Whilst the name "Shakeshaft" is spread widely across England these days, my own particular family has a most interesting background and history.
My ancestors came from a farming community in Shropshire (Salop) and indeed my grandmother, whilst not a Shakeshaft at birth, was born and brought up in the "Shakeshaft" family home of "Grange Farm" in the hamlet of Ellerdine which is close to Waters Upton.
Baptised Ada Mabel Atcherley she along with her 7 brothers and sisters grew up on the farm during the reign of Queen Victoria and the height of the industrial revolution. Consequently, like so many other people living in rural areas who saw opportunities to improve their standard of living by moving to the towns and cities of the midlands, she followed many of her family members to Birmingham where she settled down with her husband Joseph Shakeshaft.
What is somewhat surprising is that both my grandmother and grandfather shared the same great grandfather, Samuel Shakeshaft born 1764. Obviously back in the 18th century, families did not travel much and rural communities in particular tended to remain quite insular. I recall being told as a child that the families of Shakeshaft, Atcherley and Bromley all had particular close ties and I remember my father telling me they all lived on farms to the north-west of Wellington close to the hamlets of High Ercall, Waters Upton, Cold Hatton and Crudgington.
My parents used to regularly take my sister and I on day trips to what they referred to as "The Moortown" to visit my father's cousin and his wife and family. "Uncle" Tom and "Auntie" Eva Bromley as I knew them as, lived on a big farm just outside High Ercall. I used to love playing and exploring all the wonderful things a farm has to offer and spent many happy times with their son David and daughter Louise when I was a child.
After moving to Birmingham just as the great war broke out, my grandparents eventually settled in Hall Green, a very leafy, middle-class suburb on the south-east side of the city. They had 3 children, Uncle Jack (John Shakehaft), my father (William Shakeshaft) and Auntie Margaret. After leaving school my father trained as an accountant before getting a job working for Birmingham Citizens Building Society. He got called up in 1941 to fight for King and country in WW2.
Returning home in 1946 after 5 brutal years (as he always maintained) he eventually met my mother Edith, at a dance and in 1949 they married and bought their first home in Selly Oak, Birmingham. They lived there for 7 years before moving to a house that was being built on the edge of a new estate on land previously owned by Olton Friary on Streetsbrook Road, Solihull.
After Eleanor and I married in September 1986, we moved into our first home which was just around the corner from my grandparents house in Hall Green. But after my father died, we bought my parents home in Solihull from my mother. Her health deteriortated rapidly after his death and I always said how much I loved its location being close to parkland and protected coppices and within easy reach of the town centre of Solihull. It is also one of the few roads round here that has not been ruined by commercial or private developers.
I have actually put a comprehensive "Shakeshaft" family tree with nearly 200 entries on a website called http://www.genesreunited.co.uk which you are welcome to view. You will need to enter my name (Gregory Shakeshaft) in search to locate it. I think there are a couple of people with the same name but I'm the authentic one *smiles*. You may have to sign up to the site. I hope to put the tree on this site someime in the near future which will make it more accessible to everyone interested.