Apr 102018
 

Our members are participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2018 with the theme People of My Place. Today's entry is from Peter Cooper.

There have been people named Ibbott (and Ivatt, Ivett, Ivit) in Holywell with Needingworth (in Huntingdonshire) for over 2 centuries. One of them was Francis Alfred Ibbott.

He was born in 1881 and, although he spent his early life in the nearby town of St Ives, he spent most of his life in Holywell. His mother (Lydia) was from Needingworth (in the same parish as Holywell), and she had 11 other children besides Francis.

Having been a Postman and labourer, at age 22 Francis was married to Nellie Tabbitt of Holywell. (The Tabbits are a large local family and there have been other families named Tabbitt, Tabbott, Tabbett, Tabbatt, Tebbutt, and Tibbett). Francis died in 1965 aged 84, and Nellie lived 6 more years to age 90. They are buried together in Holywell churchyard, and their headstone is inscribed “Into thy hands O Lord”.
Francis became a carpenter, and his firm so appreciated his work that they built a house in Holywell for the family. Francis and Nellie had two daughters, but both died before their parents.

The younger, Marjory Betty, did marry aged 23 but lived only 2 more years. A local man recalled seeing Betty, who had been so full of life, on a summer afternoon shortly before her death lying in a bedlike conveyance and being slowly wheeled round the village - perhaps the last lingering look at the scenes so familiar during her short life.

Holywell cattle

The elder daughter, Dorothy Martha, was a cow minder. It was her job to see that the cattle kept to the verges (see photo above) and were returned for afternoon milking to their farmsteads. She died aged 21 from pneumonia, quite probably caused by getting cold and wet while minding the cattle. Dorothy was carried to her last resting place in Holywell churchyard by her cousins, the Tabbitt boys.

Francis is said to be a direct descendant of the John Ibbott of Holywell who is recorded as going to fight the Spanish Armada in 1588. He was one of the six men of the parish among the contingent from the Toseland and Hurstingstone hundreds, and he was armed with a Qualiver - a light musket. Incidentally two men and one widow of Needingworth were also called upon to contribute £25 each to the cause.

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