Heath Letter

Letter from Walter Heath

1. 10/10/65
The Bungalows
1 Heath House Lane
Rudyard
Nr Leek

Dear Miss Heath.
Sorry you was unable to contact me, when you paid a visit to Horton Church I was the bells & making slight alterations to the bell ropes. I was disappointed not being able to have a chat with you. I understand you wish to know what the relationship was, between your father James Heath. Joiner & Builder of Rudyard. & George Heath The Moorland Poet. They were cousins.

2.
That means of course that your Grandfather & and the Poets father were brothers. You will be aware that the Poet died as a young man I believe at the age of 25 years as a boy he was apprenticed to joinery, with the late Samuel Heath of Close Gate Gratton. He was working on the new chancel end at Horton Church when he caught a severe chill, from which he never recovered. Most if not all his poems was written during his long illness. The Poets Father James Heath & his Brother taught me at Gratton Sunday School.

3.
The Poets brother Joseph went to New Zealand. He had 3 daughters the eldest married & went to live in America & rather a surprising thing happened in a Library there, she came across a book of her Uncle's Poems, I don't suppose you would find one anywhere in a library in this country. The second daughter took a book to read in a park in Wellington New Zealand & left the book on the seat with her name & address in this was found by a gardener working in the park & strange to relate he was a native of Brown Edge, less than 4 miles from where she was born at Gratton He returned the book & struck up a friendship which resulted in marriage.

4.
I knew your father also your uncle Walter & your Grandmother, with whom I stayed for about a month at Dairy House Bank. I did not know your grandfather, he must have died when I was very young I will now conclude Hoping this will be off some interest to you. in answer to your query.
Sincerely Yours
Walter Heath

Original Source Rose Frost

Who is Miss Heath?

Who is Miss Heath? A Geneaology Puzzle

The letter from Walter Heath is simply addressed to Miss Heath of which rather confusingly there are many. However as with all good mysteries, we do have some clues.

Clue 1. The Letter is written in October 1965

Clue 2. According to the letter Miss Heath's Father is James Heath, Joiner and Builder of Rudyard (not to be confused with James Heath Joiner and Builder of Endon and later Leek)

Clue 3. Letter writer Walter Heath can remember Miss Heath's Uncle Walter (and Grandmother but no name is given.

Clue 4. Walter Heath remembers staying with Miss Heath's Grandmother at Dairy House Bank.

Clue 5. Walter Heath can't remember Miss Heath's Grandfather and assumes he died whilst he was young.

As shown on the Heath Tree on Tribal pages, Walter Heath was born in 1885 so he was the grand age of 80 when he wrote the letter in 1965. He must have been a fit 80 year old to be up near the top of the tower oiling the bells and making slight alterations to the bell ropes' as he mentions in the letter.

As per clue 1 in the tree we find James Heath born 1840 son of George Heath and Mary Wheeldon of Dairy House Bank, which is the address Walter mentions in clue 4. This James Heath also had a brother Walter born 1861 died 1915 who would indeed be the Uncle to James' children, as described in clue 3. Walter the letter writer would be 24 years younger than Walter the Uncle but would have a good chance of knowing him.

James Heath's Father George (and Grandfather to Miss Heath') died in 1893, Walter Heath the letter writer was born in 1885, he would only have been about 12 in 1893 so as he says in the letter he was unable to remember him, clue 5.

Walter Heath says that Miss Heath's Father James and George Heath the Poet's Father were cousins as their Fathers were brother. This would tie in as George Heath (Grandfather of Miss Heath) was brother to James Heath (the Father of George, the poet)

So now we have the right family but which daughter is it? James Heath, Joiner and Builder of Rudyard had 6 daughters!

As per tribal pages, they are as follows; Hannah born 1865, Mary Ellen born 1870, Annie born 1872, Lavinah born 1876 Harriet Elizabeth born 1879 and Rose Emily born 1882..

Straight away we can eliminate Mary Ellen as it is a Miss Heath we are looking for and she married in 1896. It appears that none of the other sisters married so would all be possibilities to be Miss Heath'. However the letter is dated 1965 and as Hannah died in 1925, Annie in 1961 and Harriet in 1961, this leaves only Lavinah and Rose.

So we are left with one of these two ladies being our Miss Heath, the probability is that they may have both come to visit the Church together, perhaps as the letter is dated October 1965 they had come to a Church Harvest Festival Service or display, which usually takes place at that time of year.

By Mel Myatt

Following on from above

The young gardener in the above letter is Abner Sheldon the same Abner in the Newspaper clip and the young lady is Sarah Elizabeth Heath.

