The Alabaster Chronicle
The Journal of The Alabaster Society
CONTENTS: 1. Editorial; 3. The Book of the Alabaster Family, 2001 6; Jeu D'esprit - an epic poem by Henry Alabaster (1836-1882); 26. The case for John Alabaster 1561-1637 Sue Andrews; 30. Alabaster Penfriends; 32. Alabaster Research; 38. Animal Alphabet by Ellen May Alabaster Dunbavin; 39. Laraine's Letters Page; 44. Jack Alabaster (IIC) - a newspaper report; 46. Alabaster Society Accounts for the year ending 31st August 2002.
So often when I come to write the editorial, I wonder whether I will have anything to say. Well, this time I am not short of topics!
Firstly, welcome to Chronicle Number 20! The very number represents something of a milestone, but it does indicate that next September, the Alabaster Society will be ten years old. Chronicle Number 21 really should be an extra special one! With this in mind, I would be really grateful if as many members as possible could try to contribute something towards it - whether it be a letter that can be quoted on the Letters Page, a historical family snippet, a photograph, or a full-blown article!
The Chronicle you are reading now seems to have a heavy emphasis towards the written word. Possibly all Chronicles do, by definition, but it strikes me as more obvious in this issue. We have the culmination of so many members' written contributions towards the The Book of the Alabaster Family; we have young, present day, Alabaster family members, writing about themselves and asking others to write to them as penfriends; we have an epic poem, written by a 19th century Alabaster; we even have a modern poem, written by a nine-year old Alabaster today!
To take these topics one at a time - much has been said about the Alabaster Book, and with good reason! If you have not seen the printed version, there is a last chance to purchase one of the few remaining copies - see page 5.
One of our members, Janet Leclair (nee Alabaster), made an excellent suggestion. Two of her daughters, Isaline aged 10 and Floriane aged 12, would like to have an Alabaster penpal each to whom they could write, exchange photographs and who knows what else. I thought it was a wonderful idea and that it would be great to get our children involved in this way. I circulated the idea, and have been able to add the details of two further Alabasters who would like to hear from others around the world - see pages 30 & 31.
But could we extend it further?
It would be wonderful to have a page or two for our children to get to know each other. Do you have any sons, daughters, grandchildren, nephews or nieces who would like to write a paragraph describing themselves and who they would like to write to? Please do ask them and we could include it in future Chronicles. Photographs would be great too!
A substantial proportion of this Chronicle is given over to an Epic Poem written by a 19th century Alabaster. Perhaps this is as close as we are likely to get to an entry for the Alabaster Book, written almost 150 years ago. I think that glimpses of personality and character of Henry Alabaster can genuinely be seen in his poem, particularly the humour and possibly even irony!
Lastly, we have a very modern poem written by nine year old Ellen May Alabaster Dunbavin as a school project. Another lovely idea! I would welcome contributions to the magazine of stories, poems etc, written by the younger generation in this way!
As a whole year has elapsed since the most recent Gathering, Wednesday 23rd April saw the first Annual Meeting of the Alabaster Committee that was formed then. One of the suggestions that was put forward at the meeting was that an updated list of members` names, addresses, and email addresses should be circulated to members. I hope to organise this in time for Chronicle 21 in September 2003. Please let me know of any changes to include, particularly email addresses which change quite often.
If any members do not want their details included, please notify me of this as soon as possible.
Because of the formation of a Committee, the Constitution of the Society has had to be altered slightly. The updated version is printed on the inside back cover of this Chronicle.
So - a whole year has elapsed since the sixth Gathering - giving us two years in which to plan and organise the seventh! We discussed this at the committee meeting and concluded that Hadleigh is very much the family home, and remains the most ideal location in which to base the Gathering. We will aim for the last weekend in April 2005. Your comments and ideas on this would be most appreciated.
Lastly - postage costs out of the UK have risen dramatically over the past ten years, although our subscription remains the same. The
Alabaster Book orders were sent by surface mail, rather than airmail, which saved a lot of money - the majority of the books arriving as fast
as "airmail". Clearly, it would appear, that much "surface mail" is actually being sent by air, at the convenience of the operators. Thus, I am
going to experiment with this Chronicle and post them surface mail. Please let me know how it works out.
What an absolutely wonderful project the Book of the Alabaster Family, 2001 has been. Yet again I must thank Adrian Alabaster, whose bequest started the whole thing rolling. Further, I would like publicly to say an enormous thank you to Ron Alabaster West and team (wife Betty and sister Rene) for the absolutely excellent job they have made of compiling all of the contributions we wrote towards the Alabaster Book.
Not only that, but they managed to arrange production of a printed version, dealt with the finances, and dispatched it to members.
Some of the reviews of the printed version...................
Valerie Knobloch, (IV) Germany, 27th February 2003
Dear Laraine, .....just wanted you to know that the book arrived here safely yesterday. It is fantastic - lots of 'goodnight bed-stories' there. I'11 be writing to Ron personally to thank him for his good job on the matter, but just in case you speak to him beforehand. Hope you are fine, Valerie.
Tricia Dyer, (IIA) Kent, 27th February 2003
Dear Laraine, Got my Book today, what a fantastic effort on the part of Ron West. Most impressive. Love Tricia
Charlotte Alabaster, (IIA) Florida, 27th February 2003
The Alabaster Book arrived in today's mail and what a treasure it is!!!! We can imagine all of the work involved and will thank Ron with an email if you would be so kind to give his address to me.
John Cornelius, (Bryan) Connecticut, 28th February 2003
I've just received my copy and it's WONDERFUL! Please give Ron my congratulations on a terrific job. The only fault I can find is that it doesn't give him credit for all his hard work. Great job.
Lesley Harvey-Eells, South London (IIIA) 28th February 2003
Just to say that the book has arrived!!! It's really good so well done everyone.
Robbin Churchill, (IV) Atlanta 1st March 2003
I've been housebound today. My Honda CRV went in for its 60 thousand mile check up which took the whole day replacing brakes, tires and whatever else looked like it needed replacement. All I know is that I think I sent the garage owner's son to University. Anyway, a day at home is a great opportunity to clean the house, wash the clothes, get that ironing pile down, etc. Instead, the postman brought the Alabaster Family Book and I've been riveted to it all day.
I can not tell you how much I've enjoyed reading about my family. I'm indebted to you both for spearheading the project and bringing it to fruition. What an incredible accomplishment. All my thanks.
Myrna Pacquette, (IIC) Quebec 3rd March 2003
The book arrived and I have been enjoying reading some of it this weekend. What a wonderful souvenir. Many thanks and congratulations to those of you working directly on making it happen.
Angela Alabaster, (IIA) Surrey, 3rd March 2003
I am absolutely delighted with THE Book! I had a thoroughly absorbing session with it yesterday and found I was going to bed really late! It is very attractively produced: you are justified in being proud of the Family. It must be unique, not only in that it could produce such a book, but that it should come up with such an original idea. I am so glad it is now available to a wider readership. I wonder what others in the genealogical field will make of it.
Amanda Alabaster, (IIA) Edinburgh, 4th March 2003
....it arrived yesterday and my daughters and I are just loving it!
Oriole Veldhuis, (IV) Winnipeg, 5th March 2003 .. ...the Alabaster Book is a treasure. I have had a little time reading it and enjoy the individuality of each person's entries. In this day and age it is so tempting to do things all up with computer. This is such a joy!
..... but please do remember, these comments are about the printed version which, though wonderful, is not nearly as good as the real thing, with its original photographs and clear, hand-written entries.
To recap - Using money left to the members of the Alabaster Society by Adrian Alabaster, it was decided to produce a piece of history for future generations to enjoy, comprising entries from each member of the Society who wanted to take part. Four years since its original conception, at the fifth Alabaster Gathering, held in April 1999, the project has been completed, but then taken a step further, with a printed version having been produced for purchase by members. However, I am delighted to be able to report that Ron is willing to continue ........
Message from Ron.
