A GREEN REUNION
A unique occasion occurred in Caston Village Hall on Wednesday 27th June 2012 when several descendants of a Victorian-Edwardian family came together. Wednesday’s get together grew from a chance meeting in Caston churchyard in 2006 when Alfred & Ellen Green’s granddaughter Barbara and her husband met Jane Horner, local historian.
As soon as Jane learned they were looking for the Green family she asked if they had any photographs of Harry who had been in the First World War and is remembered on the Caston War Memorial. Sadly they didn’t but that started a friendship and they have been working together on the family history project over the years since. What an interesting family history it has turned out to be and after a lot of hard work by Jane, Barbara, Cousin Lynette from Melbourne, Australia and Kevin Penna from Sydney, Australia resulting in the huge family tree displayed in the hall on Wednesday.
We start this Caston story with John (shoemaker) & Elizabeth great great Grandparents, then Robert (shoemaker) & Lydia great grandparents, followed by Alfred (coach builder) & Ellen who had 12 children together and who were grandparents to Barbara. The story has grown from learning that Uncle Harry, Alfred & Ellen’s second son had fought in the Boer War winning several campaign medals before fighting in and being wounded in the First World War. Efforts are ongoing to trace where he died and where he was buried and to trace any family he may have had (probably in South Africa) where we believe he probably died.
Alfred & Ellen’s daughter Lilly had a son Derek Green. Derek was brought up initially in Caston then Derek went to Scotland to live with Lilly’s sister Celia (widow of a First World War pilot shot down by The Red Baron) and her son Peter Leggat. Derek lived in Ayr for a while then went out to Australia. There the mystery deepens since Derek then decided to call himself Peter Scott Leggat after his cousin in Scotland. It is Derek alias Peter’s family who were there to meet some of their cousins who until recently did not know they existed. Lilly went onto live many years in America coming back here to Norfolk and died when she was in her eighties.
Their eldest daughter Annie went to live in north London and she appears to have been a centre point for many family members to join. Her sister Lilly lived with her for a while, as did her sister Celia, another younger sister Alice and William who was the penultimate son. Edward the last born went out to Australia when he was 16, he had one son Fred and Fred’s widow Lynette was present at the reunion.
Many people were involved in making the day possible from Sue in Watton Library who helped trace the Scottish family, Jane Horner, Margaret Cator & Jilly Green for the catering. Roy, Jane’s husband for all his support, Lynette Green, Barbara granddaughter, Claudine for the lovely flower arrangement, Ronnie Leggat representing the Scottish family. Terry & Barry Cator whose parents Les & Cissie Cator (grandchildren) managed the Red Lion Public House in Caston for over 14 years. (Cissie’s grandparents were publicans in Norwich around 1870)
The day concluded with a visit to the Church to look at the Book of Remembrance, the churchyard to see Alfred & Ellen’s grave, to have some photos taken by the house, Evergreen (in those days a little two up, two down cottage) where the family was born and brought up, the War Memorial and then back to the hall for tea and cake.
The Greens were an ordinary working class family; however, they were involved in the Caston community for a long time.
It was deduced that Ellen Green, grandmother and ancestor to many attending the reunion, would have been pregnant for 23 years of her life in order to produce those children. No wonder she looks stern in the one picture available. (Edward apparently did not speak very much if at all of his life and family in England but this precious photo of Ellen always hung on a wall in his home in Australia – he never forgot his Family or his roots!)
Alfred & Ellen’s descendants have spread throughout the Globe to America, Australia, Scotland, Cyprus, Wales and Spain but for over 200 years Caston was their home and the place for The Green Reunion.
Peter Chapman (second left) is shown here with other members of Watton Young Farmers at the Harvest Thanksgiving service at Caston Church on Sunday 24th September 2006.
A Royal Celebration
Photo & Text by Mary Nichols