Colony # For some time I’ve puzzled over Clara Inskip (nee Heathorn) from Guildford , who,  in every census from 1841 – 1881,  is listed as a sole name: to whom was she wed?  Now, thanks to a story by Lisa Truttman of the Avondale Historical Society in New Zealand,  light has been shed on poor Clara’s story.

Gardener’s daughter Clara married widower William Inskip between 1835 and 1837: she was in her late 20’s, he was a few years older.  William , a baker and pastry chef, had originally hailed from Hitchen, Hertfordshire,  the son of John Inskip, a wheelwright ,and Jane Mason.  He had been sent to Guildford in1817 as an apprentice to baker and confectioner John Drewett.    His first wife, Ann Green, whom he’d married in Lambeth in 1824, had sadly died in 1835, and he’d been left with two boys to care for –  9 year old John William, and 6 year old Thomas: third son, William Green Inskip having died as a baby in 1828.

Then,  in early 1837, tragedy knocked for the second time:  William stole a keg of butter from a Mr Austen.  Apprehended for this misdeed, he was sentenced at Guilford in 3rd April 1837 to 7 years transportation in Australia.  One can hardly imagine how newly married Clara felt.

Two weeks later, William found himself in London on the prison hulk Justitia,  moored in the Thames at Woolwich.  These stinking, ex warships,  were unpleasant, unhygienic  places, where shaven headed prisoners were stripped of their individuality and frequently chained.  One wonders if Clara ever managed to visit William before he was loaded on to the convict ship Neptune and taken to Tasmania in October 1837.   Continue Reading »

imagesAs part of the Inskip DNA study, Major Inskeep from Washington State, USA, contacted me and revealed a fascinating and, to me, romantic story of, what I imagine, as The Wild West.

His great, great, great grandfather , who was called Doc Inskip, had a stage coach stop outside Jordan Valley, in a remote corner of Oregon’s, in the mid 19th century.  The area has rough volcanic lands of high Oregon desert and snow capped mountains, and was settled by cattle ranchers and miners in the 1860s.

In May 1866, the stone, fortified Inskip Station played host to Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (known as Pomp) the son of Sacagawea, a Native American woman who was crucial to the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  So famous was she, that her image with baby Charbonneau is now on the one-dollar coin.

At the age of 61 Charbonneau was on his way to Montana when he crossed the icy Owyhee River, and died of pneumonia at Inskip Station.  He was buried by the roadside; along with others who ended their travels prematurely there.

A few years ago the grave was rediscovered after a long hunt,  and has been renovated as part of the Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail.

Major also told me that his gggrandfather travelled to California, and two buttes (small hills?) were named after him – big and little Inskip.

How this line of Inskip/Inskeeps is linked to the UK branches of the Inskip family will hopefully become clearer with the Inskip DNA Study.

I must have found a worthy contender for the prize of ‘most eccentric’ Inskip correggio_250names – unless anyone can find any stranger.

The gentleman concerned is Charles Inskipp#, born in Battle in 1807, who married the sensibly named Sarah Ann Baker in Westfield, near Battle in 1835.

Charles was a portrait painter, and by the 1841 census had moved to Lambeth, London, to practice his trade.  This was the age when photography was starting to challenge portraiture.

In 1836 the, again sensibly named, Emily was born in Sussex.  Followed by Harold in 1837 – possibly of Hastings fame.  But, then the fun started, in

1839 Napoleon Tristram Shandy Inskipp^ was born in Battle, then

1841Correggio Quinton Inskipp* was born in Lambeth, followed by

1844 Rembrandt Claude Inskipp  and last but not least

1848 Boadicea Mary Inskipp

Sadly, Napoleon and Rembrandt died as children.  Harold and Correggio became potters: Correggio was imprisoned in 1868 for stealing fixtures, married in 1872 and named one of his sons Freeland John Inskipp.   Boadicea was a housemaid before she married blacksmith, George Charles Weston.  Emily was an artist before her wedding to pianoforte maker, Thomas Beeching.

^ Tristram Shandy ,the novel by Sterne, was built around the thinking of people such as Swift and Locke – in the novel he ponders the effect of a name.

* Antonio di Pellegrino Allegri, who is known by “Correggio”, the name of his native Italian  town, was a High Renaissance master of illusion.  Picture is his Jupiter and Io 1532

# It is possible that Charles Inskipp was the ex metropolitan policeman who was arrested in Battle in December 1830, for inciting the populace to riot in support of Universal Suffrage.  A fellow convict was John Freeland.  I have only scant evidence and guessing is a dangerous game in family history; so it is a theory needing more investigation.

