The Cawleys

George Snell's mum and her family

The Cawley story starts (at least as far as my tree goes) with Henry, born probably around 1665, probably in Branscombe Devon. Henry married Mary James in October 1682.

Halley's CometBy complete coincidence (probably), Edmond Halley had spotted his comet just a few weeks earlier and realised it was the same one that had appeared 76 years ago and also 76 years before that. He must have been quite chuffed that a comet with his name on was going to keep reappearing long after his death.

We'll never know if Henry ever looked to see if there was a Cawley's comet that might lend him a spot of life-after-death; probably not. Anyway, he settled for the more conventional route to immortality - he began begatting.

Quite a wrenchSo Henry begat Henry, who begat John, who begat Henry, who married local girl Ann Abbott in November 1782 - just a month and a century after his great grandfather's marriage in the same village. Henry and Ann obviously realised this was all getting a bit parochial, so it was 'up-sticks and move' to sunny Beer-on-sea, a brisk 6 minute walk away through Vicarage and up Paizen Lane. After 100 years in Branscombe, it must have been quite a wrench.

The Beer Years

Henry Cawley's family probably lived the rest of their lives in Beer. Henry's eldest, William, married Elizabeth Waldron and began to fill Beer with even more Cawleys:

These are great great grand uncles and aunts to me, except of course for the great great grandparents; John and Louisa Snell. Which is probably where you should click off to next.

HMS KiteOn the other hand, you might like to stay for the story of John's great grandson Lester - born 1920, still in Beer. Third cousin once removed Lester was 19 at the outbreak of WW2. He was one of the 212 who died (9 survived) when HMS Kite was sunk by U-boat U-344 in the freezing Arctic waters north of Russia, on 21 August 1944. HMS Kite had been a very successful U-boat hunter. The following day, U-344 was sunk with all hands except two that belonged to a cabin boy when a Swordfish plane surprised the U-Boat on the surface and dropped a single depth charge. So, a result there, then - Lester would have been pleased, I suppose.

More gruesome details: The Sinking of HMS Kite