KATE SHAW * Kate Brighty - "Dra-dra" Mother of Norah Lucas (Brighty) and Kate Colley (Kate Brighty). Early Reflections (In Kate Colley's handwriting). Born at Wakefield - March 17th, 1855 .
Mother died when 14 months old - at age 20 yrs - lived in Northampton before coming to Yorkshire - died at Northampton - buried in Northampton. Married at All Saints Church North. After Mother's death Grandmother took full charge and brought her up until three years old - then father married again - child returned to home of father in Wakefield. When seven went to boarding school at Headingley - Misses Dewhurst - there until 14 years old - then went to Grandmother in Northampton for visit of one year. Returned to Yorkshire to go to school just outside of York - Fulford -Armstrong Headmistress - there one year - health failed and returned to Grandmother just sixteen. Lived in Guilsborough, very pretty place looking across to Nasby. Gave up that home because of remote life for Mother -moved to Northampton living with Grandmother with visits to Father's home until marriage - Father died in 1880. Grandmother died 1881, Married John Brighty.
Am writing down a few early recollections to please Kitty, and as she has given family history I'll go on to my childhood life - as you know my mother died when only in her 21st year and my grandmother (always Grannie to me) took charge of me until I was 3 years old, and I believe a pretty trying child, being far from strong. Grannie lived in Guilsborough in a pretty house and nice garden on the outskirts of the village. Uncle John and Aunt Emma lived with her and I remember both of them. Uncle John was a tall young man, going to be a farmer in Australia and preparing to go there but died of T.B. Grannie decided to move to Spratton, a village a few miles nearer to Northampton, with Aunt Emma who in the meantime had developed T.B. and never was happy in Spratton and longed for Guilsboro I- so Grannie moved back there. The house she had left was occupied and she could only take a labourer’s cottage - which she enlarged and made quite a decent place of - Aunt Emma never recovered and died very shortly and was buried with an Aunt Kitty (Grannie’s Aunt) Aunt Emma and Uncle John in the Chapel graveyard. I remember being sent for from Yorkshire for her funeral, my father going too. It was quite a long walk from Grannie’s cottage to the graveyard and I was quite interested in seeing the mourners in their weepers - the men with crepe tied round high hats (and they were high in those days) and large bows and streamers behind. We women folk, even a girl of seven years, had black hoods on with long ends, like a stole, in front. I felt awfully important in mine, only Grannie did cry so. My father left me with her, much to my delight - she was my all and I was happy with her.
When I was three years old, I went to live in Wakefield with my father and stepmother. When I was seven years old I was sent to Headingley to school with the Misses Dewhirst, two gentlewomen who were kind and understanding. It was not trial to me to go to school. I was there until I was fourteen, then was a year with Grannie, and returned to Yorkshire, going to school in Fulford Field House, York. I was happy there - it was a change from the small school in Headingley, here there were nine resident governesses, besides the head Master and Mistress, Mr. And Mrs. Armstrong. No day pupils and 90 boarders, the house was an old monastery and tales were told of an underground passage to York Minster. Weird stories were told when lights were out. My dormitory was called “Paradise” and had a large dark closet which was supposed to lead to the underground passage. I was a backward girl and had to work hard to hold my own - in less than a year my health broke down and my people in Wakefield were glad to send me off to Grannie. So once more I was in Guilsborough in Ashly Lane in the thatched cottage where sparrows built in it, and martins built their mud houses under the eaves and the windows of the new part of the cottage looked across the hills to Naseby. Valentine drove a carriers cart to Market Harborough once a week going past Naseby and I always wished to go there but never succeeded.
Grannie had property in Northampton and lived there until her eldest son, my Uncle Harry and my mother were married. It was a double wedding and neither proved very happy. Uncle Harry had one son; also named Harry, born six weeks before I was, and we were playmates whenever I stayed with Grannie and we had wonderful times together. Uncle Harry was a clever man; an analytical chemist; and used to lecture on minerals, also on electricity and I remember driving with him to see Sir John Dryden, with whom he was friendly, but poor Uncle wrecked his life by an unhappy marriage, was intemperate and about broke Grannie’s heart, lost his money and went to Canada, returned to England for a time then went to Bombay where he died - at that time I was fourteen years old.
