A Memorial to My Childhood

A question prompted by The Brothers Cortis (last month) sent me to Ashby Cum Fenby in Lincolnshire over the weekend, to see if I could find more information about the parents of Richard Cortis, the brothers’ father. At the moment “John & Elizth” are on the FamilySearch Shared Tree with Richard and eight other children, none of whom are yet connected to each other.

“Elizth” seems to be Elizabeth SMITH. A February 1765 marriage in Ashby is well-timed for the couple’s first child, Ann, christened in January 1766 and buried two months later. The Ashby Parish register can be found at Lincolshire Archives. The ink has faded but most of the Cortis events can be discerned. John first appears in Ashby in 1761 (as far as I can tell) and is intermittently the churchwarden over the next three decades. At most of his own events he is referred to as “John junr.” His father would, therefore, seem to be John senior whose origins are obscure to me but who dies at the end of the year in which John and Elizabeth marry.

Reading the register carefully, I found all the Cortis children on the Shared Tree and several more. I also noticed that there was a second John Cortis, referred to as “John of Laceby”. This is all well and good – until the entry in December 1791 for the burial of John Cortis, aged 0, son of John junr and Elizabeth of Laceby. A John Cortis married Elizabeth BASNIP of Laceby in February 1791 but without seeing the death of Elizabeth nee Smith recorded some doubt remains. (In 1799 there is a list in a newspaper of subscribers to the Caistor Association in which John and William Cortis of Laceby AND John Cortis of Ashby appear.)

Elizabeth Basnip has issues of her own and it was a relief to be distracted by intriguing entries in the register that cried out to be investigated.

1753 David Langley, a stranger killed by a Fall from a Sycamore Tree as he was taking Rook nests, May 7th buried.

1796 Aug 25th buried Edward Condock aged 14 years. The above Edward Condock received his death by an accidental shot from a Gun in Mr Scrivener’s House. [A Thomas Scrivener shared churchwarden duties with John Cortis.]

And the entry that took me back to my childhood?

The Number 30 bus in Hull used to go to and from Stoneferry along New Cleveland Street, and maybe still does. I was always particularly drawn to the mysterious (in name and nature) Marble and Stone Merchants, Anselm Odling and Sons. One had only the merest glimpse of what went on behind the tall fence but it was the name that fascinated me. And here, perhaps 150 years before the company set up a branch in Hull, I find the forebears (surely) in a small Lincolnshire village. Thanks to the Interweb, I now know it was a large company of diverse activities – and it is still trading on New Cleveland Street, but disappointingly just as “Odlings”.

Another name in the Ashby register that caught my attention – Hewson. The Hewsons may have been the preeminent family in the village and in Louth in 1862 John and Elizabeth’s grandson, William Smithson Cortis, widower, married Susanna of that ilk.

Flight of Fancy 26 · Emoji

Filey seawall

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