A Comedian

1934_PEARSONmaude_flower containerMany years may have passed since flowers were placed in this marble container. Names on three sides remember Frank, Thomas C. and Maude PEARSON.

Maude, a first cousin three times removed to Wrightson Pearson but not blood-related to John of the Three Wives, (go figure), married a WILKINS from Essex. A recent additional stone remembers Ray, who died in 2006. Maude died eight years ago.

None of these St Oswald’s churchyard people has places on the FamilySearch Tree yet, so I set about putting their jigsaw pieces together. I found some of them in the nation’s capital.

Raymond Parker Wilkins was the son of Gerald Douglas Wilkins and Sabina UMPLEBY and grandson of Frederick Robinson Wilkins and Hannah Elizabeth GOLLEDGE.

In 1901, Gerald was three years old, living with his parents at 7 Cormont Road, Lambeth. Visiting the family and snared by the enumerator were Richard and Elsie DOUGLAS. Within minutes of wondering if Gerald’s middle name came from the Douglas family, I discovered Elsie was a Golledge. She was 28 years old and an actress. Her husband was the same age and an actor, but also a comedian. Elsie must have thought she needed a classier moniker for the stage and when she applied for the marriage licence…


The registrar would have none of it – the civil marriage record has her as Elsie. They married in 1894 and registered the births of two daughters in ’95 and ’96. The girls were not guests of the Wilkins family and I found no trace of any of them after 1901, until 1960 when the older girl died aged 65. Her death is registered in her birth name, but she had married one Arnold WALKER as a 19-year-old. Both life events occurred in Salford, Lancashire, where her father was born.

Salford may not seem the most romantic place to enter the world or leave it, but Richard Douglas was one of at least eleven children. He was the first to be Salford-born but his older siblings took their first breaths in Ireland, South Africa or Japan. (Their father was a bandsman in the army and their grandfather a sergeant in the same regiment.)

The “disappearance” of Richard and Elise/Elsie might be explained by an urge to travel to distant lands.

But another mystery remains. What relation was Elsie Golledge to Hannah Elizabeth? I haven’t found Elsie’s birth registration yet. Hannah’s father, Thomas Miles Golledge, was born in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Five years after he married Eliza Watkins SHEPPERD in Marylebone, a William J Golledge married Anna M DALE in Lambeth. Thomas worked as a boot machinist, William as a bootmaker. And William had also been born in Shepton Mallet. There is a gap in the arrivals of William and Anna’s children, between Eleanor Sophia and Walter Thomas, where Elsie would fit. Cousins then?

The Shared Tree, however, does offer the Golledge male line through Thomas Miles back to Stephen, born 1578, but Hannah is waiting at the altar – and Elsie doesn’t appear as a child of William Joseph Payne Golledge and Anna Maria Dale. Still a mystery.

And I wonder if the Golledge girls ever visited Filey.

Coltas Continued


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.

Saturday in Salford

Nihal Arthanayake, a Radio Five Live presenter, told his audience this afternoon that a crowd of far right, racist bigots had gathered outside the BBC Studios in Salford last Saturday. If you want to know why they were there, watch Panodrama. I’m sure a lot of the people were ordinary citizens who have dutifully paid their TV licence fees for years, and probably once had good things to say about ‘Auntie’. Having been smeared by someone whose wages they help to pay, they may now wish to reconsider.

Today’s Image

The Filey Weather Station, IFILEY2, reported an average temperature of -0.2°C on this day last year. As I write, the average temperature today is 8.6°C. It felt warmer this afternoon than yesterday, but the maximum reported is only 15.8, compared with yesterday’s 17.9°C.

Thirty miles north of here, the Whitby Station, INORTHYO14, put yesterday’s maximum at 21.5°C. Hmm. Higher than the February record reported at Kew. Personal weather stations hosted on Weather Underground can be eccentric. Sandsend, just north of Whitby, is currently reporting a temperature of 140°F. So when I offer my reports on the Northern Winter and Southern Summer in a couple of days, you should treat them with caution!