Who Do You Think You Are? (2004) s15e02 Episode Script

Olivia Colman

1 Award-winning actor Olivia Colman is known for a wide range of roles in comedy and drama.
He is going to Turkey to meet the buyer at a place called the Haven.
I need more money, I need personnel on the ground, and I need somebody to tell me where the bloody hell my agent is.
Here we go.
The transfer of estranged sun bears Milli and Toni I grew up in Norfolk.
As far as I know, my family are from England and Ireland.
They're fairly boring.
When I was a kid, my dad's parents lived with us.
Certainly as a sort of roots thing, I feel I know much more about the Colmans, just because I think they were always in Norfolk forever, so I feel like that's my, you know, my place.
Let's just go back.
My mum's family, I wouldn't really know where they came from.
There's lots of questions for me.
I love it that I genuinely have fun.
There are stories which sound quite exciting.
My mum did mention once, she said, Oh, there was a French woman.
But I don't know how far back she was.
For me, it's very exciting.
Because there's someone who's not from Norfolk.
Olivia lives in London with her husband and children.
- Are you excited? - I think so.
I'm interested in, well, in the people that have gone before.
There's a fragility to life, and also, you know, when you go, will you be forgotten? And it would be nice to I don't know what's happened in my family.
I don't know who's been forgotten and it might be quite nice to remember them again.
Their loves and losses.
You always want to know a bit more, and you know, what was it really like? - A French woman? - I know.
I mean, if there's any adventurers in my family, I They'd be so disappointed.
Because I think I'm, currently, probably the least adventurous person I know.
You know, I don't really go out.
I like to be at home in my pyjamas, with my family.
But maybe that'll change.
To start her investigation into her family's past, Olivia's back in Norfolk where she grew up, and where her parents still live.
It's lovely coming back.
There's something about the big skies.
It's dramatic and beautiful.
As you get closer to the coast, I love the smell of it, the smell of the marshy mud.
It feels like it's in my bones and blood, being here.
I'm off to see my mum and dad now, and my Uncle Richard is coming as well.
He's coming over because he did some research on the family tree, so he's probably a really good one to ask.
So this is my favourite bridge in Norfolk.
Are you holding on? Ready? - Hi.
- Hello.
Come in, come in, come in.
- How lovely to see you.
- How are you, Darling? Lovely to see you.
- Come in.
- And yes, I'm fine.
- Oh, good.
- Hello, Alfred.
Come on.
Richard's in the kitchen.
- Come and say hello.
- The dogs are going mad.
How are you? I haven't seen you for ages.
Oh, I'm so excited.
Hello, boys.
Come on.
Dog impressions.
Ready? Alsatian.
So I've been telling them about Norfolk and the Colmans.
As far as I know, the Colmans have never lived anywhere other than Norfolk.
Farm labourers, postmen.
Publicans, at the Rose and Crown at Great Ryburgh.
No? Does that mean we get free beer? But it's your family, the Leakeys, that we have less of a sense of.
Look what I found the other day.
This is Daddy's graduation.
- I remember this.
- You would've been, five, something like that? - What have you dressed me in, Mum? - Knee-high socks and a kilt.
They were happy days.
So we've got Colmans on the left, and Leakeys on the right.
- I've got a family tree here.
- A Leakey family tree? A bit of a Leakey family tree.
How exciting.
One family tree.
Look at that.
Brilliant.
Right, there's Mary.
- You.
- It's going back so far, though, isn't it? - Yes, we're going back a long, long way.
- To 1766.
- Richard Campbell Bazett.
- And Sarah Bazett.
These folks are your great, great, great, great grandparents.
Now Richard Campbell Bazett was born on the island of St Helena.
And where's St Helena? My geography is awful.
It's an island in the middle of the South Atlantic, miles from anywhere.
Can I just show you some pictures of them? This is Richard and Sarah, his wife.
- They're lovely.
- They've got lovely long, straight noses.
But you know, it's not a photograph, is it? They might have said, Could you give me a nice nose? And Richard Campbell Bazett was working in London for the East India Company.
- But that's so exotic, isn't it, St Helena, East India Company? - Fascinating.
So weird that we just end up not knowing.
We're lucky to have pictures going back this far.
We are.
So I want to find out more about Richard Campbell Bazett.
I'm sure there's some more information down in London.
I'll let you know.
Richard's research takes Olivia back to her great, great, great, great grandparents, Richard Campbell Bazett and his wife Sarah.
Richard was working in London in the early 1800s.
Olivia has returned to London to see what she can find out about her four times great-grandfather.
She's meeting historian Rebecca Probert.
Hi.
Are you Rebecca? Hi, Olivia.
Lovely to meet you.
- Lovely to meet you.
- Shall we go in? Thank you very much.
So, these are my great, great, great, great grandparents, Richard Campbell Bazett.
- A handsome young chap.
- Isn't he? - And his wife Sarah.
- And he was born in St Helena, and then worked with the East India Company.
Yes.
So we have here this page from his account book.
We can see at the top, Richard C Bazett, Esquire.
My God, look at that.
He's clearly well-established and you can see the kind of sums that he's dealing with.
£14,500.
What would that be, is that possible, in today's money? - It's about half a million in today's money.
