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Visitor from the USA


Editor's Note: In 2006, we received an e-mail from Lane Ellis of Duluth, Minnesota, USA. In it, he explained that his great-great-great-grandfather was Mark Ellis, who was born in Eckington Parish, probably on Mosborough Moor, on June 28, 1803. In 1841, Mark lived at Newlands with his wife Mary (Watts, born in Beighton) and he was the Ridgeway Census Taker. At other times the family lived at one of the Haven farms, and in the summer of 1850, they moved to the USA, settling in Green County, Wisconsin. Lane has provided an account of Mark Ellis for our website. Lane is a keen genealogist and would welcome any information about his family. He can be contacted here and his genealogy database and family history are available via his website. In 2001 and again in 2003, Lane and his wife visited the UK and travelled to Eckington and Ridgeway in search of their ancestors. This is his account of their 2001 trip:


On Tuesday, September 4th, 2001, three days after getting married, my wife Julie and I were to leave our town of Duluth, Minnesota on a three week long trip to England and Ireland. It was a beautiful sunny day, and before leaving I stopped at the whole foods co-op and got a few Clif bars which I packed away into my luggage. I then went to the AAA travel office and got travelers checks in British Sterling for convenience on the trip.

My mom Konnie, dad Robert and grandma Lil took us to the Duluth airport, and we looked at pictures from our wedding in the little airport restaurant before we bid them farewell and boarded our plane. We left Duluth at 2:35 PM and flew to Minneapolis. We saw Julie’s niece Michaela at the Minneapolis airport – she works at a “Starbucks” there. We had a wait of several hours at the airport and looked around the various shops before boarding our DC-10 plane at 7:00 PM bound for London. The plane was full and it was a long flight. We had a good “Asian vegetarian” dinner, and I watched most of the Morgan Freeman movie “Along Came a Spider” which was enjoyable. I also listened to the airlines jazz music channel and heard some great jazz. Eventually I went to sleep and had a good long rest.

In the morning I remember seeing land in England for the first time from the plane.

We landed at London’s Gatwick airport, where we went through customs and took the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station. London was busy with people and we had to get the hang of buying tickets for London Underground “tube” travel and putting the tickets through the admittance stalls. From Victoria Station we traveled to the St. Pancras/King’s Cross station where our train to Sheffield was to depart. I was fascinated by England and all the new sights and sounds. Everything went smoothly and I found the people we encountered to be extremely friendly and polite. The St. Pancras/King’s Cross station was a beautiful old brick place with a very high glass roof and a wonderful huge old clock high above on the brick wall off to the front of the station. There were various little news and snack shops in the station, and once we saw which platform our train would be leaving from I went and bought my first English candy bar. I stumbled a bit finding which paper bill to give the clerk, and then enjoyed looking over the British coins I got back as change, especially the wonderful thick and sturdy gold colored one pound ones.

At 11:45 AM our train left for Sheffield, just north of Derbyshire in the heart of England and where we were to get our rental car. The train was really well laid out and very comfortable, with tables and huge windows. I had booked tickets on the Midland Mainline web site, finding an almost unbelievable deal of 5 pounds each for our two hour trip to Sheffield from London. We joked about spending nearly 4 times as much just getting from Gatwick airport to London. The train was wonderfully smooth and speedy, however both Julie and I were so very tired from our long flight and getting around London! I tried staying awake to see the beautiful lush green landscapes that sped by out the windows, but couldn’t keep my eyes open and slept most of the way.

Near to Sheffield we woke up, and I remember being startled at seeing the famous Crooked Spire church in Chesterfield (south of Sheffield) from the train – an amazing site I will never forget. I’ll describe the Crooked Spire in more detail further along. In Sheffield we got off the train and took a taxi to the car rental outfit which was right in the heart of town, the fourth biggest city in England. Within 5 minutes of arriving we were in our new little copper colored Vauxhall car, with me behind the wheel for my first ever left hand driving experience.

