Friday, June 5, 2009

Cranfield, England, 2009

Since we had an evening flight into London, we decided to stay over night in a hotel before driving into the country side in search of Dormer Cottage.  The next morning, we picked up our rental car and were headed to Aylesbury, then Stewkley.  We were expecting to get lost, but with my father's extremely accurate directions, we made it to Stewkley in less than an hour.  After exploring the area, we made our way to a pub for lunch(Story to follow later) then off to meet Jill at Dormer Cottage.   She gave us precise directions to Cranfield.  We decided to find our way there first.  Our intention was to attend Easter services there the following day and did not want to get lost or encounter any unexpected detours.  Thanks to Jill's directions, we successfully navigated through numerous roundabouts and narrow roadways to Cranfield.  The home of our ancestor, Thomas Wheeler and his family.  We met Hugh Thompson, the minister at the St. Peter and Paul Church.  He was more than happy to give us a tour and information about the Wheeler history in Cranfield.  His hospitality was generous and welcoming.  We greatly appreciated his help and were pleased to have met him.  The church was stunning.  We were standing in the actual building that our ancestors had been baptized and married in!! The feelings were emotional and hard to explain.  We made arrangements to return on the following day for Easter service.  I can't wait to return to the church with my son and share the experience with him as I shared with my own father on that April day.


  1. I love your story and photos!! Thank you so much for sharing. I think you should email the local historical society and share your blog with them...I think they would love it!!

  2. Was there a church graveyard? Most gravestone would be eroded by time and weather but it would be great to have just walked around it!

    I'd be interested in what the minister told you about the Wheeler history and whether it differed from R.A. Wheeler and his daughter Grace's accounts.

  3. Great blog and great stories! Midge sent me - she and I are Crandall cousins (and other lines too I am sure)

    Thomas MacEntee

  4. Midge, there was a graveyard at the church in Cranfield. The older stones were illegible. My records indicate that Thomas Wheeler's father and grandfather should be buried there. We also saw the gravesite of George Washington's niece. I'll post that picture soon. The minister didn't have a lot of information about the Wheelers, but said that several Wheeler's from America have visited in the past. All of the documents are archived in Bedford. We planned to go, but they were only open on certain days and we were unable to make the "window". Return trip is necessary! Are you a certified genealogist?

  5. Welcome to geneabloggers. I have also traveled across the pond to visit my homeland. My grandfather was born in Hartlepool, Durham Co., England.

  6. Wow,I just found the site and I love the photos. My ancester from Thomas Wheeler is throught his frist wife Dorothy Holloway and their fifth child Richard.
    Susan von Hellens
    Paradise Valley, AZ

  7. Susan, I am glad to know that we have found a commonality in our family histories! The Thomas Wheeler that you are descended from was most likely baptized in the church that we visited in England! Do you have any information about him?

  8. This is a terrific site and thank you for sharing your pictures. As it just so happens, my mother is currently there and just visited Bourne End this past weekend - and you are right, there is too much there for one visit!

    We descend from Thomas & Rebecca through Ephraim Wheeler, Thomas and down through the Samuels. I'd be curious to see where our family's "connect"

    Michele Hamilton
    Toledo, OH

  9. Hi Stephen, was googling something else and found your site. I am glad you enjoyed Cranfield, I have lived here for 6 years now and love it. THe history is amazing! The archive office is a great help, try this link and you will be amazed what you can find, the wheeler name comes up a lot!

    Drop me an email if if can be of any help.


    Gerry (

  10. Steven,
    I believe that I am a relative of yours, as a Thomas Wheeler was the first of our descendants to come to the U.S.A. in the 1600's. My father was the seventh David Wheeler and my brother the eighth. The first David Wheeler fought in the Battle of Concord Bridge during the revolutionary war. We journeyed over to the British Isles and Ireland in September and toured with Globus Touring Company. I did not get to Cranfield, as the tour did not cover this area. Would enjoy going again some time and visiting specific areas where my descendants lived. Lenore (Wheeler) Dieter

  11. A little more info. - My descendants came from
    Wiltshire and Bedfordshire, England in about 1638 principally because of the "Infamous Act of 1593" which mandated that all people above the age of 16 who obstinately refuse to attend divine services shall be committed to prison until they shall conform and make public confession of conformity. So their reason for coming to the U.S. was primarily for the purpose of religious freedom. They settled in Concord, Massachusetts. Don't know if you still access this site, but if so, and you are interested, my email address is Lenore (Wheeler) Dieter

  12. This link takes the Wheeler line back to 819. I think it may be close as it matches much of my other research. It has some very good leads at the least

  13. I have been doing my husband's geneology and I believe he is also connected to your Wheeler line. His grandmother was Ruth Wheeler of St. Clair, Michigan. It's amazing how far back the lineage has been traced! Thanks for the great Cranfield story. I look forward to doing that.

  14. Hi Steve. I believe we corresponded a few years back. I had dealings with a company on Cranfield University grounds and only after my retirement did I find out our Wheeler history from Crainfield. My wife and I visited there several years later. My Wheeler line comes from the first son, Thomas, father Thomas Wheeler the elder. Thomas sr. and his wife Ann Halsey came to Concord in 1638. I have Raymond David Wheeler's work, The Wheeler Genealogy, from old England and his 4 vol. set The Wheeler Genealogy, in New England. I would be happy to correspond.

    Jan Gunderson

    1. My father, the late Robert Wheeler Huffstodt (1907-1957) was descended on his mother's side from Thomas Wheeler, who came from Cranfield. I know a great deal about the American Wheelers, but nothing about their English ancestors. I'm very interested in communicating with other Wheeler descendants who would be willing to share what they know. My email address is:

  15. There is a Wheeler who is a hero: Alan Dexter Wheeler. Wheeler gave his life saving a young girl, but God took him. Well done, rest in peace. Alan Dexter Wheeler was a Colonel in the United States Army Air Forces and later United States Air Force, and was Professor Emeritus in Clemson University. He was cremated per request.

  16. Man! There is a newest Wheeler here: the son of David and Francine Wheeler was born! His name is Matthew Bennett Wheeler! The "Wheeler" dynasty is saved from extinction!