Hannah Allsop

Previous to this morning, the most remarkable thing I knew about my 3x great grandmother, Hannah Allsop, was that she had born 16 children of which my 2x great grandmother, Charlotte, was number 11.

Hannah was born abt 1823 in Geddington, Northamptonshire. (Her death record states that she was 90 in 1910 giving her birth date as 1820; the 1841 census states she was 18 giving her a birth date of 1823.)

Hannah was the daughter of William Allsop, a labourer. In 1841, William is living in the Kettering Union Workhouse in 1841; his wife, Sophie is living with her children in West St and Hannah appears to be living with her aunts and young cousin (although I may have this incorrect).

Hannah sparked my interest again when I realised that Geddington is the home to an Eleanor Cross. The erection of elaborate crosses in dedication to Edward I’s wife, Eleanor, struck a chord in me when I first learnt of it at university. To know that my ancestors lived in a town where one stood – in fact was at the end of the street in which Hannah was born … well! Was Hannah aware of the history or was the cross merely a landmark she walked past each day.

How the Allsop’s felt about living so close to such an elaborate an expensive structure, I will never know. What I do know is that the family were poor and had been for generations. Hannah’s father, William is living in the Kettering Workhouse in 1841. Hannah’s mother, is living with her grandson in 1851 and described as a pauper. Her great grandfather’s baptismal record states that the family were poor in 1702.

No wonder that Hannah and her husband, John, decided to emigrate to South Australia in 1848.

In the biography I wrote on John West, I described the area in which they settled in South Australia. It was populated by the ‘rough and ready’.

Hannah was pregnant for roughly 35 years of her life her eldest child was born in 1845 prior to them leaving England. Her last, was born after 1879. In notes that I have received from another descendent, Hannah is described as a midwife – what better profession to adopt as she obviously had the experience.

With so little on record, beyond the vital statistics of herself and her children, it is difficult to surmise what Hannah thought of her new environment. Whether the infinite blessings we take for granted were recognisable in the new colony. Whether she missed the culture and landmarks of her home or was happy to participate in the building of a new one.



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