- Are you kidding? What? So he's in London some of the time, but we also know that he's also in Calcutta.
Really? From the Register of Marriages at Calcutta, Bengal, for the year 1790.
Richard Campbell Bazett and Margaret Ann What? I thought she was Sarah.
And Margaret Ann Hampton of the same place, spinster.
Who's Margaret? I thought he was married to Sarah.
Margaret is Richard's first wife.
Not a wife in different ports? - Well, let's see.
- Let's calm down and find out, OK.
This document gives a bit of a hint as to what's going on.
So this is a court case.
Bazett versus Bazett.
A divorce? - How common was that? - This isn't actually a divorce.
- This is in the church court.
- Church court? The church courts of this stage have jurisdiction over all aspects of marital life, including whether couples can separate legally.
- Right.
And this is what Richard is seeking, in 1808.
So Richard Campbell Bazett wants a separation - Yes.
- Why? So when Margaret and Richard came back to London, she met a particular person at her sister Mrs Palmer's house, as Richard's deposition goes on to describe.
In or about the month of July or August in the year 1806, Frederick Dizi, then principal harp player at the Opera house attended at the house of Mrs Palmer, and Margaret Anne Bazett thereby became acquainted with the said Frederick Dizi, unknown to Richard Campbell Bazett, her husband.
Someone nice who plays the harp, a nice arty type? But we don't know that they are doing anything awful? - Do we? - Well, the story then unfolds.
On or about the sixth day of September 1806, Richard Campbell Bazett and Margaret Anne Bazett, having visit at the house of the said Mrs Palmer, Margaret's sister, and the said Frederick Dizi, harpist, being there, and the said Richard Campbell Bazett, having observed affections and familiarity in the conduct of the Margaret Anne Bazett towards Frederick Dizi, and on returning home insisted that she should stop all acquaintance with him.
We'll he could just be a jealous eejit, couldn't he? - He might be.
- That there upon Margaret Anne Bazett expressed herself with great warmth towards her husband, declaring that she would not live with a man who could suspect her of improper conduct and would look out for a separate residence.
Yeah, so she's basically saying to him Up yours, if you don't trust me.
Because there's nothing to suggest it's nothing more than a flirtation at the moment, OK? - No, nothing whatsoever.
- So Margaret leaves his home - Still quite rare? Yes, absolutely, and she find somewhere else to live.
Almost immediately after Margaret Anne Bazett went to reside at the said house, Frederick Dizi visited her there secretly Oh, well, Richard was right all along.
It gets worse.
that he usually came after the opera had finished and went upstairs into the bedroom.
He and Margaret Anne Bazett laid together there, naked and alone.
How did they know this? You have to remember that these were people who had servants.
Servants.
And thereby, the said Margaret Anne Bazett committed the crime of adultery.
OK, so she was definitely having a fling with the harpist.
The servants were interviewed and said he was there at breakfast, I heard some noises.
So, Richard was right? He was clearly right in his suspicions.
No children at this point? - Not that we're aware of.
- OK, well that's something.
So, do we know what happened and did he get the separation? So, we have here the sentence of the church courts Bazett versus Bazett sentence - It's quite - Yes, it is quite hard to read.
According to the lawful proofs made before us, in this case the said Margaret Ann Bazett not having the fear of God before her eyes, but being seduced by the devil Did commit the crime of adultery with Frederick Dizi, wherefore we do pronounce that Richard Campbell Bazett ought, by law, to be separated from Margaret Ann Bazett, neither in the lifetime of each other shall presume to contract any other marriage.
So they're allowed to be separated - They're not allowed to remarry.
- So they're both stuck.
Did they have divorces? - Legal divorces, then? - Divorce is very rare.
At this time, the only way to get a divorce in modern sense, that actually allows you to remarry is by a private Act of Parliament.
To find out whether, following his separation in 1808, Richard Campbell Bazett petitioned Parliament for a divorce, Olivia has come to Westminster.
Petitioning was a complicated and expensive process, and in the first half of the 19th century, on average only three divorces were granted each year.
Olivia is meeting Joanne Bigiato, an expert on the history of family law.
Hi, is it Joanne? Yes, it is.
And you, thank you so much for meeting me.
- Just come round the corner here - Very excited.
Come to have a nosy.
Joanne's taking her into the Parliamentary archives.
And this is the original act room.
Oh, it's never-ending.
- This is amazing.
- There are over 64,000 acts stored here.
Covering all sorts of things? Yes, and lots about tax.
Fun.
We'll have a little read of some of those.
- Welcome.
- And this is Megan, the conservator.
- Lovely to meet you.
- I've got room for you, so squeeze in.
You're here to find out about Richard, and whether he petitioned for an Act of Parliament, and he did.
So, The said bond of matrimony between Richard Campbell Bazett and Margaret Ann, his wife, being violated and broken by the manifest and open adultery of the said Margaret Ann be, and is hereby henceforth, wholly dissolved, annulled and made void.
- So he got it? - Yes, he did.
This is the actual act.
He was successful.
Richard Campbell Bazett, it's amazing.
- You can see the date as well, so - 13th of March, 1809.
And then this is a really important bit of the act.
Oh, right, OK.
That it may be lawful for Richard Campbell Bazett at any time to marry in the lifetime of the said Margaret Ann, as if she was actually dead.
