We had a great time doing a Bledsoes road trip to the East Midlands recently. We visited the outlet shop of one of our favourite fabric suppliers (thanks, Lesley!)…
…and then stopped by for a look at the village of Barton Seagrave in Northamptonshire. This is the village where George Bletsoe was born back in the 17th century….the same George who set sail for Virginia as a young man and became the namesake of all the Bledsoes in the US. (Bletsoe is an old spelling of Bledsoe.)
George Bletsoe arrived in Virginia in December 1652 (George was our grandma’s Elma’s great-grandpa x 5). Subsequent generations took the common route inland to acquire land, first in North Carolina, then Tennessee and then Arkansas.
Elma’s grandpa, John Bledsoe, moved to Arkansas in the mid-1850s where, in 1869, he married Arkansas-born Susan Bernice Hurst. Elma’s father, William Bledsoe, was born that year and later married Margaret Jones and settled in Atkins, where William ran the pharmacy and where our grandma and her brother and sisters were born. You can read more about our grandma and her family here.
We were shown around St Botolph’s church by Anne Pegg, a local historian and author who has produced a history of Barton Seagrave and who had generously looked up Bletsoe dates in the parish register. George’s birth is listed, in 1632, and the marriage of his parents Lewis and Isabell in 1624 and their deaths in 1636 (Isabell) and 1638 (Lewis).
Although there are no Bledsoe graves in the churchyard, there is the font where George would have been baptised.
There’s also a fascinating plaque about Jane Floyd, a contemporary of George’s parents, who was the Rector’s wife and died young after bearing five children.
And although the original Norman church, from around 1120, has been added to over the centuries, there remain Norman details, including some interesting original stonework above the main door, internal archways, and a few of the small windows.
So fascinating to get these glimpses into our pasts…and fun to know the US/UK special ties that Bledsoes celebrates has a long history!