The Alternative Brothers

Their graves in St Oswald’s churchyard are about 60 paces apart. John’s stone has been out in all weathers for over 30 years longer than his brother’s and it hasn’t worn well.

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The incised letters on Warcup’s stone are still sharp a hundred years after they were cut.

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Warcup was baptised a CROSIER…

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…but he signed his apprentice indenture form and the marriage register on his wedding 1846 as CROSHER.

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Warcup and Ann’s three girls came into the world as Croshers and departed as either Crosier or Crozier in official records. Only the youngest girl married – as Elizabeth Ann Crosier. For this family unit “Crosier” is written in stone.

One wonders if the two brothers talked about changing the family name. They clearly didn’t see eye to eye. Not only did John marry as a Crosher but his son with Elizabeth the Second did too – and died a Crosher in 1971.

Variant family names are an occupational hazard for family historians. I suspect most arise from misunderstandings by record takers (initially) and digitizers/transcribers (in recent years). Not many are at continuing variance by parental or sibling choice. A quick look at the Index of Volume 2 of the East Yorkshire Family History Society’s St Oswald’s Monument Inscriptions shows only one family in this sort of conflict. Crosher/Crosier.

John is with his first wife, Elizabeth PASHBY, who died childless (it seems) at the age of 44.

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About fourteen months later, at the age of 54, John married Elizabeth MILNER, a spinster aged 35. Her widowhood lasted 36 years and her grave, next to John and the other Elizabeth, has a flat tablet letting the world know who placed it there.

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In loving memory of ELIZABETH, second wife of JOHN CROSHER, who died October 16th 1919.

Erected by her son GEORGE HENRY CROSHER Hon. Steward of Westminster Abbey.

Find George Henry on FamilySearch Tree.

Today’s Image

I posted a photo of Ironbridge Gorge last autumn but titled it Landscape 61, forgetting I had an empty category for “Old Life” pictures. My faithful companion, Jude, departed for the Big Kennel on this day five years ago. Six years to the day before that we enjoyed a lovely walk on a bright, frosty morning – and he waited patiently while I made this panorama.

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The Sandholes are between Jude and the risen sun. I don’t know if it is true, but I understood that the sand taken from this place was of a particular kind, perfect for making the moulds into which molten iron could be poured to make useful and/or decorative cast iron objects. Half a mile from this viewpoint, more or less straight ahead, is one of the Cradles of the Industrial Revolution, and an iconic brick structure – The Darby Furnace, where iron was first smelted using coke.

If you copy and paste these coordinates into Google Maps and hit Satellite View you’ll find yourself at the Sandholes.

52.633737°,  -2.500155°

Sandholes

The Old Life ended when Jude and I left Middle England for the Yorkshire Coast, about four months after the Sandholes photos were taken. Here’s a picture of him taken in Filey in March 2009. I miss him, but he’s not really gone away.

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An Unexpected Poet

Whatever it may be, frost heave, soil settle or something other, it nudges gravestones from the vertical, and a few will eventually fall on their backs or faces. The headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard remembering George MILNER, and his wife Mary Ann seems unique in appearing to be pulled, ever so gradually, into the earth by an unknown force. Straight down.

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George was born in Hunmanby, a few miles inland from Filey, in 1813. He married Mary Ann PUDSEY in Holy Trinity Church, Hull, in 1838. Their five children were born in that city and one of the three girls, Elizabeth, married John, a younger brother of Warcup CROSIER, who wed the girl next door (Monday’s post).

George followed the same trade as Warcup, and so did John. They were all joiners. But George was also a poet.

At least, that is what he told the census enumerator in 1851. Journeyman Joiner & Poet. Wonderful.

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For reasons unknown to me, the family moved from Hull to Filey during the next decade and in 1871 George was just a plain, and somewhat less romantic, Master Joiner living in West Road.

I went in search of his poems. If there are any out there, I have yet to stumble upon them. I did find this:-

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Poets are known to have become elegiac in country churchyards but further investigation established this George as a Director of Hull’s Cemeteries and probably somewhat older than 33 years. (I didn’t hold too fast to a notion of him in a dual role of making coffins and dealing with the administration of seeing them put efficiently in the ground.)

However, taphophiles may be interested in this extract from the preface to the second edition of the pamphlet referred to above.

In Hull, the town in which the author resides, there is a population of about 70,000; the published returns of the Registrar General, however, only include the parishes of Holy Trinity and St. Mary; and therefore, in dealing with facts, we must confine ourselves to these districts, which, according to the last census, contained a population of 41,130. So early as the year 1301, Archbishop Corbridge mentions a cemetery in Kyngstone. The burying ground is described in the will of John Schayl, in 1303, as the Cemetery of Holy Trinity of Kingston-upon-Hull; in 1320 King Edward granted a vacant piece of ground at the west end of the church, for the enlargement of this churchyard –  the plot altogether, including the site of the church, only contains about 5,040 square yards, and has never since been used as a place of interment for this parish. It is crowded everywhere with bones and coffins, some of the latter within a foot of the surface; the ground, as may readily be imagined, is one mass of decomposed flesh and blood; it is raised two or three feet above the level of the adjoining streets by interments, notwithstanding those streets are now higher considerably than they formerly were. Holy Trinity is situated in the Market-place, and entirely surrounded by dwellings –  at the west, a row of houses overlooks the ground, and in summer months, offensive smells are complained of. In 1783, a new ground was opened for this parish, containing about 14,520 square yards, – the ground has long since been filled, and no interment can now take place without disturbing human remains; this ground has also been considerably raised by interments above the adjoining streets. In the other parish, we find St. Mary’s Church was founded or enlarged in 1333, as Archbishop Melton then granted a licence for “performing divine offices in the chapel, and rites of sepulture in the ground.” The present churchyard contains about 750 square yards; it is frightfully crowded, and the ground raised four or five feet above street level – graves cannot be made without mangling and displacing remains. A new ground was obtained for the parish in 1774, it contains about 2772 square yards; this is very much crowded, so much so that it is necessary to prick with an iron rod for a new grave. The parishes of Holy Trinity and St. Mary, according to the last census, contained 41,130, as before stated; the published Tables of Mortality shew that from the year 1838 to 1846 inclusive, there have been no less than 10, 601 deaths recorded in these two parishes. How then is it possible that, under existing arrangements, violation of the grave can be avoided? No interment can possibly take place without desecration – the quiet of the grave exists but in the imagination.

