In 2001 a query from Adrian lead me to investigate how many people living in Hertfordshire at the time of the 1881 census had been born in China. This showed that two children of the Rev. John S. Parkes, living in Bishops Stortford, had been born in Canton.
Flora has now written to ask if I could throw any light on the father of John Sowter Parkes of Bishops Stortford. It turns out that he was the son of another Wesleyan Minister, John Parkes, who was in the West Indies when his son was born - while the grandfather was probably a Marmaduke Parks of Derby. Some of this information came from recent correspondence on Genes Reunited.
The detailed story throws a light on the way that Wesleyan Methodist ministers regularly moved from place to place, and further connections with Hertfordshire involving the Ashwell family. It also reveals the existence of what is best described as a small dames school, of the type where it is often hardto prove they existed. I looked at the origins of the three pupils in 1911 and the two I could identify came from families where I would not expect the parents to send a child to a boarding school in Hertfordshire, which raises a number of questions.