The Rycharde Haythornthwaite Story Chapter 2

Chapter 1 of this story that includes an explanation of how I discovered Rycharde’s life story can be found here

Chapter 2

January 1894: Rycharde Meade Haythornthwaite born 4 January 1894 in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.

The late 19th century; a great era, a time of social, economic and industrial revolution; the 75 year old Queen Victoria had been on the throne for 57 years and Britain’s oldest and longest serving Prime Minister was the 84 year old William Gladstone. It was a time when the ‘great’ of Great Britain meant something to many people, when we ruled the waves along with a large chunk of the world.

Uttar Pradesh, where Rycharde was born, was in India’s northern territories that formed a major part of the British Empire, and the Indian Civil Service (ICS), also known as the Imperial Civil Service, was an elite employer during British rule from 1858-1947. Members or civilians were appointed under the Government of India Act 1858 and almost all of the 1,000 members were British educated in the top schools of the time. Each ‘civilian’ working for the ICS was in charge of 300,000 indigenous people and every aspect of the lives of those people was directed by that one civilian.

There was however, growing hostility towards British rule as India started to recognise the importance of nationalism. With a blend of patriotic orators, scientists, religious reformers and scholars, India was moving from medieval to modern and the almost feudal system of British rule was often under threat.

Two notable reactionaries also born in January 1894 were Satyendra Nath Bose and Prem Krishna Khanna.

Rycharde’s parents who lived and worked in the region would no doubt have witnessed the growing unrest, including the mutiny in May of that year when the 17th Bengal native infantry stationed at Agra mutinied due to the inclusion in the regiment of men from a different caste.

His parents were involved with the Church, his mother a qualified doctor and missionary and his father appointed by the Church Missionary Society as Principal at Agra College between 1890 – 1911, and whilst this would have had some bearing on Rycharde’s baptism, it was more likely the high infant mortality rate during the Victorian era that meant Rycharde was baptized when he was just 26 days old on 30 January 1894 at St Paul’s Church, Agra, India.

(How ironic that having kept their baby boy safe from the perils of disease and limited medical care, that he should die at another milestone age and at the hands of an altogether different human peril.)

There is a record showing John sailed from Liverpool to Bombay aboard the SS Hispania on 26 September 1894, by which time Rycharde would have been 9 months old. It is possible that this journey was made so Rycharde could be left with relations in England as there is no mention of him remaining in India during his early years.

Rycharde’s parents went on to have four more children, Hilda May b. 13 February 1895, Grace b. 10 June 1897 and Reginald Arthur b. 22 October 1898 in St Bees, Cumbria. Sadly their fifth child, Constance Lucy b. 11 April 1903 in Simla, India, died when she was just four years old on 4 May 1907 in Cirencester, Glos.

bro & sis

Piecing these dates together, Rycharde’s parents would seem to have been career minded people who left both marriage and children until later in life; Zettie was 34 when she had her first son Rycharde, and 43 when Constance Lucy was born. The birth and death records of the Haythornthwaite children indicate the family did return to Britain several times; Rycharde’s birth is recorded at Godstone in Limpsfield, Surrey; Reginald was born in Cumbria; Constance died in Gloucester and Grace was registered as a ‘scholar’ in Northwood, Middlesex on 2 April 1911 aged 13. I suspect they were left in the care of either relatives or guardians in the UK from a fairly young age.

It would appear Rev and Mrs Haythornthwaite were ahead of their time as working parents, juggling their careers with family life.

So not only was Rycharde born at a time of empirical greatness, he was born into a family who were committed to their work. His mother clearly had a strong character; she gave Rycharde her surname as his second name; their obvious devotion to their work must have combined to instil a sense of honour, duty and hard work into the children.

But at a time of growing hostility both at home and within the empire, perhaps his parents merely saw themselves as cogs in the wheel of the British way of life; but even a single cog is still part of the wheel and I wonder how other events that were taking place in 1894 would impact on Rycharde’s life and, had they not occurred, would have left a very different world from that which we now know?

But what other great events were happening at this time? I often wonder about destiny, is our future already decided long before it happens, would Rycharde’s history have told a different story thanks to the Ripple Effect?

January 1894: A young boy is playing with his friends near the frozen River Inn that flows through Passau, Germany. As with all four year old boys, he is having fun and oblivious to any danger. However, the ice sheet is very thin and the boy falls through to the icy water below and would surely have drowned had it not been for a local priest, who without any thought for his own life, dived in to save the struggling child.

The priest was Johann Kuehberger and the little boy he saved was Adolf Hitler.

Other events that happened when Rycharde was born in January 1894:

The Manchester Ship Canal opens; at 36 miles long it is the largest river navigation canal in the world.

Blackpool Tower opened.

Tower Bridge, London opened for traffic.

The first motion picture experiment of comedian Fred Ott who was filmed sneezing.

Joseph Conrad returns to London after years at sea and starts to write his first novel Almayer’s Folly.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s anthology The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes was published.

Rudyard Kipling’s story collection The Jungle Book was published.

Edward VIII (who later abdicated to marry American Wallis Simpson) was born.

Michael Marks forms a partnership with Thomas Spencer and they open their first store in Manchester.

The Great Horse Manure Crisis; 50,000 horses in London were producing nearly 7kg of manure and 2 pints of urine each day and given a life expectancy of 3 years, their bodies were often left on the roadside to rot so the carcass could be more easily sawn into pieces for removal.

So it would seem 1894, the year Rycharde was born, not only saw many significant events, some of which were pivotal in the later development in their particular field, but it was also a year when some of those events, had there been a different outcome, could so easily have altered world history.

RMH & family all members

Chapter 3 can be found here

About Sophia Moseley

Freelance Copywriter, Feature Writer and Author. Looking for that illusive job that every working mother craves but surviving, just, on what I can find. My writing and poetry keeps my sane. Watch this space.
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1 Response to The Rycharde Haythornthwaite Story Chapter 2

  1. Pingback: The Rycharde Haythornthwaite Story. Chapter 1 | Sophia's Blog

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