- As if she was actually dead.
- Nice.
Right, OK.
So this is very clear, March 1809, he can move on and marry again.
So hopefully he now goes to find Sarah Well, there is a twist in this tale.
The next thing I would like to show you is Richard's will.
See the date, here? 17th of January 1833 - Yes.
- So over 20 years after the divorce? That's right.
This is the last will and testament of one Richard Campbell Bazett I can't read the rest of it.
I give and bequeath my property to be divided between my beloved wife.
Sarah Bazett, OK, and my beloved sons William Young Bazett, Charles Young Bazett, Henry Young Bazett, Richard Young Bazett, and Alfred Young Bazett.
- So five.
- Yes.
Five boys.
- Charles is the one that I'm descended from.
- So, we have Charles And these are Charles' cadet papers, dated 1827, stating that he's the right age to join the Army.
So I, Charles Young Bazett, do make oath and swear that from the information of my parents that I was born on 12th of September in the year 1807.
OK, so - Yes.
- 1807? Er, hang on a minute.
No.
Richard? - Oh, my God.
- Charles Young Bazett is born in 1807, and, of course, the divorce is not granted until March 1809.
So, Richard Has made a big deal about his first wife being - Unfaithful.
- Yes.
- How awful and shocking and terrible.
Meanwhile, he's definitely having it away with Sarah.
I liked him a little while ago, Richard, but now what a hypocrite.
Hang on, which son is Charles? - Which number is he? - So Charles is number two.
- So, William - So there is an older son, William.
William is baptised in January 1806, and it's the summer of that year that Margaret is accused of beginning the affair with Frederick.
OK, so I'm descended from Charles, their second son.
- Do we know anything else about Charles? - Well, I've got this.
This is from the 1871 census, many decades later.
We're in Reading now Charles Bazett, head - Head of household? - That's right.
Married.
Lieutenant Colonel, Indian Army, retired.
Oh, so he did get through? - He did get into the Army.
- Yes, he did, and it tells us where he was born.
- Middlesex, London.
Harriot Wife.
63 Well, I suppose I knew he had a Some sort of relationship, otherwise I wouldn't be here.
But one, two, three servants.
- Oh, how lovely.
- So they're very comfortably retired.
With three servants.
So Harriot is my great, great, great grandmother? - That's right.
- And Harriot was born East Indies kissing - Something.
- Kishanganj is what it says there.
I don't know.
I've never heard of that.
It's a fairly remote town in the north-east of India.
And it's interesting that Harriot is born at Kishanganj in 1807.
And, see, I had no idea that my family had any connection to India at all.
So it might be interesting for you to go to Kishanganj to find out more about Harriot, your three times great-grandmother.
- Have you been to India before? - No.
I'm not very brave.
I don't go anywhere.
Norfolk, that's it.
OK.
Wait till I tell my mum this.
Olivia has discovered that her great, great, great grandmother Harriot was born in Kishanganj, in the Indian state of Bihar in 1807.
To get to Kishanganj, Olivia must travel to the north-east of India close to the border with Nepal.
It's very misty at the moment.
Much greener than I imagined.
Ashish, what farms are these? - Tea, madam.
- So cool.
Look, this is all Darjeeling tea.
I'm in India.
It would appear that you can overtake on either side of the road And there's a lot of horn tooting.
Outside of a bend.
I think that's probably the most used bit of the car.
Which side of the road was he on? Isn't this a dual carriageway? The thought that members of my family have lived here is amazing.
It's just such a long way to come.
Olivia's great, great, great grandmother, Harriot, was born in the early 1800s before British imperial rule in India.
At the time, British involvement in India was through the East India Company, a corporation with a monopoly on exotic goods from the east, with regional headquarters in Calcutta.
The East India Company used an extensive fleet of ships, minted its own coins, and had its own armies which grew to be twice the size of the regular British Army.
By the time of Harriot's birth, the Company's authority stretched deep into the interior of India.
And this is Kishanganj, madam.
Oh, cool.
It's much busier than I thought it would be.
This fruit and veg looks beautiful.
I do like the little outfits that some of the goats have.
This is amazing.
Just think, my great, great, great grandmother, Harriot, was born here 200 years ago.
Today, Kishanganj is a city of over 100,000 people.
When Olivia's ancestors were here, it was a village.
Olivia has come to the former British club in Kishanganj to meet historian Anna Rada Chatterjee.
Hello, Namaste.
- Namaste, Miss Chatterjee.
- Welcome to Kishanganj.
- Thank you very much.
- I have somepapers to show you.
- Should we take a look? - Yeah, thank you.
- Please.
- Thank you.
Well, the first thing we have is a marriage certificate.
Harriot's marriage certificate, and it's got her father's name.
Slessor, William Slessor.
So she was Harriot Slessor before she married Charles Bazett.
Yes, and this tells you more about William Slessor.
- Born in 1778.
- So, as you could see, he travelled a lot around India, with the Army, belonging to the East India Company.
He was involved in various wars, and by 1804, he becomes a captain.
And ultimately, we know that he came here to Kishanganj.
OK, and Harriot was born here? So, do you know anything about William's domestic life here, who he married? Well, that's the strange thing.
We could not find either a marriage certificate for William or a birth certificate for Harriot.
