Pat Comber

Monday, January 25, 2015

Dear Eoin and Nora:

It was lovely to hear from you and many thanks indeed for the information you enclosed. Your spot, or page in Google (sorry but I don?t know the correct name for it) is very interesting indeed, especially for us ancestor hunters, and the name you chose for it I thought very apt. Well, I?ll tell you a little bit about us here in Argentina and how I understand we are connected: My father was Charles Thomas Thornton Comber and my mother, Elizabeth Marian Haining Stott. My father?s parents were: Charles Proby Cautley Comber and Juana Mar?a Buchanan. He and three brothers and a cousin emigrated to Argentina towards the end of the 19th century. My father was born in Buenos aires, but he was sent to school in England, to St. Edmund?s at Ware.

My grandfather (on my father?s side) and his other brothers and a sister were the children of Charles Thomas Comber Vicar of Abbots Bickingham N.Devon and of Rohesia Mary Giffard (my great- grandparents). Charles Thomas comber was one of the sons (there seem to have been many of them, also according to Google) of Henry George Wandesford Comber, Rector of Oswaldkirk and of Hester Cautley, and brother of Harriet Comber, who married Joseph Woodhead. Henry Gorge Wandesford Comber was my great great grandfather. He and his brothers and sisters were the children of Thomas Comber who had also been Rector of Oswaldkirk besides other previous appointments and who married Elizabeth Coote. His father was, as far as I can make out also a Thomas Comber who married Anne Wilson, he seems to have been Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire and J.P. His father was Thomas Comber sometime Dean of Durham who married Alice Elizabeth Thornton. Her parents were William Thornton of East Newton and Alice Wandesford whose father was Sir Christopher Wandesford (or Wandesforde), Lord Deputy of Ireland (I?ve lost track of all the greats!). I found of great help in Google, some entries titled:John Rivers alias Comber of Balcombe (Rivers was the original sur name of the Comber family, then it became Rivers alias Comber and later just Comber. (the Rivers name might have come from a Plantagenet illegitimate child, of which there seem to have been many, but there is no proof, so it remains a family legend, and the “alias” part sounds very odd indeed, almost like something out of the police chronicles!), there are several entries that refer to the “Rivers alias Comber of Balcombe: Inquiries”, 2 – Archiver. and likewise 3, 4, 5 and 6, all of them .Archiver, which belongs to “Rootsweb”. As some of your ancestors were o Wandesfords and the Thorntons of East Newton, then one of your ancestors was also Robert Thornton who, in the 15th. century amused himself by copying (by hand) any manuscript he could get hold of by borrowing (I do hope he remembered to return them to their owners) and so made a collection of stories, poems legends and medicinal recipies for his own and his family?s use and entertainment. One volume was given to Lincoln Cathedral Library by Dr. comber (Alice Thornton?s husband) the other volume somehow ended up in what is now the British Library. They are known as “The Thornton Romances” or “The Thornton Mss.”, and are considered a very valuable source for the study of Middle English literature as after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII many original manuscripts were destroyed or lost. Thanks to the kindness of the people at Lincoln University, I have been able to get hold of a facsimile copy of one of the pages of the volume of “The Thornton Romances” which is kept in the Cathedral Library. They sent it to me by e-mail just before Christmas last year. Should you be interested, I can send you a copy by mail -the handwriting is lovely to look at but the lettering is quite different from our present lettering, more like Gothic script and the English is so very ancient that one can t make out the meaning of the words. ? shall try and get hold of a copy of the ” Memoirs of the Life and Death of the Honorable the Lord Deputy Wandesforde” you mentioned you are reading. I found it on line in Google but it is rather difficult to follow on the computer screen, Amazon have it in softback edition but not in the e-book format and I doubt that any book shop here would have it, so I shall have to ask one of my nephews, who has an air pilot friend who comes and goes from the States to get it for me there. I do have Alice Thornton?s Autobiography, in softback and also on a CD as well as “Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Comber? written by his great great grandson, also a Comber, copied on a CD. Please excuse such a long letter. It?s lovely to know that one has relatives, although distant, in such unexpected places, and all thanks to Google!

Yours very sincerely,
Pat?Comber

One thought on “Pat Comber”

  1. Dear Pat Comber, I have recently been looking through papers and documents left by my mother Isabel Buckton (nee Comber) after she died in 1993 aged 87. I am currently working on a number of threads in the pursuit of family history and family trees, and I have been fascinated to find your account here. I have a photo of – surely – a portrait, with the name C T Thornton Comber on the back. If you contact me I will email it as an attachment. I don’t think it can be a portrait of him, the period is all wrong. I’m currently exploring that further.

    I share one ancestor with you, in that your grandfather Charles Proby Cautley Comber b 1877 was brother to my grandfather Frederick Walter Comber b 1866 and who must have been one of the emigrating brothers as my mother was born in BA and lived there till she married my father in 1925.

    There is much more to tell but I will save it for, hopefully, a response from you.

    Best wishes

    David Buckton

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