The riddle of how a Tudor deed dealing with the transfer of land in Gildersome ended up in an Australian bookshop has been investigated by its owners and local historians.
Lorraine Smith, from Warrnambool, Victoria, visited Morley with her husband, Neil as part of her quest to solve the quandry with the help of local historian Clive McManus, with whom she has been in regular contact with.
And her enthusiasm for the project has been so great, that she travelled to the area to discuss her work as part of a European holiday.
Clive said: “A photograph of the deed an be seen in the local history book, The Story of Morley, which George Wood, the headmaster of the old Peel Street School, wrote in 1916.
“This was a standard text for local school children for many eyars and Mr Wood noted that the deed belonged to Reuben Brown.”
Clive and his colleague Julie Heeley were able to give many details of Reuben and his family to Lorraine who then found that Reuben’s son Charles Ezra emigrated to Australia in the late 19th century.
Clive said: “She also discovered that when Reuben died in 1918, his daughters emigrated too and took the document with them. They eventually returned to Morley but the document stayed in Australia.”
With skilful detective work, Lorraine has uncovered the document’s trail as it moved between members of the Australian Brown family and then ended up in her shop.
Clive showed the Smiths the areas on Troy Hill and Commercial Street where Reuben had lived. He and his Morley family were buried at the Rehoboth Chapel and it was also possible to examine the family grave thanks to the sterling work of Fred Moxon.
Clive and Ian Scholes then gave the Smiths a tour of Gildersome, including the area which the deed may have dealt with. It is now covered with houses, just off Gildersome Lane.
The Smiths also enjoyed a tour of Morley Town Hall and central Morley.
The town’s Mayor Coun Wyn Kidger, had particular interest, as Chairwoman of Morley Community Archives, and the Smiths showed their appreciation by presenting her with a letter from their own Mayor together with various other gifts.