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Published by Richard Burnham on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 0:27
Place/Region:SOM Somerset
after 1900

The four RITCHIE sisters were all born in Aberdeenshire but were living in Weston-super-Mare from some time pre 1900(?) till the 1950s. Only the oldest - Jane - married, and she was my mother's maternal grandmother under her married name Pettie. I've tried to set down here the important details of the family immediately before and during their lives in Weston, in the hope that others in Weston or Aberdeenshire might be able to fill in some more details of their lives and how they came to be in Weston. Some of this information came from a genealogist, who lists no sources and makes some obvious suppositions for the sake of a story, but my son Robert has verified as much as possible. The family tree is in Family Search along with all the known sources.

For photos, please see Petties and Ritchies at https://www.flickr.com/photos/61381495@N03/albums

There are two other names of interest here, who are connected to the family but not related: Dolly Rose GOULSTONE and Bertram Edward J COTTLE.

According to the genealogist, Jane Ritchie's husband, my great-grandfather, was born Henry PETTY in Cheltenham in 1836 (christened 11 September), and by 1851 he was a tailor's apprentice. In 1861 he was married to Sophia Mills, a milliner, was known as Henry Vincent Petty, was working as a tailor and was living with Sophia's mother. In 1871 Henry and Sophia were now running a boarding house in Cheltenham as well as working at their jobs. But in 1881 we have no more record of Sophia, and Henry was lodging in Brighton working as a tailor foreman. In 1891 he was back in Cheltenham and was a journeyman tailor.

What follows is surprising, if it is not a major case of mistaken identity. We don't know why he came to be in Aberdeen, but he married Jane Ann Ritchie at 11 Union Buildings, St Nicholas district, Aberdeen, on 25 August 1892. We have the marriage certificate. He was using the Scots spelling of his name PETTIE, gave his age as 40, and his address as 45 Montpellier Buildings, Cheltenham, which (looking at the street) seems to be a fictitious address: the numbering of this street goes up to 43 and it is unlikely there ever was a number 45. The younger age was used on subsequent English censuses and on his burial record at the Milton Road cemetery, Weston.

The dates of what happened next are not clear but we know that Annie Henrietta (my grandmother, always known as Dolly) was born in December 1894 and Catherine Amy was born in June 1897, both at Jane's mother's home in Inverurie. My mother told me that Jane returned to her home town to give birth to Dolly, but it may be that they were still in Scotland when the girls were born. 

In 1901 Jane, Henry and Jane's younger sister Agnes (Aggie) were living at 4 Locking Road in Weston with the couple's daughters and two boarders. Henry was listed as a journeyman tailor and Aggie as a tailoress. A picture of Dolly around this time shows her outside "St Kilda", 9 Jubilee Road, with a sign in the window advertising "Apartments". The Kelly's Directory for 1902 lists a "William Pettie" as a tailor at St Kilda, and a Weston Mercury supplement in July 1902 lists Mr and Mrs Pettie there.

In 1911, the family were still together with Dolly, now 16, listed as working as bookkeeper, and a woman boarder.  Jane used the name Jennie in that census. Jane's sisters Johanna (Hannah), Aggie and Catherine (Kitty) were now all living in another household in Weston. This was probably at Maycot, 12 Beaufort Road. Aggie had a son called Alfred (Fred) Ritchie who was living with the three unmarried sisters and was aged 6. The sisters may have moved to Weston from Inverurie following the death of their mother Ann Fraser in 1903 (their grandmother Agnes Crane died in 1911).

The 1914 Kelly's directory lists Henry as offering apartments at Maycot. That year he died: according to the burial record on 10 February he was 62, but likely he was 77. 

After that, it seems Jane moved in with her sisters at Maycot.  I found an ad in the Gloucestershire Echo of September 1914 advertising apartments at Maycot. Jane is recorded as Jennie Ritchie, the proprietor at Maycot, in Kelly's of 1919.

As well as being busy with paying guests or boarders, Maycot seems to have been the place for many family holidays. Dolly's and Cath's families were close and often spent Christmas, Easter and summer holidays together there. Both my mother and her cousin Betty put their memories of those happy times on record. I have memories of Hannah and Aggie when I was a very small boy. My mother was born there and my father first met my mother there.

Through my mother, I have many pictures from the garden at Maycot, mostly in the 1920s, and there are many people I'd like to identify. They may be relatives (perhaps visiting from Scotland) or friends.


Dolly Goulstone was a long term resident at Maycot from some time from before the war until (probably) after Hannah died in 1955 and Maycot was sold. I have childhood memories of her too. She was an Armenian refugee, blinded in a massacre in the Armenian genocide, and adopted by Walter and Amelia Goulstone of Weston. She died in Plymouth in 1993. There is a group page about her on WikiTree.


Bertram Cottle dedicated a photo album to someone in the family, and it contains many of the Weston photos that my mother had. He was born in Bath in 1902, married Valerie Mctoldridge in Ealing 1953 and died in Tonbridge in 1974. He may be in some of the pictures. I'd like to know his connection to the family.