Our two leather bound ring folders contain a fascinating record of "the family" as we know it today. All members of the Society during 2001-2 are included on the family tree that provides the framework for this archive document. Seventy-two members of the Society contributed to the book by completing a 'family sheet', using a formatted prompt to act as a guide when deciding what to include.
If you did not send a contribution but would like to do so NOW, please let me know and I will send you the necessary details and information.
It would be wonderful to have a contribution from every member.
The committee which was formed at the last Gathering has recently met and agreed that the archive book should be a 'living document', to be added to each year, through an addendum. Therefore new members will also be invited to complete a 'family sheet'.
There are a few copies of the printed version of the Alabaster Family Book still available. If you would like a copy please let me know.
Order from Ron Alabaster West at 3 Old Wolverton Rd., Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes. MK12 5PW
The cost will be (in sterling): UK £11 00, Europe £12.00, Asia and America £14.00, Aus/N.Z £14.50.
Thank you for the many messages which I received following the mailing of the printed version of the book. It has been a lengthy but never the less a very rewarding task and one which I have fundamentally enjoyed. The next phase is to compile the addendum, trying to involve all our present members and to encourage all new members to contribute.
The following several pages contain an epic poem writen by Henry Alabaster. A copy of this poem was found by Nan Kenyon, whose gt grandfather, Percy Criddle, (Henry's cousin) had taken it with him, amongst other family papers, when he emigrated to Canada in 1882 (1), It was transcribed, in Thailand, by Henry's gt granddaughter, Virginia Bird, in 1999.
According to the inscription on the poem, it was written by Henry at Horton, near Epsom, in January 1859. In 1856, at the age of 20, Henry had sailed to Hong Kong and later to Siam (now Thailand) as a student interpreter(2). Perhaps he was indeed home on leave in 1859. Certainly, reading the poem carefully, the influences of the Eastern culture can be seen in various references that Henry makes.
It is interesting to see this poem in the context of the time at which it was written. Epic poetry was very much in vogue. Alfred Tennyson had been the Poet Laureate since 1850 and actually published four of the Idylls of the King, his epic on the story of King Arthur and Camelot, in 1859.
Although I don't pretend to have any knowledge of literature, I think this poem is worth reading carefully, and then rereading. Having done so myself, proof reading and rechecking, I eventually found the story fun and the various references that Henry makes to, what would have been for him, everyday occurrences, (crinolines, milliners, Mayors, Vestrymen, Longman's, directories, parliamentary boroughs) fascinating. I was impressed by his evident knowledge of Roman and Greek mythology - evidence of the different form education took 150 years ago.
We have compiled our Alabaster Book so that future generations can know something of us as personalities. I would like to think that in this poem we can see a little of the personality of an Alabaster in the 19th century.
1 Alabaster Chronicle 13 pp 12-23
2 A Quintet of Alabasters by Adrian Alabaster
In ancient days, the days of gold, when every thing was jolly,
When man was blest in ignorance, and didn't know 'twas folly.
'Ere banks had ruined half mankind and dashing wives the other
While yet no husband loved his club better than his step mother.
When nothing good astonished one for all was fair and bright
Earth liv'd in a long summer day, that ne' er gave place to night
Sol in his beaming chariot drove on a ceaseless course,
And never tired himself nor stopped to change his jaded horse.
But then you know Sol and his horse were beings quite superior
To anything existing in these ages, so inferior;
And it was needful in those times, they should have summer weather
For cold and snow and tailors and dressmakers came together.
Venus possessed no crinoline. Mars never wore a coat.
And Saturn had no handkerchief to tie about his throat.
Diana wore a quiver, little cupid had a bow.
Minerva's helmet reached her neck, but nothing came below.
And though Pandora's box was filled with every usual gift
I doubt mid all its treasures was not a single shift.
Though there were graces three, and muses nine, and wonders seven,
There was (will ye believe it girls?) no milliner in heaven.
From hour to hour, and day to day, Sol shone with ceaseless brightness
Until the little stars lost all their temper and politeness.
"Confound that Sol" they all exclaimed "his staring omnibus
azzles the world so much it never cares to look at us.
Oh go and get some gunpowder and under the footboard thrust it
That as he warms at midday course the rising heat may 'bust' it.
A little miscreant soon set off with powder bag and matches
And running after very soon the chariot he catches.
"Good morning Sol"! "The same to you wilt like to have a ride"--
"Oh thank you" In a jiffy they were seated side by side.
But when Sol saw his tricksy eye, and saw the bag of powder
He laid his whip about him till he made him holla louder
Than ever can be written down, then pitched him on the stones
Attenuating his spirit and breaking all his bones.
Then sadly crawled he to his mates met at the trysting place
His left hand on his eyes, his right upon a tender place.
"Oh dear,"sobbed he, "can you believe the treatment I have met.
Oh see where he has whipp'd me sore, I feel it smarting yet!"
The starry host on hearing this were so convulsed with laughter
That Saturn grew alarmed and came to see what they were after,
And when he saw that little star rubbing his tender part
Unpitied by his brethren it vexed his good old heart.
Quoth he "You noisy fellows you what is the matter now?"
The moment I'm away from you there's sure to be a row.
Have you been playing with gunpowder, or sliding on the ice,
Or eating assafoetida because it smells so nice,
Or playing with old Pluto's dog - or riding down a hill
On some poor steed, all broken kneed, whose given you a spill?
No none of these then they relate the plain unvarnished tale.
The trick that they had tried to play, and how they came to fail,
And with their subject warming then right lustily they swore
"If they could not be seen sometimes, that they would shine no more".
So Saturn promised "if this thing ye will but leave to me --
I have a plan by which I can arrange it jollilie".
When Saturn reached his palace hall a messenger sent he
To each and all the Goddesses and ask them in to tea.
And soon they came, a goodly train - Diana in the van,
A devilish handsome woman, but she should have been a man.
So fond was she of shooting that she even shot her lover
Mistaking the prig for a fierce wild pig till too late her mistake to discover.
Minerva with her knitting came bringing a book to read
In case they should talk nonsense as they often did indeed.
Flora with brightest flowers crowned, the graces and the muses
Come all. Tis only Juno the kind invite refuses.
Last but not least with joyous bound sweet Venus joined the throng
Leaving a train of gladness where' er she passed along.
And pressing to the old man's side he clasped her to his breast
And on her snowy forehead a loving kiss imprest.
Then lowly seated by his side her drooping head she placed
Against his shoulder while he passed his arm around her waist.
She loved the old man dearly he always was so kind
To all her goodness wakeful, to all her follies blind.
Then as they sat around the board sipping their steaming tea
Up rose old Saturn "My dear friends on this occasion we
Are met together to discuss a little plan of mine,
Which cannot be successful unless we all combine.
How dull it is to wander here, no work our time employing,
Ambrosia loses charm for us, nectar itself grows cloying.
And though I'll own in scandal there is freshness even yet
A change of occupation you will all be glad to get.
In a country I will shew you upon the nether earth
A child of royal lineage this day will have its birth.
As I passed by, there caught my eye, a kid glove on the knocker
Tied by the king with a yard of string according unto cocker.
Our friend Lucina sent to say she could not come to night,
For she has gone to welcome a little girl to light.
Then do ye take that little girl and each with each outvying
Strive to create a woman who shall set all mortals sighing".
"Oh I will watch her beauty with all my care" cried Venus
"And we the Graces said will give her every grace between us".
Minerva said she'd fill her mind with noblest aspirations
The muses nine would her assist in all her occupations.
But for her finishing lessons they would engage Apollo
Who in playing and in dancing could beat the muses hollow.
Far in the East, from snow capt peaks, a thousand thousand rills
Break from the desolate wilderness the cold the dreary hills
And bursting through the opposing rocks with many a sparkling leap,
Meet in a tarn so clear, so calm it almost seems to sleep.
No shelt'ring trees protect its banks, no flowers are known to grow
But black and lichen covered rocks, shade the deep pool. below.
And in this mountain mirror the wondering Karens say
The moon and stars reflected shine throughout the livelong day.