With Julie’s help looking for signs, and some quick instructions from the car rental fellow on how to find the road to Chesterfield (where we had a bed and breakfast booked for two nights) I got us to Chesterfield. Getting used to roundabouts was a tricky experience, but I carefully watched what local drivers were doing and just tried to go with the flow. In Chesterfield we had trouble finding the B&B and drove around for a while seeing a few different parts of the town, including a quick trip very near to the amazing Crooked Spire. Eventually with Julie’s help I got us to the B&B, which was only a half mile or so from the downtown area. We had to drive on a street called Spital Lane to get to the B&B, which we thought to be such a funny name. The “Number 3 Organic B&B” was located at the street address number three, a beautiful red brick house on a street full of brick houses. We met Clare and Michael, our hosts, two wonderful and kind people who showed us to our spacious and comfortable room which had a wonderful soft feather bed that felt so good after our long trip from Duluth. Clare had freshly baked cookies waiting for us in the room! We rested a bit before dinner and were very tired. Dinner was absolutely phenomenal, homemade vegan food served in a cozy dining room with a warm fire burning. I believe we had a vegetable shepherd’s pie, with a portabella mushroom and nut appetizer, and homemade blackberry pie with soy ice cream for dessert, along with chamomile tea. We went to bed early, my first night ever in England, the land of my ancestors. I fell asleep happy to have made it through the first travel leg of our journey.

In the morning we had a wonderful homemade breakfast once again with a nice warm fire. We had toast with homemade jam, and Michael showed us the tree outside the window where the fruit had come from. I had true English tea for the first time here, a morning habit I kept up throughout our trip.

After breakfast we drove the short distance to downtown Chesterfield and I found a parking garage situated adjacent to the downtown shops, a large pedestrian area where no cars are allowed to drive. It was a sunny morning, a bit crisp but not cold, and as we walked into our first English city aside from our brief passage through London I was giddy and very happy, and felt as if I were in a movie, everything being so new – new sounds, new accents, new signs, shops and customs. We first wandered over to the huge Chesterfield “Crooked Spire” church, the landmark of the city. An eerie feeling came over me seeing the massive church spire made from hundreds of tons of iron, twisted by nature over hundreds of years into a very unholy looking shape. The spire was built straight around the time of the Black Death, and over time came to be incredibly twisted. Some stories say the devil sat on the spire, while others say that only inferior craftsmen were available at the time the church was built, and using green timber supports caused the eventual twisting. We ate tasty cheese and fresh bread we’d purchased in nearby shops on a bench near the church and took it all in from our vantage point. As we ate we noticed rows of giant tall tombstones about twenty yards behind us, all propped up against a stone fence. These stones had stood in the grass field around us up until quite recently we found out, removed to make a larger grassy area around the cathedral.

After eating our bread and cheese we headed into the church. In the entryway were three or four older ladies working on a “well dressing”, an ancient Derbyshire tradition which involved dressing up local wells once a year, each town trying to outdo the other. Fresh flowers, berries, and nuts are used to adorn panels, and these panels depicted Chesterfield’s crooked spire church. Once done the panels would be paraded around town and finally brought to the traditional city well.

The interior of the church was stunning and massive. I saw for the first time tombs from the 1500’s. We must have spent an hour and a half going through the huge cathedral. In one section of the church I found the tomb of a Staniforth, a name in my family tree, and I took a picture and wrote down the inscription.

We then explored Chesterfield, which was bustling with active people going about their business. We were very lucky to be in town on the one day of the week Chesterfield has a town flea market in the center of town. When we reached the town center we saw hundreds of colorful canvas roofs over hundreds of vendor’s tables, forming many narrow rows. We were in a bargain hunter’s paradise and spent hours going through all the interesting items for sale. We took a break and went into a pub next to the town square and it was here that I had my first authentic Guinness! People of all ages were in the pub, a lively and plush place with a wonderful atmosphere. I was fascinated at how the bartenders poured stout and ale from their low taps. This was one of the best pub experiences ever. We were both so happy here!