Our George Milner was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard on 11 May 1890, about a year after Mary Ann was laid to rest. Their son Robert died in Cottingham in 1898 and was brought to Filey for burial in their grave.

Find the family on FamilySearch Tree.

Accidents and Alcohol

StationApproachFiley1_8mOn this day in 1869, a passenger train from Hull was approaching Filey about 3 pm. The driver was “in the habit of running down the incline from Hunmanby at considerable speed” and,  a second or two after passing under the Donkey Bridge, he noticed the signal protecting the station was set at danger. (The signal may have been in the same place as the one you can see in the photo, but distances given in the accident investigation report suggest it was a hundred yards or so further on.) At the bridge, he had shut off steam and whistled for the tender and guard’s brakes to be applied, and as he passed the signal he reversed steam and set the sand pipes going, slowing the train from 40 to ten miles per hour. He hit a stationary coal train on the downline just south of the station with quite a thump, throwing a couple of coal wagons off the track. Thankfully, none of the passenger carriages derailed. (Of the 150 people aboard, fifteen would complain of injuries.) The driver was not in a fit state to be questioned immediately, possibly because he was inebriated rather than hurt. A month later the Report stated, “This man appears to have been drinking since1st January 1870, and has now been dismissed from the service of the company.”

The passenger train had been running late so there was even less of an excuse for the station staff to have allowed the coal train to remain in its dangerous position.  The station master claimed to have given instructions for its removal well ahead of the expected arrival of the Hull train; the underlings, somewhat feebly, claimed not to have received said instructions. The danger should have been clear to everyone.

The Report doesn’t name names but the culpable station master was Charles MILNER, born in Huddersfield in 1807. He married in Gloucestershire and moved several times thereafter with his growing family. The first two children were born in Cheltenham, and the next three in Yorkshire at Sinderby, Pickering, and Starbeck.

Charles not only kept his job in Filey after the accident but his only son, Charles George, was stationmaster at Seamer in 1873 when they were both up before the court for “refusing to pay poor rates”. (The case was dismissed on a technicality.)

Eight years later the census finds the father retired in West Parade, Filey, with wife Mary and single daughter Jemima, aged 26. Charles George left it late to marry. He was 39 when he hitched his wagon to 25-year-old Asenath GREENHELD,  in Scarborough. Nine months or so later their only child, Bertha Frances, was born. Charles George left the railway company but not the rails. He worked as a salesman for a book publisher. The 1881 census catches him in an Exeter lodging house with a motley crew of wanderers, commercial travelers in hardware, “stuff goods”, fancy stationery – with a Clerk in Holy Orders to keep them honest, for a while at least.

Charles senior died in April 1886 and the following year Charles George moved his small family to Eastbourne in Sussex, where he bought a coal merchant’s business.  A few days before Christmas 1889 he went out for the evening on his own. At the Gildredge Hotel he had a whiskey, or maybe it was a gin, and ordered a joint of beef. He talked about “strikes and business” with a man who would give evidence at the coroner’s inquest.

When I went away I left him in the smoking-room talking to Mr. Turton and to little Mr. Moore who used to be coachman at Compton-place. I never saw deceased in a public house before. I was surprised to see him there. I think he was quite sober.

The jury found that the death was purely accidental, and “not brought about by intoxication”.

Two young men about town witnessed Charles Milner the younger’s death. One of them, Mr. G. BRADFORD said:-

I live at 9 Susan’s –road. Gilbert said to me, “Hallo! Here is one copped it already.” He then halloaed out, “Hallo! Old man, don’t attempt that. You can’t do it.” He said that because he saw deceased was close to the steps. Deceased made a grab at the pillar post to steady himself in going down or to save himself from falling. He fell at once. I went for the police, leaving Gilbert with deceased.

Charles had not fallen far but his neck was broken and he died before Dr. J.H. EWART arrived at the scene. He told the inquest that there was no evidence that Charles had imbibed a “great quantity” of alcohol.

One of the Jury, a Mr. COOMBER, suspected foul play and refused to sign the inquisition but it seems the verdict of accidental death was readily accepted by the people of the town

Great sympathy is felt for deceased’s family. The unanimous testimony of his friends is that he was a man of extremely temperate habits…

Old man? Charles George was 54 when he died. Had he made it to 65 he could have played a proud father role in the audience when the Eastbourne Philharmonic performed Sir Frederick Bridge’s “grand setting of Rudyard Kiplings patriotic ode” The Flag of England. Bertha Frances Milner was one of the sopranos in the choir.

Sources: North Eastern Railway accident report; Poor rates case, Driffield Times 31 May 1873, ‘Fatal Accident to an Eastbourne Coal Merchant’, Eastbourne Gazette, 25 December 1889, ‘The Flag of England’ Concert¸Eastbourne Gazette, 14 February 1900.

I have made a start connecting disparate MILNERs on the FamilySearch Tree.