Out from the dark pool creeping, over the cliffs steep side
Swiftly the torrent sweeping dashes its swollen tide;
On through the dark pine forests, gloomy and cold and grand
To where the sweet camellias shine white on either hand;
On through the vales of Laos, through many a fertile plain
Rich with overloaded orchards, golden with ripening grain,
Sheltered by kindly mountains from whose dark caverns run
A thousand streams whose jewelled beds lie sparkling in the sun
Whose banks are bright with Almondine, their sands wilh rubies red,
And a fitful blaze or sapphire's rays shoots from the glowing bed:
And brighter far than these rich fields, The richest gems excelling,
The lovely race of Laos maids in these sweet valleys dwelling,
Their form, their grace so exquisite, their face so strangely fair,
I never dreamt what beauty was until I saw it there.
Here oft, they tell, the river loves in some still pool to hide
And as some careless beauty bathes to seize her for his bride.
And would that I that river were, that I might gently stay,
And catch some sweet reflection there with me to bear away.
On and still on it hurries where man hath never been,
Through forests dark with stately teak, and prairies richly green:
Full many a noble elephant, and many graceful deer
Bathe in its grateful cooling stream, and sip the waters clear;
And many a cruel tiger, and many an angry boar
Seek their retreat from the sun's fierce heat upon its pleasant shore;
And nameless flowers scent the air, and birds of plumage strange
From tree to tree, and bough to bough in joyous freedom range.
And nature seems to revel there, and with her kindly power
Makes every weed a flow'ret seem, and every thorn a bower.
And now the river swelling spreads wide upon the fields
And lays them o'er with teeming earth that tenfold increase yields
The growing rice uprears its head, the tide no more is seen
But yet it stilly lingers there to keep it moist and green.
A double belt of tall bamboos the deeper channel shows
But far and wide on either side the mighty current flows,
Far o'er the pale horizon to where the distant plain
Rises in misty mountains, stretches the sea of grain.
Whilst thickly lie the villages on many a gentle hill
Whose groves of perfumed oranges the air with fragrance fill
And massy walls of dizzy height the busy town surround,
And noble gates of crusted gold on every side are found
And temples quaint with tracery, mosaic rich and rare
Attract their crowds of worshippers and shrine each offered prayer
And gilded spires, and burnished domes in thick profusion rise
And gardens fresh with softest turf relieve the wearied eyes.
And jasmine bowers invite repose, and softest slumbers court,
While fountains spread their cooling spray o'er many a marble court
And aviaries delight the ear and perfumes fill the breeze.
And all without is luxury, and all within is ease.
The streams, the chilly streams that burst Himlaya's icy dam
Bask in that rich and sunny claim Ayuthia's own Maenam.
Ayuthia's monarch holds a feast. From all the nations near
Prince's and Lords come pouring in to taste the royal cheer:
And throngs of well trained elephants, and troops of mettled horse
And palankeens by runners borne push eager on their course
And junks sail in with staring eyes; and to the boatmen's song
Full many a barge with carvings quaint darts gracefully along.
From Ava and Cambodia from Cochin and Malay
From China and from far Japan the princes meet today
And in the hall of banqueting in solemn stillness wait
Till the deep rebound of the trumpets sound, proclaims the monarchs state
Loud from the deep voiced multitude the shouts of welcome ring
And twenty thousand mighty chiefs do homage to the King.
Again the trumpets voice is raised -- the tumult dies away
The monarch bids his nobles feast, and bids the minstrels play,
And filling high his crystal cup from out the sparkling bowl
"I pledge ye nobles, in my wine, I love ye with my soul,
Oh well a monarch may be proud of such a brave array
Of faithful loving lieges as that I see today.
My crown is but a mark of care - my sceptre but a toy
But whilst I have my subjects hearts - I want no other joy".
Loud and still louder rings the acclaim for full five minutes space
And then the minstrel laureate thus answers from his place
Lord of the elephants how shall we dare
To look on thy countenance beaming with light
How shall we answer unless by a prayer,
Servants unworthy to lie in thy sight
Head ofthe universe, godlike, supreme,
Grant that our homage accepted may be,
Ruler of life in whose shadow we dream,
The hearts of thy people beat only for thee.
The words are fading fast away, as softly all around
Take up again the minstrel's strain with richly swelling sound
And the monarch drinks the words of praise and quaffs the flowing wine
Till as the echo dies away, he almost feels divine.
And as he sits in glory there the greatest of the great,
He bids them bring his daughter in to see him in his state,
Luna, his own, his dearest one, in whose bright beaming eyes
He sees the praise he most doth love, the love he most doth prize.
As in the darkened heavens, the dazzling lightnings gleam,
As deserts bright oasis, or mountains sudden stream,
As some poetic image, swift bursting on the sight;
She comes among the nobles there, a dream of golden light
And as she passes through the hall to join her father's side,
It seems an angel vision comes, and all their tongues are tied.
A love it scarcely dared to know thrills many a noble heart
And many love in earnest now who erst have played a part
And the silence and the wonder, well please the proud old King.
He bids the nobles drink to her, and bids the minstrels sing.
With sparkling eyes they see him rise, and sweep the glowing notes
And a glorious flood of melody in every echo floats.
Every beauty, every grace,
Painters fancy ere hath shewn
All the poets pen can trace
Live in her alone, alone.
Bright and blooming fair and free
How sweet, how good, she seems to be.
As the lily and the rose
Are her forehead and her cheeks
Ah what pearls doth she disclose
Coral set when'eer she speaks
India's waters never saw
Such a set of gems before
As Penangs bright waterfall
Sparkling through its leafy bower,
So the silken lashes fall
To conceal her eyes bright power,
Ever and anon revealing
Bright rays from out their shadow stealing
He ceased and bowing to the King the royal approval waits,
Again with loud and long applause the massive hall vibrates,
Luna, th`impassioned nobles cry, Luna the walls resound,
Luna, the Princess Luna, echo the groves around
The rapturous monarch fills his cup and bids the minstrel drink
And keep that crystal cup from him, and on this daughter think.
But she sits silent blushing there, nor dares her head to raise
And wonders why they speak of her, and why these words of praise
And begs her father let her go, and mid her pretty flowers,
Or with her gentle singing birds forget those noisy hours.
He smiles her leave: - in all the host is not a single eye
But sadly marks her fairy form, as she glides softly by,
Each breath is hushed, all ears are strained to the receding tread,
And all that great assembly sits silent as the dead.
And though the bowls are brimming still and many a jest is told
The light of all their hearts is gone, and all their mirth is cold.
In vain the monarch bids them drink, in vain the minstrel sings
No more the hall with loud applause or joyous laughter rings.
Then the King uprises from his throne, and the loud trumpet blast
Proclaims the festival is o`er, and all it`s glories past.
Sixteen long years have passed away since the stars began to grumble
And still Sol's hated chariot keeps on its ceaseless rumble.
But now their hearts are full of hope for Saturn has declared
That all his schemes are well in train, and every plan prepared;
And bid them wash their faces clean, and rule their polish bright
For ere another month has gone he`ll promise them a night.
One day as Sol came driving by, whistling a favorite air
From Orpheus`s first Opera - he heard a "hallo there?"
And angry turning round to fmd who the deuce t`was hallo`d,
He saw his grandpa Saturn stand puffing by the road.
"What you old fellow, who`d have thought of seeing you up here,
How comes your gout to let you out?". Quoth Saturn, "good idea!"
"I have the gout, why that`s what comes from drinking bad port wine,
But never sir, from nectar of, such vintages as mine,
I`ve a little in my cellar, some fifty centuries old,
And I would not let you have it for twice its weight in gold,
But if at any time you`ll ride my way and take a glass
I will open such a bottle sir, as nothing can surpass".
"Thank, ee" said Sol and then he touched his leader in the ear
And the chariot bumped and Saturn grasped the rail in no small fear.
For he had, as he had planned to, taken the proffered ride
And mounted in the vacant place at his dashing grandson`s side.
Sol talked about his horses; "Look at the off side bay,
I`d back her sir, to trot a good twelve thousand miles a day.
