Genealogical Information


This page is not intended to duplicate the comprehensive information amassed about the Bates, Lucas, and Lawrence families (including a family tree) at:

Instead, it is intended to supplement that information with references from Bates's writings and other sources.


Lawrence, William, 1839-1891, and Mary Ann (Vaughan). Bate's paternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother.

As described by Bates in (Flowers and Faces 18): "My great-grandmother must have been born somewhere about 1840, so that she was between seventy and eighty when I knew her... She had thirteen children, bringing them up on some such damnable pittance as, I shouldn't wonder, thirteen shillings a week. I ought to point out that her husband held an important position: he was the town lamplighter." Besides Charles Lawrence (Bates's paternal grandfather), the Lawrence children included Tom, Walter, George, Frederick, Arthur, Alfred, Annie, and Nell, all of whom are captured in the Wainright family in The Feast of July (Baldwin 19). In Flowers and Faces (25-26) Bates would fondly recall Sunday visits to his great-grandmother's house.


George William Lucas, Maternal grandfather 1857-1932.

Bates's maternal grandfather and the most significant figure in his early years. "I grew my maternal grandfather's pocket, bonded in a great warm mutual affection, neither of us able in the other's eyes to do the slightest wrong" (Vanished World 8). A skilled hand-craftsman of shoes and boots who received special orders from London, a volunteer fireman, and a superb storyteller, he abandoned shoemaking several years before Bates's birth and moved from Higham Ferrers to farm five acres about a mile outside of town. Although the farm was "wickedly heavy, impossible to touch in winter, drying out to a surface of cracked concrete in summer" and "almost meant a sentence of penal servitude for my grandfather for the rest of his life it afforded me the foundation on which all the joys of my childhood, together with all my feeling and love of the countryside, is based" (Vanished World 17-18). He and his wife, Priscilla Bird Lucas, had two daughters Lucy Elizabeth Bates (Bates's mother), and Florence Lucas. Bates's experiences with Lucas, ranging from fruitpicking expeditions to planting potatoes, directly led to works such as "Alexander," The Fallow Field, and The Poacher and less directly influenced virtually all of Bates's depictions of the English countryside. More importantly, as analyzed thoroughly by Baldwin (21-25), Bates inherited many of his core values and pleasures from his grandfather: a love of stories; a freedom of opinion in politics and a concern for the poor; a disdain for organized religion; a love of nature and a comprehensive knowledge of flora and fauna, soil and farming; and the ability to observe nature in great detail and subtlety. "Essentially, Lucas's legacy to Bates was to instill in him an abiding love for the slower, unmechanized, and somehow more colorful world of turn-of-the-century rural England" (Baldwin 23). Lucas, responding to a fire in a boot factory around 1908, saved a baby from a cottage in which he himself had been born; that baby, Marjorie Cox, would be re-introduced to Lucas by Bates many years later: "if my grandfather approved and liked her all would be well. To my great delight he liked her instantly" (Vanished World 187). Bates married her in 1931. After the death of his wife in ???, Lucas declined and Bates recalls "more leisurely business, gathering water-cress, fishing, black-berrying, gathering herbs" (Vanished World 180). blossoming 84-5 wedding sorrowful field. dates?? link to silas? (1/05)

Priscilla Bird Lucas, maternal grandmother, 1857-1922.

In Vanished World (53) Bates writes: Back in Victorian days my grandfather had gone over the Bedfordshire border, to the tiny village of Souldrop, on the edge of the valley of the Ouse, to court his bride. No one was ever better named than Priscilla Bird. She looked indeed for ever like a bird: perhaps most aptly a wren, tiny, quick, bright-eyed, sharp, indefatigable. After the fashion of her day she went out, as a young girl, to service, one result of which was that she cooked superbly, another that her household was always scrupulously, miraculously clean." Bates recalls her bringing hot dinners and teas to him and his grandfather when they worked in the fields. Bates mentions two sisters of hers, Matilda, "who kept The Chequers Inn over the Bedfordshire border at the village of Yelden" and Mary Ann, in the village of Sharnbrook. Bates recalls the thatched cottage outside of Sharnbrook and the wood, which "remains, for me, a paradise" and the garden (Vanished 58). Mary Ann was married to Joseph Betts [link] "original of My Uncle Silas." died vw179, worked at Green Dragon 185 -- dates??] (1/05)

Charles Lawrence, Paternal grandfather, 1862-1942.

