Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Mother Worse than the Son

I absolutely loved finding this small snippet during a perusal of the British Newspaper Archive the other week. On a search for any newspaper articles about my grandmother's family, the Antcliffes, I found this article from the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, dated 7 November 1894.

It was the title of the piece that caught my eye: "The Mother Worse than the Son". Goodness, whatever did this mother and son combo do to warrant such a headline? Well, the son, my Great Grand Uncle Fred, stole a duck! And my 2 x Great Grandmother Harriet dared to keep the duck, skin it and eat it. Dreadful stuff. She even burnt the evidence which I guess reveals that she knew she was doing wrong by accepting the offending bird from Fred in the first place.

The Antcliffes are a family that are gradually revealing their secrets to me and this article has helped to put some flesh on the bones. Knowing this one small event from their lives means I now look upon Fred and Harriet, two people I had no previous clue about, with fondness and certainly not with any disapproval for their actions. I mean, if a tasty duck came your way, and you had six children to feed, would you turn it down?

I took great pleasure in telling one of my aunts that she had 'criminal' ancestors. She was very quick to respond with the fact that I therefore had criminal ancestors too!

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