OK, so what does that mean? The strong possibility is that, Harriot's mother was not British and that very likely, very probably, she was a local lady.
In the early 19th century, I don't think British women would have come to the interior of India.
This would be way too far out.
So it was very common that East India Company officials would actually live with local women.
I assumed would be coming to find records about English people from But not that my great, great, great Great great great great grandmother is Indian? Oh, that's so exciting.
- From here? - Yes.
- From Kishanganj? - Yes, very probably.
She's Indian? Oh, this is so exciting.
I'm so much more interesting than I thought I was.
It's estimated that in the later part of the 18th century, a third of British men in India were living with, and often having children with, Indian women.
- What is this? - It's an administrative list of William Slessor's possessions, telling us about their lives here.
One small writing desk, one paper slice, one rule It's so detailed.
Two papers of ink powder.
- Hookah pipe? - Yes, do you know what hookah is? Is that the big, the pipe? - Smoking - Smoking tobacco through water.
- Through the yeah.
- So, swords 27 pairs of pantaloons.
So I suppose it's a different time, isn't it? Corks with silver tops, Bible and prayer book, Hindustani grammar, and the volumes of Shakespeare's works.
It's just amazing, isn't it? Bottle of madeira and a hookah pipe.
It sounds lovely, doesn't it? That's so funny, quite near the bottom of the list, one one elephant.
Elephant.
- Elephant? - A real elephant? - That's right, a real elephant.
Are you kidding? This gives me an amazing picture of the life that Harriot was born into.
Two languages, bits of silver on corks and an elephant.
A great mixture of Britain and India.
- Yeah, it sounds beautiful.
- It does.
But it doesn't last very long.
The Madras Courier of February last, contains the following article.
We are extremely concerned to relate a melancholy accident that happened to Captain Slessor, so that's William, at Kissengunge.
Captain Slessor was out shooting.
His gun, having misfired, he had just re-primed when the gun went off, and its contents passing through his head.
He was killed on the spot.
So this is 1810.
How old would Harriot have been? Three or four years old.
Oh, no.
Yes, so really young.
So considering we think they weren't married, what happens? Do we know anything about what happens to Harriot and her mum? Well, we don't know what happened to her mummy, but about Harriot, we do have some information.
There's a letter from a lawyer So, In cash paid out on account of Miss Harriot Slessor, to Captain Fairfax for Miss Slessor's voyage to England 1,400 sicca rupees In fact, her grandmother, William's mother, who was also called Harriot, actually paid for Harriot to be taken from India and brought to England.
- Aged three or four? - Aged three or four.
Did the mother have any say in the matter? I think it most unlikely that her mother would have had any rights over her.
On the other hand, she might have been happy that Harriot was going somewhere where she would have a good life.
We don't know.
The thing that I just find sad is that she's so little.
She's not far off the age of my youngest.
Going to the other side the world.
Wondering where Daddy's gone, without your mummy But hopefully, hopefully she has a happy time and they'll love her.
So we don't know about Harriot's mum? We don't know what happened to her? We don't know specifically what happened to her mother, no.
So, little Harriot is here in Kishanganj, and the grandmother wants to get her back to England.
How does she start? Who How does that work? Well, she'd have to go to Calcutta, which is almost 500 kilometres from here.
Gosh, that's such a thing to do, isn't it? The thought that Harriot's mum came from here, so I might have relatives here is really exciting.
And then little Harriot's life is a proper bittersweet thing.
Her father's died, and the intervention of Harriot's grandmother, I suppose, obviously, it makes sense.
It gave her a better life in England, and I'm so pleased somebody wants to love her.
The thing I feel most sad about is that we don't know Harriot's mummy.
We don't know her name.
We'll never know if she had much say in it, but she gave up her daughter for hopefully, for the best reasons, knowing that, you know, she wouldn't see her again.
It's hard.
So, next, I want to find out about Harriot's journey.
I want to know that she's OK.
Olivia knows that little Harriot, following her father's death in 1810, was sent from Kishanganj to England.
Her grandmother, also called Harriot, paid for her passage.
Harriot would have started her voyage in the city of Calcutta.
At the time, it was the grand capital of the British East India Company.
It's a very big city.
These roads are one, two, three, four, five lanes wide on either side.
It's enormous.
And for me, it's a culture shock, coming from Kishanganj, so for Harriot, it must have been altogether different kettle of fish.
All the sights and sounds.
So many more people.
I wonder if it was exciting, or scary, but certainly a big, big difference for her.
Thank you.
To begin her journey to England, Harriot would have come to the Hooghly River.
There were no passenger ships between India and England at the time.
Passengers had to travel alongside cargo on the East India Company's ships.
The voyage was expensive.
Harriot's grandmother would have had to pay many thousands of pounds in today's money to bring her to England.
To find out about Harriot's journey, Olivia is meeting Dr Sudip Bhattacharya.
So, Olivia, we are lucky enough to have found a record of the ship that Harriot travelled on.
- Oh, my God.
- You've got a passenger list? - Yes.
List of ship's company, James Fairfax Esquire, Commander Oh, I hope he's nice.
There are a lot of people.
And over here, if we like to take a look at the list of children here This is amazing.
OK, children Miss Charlotte Softie, that's a sweet name, six years, five years Harriot Slessor.
