Featherstone and Bowes family meeting in Westerdale, near Whitby, aims to shed more light on family history

People with links to the Featherstone and Bowes families of Westerdale are being invited to a reunion meeting where it is hoped to shed more light on their family history.
Four of the Bowes sisters, from left: Francis, Hannah Elizabeth, Mary, Jane Ann (seated).Four of the Bowes sisters, from left: Francis, Hannah Elizabeth, Mary, Jane Ann (seated).
Four of the Bowes sisters, from left: Francis, Hannah Elizabeth, Mary, Jane Ann (seated).

Lynda Cairns, who is organising the meeting, said: “Some years ago, we started dabbling in our family history armed only with a box of mainly unidentified photographs, some documents and newspaper clippings.

“We soon determined that the biggest blanks and mysteries lay on the maternal side of the family.

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"The finding of a photograph of a headstone in Westerdale churchyard, led to the discovery of great great grandparents, Thomas, and Abigail Elizabeth Bowes (nee Featherstone) of Westerdale, with a further inscription detailing the death of one of their sons, killed in action during the Great War.

"The latter revelation immediately took our whole interest, to the extent that in 2017 three of us were able to visit his grave in Belgium, close to the 100th anniversary of his death.

"We realised that the Featherstones were a large family and had been associated with Westerdale since the 17th Century, having numerous connections with other local families in the Westerdale, Danby, Ugthorpe and Loftus areas, and that the Bowes element had probably originated in Hutton-le-Hole – though there is certainly more research needed there."

“A chance posting of a photograph on Facebook showing a group of Rosedale Miners led to a random contact from someone - who turned out to be our third cousin, with none of us being aware of the others’ existence till then.

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"We arranged a meeting in the garden of Rose Cottage, Westerdale, which was originally commissioned by the Misses Featherstone (Emma and Frances) who ran the Post Office from there.

"They were our great great aunts and I think are still remembered in some quarters.”

Lynda – a great great grnaddaughter of Jane Ann Bowes (pictured) – said the idea of a family reunion soon began to gain momentum – and is taking place on Sunday July 30 at 10am in Westerdale Village Hall.

Anyone with links to either the Featherstone or the Bowes families, or anyone with an historic interest in, can go along with family trees, research documents, maps, plans, photographs and stories – and food for a shared lunch.

Email [email protected] or call 01751 417558 and leave a message.