That young black mare when out one day, made at Olympus straight
And cleared the mountain, just as if `twere but a five barred gate.
That chestnut sir is perfect, see what a splendid head,
I can assure you every one is double through bred.
Your cellar`s worth a tidy sum, your wines are very nice,
But for those horses that you see, you could not name a price."
And then he talked about the girls, that dashing fair Diana,
And hinted whom she favored most, after a young man`s manner
But as for Venus and the rest, they now were grown so prim,
That they might all to Hades go, if but it lay with him.
And Saturn chuckled as he heard, ah, ah, the plan will do.
How little do you guess my boy the trials I`ve set for you.
Said he "You dog how sly you are. What poor Diana too!".
(And he gave his ribs a friendly poke, as fogies often do)
"If you go on like that you`ll soon find heaven too warm a birth,
Why don`t you try a change of scene, and take a trip to earth?"
There`s no time like the present let us both together go,
I can teach you p`raps a thing or two that you`ll be glad to know".
"By love though! That I will" cried Sol "Who-ho you beggars who!"
The coach was quickly in the house, the horses in the stable,
And oer the heavens and the earth night cast her coat of sable.
And the stars shone out right merrily and almost danced with glee
And Minerva lit her candles and asked what can it be?
And fireflies floated round the trees with ever dying light
And frogs loud croak and crickets chirp gave welcome to the night.
Luna was singing mid her birds, as swift that darkness fell,
And in her terror she forgot the paths she knew so well.
She trampled on the neat set beds, she broke the well trained bowers
Till faint with running and with fear she sank amid her flowers.
She wakes, what gentle stranger now bathes her heated brow,
Of all the nobles in her court his like she does not know,
Of all the braves who've proved their love by cruel feats of war,
Of all the poets who have writ their feelings, aye! and more,
Of all the princes who have woo'd in gorgeous grand array,
And vowed that they must kill themselves if sent rrom her away,
She knows not one but she was glad, when the hour came to part
But she loves the handsome stranger, and gives him all her heart,
And as he kindly speaks to her, and soothes each quivering fear,
She wishes it were ever night and he were ever near.
She hangs upon his guardian arm, and with her childlike eyes
Fathoms the glowing depths of his, nor knows where danger lies,
Nor knows why dimpling blushes tint her cheeks but now so pale,
Nor why her heart so warmly beats and utterance seems to fail.
But in the poetry of his speech, the music of his tongue.
The rapturous hours pass away; till the matin bell is rung.
Then swiftly darting through the earth he vanished rrom her side
And rrom the East the glowing sun flashed up his golden tide.
A deputation of the stars upon old Saturn waited
First to his pompous porter their humble wish was stated;
He scarcely deigned to look at them but called a footman tall
"Go John and tell my Lord some men are waiting in the Hall,
They look like Mayors or Vestrymen, who humbly crave permission
To kiss his Lordship's noble feet and offer their petition."
Now though the stars cared little for his consequential air,
What gentleman could bear to be mistaken for a Mayor? .
A jockey would have pleased them p'raps Coachman have been forgiven,
But Mayor!! One concentrated kick was all the answer given;
Swift through the skies a comet flies, and at this very day
Our eager gazes watch its blazes speeding on their way.
The stars explained, apologized, but Saturn laughing said,
Tis not the first by any means on that same errand sped!!
And when they said they came to bear the thanks of all their race
For the glorious spree they had last night all owing to his grace.
And though his means of action they could not at all divine
They felt his influence moving there, and thanked him for the shine.
And Saturn bowed, and almost blushed, as he told of all his wit,
And told of his small tea party and what came out of it,
Of Luna sweet and beautiful in every kind of grace
But fated never to be won by man of mortal race.
And he told them of his ride with Sol and how with artful talk
He made him put his horses up and join him in a walk.
And how he led him to the place where lovely Luna lay
And in the transport of success, then whisked himself away.
Sol drove with an unsteady hand, as though he were in liquor
Knocking down many a little God and squeezing out his ichor
He felt so seedy and so strange, he thought he must be ill
And would send to Aesculapius to mix him up a pill.
He never felt so odd before, perhaps his last night's trip
Had brought a fit of fever on, and then he felt his lip
And thought of hers - oh fool- why did I not secure my bliss
I'm sure if I had asked it then, I must have had a kiss
Tis gone! And if again we meet perhaps she'll only say
I thank you for your courtesy, and coldly pass away.
And then he tried his hand at verse, and wrote a lovesick ditty
Rhymed love with dove, and face with grace, while pity rhymed with pretty
And fixed it on a sunbeam, and drew his well stringed bow
And shot it into the river no end of a way below.
And the sunbeam sank in golden grains and mingled with the sand
And the light verses floated on until they reached her hand
While she was bathing in the stream in a pleasant situation
Sandy bottom, waters clear, and screened from observation.
Thinking of course, ofthe gentleman whose name she didn't know
And wondering if she'd been unkind that he had left her so,
And would he ever think of her, or ever come again.
To claim from her the gratitude, he should not claim in vain.
She snatched the blue edged note. Twas he who sent the rhyme
So every word was excellent, and every thought sublime.
She loved the gentle river for that, which it had brought her
Just by way of shewing it, spent the whole day in the water
And sent her maidens all away, bidding them all go home,
For she was in a studious mood, and wished alone to roam.
Sol thought to ease his mind a bit by sending off the verse
But found instead that his poor head, grew every moment worse.
Perhaps the verses might not please, oh heavens if she should sneer
At metre, words and sentiments, and him, the sonneteer
Angelic creature! Oh what eyes! I wonder though if really
She meant to give encouragement, or was she flirting merely -
But no; she could not flirt, she was far too good for that.
How sweetly - how ethereally, she mid the flowers sat!
How sweet the impression of the bed that she had squeezed so flat!
How tenderly she clasped my arm but she never understood
When I praised my horses points, and said that hers were just as good
I wish that in my school boy days, I'd worked more at my grammar,
And learned some fine quotations and rules by which to cram her,
I remember well my mother called me her rara avis
Before I learned to drive or know the bore that verb 'to shave' is.
Then Vulcan called me ugly duck, for which he got a licking
Which had he kept it well in mind, might perhaps have saved his kicking.
I wish she could have seen that fight, ah how I made him smart
I'm sure if she had seen it I must have won her heart.
And what a heart! I'd give my bay in its warm love to shine,
And would even throw the black mare in, to have it wholly mine.
But ah! Last night I had a chance and threw my chance away
And it may never come again, however I may pray.
Why not have stayed and won her then, before she broke the spell.
Instead of flying like a fool at that confounded bell
Methinks upon the stilly air I hear the bell again
I'll seek the earth and win my joy or certify my pain --
He spake. Again the universe was left to sable night
Much to the Earth's astonishment, as to the star's delight.
He stole upon her as she sat upon the rivers side
Singing his verses as she watched the ever hurrying tide
And as he heard those grateful words, he loved her ten times more,
For she would bless his dearest hopes and all his doubts were o'er.
Loud and yet louder beat his heart as to her side he pressed
While the soft answering beat of hers the mutual love confest.
With artless joy she yields, with childlike warmth returns each kiss
And by her guileless lovingness she doubles all his bliss.
And each has gained the happiness, that each would most prefer
For she is blest in loving him and he in loving her.
So the swift hours in transport fly, until again the bell
Soft tolling on Ayuthia's towers bids lovers all farewell.
She to her father's palace must, and he again to horse
And the bright beaming orb of day circled another course.
Sol sent to Longman's and procured a rhyming dictionary
And wrote a thousand songs of merit not extraordinary
Rhymes perfect, rhymes allowable, with much poetic license,
Were mixed in metres very wild, and shewing but a wry sense
For his ideas of poetry he had gained in schooboy days,
From his own obscure conceptions of Aeschylean lays.
And sunbeam after sunbeam dissolved in golden sand
And letter after letter was borne to Luna's hand.
Day after day, week after week, though he met her every night
No archer could shoot oftener, no clerk more quickly write
If half his time was spent below, and half his time above.
