Finding Mrs. Milne and... What the BULCOCK?
I've been on a mission to find the resting place of all the Belcombes. All of them. And I'm almost there. My collection of Belcombe death certificates and grave photos is a beautiful thing. However, #poorNantz, M's oldest sister and #FriskyMrsMilne have proved rather elusive. Until now!
I've been on the verge of finding the last two sisters for quite a while, all the evidence I've found has pointed to a few places, but several 'official' checks have come back negatory. So I didn't have high hopes that it would happen anytime soon. But I was determined! I was determined to lay eyes on all the Belcombes before the moment was spoiled with second-hand photos. Some people dream of walking on Mars some of us dream of finding graves...diversity makes this world a beautiful place.
Without going down the rabbit hole of explaining my originally planned 2.5-week trip through the UK to find all the Belcombes and all the Marianas, let's just say it was truncated. The apocalypse hit and I was starting to panic! What if the zombies do come and I'm stuck over here as the Belcombes crash up out of their graves with the rest of the hoard? Well, that wasn't happening on my watch! So in true fashion, I packed a bag, jumped on a plane and decided to stick out the end of the world prancing around graveyards. I knew I probably only had a few days because there were rumors that countries would start to close borders, airlines might cease flights, and we could all be ordered to stay at home. So the moment my plane touched down I headed to the beautiful countryside of Cheshire to say hello to Mariana.
At this time I wasn't sure if I'd actually be able to find Mrs. Milne but I had a lot of evidence to suggest she was in the same cemetery as Mariana. Also, I had spent 10+ hours last summer reading (what I thought) was every single old gravestone in the cemetery and had not come across a Milne, so again, my expectations were low but I was hopeful.
Here was my Mrs. Milne evidence:
1. She died in Congleton, the district where Lawton is located.
2. She was living on the Lawton Estate at the time of her death on January 1, 1860.
3. Mariana Percy Lawton was the executor of Mrs. Milne's will.
4. So why wouldn't she be buried in Lawton (except that her family is buried in Scotland, but that's another story). And that's all I had... But I also had a feeling. In one of Mariana's letters to Anne in 1840, she explains that Mrs. Milne has come to live with them at Lawton Hall. Mariana had been having health issues and Mrs. Milne was helping her recover. I'm glad she was there for M but I always wondered why Mrs. Milne didn't live with any of her children. Or at least near them? So I just had a feeling she was around.
Now back to visiting Mariana at Church Lawton.....I have a million pictures of her and Charles' grave...but I decided I needed a million more.
I'm taking pictures of Mariana's side of the gravestone because the sun is shining and you can see the weathered inscription very well. I start to back up to get a wider angle and of course trip backward over another Lawton relative (who I will forever be grateful) and almost fall flat on my face.
Why is this important? Because I wholeheartedly believe that everything happens for a reason.
So I'm tripping backward and trying not to drop my phone and my camera and get mud on my shoes. Or hit my head on a very large gravestone. Wouldn't that be a fitting conclusion to my downfall? Luckily, after a couple of whirlarounds, I land in the footpath, still standing, still holding my belongings, but with mud on my shoes. I'm standing there, facing north-northeast, away from Mariana's grave. I literally say to myself 'I guess this means I should start exploring'...
I look down and right in front of me I see it.
IN THE VAULT BENEATH
REST THE MORTAL REMAINS
OF HENRIETTA WILLAN MILNE
WIDOW OF THE LT COL MILNE OF THE 19TH
INFANTRY WHO DIED THE 1ST OF JAN 1860
I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH
JOB CHAP 10TH VERSE 25TH
Mrs. Milne is laying directly in front of me. As if someone just recently brought her out of hiding and gently placed her perfectly on the ground. With no signs of weathering like Mariana's grave. The inscriptions are perfect, the detail on the edges is still sharp.....
Wait, did I just say 'INSCRIPTION(S)' as in plural?
This is where it gets good! So I hope you are sitting down! There is not one but two people in Mrs. Milne's grave. Watch until the end.
Meet Robert Bulcock, Esq. Who died January 27, 1858. Wait. Who the hell is Bulcock? And why did Mariana just throw her sister in some random dude's grave? I mean, I know Mrs. Milne didn't have a lot of money but Charles was still alive at this point. She could have reached into the piggy bank and done a little something-something for her sister, right? Assuming that M just tossed her in someone's grave this is where I would say "By God Mary!"... So of course, I had to know.
I would like to introduce you to my best friend and loving partner, Ancestry.com. Obviously not seriously but we do spend enough time together that it could be common law at this point. I go straight to Ancestry and start searching and what is it I find?
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
ROBERT BULCOCK is the Belcombe siblings' uncle! UNCLE BULCOCK!! Is this the uncle that Lou lived with for many years? The one that Anne points out has ruined Lou because she has no routine and sleeps in too late now? I don't see why it wouldn't be that uncle?! And another note, Lou lived at Lawton also! So Lou, Mrs. Milne, and Mariana hooping it up like the Golden Girls. I want pictures, I want my passport stamped, and I want a tattoo. I want to see this in action.
But! He only had 100 pounds! We had theorized that the reason Lou died with bank was because this unknown uncle had left her a fortune as well as his house in Belsize Park. That no longer seems to be the case... I needed to know more! So I snuck over to my mistress, all things Google, to let my fingers do the walking. It's alright, they know about each other.
Hey Google: Tell me about Belcombe and Bulcock......
I'm still recovering. I can't even really put together full sentences any more so I'm just going to speak in GIFs the remainder of this post.
Phillimore, W. P. W., Fry, E. A. (1905). An Index to Changes of Name: Under Authority of Act of Parliament Or Royal Licence, and Including Irregular Changes from I George III to 64 Victoria, 1760 to 1901. United Kingdom: Phillimore.
Do you see what I see?
I don't have an even to can.
The Times, London. Monday, August 17th, 1789.
THE BELCOMBES WERE THE BULCOCKS AND OH MY GOD THAT'S WHY I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANYTHING ON THEIR FAMILY!! MARIANA IS ACTUALLY MARIANA PERCY BULCOCK!!
These are actually happy tears. The kind you have after you have been running an ultra marathon and you finally reach the finish line. You are so happy and yet so exhausted and also so surprised that you actually made it. Wait, am I the only one that feels this way? That's ok. I am proud to be #TeamBulcock, I mean #TeamBelcombe.
At this point, I have gone into Belcombe exhaustion. My mind literally can't take much more. But then I realize the date. 1789. Dr. Daddy Dub was granted a name change in 1789. That means, if records are correct, then NANTZ, HENRIETTA, and MARIANA were all born Bulcocks!! Maybe not Mariana because some records indicate she was born in 1790 which would put her after the name change. But there's more...... I roll over and put my arm back around Ancestry.com and get to typing...
I give you Baby Nantz Bulcock.
That's where I'm at. There was no image so I have to order it so I can see how they wrote their names, maybe where they lived. I am shooketh to the core and so utterly excited. Mrs. Milne was born in Germany so I'll have to do more digging there.
If I had not made that decision to pop in on Mariana for just a couple days I would not have found Mrs. Milne nor this information. So thank you, Mariana, for burying your sister with your uncle. Thank you for not sending her to Scotland where the rest of her family is buried. Thank you unknown Lawton relative who tripped me.
I have been head down in Belcombe research for 5 days and should probably go stand outside in the sun for a minute before I dive back in. There is more to find I just know it!