Here it says seven years old.
I thought she was three or four.
These would be approximate ages, and they wouldn't have referred to any documents.
- Oh, so they were just sort of guessing? Yes.
But again, we have something very interesting.
Children not accompanied by parents would be accompanied by servants.
- Right.
- We don't know if Harriot was accompanied.
There certainly isn't an attendant listed for her, as you can see.
- She's on her own, really? - She's certainly on her own and she has travelled on her own.
- Oh, that's really sad.
OK, so who is looking after her? Probably some other lady who was accompanying her children would be requested to look after her, to care for her.
- Surely, someone would look out for her? - Probably somebody.
Right, so, hopefully, I'm hoping that someone takes her under their wing.
I keep saying, She's going home to England, but of course, she's not.
- She's leaving her home - She's not really going home to England, but - going to an alien country.
- Yes.
And imagine her all alone.
- Yes, all right, don't - She's been taken out from Kishanganj, brought to Calcutta.
It's a huge impact, and then, there she is on the ship.
- With no mummy, no daddy, on a ship.
And how long was the journey that she had to? - It would take about six months, so - Six months.
Around six months.
All the way to Britain.
Oh, it's really sad, isn't it? Little girl.
I've got quite little children, so I get really emotional about it.
Yes, but the good news is that she got there safely, as you can see.
She disembarked at Longreach, just outside London, on the 20th of May.
So do we know where she went from there? There's no more information in the shipping records.
That's all the information we have.
All right.
Thank you very much.
Finding out about Harriot's journey was a shock.
The thought of, you know, a tiny person going, and six months.
Hopefully, other families took her under their wing.
But I do feel like I'm finding out about this little person who did become.
Without her, I wouldn't be here.
I feel quite invested in finding out what happened to her next, and hopefully it's happy and good, or I'm leaving.
Olivia has come to meet Professor Rudrangshu Mukherjee who has more information about Harriot.
- Hello.
- Hello, welcome.
I'm Rudrangshu.
Hello.
Lovely to meet you, Olivia.
- Come inside.
- Thank you so much.
- This is lovely.
- Yes, it is.
It's a quaint hotel.
The last I heard is that my great-great-great-grandmother, Harriot, landed in London in 1812, and I wanted to know what happened to her after that.
Well, this is the first mention we have of Harriot in England.
This is the last will and testament of one Louisa Girardot.
I give to my great-niece, Harriot Slessor, the granddaughter of my said sister, Harriot Elizabeth Slessor, and now residing with Miss Mills, Park Street, Bristol.
She's gone to Bristol? The sum of £300.
A lot of money, in those days.
£300.
Well, I hope her luck is changing.
So, this is Harriot's grandmother's sister, her great aunt.
- Great aunt, yes.
- Louisa.
Is bequeathing £300 sterling.
So she knew about her, so everyone knew about her.
That's lovely.
With Miss Mills, who's that? Miss Mills ran a boarding school in Bristol, and, presumably, Harriot was a pupil there.
OK, and how old is she here? Well, this will is 1824, which makes Harriot 17, 18, something like that.
But if you go on reading, there is an addition to the will, four years later.
I leave to Harriot Slessor, the granddaughter of my sister, Slesser, £500 in addition to the £300 bequeathed to her by my will.
I'm imagining now enormous affection between these two? The great aunt and the great-niece.
800 quid, do you now what that is in today's money? I think it's about, roughly, £40,000.
40,000.
It actually makes her quite a rich girl.
Her luck has changed.
I'm so pleased.
Really her luck has changed.
So she's about 21 now, and now has her own money, and do we know what happened to her after that? We do have some information of what she does with that money.
- A few years down the line.
- OK, list of passengers.
This is from the Calcutta Magazine and monthly register, 1832.
This is a list of passengers who have arrived by ship in Calcutta from England.
So if you look at the ship Orient.
Ship Orient, Mrs Caroline Valpy, Mrs Jane Dickson, Georgiana Rickets.
Harriot Slessor.
That's exciting, so she's gone she's gone back to India.
She comes back here to Calcutta.
She is around 24, 25.
This is a massive investment, isn't it? Of her fortune, to come back here.
So there must be very strong reasons and motives.
One possibility is she came back to seek her roots, as it were, where she came from, if she could find her mother.
The other possibility is she seems to have been of mixed parentage, Anglo-Indian.
And she might be looking to find a suitable husband, and it's easier for her to find a husband in India, because of her background, than in England.
Interesting tittle tattle here is it was very common for English women in the late 18th, early 19th centuries to make this journey to look for a husband.
In fact, the Calcutta slang for many of these ships coming into port was The Fishing Fleet.
And those who went back without a husband, were called, Returned empty.
- Oh, no.
- That's so So we don't know whether Harriot was fishing or not fishing, or she was coming back for her roots.
I hope she has fun, and do you know if she has fun? - She has a lot of fun.
- Does she? Come on, Harriot.
In fact, this visit is a turning point in her life.
- Oh, good.
- And that's You're my favourite so far.
That next document will reveal to you.
Marriages, 1832.
On this third day of April 1832, William Trigge Garrett, Lieutenant, bachelor, and Harriot Slessor Hang on, so who is William Trigge Garrett? I thought my great-great-great-grandfather was.