We then spent more time at the flea market. I found some great old British advertising signs in bright cobalt blue and yellow – “Finest English Queenberries, Only 5 ½ p. per tin” and others like this. I also found a fellow selling old postcards and prints made from them. He had them organized by locality and I looked for Eckington and other nearby towns where my ancestors had lived before 1850 when they came to America. I purchased a beautiful print of three young girls walking though a field of rye in Troway, and an old postcard of a street scene in Ridgeway, both places near Eckington. Julie found some wonderful items too, including an antique tea pot, beautiful mugs, and even some flower bulbs!

We walked back to our car and drove to our home at the bed and breakfast and relaxed a bit before dinner, which was another spectacularly good meal by the fireside. I felt extremely pampered and lucky to be staying at such a wonderful place with two very kind and hospitable hosts. I had never stayed at a bed and breakfast before and certainly got the best possible introduction to this type of accommodation. We may have stayed at the “No. 3 Organic Vegan B&B” throughout our Derbyshire stay if Claire and Michael weren’t going to be out of town for a while.

Later we went for a walk, and encountered giant snails on the streets and sidewalks - how unusual! We then walked into town and went to the pub we had visited earlier in the day and had a wonderful evening.

I’ll now continue with notes I took on the trip :

Friday, September 7th, 2001. We awoke at 7:00 AM at the “No. 3 Organic Vegan Bed and Breakfast” in Chesterfield. We had a good breakfast of granola, soy yogurt, orange juice and English breakfast tea. We made arrangements to return and stay with Michael and Clare on Tuesday, and then packed up car and drove to Eckington. Finding our way was fairly straightforward ; I’m getting used to English driving. I’m quite proud of myself. Soon we were pulling into Eckington, and parked on a side street. All the buildings we saw were beautiful stone and looked ancient. From the street we parked on we could see the Royal Hotel in the town center, and walked up that way as it seemed to be the heart of the village. Julie took a picture of two great stone carvings on a house, one of a man’s head and the other of a woman’s head. The little town was bustling with activity at 8:55 AM, with a small market being set up. We walked around and looked for the church, but didn’t see it. We went into a small grocery store and bought water and asked for directions. From what we were told we’d been headed in the right direction before but had stopped three or four blocks short of the Eckington church. It was so much fun hearing the lady in this shop talk. She was very nice, and told us to ask the people at the church to let us up into the steeple if the church was open. In one small shop window just up the block we saw a handwritten notice about a missing budgie!

As we walked we soon reached the spot we’d stopped and turned around before, and this time saw the magnificent stone spire through the trees up ahead. We walked several more blocks and on our left came to the Eckington church. It was a gray day out. Walking onto the church grounds was like stepping back in time, as we were welcomed by a stone grave cover near the entrance which was from the 1600’s, carved with old English writing such as “Thy shall bee”. The church was massive and truly ancient, very rough, tough, and extremely weathered. The stone of the church had weathered away on all sides – 900 years and more of aging. Gargoyles that may once have existed high on the church had worn down to unrecognizable stubs, now turned into water spouts. It was deserted and quite eerie. This was a moment I had dreamed about on countless nights – returning to my ancestral home and visiting the church where my Ellis and Staniforth ancestors were members.

I went very slowly around the left side of the church, while Julie went ahead exploring. I was amazed at the huge building, and at the side entrance on the left, where an ancient wooden door stood, thought about my Ellis ancestors using this door as I put my hand on the handle. I then spotted gravestones next to the edges of the church grounds and went to explore. Such impressive stones I’ve never seen – entirely different from stone in the United States. Some were upright types, but most were crypt types – covering tombs on the ground, and very large. Some family names were familiar to me.