Correction due to an error in transcription.

I have noticed that an incorrect transcription on the 1841 census on Ancestry has been copied through into several family trees on the site.  There also seems to be confusion about Henry John Inskip’s parents.  All of which means that people have not been able to go back further.

Henry John Inskip senior was a Carman in St Pancras from around the mid 1850’s.  His partner,  was Rachel Emery (no evidence of a marriage has turned up yet), born Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire about 1827, the daughter of Henry Emery and Ann King .  The surname of Meeks has been suggested for Rachel, but this is incorrect: on two of her children’s birth certificates she gives her maiden name as Emery; on that of her eldest child Henry John Inskip junior, she is also named as Emery, but strangely says she was formerly King – her mothers maiden name – although it is unlikely Rachel was illigitimate.

Henry John Inskip senior was the son of Thomas Inskip born around 1772 in Bedfordshire, and Elizabeth Ginn.  Thomas  married Elizabeth  in Great Barford in October 1805.   Together they set up home in Potton,  but Thomas died in 1829.  This is where things get messy.

Elizabeth does not seem to have kept the family together and on the 1841 census she is not obviously recorded.  However, Henry John (sen) is listed with brother James, only James’ age has been transcribed as 48, when it should be 18.  That has meant many people thinking James was Henry’s father (the 1841 census did not give relationships).  In fact, a look at the actual page will show that James and Henry live next door to married brother George.

On the 1851 census,  Henry Inskip (sen) is living with his mother and stepfather George Meeks,  who married in Biggleswade Register Office on 5 May 1847.  George is a Woodman living in Potton Woods.   This also seems to have been the source of confusion.

It is always wise to go and look at the original source when looking at your family history – it is so very, very easy to make a mistake.   If you copy from someone else make a note that it is copied and needs checking, or ask them for the source.  Also,  if you hit a brick wall,  start looking at the rest of the family and neighbours.  It is surprising how often you can confirm relationships because of the names of cousins,  or visitors with brother and sisters,  or the names of spouses, or middle names,  or even young servants.   People moved in ‘support’ networks before the advent of the welfare state,  and understanding that network can tell you so much more.


(Updated details on the Inskip Y-DNA Study page . )

A wonderful opportunity has arisen to include the Inskip One-Name Study in the University of Leicester’s ground breaking project Roots of the British. We are therefore looking for men to take part in the study, whose ‘natural’ father had the surname Inskip, Inskeep, or Inskipp.  We need 90 volunteers who are no closer than second cousins to each other ie not father and son , brothers,  first cousins or first nephews.

Professor Mark Jobling, and Dr Turi King at Leicester University, have set out to use genetics as a basis for establishing the population history of the British Isles.  To date they have worked on questions such as the Viking ancestry in the North West England, and the link between surnames and a common ancestor: their work is published on the Roots of the British website.

The objective of the Inskip One-Name project will be to feed into the Roots of the British study, and to see if men with the surname Inskip share a common paternal ancestor or not.  Also to see what links might show up between the different geographical clusters eg are the Bedfordshire Inskips the same family as the Staffordshire Inskips?  Do the Leicester Inskips share a common ancestor with any other groups?

Taking part in the study will mean the University of Leicester sending you the simple equipment and instructions to take a brushing from the inside of the cheek – in layman’s terms it is the quick wipe of a cotton wool bud and takes no more than 10 minuites.  This is then put in a sealed test tube and returned to Leicester in a pre-paid envelope.  The tests are then carried out in the much respected  Departments of Genetics at Leicester.  We will keep everyone who takes part notified of when the results can be expected.  The purpose of this study is historical academic research and there will be no charges made for tests to participants.

The final analysis will be given in papers by the Roots of the British team, and will help in the overall understanding of the ancestry of the British.

If you would like to take part  or discuss taking part then please contact me at inskip@one-name.org.

The Roots of the British Project is sponsored by The Wellcome Trust and has been reviewed by the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire & Rutland Research Ethics Committee.

boot-shoe-union-1 I love getting enquiries for help with our Inskip ancestors,  as it always opens up a treasure trove of interesting history.  This month I have been approached by Mr Ken Bowden who is researching the Bacup Inskip League of Friendship [for disabled persons].  Did I know anything of Leonard Inskip the inspiration for this charity?

