Women of Geddington: Ann ‘Nancy’ Moore (nee Lee)

One of the quirky things about villages is the way names crop up in the most odd, but interesting ways. The village has a number of spaces carrying family names.

Hipwell’s Jitty was at one time the name for what is now Malting Lane and named for Granny Hipwell who ran the little shop behind the Star there.

Wormleighton’s Way was named for the family who lived there and, in particular, Mrs Wormleighton who was renowned in the village for her herbal remedies and the interesting ingredients they contained; but that’s another story!

On West Street, until relatively recently, what is now No 5 was known as Mary’s Cottage and no-one had to ask who Mary was!

More recently Back Lane or Back Way became Queen Eleanor Road.

In most cases this simply evolved as the village grew. The population was stable so everyone knew each other and there was no centralised recording of homes for postal services and even formal census records only listed the street name. Numbers to go with the street names were a twentieth century arrangement and even then numbering was often re-done to accommodate cottages knocked down or put up!

The ‘Nancy Moore Steps’ is one of Geddington’s quirks. The steps are named after a young wife who lived in the cottage next door to the steps: even the cottage is in her name.

Circa 1947, The Royal George in Wood End (Street) , looking from the corner of ‘Back Way’ or Queen Eleanor Road down towards Nancy Moore’s Steps and cottage. Nancy would have recognised her home street even though the picture was painted long after her death.
Image from The Geddington Archive courtesy of B Toseland.

Samuel and ‘Nancy’ certainly lived in Wood Street all their married life, ‘Nancy’ was a Lee, a member of a large family mentioned previously in this series who also gave their name to Lee’s Way off West Street. When she and Samuel married in the village church in 1832, at the age of 25, neither of them were able to write their names in the register and neither could their family members who were witnesses.

None of them could have imagined that nearly 200 years later her name would be the registered title of a cottage in the village and indeed of the steps that lead up the side of what was her home for 50 years. Nancy Moore’s Steps are part of a byway that leads across the fields at the rear of Wood Street and the stile there is required to be maintained by the Parish Council.

In 1938 in the official report of Geddington council business, as far away as the next county of Leicestershire, the Market Harborough Advertiser recorded the state of disrepair of Nancy Moore’s stile and the need for action to be taken to bring it up to standard.

Nancy herself was a housewife , brought up her children and lived her whole life within the bounds of the Parish of Geddington. Samuel was a labourer in his younger days, but gained a position as the ‘Roadman’ for Geddington when he was older. Stories and pictures which might help reveal Nancy as a person are not available to us, but her long life (she died aged 79 in 1886) and her constant presence in her Wood Street home has embedded her impression on the history of Geddington right through to the present day .

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NB One of the ancestors of the Moore family was Samuel Lee, who was the Ranger for Geddington Chase and died in 1708. He left a legacy to the poor of Geddington, of £100, to be distributed on Christmas Day. You can find more about this generous benefactor on the Samuel Lee Charity page, under the Village Life column. There is also an earlier article about Nancy and her descendants in the website archives. Just use the search facility to pick these up.

And if you fancy walking in Nancy’s footsteps there is a walk route taking in Nancy’s Steps shown on the relevant section on the website.

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