Touring England

Following the exceptional 50th reunion at Harlaxton, I spent two lovely weeks touring England to visit friends, sightsee, and explore places in Cornwall where the Kitto branch of my family originated.

After a brief visit to Burghley House where I met Paul Wilde and his family for a tour and lunch, I drove to Girton, near Cambridge. Paul had contacted me about my Bowen theory research and we discovered in our correspondence he had grown up in Lincolnshire and lived in Stamford, not far at all from Harlaxton.

For a person from drought-plagued California, the drive from Stamford to Cambridge in a torrential downpour was almost a treat. Ken and Janet Sheard were my gracious Cambridge hosts. Ken had been our Harlaxton Sociology tutor. In addition to our walking tour of Cambridge, we visited their “local” The George in Girton and enjoyed a pub lunch in Grantchester at The Red Lion.

From Cambridge I made a quick trip to Stonehenge before stopping for a visit with my friend and former co-worker Tony Saffer in Castle Cary. Tony is an amazing tour guide. He took me to Glastonbury and to the canal where he volunteers to assist boaters to operate the locks.

Next, it was on to Cornwall where I visited sites associated with the Kitto family. My paternal great, great grandfather, James John Kitto immigrated to New Orleans from Cornwall in the late 19th century. His birth was registered in Launceston in 1848 and he showed up in the census in as a farm servant in Penbro in Breage according to the research Ken Stewart has done on the Kitto family in Louisiana. I visited St. Thomas Church in Launceston where his birth was registered and St. Breaca Church in Breage. While there are many Kittos in the graveyard there, it is unclear whether any of them are our ancestors. The graveyard map shows the location of the graves but there are no markers. These were not people of means. However, perhaps some members of the family did hold land that eventually became a car park!

This map of Cornwall shows Launceston at the eastern edge of the peninsula about halfway between the northern and southern edges. Because there continues to be controversy about what Cornwall is–a county, a country, a duchy, let’s just describe the area I visited geographically. Breage is much farther south and west, near Helston at the top of the Lizard peninsula with gorgeous coastal hiking including Loe Bar, a shingle bank that separates a fresh water lake from the sea.

Although I planned to spend time in Launceston on my way south, I was there on the day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, so many things were closed. Instead of lingering there, I headed south (in another rainstorm) and adjusted my travel plans to spend more time in Launceston on the return trip. The photos of Launceston include both the stop on the way down to see the parish church where James John Kitto’s birth was registered and the other primary sight of interest on the return trip, Launceston Castle.

On the way back to London, Tony hosted me once again. This time, he took me to Wells, known for its cathedral and Bishop’s Palace and as the site where Hot Fuzz was filmed!

Last but not least, I stopped in London. Although I enjoyed seeing some of the sights, it was hot and crowded with families on summer holiday so I appreciated a Sunday outing to visit the Kott family in Sutton. They treated me to a lavender cream tea at a spectacular lavender farm near their home. A lovely day with a lovely family!


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