WILLIAM BEVERIDGE

b 18 August 1821 – d 19 August 1893 (Aged 72)

On 18 August 1821 William Beveridge and Agnes Shirrel, from Craigh, had a son William.  The witnesses on the birth certificate were Adam Archibald of Kirktown and James Beveridge of Craigh.

In the 1851 census William, who lived in Craigh, in Garioch was listed as a violin maker and snuffbox maker.

He married 18 year old Jane Leith Tomkins Dingwall, born 13 July 1841, on 7 August 1859, at the age of 37. On his marriage certificate his occupation is listed as an artist.

William was 39 years old in the 1861 census and listed as a woodcarver/saw miller in Tough.  He was head of the household with 7 other people living there, including his wife Jane, oldest son William and youngest, a daughter Isabella, aged 1.

By the 1871 census William is still living in the Parish of Tough, with his wife and two daughters.  His occupation now was a farmer of 42 acres and he employed one labourer and one boy.

In 1881 William is still head of the family with his wife Jane and a further 7 people in the household.  His family  now consisted of wife Jane, daughters Isabella, Agnes, Jane and Helen, also sons William and John D Beveridge who was only a month old. They are now living at 2 Alford Place, Aberdeen in the Civil Parish of Old Machar (This building still stands today)  and is now a Curator of a University Museum.

My next find for William is in the 1891 census.  He is now 69 years old, still a Curator and also a janitor, living at 2 Alford Place.  There are now only 4 other family members residing with him, including his wife Jane.

On 18 August 1893 William died from acute bronchitis. He had just celebrated his 72nd birthday the previous day.  He had still been working but as a hall keeper.

William and Jane’s grave is located in Tough Kirk yard and the following inscription is taken from the gravestone

Erected in memory of William Beveridge, late farmer in Craigh, Tough. d Aug 1893 aged 72.  Also his wife Jane L T Dingwall, d 2 Nov 1920 aged 79

 

Jane L T Dingwall was born to John Dingwall, a carpenter, and Isabella Henderson on 13 July 1841.

In 1851 Jane was living with her parents at 18 East Gate, Alford.  Other household members were Helen 7, John 6, Isabella 4 and Mary 2.  John Gordon, 17 and a Journeyman Carpenter, also Jane Farquharson, 18 and a house servant.

Monogram on a violin made by William Beveridge in 1887

J D Beveridge was the son of William Beveridge and Jane L T Dingwall

 

John Dingwall Beveridge was born on 28 March 1881 in Old Machar, Aberdeen.

He was living with his parents William and Jane, sisters Jane and Helen at 2 Alford Place in 1891.

By the 1901 census John was a law apprentice and living with his mother and two sisters at 55 Victoria Street, Aberdeen.

The First World War came and John enlisted into the Gordon Highlander Regiment (No. 40079) on 3 August 1916.  He served in France and was awarded two medals.  He married on 14 September 1921 to Marion Gordon Hogg and was listed on his marriage certificate as a Wholesale Stationer.  He died of a cerebral haemorrhage on 7 December 1942, aged 60, at 5 Craigton Terrace, Aberdeen.

William Beveridge of Tough, father of John, was in my mind one of Aberdeenshire’s outstanding violin makers of his time.  His craftsmanship and attention to detail in violin making was simply great.  He started violin making early in life and must have come across some superb wood because in various censuses he was a violin maker, a snuffbox maker, as well as an artist.  Then 1861 listed him as a Woodcarver/Saw Miller.  This would have given him every opportunity to source the best wood that was on offer in the area at the time for his instruments.  William must have close connections to Alexander Murdoch and Alexander Williams as some violins have the same characteristics in ‘F’ hole design and other North East mannerisms.

 

The violin has the label – W Beveridge – Fecit – Tough 1887 and also has a brand below the button W Beveridge Tough.  For a violin in the most untouched mint condition, not a mark on the varnish and the only reason I have for this is that it was made for his son John D Beveridge and was put away in the attic and never played.

This talented maker William must have wanted to give his son John something special to remember him by.  So why not a violin, hence the monogram on the back of the scroll.  This instrument would be here long after William had departed this earth.  He put his heart and soul into his son’s violin as it displays incredible workmanship and has a beautiful sound that only a master could instil. This goes against some of the criticisms that I have read about William and after 131 years this violin is as good now as it was then and has stood the test of time.

 

William was renowned for making handmade tailpieces, one of which is displayed in the photo below and I believe the pegs are also from the same makers hands.  This tailpiece bears the same label on the underside of it, as does the inside of the violin.  Incredibly the violin came with the original bridge and bears his personal stamp, W Beveridge.  This leads me to believe that the violin was put away and never saw the light of day for a long time until now.  What an absolute joy and privilege to see this violin and study it up close.

 

 

Tailpiece with Mother of Pearl made by William Beveridge 1887

 

What a lovely legacy

 

In memory of William Beveridge

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