Before the Aston Estate was sold off circa 1928, it had been in the hands of the Verelst family since 1790. A descendent of the Verelst's, Sally Maceachern very kindly sent me some cuttings from the family archive of the coming of age party (i.e. 21st birthday) of Harry (Hal) Verelst in 1911. Photo below. Hal was to become a fatality of the first World War just 6 years later, as were so many local men. This is a glimpse into a lost Edwardian past of Aston and surrounds.
Present were (left to right, standing): Mr G Lister-Kay, Charles
Wilson, Mrs Broomhead, Hal (the birthday boy), Jack Walker, Nancy
Verelst (who compiled these photo's), Miss Atkins.
Sitting: Mr lister Kaye, Mr Turner, Mr & Mrs Verelst, Mildred Wilson, Mrs Firth, Mildred Cathcart, Aunt Gertrude, Miss Athorpe (see Thorpe Hall for more on the Athorpe's - allthough I don't know if this Miss Athorpe is a member of the family mentioned therein).
A newspaper of the time (I don't know which) reported:
The were rejoicings yesterday at Aston Hall, near Rotherham, in honour of the coming-of-age of Mr Harry Wilson Verelst, son of Mr Harry Verelst, the squire of the village.
The squire entertained the farm tennants, cottagers, and employees on his estate to luncheon and teab served in a large marquee which had been erected in the grounds fronting the hall. The children on the estate also were entertained to tea. In all the guests numbered over three hundred, and various games were provided for their amusement.
An interesting feature of the procedings was the presentation of two handsome gifts to the young squire, who is a lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards. The ceremony took place at the luncheon, the squire presiding over a company numbering nearly two hundred.
The gifts took the form of a silver salver presented by Mr Edward Turner on behalf of the farm tennants, and a dressing case, presented by Mr H Green on behalf of the servants at Aston Hall and the tradespeople of the village. With a good deal of enthusiasm the company toasted the health of Mr and Mrs verelst and family, and Mr Verelst in acknowledging the toast, recalled the fact that it was 44 years since he stood in the position in which his son stood that day. On that occasion he made serious promises with regard to his relations with those living around him, and he hoped he had been able to carry them out.
Mr. Verelst, junior, returned thanks for the gifts, and said he hoped to follow in his fathers footsteps. Mr and Mrs Verelst entertained a house party which included Miss Nancy Verelst, Mr H W Verelst, Mr Rodney Verelst, Mrs Bradley Firth, and Mrs Firth, Mr and Mrs Tom Wilson and son (Risrholme, Lincoln) and Miss Cathcart.
During the afternoon a cricket match was played between the Aston Hall team and a team chosen from amongst the guests. Peck's string band from Sheffield played for dancing, and the day's proceedings closed with a display of fireworks.
The Verelsts are one of the oldest and most popular county families in South Yorkshire. They are well known in sporting circles, and are members of the Wentworth Hunt. The present day head was fine cricketer in his younger days. As far back as 1868 he played for Yorkshire. He represents the best type of country squire, and those on his estate enjoy good conditions of tenancy.
Above left: Miss Steedman, the two Mrs Steedmens, Mr and Mrs Green. Right: 'A consultation'