John Green’s Bible – Going Back and Checking

Our Sepian inspiration this week is a book with unexpected photos hidden in it. I have no corresponding surprise photos but i have been looking at a copy of an inscription  which came from the front of a Bible.  The statement is signed late in life by my great grandmother using her maiden name Mary Matilda Checketts instead of her married name Tansey.

John Green's Bible

John Green’s Bible

I have always been aware that half-sister would have been the correct phrase to use when you share the same father but I have always taken the rest of the facts in this statement for granted. But now I am asking

1. Was the Rev.Jago involved with this gift

2. Was it really given on Easter Sunday 1815 ?

1,    John Green was born in Snitterfield in 1755 and Rev Jago  was the Vicar of Snitterfield from 1737 until his death in 1781 when John Green was 26 years old. The first mention I have so far of John doing parish duties was in 1783,  So there was hardly time for John to have performed 20 years of service to the parish to receive a presentation while the Rev Jago was alive,

After Rev Jago’s death in 1781 the incumbent became John Horton but he lived in Ashorne and the Curate was James Davenport who lived in Stratford. But the more I read around this area the more confused I become..  While John lived there was a Vicar who frequently didn’t live in the parish and a Curate who frequently didn’t live in the parish, much to the parishioners consternation.  But when John clocked up his twenty years of service as Parish Clerk which clergyman was involved in the presentation I do not know.

Perhaps it was the Rev Joseph Taylor..  He seems to have been Vicar of Snitterfield from 1802 until his death in 1833..

The Gentleman's Magazine 1833 Joseph TaylorThe Parish Clerk was an important salaried position in the Village and he carried on with his normal occupation as a carpenter at the same time.  His name appears frequently in the Parish Register as a witness to weddings and he was the parson’s indispensable right hand  man.  He also constructed and repaired much of the woodwork in the nave and the chancel and repaired the roof, and the gate etc, etc.  He died in 1820.

I am convinced that Rev Jago was not involved with any presentation to John Green.  However it would be an easy enough mistake for Mary Matilda to make more than 100 year later as Rev Jago was a bit of a celebrity in town having a reputation as a  minor published poet.

John Green is not part of Mary Matilda’s family so how did she come to have his Bible ?  I have looked at John Green’s will and he didn’t mention his Bible in his will. to specifically leave it to his granddaughter.

John Green married in 1788 and had a daughter Ann Green in 1790

George Checketts’ first wife was this Ann Green and they had a daughter Elizabeth Checketts. who was grand-daughter to John Green as mentioned in the bible.

After his wife Ann’s death George married Mary Hutchins and had a daughter Mary Matilda Checketts,

So we  have the two half-sisters, no step-sisters.   They had the same father, George Checketts.

2.  Did the presentation take place on Easter Sunday in 1815.  I will never know.  But if it did Napoleon had escaped from Elba just a few weeks before and the Battle of Waterloo took place a few weeks later on.

The oral history which led to the statement in the Bible is not necessarily accurate but that does not make it any less meaningful.  Mary Matilda knew that the book had come from a man who worked tirelessly for the village and was respected for that work.

I’m afraid this must be rather boring to most people but I am enjoying  using Sepia Saturday to record and collate my little bits of information  It is forcing me to look more in detail  at what I have rather than just looking at the overall picture.  But I am just a step along the way.  One day someone else will add more information .



8 thoughts on “John Green’s Bible – Going Back and Checking

  1. Mike Brubaker

    One of things that makes Sepia Saturday interesting is to read about other people’s puzzles. The threads of family ties are rarely found tightly woven. Writing out the questions and possible answers always helps to figure out the logical (or illogical sometimes) solutions. I presume the inscription is the work of a professional calligrapher who may have been working with limited facts. Tracking the heritage of a bible when a generation has skipped or forgotten an entry might motivate someone to add this account.


  2. ScotSue

    A fascinating find and family history detective story. – not at all boring, as it throws up so many issues many of us encounter in our research. Good luck with finding out more.


  3. Bob Scotney

    There is also a message for us not to take anything for granted. Not always checking you facts may lead to embarrassment, checking can lead to the unexpected. as you have shown us.


  4. Wendy

    Not boring at all — I enjoy the company of someone willing to think out loud in hopes that someone will come along with a new clue or new taken on the puzzle. Of course, it’s not me — I have nothing to add here. I say, BRAVO for questioning the “facts” as presented if only to point out that the “truth” is only as good as the memory of those that report it.


  5. Little Nell

    Oh no this sort of post is never boring; I found myself caught up in your queries and checking along with you! Mike’s explanation seems a good one and I was thinking at least that a stencil had been used.



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