"Out of the Long Ago" by Maud Milgate

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Introduction from Gerry Langford

I was introduced to this book as a result of my interest in the surname SHARDELOWE and this name is the reason for the author's travels which her book records.

I never met Miss Milgate but such is the power of her writing that, having read her book several times, I feel as if I knew her well. She seems to have cast herself in the role of an unworldly little old lady but occasionally one gets a glimpse of a more sophisticated character gently making fun of herself and the reader.

Her book was never published but when she died she left instructions for copies to be sent to people she met in the course of her research. This was done in the form of a typescript copy, I have corrected some errors in the spelling of place names and the surname Shardelowe.which I feel sure occurred at the typing stage. The name Shardelowe is found with many variations of spelling, more often without the final 'E' but I have retained it because I think this is how Miss Milgate would have written it.

Apart from these corrections this transcription is unaltered from the original typed copy, the punctuation is a little unorthodox but I have not altered this.

Sadly the author did not achieve her aim of finding a connection with the Cornwallis family but this was not due to any failure on her part, two other researchers with access to more modern resources have been no more successful but it seems that the information which gave rise to this belief was not entirely accurate.

The grounds for thinking this and details of the further research which has been carried out are set out in an appendix at the end of this book.

I would like to thank Miss Milgate's cousin, Stella Anderson, for making this book available to me and for allowing me to publish it.

Gerry Langford October 1998


  1. As mentioned in the introduction the spelling of the name Shardelow has several variations, in the typescript this appears as Shardelawe until the last two chapters but although this form was in the 14th century I think this was an error in transcribing the original manuscript. Therefore I have changed this to Shardelowe which I feel the author would have used.

  2. The punctuation is a little unorthodox but as I have been unable to consult the original manuscript I have left this as typed.

  3. In one or two places Miss Milgate refers to pedigrees she has been given and to a scrapbook of photographs to illustrate her book. When she died she left her estate to a friend, Miss Smith, I have not been able to contact this lady and, assuming she was approximately Miss Milgate's age, she may be dead. Miss Milgate's solicitors tell me their files for that period have been destroyed so I fear this valuable material is probably lost.

    Three possible sources of information are contained in Chapter Nineteen, the will of Thomas Shardelow of Thelverton, the ancient parchments offered to Miss Shardelow* of Beccles and the pedigree compiled by Col. Sir Arthur Evans. The first of these is very short and only confirms already known names. It is not clear if Miss Shardelow obtained the parchments but it is doubtful if they would add to the information obtained from other sources but the research done by Col. Evans would seem to be worth further investigation.

    * In the typescript copy this is written as Shardelaw but another source confirms it as above.
  4. Reference is made to the inability to find the marriage of Margaret Shardelow and John Pilgrim, in fact they were not married. A Pilgrim pedigree in Norfolk Family History Society library refers to her as his Common Law Wife and in John Pilgrim's will he calls her his partner. He did not die young as presumed in chapter 19 and outlived Margaret who died in 1816 although probate for her will was not granted until 1835. The delay was probably due to the fact that although Margaret was dead John Pilgrim's will leaving her property had not been altered.

    There is a Chancery document (Ref.C4/46) in the PRO, at Kew, England which may refer to the delay in getting probate but this is unfit for production to the public.
  5. In many places reference is made to the village of Thorpe, this refers to Thorpe next Haddiscoe not Thorpe on the outskirts of Norwich. In chapter 19 mention is made of the graves of five sisters at Thorpe, this should be father, mother and three daughters.
  6. The note which gave rise to Miss Milgate's research i.e.The marriage of the Rev. Shardelowe to a daughter of Lord Cornwallis, has been investigated in some depth by Doreen Garlick and by the editor of this recording, so far, the facts as stated cannot be supported. No clergyman of that name has been found at Buxton, Norfolk, Buxton, Derbyshire or in the surrounding area although in 1666 there was a Shardelowe, Rector of Beccles, Suffolk which is not far from Brome. The possibility that the date in the note was wrong is supported by the fact that the only Cornwallis female of marriageable age in 1755 was known to be single at that time. The suggestion that the lady in question might be the daughter of the first Marquis does not fit the known dates, he was not born until 1738 and married in 1768 so could not have had a daughter marrying in 1755. His father, the first Earl, died in 1762 and in his will, made in 1761, he refers to three daughters, Elizabeth married to a Mr Southwell, Charlotte married to the Rev. Spencer Maden and Mary who was apparently unmarried at the time. The parish register for Culford, where the family lived, is illegible for the period 1755-1775 so it is possible that Mary married after the death of her father but it is strange that no trace has been found of a Minister of that name.


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