31 October 2008

Violence & Death

In the 1871 census James Culpin and his wife Sophia (nee Sheppard) were living in London Street, St Pancras. He was a tailor and she a tailoress.

The previous May James, then aged 59, was sentenced to six months hard labour. He was convicted of beating his wife - broke a chair over her head and back, broke her arm with the poker. And apparently this was not the first time - according to the newspaper report, she'd been married to him for 18 years and he was "in the constant habit of beating her".

Sophia died in September 1875 in fairly gruesome circumstances; Lloyds Weekly Newspaper (found at the British Library) gave up the following . . .

"Fatal Fire near Tottenham Court Road: Shortly before 10 o'clock on Thursday night a fire took place at Mr J Culpin's, tailor, 54 Howland Street, Tottenham Court Road. Some patterns, wearing apparel, and furniture, in a room on the ground floor, were burned and Sophia Culpin, aged 66 years, was burnt to death."

Interesting priorities: they list the damage and then, oh yeah, someone died!

And then the inquest: "Dr Hardwicke held an inquest on Monday, at the St Pancras Coroner's Court, touching the death of Sophia Culpin, aged 66, of 54 Howland Street, Tottenham Court Road. On the night in question John McArthur, who resided in the house, on coming home observed smoke issuing from deceased's room, and he at once tried to get in by the window, the door being fastened, but failing in this he took a chopper and, smashing the panels of the door, effected an entrance, when he found that the room was on fire. He raised the alarm and with two buckets of water extinguished the fire, when a horrible sight presented itself. On the table were the remains of an exploded paraffin lamp, there being a strong smell of oil in the room. At the side of the room, half sitting and half lying, and with her head against the wall, was the deceased, burnt to death. Her clothes were a mass of smouldering rags, her hair was burnt off, her breast burnt, and one of her legs was frightfully charred. The deceased had suffered from bad legs and rheumatism and could not get about much. A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded."

29 October 2008

Names . . .

In the years I've been researching my family history I have discovered all manner of names. Most are fairly ordinary, run-of-the-mill names and some are a bit unusual.

However, the prize for "Longest name given at Christening" goes to the son of Arthur & Holland Watts, who was born in Cambridge in 1900.

The poor lad was called Clarence Arthur William Preston James Watts.

Somehow I feel he must have hated filling in forms in later life!

28 October 2008

101 years old

No, not me; one of my distantly-related Culpins. Ethel May, born in 1899 in the Peterborough (hereinafter called Pebo) area, who died in 2000 (also in the Pebo area). Pretty impressive, and bound to have been reported in the newspapers.

Pebo is, of course, in Cambridgeshire now . . . . but I'll have to schedule a trip to their central library/local studies to have a look at the Evening Telegraph because Pebo is a unitary authority which is, I guess, a sort of independence from the county. A variation on "Passport to Pimlico", I suppose!

However, I might try and pick a day when the weather is better than today. (No, I'm not obsessed with the weather - I'm just British). Beautiful morning - cold and sunny; and then this afternoon . . . grey, cold, manky and full of "wintery precipitation". That's what the weathermen call it when they don't know whether it will fall as rain, sleet or snow. I think we got the middle one!

26 October 2008

Autumn Leaves & stuff

Just imagine how good the two new pictures to the left would have looked if there had been the "azure" sky I'd hoped for!

Still . . . more on the Culpins who came to the Ely area. William Culpin, who was born in Caistor circa 1824, married Mary Ann Binder in Whittlesey in 1846. By 1871 the family had moved across the Fens to Little Downham and they mostly stayed in the area until the early 20th century. Sightings have been mainly in Little Downham, Manea, Littleport and Ely.

Just to confuse me, tho', a couple of them were born in St Ives; this made me mix them up with what I think of as the "main" branch. These are my direct ancestors - Blanche and her siblings, the children of Millice Campbell Culpin and Naomi Fordham.