His thoughts, his heart were wholly given to that absorbing love.
And sunbeams fell on sunbeams, showers of shining gold,
Till past Ayuthia's towers a golden torrent rolled;
So to this day, as travelers say, the waters of that stream
O'erlay the plains with golden grains, that in the sunshine gleam.
Man is a being prone to change - first in his mother's lap,
He rejects his pap for rattle, and his rattle for his pap.
In petticoats he spoils his toys and cries for more instead.
In jackets never makes a friend, but he must break his head.
Grown to a man, he puts aside all schoolboyish ideas
Excepting the inconstancy grown greater with his years;
He never meets a pretty girl but he with love burns hot,
And then he meets another and the first one is forgot.
New aims, new ends, new means, new ways, are ever in his head
Till the last change of all comes on - and changing he is dead.
Gods are but men with higher powers, but not with nobler minds
As every scholar as he reads their history surely finds.
There's not a vice so horrible, there's not a crime so base,
But it has had its votaries among the Olympic race.
And if the hearts of mortal men are ever on the change
The loves of Gods and Goddesses were still as prone to range.
Sol was no better than the rest. He couldn't think what to say
And the poems fell from twenty score to twenty in a day.
His fingers were so very stiff, he scarce could hold a pen.
And in another day or two the twenty were but ten.
His arms were aching with the bow, it pulled so very hard
And straightway two or three were all the offering of the bard.
He was sorry he had lost the string in an unlucky fall
And till Vulcan sent another one he could not write at all.
He did not see why he should be so fettered to her side.
He would rove about the world awhile. He did, and Luna cried
He could not bear with fretfulness, he knew of plenty more.
Would gladly laugh on his approach, he ceased, and then he swore,
That if she looked so dismally, he could no longer stay.
She tried to conjure up a smile, but he was gone away.
Gone! Through that long and lonely night she listened 'neath the trees
His tread in every falling leaf, his voice in every breeze.
Hour after hour, day after day, in slow succession passed
And still upon the fleeting tide her wistful eyes were cast.
Twice had the multiplying seed been scattered o'er the plain.
Twice had the farmers filled their barns with life sustaining grain
And still that fair fond creature sat watching by the stream.
His love still lingering in her hope, his image in her dream.
Sol was not happy, vainly would he drive those cares away.
That like avenging furies made his false heart their prey.
He could not rest in Heaven, he could not rest on Earth.
Remorse had shadowed all his joys, and sorrow shrouded mirth
His eyes - his ears - his mind, are filled with strange disordered fancies
Till in the light of his cigar he sees reproachful glances.
Then, last and best of comforters he throws away his weed
And in that sad and joyless hour, he feels alone indeed.
Laid up with burning fever, Aesculapius came to see him,
And payed him marked attention, as a patient who could fee him.
He punched his empty stomach, to see if he could feel,
He asked so many questions, that his head began to reel.
He pressed a trumpet to his heart, and made him draw a breath
And in time as doctors still do, nearly tortured him to death.
And then he sagely shook his head, put on a doleful face,
And said 'twas a most serious and interesting case.
The patient must be lowered - he could allow at most
A cup of tea at every meal and half a slice of toast.
Of physic he sent plenty, came himself six times a day.
(he did not often have a case that promised such good pay)
The starving was successful, Sol had one foot in the grave,
And in another day it might have been too late to save.
So then he said the turn had come - that they must keep him quiet
And he would change the physic and allow more liberal diet.
And thus he brought him round again, and Sol's relations said
They believed that Aesculapius could almost raise the dead.
And when Sol said, had I been fed, I'd ne' er have been so bad.
Some blamed him for ingratitude, while others thought him mad.
Whiles in the lap of death he lay, munching his scrap of toast,
And looking at the plump old nurse enjoying her bit of roast,
He thought ofLuna and her love, and all her pretty ways,
And how different it would have been with her in nurse's place.
Her smiles were given bright for him, her words were ever kind.
And all his cruel heartlessness, flashed bare upon his mind.
He saw that he had wronged her, and weakness conquered pride.
And from his eyes the burning tears burst out a silver tide.
The nurse looked up as was her wont to take an observation,
And told the doctor that his face was bathed in perspiration.
Restored to health he was of course, a wiser better God.
He had learnt the price of physic, and had had to kiss the rod.
Oh what a joyous day was that, when first behind his back
He heard the street door close again, his whip gave such a clack.
That in the ensuing peal, such is indeed the source of thunder
Juno lost all her crockery, and the skies were rent asunder.
He sought the garden where they met, ere their warm loves were told
And found "This land for building to be either let or sold"
Some boys were playing pitch and toss, where erst had been her bowers.
And heaps of bricks concealed the beds, where once had bloomed her flowers.
He looked in the directory to find her new address,
But he had never asked her name and of course he could not guess.
He wrote out an advertisement "To the unforgotten she
Thy bard is here - address at the Post Office A. B. C."
And had a thousand answers from as many longing fair,
And in each an assignation, but he never found her there.
At last he wandered from the Town and by the river side.
He found where he had left her; his beautiful his bride,
Dimples have left her wasted face, the roses fled her cheeks,
While the pale lustre of her eyes the tearless sorrow speaks.
And he has wrought that dreadful wreck, and with a speechless grief
He falls repentant at her feet, his tears his sole relief
Then in that soft forgiving hour, she bowed her gentle head,
And in the brightness of its bliss, her loving spirit fled.
There was a stir in heaven, on the Olympic green,
An ugly shed like building called the hustings might be seen,
Or would be seen, I ought to say for there it loomed alone
Like Babel or the pyramids, or Jack's bean when it had grown
Or to give you an example you can muse on, when you will
Like Wyatts Duke of Wellington, on Constitution Hill.
Placards of every size and hue were borne about by various
Poor devils, who by such odd jobs eked out a life precarious.
Blue ones with "Vote for Jason" and 'reform the rulers' Knavery,
Red for Achilles noted as much for wit as bravery.
Of Mr. Minos, barrister author of Minos' Code
The sundry claims to confidence a yellow poster showed
Whilst many a living sandwich 'tween two white sheets comprest
Solicited for Luna your vote and interest.
A tremendous mob assembled; through all Jove's wide dominions
Was heard the constant tramp of feet, the ceaseless flap of pinions
The little stars came running in, the little Gods came flying
And Charon took unusual toll his usual business plying
Indeed from that rare classic - his reports - it doth appear
That the ferry paid a dividend, in that election year.
Jupiter mounted, and addressed the noisy population
While the reporters at his feet, took notes of his oration.
And though the people could not hear a word of what he said
They cheered till they were tired, and then threw turnips at his head.
In the globe of that same evening, appeared a full report
Which I shall take the liberty of cutting rather short.
"The Honorable Thunderer was welcomed with loud cheers,
As he always is whenever in public he appears!
He stated that the stars a petition had presented
That they might in his councils be duly represented.
That on the other hand there was an ancient law precluding
Any of the starry race on parliament intruding
That there upon ensued some most laborious cogitations
Which ended in the following decreed determinations.
That as the claim the stars put in, was backed by reasons thorough
It is decreed that they shall send a member from their borough.
But as by statute they themselves are not allowed to stand.
It is decreed - to call a few choice souls from spirit land
But in deference to the higher Gods none can be candidates
But such as one of their own corps presents and nominates.
I therefore call upon the Gods here to present and name
The spirits they have chosen, in accordance with the same."
Neptune the senior peer arose, and slapping Jason's back
Announced his sailor protege, a true and honest Jack.
But if ever he could be surprised, he was surprised I trow
When he heard the jolly Argonaut telling the people how
"If he was honored with their votes, they should right quickly see
That muddler Neptune driven from the conduct of the sea.
Pluto made an infernal mess of the infernal regions.
Jupiter was a muff, to whom he'd never give allegiance.
The incapability of Mars almost surpassed belief
Mercury in the Post Office was a notorious thief
With Plutus in the Treasury, what Government could thrive.
'Twould serve the scoundrels right if everyone were skinned alive'.
