Chapter 1: The Unutterably Sad Tale of Great Great Great Grandpa Hoole
I discovered that my Great Great Great Grandpa James Hoole (the one who emigrated to South Africa with his wife Jane) came originally from quite a wealthy family in the Chester area. He was probably born in 1789. In 1794, when he was 5 years old, his nursemaid took him and his little sister (who was 3 years old) out for a walk. The nursemaid realized that she had forgotten something in the house, and so she ran back to fetch it, telling the children to wait in the lane until she got back to them. When she returned, she found James weeping bitterly, and the little sister gone. All James would say was that a lady in a shawl had taken her away.
There was a frantic search, but several days had passed when they at last found the little girl, quite naked and battered and bruised, under a hedge. Apparently the gypsies had taken her, just to steal her clothes and the coral necklace she had around her neck. The parents took her home, where "she cried for three days without stopping and then died." The shock and horror of this episode caused the poor mother to die shortly afterwards, and then the father died too, leaving James an orphan. There were no relatives to take care of him, and so the nursemaid took him away across the border to her home in Wales, where she raised him as her own son -- in conditions of great poverty and with no education at all until a local clergyman took him in and taught him how to read and write.
Could the local clergyman who took James in have been the Rev John Baldwin who was around that time resident at Hoole Hall? In other words, might James's family name have originally been different? And might the kindly clergyman have then renamed him "Hoole"?
The above story of little James and the family tragedy is not universally accepted. James Butler, who traces his ancestry back to the Cotterell family, has discovered a baptism for somebody named James Hoole in London in 1788. He also has evidence for two younger siblings for the London James, viz Joseph (born 1791) and Eleanor (born 1793).
This would make James about the right age, but in other versions of the family story there are no mentions of siblings.
We have also discovered that there were quite a few people around at the time who had the name "Hoole". More of that on the following pages.........
The family of James Hoole may or may not have been linked to Hoole Hall in Chester. Heather has not been able to establish a link....... but it's a nice thought....... There is also a Hoole Village parish, and of course it's possible that some of the people who lived in that parish in the Middle Ages and later might have taken "Hoole" as a family name.
From the Hoole Hall web site:
Early documentation states that Hoole Hall was first occupied by John de Hoole, the Lord of Hoole. Further documentation suggests that Rev Sir William Bunbury purchased the hall in the 14th Century and the family owned it for the next 400 years.
During the English Civil War (1642-1647) the hall was burnt to the ground by parliamentarian troops as they advanced upon Chester. It then remained derelict until Rev John Baldwin purchased the property and rebuilt the house over 100 years later in 1757.
In 1793 the property was passed to Thomas Baldwin, a distinguished pioneer balloonist.
In the 19th Century, the mansion acquired a floating staircase and a spacious Conservatory, now grade II listed.
During this Century, the Hall saw many changes in residents and at some point during the 19th Century, one of them housed a family of monkeys in the Conservatory!!
- See more at: http://www.doubletreechester.co.uk/history-of-hoole-hall#sthash.djsmKM81.dpuf
MORE INFORMATION ON HOOLE, CHESTER:
Hoole is a suburb on the north side of Chester.
From a doc dated 1848: "HOOLE, a township/ containing 294 inhabitants/Various plots of land here, belonging to the Rev. Mr. Hamilton, of Hoole Lodge, and others, have been laid out for building purposes, such as the erection of villas, &c., by Mr. Rampling, architect, of Liverpool; and some of the plots have been sold at the rate of 5s. the square yard, or £1210 per acre; while, before the introduction of railways, the price was not more than about £150 an acre."