Dangerous things chimney stacks: From the parish register of Great Waltham, Essex“Burials 1795. Nov. 14th. James Waller, who was accidentally killed at the Parsonage house in this Parish by the falling of a Chimney in the high wind on Friday Morning Nov. 6th.Thus died universally regretted and to the irrepairable [sic] loss of his family and friends in the 57th year of his Age. The Revd. James Waller, Doctor in Divinity, and the Archdeacon of Essex, in him the Character of the Divine & Gentleman was eminently pourtray'd [sic], his affability & cordiality to his friends were no less observable: and his humanity to the Poor was boundless.”from Alumni Etonenses by Thomas Harwood (GoogleBooks). Note the discrepancy in the date of his death: I imagine the burial register is correct.and from Newton Abbot in 1829:SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT NEWTON-ABBOTT. During the violent storm on Tuesday morning last, about half past two o’clock, a stack of chimnies were blown down with a tremendous crash, on a house occupied by Mr. Alsop, draper, in East Street, breaking through the roof, and falling into the bed-room of Mrs. Alsop and her daughter, who were buried in the ruins. Both Mr. and Mrs. Alsop, who are both advanced in years, had been ill for some time, and occupied different apartments. Immediately upon hearing the noise, Mr. Alsop, although in a very weak state, flew to the apartment, and used every exertion to extricate his wife and daughter from the heap of rubbish that lay on them. Fortunately the principal weight fell on the lower part of the bed, and Mrs. Alsop’s head remained uncovered; when, however, assistance was procured, and the rubbish removed, both Mrs. A’s. legs were found to be fractured, one very severely. Miss Alsop lay for some time undiscovered, but was ultimately extricated with comparatively little injury, and is doing well. The preservation of their lives is almost a miracle, hundreds of loose bricks having fallen in every direction on and around them, without causing a single wound. A considerable portion of the chimnies had slid down in a mass, near Mrs. Alsop’s side. It was the weight of this pressing on a rafter that fractured Mrs. A’s. legs, and it required great exertions to remove it, before she could be extricated. Mrs. Alsop is still very ill, and doubts are entertained of her recovery. Western Times 18 April 1829Robert and Ann Alsop were both in their late sixties, and he died three months later in July. Ann is mentioned in his will written on the 13th June 1829 so I imagine she somehow managed to survive until then, but unlike her husband I can’t find a burial for her.Named and shamed in the Loughton parish registersBrowsing the Loughton registers online in pursuit of the Essex Ingersoles I came across these two entries, which are nothing to do with my main search, but interesting in their own right. April ye 11th  Elizabeth [and] William twins daughter and son of John and Sarah Skinner. Memorandum ye Boy was Xtned Elizabeth & ye Girl William by Mr John Lawnder ye Curate of Lamborne.You’ve got to feel sorry for Mr Lawnder, after all, one baby looks very like another. So the twins were re-baptised the right way round in Loughton, thereby later on totally confusing St Peter at the Pearly Gates.May 26th. Rich: Lansbury 'the Highwayman'This burial from 1734 caught my eye. Was Richard Lansbury the Highwayman a member of Dick Turpin’s Essex Gang who were operating around Loughton that year? Or do the inverted commas indicate the nickname of a local man? I can’t find out anything more about him.Lauder kirkyardI can’t resist a good Scottish kirkyard. I first came across them in the early seventies as a student doing a population name survey in Orkney. But their usefulness to a family historian was really brought home to me when I visited the one in Dunbar trying to find out more about my father’s first family. When you find several generations listed with full dates, maiden names, abode and occupations you’re set well on your way!So on a recent visit to Lauder I had to drop by the kirk even though I have no family ties - yet - to the area. It’s always worth an atmospheric photograph or two at the least.However one big monument did catch my attention; old, but still legible it told one small story from one family’s history:Sacred to the memory ofJAMES MOFFAT Surgeon inthe NAVAL Service of theHONBLE EAST INDIA COMPANYand eldest son of JOHNMOFFAT Chief Magistrateof LAUDER born 5th October1733; died at CALCUTTAin the EAST INDIES [?] Oc-tober 1788 aged 55 years.He nearly shared thefate of the unfortunatesufferers in the Black Holeof CALCUTTA in the year1756, being then ashore,and with difficulty, andprovidentially making hisescape on board the ELIZA-BETH to which ship he be-longed.This stone iserected by his affection-ate son WM. MOFFAT.Click on photo to enlargeI wish my Murrays had left behind such detail in Banchory Devenick. It just might have shed some light on the Andrew baptized in 1774 who was - according to one member of the family - a Purser in the service of the HEIC. He appears to have had ten siblings, of whom only one seems to have been buried in the parish: his oldest sister Isobel who had married Alexander Robb “late of the Excise Office Aberdeen”. And there’s the clue, those Murrays that survived childhood, moved away; Andrew, HEIC purser or not, was in London by 1800 when he married Sarah Jones.
Tales around the treeHere will gradually appear snippets, stories and biographies that have turned up in the course of my research. They are not part of my family tree, or are very distant, but are interesting in their own right, and may help others. Really I just can’t resist a good story.