|Kylie Minogue the international celebrity and descendant of the Riddifords|
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The following article was printed in the Daily Mail:
KYLIE MINOGUE RELATED TO DINAH RIDDIFORD THE HANGING GRANNY.
Her wrists bound and a white hood placed over her head, 69-year-old Dinah Riddiford was guided to the gallows in front of Gloucester gaol. A crowd of onlookers had gathered to witness the execution but, as the noose was slipped around the frail woman's neck, there would be no eloquent last words for them to hear.Stepping down from the platform, the hangman pulled a lever, the trapdoor in the floor opened and Mrs Riddiford was no more.
Family secrets: Kylie and Dannii Minogue in 2001. Genealogical research has found that they are related to Dinah Riddiford who was hanged at 69 - the oldest woman to be executed in the 19th and 20th centuries in Britain Looking back to that day in September 1816, there are a number of factors that will shock modern-day sensibilities.For one, in modern day anything-goes Britain Mrs Riddiford's crime wouldn't even have earned her a prison sentence. Together with her son, she had sneaked into a neighbour's house to steal some provisions - two sides of bacon, two pigs' cheeks, one piece of tongue, a large pat of butter in an earthenware pot and a small copper tea kettle. Within hours, the pair were apprehended and within weeks tried and convicted of the crime. Weeks later, Mrs Riddiford would be hanging from the gallows, her son waiting to be deported to the other side of the world.
Mrs Riddiford was one of the oldest women to be executed in the 19th and 20th centuries in Britain - so old, in fact, the execution has come to be known as The Granny Hanging. And what makes it all the more fascinating today is that Mrs Riddiford's descendant is none other than Kylie Minogue.
And the bacon-thief isn't the only ne'er-do-well skeleton in the Australian singer's cupboard. Her great, great, grandfather, Morgan Riddiford, was also jailed. His crime was to assault a 14-year-old farm girl as she wandered through a field in Thornbury, near Bristol.
Fortunately (for fans of the Minogue sisters) Mr Riddiford was punished with a spell in prison. If he, too, had been sentenced to hang who knows how different the family tree might have looked? For it was his son who married a Welsh woman, and it was their daughter who married into another Welsh family, the Joneses. The product of that marriage would be Carol Ann Jones, who would move to Australia, marry one Ron Minogue and later give birth to Kylie and Dannii.
So, what about the criminality that lurks in their bloodline? When it comes to Australians, that's hardly unusual; 165,000 prisoners were shipped there from Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. Last week, online documents were released, showing the details of some 710,000 British people who emigrated to Australia after World War II. Known as £10 Poms, they took advantage of discounted fares offered by a scheme designed to bring skilled workers to Australia. On April 20, 1955, the SS New Australia left Southampton bound for the other side of the world. On board were the Jones family, parents Dennis and Millicent, and children Jean, Carol, Suzette and Noel. Their address was recorded as 113 Commercial Street in Maesteg, Glamorgan, and Mr Jones' profession as a building contractor.
He and his wife Millie (Kylie's grandparents) would settle in Queensland. Their daughter Carol, ten when she left Britain, would train as a dancer and model, marry at the age of 20 and move to Melbourne. Her husband was an accountant by the name of Ron Minogue and they would have three children together - Kylie, Danielle and Brendan. Kylie, the eldest, was born on May 28, 1968. Little is known of Kylie's paternal bloodline. Access to birth and marriage records in Australia is more restricted than in the UK. As a result, all that can be said of Kylie's father is that he is a fifth-generation Australian whose family probably originated in County Clare, in Ireland.
Welsh and Irish roots: Kylie Minogue and her parents Carol and Ron, who brought the family up in Melbourne, Australia On the maternal side, however, there is ample detail - and it is not just contained in dry, dusty records. While the former family home in Maesteg has long since been converted into business premises, there are still blood relatives of the Minogues living in South Wales. Closest of all is her great uncle, Dennis Riddiford, who lives near Port Talbot. He is the brother of Kylie's grandmother Millie - the £10 Pom - and remains in phone and email contact with Carol and her family.
