Ernest Edward BRIGGS

Ernest Edward Briggs(374) was the youngest child of Henry Currer Briggs(198) and Catherine Shepherd(199) and so a first cousin of my great-grandfather Archibald Briggs(5). According to the pedigree drawn up by Noel Currer-Briggs, Ernest was born at Broughty Ferry, on the Firth of Tay near Dundee, in 1866, presumably at a time when his father was working at the family jute mills there. The IGI has his date of birth as 12 Jan 1866, but based only on a record submitted by a member of the LDS church, so original source unknown. His birth entry in the Scottish GRO records confirms this date of birth and gives the place as Broughty House, nowadays I believe a hotel. By the time of the 1871 UK census he was living back in Yorkshire (North Riding) at Glenhowe, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, with his parents and three of his siblings. By the time of the 1881 census he was a schoolboy, boarding in London at 112 Belsize Road, Hampstead, in the house of Charles Fowler, though I do not know which school he was attending. In the 1891 census he is living with his widowed mother at Pull Wyke House, on the western shore of Lake Windermere not far from Ambleside, and is described as an artist (painter).

In the notes at the beginning of the handlist of the contents of Special Collections MS 1309 (the K M Briggs collection) of Leeds University Library, is it explained that his ill health prevented him from taking a prominent part in running the family business, which, after his father's early death, was run by his two elder brothers. He was a painter in water colours, and had several pictures exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1909 he was invited to join the Lake Artists Society. He died in 1913.

In 1893 he married Mary Cooper(918) (1867-1956), and the marriage was registered at Tadcaster, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the Sep quarter of 1893 (vol.9c, page 1075). Mary's dates come from a pedigree compiled by Noel Currer-Briggs and I have no further details at present. The name is a fairly common one, so her entry in the GRO births index is not readily distinguishable.

According to the pedigrees compiled by Mary Southwell and Noel Currer-Briggs, Ernest and Mary Briggs had three daughters.

Children of Ernest Edward Briggs(374) and Mary Cooper(918)

Name Notes
Katharine Mary Briggs(919) Born 1898 (GRO births index Dec quarter of 1898, Hampstead, 1a, 624) and died in 1980 GRO deaths index Dec quarter 1980, Dover, 16, 1113). Did not marry. She was a writer and folklorist, and further information is given below.
Winifred Emma Briggs(920) Born in 1900. Watercolour artist. Did not marry. Died in 1962.
Elspeth Margaret Briggs(921) Born in 1902. Authoress. Died in 1961.

In 1910 Ernest and his family moved to Dalbeathie House, near Dunkeld in Perthshire, which he had had designed and built. According to his entry in the Scottish GRO deaths register, he died at Dalbeathie House on 04 Sep 1913, the informant being his brother Gerald O'Dwyer Briggs(372). So Ernest did not have many years to enjoy his Scottish residence.

Katharine Mary Edward BRIGGS

Katharine Mary Briggs was born on 08 Nov 1898, the eldest daughter of Ernest Edward Briggs(374) and Mary Cooper(918). There are two university collections of papers relating to her:

All three sisters were born in London, presumably at their father's house, 102 Fellowes Road, Hampstead. The Briggs money meant that none of the three sisters had to work for a living. Katharine, and her sisters, were keen on amateur theatricals, and Katharine on writing and story telling. Her first book, Legend of Maiden-Hair, was published in 1915, when she was still in her teens. She went to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and took her MA in 1926. During WW2 she served with the RAF, but I do not know in what capacity. After the war, she returned to academia and was awarded her PhD at Oxford in 1952. Her thesis notebooks (Folklore in Jacobean Literature) are in the possession of the de Grummond Collection (see above).

Her big scholarly work was the four volume A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, published by Routledge in 1970 I believe. There does not seem to be a complete list of her published works available on the web, but I am hoping that the biography of her by Hilda Ellis-Davidson may help in this respect.

Books by her include:

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© John Stowell 2004