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Charles Waterton's Life and Family
Early Years - Home Life

Home Life

Charles Waterton's father, Thomas, was interested in natural history and outdoor pursuits. He was a keen huntsman. Although constrained by the laws against Roman Catholics from holding public office, such as a magistrate, he was well regarded by the other gentlemen of Yorkshire. He was a member of the committee seeking to construct the Barnsley Canal, which eventually linked Barnby Basin with the River Calder in Wakefield.

It was Thomas Waterton who demolished the earlier Walton Hall building, replacing it with the present hall.

Charles' mother, Anne Bedingfield, was a direct descendant of the ill-fated Sir Thomas More. Charles retained a loving memory of his mother throughout his life. He would speak of her deeds and high principles with affectionate reverence. (1)

An early escapade:
"When I was not quite eight years old, I had managed to climb upon the roof of an out-house, and had got to a starling's nest under one of the slates. Had my foot slipped, I should have been in as bad a plight as was poor Ophelia in the willow-tree, when the 'envious sliver broke'. The ancient housekeeper had cast her rambling eye upon me. seeing the danger that I was in, she went and fetched a piece of ginger-bread, with which she lured me down, and then she seized me as though I had been a malefactor." (2)

However, Charles did not spend a great deal of time at home. At the age of nine years, he was sent to a Roman Catholic school in the small village of Tudhoe in County Durham.

Notes
1. "Essays on Natural History", p.2, Charles Waterton, ed. Norman Moore, Frederick Warne & Co., Covent Garden, London.
2."Some Account of the Writer of the Following Essays by himself.", p. XX. Charles Waterton writing in the First Series of his Essays on Natural History, Chiefly Ornithology, New Edition. Longman, Brown, Longmans, & Roberts, London, 1857.

These incidents are related in several different editions of Charles Waterton's works.


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