The Church at Smisby, Derbyshire


 Many thanks to Barry Phillips Smith for this beautiful rendition of the church at Smisby.
[Many thanks to Barry Phillips Smith for this beautiful rendition of the church at Smisby, taken 20 Sept 2005.]

This series of pictures of the Church at Smisby, close to the village of Hartshorne, deserves an introduction. In addition to the unique architecture, there is an ironic American connection to the church.

My great grandfather, Newton Timothy Hartshorn (1842-1922) made several trips to Europe during the 1880's. On one trip to England, he spent nearly a month in the "Ivanhoe House" in the village of Hartshorne. During that time, his wife's grandmother died of pneumonia and was buried in the church grave yard at Smisby.

In order to illustrate my relationship to Rachel Roberts Sibley,
this is what the tree looks like and how I am related to her:

Newton's wife, Annabelle Sibley Hartshorn, penned her memoirs in 1920. Among the fascinating pages, she wrote:

My grandfather, Derick Sibley, compiled the genealogy of the Sibley family - over half a century ago, therefore it is not necessary to recapitulate - as it is complete up to my generation. Of my grandmother Sibley family, I know comparatively little - her name was Rachel Roberts, her family I think lived during her childhood in a little place called Rush, N.Y. ...

... To recapitulate - mother's father, Derick Sibley, was born May 22, 1788, died November 1876. Grandmother Rachel Roberts was born April 1800, died 1880...

... I could not rest without mybaby and it was only a few hours' ride. When she came, she said Grandmother was not well - and shortly after I had a telegram saying she was quite ill, so we went right back - got there after many delays owing to floods, etc. Friday afternoon. Grandmother had pneumonia and was very ill, though conscious, and talked with me that afternoon and the next morning, then she lost consciousness, and remained in that condition until eight o'clock Monday evening, when she passed away. We buried her under a hawthorne tree in the little churchyard at Smisby. In losing her, I lost my very best friend. She was a noble woman, the most absolutely unselfish soul I ever knew, verybright - and though eighty years old, could do the finest sewing - and her hearing was unimpaired - she was as good company as I ever saw - she had read a good deal and was well informed on nearly all subjects. Her life was a beautiful one and full of usefulness.

Beneath one of these hawthorn trees may be the final
resting place of Rachel Roberts Sibley (1800-1880)

I wish to express my profound gratitude for the photographs displayed here and
for the generous gift of time and resources of Lesley Padamsey, the photographer.

Derick S. Hartshorn - 2015
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