When I was sixteen my health was not good and I left school and went to live with Grannie permanently, only going on a visit to Wakefield occasionally. It was owing to Grannie’s care that I got strong again. That summer we went to Ireland, staying with Aunt Betsy, Gran’s sister, who lived in Wexford. She had one daughter, Bessie Gainfort, so I had a glorious time with her. Wexford is a dirty old town, but the neighbourhood lovely and we had many picnics up the river Slaney and Bessie’s friends so enjoyable. My first visit to Wexford was from Liverpool on a boat carrying cattle and by no means pleasant, and I very sick. On our return Grannie decided to go to Northampton to live thinking Guilsboro too isolated, being ten miles from a town. Of course I was pleased with the change and met people we never would have met in the country. I had private lessons from Mr. Islip and Miss Richardson. Also music and singing from Mr. McKorkall, an excellent teacher. Grannie was a Baptist of the old school and being very deaf used to take Spurgeon’s Sermons every week and thought him the “only preacher”. The Rev. John Brown was the Baptist Minister in Northampton; and Uncle Harry was married to his sister, Aunt Jane - consequently I knew the Browns intimately and went to their home often; Mrs. Brown was a clever woman and was a friend of “George” Eliot’s - went to school with her and her great admirer. Mrs. Brown had a great deal to do in forming my character. I was very fond of her and she influenced me greatly, but never made a Baptist of me. My father was a strong Tory and Churchman and I always liked church better than chapel - but went every Sunday a.m. to College St. Chapel where John Brown preached, and where my mother was buried. I met “Spurgeon” at Mr. Brown’s though he did not appeal to me. Arthur Clifton was a cousin of mine and lived in Northampton. He was the homeopathic doctor, and used to come in and see “Aunt Kate” (Grannie) and she being Allopath they used to have great discussions on medicine. However, A. Clifton made his mark, went on a trip to America representing the Homeopathic doctors of England, and was conferred the title of Doctor, he held the M.R.C.S.E. degree and was not an M.D. so Grannie had another pull at him. However he was good to me ae a youngster and I used to go into the country with him when he went to see patients - so saw a lot of the country. He had a good library that I had free run of - so with his library and John Brown's I was well supplied with books. Mrs. Clifton too was a wonderful woman and good to me, she and Mrs. Brown being alike.
At this time "Bradlaugh" was trying for M.P. for Northampton. He was called an atheist, and very notorious; an ardent Radical - and advocated "Birth Control" and unheard of thing in those days and quite come to the front these days. He did not succeed at the election and there was a riot, the soldiers from Weedon Barracks were called out and it was quelled - but not before many windows were smashed and most of the cobble stones in the Market Square torn up (by the women, to help the men to do the throwing.) One trouble with Bradlaugh was he would not take the oath in Parliament, but on being returned on a future election he made an affirmation - so took his seat.
I knew Lizzie Livens very well. She used to visit the Cliftons and we had many ideas in common, she married W.T. Stead, brother [was] a man who edited the Pall Mall Magazine and showed up the abduction of young girls - he was much criticized in the matter but he had an act passed in Parliament called "The Stead Act" which did good. When Lizzie visited me before she was married Dad asked her if Mr. Stead approved of the line of action his brother (W.T.Stead) had taken. She said "yes" so Dad replied that he could not have him in his house - that of course broke our friendship for which I was sorry but quite understood.
