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

A Jarring Mason

For about eleven years, John MABBOTT was stepfather to the three surviving children of his second wife Ruth MASON (nee GREEN). Of the three, I have so far found that only the boy, Amos, married. And while adding some sources to his family on the Shared Tree today I happened upon a particularly egregious case of mistaken identity.

Though four decades separate their births, they both marry Mary Ann FARROW and father Clara Annie. The FamilySearch ‘system’ is aware that this is a nonsense and issues a warning on Amos the Younger’s record.

I thought this problem would disappear if I ended the relationship with Mary Ann but it didn’t. Only the date of the spurious marriage was removed. More radical surgery is required – but I think I’ll leave it for “family” to do.

Insect 31 · Angle Shades Moth

Phlogophora meticulosa, Sand Hill Lane

John Mabbott’s First Marriage

I had a closer look at the 1851 census record I described as “less than clear” on Wednesday. FamilySearch has the transcription from one of its “partner sites”, Findmypast.

I think this is John MABBOTT from Lincolnshire.

I’ll get to his Manchester birthplace and uncertain occupation later. The marriage of John and Emma TAYLOR had been registered in the July Quarter of the previous year and on this census night they had no more than three months to wait for the birth of their daughter, the short-lived Elizabeth.

The Mabbotts were lodging with Samuel MORRIS and his wife, Isabella.

The quality of the page image on Findmypast is poor. The transcriber sees things I can’t discern but Samuel’s family name is a lot clearer to me than “N?” (I confirmed his identity in the 1861 census.)

I see Isabella’s birthplace as “Lincolnshire”. The 1861 census offers “Ireland” rather than “Manchester”. She married Samuel in 1836 and I couldn’t find any birth registrations in their first ten years together. As for John’s occupation, “Wheelwright” seems clearer to me than “? Man” and this would make “Smith” in 1861 seem reasonable. The mystery of how and why he changed his career path from working in metal to dealing in pills and potions would remain, of course. (To be solved, perhaps, by his encounter with druggist Abraham MASON, whose widow he subsequently married.)

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking for information about the other Sleaford John Mabbotts born about the same time as our man. Not one seems to have left the county of their birth and most left their mark in court records for one misdemeanour or another – assaulting a wife, being served with a bastardy order, depositing manure in a town street, being drunk on the highway in charge of a team of horses.

I think there is a strong enough case to marry John Mabbott and Emma Taylor on FamilySearch and hope others will confirm the union and contribute some of their forebears.

Path 131 · Old Tip

Nature Reserve

Birds of a Feather

John BIRD, born in Hunmanby towards the end of the eighteenth century, waits for ancestors on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. He married Mary LOWSON in 1828 and they brought three children into the world. After the appearance of John junior in Hunmanby, the family moved to Gateforth near Selby where Mary Elizabeth and Richard William were born.

John married at the age of 24, Richard at 32 – and Mary when she was 52 years old. Her husband, John MABBOTT, was about eight years her senior and had been married twice before. He was described in censuses variously as a Herbalist, Patent Medicine Dealer, Seedsman and Druggist but seems to have started out as a Smith (1861 census). In 1891 they were living in Hope Street, Filey, most probably at No.14.

2 May 2021

Two years later, after not quite ten years of marriage, John died, leaving Mary to a widowhood that would last for 23 years.

The more odd one imagines a couple to have been, the more one wonders how their paths crossed.

John was born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, but a less than clear census record places him in Chorlton, Lancashire with an illegible occupation and a wife called Emma. Their ages are not given but a number of later sources indicate an unhappy marriage. They may have had just one child, a daughter Elizabeth who didn’t make it to a second birthday. On census night in 1861, John is a lone visitor, claiming to be married, at the home of a handloom weaver in Warrington. Some miles away, Emma Mabbott is a lodger in the Chorlton home of an elderly couple, John and Elizabeth BERRY. She tells the enumerator she is a widow. Whatever her true status, she died two years later, aged 37.

John gave up metal working and turned to selling drugs. There is no evidence that he did business with Openshaw druggist Abraham MASON but seven years after Abraham’s death in 1863, John married the widow Mason. Ruth (nee GREEN) had given birth to Abraham’s eleven children but John became stepfather to just three of them. Seven children had died in their first year of life and the eighth, Sarah, in her second. In 1881, eleven years into the marriage, John and Ruth, given ages 57 and 56, were enumerated at 80, Ashton Old Road, Openshaw.