- Charles Bazett? - This is Harriot's first husband.
And in 1832, she did that very quickly I think it would be worth your while to look at the passenger list of the Orient once again.
You read only after Harriot Slessor.
Harriot Slessor, Laura Dungan, Ann May, Charlotte Logie, Lieutenant W Garrett.
- They met on the ship.
- They met on the ship.
And then they got married as soon as they got there.
- So she didn't return empty.
- No, she really didn't.
- She's the best fisherman on the ship.
- So it probably was a ship romance.
This is so exciting.
And do we know what happened to them next? Yes, we do.
Sacred to the memory of William Trigge Garrett, Lieutenant, Bengal Artillery who departed this life 25th of July 1833, aged 29.
Oh, after a year of marriage.
She's back to her lonely self again.
Poor Harriot.
It seems like everybody dies.
So now she's a young woman, mid 20s.
What was it like for a young British widow in India? Well, the life of a widow in19th-century India, even for an English widow, couldn't have been easy.
This was not the place for single women.
- A woman on your own.
- Yeah, on your own.
Right.
Well, that was amazing, to find out that Harriot came back to India, the country she was born in, hopefully, shows that she did, in some way, hold it dear.
That there was some warm place where it started out happy, and maybe it'll be that again.
And then this, again, this roller-coaster thing.
She falls in love, and within a year, her beloved is dead.
It just really highlights what a, sort of, pretty rough hand she's been dealt.
She seems to have spent her life on her own from the age of three or four.
The thought that she's now alone in this country, and only in her mid-20s, I think pretty daunting.
I can't I can't imagine.
After her first husband's death in 1833, Harriot fades from official records for a number of years.
Her life as a young widow in India left little trace.
To try to pick up her story again, Olivia has come to St John's Church, in the centre of Calcutta.
She's meeting Professor Rachana Chakraborty.
Hello.
Professor Chakraborty? - Hello.
- Hello.
Amazing place.
Yes, this was the first public building of the English East India Company.
- Oh, really.
And I think your ancestors must have known this place.
That's amazing.
Yes, great.
So the last thing I knew about Harriot is that she was widowed just over a year after she got married.
Mid-20s.
And so I want to know what happens next.
This is a letter, written by Charles Young Bazett, her second husband.
My great-great-great-grandfather.
- Yes.
- Cheltenham, August 14th, 1838.
To my dear Richard He was writing to his brother.
The letter reveals that Charles Bazett first met Harriot in India and fell in love with her there.
But Harriot had turned him down.
Four years later, they met again.
I see I am to give some account of my meeting with my beloved H in this country.
So that's Harriot.
So she goes back? Yes, she goes back to England.
Charles meets her once again when he visits the brother of Harriot's first husband.
When I arrived at his house, he had only just received a letter from Harriot, in answer to one inviting her to come and pass a month with him there.
She came.
I felt awkward enough in meeting her, but did not discern the least awkwardness in her, but which I hoped I might have seen.
I saw no prospect of being anything but a friend to Mrs G.
- So that's Mrs G, Mrs Garrett, Harriot? - Yes.
When one Friday evening, I nearly half by chance took her hand as it was lying As it was lying on the couch and pressed it.
It was almost immediately withdrawn Oh, no.
But not instantaneously.
A minute afterwards, she slightly changed her position, and after this I love it, that he's telling his brother everything.
I took her hand again, and allowed mine to remain touching it for some time, and I did fancy that once or twice there was a little motion, which might have said, I am not indifferent to you.
.
It's straight from a Jane Austen novel.
It really is, isn't it? We were summoned to tea, and I did not find any opportunity of talking any more with my fingers, till Saturday evening, when having determined to be more decisive, I pressed her hand, and she returned the pressure and stroked my hand in turn.
We were again called to tea, much to my annoyance.
Something was brought to H, Harriot, to ask her opinion, and getting behind her chair, I put my head down as close to hers as I dared You can just feel it, can't you? And felt the warmth of her person on my face, while thus her head moved slowly towards me, and she rested on me.
I felt half mad.
The Sunday following, for half an hour we were alone together, and then she said she loved me.
Oh, gosh, it's so lovely.
- So it happened.
- It happened.
Can you imagine how lovely for him as well, she loves me.
We should just stop the programme now.
I don't want to hear anything bad about Harriot.
- So what happened next? - They got married.
And would you like to see a photograph? You're kidding? Oh, I might cry Oh, after all this time.
- Have you seen this photograph? - Oh, my goodness.
That's them.
- Yes.
- Oh, my word.
At the time of marriage, they were both 31.
Found love.
That's Harriot.
She's lovely, isn't she? And I think you can really see that she's mixed parentage.
Yes.
It is undeniable that she was partly Indian, yes.
- You see it? - Yes, yes.
The colour of the hair, and the eyes.
Oh, my God.
I can't believe there's a photograph of her.
So they got married.
- And what happens to them next? - You come with me.
- I'll help you with that.
- OK.
Where are we going? - More surprises coming.
- Oh, so exciting, it's too much.
Following their marriage in September 1838, Harriot and Charles returned to India, where Charles continued his career in the Army.
On their arrival in Calcutta, they embarked on a journey upriver.
Charles once again wrote to his brother.
