Headstones Project

John and Maisie Crimlisk divided St Oswald’s churchyard into eight areas when they carried out their transcription project in the 1970s. A to H. I took a roll call last week and discovered I haven’t taken as many photographs of the headstones as I’d thought. The small sections, A and B are 85% complete but the largest area, G, is only 41% done.

So far I have photographed 899 stones, 49% of the total. I’m still hoping to complete the photography before the end of the year. So far, the “no can do” total is only 16 graves, less than 1% of the total. This proportion will rise as I tick off those graves without a headstone, having instead a kerb without an inscription or one that is overgrown, or just a seemingly empty plot. At a rough guess, I may have another 500 photographs to take to complete this part of the task. Rather more time-consuming will be the piecing together of families and putting folk on the FamilySearch Tree if they are not already represented there.

Today’s Image

The Mass Dial is above and to the right of the priest’s door into the chancel – though I expect you spotted it easily enough. More about such “objects” here.

There is another incised “sundial” to the left of the door with a more obvious hole where the gnomon once was. It is near the top left of a roughly rectangular section of paler stones that, I was told, had blocked up a medieval leper’s window. I accepted this information as “true” but a little research this afternoon points to many churches in England having leper’s windows – with no supporting data for the number of lepers in the country. I think this may be a case of Fake Lore.

The Rudston Mausoleum

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For too long the Mausoleum was a storage place for old lawnmowers and bits of plywood and timber. I was pleased this morning to see that an attempt has been made to clear it of rubbish. Maybe soon the structure will be afforded the full respect it deserves. There was some talk a while back of seeking a mason who might repair the stonework, perhaps even restore the structure to its original state. The cost would be enormous.

The shield-shaped plaque above the west windows bears an inscription that explains the building’s purpose.

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This monument was erected by the eldest son in honour of his father and mother.

Is also testimony of affection for his 8 brothers and sisters  and for other members whose names are inscribed within.

One of those named is William John –

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I searched under the assumption that he was a RUDSTON and failed to find him or any of his 8 siblings. This is really The BROWN Mausoleum.

But the Rudston name has great cachet in East Yorkshire, though quite where William John’s mother, Emily Rudston, fits into a long and complicated pedigree has yet to be discovered – by me at least.

Emily married the Reverend John Henry BROWN at All Saints Church, Sculcoates, in June 1838. Their first two children were born in Hull, the next two in Liverpool, two more in East Retford and the last three in Brewood, (pronounced Brood), Staffordshire. I don’t know how many are sleeping beneath the tiled floor. Kath has a note in Filey Genealogy & Connections for Harry COWLING (1920 – 2005), “an absolutely lovely man”.

He was a choirboy and had to go down to the Rudston Memorial – right down.  The steps to the mausoleum were not immediately outside the memorial, they were a bit further down the path so he and Jimmy Brown – as choirboys – had to go down with the funeral party. He told me that they were scared stiff.

It seems likely that the Rudston family name comes from the monolith that gave an East Yorkshire village its name. Eight hundred years ago there may have been a connection to the influential de GANT dynasty but they seem to have established themselves for generations at Hayton, near Pocklington. The pedigree is difficult to trace with certainty, in part because of a three-way split into Rudston, Calverley Rudston, and Rudston-Read. Andrew Rose has generously placed his fascinating narrative of The Rudstons of Hayton and Allerthorpe on the Pocklington History website.

You can find John Henry BROWN on the FamilySearch Tree but his wife Emily’s link to the Hayton Rudstons, if there is one, is not clear. I haven’t had time yet to check through all of Kath’s Rudstons and Rudston-Reads on Filey Genealogy & ConnectionsThere may be some answers in plain view there.

