One Spring in Wintringham

The letter from Maria Green to the Vicar of Holy Trinity (Sunday’s post) was an unexpected “find” and it prompted me to look further into her family.

In 1841 Maria, husband William and three children were living in Marine Row, Hull. I haven’t been able to locate the place with certainty but it must surely have been close to the River Humber, the Old Town Docks – and to Minerva Terrace where the CORTIS family lived.  Opportunity, then, for the elder Green girl to hook up with the oldest Cortis boy.

But what’s this? In 1844 Mary Jane and William Smithson married in Wintringham, 35 miles from the bustling port town. Why?

While semi-retired master mariner Richard Cortis was running the Minerva Tavern, William Green was a silk mercer (census), and before that, at the christenings of his three children, a haberdasher. Sometime in the 1840s he decided on a career change and took over the 520-acre Rookdale Farm – in Wintringham. In 1847 his other daughter, Isabella Maria, married Richard BOWES in the village church. I’m still not sure when and where William and Maria’s son, Thomas Rae Green, married but at the 1851 census the young man is on the farm with his wife Mary, the sister of Richard Bowes.

Richard and Mary’s father, William Bowes, was a miller and he also made a significant move during his lifetime, from one of the Yorkshire Bromptons to Monkwearmouth Shore in County Durham. Some sources link the family to Brompton by Northallerton and others to Brompton by Sawdon. I suspect the latter is more likely because of its proximity to Wintringham. (It seems a stretch for them to have lived in both.)

So far, so romantic and rurally idyllic.

At the 1861 census, Thomas is farming Rookdale. His widowed mother, Maria, is in residence and so are his five daughters and a son, William. (Their mother had died the previous year, aged 31.)

1862 was Thomas Green’s annus horribilis. On the 15th April, he buried his second child, Mary Margaret, 9. Four days later his mother was laid to rest, aged 68.  Emily, 5, joined her grandmother in the cold earth two days later, and her younger sister, four-year-old Alice, died a month later.


Source accessed at Find my Past.

What illness could have ravaged the family so? And it was even more awful because  Harriet Isabella, Maria’s granddaughter, and the fourth child of Isabella Maria Bowes,  was buried with her cousin Mary on the 15th of April.(Isabella Maria’s husband, Richard, had died in 1854, aged 31. Yes, the same age as his sister Mary.)


The Greens/Bowes did not flee from their sadness. The next census finds some of the survivors in Wintringham still. Thomas, his 19-year-old daughter Ann Maria and son William, now ten; his sister Isabella Maria with her daughter, also Ann Maria (and also 19).

I have looked for them in 1881 without success. Perhaps they emigrated to join their kinfolk in Australia or the United States.

You can find the pedigrees of Thomas Rae and Isabella Maria on the FamilySearch tree.