More tea vicar? Gertrude Annie Thorn and Julia Jones

It is only right, given that this is my blog, that the first tea set I should feature is the one I have been given which belonged to my Great Grandmother.

Gertrude Annie Thorn was born in Exmouth in 1891. She was my dad’s paternal Grandmother “nan”. I am named after my dad’s maternal Grandmother. No doubt the name Gertie will come back into fashion, but I am pleased I got the tea set from Gertie and my name from Julia.

She married Thomas Bates “Pop”, who was a Methodist minister. I love to think of the tea set being used to serve traditional afternoon tea at the Manse. Whilst they lived in different places, the prize for the best place name goes to Peasedown St John, which is also the village where she and Pop are buried.

The tea set may have been a wedding present, but my parents can’t be sure. It is beautiful, so delicate, it is almost translucent. Given that it was well used, it is amazing that there is so much of it left and in good condition, including an ornate jug and sugar bowl.

Gertie was apparently a good cook and ran a canteen for servicemen during the war. She was also very musical and played the Church organ. She had a strong faith and when she got dementia she puzzled over why God had made the days dark. It was the same reason the post office was always closed and the bus never came to take her to Bath. Apparently, she didn’t question the situation and just said God was in charge. It was because she had day and night muddled that she eventually had to be cared for in hospital. Whilst she was there, my parents remember taking me to visit her as a baby. She died the year I was born. Whilst I did not know her, my parents have many happy memories of her and Pop and enjoyed telling me about the woman behind my tea set.


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