Craig Revel Horwood - Who Do You Think You Are?

Fate and Fortune in Australia...


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Craig Revel Horwood discovers that his roots trace back to England from Australia in the second episode of the latest Who Do You Think You Are? Like many Australians he finds that he has convict ancestry; but he also discovers other forebears who migrated from the U.K. to seek their fortune in Australia.

Craig worked as a dancer, director and choreographer for some time before becoming well known to the viewing public in this country as one of the Strictly Come Dancing judges. While Craig is now a British citizen, he was born in Ballarat, Australia in 1965. He started his career as a dancer in Melbourne before making the move to London so that he could take advantage of the greater opportunities available in Britain. His father, Philip Revel Horwood, served in the Royal Australian Navy and passed away in 2015.

Craig Revel Horwood's father, Philip Revel Horwood - circa 1960s

Starting the research with his paternal line Craig finds out that his great-great-grandfather, Moses Horwood, had been a petty criminal from England. Moses was convicted at the Gloucestershire assizes and transported to Van Diemen's Land, present day Tasmania, as a convict in 1841. Searching through the criminal records collection on TheGenealogist we are able to find the record for Moses and see that he departed England on 1 December 1841 on the ship called the John Brewer.

Moses Horwood transportation records on TheGenealogist

We can also see an image of the actual convict transportation register from 1841 on TheGenealogist.

Moses Horwood, Craig's great-grandfather transported to Australia for 15 years in 1841

In the TV programme we learn that Craig's sister, Sue, has already discovered this information in her own research. When Craig is shown a picture of his great-grandparents, Charles Horwood and his wife, Craig's eye is drawn to just how well turned out they are.

Craig Revel Horwood's great-grandparents, Charles Horwood and Lizzie Belle - circa 1890s

Charles is the son of Moses Horwood, the one time convict, and by the time of the photograph Charles is married to Lizzie Bella Horwood neé Tinworth. Her grandfather, and therefore Craig's great-great-great-grandfather, was Charles Tinworth from Essex in England. His reason for sailing out to Australia in 1854 was a very different affair from Moses Horwood. Charles was seeking his fortune and his emigration was during the Australian Gold Rush when others like him travelled to the Australian colonies hoping to strike it rich. At first Charles Tinworth was unlucky and even went bankrupt after 10 years as a prospector.

By using TheGenealogist we can find Charles before he left for Australia, where in 1841 he is living under his father's roof in Elmdon, Essex. His parents were George Tinworth, who worked as a carrier from Elmdon, and his wife Mary whose maiden name would appear to have been Gamgee. A glance at the census for Elmdon identifies other Gamgee's whose occupations were also listed as carriers.

The Tinworths in Elmdon Essex 1841 census on TheGenealogist

Research in the Who Do You Think You Are? programme leads Craig to discover that Charles Tinworth continued to persevere as a gold miner after his bankruptcy in Australia. He then went into business with his brothers and then eventually his sons. After 20 years of mining, the Tinworth's fortune turned when they mined a 250 ounce gold nugget that was worth approximately a quarter of a million pounds in today's money. Charles Tinworth passed away as a wealthy man - but to Craig's disappointment none of his 3x great-grandfather's riches have been passed down to Craig's branch of the family.

"I think my dad would be so proud of his forefathers too, I just wish he was here now to see all of this."

Craig's 100 year old grandmother Phyllis (known in the family as "Phonse") lives in Perth, Australia and so it is there that Craig goes to investigate her side of the family. Phyllis's mother was Julia Shaw and as a result of her having sadly died in childbirth, Phyllis was raised in an orphanage in New South Wales. Craig discovers that her father's father – Craig's great-great-grandfather Harry Macklin Shaw – came from the cotton mill town of Ashton-Under-Lyne in north-west England and settled in Glenn Innes, New South Wales. Craig makes a trip there to find out more about Harry Shaw.

Craig Revel Horwood's great-grandfather, Harry Macklin Shaw - circa 1870s

Craig is thrilled when he finds out that, while Harry worked on a sheep station in the 1870s and 80s for a living, he was also a noted master of ceremonies at some of the local events. Following his family history journey takes Craig to the small town of Emmaville where he is pleased to find out that his ancestor was a performer in his own right. It is revealed in the TV programme that Harry was a champion clog dancer who had even performed in Sydney.

"...there is – finally – some theatricality in my blood!"

On hearing about Harry's experience in Sydney, Craig sees a connection between this and his own journey.

"He went to the big smoke to make it; that was Sydney of course. And I was in Ballarat, and I moved to what I called the big smoke, which was Melbourne. So to think that my great-great-grandfather has done the same thing is just madness!"

Craig finds out more from dance historian Heather Clarke who explains that clog dancing originated in the cotton mills of the north of England. In this part of the world, workers would have worn wooden shoes, in order to protect themselves from the damp floors in the region. The rhythms that they tapped out in imitation of the machinery in the factories where they worked then evolved into a popular dance form. It was this tradition that Harry excelled at in his new home in Australia. Heather is seen in the programme to hand Craig a medal. After reading the inscription written on it Craig learns that in 1871 his great-great-grandfather Harry was judged to be the clog dancing champion of Australasia!

"I wanted to follow my heart, my passion, my dreams of dancing, and it's just amazing to know that that actually runs in the family and in the blood. So it really has put a new twist on who I think I am"

Craig's family roots have taken him home to Australia where he found that his family tree goes back to Lancashire and Essex. He also found a convict transported from Gloucestershire, gold prospectors that eventually made it good and he finds out that he's not the first dancer in his family.

Sources:
Press Information from IJPR on behalf of the programme makers Wall to Wall Media
Extra research and record images from within TheGenealogist
BBC Images


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