Bates's paternal grandfather, born around 1870 and died around 1949. The eldest of thirteen children, he had an "undeniable and fatal attraction for women...short and not particularly handsome, he may fairly be called a lady-killer, having caused my father's mother, a beautiful, proud, highly sensitive girl devoted to the world of nature, to die of a broken heart - literally - at the age of twenty-one" (Vanished World 7). Baldwin (18) describes Lawrence as "a somewhat mysterious character, known about Rushden as a dapper and dashing figure who spent his holidays in the south of France where he reputedly had a number of mistresses." Bates further mentions that Lawrence "had his own boot and shoe-making business [t:Knight and Lawrence, of which he was part owner], from which he not infrequently slipped away to the smoother, easier, more seductive life of warmer climates, notably the Mediterranean and later, permanently, to Australia [in 1910]...largely on the grounds of ill-health" (Vanished World 7, 67). Lawrence met Emma Bates around 1887 and when she was with child "would have married her but was prevented from doing so by a jealous and possessive mother who refused to let the wedding take place" (Baldwin 19). Bates wrote that "I think I saw him perhaps twice or three times in my life, so frequent and prolonged were his journeys about the world, and on neither occasion did he offer a word or sign of recognition" (Vanished World 9). After the death of Emma Bates and of her mother, H.E. Bates's father Albert Bates went to live with Charles and his wife Elizabeth Lawrence. Lawrence appears as Uncle Cosmo in Bates's story "A Funny Thing." (1/05)

Deborah Bates, paternal grandmother

She met Charles Lawrence around 1887, became pregnant with Albert Bates, who was born out of wedlock in 1878. According to Bates, she died of a broken heart at the age of twenty-one, around 1880, due to Lawrence "omitting" to marry her (Vanished World 7). According to Baldwin (19) citing stories circulating at the time, Lawrence "would have married her but was prevented from doing so by a jealous and possessive mother who refused to let the wedding take place." Bates would write of Emma that "in photographs she is shown as a proud, very beautiful girl in that pure mould for which the Midland valleys of England are justly famous" (Vanished World 27).

Elizabeth Lawrence, second wife of Charles Lawrence.

In the spring of 1914, she emigrated to Australia, joining her husband and thus freeing the family villa, Menton, for her stepson Albert Bates. (1/05)


Albert Bates, father, 1879-1949.

Born in 1878 to Charles Lawrence and Emma Bates. He lived with his mother and maternal grandmother until the death of Emma when he was two, then with her mother until her death, and from then on with his father and his new wife Elizabeth. He retained the name Bates, and thereby "twentieth-century English literature was spared the embarrassment of having yet another Herbert Lawrence on the scene" (Vanished World 8). Bates refers to him as "the other great formative influence on my childhood [along with George William Lucas] ... a deeply religious man, not merely devoted to the Methodist faith but positively locked in its uncompromising strait-jacket" (Vanished World 27), with strong views on cards, gambling, horse-racing, drinking, and dancing. At ten, he worked half-time in his father's firm (Knight and Lawrence) while attending school half-time (a life captured in the character of Adam in Charlotte's Row). At 13, he was asked to stay on at school as a teacher, but he declined. He eventually became head of the packing and export department and a commercial traveller, showing leather samples in northern England and Scotland. Bates notes his lovely copperplate hand, his excellence in math, spelling, and general knowledge, and his love of reading and acquisition of a "tolerably good little library"(Vanished World 28). From his mother he inherited a passion for the countryside, and he took pleasure in gardening (although he had only a tiny space to do so); he also greatly loved music, "teaching himself to read music, then ...buying a piano. He himself was possessed of a very fine, strong bass voice, the rich warm depth of which I can still hear emerging from the tiers of the chapel choir, of which he was subsequently conductor, like a splendid diapason" (Vanished World 29). Bates portrays him as providing well for the family, never a farthing in debt. Baldwin (29) contrasts the middle-class respectability and aspirations provided by Albert Bates to the working-class values of Bates's maternal ancestors, giving Bates a boyhood straddled between the two classes. [walking VW30 , money/lottery 127, vw67 takes over menton.Great love of countryside]. link to wife. Charlotte's -- found in the house with his dead grandmother.

