A Sense of Belonging

I wrote about John MABBOTT in July 2011. The Looking at Filey blog is still inaccessible at The British Library’s Web Archive so I offer it below, in full, with some comments inserted in square brackets.

The stone has begun a glacial topple from the vertical but its position by the path in the churchyard guarantees that most people passing by will notice John MABBOTT – and perhaps wonder about the “of Filey” beneath the name.

In 1881 the census enumerator caught John with his wife Ruth at 80 Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, his occupation Herbalist & Patent Medicine Dealer. He was 57 years old and Ruth 56. Any children they may have had would have flown the nest.

Ten years later John was in Filey with another wife, Mary Elizabeth, eight years his junior. Checking Free BMD I found that Ruth, born MASON, died about June 1882 in Chorlton Registration District, which includes Openshaw. It would appear that John had no family to keep him in Lancashire because about eighteen months later he married a former Governess, Mary Elizabeth BIRD, in Selby. In 1881 Mary Elizabeth had been staying in Filey with a much older cousin, Mary BIRD, at 14 Hope Street.

Mary BIRD described herself as a ‘proprietress of houses’ at the 1861census and in 1881 as a ‘retired milliner’. Her retirement came to an end a few weeks later and perhaps Mary Elizabeth was a beneficiary of the substantial estate.

In 1882 or ’83, then, there were two bereft and maybe lonely people whose paths unaccountably crossed. Whether it was for love or convenience John and Mary Elizabeth married in Selby and set themselves up in one of cousin Mary’s houses in Filey. They enjoyed almost ten years together. Can we be sure they were happy? I think the “of Filey” is a clue. John seems to have been a wanderer – the 1841 to 1871 censuses might confirm this – but maybe his last years in Filey were his happiest and he asked Mary Elizabeth to let everyone know this by implication on his headstone. It is one thing to feel comfortable in a community though and another to be accepted by it. One wonders if old Filey family tongues wagged disparagingly when they saw the inscription. 

According to the Census John was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.  I haven’t found any other sort of record to confirm this but I did happen upon a PDF of burials in that town which prompted an intriguing thought or two. (Well done Sleaford Town Council for making this information freely available on the web.) [The URL for this PDF doesn’t work now.]

The first Mabbott on the list is Alma, aged 0 in 1859 when John was 37. Ruko Inkermann MABBOTT died the following year before reaching his (her?) first birthday. Other tiny Mabbott infants died in 1862, 1865 and 1867. And the father of at least some of these babies was almost certainly a John MABBOTT who married Mary POWDREL (or POWDIEL) on 18th October 1855 (Family Search England Marriages 1538 – 1973 Source Film 989862; Free BMD Dec Q Sleaford 7a 835).

It may not have been Filey’s John though. On the 30th May 1866 another John MABBOTT, born 1822, was buried in Sleaford and there had only been one of these Johns in the town at the1861 census.

Thirteen Mabbott burials are recorded in Sleaford in a hundred years. The modal age is 0, the median 3 and the average just 26 years so our John did very well to reach seventy, though I guess the herbal remedies and patent medicines helped.

After her husband’s death Mary Elizabeth moved back south, close to the places where she was born and married. She died in or near Selby on 22nd June 1915 and although she is remembered on the headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard it isn’t clear that she is actually buried there. [A record of her burial in St Oswald’s churchyard was found later.]

I have put John MABBOTT and his wives on the Filey Tree even though it is unlikely any other family groups will ever connect to them. I think it’s what he would have wanted. I have also opened a Wiki Page for him with blank tables for 1841 to 1871 census information that will help fill the gaps in his life journey.

[The “Filey Tree” was a database briefly hosted by FamilySearch but it disappeared in the major revamp of the Shared Tree some years ago. The “Wiki Page” is no longer easily accessible online. I offered some thoughts on the 1851 census last Friday ( John Mabbott’s First Marriage). In 1861, John “Mobbett” is visiting John BOWNS and family at Earls Terrace, Newton in Makerfield, given age 37, married, working as a Smith, birthplace “Sleaford, Lancashire” in transcription (RG09 2898 f99 p29). On census night ’61, Emma “Mabbott, widow”, age 39, “Cotton L Weaver”, birthplace Manchester, is a lodger at 55 Mulberry Street, Hulme, Chorlton (RG09 2898 f99 p29). In 1871, at West View, Openshaw, John heads a household containing second wife Ruth Mason nee GREEN and two of her three surviving children, Amos (16) and Martha (12). As the eldest, Mary at 19 was possibly in service somewhere in Manchester. (There is a Mary Mason of this age in a Manchester Prison but the receiving ledger gives her birthplace as York.)]

Path 133 · Martin’s Ravine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s