'Carol's a great girl and she's never forgotten she's from here, or allowed her daughters' fame to change her,' says Mr Riddiford, a retired carpenter in his 80s. 'We often call each other, and whenever she's over in the UK, she comes to my home and stays. It's always such a thrill to see her.'
And it's not just Carol who comes to visit. Kylie has also made the trip a number of times, arriving in a chauffeur-driven car.
'When the schoolchildren walk past the house they sometimes sing Kylie's song I Should Be So Lucky but, mostly, we try to keep her visits quiet,' explains Mr Riddiford. Among the visits the Minogues have made was one in the mid-Eighties, shortly after Kylie turned 18. A photograph of the occasion show Kylie and her sister celebrating the visit.
At the time, she was famous for playing Charlene in Aussie soap Neighbours. Soon after, she was signed by pop impresarios Stock / Aitken / Waterman and in the years that followed achieved international success as a pop star, amassing a £35million fortune in the process.
Such material wealth is in stark contrast to the lives lived by her ancestors. Her maternal grandfather comes from predominantly Welsh lineage, the men having earned a living with manual work. Kylie's great, great, great grandfather John Jones, who was born in 1822, and his son Evan Jones both worked quarrying slate in Blaenau Ffestiniog, in north Wales. The area was home to some 25 mines and was the capitol of the slate-quarrying industry in Britain, providing roofing for houses across the country. Other Welsh relatives include clogmakers and, going back to the late 18th century, farmers.
It is the English side of the family, however, where the more dubious behaviour appears to lie. Kylie's maternal grandmother Millie was the daughter of George Morgan Riddiford, born in 1899. He worked as a coalminer and driver of 'steam lorries with solid wheels'. The Riddiford family hailed from Thornbury, Gloucestershire, where George's father Morgan John Riddiford was raised. Census records show that in 1891 he was an inmate in HM Prison Gloucester, where The Hanging Granny also met her fate. Documents from the Gloucester Assizes show that in November 1890, the then 16-year-old Riddiford was convicted of indecent assault and given nine months' penal servitude. A report of the incident was carried in the Bristol Mercury and Daily Post of November 20, 1890. It told how Morgan Riddiford and William Sainsbury, 18, had indecently assaulted a 14-year-old called Mary Ann Tandy, who was in service at a farm near Thornbury. 'The defendants followed the complainant and two other girls about the streets of Thornbury for an hour, and on her way back to Vilner farm, where she was in service, a little after nine o'clock, overtook her in the fields and threw her on the ground,' the report reads. 'She uttered screams which her father heard half a mile distant as he was on his way to Grovesend. He went to Vilner farm, and inquired if there was anything the matter with his daughter. The complainant told him what had taken place.'
How much of the sentence Riddiford served is unclear. But on his release, he appears to have reformed - marrying and working as a tram inspector before moving to Nantyffyllon, near Maesteg, Glamorgan. Further back in the Riddiford line, the Hanging Granny is to be found. Dinah Riddiford, who hailed from Thornbury, was born in the mid-18th century and was married to a man called Abraham. They had two sons, called Luke and Aaron.
Although the exact relationship with Morgan Riddiford and his father George is confused by illegitimacy and missing records, genealogists say there is a direct link.
Equally intriguing is the fact that Dinah Riddiford's son Luke did in fact end up in Australia. Although originally sentenced to hang for his part in the theft, he was later reprieved and received the commuted sentence of transportation. On April 9, 1817, he set sail on the convict ship Lord Eldon, arriving in New South Wales five months later. He went on to serve in a number of penal colonies across Australia, probably as a result of repeat offending, dying at the age of just 42 in 1825. It would be 130 years before his relatives followed in his wake. And when they did, the outcome of their journey could hardly have been more different.
The family line is shown below:-
Abraham Riddiford = Dinah Beedle (born in Tytherington)
William Riddiford = Diana Riddiford (married into another Riddiford line)
William Longman = Maria Riddiford (1800-1861)
George Riddiford (1825-1886) (conceived out of wedlock so kept motherís surname)
Morgan Riddiford (1874- )
George Riddiford (1899-1965)
Dennis Jones = Millie Riddiford
Ron Minogue = Carol Jones
Kylie Minogue Danni Minogue