Bloodlines

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The funeral of Alice Bryan (nee Kirtland) in 1782 saw the departure of the last Kirtland from the family home in High Street. But though the name had gone, the DNA continued.

The old house
The old house

Alice’s sister Elizabeth had married Robert Collis and though they had both died before Alice, their sons, Thomas and Edward were present, wearing black gloves and silk hat-bands in the funeral procession. (The undertaker’s itemised account survives in the Northamptonshire Record Office. The corpse wore a superfine shroud and white gloves and lay in a coffin, lined with superfine white crepe and a pillow, covered by a pall of best velvet.)

Her sister Hannah had married John Underwood. He was the leader of the petitioners against Enclosure, 20 years earlier, who had declared that he would give ‘a hundred pounds of his own money to stop it’. Their sons continued the Underwood name in the village and their daughter Elizabeth had married Robert Heygate, taking the Kirtland DNA into the Heygate line.

Church Farm_edited-2In 1890 William Underwood was farming at Church Farm in High Street. In the 1960s the farm became part of the West Haddon Hall estate and the farmhouse, as had often been the case with other village farmhouses, was divided up to make two homes, Rye House and Church House.

In 1990, Church House was the venue for a reunion of another bloodline, when Hilary Rausch, an American descendant of John West of The Crown met his distant cousin Leonard West (who had come over from Rugby for the afternoon.) The gathering included several members of the Local History Group Рamong them, Miss Barbara Heygate, who still lives here, today, in the village where her ancestor, the apothecary Nicholas Heygate, brought his family to settle, nearly 300 years ago.

Back row:Liz Parker, Ned Stanley, Barbara Heygate, Wendy Raybould, Hilary Rausch. Front row: Leonard West, Mrs West, Hilda Stanley. September 1990.
Back row:Liz Parker, Ned Stanley, Barbara Heygate, Wendy Raybould, Hilary Rausch.
Front row: Leonard West, Mrs West, Hilda Stanley.
September 1990.