When I was 16 years old Grannie and I went to London and stayed with Uncle James, her brother, so my great Uncle. I had a wonderful time seeing the sights. The Tower thrilled me but the greater part is now closed to the public. The Prince of Wales (Edward VI1) had been seriously ill and there was a Thanksgiving Service in St. Paul's for his recovery. Grannie took a window at the corner of Ludgate St. and where four streets met. The procession came down Fleet St. and we could see it down that street and up Ludgate St. to the Cathedral. Queen Victoria, the Royal family, Gladstone, Disraeli and the the Notabilities were there, and it was a wonderful sight, there was a huge arch close to our window, the Horse Guards band played, the crowd at that particular place something not to be forgotten. Mounted police kept a passage open by backing their horses into the crowd - women fainted and the crowd pushed their way through (or tried to). I shall never forget it. We were there from early morning till late afternoon. One Sunday I went to the Tabernacle to hear C. H. Spurgeon preach, and afterwards met him in Northampton when he was at Mr. Brown's. He was a great preacher but to me very coarse. Grannie thought he and Gladstone the two great men. My father disliked them both and was a keen admirer of Disraeli and the Church of England.
Grannie died in Northampton May 1880 and was buried in Guilsborough Chapel yard in the family grave. Mr.Brown buried her; she leaving directions as to her funeral. She wanted to be taken in a wagon from Northampton, but Harry and I overruled that, and she was taken in a hearse to the village chapel for a service, then placed on a stretcher and taken to the yard which was in another part of the village. She named the carriers just labouring men, six of them, Valentine being one, a special favourite of Grannie's. Each was to have white gloves, not black, no crepe hat bands and &10 each. In those days the coffin was carried on the men's shoulders and a heavy black Pall covered them all. Grannie thought it a cruel custom on the men, which accounts for the stretcher, which I believe was one used by the butcher, no such thing being in the village. She stipulated strongly - no flowers - but the village children had gathered a lovely bunch of wild flowers so we put it on the coffin and it was buried with her. I thought of the difference in my father’s funeral and hers (he died in the previous year and all the shops in Wakefield where the funeral passed were closed, and an endless line of private carriages followed to the church yard, in a village a mile or two away - Walton I believe - It was imposing funeral but I don't think the real love went into his grave as in Grannie's.
Mr. John Brown was left executor with me in her will, so as I had to be near Northampton, and did not want to keep the house I was in I took rooms In Oundle with Miss Stafford, an old friend of Grannie's. The property was left to Harry and me but Harry having had money the major part came to me. I may add that Harry had wanted to marry me for some time but I didn't respond. He was not the type I could have lived with and verging on the unscrupulous, and a tendency to drink - Grannie used to say I sent him down hill, but I never believed it, he was just weak and being first cousins I could not understand her wish that we should marry.
My life in Oundle was a peaceful and happy one. I often went to Northampton to transact business and go on to London where I stayed with a 2nd cousin, another Harry Harris, who was married to Ada Johnson, an advanced woman for those days; unorthodox and a radical In politics. I was very fond of her and there met her sister Edith. We became fast friends and continued so until 80 years of age. Edith was as advanced as Ada was, I visited her, meeting Mr. & Mrs. Johnson, both charming people. Once I went with them to South Place Chapel where they attended and heard Moncure D. Conway preach, his text was “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon". A sermon that might have been preached in any orthodox church and I still remember It - sixty years ago. Of course the Johnsons admired Bradlaugh - in fact Mr. Johnson knew him in his younger days when "B" was a Sunday School teacher. Harry & Ada knew "Annie Besant" whom they [missing text] Had my father been alive he would have been horrified at such people - he being such a "Tory and. Churchman".
I went to Oundle in May and in the Summer I met John Brighty who had just returned from a tour through the States and Canada. He was a widower with four children. We were never formally introduced, but Miss Stafford's pew in church was near his and there John saw me and made up his mind to meet me and marry me, which he did. I went to Wakefield with him to see my Stepmother and we were married in Wakefield Parish Church by "The Vicar of Wakefield" on Feb. 22nd 1881. We lived at Herne Lodge and the following Dec. 18th 2 Kitty was born. Ray also was born there Oct. 1882. [Ralph (Ray) Brighty born October 1884?] We left Oundle when he was a baby and went to live at "Duston Villa Northampton"where Donald was born March 15th. 1884 [1886?]. We lived there for four years. John's business failing and we returned to Oundle, living in Ashton, a pretty place, the home was said to be built out of stones from Fotheringay. which was quite probable. The windows were smallish and opened outward and the walls very thick. Life was pleasant - our family consisted of Jessie, Amy, Mabel, Hugh, my stepchildren; Kitty, Ray, Donald, and after seven years Norah came. Miss Burgess "Birdie" , was their governess - a good woman who trained the children well - she was with the family when I was married and I owe more to her than I can tell anyone.