Lucy Bates (nee Lucy Elizabeth Lucas), mother, 1879-?

Born in 1878 to George William and Elizabeth Lucas and died in 1972. Bates wrote that his "mother went to work as a half-timer, in the shoe-making industry at the tender age of ten, tying knots, for the princely sum of two shillings a week" (Vanished World 7). According to Baldwin (20), she was a strict Methodist (like his father), hardworking but undemonstrative, possibly even manipulative or hard. She appears as Richardson's mother in Love for Lydia but otherwise had no influence on Bates's work except, as Baldwin points out, possibly influencing Bates in his predilection for "warm-hearted, full-blooded women" by way of contrast.


Edna Bates, sister, 1907-?

Born in 1907. According to Baldwin (30), she and Bates fought constantly in childhood and remained distant all of their lives. She married a businessman named Frederick Gray. Edna and her husband and young son stayed at The Granary with the family after the war until they found somewhere to live. She is never referred to in Bates's works.

Stanley Bates, brother, 1916-1991


Joseph Bates, uncle

A great nature-lover, whose taxidermy shop forms the setting of the story "The Ship." (Baldwin, 20)

Jenny Waters, aunt

Matilda ('Til) owner of a pub called The Checquers (Through the Woods 72-80 and The Poacher, chapter 7, as owner of The Falcon)

had a pub checquers, Through the Woods 72-80

Joseph Betts, great-uncle

In the preface to My Uncle Silas, Bates says that many of the Silas stories were based on the real experiences of Bates's great-Uncle Joseph Betts, "late husband of my maternal grandmother's sister Mary Ann." Betts is described at greater length in Bates's Vanished World (60-61) as a "reprobate, rapscallion, crafty as a monkey, liar, gardener of much cunning, drinker of infinite capacity, afflicted with one blood-shot eye that gave him a look of devilish fascination." He is similarly described in Through the Woods (24-27), where Bates mentions that he underwent a serious operation at seventy-five and "went gaily on to live another fifteen years of aggravated wickedness and cunning." In each of these accounts and in the Silas stories, Bates recalls fondly his visits to Betts in his Bedfordshire cottage in the town of Sharnbrook (Baldwin 49).


Bates, Marjorie (Madge) Helen Cox, wife

Television interview featuring Madge and Richard Bates with Terry Wogan.

VW 97 saved from fire. , 167-, 188, blossoming 39 slight lessening in romance, met 1927 baldwin 69-70. , marriage, setting up house blossoming 68-9.granary 71-3,74-, trip to brittany 76]


Ann Catharine Bates, daughter, 1932-
Born May 3, 1932.
Married (1) Michael Sudlow 1952, (2) Leonard Bourgein, 1983
Children (HE's grandchildren): Stephen (b May 1955), Jeremy (b 1957) & Emma (bc 1960)

Judith Bates, daughter 1933-
Married Brian Wicks, 1955
Children (HE's grandchildren): Andrew Wicks (b 1957) & Beverley Victoria Anne Wicks (b 1959), known as an actress as Victoria Wicks.

Richard Bates, son, 1937-
Married (1) Isobel Lawson, (2) Irene Cullen.
Children (HE's grandchildren): Jonathan, Lydia & Justin (Lawson).

Jonathan Bates, son 1939-2008
Born November 1, 1939
Married Jennifer Thompson, 1965
Children (HE's grandchildren): Timothy Edward (b June 27, 1967) & Catherine Ann (b August 10, 1971)
VW 126]