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Day trip to Copthorne, where my great-grand-mother was born.

Written on: Wednesday March 25th, 2009

A journal entry from: Europe 2009

Note en anglais pour ma grand-maman Ferderber.

I left London early morning. I needed to take three buses from the city center to Copthorne. I had tried to look up names and addresses that my gramma had given me of known relatives in the area to see if I could maybe visit, but that was unsuccessful. I imagined the place to be quite small, so I thought maybe I can just ask people I meet if they know about so and so. I quickly realized that wouldn't be the easiest way.

When I got to Crawley, it was a fairly big town, and the people I asked questions to were actually a bit unfriendly and unhelpful. So I just took the next bus to Copthorne Parish Church, hoping I'd get there in time to take good pictures in the daylight. I was dropped off right by the Church Road. I found it to be a lovely small church with an impressive yard and cemetery. It is there that my great-grand-mother, Na, was baptized.

The minister was unfortunately away for the day, and I was on my own to explore inside. Silly of me to think all a minister has to do all day is sit around in church and wait for foreign girls to show up and ask about old parish members... I was disappointed not to be able to see the registry, but I got pictures of all the plots I spotted with the names Maynard, Branch or Gibbs. I didn't put them all on the blog, but I have them to show when I come back.

My great-great grand-parents would have been responsible for building part of the church and also planting some of the trees which grew to be massive today.

I was carrying all my stuff because there was no left luggage anywhere in Crawley. I was hungry and wanted a break so I found the nearest pub. Apparently the only restaurants are the Copthorne Hotel's and the two pubs in the village.

I ended up at Prince Albert's Pub, where a few people were having a drink. I asked if there was anything to eat, but they had closed the kitchen at two and were doing an extensive cleaning for an inspection due the next day. I saw they had wireless Internet, so I thought I'd stay and have a beer at least, and take the opportunity to call gramma and tell her where I was.

She told me about the schoolyard that was also partly built by her family. So I decided to go back and check that out. I asked the waitress if I could leave my bags behind the counter while I walked back to the school. She actually lived above the pub with her boyfriend and let me leave my stuff there.

When I came back, one of the regulars was standing there drinking and asked me what I was doing there. Steve worked in human resources for an airline company, and was soon to be retired. He had seen me walk in loaded with bags and asking about food and he felt sorry for me, when the pub was not able to serve me anything. He bought me a London's Pride, and I chatted with him, the waitress and her boyfriend. All were very friendly and we ended up ordering pizza together, graciously offered by Steve. By the way, mom, he was quite interested about me having a single mom, and you can have his e-mail if you want? lol Might be a bit too small for you though.

Lara, the waitress, put me on the right bus back after dinner. I was happy to have stopped in this little part of England where I felt right at home, thanks to friendly locals. It was also very interesting to see where relatives have walked before me, and it triggered my interest to pursue genealogy further in the future.

I'll be able to show you everything in just a few weeks gramma! See you soon! xoxo