Julie called to me from the other side of the church. She’d found a Staniforth grave! I went to join her at a Staniforth tomb, who turned out to be people I was not familiar with in my research. I then went back to resume my methodical gravestone explorations on the left side of the church. On the way back we observed amazing and somewhat scary overgrown graves on a lower level of land back behind the church, some completely covered in thick ivy and other growth. Julie told me that she was truly scared by this place.

As I resumed my searching where I had left off I found a Turner grave. I have Turner roots in the 1700’s, but not from Eckington. Just as I was starting to record details Julie called to me from the front of the church. A workman had invited us inside to see the church as he worked! We went inside and as I slowly and deliberately went inside, trying to take in the magnitude of being the first Ellis descendant of Mark Ellis to enter this church since he left Eckington 151 years ago, I beheld a most amazing and authentic, unchanged church – huge and beautiful.

As we entered the church Julie pointed out the name Staniforth on a huge painted black sign hanging perhaps fifty feet up on a wall – dating to the seventeenth or eighteenth century. The man who had let us in soon appeared, and was very friendly. He said that the Eckington church had remained pretty much original until last year. He took us to see a new area under the bell tower, where an area to socialize and have coffee after church services, plus handicapped accessible restrooms, were being finished up. He said he couldn’t tell us about the history of the church but that someone who did know about the church would be by soon to help clean in the church. He went on to tell us about his Civil War reenactments – a very interesting fellow – very nice. As we talked the church bells chimed. It was so amazing to hear these bells that my ancestors also had heard hundreds of years ago.

Soon a woman arrived followed by her husband. Julie and I introduced ourselves. They were June and Clarence. We found out that June is a vegetarian with a daughter who lives in. I told her that I was Lane Ellis and about my Eckington Ellis and Staniforth ancestors. She said, “We have an Ellis – a very nice lady – in the church here” and that she was from the area, and that after church service on Sunday morning she would take us to meet this Mrs. Ellis! We talked for some time and got a brief tour of the church from June and Clarence. Certain parts of the church are extremely old Normal structures, most notably the first four pillars near the front of the church. The very front of the church was filled with Sitwell vaults and plaques. They showed us a large painting at the front of the church which had just been cleaned up and restored with the help of the Sitwells. She said that the Sitwells still attend the church. June mentioned that whenever a Sitwell dies they must remove bricks from the side of the church to put the remains in a special Sitwell area. Clarence pointed out two panels of stained glass of ancient origin which had survived from the very early days of the church. We agreed to see June and Clarence again at Sunday morning service.

We looked around the church for thirty minutes longer, and took several pictures. We bought several nice postcards and a church booklet, and then went to say goodbye to the workman who had been kind enough to let us in. He asked how I had done with June helping, and I told him that I was going to be meeting a possible Ellis relative after church service on Sunday morning, who might be a relation of mine going back to my great great great grandfather Mark Ellis. He stood completely still for several seconds, and then said, “You know, I believe in fate – and what you said now is really something. Can you guess what my last name is? Ellis!” We were both flabbergasted and amazed. He told me of his Ellis ancestry which turned out to be from north of Sheffield, but it is an absolute genealogy miracle of fate that after 151 years, upon the return of an Ellis from America to Eckington, an otherwise locked up 900 year old church should be opened to me by an Ellis! We exchanged business cards and Julie took our picture together.

We then drove to Renishaw Hall and saw the beautiful gardens and displays. In a log book of the Sitwells I saw the name Staniforth mentioned several times. The Sitwell estate was such a peaceful place, so wonderful to share together on our honeymoon. We ate biscuits or scones and I had hot chocolate before touring the gardens. We sat together on benches in various gardens. I especially liked the “Secret Garden”. We then drove to the small village of Renishaw a few miles down the road, where we checked into the “Sitwell Arms” inn, at the recommendation of June May. It was a lovely place with all the amenities. Julie stayed behind to rest up a bit while I went to the library in Eckington to see what I could find about my ancestors. I wanted to spend every minute possible making use of records that I could never have access to in America.