If he got in he promised them a thorough revolution
Which was the only thing that could restore the constitution
And the mob applauded loudly, giving three lusty cheers
For the champion of the people - and then three groans for the peers.
Then uprose Mars, and bowing to the electors there collected
He introduced Archilles whom he hoped would be elected.
Archilles then proceeded to explain all his intentions.
He would stop tobacco duties, and abolish civil pensions:
In public offices he'd drop the examination test,
As he thought that every gentleman should spell as he liked best:
And he believed those useless and absurd examinations
Were a plot to rob patricians of their vested occupations.
But he'd not consent to more reform, as from works which he had read he
Believed the lower orders were, far too well off already.
A fearful yell broke on his ears, bad eggs broke on his head
And not even the reporters heard another word he said.
Minerva then presented Mr. Minos - and retired
Whilst he proceeded to explain why he their votes desired.
He hoped he had secured some little share of good opinions
Whilst in his office of a Judge in Pluto's cold dominions
Where he very much regretted inability to stay,
As from the effects of climate his health had given way.
Now in this more genial region he found his health restored.
But from want of occupation was indeed most sadly bored
So his friends the Gods persuaded him the hustings now to mount
That by their favor he might turn his talents to account.
Minos was rather popular so got three rounds of cheers
And sat down amid the warm congratulations of the peers.
And now Apollo rising turned to address the meeting
Who received the merry fellow with a very lively greeting
They asked him who his hatter was, threw onions at his nose,
And turnips at his stomach, and dead kittens at his toes.
He took it all good humouredly, of course as it was meant.
It was but popular feeling finding its natural vent
He roared out "Two pence to the man who'll teach these people manners".
And held up sixpence as a hint, he thought they wanted tanners.
The first is now a household word in the second was implied
That beneficial process 'dressing a rascal's hide.
And they thought his wit was excellent, and he a jolly brick.
And vowed they would return him, that instant, on the nick
And were greatly disappointed as he begged them to be steady,
Explaining his position as in Parliament already.
But that he had a candidate whom he could recommend
As the very best of members they possibly could send
Of learning talent, and all that they had enough at present
They only wanted people who would make their meetings pleasant.
At present he found nothing to do but smoke cigars
Frightening the nether mortals with their ends, called shooting stars.
He was sorry to speak rudely, but it was beyond a doubt
That all their present Goddesses, they could do as well without.
They would not dance, they would not play, they would not sing a note,
And so he begged to introduce his Luna to their vote.
Luna - his beauteous Luna - rested upon his arm
And o'er the whole assembly there fell a sudden calm.
Then a loud passionate cry burst forth, and everybody saw
Her beauty carrying all the votes, and her election sure.
And when the ballot ended, twas declared on due authority
That Luna was returned by an all powerful majority.
And she took her place in heaven and her seat with the nobility
And the duty of enjoying herself to the best of her ability.
The stars took the occasion of explaining to Apollo
How glad they'd be if he would still his usual custom follow.
And he agreed that he would still cease duty every night
But in the day he'd drive away as ever warm and bright.
And Luna beautiful, and fair, she'd o'er the midnight skies
The sweet soft constant lustre of her gentle loving eyes.
Apollo when his course was run, would haste to her dear arms,
In which he every time would find some yet unnoticed charms.
And half the month they spent in heaven, and half the month on earth
Tracing the beauties of the land, where first their love had birth.
The stars had gained their dearest wish, they were as they desired
Seen every cloudless evening, and seen, of course, admired.
And they cast their eyes about them, and on her lofty throne
Saw Venus wink, and everyone assumed that wink his own,
Each answered most seductively; sly Venus winked again,
And everyone returned it then with all his might and main,
And so they kept on winking, and at this very day
You only have to look above for proof of what I say.
Now if any with suspicion on this true history look,
Behold the proof triumphant - "It is written in a book".
So now my friendly readers, I commend my work to you
In hopes that you may like it, and bid you all adieu.
I received the following letter and enclosure from Sue Andrews in January this year. I asked Sue's permission to reprint it in the Chronicle, entirely as she sent it to me. The historical information contained here is fascinating, and although it appeared unlikely that John Alabaster, our many times great grandfather (ten greats in my case), would be honoured in this way, how wonderful that his good deeds are still being remembered so long after his death. How many people from today will be recalled in the year 2369, I wonder!In act, I can now report, that Hadleigh's new primary school will be called the Beaumont School. However, we can take some consolation in the knowledge that Ann Beaumont, another local benefactor, was related to the Alabaster family!
Dear Laraine, I enclose a copy of a letter I recently sent to Jan Byrne, Hadleigh Town Councillor, who is on the committee for selecting a name for the new primary school currently being erected in Hadleigh. She asked me, as Hadleigh Archivist, if there were any names of people and places in Hadleigh that would be appropriate. Immediately, I suggested John Alabaster School or Alabaster School and Jan took to the idea, having heard me mention the family and their good works in Hadleigh. She asked me for some information, hence the letter.
John Alabaster was born in Hadleigh and baptised in the Parish Church in 1561. He was the second son of Thomas and Christian Alabaster.
The Alabaster family had sanguineous connections with the Forths of Hadleigh, Stewards ofthe Manor of Hadleigh Hall, with Nicholas Shaxton, Bishop of Salisbury and later Bishop of Ely and with the poet William Alabaster. Through marriage, the Alabasters were also related to the Winthrops, Lords of the Manor of Groton and founders ofthe Protestant Colony at Boston in Massachusetts, and to John Still, Rector of Hadleigh and later Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Nothing is known of John Alabaster's childhood but he probably attended Hadleigh Grammar School in the Guildhall where he was a contemporary of John Boise and John Overall, who both later worked on the translations for King James's Authorised Version of the Bible.
John followed his father Thomas, not only into the family business as a successful clothier in the woollen-cloth industry that was still flourishing in Hadleigh at this time, but also into public service. As a Chief Inhabitant of Hadleigh, his father Thomas had shared responsibility for running the town during a most difficult time of inflation and high unemployment that had led to much poverty. In 1588 at the age oftwenty-seven, John took over his father's role by joining the Town Trustees, who were responsible for managing the market, the Pykenham and Raven Almshouses and other Town Lands, the profits ftom which supported the poor. On four occasions, he held office as Chief Collector for Town Lands, for which he kept his own accounts of the income and disbursements for maintaining the various properties and for charitable distributions of cash, fuel and clothing.
For some time, lobbying had taken place for official status for those governing the town. In 1618, King James I granted a Borough Charter that incorporated eight aldermen, with one of their number to be annually elected as mayor. Sessions of the Peace were also established with the Mayor sitting as Justice of the Peace for his mayoralty and the following year. John Alabaster was the second Mayor in 1619 and again in 1630. However, he sat as Justice in 1619 and 1620, 1622 to 1626 and again ftom 1629 to 1631. In 1628, John was selected by the County to act as Lay Subsidy Commissioner in the Hundred of Cosford.
During the 1620s, John was assessed for taxation purposes on the value of his goods even though he owned approximately 300 acres of land and numerous houses throughout the town, which made him the second wealthiest person living in Hadleigh.
At his marriage in 1584 to Mary, daughter of John Brond, clothier of Boxford, manorial lord of Polstead, Nether Nusteeds in Polstead, and Castells in Thorpe Morieux, John's father had settled upon the young couple property in Bridge Street. The Alabaster family home is now the site of Babergh District Council Headquarters. John and Mary had nine daughters and two sons, both of whom followed their father into the office of Town Mayor. In 1637, during a very harsh visitation of plague in Hadleigh, John Alabaster died aged 76 and was buried in the Parish Church. His monumental brass (now placed below that of his father on the south chapel wall) tells us that........... he lived a godly and discreet life and was of holy conversation, for whose death the rich did mourne and the poore did much lament. He was kynde to the rich and mercifull to the poore and lovinge to all.......