All I knew of Leonard was that he was Editor of The Cripples Journal in the 1920’s. This later became the National Cripples Journal, which changed its name in 1969 to ‘The Voice of the Disabled’.   The aim of the journal was given as “Only when public interest is awakened and the ordinary man sees that there is a large preventive as well as a curative side of orthopaedics will the need for proper aftercare facilities be realized. Then the laity will demand these facilities-and they will be provide.”

Leonard was possibly a cripple from birth.  He was born in Leicester in 1885, married Alice Lovely in the summer of 1911 and in 1925, he had a daughter, Betty Alison Inskip, who obtained a Geography Degree from Liverpool University and jointly translated “This Restless Earth: geology for everyman”.

Leonard it seems was a private man, and details about his life are hard to come by.  However,  I was fascinated to establish that another notable Leicester Inskip,  William Inskip, General Secretary of the  Boot and Shoe Workers Union, was Leonard’s father.

William was born in Leicester in 1852, the 8th child of Thomas Inskip, a poor bricklayer,  and his wife Martha Taylor.  William became a shoemaker, at a time “when hand sown boots were changing to pegged or sprigged work” and at the age of 17 married Jane Smith – Leonard was their 7th child.  William’s obituary states* that he “played a very remarkable part in the development of trade unionism in the shoe trade”.

His first role was to assist in the formation of the first Cordwainers Union;  he then went on to become General Secretary of the Boot and Shoe Workers Union in 1886, increasing membership from 10,000 to 45,000 during his time with them. He was very popular with the members and was nominated for Parliament – at that time it was the aim of the ‘young’ Labour Party to support the nomination of candidates popular with working men.  However, William opposed the Boot and Shoe Union’s aim to nationalise ‘the means of production’, and withdrew his candidacy, becoming a member of the Liberal rather than the Labour Party.

He was, however, elected to the parliamentary committee of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as Treasurer, and also became a member of Leicester Town Council and later an Alderman.  He died in May 1899 at the age of 46.

When I told Mr Bowman of the link from Leonard to William he said it all made perfect sense,  specialist shoes where, or course, very important to cripples!!

* Obituary in the Leeds Mercury, 12 May 1899 – British Library Newspapers Catalogue

Products_330_371_9780330371063_m_f Thomas Inskip, a watchmaker and clockmaker from Shefford in Bedfordshire was an interesting man.  He was responsible for the clock at Greenwich Observatory, left his archaeological collection to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and was a friend to labouring-class poets, Robert Bloomfield (who Thomas is buried next too in Campton Churchyard), and later John Clare.

Bloomfield and Clare are also known as ‘peasant or pastoral poets’ and are currently enjoying a revival: I recently met Jonathan Bate, author of a new biography on Clare which has used Thomas’ correspondence with Clare as a source.  (Unfortunately,  the correspondence of Clare to Inskip is lost.)

It seems Thomas befriended Robert Bloomfield when Robert, down on his luck, moved to Shefford in 1812. Thomas met Clare in London around 1820 “amongst the Cockneys, whom we both equally admire!”.  Clare related to Bloomfield as a kindred spirit, and Thomas tried to organize a meeting between them, as he regarded them as “the nation’s great poets of humble life”; but Bloomfield died “in pain and poverty” in 1821 before the wished for meeting could take place; much to John Clare’s regret.

Described in a poem by John Dalby as “kind Inskip”, Thomas  promoted John Clare’s work in the Northampton Mercury.  When Clare was  in the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum “the elderly” Thomas became his outside advisor and confident.  They shared discussions about poetry and sexual desire, “the days when we were young! And the arms-full of Petticoats we rumpled!”. Thomas was also instrumental in the publication of Clare’s poetry in the Bedford Times between 1847 and 1849.  “Inskip offered what Clare always craved from his editors: a mixture of practical advice and confidence-building encouragement.”

Thomas Inskip was born in Kimbolten, Northamptonshire in 1780, the son of Edward Inskip a Farmer from Old Warden, and Mary Handscombe from Clifton. He married twice, the last to Isabella Wright in 1815, and died in 1849 in Brighton of Cholera.  His watchmaking business was taken on by son Hampden Inskip, and eventually grandson Alfred Inskip.

Book – John Clare, A Biography by Jonathan Bate ISBN 978-0-330-37112-4

Correspondence from Inskip to Clare is in Northampton Central Library.