The library was wonderful, with an impressively large local history section for a small town library. I spent hours going through material, and even found Mark Ellis listed in an 1848 post office directory! Then I found a book I had hoped existed, a monumental inscription book for the Eckington churchyard. Most of the graves at the church were so hard to read earlier when we’d looked, others next to impossible to access being covered with ivy. With a deep breath I began looking through the book, aware that with luck I might find breakthrough information on my ancestors. I saw that there was a key to the book showing which people were buried where, but didn’t write the key down at that point, thinking that it was very likely that no Ellis’s would be in the actual churchyard, since they actually lived in Ridgeway/Mosbro Moor, several miles away but within the Eckington parish (I had found out minutes before that Ridgeway people didn’t have their own church until 1840). I found an alphabetical index and slowly turned to the “E’s”. On the pages were the names “John and Olive Ellis”, “John and Elizabeth Ellis”, and other Ellis’s who were my ancestors! I turned to the pages with the actual inscriptions done in 1990 and read briefly the inscriptions from my great great great great and great great great great great grandparents gravestones! I also found my Staniforth ancestors – Olive’s parents (her maiden name was Staniforth)! I didn’t want to read them very carefully – only enough to tell me that yes, my dream of finding Mark Ellis’s parents grave was going to come true, and I would travel myself to the Eckington churchyard to make this once in a lifetime discovery for myself! I drew a little map of the church and marked where their graves should be – on the right side of the church. Then I excitedly drove back to Renishaw to get Julie from the inn to share this moment with me.

We drove to the Eckington church and walked to the right of the huge old church. I expected from the map to find some sort of hidden overgrown area of upright stones below and off a ways from the church, but as I walked a few steps I realized that there were graves all around us on the ground, the markers laid out flat and all overgrown by grass.

We looked where the map said the graves might be and for a few minutes thought we’d found my 4th great grandfather, but after some uncovering found that they were not Ellis’s. We looked down the next row, and in one of my greatest family history moments ever, uncovered the gravestone of my 4th great grandmother Olive and my 4th great grandfather John Ellis. This stone was huge, four or five feet wide by six or seven feet long. It told the story of Olive dying at age 21 with an infant, both buried there, and later of John Ellis, junior, dying in his early 30’s – Mark Ellis’s parents.

We then began looking at the grave on the left. This was my 5th great grandparent’s grave – and some of their children! I was amazed at what I saw in front of me. With dates in the 1700’s, this stone was even bigger, and forty percent covered by grass, which we removed. The writing was very hard to read – so weathered and old and dirty. We tried our best cleaning the stones using our shoes and some cardboard, but decided to go get some better equipment, and walked up the hill back into town and into a little grocery store where we bought two toothbrushes, sink cloths, two bottles of water, and a rough “floor cloth”.

We returned to the Eckington churchyard and did our best to carefully scrub away the dirt, green moss, and light green lichen from the stone, and saw the words slowly take shape. The experience is one I will never forget. These stone monuments mean so much to me. I had made a journey across the ocean and actually found my Ellis ancestors. I took out one of the pieces of stone I had grabbed from my suitcase at the hotel when I picked Julie up, from a small packet of about eight stones I’d brought from America, taken several years ago from the driveway of Mark Ellis’s farm in Dayton, Green County, Wisconsin, and placed it on his father's grave in the engraved “H” in the words “JOHN ELLIS”. It took 151 years and two months, but I made sure that Mark Ellis got to in some way return to his parents graves back in Eckington, Derbyshire England.

We then found Staniforth graves, and finally Olive’s parents, the Luke Staniforth family! This was a beautiful stone, and twice as wide as most others. We took numerous pictures. We then drove back to our inn and had a wonderful dinner with stout and wine. I was ecstatic!