Meanwhile, over the Pennines in Yorkshire…

In 1851, Mary Elizabeth worked as a Bonnet Maker from the home of her parents in Selby. Her father, schoolmaster John, died in 1855 and by 1861 Mary Elizabeth had become a teacher in the the “family school”. (Her mother was described as “School Mistress” at this census.)

Both of Mary Elizabeth’s brothers had forsaken Yorkshire for the red rose county and in 1871, aged 39 and described as a “Governess”, she was living in Manchester with younger brother Richard William, his wife Mary (nee WEBSTER) and their two infant daughters. John Mabbott was living with Ruth and her children Amos (16) and Martha (12) less than a mile away. Mary Elizabeth, “formerly Governess”, was back in Yorkshire in 1881, sharing 14 Hope Street with her cousin Mary Bird, a single woman aged 75 and the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Bird. Elizabeth was born in Hunmanby in 1783, making her a likely older sibling of schoolmaster John. Mary died shortly after the census was taken. One now has to suspect that Mary Elizabeth had met John Mabbott when she lived for a while in Openshaw, or perhaps he was a friend of her brother, Richard William. Whatever, eighteen months after the death of his second wife Ruth, John Mabbott married Mary Elizabeth in Selby Abbey and they settled into the little house on Hope Street. He was enumerated there in 1891 as a “Retired Druggist” and died two years later, in July 1893 aged 70.

Richard William returned to Yorkshire and in 1901 he was farming at Burn, near Selby – and widow Mabbott was visiting him on census night 1901. In 1911, aged 79, she was back in Hope Street, at No.6, with a servant, Frances WOODALL, born in Barlby, near Selby. Mary Elizabeth died in that village four years later and it seems likely that she was brought back to Filey to be buried with her husband.

I know it is a stretch to suggest that Mary Elizabeth sharing accommodation with a cousin and a probable aunt is akin to “flocking” but, in the absence of more reliable sources, the relationships noted in census returns seem to offer opportunities for “tree growth”. I’ll see what I can do over the next few days.

Bird 101 · Blackcap

There’s Only One Harriet

The last of the TAYLOR children seriously misrepresented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree is Edmund, the seventh son of Francis and Mary nee BRAITHWAITE. He married twice and currently his first wife is Harriet Matilda WILSON.

On census night in 1871, Edmund is lodging with oldest brother Thomas in Victoria Place, Chorlton on Medlock. At the next census he is married to second wife Mary WILKINSON. Mary has yet to have a child of her own but is stepmother to Harry and Mary. The Shared Tree has Edmund and Mary marrying on 6 October 1880 and Harriet Matilda dying in April 1881.

Between 1871 an 1880 there is only one marriage registered in England and Wales that features our focus couple.

Free BMD Marriages

Harriet is 26 years old when she dies in the first quarter of 1879, less than six months after she gave birth to Mary. A calculated birth year of 1853 generates parents William Wilson and Harriet SPENCER in Bolton, Lancashire, but this relationship should be checked.

On the Shared Tree there are three sources attached to Harriet Matilda. The first is a Chorlton birth registration for Harriet Margaret WILSON in the September Quarter of 1844. Harriet Matilda’s birth is given as 1843 – in Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire. The second source, for the marriage, is correct in naming “just Harriet”. The third source is a death registration for Harriet Matilda Taylor in the June Quarter of 1881. FamilySearch shows the registration place is Chorlton and age at death 38. The GRO Deaths Index, however, doesn’t give the registration place and has a different Volume and Page number. Free BMD Deaths agrees with the GRO in giving Volume 8c and Page 392 and helpfully specifies Chorlton Registration District.

A Harriet date of death after Edmund has married again makes further investigation rather pointless, but a quick search of Free BMD Marriages shows just one Harriet Matilda WILSON marrying between 1860 and 1881 – in Bethnal Green, London.

A “member’s tree” on Find My Past offers a variant Harriet, born in Pateley Bridge in 1855 and dying in Bramley (Leeds) in 1879. I cannot find either event supported by civil registration. So, for me, there was only one Harriet Wilson destined to be Edmund’s first helpmeet.

Path 103 · Sand Hill Lane

Church Ravine

The Killing of Brother George

George TAYLOR was four years younger than his brother Thomas (Sunday’s post). In between, two other boys were born. They both made a start in life but James died aged four, and two years later Francis departed aged seven. George was probably not old enough to understand these losses but he would form an intriguing bond with Thomas.

On the FamilySearch Shared Tree, Thomas and George have one thing in common. They have, at the time of writing this, both been killed off too soon. Thomas at age 9 and George at 18. The early demise of George is puzzling because he was survived by a nine year-old widow and nine children, the first of them born eleven years after his death.

