While sifting through a box of my late father's papers (mainly old night school exercise books related to maths, physics and engineering), I came across this curious document:
It is a page out of an old school exercise book that has been photocopied, and judging by its quality, I would guess this was copied many years ago. For it to be amongst my father's papers I would surmise it must have some relevance to our family.
The most obvious facts presented by this document are as follows:
- The year 1890.
- The names of 3 individuals: Minnie Taylor, Reverend H.R. Dunlop and John H. Fielding.
- The name of a school: Skellingthorpe C. of E. School (Skellingthorpe Church of England School).
It being just a few days before Christmas I am rather busy on other projects but as usual curiosity got the better of me and so I decided just to spend an hour or so seeing what a few searches might unearth.
On first glance I thought the document was regarding Skellingthorpe C. of E. School but on reading the document again I realised it says "late of Skellingthorpe C. of E. School". So does this mean Minnie Taylor is a former scholar or a former teacher; I will go with the latter.
The date suggests that a good starting point might be the England and Wales Census 1891, so I carried out a few online searches.
As expected there are many Minnie Taylors in this area, compounded by the fact that Skellingthorpe is on the borders of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. I quickly moved on.
The Reverend H.R. Dunlop was more enlightening. The Reverend was the current Vicar of the Parish of Misterton. This immediately expands the geographical area but once again this is compounded by Misterton also being on the border of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
John H. Fielding I presume to be a scholar, so I would expect him to be between 7 and 12 years of age. The only exact census match sent me on rather a wild goose chase.
According to the 1891 census John H Fielding was born at Todwick, then a small village twixt Sheffield and Worksop, well out of the Misterton area. By an amazing coincidence, in the early 1960s, our family lived at Todwick. At this time Todwick was a small village with a population of around 200 people, its Church of England school having just one large room with a folding divider. At this time my father was fairly prominent socially in Todwick so of course I immediately assumed that maybe this document had come into his possession during our time at Todwick.
This document seems to suggest Minnie Taylor had opened this school in 1890 but a little research shows that the school at Todwick was opened much earlier. Also I find it difficult to believe that the Rev. H.R. Dunlop would have travelled all the way from Misterton to Todwick, quite a journey in those days, just to "examine a parcel of books".
For the time being I will go with the theory that the school is located close by to Misterton and the John H. Fielding I found is not the correct person.
I need to carry out some more structured research and hopefully I can shed some light on this mystery document.
2011-12-28 Over Christmas I had the opportunity to show the document to my mother. She had never seen this document and was as intrigued as I myself am.
2011-12-31 I carried out further research into Minnie Taylor and found a census record of 1891 recording a Minnie TAYLOR living in the household of a King TAYLOR at Decoy Farm, Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire. Minnie TAYLOR's occupation is given as 'employed school mistress'. I have created a new article detailing this research. To view this article please click here.
2012-02-03 This is rather ironic. I carried out a search for "schools misterton notts 1890" and found a link to 'NOTTSGEN-L Archives: February 2003'. In this post:
From: "kbann3" <>
Subject: [Notts] Misterton Parish church lists of vicars/rectors/curates
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 23:21:27 -0800
is a list of all the vicars / rectors / curates of the Church of All Saints, Misterton, Nottinghamshire c.1200-1950.
Since I am unsure of copyright pertaining to this list, I will merely provide a link to the post. Suffice to say that the name of Henry Robert DUNLOP appears on this list.
The irony? Well when I visited the church in 2007 I picked up the same leaflet and made a donation in the church's collection box. Somewhere in my office under an enormous amount of clutter I already have this information, I just never realised!
To view my photographs of the Church of All Saints, Misterton, Nottinghamshire, please click here.