Thursday, March 25, 2010

Darker territory

Elizabeth Darker was my Pop Smith's grandmother, and she was born in Clipston in Nottinghamshire, not far from Nottingham. We went to have a look and found a few houses and a most amazing Farm Shop that has been operating for 60 years - fantastic meats, vegetables, cheeses and marmalades for sale and farm animals for the children to feed and touch as well as a playground with toy tractors to drive around. The Darkers would be amazed to see it. And there was a reminder of home - a pair of cockatiels.

Elizabeth's parents were John Darker and Alice Pegg. They were married in the nearby village of Plumtree and some of their children were baptised there as well as Clipston and the family may well have also lived in Cotgrave, another little village nearby, because the Smith family farm in Australia was called Cotgrove. This is Cotgrave and the photo below it is Plumtree where Elizabeth Darker married Ephraim Smith several years before they came to Australia in 1852.

I'm presuming John Darker was an agricultural labourer - we don't know for sure - but he had been a soldier when he was a young man. The village that he was born in, Bradmore, has been almost swallowed up by Nottingham or Nottingham commuters but there are few interesting old houses left.

None of these villages are very far from each other. It is a constant delight to me how the church spire of the next village can be seen from the village that I'm in. The roads are windy and hedge-lined but all of them are sealed. Not a gravel road in sight. But it must have been a different story in 1850 when muddy roads restricted travel.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from a contemporary JohnDarker in Oshawa
    Ont. Canada. I am a retired secondary school teacher trying to get some idea of the family history. We have been in Can. since ca. 1860-70.
    my email is