ADDED 12 NOVEMBER 2006
grandfather, Benjamin Stringer Greaves, lived most of his life in
Carleton, Pontefract, and was one of the sons of the famous ‘Giant’ John
Holmes Greaves, who lived in Carleton Hall during the latter part of the
19th century. As well as his involvement with other business, John
operated for some years as an ‘on course’ bookmaker, with young Ben
acting as his assistant, both reputedly walking to Doncaster and back on
race days as well as nearby Pontefract.
the death of ‘Giant’ Greaves, family fortunes took a turn for the worse,
forcing Ben into the more humble life of a farmworker, bringing up his
family in a small cottage opposite ‘The Green’, at Carleton.
his family were faithful church goers, attending services at St. Michael
and All Angels, in the village. For many years, Ben served the church
both through singing in the choir and as a churchwarden to the then
Vicar, Reverend C. Willoughby Gabb.
the years they became firm friends and the photograph above shows Ben,
probably in the 1930s at around the age of 60 years, with Father Gabb -
the picture probably having been taken for inclusion in a published
short history of the Church.
of their special relationship was their shared love of the “Sport of
Kings” and by repute, on many occasions left behind village work and
parochial duties to attend race meetings together.
success and profitability of these trips may well have hinged on the
expertise of my grandfather from his experiences of being a bookies
assistant rather than on any divine intervention, but who knows.
to race meetings at Pontefract and Doncaster, at this time by omnibus,
were certainly on their schedule, but I believe that they also strayed
further afield on occasions.
not know the fate of Father Gabb, but Ben rests in Carleton Churchyard,
along with his two wives, Ethel Howden and Annie Fowler, and his three
daughters, Beatrice, Elsie, and Vera, my mother.
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