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1840 Charles Smith at the Races

The 1840 Common Riding was well reported

and having carrid out the ceremonies of the day, retired to a well earned meal at the Tower Inn for the “more aged and grave citizens”, and the livelier do in the Town Hall, provided by Mrs Hay of the Crown Inn

Living with Mrs Hay, and presumably helping with the sumptuous dinner , was 13 year old Thomas Hay – who would die by the time he was 23, having been Cornet in 1847.

The Old Town Hall which was used for the Cornet’s dinner – and then off to the Races – in the Haugh, they weren’t moved up to St Leonards till 1854.

They don’t write newspaper reports like this anymore! “and thus will the recreations and amusements of this year materially add in time to those voluntary subscriptions which alone form the groundwork of this humble but popular festival”

The racing was in the Haugh – here the scene in 1846, looking across the Coble Pool to Wilton [or I think more likely, looking across Laidlaw’s Dam which used to cross from Teviot Crescent to the Victoria Laundry – with racing on the Haugh and the Wilton mills such as Langlands Mill clustered opposite]

But on the Friday, there were also races on the Muir, so that the Town Purse of £10 and the Trades Purse of £3 was on the Muir, and [followed by????] the Trades Purse of £5 on the Common Haugh.

and there were also races on the Saturday – had the racing moved down to the Common Haugh after the first races on Friday at the Muir?

and then there were the Saturday Sports – including sack races, as well as the more serious stuff

Charles Smith’s Common Riding had obviously gone well.

And that is the last we see of Charles Smith – he had appeared briefly in Pigot’s Commercial Directory as a Grocer in the High Street in 1837 [with Mrs Ann Hay at the Crown Inn also listed]

He is Cornet – and that is it – but he isn’t on the 1841 Census in Hawick, or elsewhere in the Borders. And there are very few Smiths at all – it just isn’t a particularly common name here.

The only candidate in the 1841 Scotland Census is Charles Smith a 25 year old, just married, grocer – living in Paisley

He is the only Charles/Chas  Smith [and there aren’t many Smiths at all in Scotland] of the right age and the right occupation – and he would have been unmarried in 1840, since Elizabeth is only 4 months old in 1841.

But born in Paisley? At least it’s not G*l*shiels!


About Neil Wallace

Born in the Haig Maternity, lived in Dovemount Place, and started school there at Trinity. To Burnfoot Primary then the High School. Moved away from the town to Cardiff, then Edinburgh, and now an exile in Suffolk.


One thought on “1840 Charles Smith at the Races

  1. There’s a Charles Smith who married Jane Ormiston in Hawick in September 1840. So perhaps he got married shortly after being Cornet, and left the area.

    Additionall, the 1861 census gives the following for 15 Howegate:

    SMITH Charles Head M M 43 Cutter Or Foreman Taylor Midlothian – Edinburgh
    SMITH Jane Wife M F 42 Housewife Midlothian – Edinburgh
    SMITH Margaret Dau U F 17 Milliner Midlothian – Edinburgh
    SMITH Jane Dau U F 15 Scholar Midlothian – Edinburgh
    SMITH Charles Son – M 13 Scholar Aberdeenshire – Aberdeen
    SMITH Thomas Son – M 9 Scholar Midlothian – Edinburgh
    SMITH Christinea Dau – F 6 Scholar Midlothian – Edinburgh
    SMITH Ann Dau – F 4 Roxburghshire – Hawick
    SMITH Jessie Dau – F 1 Roxburghshire – Hawick

    This is a different occupation, but about the right age. If this is the same man who married Jane in Hawick in 1840, then there was a Hawick connection from just about the time our Charles was Cornet. Could all be a coincidence of course.

    I find Janet Ormiston, daughter of Thomas Ormiston and Katharine Foggo, ch. 12 Apr 1818 in Duddingston, Midlothian. And Charles John Smith, son of Charles Smith and Jane Smith, b. 2 Jul 1818 in South Leith, Midlothian. The couple were in Midlothian in 1841 and 1851. Although in 1841 the wife’s name was apparently Margaret).

    Some of this fits, but some of it doesn’t!

    Posted by Douglas Scott | January 31, 2012, 09:02

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