Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.
Some weeks back I posted a photo I took of St Mary’s church in Polstead, Suffolk. It’s a beautiful old village church, and when we visited back in August, we could just walk in and take a look around.
Inside, I picked up a copy of Polstead Church and Parish1 for a small donation, and the following information comes from there.
The church was built early in the reign of Henry II, probably about 1160 A.D. and was dedicated to Saint Mary. There have been two major alterations to the orginal twelfth-century Norman church, one towards the end of the fourteenth centur and another about 1510-1520.
The interior of the church is given a unique appearance by the use of brick and tufa blocks (a porous stone used for building at Rome and Naples) in the construction of the nave arches – Norman arches of brick are very rare; there is no other church like this in the whole of Suffolk.
The plain baptismal font probably dates from the 13th century, and was completely restored in 1961. The original base has been enlarged and the lead bowl with drain has replaced the original. The original 17th century wooden font cover has been replaced by one made of fibre-glass, in a symbolic design design of the Dove and undulating waters of Baptism. (It was designed by a nun of Oxford, who had trained at the Slade School of Art.)
There is much architectural joy to be discovered in this church. I found it to be a very lovely and simple place of worship, with lots of historical bits and bobs to savour. It’s where some of my Wright ancestors were baptised and married, and some buried in the graveyard.
I posted a photo last week of Rothwell’s market cross – a replica of the medieval one, which originally was close to the current site. I have several census returns where the address is simply “Near Crop” or “New Cross”, or maybe they are the same? In the following instances, they look quite distinct:
In fact, the second one may even be “Near Cross”.
Samuel Nunns and his wife Sarah, my Elsie‘s great grandparents, were living at “Near Crop”, Rothwell at the time of the 1861 census.1 Their children were Henry 9, William 8, Thomas 6, Joseph 5, and Sarah 1. Ten years later, the family are at “New Cross”, Rothwell, and with two more children: John 7 and Charles 6. Sarah is not listed this time. The four older boys are now working in the coal mine along with their father.2
By 1881, Sarah is widowed and living at 12 Cross Street with sons William, Joseph, John and Charles.3 Meanwhile, her eldest son Henry has married Tamar Dickinson and is living at 21 Cross Street along with children Sam 7, Elizabeth 5, John 4 and Joseph 1.4
At Rothwell Library, a helpful staff member pointed out the “new cross” on an old map, and mentioned how her family had lived near there. Perhaps this is the area of “New Cross”? I was looking for Cross Street which is still there, though most (if not all) of the old houses seem to have gone. Cross Terrace is also there – did the old houses on Cross Street look similar to these?
By 1891, both households had moved from Cross Street, to other streets in Rothwell that I failed to locate during the summer.
This week I discovered a fascinating document – Rothwell Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan – which details the town’s historic areas, one of which is Cross Terrace. Apparently all round that area is the “historic core” of Rothwell. There’s a whole heap of information about the history of the town and its architecture. On the Leeds City Council website, there are similar Conservation Area appraisals for other towns, including Oulton. The references at the end of each document are definitely worth a look, if you’re interested in the local history.
One of the tasks I wanted to accomplish in West Yorkshire was to visit and photograph houses and areas where my ancestors had lived. I had a lot of addresses from censuses and certificates, copies of old maps from Rothwell Library, and Google Maps.
Of course, many of the old buildings are gone, and streets renamed, re-routed or just plain disappeared. And there’s only so much driving around small villages that three young kids will (quietly) put up with. So it was a case of trying to do as much ground work as possible, before coming up again on my own sometime.
Two things I will have next time:
My 4 x great grandparents, George and Elizabeth Kemp, were living in Altofts at the time of the 1851 census. Living with them was their four year old son Thomas, and one year old daughter Hannah, as well as a servant, Mary Ramsden (whose occupation is listed as “Nurse”).1 Where I had just a village name for an address, I headed for the local Church of England church and took a snap, which is exactly what I did for Altofts (see yesterday’s post!).