Of course, the death recorded in 1851 is ridiculous but it is plain to see.

One of the sources for George shows he was alive and kicking in 1901, retired from the joinery trade.

On Sunday, I said that in 1851 Thomas was working as a joiner in Scarborough, aged 21 and lodging with William COLLINSON, also a joiner and just nine years older. I may have been wrong to suggest William could not have been Thomas’ master because of this relatively small age gap.

Apprentices could and did lay complaints against their masters and mistresses for maltreatment or neglect of their proper training. They were not necessarily much younger than their masters and could behave much like truculent younger brothers as dutiful sons.

Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain, 1470 – 1750 p.66

Not only did George follow the same trade as Thomas, he did so initially in the same place. On 7 April 1861 Thomas was living at 5 Queen Street, Rusholme, Lancashire with wife Barbara and three young daughters. Seven weeks later, in Barrow on Humber, Lincolnshire, George married Sarah Ann BOLLEN. The marriage register gives his place of residence as Rusholme.

George took his bride to Lancashire and spent the rest of his life in a small area of Manchester – Chorlton on Medlock, Hulme,Moss Side and Rusholme.  Thomas didn’t stray from the Chorlton Registration District either. I haven’t mapped their addresses but I suspect they lived within a mile or two of each other for thirty years or more.

Thomas died in 1896, aged 66. George died in the decade following the 1901 census because in 1911 Sarah Ann is a widow, living at 77 Derby Street, Moss Side with two unmarried daughters and granddaughter, Nellie ODEN.

A search of the Chorlton death register reveals two men in their mid-seventies who might be “our” George. A burial record for one names his brother as “Watts TAYLOR” so the other becomes favourite. Fortunately, there is a probate record for him.

The “real price” of George’s effects at 2017 values is almost £30,000. Sarah Ann’s widowhood lasted nine years and in that time the value of the pound dropped significantly.

It isn’t clear how many of George and Sarah’s children were still alive at the end of the First World War. The Shared Tree has them bringing nine children into the world – and their names and dates seem to be correct. Sarah wasn’t required declare the number of  her children on the 1911 census form but she offers six, of whom three had died. She may have misunderstood the question put to married couples; perhaps six of the nine were still living. However many there were, they had to share about £6,000 at 2017 values.

Beach 111 · Muston Sands

Old normal-like

Thomas Given Life

As a fledgling family historian I found the advice to “kill off your ancestors” somewhat disconcerting. It has to be done, of course, but with caution. Thomas, the first child of Francis TAYLOR and Mary BRAITHWAITE (Friday’s post) was dispatched without good reason.

On the Shared Tree this death registration has been taken from FamilySearch Sources and attached to Thomas, who was christened in October 1829.

The GRO Index shows that this poor child would not celebrate a single birthday.

As it happens, “our” Thomas is found by the 1841 census enumerator with his parents, three brothers and sister Ann in Bridlington. (Ann’s fate was to be married off to the wrong chap on the Shared Tree.)

When the next enumerator called on this Taylor family there are four children at home. Thomas and George have flown the nest; their places taken by Edmund and a second James, born 1842 and 1848. Francis II has died, aged two.

Thomas left home to learn a trade. On census night 1851 he is in Scarborough working as a joiner. A disparate household is headed by William COLLINSON, also a joiner but only 30 years old and so unlikely to have been Thomas’ master. But there is a third joiner in the household, Jonah WARD, 24, plus a visiting tailor from Nafferton and two young girls, Rachel and Ann MARSHEL from Flixton, also visitors.

Thomas was difficult to find in 1861, for several reasons. A Find My Past transcriber has him as “James”, aged 61 and born in “Rudgwick”. And he has crossed the Pennines, married Barbara PARKER in Manchester (1854) and fathered three daughters.

Barbara, a Scot from Kirkcowan, “Wigtownshire”, gives birth to three more daughters and one son, Francis. At each of the four censuses from 1861 to 1891 the family has a different address in Chorlton but are clearly settled and close-knit. In 1891, three unmarried children are with their parents in Boston Street, Hulme (Chorlton Registration District). Mary Jane, 34, is a dressmaker, Agnes, 23, a milliner, and Francis, 25, an agent (unspecified).

Thomas died on 15 June 1896 and Barbara on 19 December the following year, both aged 66. Thomas’ last address is given as Salisbury Road, Urmston and Barbara’s 31 Victoria Road, Heaton Chapel, but they are together in Ardwick Cemetery, Grave Number 3547A.

Better than being bumped off as a kid, eh Thomas?