Also seeking information about Jean, who married Alfred Vincent Ritchie (1905-?), Aggie Ritchie's son, probably died in Glasgow; and Sophia Mills (1842-?), first wife of Henry Petty as he then was, who disappears from known records after 1871. 


Dates for the people concerned:

Henry Vincent Pettie: 1836 or supposedly 1851-1914

Jane Ann Pettie nee Ritchie: 1868-1937 (recorded as Jennie in the 1911 census)

Johanna (Hannah) Ritchie: 1875-1955 (Birth record gives her as born in 1873)

Agnes Innes Fraser (Aggie) Ritchie: 1880-1960 (Birth record gives her as born in  1877)

Catherine Sangster Fraser (Kitty) Ritchie: 1882-1930

All above died at Maycot apart from Agnes, who died at 65 Moorland Road, Weston. All are recorded as buried in the cemetery at Milton Road.

Dolly Rose Goulstone: 1904-1993, died in Plymouth.

Bertram Edward J Cottle: 1902 Bath - 1974 Tonbridge, Kent


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Comments ..

Submitted by Pat Hase on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 10:54
You asked about St Kilda. In 1922 there were 4 houses with that name in Weston - at 20 Brighton Road, Furland Road, 9 Jubilee Road and at 27 Moorland Road. Perhaps Street view will enable you to see which one (if any) matches your photo.
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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 12:34
From the many details of the stonework it is without a doubt 9 Jubilee Road. Thank you so much for your reply. May I ask how you gained that information about house names; is there a specific source for that?
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Submitted by Pat Hase on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 12:48
Glad to have been of help. I have a copy of a Weston-super-Mare Directory 1921-22 which has a section which lists villa and house names with their addresses. Later Directories do not have this useful bit.
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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 10:45

Although not relevant to Weston, we have had some success tracing the Ritchie sisters' ancestry in Aberdeenshire. Names include CRANE (or CRAN), FRASER, BETTS, SANGSTER.

When it becomes possible I hope to visit Weston to see if I can find any more local records of the sisters and Henry Pettie.

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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 11:10

I have a number of pictures taken in the 1920s at the guest house at Maycot, 12 Beaufort Road, that include many people I can't identify. These could be family members but also friends or even guests from Weston or elsewhere.

If anyone would like to see these photos to identify possible ancestors of theirs, I'd be glad to share them.

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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Mon, 21/09/2020 - 21:19

I've updated the main text to take account of our most recent research. Still many things I'd like to find out.

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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Wed, 07/10/2020 - 22:02

I've put some pictures on display at https://www.flickr.com/photos/61381495@N03/albums in the Petties and Ritchies album. 

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Submitted by Pat Hase on Thu, 08/10/2020 - 16:16
Lovely photographs - do you know who all the people are?
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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Sun, 11/10/2020 - 12:55

I think the majority of people in the photos are unidentified. We are pretty confident we have identified most close family but are unsure if Auntie Aggie is in some of the photos.  The sisters between them ran the boarding house in Weston for around 50 years, so they must have known a lot of people.  I now know that my grandfather met his wife at Maycot, just as my father met my mother there, so I certainly owe my existence to the enterprise of the sisters!

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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Sat, 15/05/2021 - 9:42

Another story I'd like to find details for: "Aggie has created much upset in the family during the intervening years between censuses, because she has had an affair with Henry and Jane's best friend in Weston, and now has a child, Alfred Vincent, known as Fred, so they are registered under Hanna's name... Fred became apprentice to Peggy's father in his printing business and ended up as a technical teacher. He went to live in Glasgow, where he married Jean, but he used to visit his mother in Weston every year." (genealogist's report). I can recall my mother often mentioning Jean and Fred when I was a child, but I have no recollection of ever meeting them.

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Submitted by Pat Hase on Tue, 18/05/2021 - 22:06

Not quite sure what "so they are registered under Hanna's name" means - According to ScotlandsPeople Alfred Vincent RITCHIE died in Glasgow aged 84 in 1989. I think his wife was Jane (not Jean) and they were married in 1928. What are you hoping to find out?

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Submitted by daveerasmus on Thu, 20/05/2021 - 19:32
A very minor point, but the first names Jane and Jean seem to be fairly interchangeable in Scotland. I have examples of several women using each version of the name.rn
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Submitted by Pat Hase on Sat, 22/05/2021 - 12:57
Totally agree with you Dave, and you can add Janet to the list as well!
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Submitted by daveerasmus on Sat, 22/05/2021 - 19:42
Ah yes, Pat. And there are countless variations on that spelling as well!
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Submitted by LeedsChris on Tue, 25/05/2021 - 11:02
Totally agree with that point. I have a 4 Greats Grandmother who was born in Scotland and she used the name Jean and Janet in different censuses!
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Submitted by Richard Burnham on Tue, 01/06/2021 - 8:28
Jane Pettie used the name Jennie in one census and in advertising the rooms at Maycot, so in view of the comments above perhaps that is not so surprising.
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