September 21st, 1839.
- So this is - About a year.
A year or so after they get married, OK.
My dear Richard, after a long, very long Er - That will help you.
- Brilliant.
A friend and school fellow of Harriot's, who is married to the surgeon at the civil station, has asked her to be confined there - OK.
- Now you understand why? So she's having a baby.
- Yes.
- Oh, how lovely.
And now, if you come to the end of the letter.
- Yes? - You will notice a change in the handwriting.
I must add a few lines to my dear Charles's letter to say what he has omitted, that we are, by the mercy of our God, both quite well - So is Harriot writing this now? - Yes.
That's sweet, that they're reading over each other's shoulders.
I feel most thankful we have left Calcutta, as whilst we were there, preparing for our river trip, my dear husband underwent a great deal of exposure, which made me rather anxious.
So she was really worried hat she was going to lose him.
- Really worried, yes.
- Because the experience she has had, through all of the awful things that had happened to her, everyone has - She's lost everyone.
- Yes.
So, was the baby all right, delivered safely? - Yes, it was safe and sound.
- Oh, good.
Richard Bazett, son of Charles Young Bazett and Harriot, his wife, was baptised at Krishnanagar.
These are the successive children that they had.
Mary Bazett, baptised 1845, Kurnaul.
Which is in Punjab.
Charles Bazett.
India, again.
And Fanny Bazett, 12th of August 1849.
- In Mhow.
One, two, three, four.
Oh, how lovely.
So they stayed in India? - Yes.
- Had all of their children there.
But I think they were enjoying a big family.
Because Harriot didn't have much of a family.
She's been on her own, all this time.
Now she's found someone she loves, who loves her back.
Big family, lots of children.
It's all working out very well.
Yes, I remember now that in the Houses of Parliament, I saw the census, 1871, they had Harriot and Charles living in Reading, but now to find out that they've done all of this.
What an amazing life Harriot's ended up having.
I keep thinking about her grandmother.
If it wasn't for her grandmother, who she was named after, what would have happened? - Do you know anything about her? - I don't know much, but Harriot's grandmother was Harriot Elizabeth Slessor.
- Yes.
I know that she had made a will, and it contains a long list of bequests.
But I think you'll be interested in the closing lines.
To Charlotte Slessor, I bequeath £50.
To India Harriot, I leave 50.
Ah, they called her India Harriot.
So that's her nickname.
So she always knew India was where she was from.
That's she's different from the rest.
India Harriot.
She is extra special.
- Yes.
- That's lovely.
So, Olivia, I have very interesting book about Harriot Elizabeth Slessor, and Slessor family.
This book is based on original documents, and these documents are owned by a descendant of the Slessor who are right now in Scotland, the Highlands of Scotland.
And I think you should go to see these letters, to find out more about your ancestors.
OK.
The Highlands of Scotland.
It's so exciting.
Before this, I hadn't got a clue that India played any part in my family.
Harriot's overall story is just incredible.
I was very surprised at how much I ended up caring about her - someone I'd never heard of before, then to find out that her mum was a local Kishanganj woman, that was the most exciting bit, I think.
When I realise it's tangible that her grandson is my mum's grandad, which means we've all touched each other's hands throughout time, going back into time, you can almost And that, that really brings it home, that she was real.
What I knew about my family was that it was all English maybe there was a Frenchwoman somewhere in the past.
Now I definitely feel more exotic.
I've loved being here, and don't really want to go.
I've loved it so much.
But now to Scotland, in search of Harriot's grandmother.
Harriot's father, William, was the son of Harriot Elizabeth Slessor, the grandmother who brought little Harriot to England.
It was Harriot Elizabeth's sister, Louise Girardot, who left Harriot a generous bequest.
Olivia has come to Scotland to track down another present-day descendant of Harriot Elizabeth, who she hopes will have more information about her.
So here we are in Scotland.
Quite different, I think you'll agree, to Calcutta.
So what I've learned now, now I've spent some time in a Calcutta taxi, is that the only way to drive is like that.
So I've made contact with another descendant of the Slessors, and I'm hoping he might have more information about Harriot's grandmother and her family.
So we're on our way there now.
Hello, Geordie? - Yes, hello.
- Hello, Olivia.
- How nice to meet you.
- Thank you so much for having me.
- Welcome to the Highlands.
Come on in.
- Thank you very much.
- Thank you very much.
I've never - Did you enjoy India? Loved it.
Yes, it was amazing.
Now, Olivia, come with me.
I've dug some stuff out for you, which I think you will enjoy.
Thank you.
Give me your coat there.
- Thank you very much.
- I'll look after that for you.
Do you know how we are related? Because I couldn't work it out.
Well, yes, because I've dug up these documents.
It's done me a good turn, because I had to look at them all again, and I think I'm pretty sure of this now, that we're both five generations down from Harriot Elizabeth.
Oh, OK.
Because Harriot Elizabeth, she changes the course of my great-great-great-grandmother Harriet's life, brings her to England when her father dies, but she's sort of in the background doing things, and I want to know more about her.
I've got a portrait of her for you.
- And I can tell you a lot about her.
- What, an actual picture picture? Sure, sure.
Here she is.
She's a splendid looking person.
It's very faded, but she's very much there, isn't she? - Beautiful picture.
