"Out of the Long Ago" by Maud Milgate

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In Conclusion

This is the story of an ancestry search undertake as a holiday interest. I started out with a few Norfolk place names in my mind and the memory of some long ago tales. I do not think I expected to find very much. I just wanted to see what the places looked like. Instead I met some very interesting people, saw inside a number of wonderful old houses, formed lasting friendships and discovered some unknown cousins. I discovered a great deal more of the past than I ever hoped for. True, I have not quite succeeded in proving grandmother's tales to be true, but I have gone a long way to doing so.

I have proved that I had a great-great-grandmother named Margaret Shardelow and that is definitely a link with the Rev. Shardelow who was supposed to have married the Cornwallis girl. I think now it would be possible to trace Margaret's birth and parentage by employing a professional genealogist if I cannot do it myself.

I have had a lot of pleasure out of my search and what I came across in doing so, like finding the burial place of Boadicea the woman who fought England's only conquerors, along a lovely tree-lined road leading to Twickenham.

In Kenninghall I learned that Queen Mary had had a palace just outside the village and it was there she knew she was to be Queen of England. This is now called Palace Farm and Katie told me that in the young days of her life a Mr. and Mrs. Disney lived there and that the elderly relative she used to visit in Kenninghall had a daughter Hilda who was married to a Disney and that there was a great friendship between old Mrs. Pilgrim of Kenninghall and the Disneys of Kenninghall Palace. Also I had heard in the family that grandma, in the early days of her marriage, had had in her care, a little boy named Disney.

There is even a photograph of him with some of her growing family. There was speculation in the family as to whom this little boy was and where he went to. I had come across mention of the Disney family in a number of places in East Anglia and so I was specially interested in the old couple who had lived in what had been Queen Mary's palace. Therefore when I read in the Daily Mail in January 1952 that Walter Disney from Hollywood was in England seeking his ancestors in Norton Disney, Lincolnshire I felt he was looking in the wrong place, and through the "Daily Mail" I wrote and told him what I knew. A month later I was quite thrilled to have a letter from Disneyland written to me by Madeleine Wheeler his private secretary saying that Mr. Disney thanked me for my letter and my information and would be kept with "other matter we have on the family".

So many bye-ways interested me and I collected many pictures and ""cuttings" of places I saw and people I met and all these I have pasted into a scrap book entitled "Norfolk Journeys" and this illustrates what I have written. I have missed the help of my cousin Ralph Castle who had done some searching for me at the Genealogical Society, Harrington Gardens, London. His early death was a sad loss to me.

Also Roland Pilcher another cousin who had done some searching on his own account could no longer continue because of his wife's ill-health.

So much that I have seen is no longer there. Brome Hall and Diss Court survived just long enough for me to see them. So when the muffled bells of Scole Church tolled the passing of dear little Katie, aged 102, I felt they also tolled for lovely places and a way of life that has gone for ever.

My Grandmother believed passionately in her family history but although I have done my best in the limited time I had I still do not know why my great uncles said Brome Hall should have been theirs or why my great-grandmother Dinah Bilham possessed the Cornwallis coat of arms --Virtus Vincit Invidium (Virtue overcomes envy).


Owner of original Maud Milgate via Gerry Langford
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