Path 100 · Above Mile Haven

Near Primrose Valley

Coltas Continued

20190618ChristopherC

Both sons born to Christopher COLTAS and Elizabeth ATKINSON married. Christopher would surely have attended the wedding of Edwin to Bridget CLARK but he died before Herbert married Mary WRIDE. It seems that both happy couples remained childless.

Christopher’s second wife, Mary HILL, must have been ten or more years younger than he was. Their first two children died before their first birthdays. Two more boys followed and were given the same names as their predecessors. The younger, Alfred Hill COLTAS, left Scarborough while still in his teens. The 1871 census finds him boarding in Janet Street, Manchester, working as a glass blower. In 1875, aged 23, he married Elizabeth SMITH, daughter of a Warehouseman. Ten years after Christopher’s death they brought Christopher’s first grandchild into the world. Thirteen years after Clara Hill’s birth they named their fifth child Christopher.

Alfred’s older brother, Frederick Hill Coltas, lived with half-brother Edwin and Bridget in Scarborough and may have helped to work their deceased father’s farm for a while.  But he too crossed the Pennines into Lancashire and, at the age of thirty, married Ellen DOLAN in Salford. The 1881 census gives his occupation as “Bricksetter”. He was still a bricksetter in 1901, and by then a father of sixteen children, though only eight were living. Ellen had three more children after the 1901 census, all girls – and only one of them was recorded in the 1911 census. Ellen filled out the form as a widow and stated she had borne 19 children in 30 years of marriage, and ten had died.

Two of Alfred and Elizabeth’s five children had died before 1911 so, in total, Christopher Coltas the Eldest had 24 grandchildren he didn’t live to see, and twelve reached adulthood. A quick search reveals five marriages but I have no intention of looking for Christopher’s great-grandchildren. I’m content that my gloom of a few days ago – that his two sons with Elizabeth Atkinson may have been the last of his line – has lifted now. I hope some living descendants of Christopher COLTAS and Mary HILL will find the extended pedigree on FamilySearch and add to it.

Fox Hunt

Dr. George Sheeran (Bradford University) appealed to the readers of the Dorset Echo last November for information about the FOX-HAWES sisters who had been the main beneficiaries of Elinor Clarke’s will in 1905. I’m sure he hoped that a photograph of Elinor might be flushed from cover. I doubt anyone in Filey today knows what the wealthiest resident at the turn of the last but one century looked like.

I’d hardly begun my online search when I picked up the scent – and received a major surprise. Not that her sister Eliza had borne six children but that she had married William Fox HAWES at St Oswald’s Filey – and the Reverend William ALDERSON had officiated.

(All of William and Eliza’s children were given Fox as a middle name but most of the official records I found today gave their last name as HAWES – so I have decided not to add the hyphen.)

Circumstantial evidence suggests that William was introduced to Eliza by her brother Robert Dennison CLARKE. Robert was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1865. William had been called by Lincoln’s Inn three years earlier. They both took their first degrees at Cambridge and William stayed on to take an M.A., which he received in October 1866. One of his ways of celebrating was to go up to Filey a short time later and, on the 1st of November, marry Eliza.

Eliza gave birth to four sons – William, Robert, Edward and John. Caroline was first born and Elinor fourth to arrive. Eliza died in 1878 aged 39  when John was just a year old. William Senior married Margaret Annie SIMPSON in 1884. She was in her mid- twenties but there are no signs in the Census or GRO of her having any children. Twenty years William’s junior she outlived him by 26; she died aged 78 in 1936 and William in 1910 at 72.

What of the fortunate nieces? Caroline, who does have a the FOX-HAWES name in her marriage registration, was wife to Raoul Hyppolite C. ROBICHON for only nine years. He died aged 43 in Croydon in 1908. I looked for children but didn’t find any. (The information that I was given some years ago that the couple had married in 1865 isn’t correct.) Elinor died a FOX-HAWES aged 82 in 1956 in Bournemouth (Poole Registration District).

The Terence Edward mentioned in the Dorset Echo is a plain HAWES in his birth registration, mother’s maiden surname DRISCOLL.

I wonder if Northcliffe family photographs of Elinor, Eliza and Robert Dennison Junior. The fourth Clarke child, Mary Anne, did not survive infancy. There is a Chorlton death registration for a 3-year-old in March 1844 which fits reasonably well with a June Quarter birth in 1841 in the same place. The wee mite didn’t make it to Strawberry Cottage in 1851.

 

ClarkeWindow
The Elinor Clarke memorial window in St Oswald’s, Filey; photo courtesy Ray Kilsby

Update 19 August

Elinor’s window, all of it, snapped this morning.

StOs_CLARKEwindow1_1m