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Re: Thomas John Still born1855 Brighton Sussex England
Posted by: dave still (ID *****9617) Date: February 19, 2010 at 13:01:26
In Reply to: Re: Thomas John Still born1855 Brighton Sussex England by penny gibbs of 1286

Dear Penny

Thank you for contacting me. Cathie was very kind to refer you to me. I have noted that you have many details of the Still's stretching back to Cranborne and I would be fascinated and excited if you would share these with me.

I have been to visit Cranborne. It was the setting for one of Thomas Hardy's most famous novels, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and in the book was re-named Chaseborough, a 'decayed market town.' Hardy was quite uncomplimentary about the local agricultural labourers in Cranborne, too fond of their drink, with Tess drawing 'sly regards' from the 'loungers in the streets.' Now it's a pretty postcard village and all the loungers must have stayed indoors when I visited. I do not believe that there are any Still's left in the village (maybe we were the loungers!). There is a village fete held bi-annually in the magnificent grounds of Cranborne Manor; there is maypole dancing, homemade jams on sale, a local brass band playing and cream teas- well worth a visit when the fete is on.

With regard to the Still's in Canada, I have a little information.

My g-grandfather was Francis Albourne Still, born 1889. His father (my g-g grandfather) was also called Francis (born 1867) and his mother was Jeannie Beattie, a Scottish lass. Jeannie worked in a pub as a cook and Francis (1867) was a barman; pubs were a boom industry in Victorian London and Francis, no doubt, had plenty of experience working in his mother's beer house in Brighton. Unfortunately Francis (1867) left Jeannie and his two children for another woman shortly after they had moved to London from Brighton. Francis (1889) remained with his mother, Jeannie, although he was in an orphanage at the age of 11 years (1901). Francis (1889) and Francis (1867) did not remain in contact with each other.

In recent years, I was looking at the 'commonwealth war graves commission’ website and noted that a Charles Still (born 1915), Royal Engineers, had been killed in Italy in 1944 aged 29 years; his mother and father were Francis and Sarah Still. Further enquiries revealed that the registered father of Charles was Francis (1867) who had remarried to a lady called Sarah. I later found out that Charles (1915) had been married, with four children, by the time that he died in Italy (apparently a bomb hit a truck that he was in). The eldest of Charles’s children was called Colin. By pure chance I found Colin listed in a book of ‘C of E’ clergy, made contact, and had a very enjoyable meal with him in Brighton. This was several years ago and unfortunately we had not remained in contact with each other. I later tried to contact Colin but he had moved and I have been unable to find any new address for him. Colin had informed me about his siblings; his younger brother had trained as a pilot and settled in Canada, working for Air Canada, and is now retired. There were also two sisters; I believe that at least one sister also settled in Canada. I had the brother's name but would need to try to find it amongst my papers. I will try to dig it out and provide it to you.

Francis (1867) died of natural causes in 1942. Francis (1889) died in 1943 shortly following a head injury, sustained when he fell down stairs during a blackout/air-raid; he had survived being in the Royal Horse Artillery during WW1 to then later sustain such an injury.

I would love to have more information from you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

David



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