Today was a miracle. Tomorrow we will visit Ridgeway, where the Ellis’s lived (and Mosborough Moor). At the Eckington library I read an article from “Derbyshire Homes” magazine which had been photocopied for the local history area, in which a lady, Mrs. M.G. Hutton, is quoted many times as knowing much about the area. The article said she lives at Newlands! This is the house the Mark Ellis family lived in before coming to America! The article looked to be from the 1980’s or 1990’s. I hope she still lives there when we visit tomorrow! My genealogy friend from Sheffield, England, Tony Burton, said that “Newlands” was for sale a few years ago. We’ll find out tomorrow. What a day!

A vital and important connection has been made for me. I know now just where Mark Ellis’s parents and grandparents are buried – which just happens to be only twenty yards from where Sir George Sitwell and all the other Sitwells are buried, under the church side closest to my ancestors.

Saturday, September 8th, 2001, “Haven” and “Newlands”

We drove from Eckington up the biggest hill in the area, heading out in search of the Haven Farm and “Newlands”. These were the two places I know from my genealogical research that my Ellis ancestors lived. Newlands is where my great great grandfather and his siblings and parents living when the 1841 census was taken. The census enumerator that year just happened to be my 3rd great grandfather Mark Ellis. He had beautiful handwriting. In earlier Eckington parish book recording the Christening of his children he lists “Haven” as his residence, and it is noted in the 1884 History of Green County, Wisconsin book that he lived at the same farm for 22 years.

We first stopped at a pub in Mosborough called the George and Dragon, and I had a nice pint of bitters. The owner of the pub was very friendly and told us that he thought not enough bitters were being consumed anymore.

We continued on from the George and Dragon pub along the crest of the hill, with vast views of the Eckington area down below on our left, with places as far away as Dronfield easily visible. At the very top of High Lane Ridge the views of miles and miles around were tremendous. When we got close to where the Newlands and Haven places were supposed to be, I slowed down to look for the driveway on our left. We found it, a lane of gravel with huge trees on either side making a canopy. There was an old stone wall on left covered with ivy in many places. On the right was a very healthy looking green grassy field. We saw a very old large tall stone on our right as we headed downhill on the road. On our left was the Haven farm, but before we could take it in we had to find a place to park. On our right and ahead of us the expansive views were phenomenal. I pulled us into the field on the right when I came to a small turn-off. I was feeling unlike I’d ever felt before, a sense of extreme happiness and excitement, with a definite sense of “coming home”. We sat in the car for a few seconds just taking it all in before heading out to see if we could find Newlands down the road, and to explore the Haven farm.

As we walked down the beautiful quiet road, we noticed money plants growing on our left by the stone fence, beginning as we neared the Newlands buildings. I really felt at home seeing these plants, as they always remind me of my childhood on my grandfather Arthur Ellis’s farm in southern Minnesota ; they are one of my favorite plants and I rarely see them. To see one of my favorite plants here was wonderful!

The Newlands compound looked large, with a big long main building and a number of outbuildings. The area was green with trees, ivy and other healthy plants. In the driveway I spotted a well worn grindstone, and another down a path by the house. These were used in the sickle and scythe making process in the olden days. Mark Ellis and his ancestors were sickle and scythe makers, and these light colored stone wheels may very well have been used by my ancestors. A special feeling came over me seeing and touching them.

We didn’t notice any vehicles in the entry area in front of the house, nor did we detect any sign of people inside or nearby. We noticed that the house was under construction, with small piles of stone and debris lying in spots by the house. It looked to be quite an extensive remodeling project going on. Julie saw a gazebo, and I saw a wonderful pond and several wonderful gardens. I went to the door and anxiously knocked on the door. I was hoping that someone was at home so that I could meet the current owners of the house my ancestors lived in, and perhaps even get a look around, but the only answer my knock got was from a large friendly black dog who stuck his head out of the window to the left of the front door and barked a bit. We found out later that a constable from Sheffield may be the current owner of Newlands. I also found out that Mrs. M.G. Hutton died in 1988 – we saw her grave at the Ridgeway churchyard later that day. The house had a very dark black roof, and the house itself was made from beautiful cream colored. In one of the piles of construction debris on the ground I saw what I thought might be original door hinges. I wished that I could have something as a memento from this place, but couldn’t bring myself to take a hinge, in case they were going to re-use them. Before we left Newlands I did take a big heavy brick however.

