|Jessie with Dennis(my father)c1924|
|Millie, outside the cottage|
My paternal great grandma Jessie was born on 8th September 1864 to Henry and Mary JARROD in West Dereham, Norfolk. By the age of 17 she was in service at West Wretham. Her illegitimate daughter, Millie, was born two years later. By 1891 Jessie and Millie were back home in West Dereham, and in 1892 she went to be housekeeper to Charles BRUCE whose wife had died in childbirth a few months earlier. Jessie and Charles married four years later, on Christmas Day 1896. In 1901, the household consisted of Jessie, Charles, Millie, 2 new children, a son, Herbert, from Charles's first marriage and Jessie's dad Henry JARROD. In 1911, there were just Jessie, Charles and their own three children. Charles lived until 1922.
|Jessie on her 90th birthday|
After Cecil and Geoff left and set up their own homes, her daughter Mary stayed on, unmarried (with a tale of lost love during WW1...). As young children, my sisters and I visited Great Aunt Mary (more on her another time) during school holidays (see the cottage here top right), and I was well aware of the mysterious, closed bedroom door, behind which I now know, was Great Grandma Jessie. I have no memory of actually meeting her. Jessie lived to the age of 96. On her 90th birthday she was photographed for the local newspaper, with her great granddaughter Kathleen(my sister).
Jessie and Charles are buried together in West Dereham churchyard. When I finally found the grave about five years ago, it was completely covered in ivy and brambles. After a session with secateurs, I was able to read the headstone!
You can also see Jessie with daughters Mille and Mary and grandson Dennis enjoying a day out in Hunstanton, in the Ancestral Voices blog header.