In his will, John made provision in real and personal estate for his wife, his adult children and their families. He gave monetary tokens to the mayor, the rector and the curate and to men with whom he had shared not only friendship but also the responsibility of town government. His business agent in London, long-serving craft workers, his spinners and household servants were also remembered. He requested that within a week of his death, £20 in bread be distributed to the poor. He also passed on to his son, as had been passed from his father and uncle to himself, responsibility for four cottages, three in Bridge Street and one in Duke Street, the rents from which were to provide thirteen poor people with bread every Sunday in perpetuity.
Also, he left a tenement in Bridge Street and twelve acres of land in Coram Street to the Incorporation of Hadleigh, the profits from which were to be .... employed for a stipend to an honest, sober and sufficient man who shall teach poor children of the Town of Hadley to read English, to write and cast accompt... This was the beginning of elementary education in Hadleigh with the master chosen by the rector and together with the mayor, he was also to select the pupils who were to receive a free education. The tenement was to be a house for the master and schoolroom for his charges. John was careful to ensure that his school did not interfere with the viability ofHadleigh's other school by stipulating that his master. .. shall never meddle with or clayme any stipend formerly given and payed usually to the teacher of the Grammar School. Unfortunately the 12 acres at Coram Street were only held as security for a mortgage, which was promptly repaid. However, his son John as executor, wishing to fulfil the will's bequests, purchased lands to greater value just beyond Toppesfield Bridge, which later became known as School Meadow.
No details would seem to have survived regarding the operation of the school. During the eighteenth century, it was referred to as Hart's Writing School after the master and later, as its endowments were amalgamated with those for the almshouses, as Pykenham 's School.
The endowed lands were eventually sold in 1868 to Holbecks Estate and the income invested in consols. The schoolbuilding, originally called Posfords, was pulled down in 1853 when a new master's house and National School were erected on the site that continued as Bridge Street Boys'School. In 1905, when educational charities were taken out of the hands of the Grand Feoffment, the John Alabaster Education Foundation Charity continued to maintain the house and playground.
In 1968, when the boys were transferred to the newly built Saint Mary's Church of England Primary School, the old school and master's house went into private ownership. Funds arising fi'om the school-house sale went to the Alabaster Charity, which now makes grants for fees or expenses to those students under the age of 25 from Hadleigh and neighbouring areas, who live away from home in order to further their education.
Although it was John Alabaster's wish that his charity be applied to elementary education only, since 1853 this has not been the case. Until 1968, the charity provided free accommodation for the head-teacher at Bridge Street School and now, under a resolution made by the trustees under the 1985 Charities Act, other types of education can be considered.
It would be of significance to the town to name the new primary school either Alabaster or even John Alabaster as recognition, which is long overdue to the Hadleigh-born man who had the fore-sight to be first in establishing primary education here over 366 years ago.
New information and clues that help fill out our knowledge of Alabaster Family History come from many different sources. Occasionally, as in this case, a genealogist researching his own family line kindly keeps an eye open for any Alabaster references. Peter Copsey, a fellow member of the Guild of One Name Studies, has done just that, sending me a variety of occurrences ofthe name Alabaster over the space of time. Naturally, some of these I already had, but in several cases they are new to our records. Below is a copy of an email he sent to me last December, together with my explanations/discoveries relating to the information he sent. Peter's words are in italics, mine are in normal print.
Hi Laraine. Here are some more Alabasters that I found whilst looking for Copseys.
Re! RG9/25 0 12 New Nichol Street.
John ALABASTER head, Mar, 54, chair maker b. Whitechapel.
Mary ditto wife, Mar, 26, b. Bethnal Green
Thomas ditto son, Unm, 18, chair maker b. Bethnal Green
David ditto son, Unm, 15, chair maker b. Bethnal Green
William ditto son, Unm, 13, b. Bethnal Green
Sarah ditto daur, 11, b. Bethnal Green
Branch IIIB John (1806-1886). First wife was Mary Holt, but she would have been about 52 by 1861. A Mary Ann Alabaster had died in
Bethnal Green in 1857, and this could have been Mary (nee Holt).
Presumably the Mary above, aged 26, was the Mary Ann Levy whom John married 18 months later on 9th October 1862.
John and his first wife, Mary, were the 3 x gt grandparents of several of the members of Branch IIIB
RG9/250 folio 126L 13 Austin Street.
John ALLIBASTER Head, mar, 27, chair maker b. Bethnal Green
Martha ditto Wife, mar, 23, b. Bethnal Green
John ditto Son 1, b. Bethnal Green
Branch IIIB This is John James (1833-1888) eldest son of John and Mary (Holt). Martha (nee Waterman) was his second wife too, his first wife, Sophia, and son, John, having both died in September 1858, shortly after the baby John's birth.
RG9/251 folio 102L 3 Caroline Street
Susan ALABASTER Head, widow, 53, - b. Bethnal Green
Betsy ditto Daur, Unm, 28, fancy trimming maker, b. Bethnal Green
Thomas ditto Son, Unm, 26, carpenter, b. Bethnal Green
Fanny ditto Daur, Unm, 19, fancy trimming maker, b. Bethnal Green
Mary A. ditto Daur, Unm, 17, dressmaker, b. Bethnal Green
George ditto Son, Unm, 21, carpenter, b. Bethnal Green
Henry ditto Son, Unm, 15, carpenter, b. Bethnal Green
Walter ditto Son, 12, scholar, b. Bethnal Green
Alfred ditto Son, 9, scholar, b. Bethnal Green
WofW branch. This is Susan (nee Lingley) the widow of Thomas Alabaster (1808 - 1859) She was the gt gt grandmother, (or more) of each of the William of Woodford branch members of the Society!
RG9/252folio 91L 3 Virginia Row .
Josh. ALABASTER Head, Mar, 64, shoe maker, b. Wapping
Ann ditto Wife, Mar, 57, Silk winder, b. Coventry, Warwicks
Mary ditto Daur, Unm, 17, worsted winder, b. Bethnal Green.
Branch IIIB Joseph Alabaster (1796-1878) was the elder brother of John. Mary (or Marianne) was the youngest of Joseph and Ann's four children. Joseph and Ann were the 3 x gt grandparents of many other members of Branch IIIB.
Parish Register of Holy Trinity, Harrow Green, Leytonstone. Baptisms
1909 Feb 28 Winifred Lily Katherine daur of Frederick & Louisa ALABASTER, 38 Dunedin Road, bricklayer. No birth date given.
1911 Oct 15 Arthur Frederick son of Frederick & Louisa ALABASTER, 38 Dunedin Road, bricklayer. No birth date given.
1911 Oct 15 Edwin James son of Frederick & Louisa ALABASTER, 38 Dunedin Road, bricklayer. No birth date given.
Branch IIA Frederick Alabaster (1879-1941) I did have the births, but not the baptisms of Arthur and Edwin, who were twins, but I had not
previously placed Winifred in a family.
There are no descendants of Frederick and Louisa in the Society, but his father, Edwin, was the brother of my gt grandfather, Thomas, (and the gt grandfather of several other members!) and of Sarah Alabaster, gt grandmother of Tony Springall.
St Michael & All Angels, Walthamstow - Baptisms 1901 Oct 7
Elsie Georgina daur of George & Charlotte ALABASTER, 25 Haroldstone(?) Road, labourer. No birth date given.
1903 May 14 Charles Alfred son of George Thomas & Charlotte Caroline ALABASTER, 25 Hardlater(?) Road, general labourer. No birth date given.
This is WofW Branch, George Thomas Alabaster (1864-1936) being the grandson of Thomas Alabaster and Susannah Lingley, and the son of George, aged 21 on 1861 census (above). I did not previously have either of these baptisms! George and Charlotte were the grandparents of Brian Alabaster and the gt grandparents of Josie and Malcolm Alabaster, all members of our Society............in fact, Charles Alfred, the baby being baptised in 1903, was Josie's grandfather!
St Saviour, Walthamstow - Baptisms 1908 Feb 9
Herbert Sidney son ofSidney Herbert & Daisy Florence ALABASTER, 34 Camden Road, bricklayer. Born 12 Jan 1908.
