery..”Marjorie Livesey
Birth Date: 2 May 1905…..Date of Registration: Mar 1980
Age at Death: 74….Registration district: Bournemouth….Inferred County: Dorset

Unfortunately there are too many Sarah Miles, even in Dorset to be sure which one originally owned this picture. But grateful thanks to both of them, and of course Edward Milligan, and Elizabeth R Pafford especially for recording what she knew. Without these people it would have made my research so much less interesting ! A good lesson for us all to write down what we know & especially on the back of pictures & photos.

The Artist & Family

When Percy Bigland was born on 27 November 1856 in a house called River View, Wallasey, Cheshire, his father, Edwin (1822-82) was 34 and his mother, Adelaide (Merryweather 1824-1905) was 31. He married Edith Mary Hanbury Aggs in 1893. They had two children during their marriage. He died on 8 April 1926 in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, at the age of 69, close to Jordan’s Meeting House. Here’s the 1911 census below..looks like they led quite a good life..Painting obviously paid well. Percy seemed to be quite in demand, he painted lots of prominent people of the age including Gladstone. You can see more of his work on Art UK Website here Percy Bigland Art

1911 census

Their first child was son Ranulf Aggs Bigland who was born on 28 June 1895 in London, his father, Percy, was 38 and his mother, Edith, was 32. Ranulf married Dorothy Eva Shaw Bridge in September 1924 in Saint Albans, Hertfordshire. He died on 16 February 1974 in Corfe Castle, Dorset, at the age of 78. They had no children that I could find. In the 1939 register I found them living with Ranulf’s widowed mum at Stone Dean Jordans Lane, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England. Not a surprise, as all the family & their various Ancestors were Quakers….

Bigland 1939 Reg

Wikipedia Info about the area & it’s Quaker history.….    “Jordans is a village located in Chalfont St Giles parish in Buckinghamshire, England. It is in the civil parish of Hedgerley.
Jordans is a notable centre for Quakerism. Jordans is also the location of the Mayflower Barn, made from the timbers of a ship, which some sources have claimed came from the Mayflower.
The village has about 245 households and 700 residents, with a nursery, primary school, youth hostel, village hall, and community shop. Of these, 40 houses and cottages and 21 flats are owned and maintained by a non-profit society that manages the village and its amenities. In the 17th century the village became a centre for Quakerism. It has one of the oldest Friends meeting houses in the country, whose cemetery is the burial place of William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, as well as other notable Quakers, making it a popular tourist attraction with Americans. Close by is Old Jordans, originally a farmhouse, sold by the Quakers for development in March 2006. Old Jordans was used during World War I as a training centre for the Friends’ Ambulance Unit.

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Jordans Friends Meeting House..See Pic above..was built in 1688 shortly after the Declaration of Indulgence. The meeting room retains most of its original brick, including the bare brick floor, glass, panelling and benches. It suffered a serious fire on 10 March 2005, when the modern extension was virtually destroyed and the roof of the original 17th-century meeting room severely damaged. The interior of the original meeting room escaped relatively unscathed, but suffered some water and smoke damage.”

This is the link to the Quaker Website >  Jordans Meeting House Website

The couple also  had a daughter Griselda Aggs Bigland, who was born on 16 June 1898 in London, her father, Percy, was 41, and her mother, Edith, was 35. She married Lloyd Howard Fox in September 1918 in Chelsea, Middlesex. They had four children in 10 years that I have found Angela 1920-2007, David 1923-1996, Griselda 1925-1989 and Penelope in 1930, no record of a death. All the four children married, and a couple of them had children that I have found, so there are a few descendants of Percy Bigland.

In the 1939 Register on Find My Past, I found the family living at Gerbestone Manor Gerbestone Manor , Wellington, Somerset. See details below … There are also five closed records in the household. These may be servants or children who would be in their 20’s by this time…..Quote  from Register….Griselda A Fox 16 Jun 1898 Female Married Woman Married . Lloyd H Fox 26 Aug 1893 Male Woollen Manufacturer Married, also says he was involved in the Air Raid warning system for Wellington, but unable to read this clearly.

See Below, an old Country Life magazine article about the Manor, dated November 16th 1935, before the family owned it..

It is a Grade 2 Listed building now & this info I found on the British Listed Building Website…“Manor house. Late C16, enlarged C17, comprehensively restored c1935 by Hubert Lidbetter for Mr and Mrs Lloyd Fox.”

Gerbestone Manor Magazine

Gerbestone Manor, Wellington NOW

A more recent photo of the Manor..See above..Isn’t it beautiful..You can get married there now, it’s called the Manor..Website here…The Manor Somerset..

Mum Griselda Aggs Bigland Fox died in November 1987, in Wellington, Somerset, at the age of 89.

The Painting

Back to the picture now…I just loved it as soon as I saw it..it’s beautifully painted, which comes through even in a print as old as this. It was published in 1906, put in this frame and there it’s stayed. There must be some more information about it somewhere, I was thinking, as it’s so lovely..I found the image of the original painting quite easily looking on Google..

It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896, and Published in Photogravure by Headley Brothers, mine is dated 1906.

Then after following several different links, I struck gold ! An article published by the Friends Historical Society, which I was able to view after registering. It is an article written by Hannah Clothier Hull of Swarthmore, Pennsyvania, who at the time was the owner of the original painting, she inherited it from her father. She says in her article that after her death it is to be left to the Swarthmore College, displayed in the Board Room. She also says that meanwhile Friends who wish to see it are always welcome in my home…This is what she wrote, just shortly before her death in 1958…

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Thank you so much to Hannah Clothier Hull !! I have been reading about her & she was quite a woman..More info here via Wikipedia.. Hannah Clothier Hull

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Isn’t it just wonderful in colour !!

My picture is quite large as you can see..it measures about 2’7″ tall by 2’2″ wide. I am unable to keep it long term, I just don’t have the room, but I will enjoy it for a little while, I don’t regret buying it as I just had to know more about it, and now I have ….

Quakers Records

When I was compiling Percy Biglands family tree, I was amazed at the quality & content of the records. Most of Percy’s ancestors were Quakers & using the records on Ancestry, they give such a wonderful amount of information, it’s astonishing ! Here’s just one example below of the type of information on a record..This is a marriage dated 5 May 1778…..Even naming the guests of the couple..

5 May 1778

Here is Percy Bigland Family Tree on Ancestry for those that have a membership, Percy Bigland Family Lynns Waffles  I shall carry on adding to the tree, if you are interested in it…Remember you can always register for free. Handy if you want to access family trees, that you can be an invited guest, by a family member…

Update..Additional interesting information, from a lovely lady Sandra, who knew of this picture hanging in the Quaker Meeting Room at Bridport. Sandra kindly got in touch & we have exchanged emails & she has been kind enough to give me some more background to the picture & also more information about A Quaker Wedding…

“One has a choice of a witness booklet or a scroll that all members and other parties present sign ……..ours stills hangs on the wall and Betty (Elizabeth Pafford and Margery Livesey are both on this.  

There are no ministers within a Quaker Meeting and so there is a special dispensation given that Quakers can legally marry themselves to each other with the Meeting bearing witness.” How lovely…..

Till Next time then………………………

 

 

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