In 1861, their address was “Wellington St, Whitwood” in the parish of Featherstone.2 I found a Wellington St between Castleford and Whitwood Mere, but didn’t think it was the right one, so left it. (Looking at Google maps now, it is possibly the right place, so I need to check this again on a contemporary map.) Thomas and Hannah/Anna are still living with their parents, along with siblings Sophia 9, and Sarah Ann (my 3x great grandmother) 5. Sophia was born in Castleford, and Sarah Ann in Whitwood, so the family had moved around a bit.
By 1871 they had moved to a “Cottage” in Oulton with Woodlesford.3 On the census, they have been enumerated near to Mill House Flat, though I couldn’t locate this either. Son Tom is the only child left at home, and Elizabeth’s father, James Dickinson, is also living with the family, along with Georgiana Haigh 7 “Adopted child”.
In 1881, George and Elizabeth are still in Oulton, with no specific address, with a nine year old grandson, Thomas J. Kemp, living with them.4 (I haven’t worked out whose child he is yet, nor what happened to him after they both died.)
Their daughter Sarah Ann had married Alfred Cockerham on December 23, 18715 and in 1881 were also living in Oulton, in Chapel Yard.6 With them were their daughters Mary A. 8, Sophia 5, Alice (my 2x great grandmother) 3, and their one year old son George. Boarding with the family was Thomas Rimmington, Alfred’s (first, once removed) cousin, 72.
I met some lovely women as I was wandering around, and they told me that there used to be more cottages similar to this one:
It’s really only a short lane, and down the end are some more cottages and other buildings.
Turning around and going back out to the main street, on the left is the chapel the lane was named after, presumably!
In my last post, I shared my daughter’s discovery of the gravestone of my 4 x great grandparents, George and Elizabeth Kemp, while on holiday in West Yorkshire over the summer. We found it in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist in Oulton.
On returning home, I decided to see if I could find the burial records online – Ancestry now have a huge swathe of West Yorkshire records on their site1.
I found a record for George Kemp in 1882, and noticed some interesting annotations in his entry:
I checked pages 130 and 161 of the register and found the following entries:
I guessed that the “No.74″ on each record was related to their shared grave site. Searching back through the register to the first page, I found the following annotations:
This is what I can make out from the text:
The numbers in red are the numbers of the graves as shown on the Plan of the Graves in the Churchyard
“No. ” [...] inserted by H[?]
[....] have added all the graves I know, up to [1839? 1939?] without the “No. “
So, there was a Plan! I wonder where it is now?
Whilst on our trip around West Yorkshire over the summer, my kids and I checked out St John the Evangelist church in Oulton, near Rothwell. It’s a lovely looking church from the outside, and the graveyard is mostly well kept and fun to play hide and seek in.
I gave my seven and four year olds a slip of paper each with three surnames to search for. This is what my four year old daughter found:
George and Elizabeth Kemp are my great great great great grandparents. Buried with them is their son, Thomas.
George Kemp was born around 1811 in Whitley, West Yorkshire. Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Castleford, West Yorkshire, around 1816.1
They were married at St John’s church in the parish of Wakefield on December 3rd, 1843. George and Elizabeth were of “full age”.Their fathers were Thomas Kemp, Labourer, and James Dickinson, Farmer.2
From census returns, they appear to have had four children3:
In the 1871 census, they had seven year old “adopted child” Georgiana Haigh living with them.4
I am descended from their daughter Sarah Ann.
who departed this life
January 1st 1882
aged 69 years
I look for the resurrection of
the dead and the life of the
world to come
also ELIZABETH, wife of the above
who died March 26th 1890
aged 75 years
also THOMAS, son of the above
who died October 25th 1895
aged 49 years
Be ye also ready
According to St John’s website, the churchyard is one of the biggest in Leeds, if not the county. George and Elizabeth’s gravestone seems to be in a quite prominent spot, facing the church’s front door.
My son also found some Cockerham graves and there were several other surnames from our family, but it will take a little digging (sorry, couldn’t resist!) to find out if they are part of our tree.
Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.