Lunatics at Large

On the 7th August 1880, the unfortunate George MARTIN appeared before the Bridlington Petty Sessions. This insignificant event passed me by on Tuesday so I made a note to update the story next year. This morning the Radio Five Live breakfast news informed me that “America” was intending to impose more sanctions on Russia for poisoning the Skripals. And yesterday several social media companies in the vicinity of San Francisco wiped Alex Jones’ Info Wars from their platforms. News of other hideous events appeared during the day. They all seemed to be connected.

I wrote a brief post about poor George in Looking at Filey a few years ago. Here is the syndicated news report that also appeared in The Scarborough Mercury.

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I added the following comment:-

The only likely young George MARTIN I could find was George J., aged 20 in 1881, a jet worker living with his widowed aunt at Pier, Whitby (RG114834 f95). I hope this was the wanderer because the record suggests he had three things going for him – a roof over his head, a wage coming in and family to care for him – enough to keep the demons at bay, perhaps. I wonder what became of him.

With access to more sources, I looked again and found evidence to support my hunch. Two months earlier a Whitby jet worker of the same name had appeared before a Scarborough court.

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I think there is just enough here to proceed on the assumption that these disturbed Georges are one and the same – and that he was with his Aunt in Whitby when the census enumerator came to call the following year.

I did some more detective work but failed to discover what became of George. I found out, though, that tragedy attended his birth. He was just a few days old, at most a month or so, when a terrific storm hit the northeast coast of England. Many vessels were driven on shore and wrecked. A lot of sailors lost their lives. The Whitby lifeboat went out at least five times and rescued a number of men before a particularly nasty combination of waves, rebounding from the stricken vessel Merchant of Maldon, turned the lifeboat over. Only one of the crew survived. Of the twelve that drowned…

Six of the bodies, viz., Isaac Dobson, Matthew Laidley, Wm. Walker, Wm, Storr, Wm. Tyneman, and George Martin, were recovered on the same day. The majority of these twelve men had saved the crews of five vessels that day; and these brave fellows, especially the Storrs and the Laidleys, had on many occasions within the last twenty years heroically and devotedly risked their lives for the preservation of others; and it mattered not how tempestuous the storm, or how heavy the sea, if they saw their fellow creatures in imminent danger, they would make intrepid and strenuous exertions to save them.

This Yorkshire Gazette account of 16 February notes those left behind included “Geo. Martin, aged 25, wife and infant”, and says, “It may also be remarked that George Martin’s brother and Christopher Collins’s brother were drowned by the upsetting of a coble on February 4th, 1842.”

When the 1861 Census was taken a few weeks later, on the 7th of April, infant George James was with his mother Jane at the home in Cragg, Whitby, of her older sister Ann, and husband Mark WINN. Ten years later Jane and George were enumerated at Pier, Whitby. And, as noted earlier, in 1881 widow Ann Winn, aged 60, is recorded at Pier with George James and niece Ellen NORTON, aged 12. Sources indicate that Jane had remarried and was living nearby, at Cragg, with husband William LEWIS and 24-year-old stepson, Henry – a police constable! (You couldn’t make it up.)

The WILTON girls, Ann and Jane, can be found on FamilySearch Tree, and Mark WINN too, but they are as yet “unconnected”. I couldn’t find the Georges Martin but they may be on the World Tree somewhere.

The bravery of those Whitby fishermen and sailors, who risked their lives to save others, is in marked contrast to the behavior of “men” nowadays. A couple of news reports today say a Saudi led airstrike on Yemen has killed fifty people, most of them children in a school bus, and a report just released tells us that monks and teachers at Ampleforth and Downside schools have been sexually abusing children for over 40 years.

It seems unlikely that America will impose sanctions on the Saudis for slaughtering innocents. Perhaps it will be argued that International Law hasn’t been broken.

Unless I have missed something, there has been no evidence presented yet to prove that Russia tried to kill the Skripals with Novichok. The regimes in the United States, UK, some EU countries, Arab States, Israel – lunatics all and, terrifyingly, at large. (Many of their misdeeds are, of course, not reported at all.)