Author Topic: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761  (Read 5562 times)

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history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« on: Tuesday 23 December 14 00:25 GMT (UK) »
This is a pretty obscure request! I am trying to research the life of a lady called Bridget Noncon. She was born in Worcester in 1731. In 1761 she applied for parish relief there, saying that she had been in Brecknock, Wales and had married an Irishman, Thomas Mackartney. Unfortunately a previous wife of Thomas' turned up at Easter, and she seems to have been left high and dry. I've looked at various Brecknockshire history sites, and also at the parish records on FindMyPast. Brecknock at that time seems to have been a quiet place, not a great deal of industry. A bit odd that she should have been there in the first place, but I thought she may have been an army 'camp follower', perhaps. Only one of her siblings appears to have been living at that time, and he was living in Essex. Although I suspect this unusual combination of events was a 'tall tale', this rest of lady's life is unusual anyway, so I am not discounting anything! Does anyone know of any military or political events which may have drawn her to Brecknock?
Joyce & Black in Armagh/Down; Clarkson in Hull, East Riding; Paxton in Hull, Yorkshire; Lodge in Huddersfield and Liverpool; Shaw in Caistor, Lincolnshire; Noncon and Pope in London.

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Offline Greensleeves

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 25 December 14 21:57 GMT (UK) »
Certain parts of Brecknock were heavily used by cattle and sheep drovers, who would drive herds/flocks from both north Wales and south and west Wales into the Brecknock area, where a number of drovers' routes converged.  You can still see the routes nowadays because the droppings of the animals who passed that way made for very fertile land, so this stands out from the surrounding areas.  Men from  all over the country came through Brecknock with the drovers and the routes were also punctuated by inns and other hostelries which catered for the men.  Presumably where there were men with money in their pockets, there would also be camp-followers, wives and sweethearts.  It as also not unusual for relationships to be formed, and marriages entered into.
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 25 December 14 23:18 GMT (UK) »
Thank you so much, Greensleeves! That is just the sort of information I was looking for. I think it is entirely possible that Bridget was travelling with a sweetheart, and then living by her wits. Apparently (as her story went) she ran away from her apprenticeship as a glove-sewer in Bedwardine, Worcestershire when she was in her teens. The introduction of Brecknockshire, Wales into her story seemed quite odd, but Brecknock as a point for travellers makes sense with your information. thanks again!
Joyce & Black in Armagh/Down; Clarkson in Hull, East Riding; Paxton in Hull, Yorkshire; Lodge in Huddersfield and Liverpool; Shaw in Caistor, Lincolnshire; Noncon and Pope in London.

Offline Greensleeves

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #3 on: Friday 26 December 14 22:42 GMT (UK) »
I am wondering if you know where in Brecknock Bridget was, FS?  I am thinking that the village in which I used to live was on the drovers' routes - and the house I lived in was a former drovers' inn; and in that particular village there were glovers......  I suppose it would be too much of a coincidence if Bridget had actually found herself there.
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 27 December 14 00:13 GMT (UK) »
Hi Greensleeves - this is very interesting, but at present, I don't know under what circumstances Bridget (apparently spelled Bridgett in those days) came to Brecknock, where she wasliving, or what she was doing. This is the index text of her application for Parish relief - I have not yet researched the original, but I do have a genealogist in the UK who is doing the 'groundwork' of documents that I can't access from Australia.

"Midsummer 1761: Order to Constable of St. Michael in Bedwardine to convey Bridgett Noncon, vagabond, to St. Johns in Bed. Examination of Bridgett Noncon: was born in St. Michaels and 11 years ago was bound apprentice for 3 years to Hannah Parker, St. Johns, sewer of gloves & served 2 years when she left because of her usage - was married at Brecknock in Wales to Thomas Mackartney, an Irishman, who had no English settlement - at Easter he went off with another woman who said she was his wife."

