I’m massively chuffed to have come across a reference to my great-great-great uncle on the internet. The delightfully named Theodore Dawes was a 19th century rhubarb expert from King’s Lynn in Norfolk and is celebrated in all the best fruit and vegetable circles for “raising up” (I’m reliably informed that is the correct technical expression) two strains of rhubarb in the 1890s – the Dawes Champion and the Dawes Challenge.
Uncle Theodore pops up on the website of Brandy Carr Nurseries, a family company in Yorkshire specialising in rhubarb and liquorice plants. There’s nothing on the site about Theodore getting married at the age of 80 to a lady 30 years his junior, but then I guess there’s no reason for them to know about that. It probably isn’t important anyway – unless she was only after him for his rhubarb. The site also doesn’t mention the fact that he lived in a house which he called Rhubarbia. The path leading to the front door used to have rhubarb leaves carved into it. The house is still there, on Wootton Road in King’s Lynn, but it just has a number now. A pity, really.