My last day in Ireland involved an early departure by bus for Belfast. The light was dingy and the bus fast so photos were poor. I did a bus tour of Belfast and while I had an excellent seat the drizzle and bus departure coincided and again the situation didn’t augur well for good photos and I had no time to get off and do it properly so its not worth showing photos.
The next day saw Son No.1, his girl fiend and myself head to southeastern UK by car. Our first stop was Portbury in Somerset south of Bristol.
One of the ancestors was a farmer at Ham Green a tiny settlement in Somerset, now under housing. His three daughters were baptised in Portbury, the Church of the Blessed Virgin, and various records indicate that his first marriage occurred there. He was buried in Portbury when his children were very young.
Parish history goes back to the pre-Norman times with the area being held by the ruling Saxon family. The church itself, like all family churches I’ve seen, evolved over time from very small buildings to larger ones undergoing many additions and restorations over the centuries.
We were shown around the church by the obliging churchwarden and spent time in the graveyard examining the tombstones. The ancestors tombstone was not found and I’d be most surprised if one had never existed.
The main entrance is to the right.
Our next stop was the Clifton Bridge. A Bristol wine merchant named William Vick left a significant amount of money in his will to be invested and for a bridge to be built over the Avon Gorge when sufficient money was accrued. Two design competitions, starting in 1829, were held and Isambard Kingdom Brunel eventually declared the winner. His design was based on Egyptian design. Construction was halted due to money troubles but resumed and finally finished in 1864.
It is not known if William Vick the bridge benefactor who died in 1754 is a relative. I have not yet managed trace that branch of my family far enough. My grandparents visited the UK in 1896 and a travel diary notes a family connection.
After Clifton Bridge we headed off to Wales to our base for the night prior to searching for the burial place of one of the little girls baptised in Portbury and to search for the pub she and her husband ran.