Bridgett was baptised in 1731 - that is, always assuming that she did not have an elder sister who died and was not recorded. Eleven years would make her apprenticeship in 1750, and she would have been 19. To me, that sounds a bit old for an apprenticeship, and I suppose it could have been a few years out. The timing of her story gives the impression that her marriage to Thomas Mackartney was nearer to 1761 than in her younger years, so possibly in 1760. Needless to say, from internet searches, including newspaper references I have not found a marriage, or any reference to a Thomas Mackartney to any Bridget. However if it is in Brecknockshire that Thomas was marrying convenient ladies, he must have been resident there for a while. Do you know if there is a Welsh newspaper printed in the 1760's? There are references to regular 3 month Assizes in Brecon in the Burney collection and BNA, but I have not yet found any actual newspaper accounts. If Thomas was causing some trouble in Brecon, he could well have appeared in a newspaper. I'd love to find out about Bridget's 'lost years' - she is a very interesting character!
Joyce & Black in Armagh/Down; Clarkson in Hull, East Riding; Paxton in Hull, Yorkshire; Lodge in Huddersfield and Liverpool; Shaw in Caistor, Lincolnshire; Noncon and Pope in London.

Offline Greensleeves

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 27 December 14 22:19 GMT (UK) »
It's an interesting story but not sure that we'll get to the bottom of it.  I've been trying to think of other reasons for people to be in Brecknock at that time, other than for the droving, and there isn't really much else going on, as far as I can tell (although someone else more knowledgeable might correct me on this).    Whilst they might have married in Brecknock it doesn't mean that they parted there, does it?  They might have been travelling, following the cattle or whatever.    It seems that if a 'wife' suddenly turns up they must have been leading a rather peripatetic existence.  Had he been settled it would have been difficult for him to turn up at a church to marry if it was known that he already had a wife.  (Just thinking on the hoof here, really!)

Bredwardine isn't really terribly far from Brecknock, which is a county rather than a place. Brecon  was the county town and Bredwardine is 24 miles from Brecon.  So even on foot it wouldn't pose too much of a problem.

Of course one of the problems in Wales is that any newspaper reports might have been in Welsh....  I'll speak to others I know who might have better knowledge of the records for this area and see if I can find out anything.

Regards
GS
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 27 December 14 23:43 GMT (UK) »
Thanks GS - I do get the impression that Bridget was a wanderer, and that she may not have married in Church, but formed relationships along the way. I suppose there may be some records, like parish settlement and removal records for Brecon? - no sign of these in FS though, just bishop's transcripts and BDM's. However there are the minute books, curcuit books and docket books for the period in question in Brecknockshire and I could look at them sometime - Bridget or Thomas may turn up getting into trouble somewhere. There are also some 288,000 browse-able records for Wales  1592 - 1911 on FS including 'imparlance' records, court records and marriage bonds. seeing as I am on holiday..... I could have a look, but this seems a bit daunting. still.... :)
Any other ideas gratefully received!
Joyce & Black in Armagh/Down; Clarkson in Hull, East Riding; Paxton in Hull, Yorkshire; Lodge in Huddersfield and Liverpool; Shaw in Caistor, Lincolnshire; Noncon and Pope in London.

Offline Greensleeves

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 27 December 14 23:54 GMT (UK) »
It's a pity we don't know which part of Brecknock she married in; it stretches for quite a long way and there are numerous places where she could have married.  But as you say, it is quite possible that it was an informal liaison.  In those days it wasn't that easy to find a priest to make it legal and even if you did you couldn't be sure they would complete the necessary records.  I do hope that you can find something about her.  I live here, near Brecon, and I know the whole of what was Brecknock fairly well.  I also know Bredwardine which is about 10 miles from where I live.  I just wish there was some way of peering back into the past to see what actually happened....
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Re: history - events in Brecknockshire about 1758-1761
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 28 December 14 00:10 GMT (UK) »
It is only these last 4 weeks that I have known about Bridget - so considering the time her life has been waiting for its history to be revealed, I think I am doing well! Eventually, connections rise to the surface, often in unlikely places, like in the margins of  documents, or references connected with other people. I just had a quick browse in the marriage bonds for St Davids, Brecknock and she is not there 1750 - 1765. Not really surprising. Thanks a lot for your input, GS. I'll see if I can find more on her during her time in Worcester and London - she ended up in a workhouse there for 10 years. An amazing life!
Joyce & Black in Armagh/Down; Clarkson in Hull, East Riding; Paxton in Hull, Yorkshire; Lodge in Huddersfield and Liverpool; Shaw in Caistor, Lincolnshire; Noncon and Pope in London.