Newlands is a large and beautiful estate. Tony Burton, my friend from Sheffield who I met through genealogy research, had sent me pictures of Newlands in 1998, and told me that it was up for auction expecting to fetch 300,000 pounds or more.

I had wished that somebody were at home when we visited, as it would have been quite something to see the inside of Newlands.

We meandered slowly up the road with the sun shining brightly down. I wanted to see the Haven farm.  The Haven farm was on our right up on the corner of the gravel road and the paved road coming from Mosborough. The two story stone house was very pretty, with fine landscaping outside. We walked up the path to the front door and I rang with doorbell. Julie said that she saw someone coming, and as I waited I wondered who lived in this house where my ancestors once lived. The door opened and I was greeted by a healthy looking tan man in a white shirt, probably in his fifties. I said, “Hello, my name is Lane Ellis and I am visiting from America. My great great great grandfather Mark Ellis lived here in the 1850s, and I just wondered if I could perhaps take a few pictures.” There was a moment of silence and the man looked a bit taken aback, but this was short-lived and he smiled and invited us inside!

His name was David, a retired coal miner who had lived in house for eighteen months. The person he had bought the house from had purchased it from a Mrs. Marsh, and David mentioned that Mr. Marsh had died earlier. David said that he had the address of Mrs. Marsh, who was in her 80’s and living somewhere nearby. I asked him about the other Haven farm building across the road and down in the green field a ways off. He thought that farm workers had once lived down in other Haven farm. He said that there was a mine shaft near the field heading towards the other Haven farm. The main section of the house is original David said, with additions on at least the lower side, and probably on the upper highway side as well.

It was a big house with very beautiful rooms. He showed us the house and I remember being struck by the stunning long dining room with thick white carpeting and a very long dark wooden table, with bright sunlight shining in the many windows facing the front of the house. David had an old school friend visiting, also a former miner. David sat us down in the kitchen and offered us a beer or some tea. I would have taken him up on the beer had I not been such a novice left-hand side of the road driver who had to make it back home after our visit. The tea tasted just fine however. I remember seeing thick wooden beams throughout the house, which must have been original.

David then took us to see the basement, which was all original. The floor was made of stone, and he showed us two 8” by 30” stone sections on floor that were once probably a table for butchering meat he thought. The most amazing sight in the house was in the lower rear corner of the basement, where built into the wall of the house was an ancient large dark wooden barrel – beautiful, with words on it (probably the brand name – it was too dark to see). I took a picture. David had a wine storage area in cellar. We saw original dark wooden beams in basement as well. We then went up the steep little steps leading back upstairs. On the front porch of the house on the lower side, inlaid into the stones of the porch was one large light colored stone, perhaps 24” by 48”, which looked to contain lots of tiny carved words, faded away and unreadable. This was a very windy spot, but incredibly beautiful. David told us that the house was now officially in Sheffield, Yorkshire County now. I wondered what Mark Ellis would have thought about that. We all shook hands and said our goodbyes, and then we took pictures of the house before driving off. I was elated to have seen the homes where my ancestors had lived in the period between 1820 and 1850, and to have had the pleasure of meeting the current owner of the Haven house.

The next day I felt like spending in Chesterfield again, partly because there was still so much to see there, including the Chesterfield library with its local history room where I thought that I could gather more information about. I spent much of the day at the library gathering information about Eckington from sources I didn’t have access to back in Duluth. We had a nice lunch at a health food place, and a few pints of stout as well.

Lane R. Ellis


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