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So Are We Related ?
Higgins & Purser families in Turvey  1800-1920.

Was Grandma Telling Porkies ?

Well yes and no. I have no doubt that the story was told to her in good faith and that she told us in equally good faith. However these family legends, oral history, or whatever you want to call it, do tend to get embellished in the telling. This must have gone through several generations of telling, and over 150 years or more, whatever truth there may have been has been so embellished as to be unrecognisable.  A bit like the old chestnut of an army message that started out as "send reinforcements we are going to advance", ending up as "send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance"

As to the basic element of the tale, a wayward daughter of the Squire eloping with a groom, I can find no evidence to back this up and I am forced to the conclusion that this never happened.

 

I have been through the Higgins family tree ad-nauseam and can find no possible candidate daughter. I have looked at The Higgins of Turvey House, The Longuet Higgins at Turvey Abbey and the Higgins of Picts Hill.

So as to look under every possible stone, I am part way through reconciling the Parish Records with the known family tree, just to be certain that there is not some daughter who has been quietly erased. So far this has been equally fruitless.

Is There Some Other Connection ?

 

It is very tenuous but yes there is. You will recall my previous suggestion that there may have been some scandal within the household staff rather than the family itself.  This is difficult to say much about without knowing who the household staff were.  The census returns tell us who lived at the house on census day, but nothing about who was there for the next 9 years and 364 days to the next census. I  have enquired if by any chance there may be any surviving records of the household staff going back that far. I have yet to hear definitively back, but his is a long-shot to say the least.

I have come across one interesting connection so far. Turvey House was let for parts of the 19th Century whilst the family lived away from Turvey or in another house in Turvey.  In the 1851 census the house has been left with a skeleton staff of three whilst the family are living at Tunbridge Wells in Kent.  I can't say if this was a long term arrangement or just a brief trip, to take the waters perhaps ?

The staff left behind were the family Coachman, John Bamford, his wife Catherine who was the cook and one other servant Sarah Wall.

Interestingly John Bamford had a niece and a nephew both of who married members if the Purser family.  So tenuous as it is, there is a connection.  We are indeed related to a man who was in charge of Turvey House.  Probably only for a very short time but in charge none the less.  Perhaps not quite what Grandma had in mind !!

I find this story intriguing and will keep poking around, with the number f Pursers in the area there must be others who worked for the Higgins Family.

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