Wednesday 7 March 2018

Maybe it's because I am a Londoner

Lucy May, 1875-1956

One of my children bought me one of these DNA match kits for Christmas and I was surprised to find how heavy the concentration of matches in London was. I knew, of course, that my family had lived in Plumstead Common since the First World War, but I also knew that there was Cornish and Scottish ancestry. However, when I started to trace my family tree, the preponderance of Londoners born and bred was clear. Some were within the sound of Bow Bells. My great-great grandmother Mary Heaven was born at Tower Hill in 1801 and married at St. Martins in the Fields in 1819.

The women on the maternal side of my family tended to live long lives, even before the advent of modern medicine. My maternal grandmother, Lucy Adelaide Florence May, was born in 1875 and died at Plumstead Common in 1956.

She was in her twenties when Queen Victoria died and was in many ways a Victorian. But she also had a very strong interest in football. Admittedly, this was partly for gambling purposes, doing 'the pools' as everyone did in those days. But her interest was far broader. Although she had had very limited education, she was evidently an intelligent woman.

Because her son-in-law was a newsagent she was able to get such football publications as there were free of charge. She was particularly interested in questions of promotion and relegation, issues which she discussed with me at some length. Her view was that in the short run these might be explained by managers and players. However, there were also longer run forces at work. She obviously didn't use this language, but she meant structural and demographic. For example, did the demotion of Liverpool from the top flight say something about the city?

I am completing negotiations with Manchester University Press for a book on football to follow up the one I co-edited for them in 2010. The book will be dedicated to my grandmother who stimulated my interest in the broader context of the game. In my study I have a simple ornament which used to be on her bedside table.


  1. my ancestor is john astley whos son married joan acworth daughter mary so the 23rd baron of hastings is my dads direct cousin how cool is that! so if hes a baron that in theory should make my dad a baron our way so ive applied yesterday

  2. You will be able to lord it over the Covered End! All the males on my mother's side were carpenters and on my father's side they worked on the railways, so I won't even get to be Baron of Pratts Bottom.

  3. well from research yesterday this is what I know so far.
    Joan Acworth is my dads bloodline cousin ,she was lady in waiting to the then queen and her first cousin Catherine howard.Joan became tangled up in the treason affair with Catherine saying she puplically loved dareham and Culpeper better than the king.
    Upon questioning by Lady Rochford joan fearfull of being tortured at the Tower told Rochfold all and sundry about the queens affair.Rochford hated Catherine with a passion and quickly told Henry about her affair on Nov 2nd 1541 Catherine was arrested by armed guard in her quarters off the queens gallery at Hampton court today.Her spirit is set to roam these corridors.Joan was arrested along with most of the Howard clan and Astley clan.Catherine was executed on 12th feb 1542 on tower green and her headless body placed under the ulter at the church inside the tower.
    Joan was released from prison 10 months later and given a full pardon and her lands lawford hall in Essex returned.Upon the death of her first husband William bulmer joan married Edward waldegrave a knight of the garter and cousin to Lady Diana which links my family to Diana as he has Margery de spencer in his line.
    Joan and Edward have 5 kids 2 of whom marry into top families of the age one being Margery waldegrave she marries walter clopton of fiore hall.
    Mary waldegrave marries isac Astley the son of john Astley . Mary children are anne Astley,thomas Astley and Jacob Astley.Her grandchildren are Robert Drury,Jacob 3rd baron of hastings Astley and George Manners Astley 20th baron of hastings this links me to the Dalaval family with the 23rd baron of hastings lord Astley being my dads direct cousin.Ive applied for a baron title weather we get it is another matter surely if a baron marries into your family then in theory my dad should be at best a baron im right arnet I wyn!

    jonathan acworth

  4. Catherine is my dads 5th bloodline cousin so historians tell us not bad which links me to 3 queens of the tudor dynasty in anne Boleyn,catherine howard and Elizabeth 1st the astleys have the cecils as their grandchildren and montagues

  5. joan Acworth
    husband William Bulmer deceased Edward waldegrave lawford hall Essex

    mother Margaret Wilberforce
    father George Acworth mp from toddington luton

    grand children walter clopton,anne Astley,thomas Astley,jacob Astley jemima waldegrave who married roger beauchamp.

    Great grand children George fowler Edward Astley Elizabeth Astley Thomas baron crew of reading jemmima crew anne crew Edward earl of sandwich montague

    astleys grandchildren are

    William cecil
    henry cecil

    wortley montague and current lady montague of burleigh

    check the links on I check yours wyn later

  6. Thomas Culpeper had head clean cut off with an axe and Dareham was castrated disamboweled while still alive and also head clean cut off hes buried Culpeper at newgate church

  7. Newgate the original cells can be seen in the basement of the viaduct tavern pub opp the prison if anyone brave enough to go down here u have spirits including judge john Jeffries and various other inmates I think the pub charge £20