The Number 30 bus to town would drive slowly down a long, straight street of small shops with its pavements thronged with people not socially distancing. I looked forward to the turn at the end for the glimpse it gave of a church that seemed out of place. It was not drab. There was just time to take in its pastel colours, the stone figures in their niches and, on the pediment two curious words in gold, DOMVS DEI.
The seven or eight year-old me probably asked my mother what “domvers” meant. She may have told me, but puzzled fascination persisted until I started doing Latin at secondary school.
I set out yesterday on the trail of a front line worker’s forebears, this being more of an appreciation than clapping on my doorstep. “A” is not a doctor, nurse or care worker but someone putting themselves in a place of danger most days to preserve something of the “old normal”. Where would we be without cheerful checkout ladies at the supermarket?
On 28 April 1811 Susanna CHAMBERS was baptized in the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Jarrett Street, Hull.
Fifty years later she was a widow, living in Tadcaster with two unmarried daughters and mother Ann, who is described as an agricultural labourer (aged 81). Susanna’s husband, variously Barnet, Bernard, Bryon or Bryan MURPHY, had been an overlooker in several Yorkshire Flax Mills until his death in 1858, aged 52. His younger daughter, Elizabeth, was sixteen in 1861 and a yarn winder in a Tadcaster mill. I have yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she is A’s great grandmother. Elizabeth has, so far, made the slightest of impressions on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.
Returning to the House of God. The front page of the Register in which Susanna’s baptismal record appears indicates that the “Chapel” of Saint Charles Borromeo was founded by the “Reverend Peter Francis FOUCHER” in 1798. About twenty years later he returned to France, his homeland. There are two men of the right vintage on the Shared Tree that share his name. One is the father of Adèle, wife of Victor HUGO, but he was getting married in Paris when his near-namesake was overseeing the building of a church in Hull.