123 years ago today, on Wednesday 22 July 1896 at St Marks church in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, Northamptonshire there was a marriage between Hamlet De Wet and Mabel Langton. They both have interesting backgrounds.
Their families are well documented on the internet. They do not have obvious connections with Peterborough, therefore the choice of this particular church is surprising. Additionally, the St Mark's parish was created with the rapid growth in population following the arrival of the railways.
This "Fashionable Marriage" was reported in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire newspapers. From these reports we learn the following:
At St Mark's Church, Peterborough, Mabel Katherine, eldest daughter of Mr Bennet Langton, of Langton Hall, Spilsby, Lincolnshire, was married to Mr Hamlet de Wet, of Kidderminster, second son of Major de Wet, of the Madras Native Infantry. The officiating clergy were Rev. T. Church, vicar of St George's, Kidderminster, and the Rev. B. de M. Egerton, vicar of St Mark's, Peterborough. The bride wore a white satin dress by Worth, with Brussels lace shirt and corded train and tulle veil (fastened by a diamond crescent, the gift of the bridegroom), and coronet of orange blossoms and white heather and myrtle. Mr Bennet Langton, brother of the bride, was best man, and Miss Langton, the bride's sister attended the bride.
The reports do not specify the sister's name but their marriage is recorded on FreeREG - and Lucy Katharine Langton is one of the witnesses.
Langton by Spilsby (sometimes also known as Langton by Partney) is in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 55 miles from Peterborough. The Langton family has owned this village since at least the twelfth century and apparently still has very close links with it today.
Notable Langtons from Langton include Bennet Langton (1737-1801) a friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson. Also Rev Charles Langton (1803 – 1886) married Charlotte in 1832, the third daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, the master potter. Charlotte died in 1862 and Charles married Emily, the sister of Charles Darwin, the naturalist, the following year.
The bride was Mabel Marion Katharine Burton Langton, born 1866 in Langton. Her parents were Bennet Rothes Langton, landowner and Justice of the Peace, and Lucy Katharine Burton. Langton Hall had been twice destroyed by fire before the last Hall was erected by Bennet Rothes Langton in the 1860s.
Langton Hall (before being destroyed by fire in 1817). By Batholomew Howlett - A selection of Views in the county of Lincoln 1805, Public Domain.
Dublin-born Hamlet Robert De Wet is recorded as living in Kidderminster, some 100 miles from Peterborough. His father Oloff Godlieb De Wet died in early 1894 aged 75, two years before this marriage. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Oloff was a Major in the Madras Native Infantry. Hamlet's brother Thomas was a Senior British Officer in the Royal Navy. Another notable relative was Hugh de Wet, nephew of Hamlet and son of Thomas. This remarkable man was featured on the BBC programme This Is Your Life in 1956.
During the Second World War, Hugh worked in France as a secret agent. He was arrested by the Gestapo and held in solitary confinement for six years, under sentence of death.
There are several references to him on the internet. Below are two interesting links.
At the time of the 1901 Census, our couple were living in Worcester, Hamlet was Manager of the National Telephone Company. Ten years later, the 1911 Census has the couple living in Filey, Yorkshire and confirmed that they were both living by "Private Means". The couple died in Norfolk in the 1930s.
Outside the church of Saints Peter and Paul, in Langton by Partney are monuments to Bennett Rothes Langton (1840-1925), Lucy Katherine Langton (1840-1924) and Mabel M K B DeWet (1866-1934).
Article written by Ian Slater, FreeREG volunteer.
Free UK Genealogy Has Been Awarded a Grant to Link-Up Places in the Past
Free UK Genealogy has been awarded a grant by Pelagios Commons which will enable us - and others - to help users identify the geographic areas mentioned in old records.
The Pelagios Network connects researchers, scientists and curators to link and explore the history of places. They have been primarily creating facilities to permit the online linking of resources for those interested in early Mediterranean cultures (not really our territory!). In the process they have developed a very effective way of collaborating and sharing the information they have individually recorded about people and places, and are looking to broaden the scope of what they do to the rest of history. To achieve this they have awarded a number of small grants. As a direct result of the widening of the Pelagios group’s interest, it is creating a community for those interested in places in the past, and Free UK Genealogy is now part of that community.
Our successful bid will enable us to work with Free UK Genealogy Advisory Board member, Professor Humphrey Southall of the University of Portsmouth. Humphrey and his team have mapped the administrative units used in Great Britain across history - the Administrative Units Ontology (AUO). The AUO includes counties, registration districts, parishes and so on - and associated them with their dates and sources such as gazeteers to create the Great Britain Historical Geographic Information System (GBHGIS). This data underpins, and is available at, the Vision of Britain website. We will publish this as Linked Data with a creative commons licence and will be using the Pelagios Gazetteer Interchange Format (PGIF) in order that others wanting to use this data can easily do so.
The project is being undertaken by FreeUKgenealogy chair, Richard Light. You can read more about it at his blog, here https://medium.com/@PelagiosNetwork/aou-resources-as-a-pelagios-gif-resource-an-update-d4ad01dcef47. An example of how this might be used in our projects. Richard is working to enable searching by overlapping units - so if you have, for example, a baptism in Bassingham, Lincolnshire, in 1829, overlapping units that might have this person included in the 1841 and later censuses (Registration District: Newark, Nottinghamshire). Or you might have a family knowledge that an ancestor lived near the navigable Trent - and might want to use a map based search to look for records in places along its course.
The Pelagios linked data will not only be of direct value to Free UK Genealogy, but will allow others with historic geodata to start to use the Pelagios linked data as a consistent way of identifying what, where, and when. Allowing the administrative units to be used more widely and more accurately by genealogists and other historians of all kinds creates open-ended possibilities, but until the data it is there in this linked format it can’t happen.
Free UK Genealogy is proud to announce two new features to assist our users.
FreeCEN (with free access to high quality transcriptions of nineteenth century British censuses) and FreeREG (with high quality transcriptions of registrations of baptism, marriage and burials) now have "friendly" permanent URLs to their records.
Records in FreeBMDwhich covers the civil registrations of birth, marriage and death in England and Wales has permanent URLs that you can copy and paste from the “info” page.
For FreeREG and FreeCEN, the URL displayed in the address bar of a detailed search results page will always take you back to that detailed search results page. There is a snippet of information in the "friendly" URL which will enable researchers to identify which URL belongs to which person's record.
The second new feature makes use of permanent URLs: if you want to cite a FreeCEN or FreeREG transcription in your family tree/academic work or take a note of a record of interest to return to it later, now you can do so using the Citation Generator button. This is located on the far right of the row of buttons after "Next Dwelling" and "New Search" on FreeCEN, and next to the "Export as JSON" button on FreeREG. Clicking there, you get a choice of which format of citation you want to use. As the generator uses the permanent URLs, it means you will always be able to go back to the record without having to search for it again.
These new features have been brought to you by our team of volunteer developers, and in the case of the citation generator, by Sudaraka Jayathilaka who developed this feature as an intern working with us as part of the Google Summer of Code programme. Google Summer of Code is a global programme that brings student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organisation on a 3 month programming project during their break from college or university. Sudaraka has written about his experience on his blog.
If you are interested in developing your programming skills, please consider volunteering with us.