Family tree: William Short descendants
Irene Wilkins‘ mother was Louisa Clark. Louisa’s father was George Clark, born in 1833 in Holland Fen in Lincolnshire, a village north-west of Boston. His mother was Sarah Jane Short, one of eight children born in Bardney to Samuel Hazard (or Haggard) Short and Elizabeth. Walker Short was one of their sons; maybe this was a clue to Elizabeth’s maiden name, but this has not been proved. Sam and Elizabeth ended their days in Horncastle, which was the venue of the world’s largest horse fair in the 1800s. Sam’s parents William and Ann née West married in Huttoft near the coast north of Skegness in 1793.
George Clark’s father John was born in Fosdyke Fen, a marshland village half-a-mile from the River Welland which widens out towards The Wash. The Parish Church and Chapel were built in the latter half of the 19th century in a 13th century style. Relics from an earlier church can be found inside, including the 14th century font. John married Eleanor Rooke in Washingborough near Lincoln in 1830. Their second son was called Joseph Rook Clark. Most of the men in the fen worked as agricultural labourers or farmers.
Lincolnshire poem (Anon)
The skys are red,
The lambkins are fed
The snow is beginning to fall
There is mud on the stones
A chill in the bones
And Slime on the old stable walls
The curtains are rosy
The firelight is cosy
The food smells are calling me there
The sofa is deep
The cat fast asleep
And ‘Dang me!’ she’s taken my chair
Sybil Marshall’s novels are good background reading about life in the fens.