Abner SHELDON = Sarah Eliza HEATH

There is a gravestone in Horton churchyard that is of Mary Elizabeth PYATT and Joseph Mayer HEATH.

In loving memory of / Sarah, / wife of Alfred PYATT, /
of Blackwood. / who died Decr 3rd. 1891 / aged 61 years. /
a devoted wife, mother and friend. /
also of / the above Alfred PYATT, /
who died June 29th 1894, / aged 64 years. /
"thy will be done". / also Mary Elizabeth, /
beloved wife of Joseph Mayer HEATH, /
late of Chapel House Gratton / and daughter of the above /
who died at Wellington, / New Zealand May 3rd 1912. /
her life was love, her memory / an inspiration.

Their daughter's all moved away from Horton; Mary Elizabeth HEATH married & went to America& Clara Alice HEATH 1898-1976 went to New Zealand; Sarah Eliza HEATH 1892-1959 also went to New Zealand & eventually married a Brown Edge man by the name of Abner SHELDON & he was the subject of a letter written years later in 1965 by Walter HEATH=Mary BRIDGE with regard to relatives of the Moorland Poet, George HEATH of Hallgate Cottage, Gratton. In this letter, Walter specifically mentioned the story of how Abner met his wife in New Zealand:

"The Poet's brother Joseph went to New Zealand. He had 3 daughters the eldest married & went to live in America & rather a surprising thing happened in a Library there, she came across a book of her Uncle's Poems, I don't suppose you would find one anywhere in a library in this country. The second daughter took a book to read in a park in Wellington New Zealand & left the book on the seat with her name & address in this was found by a gardener working in the park & strange to relate he was a native of Brown Edge, less than 4 miles from where she was born at Gratton He returned the book & struck up a friendship which resulted in marriage".

Page 3 of Walter HEATH's letter in 1965 to an unknown HEATH relative.

We now know for certain that Abner SHELDON 30 Oct 1881-22 Jul 1953 was born at St Anne's Vale, Brown Edge. He went to New Zealand in 1906 to work as a Gardener at the Wellington Botanical Gardens, (where the above story would have been situated).

He served in WW1 as Pte.11959 from 11 Jan 1916 to 12 Aug 1919, in the 12th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry Battalion B' Company. New Zealand Expeditionary Force. In January1916 he gave his home address as 90, Nairn St, Wellington & his Father was Jacob SHELDON, also of St Anne's Vale, Brown Edge.

Abner gave his friend at Nairn St as John G. HEATH (to date, not identified). At this time he was 5' 5 in height, weighing 10 stone & with red hair. He was shipped out on the Ulimaroa' from Wellington, NZ to Suez, Egypt & later wounded on 7th June 1917, being admitted to the 58th General Hospital in France & this was reported in the local newspaper where his position on the Wellington Botanical Garden Staff was noted.

Abner was also awarded the British War Medal in 1921, followed by the Victory Medal in 1922, he was presumably still in contact with the HEATH's at Nairn St, Wellington as they are forwarded to that address,"c/o Mrs HEATH".

Abner & Sarah married in 1926 he eventually died about 1953 as there is a Probate date of 22 July 1953, when his occupation is given as a retired Gardener from Paekakariti, NZ. (Paekakariki Beach is located 42 kilometres northeast of Wellington on a narrow coastal strip of the Kapiti coast). His wife is believed to have died in 1959 at Wellington. NZ.

Also of interest is the fact that Abner's sister was Sarah SHELDON 1886-1943. She married William HEATH 1886-1937, a Stonemason from Biddulph Moor. William shared a common ancestor with Sarah Eliza HEATH; Samuel HEATH=Mary HARRISON of Gate House Bank, Horton - which meant that he was actually her 3rd cousin.

A small world indeed, other than they stayed to work & die eventually in Biddulph, Staffordshire, whereas Sarah Eliza HEATH travelled to the other side of the world to meet by chance &then marry her husband of Abner SHELDON, a man who had grown up & worked, a mere four miles from her home.

Mark HEATH 19 Jun 2016.

Sources:
Military Record available to view at:
https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=7816487&digital=yes
Probate can be ordered: https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=23049421

SHELDON Abner (R23049421) 1953 - 1953
Additional archives description:
Paekakariti - Rtd Gardener
Item ID Agency Series Accession Record group Box / Item Sep Record no. Part Alternative no. Record type:
R23049421 AAOM 6031 W3265 204 / 0618/53 Text
Record Location:
Archives New Zealand, National Office, Wellington. 10 Mulgrave Street, Wellington 6011
Ph: 04 499 5595Fax: 04 495 6210Email: research.archives@dia.govt.nz (in Jun 2016)