AdventureBack to Myddle: Day Five of an Ancestral Adventure
Sadness reigns. We’ve just spent our last night at the Red Lion Lodge and, with a loaded car and deflated children, it’s almost time to leave. All is not lost, a delivery lorry, blocks our exit from the Red Lion car park. Abandon ship, children. We can’t leave yet. Out of the car. Still time for one last goodbye.
Back to Saint Peter’s. In super-quick time, we manage to locate my Great Grandfather’s gravestone – even though it’s evaded discovery for the last four days! Someone has adorned it with daffodils. Someone out there still cares. Perhaps there are more living relatives in Myddle, than at first apparent – where have they been hiding?
Back to the alpacas – a third photo shoot. And up the path between the church and the alpacas to Myddle Farmhouse. I knock on the door. No-one in. I venture further, on into the farmyard and past some outbuildings. No-one. But, I see what I’ve come looking for – Myddle Castle – the home of my Great Uncle Humphrey Kynaston, before he fell from grace and went to live in the cave at Nesscliffe, and also the home of my 15th Great Grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Grey – Humphrey’s loving mum!
“Mum, Mum, Mum! Come back! It’s private property!” My son is as law-abiding as my Grandad was – just as well, as he keeps a middle-aged eccentric in check! And, the farmer arrives in his tractor – just in time to save the day! I smile and wave at him, and he’s more-than-happy to let us take photographs of the castle. The remains of the castle.
Uncle Humphrey, you see, was not like my son, or like my Grandad, and he was certainly not law-abiding. Heavily in debt, he let the castle fall into disrepair, abandoning his wife and mother, to go on the run – after absconding from a court appearance on charge of murder! At this point you will be questioning the validity of my ancestral claims but, Uncle Humphrey, is related to me via my paternal Grandmother, rather than my paternal Grandfather, and I’m guessing that, without access to the internet, my Nanna knew nothing about her dark and distant ancestral past – either that or, on marriage to my Granddad, she wisely chose to keep schtum about it!
My daughter and I pose and preen ourselves, propping ourselves up next to the castle ruins for selfies – we both decide that the castle speaks for itself – the best pics are notable by our absence! And, reluctantly (another lie, because it’s none too warm!), we return to the farmyard entrance to collect my son, who thought it wise to stay out of sight of the farmer’s dog. But, he’s engrossed in a conversation with the alpacas about Pokémon, and we struggle to extricate him from the occasion. But, on we must – and back.
Goodbye Uncle Humphrey Kynaston. Goodbye adopted ‘cousin’ William Preece. Goodbye Great-something-Granny Agnes de Lacy. Goodbye all of my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
My genes emerged from a cave in the middle of the country, and they travelled all around the coast, leaving a little of themselves in every location, but a few of us gathered ourselves up.
And, we came back again. (Shame, but I never did get to try out any Shropshire scrumpy! Still, there’s always next time!)
(If you enjoyed this blog, look out for the author’s forthcoming book, currently a work-in-progress, ‘From the Myddle, to Everywhere and Back Again!’ copyright (2017) owned by Jay Cool)