When exploring family roots it is always exciting to go back to where our family came from, to see maybe where they lived, or the rivers and streams they walked by, the pubs they may have owned or got drunk in, or the churches they may have been baptised or married in… and maybe the churchyard where they were laid to rest.
My story about a family in search of their roots is a fiction; but the village they supposedly came from is real and I visited it the other day. Radwinter is a tiny place but it has a most imposing church, a really lovely old church of St Mary the Virgin, which unfortunately was locked when we visited so we weren’t able to look inside; however there is an excellent description of the interior on the village website.
The main character in my story who is doing the research will eventually visit the village… I think this will either be the final chapter of the story or an epilogue, but I can now imagine him driving through the beautiful rolling Essex countryside, winding his way along the narrow roads to get to where his ancestor was born in 1845. I know where he will park his car, down by the church, and that he will glimpse the church through the branches of the trees. He will wander around the graveyard as we did and he will admire the ancient building, which includes this wonderful entrance, which I believe is fourteenth century.
In the graveyard he will find this tomb of the Reverends Bullock, one of whom would have married the fictional ancestor, Thomas (Taras) Radwinter to his bride, Thirza Downham, in the 1840’s and baptised their child in 1845. The path of their love did not run smooth, but you must wait until the story is complete before you find out what happened to them, and how they found happiness many years later.