Branch IIA - Herbert Sidney is actually the father of two of our members, Tricia Dyer and Colin Alabaster. I did not have details of his baptism and I do not suppose they did previously either!
1908 Nov 6 Ellen Jane daur of John William & Augusta Campbell ALABASTER, 33 Beaconsfield Road, greengrocer. Born 10 Oct 1908.
This one is a complete mystery! All that I can ascertain is that Augusta died in the registration district of Shoreditch in 1918, aged 34.
If anybody can place a John William, Augusta and Ellen Jane Alabaster in their ancestry, I would love to hear about it!
St James the Great, Bethnal Green - Baptisms
1898 Nov 27 Charles Thomas son of William & Agnes ALABASTER, 12 Peacock Street, carman. Born 9 Nov 1898.
William and Agnes are Branch IIIB. Steve Abbott wrote about them in detail in Chronicle 17. William was the grandson of John Alabaster, of the first census given above.
St Matthew, Bethnal Green - Baptisms
1904 May 1 James Edwin son of James & Matilda Amelia ALABASTER, 153 Vallance Road, porter. No birth date given.
James and Matilda are Branch IIB. They are the grandparents of Michael William Alabaster, so James Edwin was Michael's uncle. We did not previously have this baptism either!
St John, Bethnal Green - Baptisms
1891 Oct 17 George son of Edward & Harriett ALABASTER, 3 Thurlow Place, labourer. Born 21 May 1887.
1896 Apr 26 Lilian daur of Edward & Lydia ALABASTER, 298(?) Glebe (or Globe) Road, dyer. Born 6 April. God parent Agnes AGARS(?)
These are Branch IIB again, the Edward and Harriett being the parents of the second Edward. Edward the elder was the brother of the father
of James, above, so Edward the younger and James were first cousins.
Another son of Edward and Harriett, Robert William, emigrated to Australia just before World War I. His descendants include several Alabasters now living in the Melbourne area of Australia.
Enjoy your Christmas and good luck in 2003. Cheers, Peter Copsey.
I am sure you will agree that we owe Peter Copsey a debt of gratitude. This is not the only such list that he has sent to me! Please remember that I am always grateful for any Alabaster information at all, to help piece together the overall picture, so if you do have any family artefacts which include details of names and dates, I would be very grateful for such information! Do look out for the name Copsey too!
..............and there's more!
Would you believe it - with one thing and another, the Chronicle is sufficiently behind schedule that I have received another email from Peter Copsey, entitled "Alabasters for Easter" !!!
All Saints, Leyton (West Ham RD) - Baptisms
1938 Jan 30 Brian son of Ernest Thomas & Lilian May ALABASTER, 153 Beaumont Road, Leyton. Painter. Born 28 Dec 1937.
I truly think I can say this is a first for me! This baptism is not just of one of our ancestors, it is actually the baptism of a member of the Alabaster Society!!! Here you are, Brian, this is YOUR baptism! Brian is a member ofWofW Branch!
Christ Church, Leyton (West Ham RD) - Baptisms
1935 Sept 8 Arthur Edwin son of Edwin James & Fanny Nora ALABASTER, 6 Newport Road, Leyton. Carpenter. Born 31 July 1935.
1938 June 26 Roger Thomas son of Edwin James & Fanny Nora ALABASTER, 6 Newport Road, Leyton. Carpenter. Born 25 April 1938.
God parent - Donald WASPE.
Branch IIA - the father here, Edwin James is one of the twins, baptised in 1911.
St Luke, Leyton (West Ham RD) - Baptisms
1939 Jan 22 Colin Frederick son of Arthur Frederick & Rose May ALABASTER, 463 Grove Green Road, E11. Bricklayer. Born 26 Nov 1938 (or possibly 1928)
1950 Nov 5 Patricia Rose daur of Arthur Frederick & Rose May ALABASTER, 100 River Road Born 29 July 1950.
36--and the father here, Arthur Frederick, is the other one of those twins, baptised in 1911.
St Stephen, Upton Park (West Ham RD) - Baptisms
1927 May 11 George William son of Charles Henry & Lilian Maud ALABASTER, 9 Park Road, East Ham. Labourer. Born 25 April 1927.
Branch IIIA - George William was one of the earlier members of the Alabaster Society, number 28, until his death in October 1993.
St Andrew, Walthamstow (West Ham RD) - Baptisms
1947 Oct 5 Janet daur of John Henry & Winifred May ALABASTER, 272 Blackhorse Lane, E17. Police constable. Born 21 Aug 1947.
WofW Branch - here it is the parents of the child who are members of the Alabaster Society! John Henry Alabaster was, and is, one of our earliest members; number 18!
St James the Greater, Walthamstow (West Ham RD) - Baptisms
1910 Aug (April crossed out) 3 Florence Grace Dorothy daur of Sidney Herbert & Daisy Florence ALABASTER, 22 Hartington Road. Builder's foreman. Born 6 Nov 1910. This entry was between baptisms of Nov 2 and Nov 9. I suspect that birth and baptism dates are transposed.
Branch IIA - Florence Grace was the mother of Tony Moore, one of our members. She was the sister of Herbert Sidney, baptised in 1908 - and I realised I had a photograph of her!
1912 Oct 9 Violet Grace daur of George Thomas & Charlotte Caroline ALABASTER, 70 Gosport Road. Labourer. Born 4 Sept 1912.
WofW branch. George Thomas and Charlotte Caroline were referred to earlier, with baptisms in 1901 and 1903.
Whew! Thanks again to Peter Copsey!
........a poem for the 21st century by Ellen May Alabaster Dunbavin (IV) aged 9 years
Phryne Mundy (IIA) reports from Spain to tell me her sister, (Yvonne) Audrey Tilling (nee Alabaster) passed away Wednesday 13th November 2002
This was sad news to receive. Audrey was with us at the Alabaster Gathering last April, and contributed a very interesting page to the
Audrey and Phryne were born in Tientsin, China, where their father, Geoffrey Alabaster, worked for the Dunlop Rubber Company. Audrey had strong memories of Tientsin and Shanghai and remembered sailing to England, via Suez, in 1924, aged 8.
Audrey's grandfather, Henry Alabaster, owned an Electrical Engineering supplement called The Electrical Review. I managed to buy a bound volume of The Electrical Review, July - December 1889, from an antiquarian bookseller at a Boot Sale recently! It has Henry Alabaster's name on the frontispiece, and makes fascinating reading, if somewhat heavy, about the early stages of the introduction of electricity. Headlines of articles include: "Electric Lighting at Brighton"... ..... "Will Electricity Supplant Gas?" LH
Alexandra: Age has not slowed former New Zealand test cricketer Jack Alabaster.
Mr Alabaster, a 72-year-old golfer playing off an 8.3 handicap, had what he called a pretty good round of golf on Sunday.
The former leg spinner, who played 21 tests between 1955 and 1972, managed to score a 71 at the Alexandra Golf Club to notch up the rare feat of scoring under his age.
Par on the course was 72.
"I didn`t do anything different. It was just a combination of things, really. The weather was great - not too much wind, the course is in good condition and it just happened," he said.
The round included a double bogey on a par 3, a bogey and four birdies.
He added it was not the best round he had had, as he had gone sub-par in his younger days.
Mr Alabaster was playing with his wife, Shirley, on club closing day and they managed to win the competition - so the freezer has an additional couple of chickens to store.
Brother Gren (68), also a former New Zealand cricketer, and an Alexandra club golfer, who plays off a handicap of 6.8, hit an 81 on Sunday.
This photograph and article appeared in the Otago Daily Times earlier this year. It is with thanks to them that it is reprinted here.
James Chaloner (Jack) Alabaster, is a member of Branch IIC. He is the gt grandson of Reverend Charles Alabaster who emigrated to New Zealand in 1859 and was one of the early movers in primary education there before his early death in 1865. ( Alabaster Chronicle Number Three, pp 3-6. A New Zealand Connection, by Margaret Francis ).
There is a memorial plaque to Charles in St John's Cathedral, Christchurch.