Saturday 2 December 2017

Carrying A Torch

A couple of days back in the post "Ring Out The Bells", I wondered if a forebear of Ms Meghan Markle might be interesting, given the "Ireland" listed as her place of birth in the 1871 Census as the wife of Thomas Sykes.

When the marriage was found, the born name, Campbell, was not encouraging. There are a lot of them and with a regrettable tendency to have a limited choice of first names. But the force was with me. Mary Ann was with her widowed mother in 1851, working as a weaver just like her Sykes husband to be. Both were weavers, the loom of love and all that.

It seems likely that she was the daughter of a John Campbell who married a Bridget Feran. This was very interesting because the location was Kilbroney by Carlingford Lough and is in County Down. It is close to Rostrevor near to Warrenpoint where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

It is not just a scenic and lovely area, it has a major monument to General Robert Ross, the eminent soldier, who led the British expeditionary force to the Chesapeake during the wars in North America around 1814.

Ross was the man who torched Washington DC in 1814 and after going on to the siege of Baltimore, where he died, this was when Francis Scott Keys composed what came to the national anthem of the USA. Ross's deputy was Colonel Arthur Brooke from whom there are connections to Prince Harry.

Were any of Meghan's ancestral Campbell's or related families involved in this? Two hundred years on there are many from that district whose descendants are now in Liverpool. Were she to be given the Freedom of the City, she might even become an honorary Scouser.

What you might call a burning question.

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