Thursday, 31 March 2016

Week Thirteen: Curator and Gardener

Every gardener can tell you a slew of horror stories and a few beautiful stories.  “ I remember the year that storm knocked every plant down that stood more than 4”,  or “Last year my rose bush was so heavy with flowers and the smell was unbelievable.”   I can sympathise with anyone that wonders if they should just let the weeds take over the garden and call it “Going au Natural”.  I bow to anyone that has a perfect garden and my hat goes off to “Master Gardners”.

I was beyond pleased when I found a person in the family tree that was not only a Professional Gardner but had the esteemed position of being in charge of the highly acclaimed Vale Park!


Sarah Palin was born in 1779 in Wynbunbury, Cheshire to Thomas and Elizabeth Palin.
  (this is where the Red Line marries into the Burgandy Line)

Sarah marries a John Burston in Bunbury, Cheshire in 1797. Sarah then over the next 20 years has eleven children; Betty in 1798, Samuel in 1799, Joseph in 1801, John in 1804, Mary in 1806, Ann in 1808, James in 1810, William in 1813, Thomas in 1814, Henry in 1817 and Martha in 1818.

In the 1841 census we find Sarah and her husband, John, living in Wardle, Cheshire.  John’s occupation is farmer and there are five adult children still living at home; John age 35, occupation baker; Joseph age 35, occupation baker; Thomas age 25 occupation druggist, Henry age 20 occupation Farmer and Mary age 30.  Sarah dies in 1846 and her husband John dies in 1850.

Sarah’s son, Joseph Burston, marries Elizabeth Augusta Grinsell.   They have eight children; Sarah Augusta in 1839, Lewina Elizabeth in 1841, William Grinsell in 1842, Joseph in 1844, Elizabeth Maria in 1846, Sophia in 1847, Frederic Samuel in 1851 and Charles Warren in 1855.

In the 1851 census we find Joseph as a grocer, living in Bunbury with his wife and seven children.  This story now centers on the son William Grinsell Burston, great grandson to Thomas and Elizabeth Palin.



In the 1861 census we find that William has moved far from home and is living in Birkenhead.  He is a railway porter.  William marries a Mary Hughes in 1868 in Plemstall, Cheshire.

Then in the 1871 census we find William and Mary now living in Hoole and his occupation is gardener.  There are two children showing; Joseph age 2 and Elizabeth is 10 months old.

In the 1881 census William and Mary are now living in Higher Kinnerton, Flinstshire.  William is still listed as gardener.  There are now five children showing, Joseph age 12, Beatrice age 5, Elsie age 3, Frank age two and May is 10 months old.

 In the 1891 census William and Mary are now living in Liscard and William’s occupation is listed as Professional Gardener.  There are six children living in the home, Beatrice age 15, Frank age 12, May age 10, Ernest age 8, Cary age 6 and Sidney age 4.

In the1901 census William and Mary are living in Vale Park and his occupation listed is Curator for Public Park.  There are still six children in the home, Beatrice age 25, Elsie age 23, Mary age 20, Ernest age 18, Carrie age 16 and Sydney age 14.



In the 1911 census William is now a widower, still living in Vale Park and his occupation listed is still Curator of Public Park.  The six children from 1901 are still living with him but it is interesting to note that he had written that there were 14 children born in total and only six are still living.  William died at Vale Park in 1918.



  According to the Vale House website it is written

William Grinsell Burston was the first Head Gardener of Vale Park, though his title was Curator, perhaps reflecting the knowledge and expertise of someone in this position at the end of 19th century. He came to Liscard Vale as Head Gardener in 1890. When the estate was taken over by the council; ‘W.G' (as he was always known) stayed on and became Curator to the new Vale Park. Most of the laying out of the park, arranging the flower beds and paths, etc was undertaken by him. He was considered to be an expert Botanist, and spent many hours sorting seeds and discussing rare plants with specialists from Liverpool museum. W.G. died at Vale Park House in 1918.

Ernest Burston, W.G's son worked as a Vale Park gardener between 1918 and 1946 living with his wife in Vale House which had been converted into two flats following his father's death



On the History of Wallasey site they have

We probably have William Grinsell Burston, the first park gardener, to thank for the delightful flower beds and neatly trimmed lawns we see on early postcards and photographs. He was previously employed by the Holland family, who lived at Vale House estate. George Davison, born next to the park in 1914, remembers him. 'He was a nice, quiet chap, always helping visitors who asked for gardening tips.' William died at Vale House in 1918.




For those who are not familiar with Vale Park or have the opportunity to visit, the three minute video below will give a hint on what a beautiful place it is!



William’s children are not added to the tree.  In the interest of space and my sanity, I decided from the outset of the website that I would stick to the main branch of the family tree.  So any grandchildren of a Palin is listed but not great grandchildren.  I also don’t add inlaws.  For an example my father married a Palin but his parents and siblings are not added to this tree.




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