Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Stondon Massey: Reeve. Extraordinary Connection (1)

When Jane Fitzgibbon recently left a comment regarding ‘Revd Reeve’s Nephew (see http://blackmorehistory.blogspot.com/2011/01/stondon-massey-revd-reeves-nephew.html ) it opened a line of enquiry which revealed new family history and connections.

The comment was followed up with a request for an e mail address, which was duly given, and a sequence of correspondence commenced.

Sent 28 February 2011

Dear Jane

What can I say! Thank you for leaving a message on my blog. I am thrilled at the possibility of finding a descendant of Reeve.

If William Francis Spencer Hawkins, your grandfather, is the same William Francis Spencer Hawkins, the nephew of Revd Reeve, then Edward Henry Lisle Reeve is your gt gt uncle. Reeve was a clergyman at Stondon Massey in Essex, serving the parish from 1893 to 1935. His father, Edward James, was Rector from 1849 to 1893. Edward, Reeve’s grandfather, purchased the advowson in order to appoint his son – and move into comfortable retirement himself – in 1849.

Are you able to confirm that the marriage of WFSH in 1933 is the same WFSH who was born in 1896, served in the First World War, and was Reeve’s executer in 1936?

I am in a reasonable advanced stage of writing a biography of Edward Henry Lisle Reeve. I have been fascinated in the hobby he engaged in and the fact that he was truly the last gentleman clergyman of Stondon Massey, the neighbouring village to where I live and the church where I worship. He is credited with bringing to the fore the life of William Byrd, the Elizabethan composer who lived in Stondon Massey until his death in 1623. I am organising a William Byrd Festival in aid of church funds for May, so publication of the small book will coincide with the event, and again is intended as a fund raiser.

Please find therefore attached a very draft version of the book, which will be of interest to you. If you have any information, pictures etc which I could include in the final publication I would be exceedingly grateful. If I can assist in any way please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.


PS I should just add that Reeve is not a relation of mine. The only connection I could claim is that he was and I am keen local historians.

Received 28 February 2011

Dear Andrew,

Quite extraordinary!

Except, I'm not related to Reverend Reeve either.

Eva Fitzgibbon, my paternal grandmother, married William Francis Spencer Hawkins on January 21, 1933 at St Anselm's Church, Davis Street, W.1 in the county of London and this information is held in the Registration District of St George Hanover Square. On a copy of their marriage certificate, which I have in front of me, WFS Hawkin's father is listed as Francis William Hawkins, Gentleman, deceased. The latter's father was George Mason Hawkins (1819-1854) who married Emma Mary Elizabeth Reeve on 17 July 1845 and died in Dedham, Essex.

Eva Fitzgibbon (née Graham) is shown as a widow at the time of her marriage to WFS Hawkins. She had two living children from her previous marriage, one of them was my father who died in 2008. So I don't share the Reeve/Hawkins line.

However, my father was tremendously fond of his step-father, WFS Hawkins, and passed on to me his cigar case which has his name engraved on it, as well as his address at the time on Gray's Inn Square, WC. We do have some photos and other documents.

We have WFS Hawkin's birthdate as April 18, 1897 (in Reading) as announced in the Bristol Times and Mirror and his father as Francis William Hawkins born October 1848 and died Dec 10, 1916 at the age of 68; and WFS Hawkins' mother as Sarah Jane W Spencer....we know of the existence of Dorothy and Leonard, but not Thomas and Mildred as we haven't really examined all the ins and outs of the Hawkins' family tree. In fact, family lore has it that Leonard introduced his brother, WFS, to Eva Fitzgibbon.

We know our WFS Hawkins went to the Balkans during WW1 as we have part of his hand written journal from that time, which we haven't completely deciphered as yet. This alone should tell us we have the one and the same person. And our WFS Hawkins was named Member of the Chancery in 1933; Chief in 1959, and CB in 1968.

In addition, my grandmother had two more children with WFS Hawkins so there are direct descendants to the Hawkins line.

My sister, Sandy who lives in Canada and I who live in France, are keenly interested in our family history. Sandy has the software and the ancestry memberships etc and we are always scratching around for more information. Our maternal grandfather was a Solly (very big in Kent around Sandwich, Ash, Worth, Eastry etc) and our maternal grandmother was a Crickitt (very big around Colchester and we believe your area as well). Our maternal great grandfather was Charles Alexander Cole Crickitt (1834 to 1925).

Above and beyond all that, I am a fan of John Dowland and William Byrd!

Let me know if you agree that we are on the same track....

Best regards,


Sent 28 February 2011

Dear Jane

Certainly there is a common thread here in that clearly Edward Henry Lisle Reeve’s nephew (known as Uncle Lisle) was your grandfather. You have verified that the gentleman had quite an illustrious career after the First World War. Please excuse my ignorance but Master of Chancery sounds to me like a very senior job in Law. Was he the top man?

The links with my research are quite interesting too. What I have written in my book on Reeve is incomplete, of necessity, as far as WFSH is concerned. I will search out my notes which did not make the final edit of the book and will let you have them, as well as copies of census data obtained.

It would be interesting to see whether WFSH makes reference to his father’s death in December 1916, and the letters sent by Uncle Lisle and the Aunties (spinster sisters of Reeve who lived at the Rectory).

The Crickitt family were well known in Blackmore. I posted some material on them on the Blackmore History blog (http://blackmorehistory.blogspot.com/search?q=crickitt.) I recall that they were bankers and one of them was an MP in Ipswich. I will look out this information too.

I wonder, are there any Hawkins descendants around, and whether you know their whereabouts?



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