Four generations from across world in get-together with relations

This Is Wiltshire: The Berretts at their reunion and, above, a sign promoting their get-together The Berretts at their reunion and, above, a sign promoting their get-together

A family who can trace their ancestors in the Pewsey Vale as far back as 1651 got together at the Bear Hotel in Devizes last week.

Forty-one Berretts, representing four generations from all over the world, including the USA and Canada, swapped memories and photos at the event. Some were meeting for the first time.

Tim Berrett, a music teacher from Alfriston, near Eastbourne, organised it with his cousin, Linda Dutton, who lives in London.

He said: “The villages of All Cannings, Alton Priors, Honey Street, Wilcot and Wootton Rivers were where our ancestors once lived. They mostly worked in the fields, as labourers and shepherds. Life was hard and the working day long.

“Unfortunately, there are no Berretts left in the Pewsey Vale. Most had fled for the towns in search of work by the beginning of the 20th century.

“The industrial and agrarian revolutions meant many people moved from the country to towns like Swindon and even as far as London. Linda and I have been working on the family get-together for almost a year and the family tree for years more.

“Due to the strong Wiltshire accent, the name Berrett is often written as Barrett, Borrett or Birrett. A century and longer ago, most of our forbears were illiterate so they didn't know how to spell their own names, addresses or occupations. This meant enumerators had to simply write the information down as they heard it.

“People ask me when I will be finished with the family tree. The answer is, you never finish. There are always more dates and names to discover.

“The day was a great success and many of us met for the first time. Four generations were present.

“Photographs were shared and the conversation flowed.

“Everyone appeared to enjoy themselves for what was likely to be a one-off event, although we have promised to keep in touch.”

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