|Cusworth Hall near Doncaster|
Boring old M.E./CFS has spat on my attendance chances, but don't miss yours!
I have a bit of a vested interest in Cusworth. My poor long-suffering friends and family will know this by heart, but in case you don't, my link is this: my paternal great gran, twin Eliza Barrass, nee Wright (1857-1905) had a sister Lucy, the baby of the family born in 1865.
Lucy married the love of her life, Charles Betts, on 22nd December 1890 in her native Warmsworth, at the little church now demolished and its site entombed under the M1 motorway!
Charles became the butler ("You rang, Milady?") to Lady Isabella Battie-Wrightson, her ladyship at Cusworth in the early 20th century. Lady Isabella presided over the Hall in the last of its glory days before it passed after her death to the last squire, Robert Cecil Battie-Wrightson, pictured here in Doncaster:
|Robert Cecil Battie-Wrightson in Doncaster|
Charles Betts, a dapper little man, judging by the existing photos, came originally from Thorne and moved to Warmsworth where he met and married my great grandaunt Lucy. As butler to Lady Isabella, Charles moved into The Lodge, the gatehouse at Cusworth with his family.
They can be seen outside the Lodge c1908. In this photo, you can see great grandaunt Lucy (who sadly died shortly after this photo was taken, aged only 42, of colon cancer and cardiac failure in Doncaster Royal Infirmary), their daughter Mary Ann, who became a housemaid at the Hall, and Charles himself.
Daughter Mary Ann worked at Cusworth Hall until after her marriage to Richard Ormerod Walshaw in 1936. The Betts family is mentioned in some of the excellent Cusworth guidebooks available around Doncaster, including the one that includes these photos, and another, 'Caring for Cusworth: servants recall a bygone era...' by Alison Morrish, the Curator at Cusworth when that book was produced in 1982. I bought mine, giddy with joy as I spotted the name Betts and this photo of Lucy looking the very image of a Barrass, at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery .
Another photo in Gordon Smith's book, shows Charles (if I'm recognising his distinctive features rightly!) at Lady Isabella's right hand side, enjoying one of the Hall's famous fancy dress balls before the Great War. Her Ladyship is enthroned as a rather magnificent Britannia!
During the First World War, Charles Betts was caught on camera when Lady Isabella entertained the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Cusworth. My paternal grandfather, Bruce Aaron Barrass, (1891-1973) was in the same regiment. I wish among granddad Bruce's endless loquacious stories of the past, which so fascinated me as a child, he could have spoken about his uncle Charles, butler at Cusworth Hall! Instead I had the fun of discovering this rich vein of ancestry for myself!
|Housemaid, handyman and my great granduncle Charles Betts the Butler at Cusworth Hall, c 1910 (photo detail from p 41 of 'Cusworth Hall and the Battie Wrightson Family' original photo copyright Gordon Smith, Doncaster 1990)|
If like me, you've missed those bees and butterflies, don't waste the opportunity through the summer of spending some time with your family, or just relaxing on your own, exploring Cusworth's beautiful and interesting Hall set in its peaceful rolling grounds with magnificent trees, lawns and soothing water features.
Cusworth Hall is one of the real precious jewels in Doncaster's battered but beautiful crown!
Some more info on this link
and on Cusworth Hall's own excellent website: http://www.cusworth-hall.co.uk/