West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
Advertisements
 
 
 
Pontefract Letters Page

HOLY ALLIANCE

ADDED 12 NOVEMBER 2006

My 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.

After 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.

Ben and 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.

Holy Alliance

Over 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.

A part 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.

The 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.

Visits 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.

I do 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.

Terence Wass


[ <Previous ] [ Letters Page ] [ Next> ]


 

Site constructed and maintained by Michael Norfolk
This website is Copyright © 2005-2009 [www.pontefractus.co.uk] All Rights Reserved
Any correspondence regarding this website should be addressed to Michael Norfolk, 21 Bassett Close, Selby, YO8 9XG, ENGLAND.
| HOME PAGE | SITE INDEX | LETTERS | MEMORIES | PHOTO GALLERY | GENEALOGY | LATEST PHOTOS |
| KNOTTINGLEY AND FERRYBRIDGE ONLINE | YORKSHIRE ANCESTRY | IMAGES OF YORKSHIRE |
AJB PERFORMANCE |