- With her bonnet and her fichu.
It's so lovely to see her.
She had a very extraordinary life.
Harriot Elizabeth lived most of her married life in Portugal, where her husband was serving in the Army.
She left a series of diaries and letters, starting in the late 18th century, which were later typed up.
A bit I think you'd be really interested in is when Harriot Elizabeth brings her two sons.
William, aged nine - Harriot's father.
- And his elder brother John Henry, aged 11, to school in England.
She spent nine months trying to find the right school, and you get the sort of complete devotedness she had to her children.
And here we are.
These letters are written to John.
- So you is John? - Yeah, her son, yeah.
You and William were come to an age for school.
How to reconcile the act of separation? And here is the day she leaves, and she has to say goodbye to them and return to Portugal, to her husband and their three younger siblings.
Mrs Girardot Oh, Mrs Girardot, so I know her name.
That's Harriot's grandmother's sister, Louisa Girardot.
So she left a small fortune for India Harriot.
She left a small fortune? Oh, I love that.
Mrs Girardot was the only sister I might venture to hope might take you home for the holidays.
The chaise was at the door to take us away.
Oh, that's the coach.
I could not resist the impulse.
We were both crying in each other's arms This is awful.
I exclaimed, look at my dear boys.
So, that's the same age as my boys.
Do but say you will be kind to them.
If you knew the pang I feel at parting with them you will not refuse some comfort by the answer I so anxiously wish for.
You might have to carry on.
Mrs Girardot seemed as much afflicted as I was.
She promised all that was kind.
- Oh, good.
- Absolutely.
It's brilliant, this, isn't it? - And would act as a mother towards you.
Strictly, she kept her word.
Yes.
Well, I didn't know that.
It's obviously, it's very distressing, but it does come across how much she loved them.
You sort of always assume, don't you, that people have told her, Pull yourself together, chin up, stiff upper lip, and it's so nice to see her Well, it's not nice that she But they've obviously suffered the same pain as we did, and they didn't always keep their mouths shut.
She's telling it, she's really expressing how she felt.
At least she had her sister there, I suppose.
It's wonderful that she had her there.
So one painful departure is very tough for you, but I'm afraid you've got another one here, Olivia, when she was also saying goodbye to her mother.
So Harriot Elizabeth's mother? Yeah, who she didn't see very often, because she lived in Oporto, and her mother lived in London.
She was an old lady.
She was 81, and she was saying goodbye to her.
And it's probably easiest if you actually read from here.
You will not have forgot the distress of parting with my mother So still talking to John, William's brother.
And how difficult it was to tear ourselves from her last embrace.
She lamented that she would never see us more.
I think I see her, sitting in her wheelchair, with a little black bonnet pulled over her eyes to hide her tears, for she was crying bitterly.
So this poor woman.
Do you know more about her, and what her name was? Indeed, and I've got a portrait of her upstairs.
- Would you like to see it? - Yes, please.
- Come on, let's go.
- Shall I bring this? - Bring that with you.
- Just in case.
You never know how long you might need it for.
Splendid.
Follow me, Olivia.
We've got all the ancestors up here.
And the one you're interested in is her, up there.
And we're going to get a proper look at her.
Here she is.
Ann Judith Bristow.
We left her, the old lady with the bonnet, to hide her tears.
Yeah.
There she is when she's married, I guess.
- Young woman.
- 1740s, I think.
That's her.
And that's her husband, John Bristow.
MP in Norwich, in Norfolk.
No.
Because my dad's family are all from Norfolk.
So Ann Judith Bristow is my great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother.
And Ann Judith, she wasn't born British.
She was naturalised, and this is the document that explains her naturalisation.
Very shortly after her marriage.
In this present Parliament assembled, Ann Judith Bristow, wife of John Bristow Esquire, and daughter of Paul Froisain Froisain.
By Louisa, his wife, born at Paris in the Kingdom of France.
- French? - Yes, 100%.
So she's the Frenchwoman? Oh, my God.
And why was she having to be, or wanting to be, naturalised? - She was a French Huguenot.
- She was Protestant? She was a French Protestant.
From the late 17th century, tens of thousands of Huguenots fled oppression in Catholic France and sought refuge in Britain.
In fact, the French Huguenots were the first refugees who carried the name refugee, - Really? At the very beginning of this, my mum said, I think there's somebody was French once, but I thought it was more recent.
I love the idea that families remember things, this long back - but they don't write it down - They didn't remember that anyone was Indian, but they thought there was a French woman, once.
How exciting.
It's been an incredible journey of discovery, to find out about the family that I never would have known about, and I have loved that feeling, of feeling like a It feels like we're honouring them.
I thought there was nobody exotic in my family, ever.
I was so wrong.
And the spread over the world.
Portugal, India, France, and St Helena, that I had to look up on a map, because I had no idea where that was.
I had no idea.
And it is so fragile.
Once you're gone, you don't want to be forgotten.
I suppose I've always considered myself not adventurous, but then I've neverbeen tested, like they were tested.
And when they were up against it, they did what they had to do.
It's really humbling.
I'm still incredibly proud of being from Norfolk, that will never go, but it's so exciting finding out this stuff.
It gives you a little bit of, er, confidence, and I've got to try and be a little braver now, so I don't let them down.