John's business went from bad to worse and he decided to leave England and go to Canada. Jessie had entered the Wigan hospital to train as a nurse and Mabel was with a friend of Birdie's and left there to go to a hospital to train as a nurse in Coventry. John and Hugh went to Halifax, N.S. leaving me with Amy and the four younger children to follow with Birdie, which I did after settling matters in Oundle. To my surprise John returned to London two days before the boat left to return with us. We sailed on a Furness Whithy boat and had a pleasant trip. Father Davenport, a clergyman from St. John, N.B. was a passenger whom I enjoyed. Hugh met us In Halifax and we went to his rooms until we could go to our own place in Ferguson's Cove. a very lovely spot but uneasy of access, being in the harbour across the N.W. Arm - a Mr. Lynch and his wife and six sons lived down against the water, got a living by fishing and lobstering etc.
The house we had belonging to Mr. L. was up a steep hill going straight up to the road, halfway between the beach and the road on a small piece of level ground - there was no water, sanitary conveniences of any sort, cupboards, shelves. In fact nothing but the bare walls of the rooms. Our goods had been brought from Halifax in a schnooer of Lynch's. I can see the things now being hauled up by ropes and men and dumped into a room, everything and anything - from Piano, books, china, boots, linen, frying pans, pots and kettles etc - I did feel pretty well hemmed round. The boys and John made steps in the side of the hill to get water and as there was a six weeks soiled linen it was needed. We got there in September, a lovely month, but getting cold and I think John began to understand that a lovely place without any decent conveniences was not any too good - anyway we managed somehow.
Birdie and I to live there until January when John had an experience coming home one icy night from town with a leg of lamb in a bag and the steep hills a sheet of ice - he had had enough of Ferguson's Cove and we went to the other side of Halifax where it was decent and habitable - trains going through etc. Rocklingham was on the Bedford basin, a pretty place and nice people living there; Mrs. DeWolf quite a friend of mine. We were only five minutes by train going to Halifax so a number of men commuted there which enlivened things. Ray and Don went to school there and had various fights with the boys but settled down all right. Kitty went to Mt. St. Vincent to the Sisters for a time. John then took a place called "Sherwood" and made it into a summer resort for Halifax. Amy and Mabel tried their hands in it - but it failed and we were worse off than ever - so John decided to go to Boston and try what he could do there. He took Mabel there first of the girls, leaving me to wind up affairs and follow with the rest of the family. Hugh was there and had a position in the "Furness Whithy" shipping office and was settled there. The four younger ones went with me. Birdie leaving us to go to Labrador to educate two girls there in the H. B. CO.
We decided to live in Winthrop, almost a suburb of Boston. John tried bond selling, also equipped a boat for the Klondike, which ended unfortunately. Mabel went to train in Chelsea and Amy had a position too - so Kitty was with me in the home with the three boys and Norah - it was pretty hard managing those days and I was feeling rather desperate when one day I got a few bitter oranges and made some real old fashioned marmalade. The jars stood on a table when a friend. Mrs. Jordan a Canadian, called to see me. She saw the marmalade and said "why don't you sell some. it is lovely?” I told John and he quite fell for it and got more bitter oranges from Jamaica, through a Mr. Brown (Bravo?), an Englishman with money and no principle, they made a company of it at a good profit on the kitchen stove, business increased so much it was made into a Limited Liability Co. and I was out of it but not before I had been to Jamaica with John. I was not too well and needed a rest. It went on for about two years, when the whole thing collapsed, the men connected with it were "Yankee Sharks" - and it was much better in a smaller way and in our own hands.