Not to sidetrack myself, though - I find it fascinating when I know the places these Culpins lived. New Barns Road, in Ely - been there many a time; not so familiar with Manea but I do go through there on the train to Peterborough - Dr Beeching didn't manage to close them down!! Little Downham? Go straight on past the old High School . . . . !

It's no good - got to go and check some of these out, I can see some question marks in my notes!

24 October 2008

Names on a Memorial

Yesterday in Ely I noticed repeating names on the War Memorial. Nothing unusual, particularly in small cities & villages, but these gentleman all shared the same middle initial. So I looked them up on the excellent War Memorial site http://www.roll-of-honour.com/

Bert, James, Thomas and Edward McGee were indeed brothers. And three of them died on the same day. Bert (18), James (20) & Thomas (22) died on 12th October 1916. Edward (24) died ten months later in August 1917. How did their parents go on after that?

I'll be thinking of them on 11th November, the 90th anniversary of the Armistice.

Pig Jobbers Anonymous

According to an Old Occupations website (http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/p.html) a pig jobber bought pigs and then sold them off for profit - a pig trader.

Not what I thought at all!!

23 October 2008

Ely on an autumn day

Thought I'd go to Ely today and take some photos of the trees in the park. As the weather so far this week has been stunning, I thought I'd get some really good shots of the red & orange leaves against an azure sky.

It was breezy and grey.

Still, I wandered round the city, noted that my favourite cafe (Steeple Gate) has now closed, and paid my respects, as usual, at the War Memorial.

No Culpins on there, but there were Culpins in Ely; Henry Culpin, my great-grandmother Blanche's brother, moved there from St Ives with his wife Grace (nee Whittaker) and set up as a jeweller in the city. Henry, also known as Bob, and Grace are buried together in the City cemetery and I've just put on a photo of their memorial stone.

In Cambridge, the Gasworks Memorial on Newmarket Road has the name of Henry Richard Culpin on it. He was the son of James Culpin & Alice May Etheridge, born in Cambridge in 1913, and died 8 March 1940. His grave, duly marked with the Commonwealth War Graves headstone, is in the City Cemetery in Newmarket Road, Cambridge. If memory serves, he is also commemorated on a plaque on St Paul's Church, Hills Road, Cambridge.

As for Samuel, he and Ann (nee Dickinson, married in 1858) were still at the "Punch Bowl" in Spalding in 1881, with the younger two of their children - Richard, a stonemason's apprentice, and Frederick, a pig jobber.

Pig jobber? What on earth did was that? Not sure I'd really like his job description, but I'll put it on the To Do list.

More soon . . . .

22 October 2008

Samuel Culpin

OK, refreshed by a cup of tea . . . Samuel Culpin, christened 5 Sep 1827 in Spalding, Lincs, son of Richard & Maria.

He appears in 1861 as the Master of the vessel "Hope", presumably a fishing boat, out of Hull (I think). By 1871, he's the landlord of the Punch Bowl Inn, New Road, Spalding; married to Ann and with four children at home.

He caught my eye, as it were, because his daughter's full name is Maria Mary Gostelow Culpin and when I first "saw" her online, I was tracing a related line of Fordhams in Huntingdonshire and one of those married a Susannah Gostelow. With such an unusual name, my ears pricked up at once.

So, back to Samuel - his parents turn out to be Richard (Culpin, obviously) and Maria Gostelow, who were married on 24 Sep 1810 in Spalding. They had seven other children, of whom more later, and I estimate that Richard would have been born circa 1790.

Problem is that I have a number of potential candidates for this chap . . . I guess I just need to eliminate them one by one and apply the Sherlock Holmes theory that "whatever remains, however unlikely, has to be the truth" (with apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for mangling his quote).

Onwards . . . . .

Primary Ramble

Ooooooh .... so, here we are.
My first blog. My first entry. How shall I start this?
I intend this to be about my link to the Culpin family from Northamptonshire & Rutland. I expect that other branches of my family will creep in as I congratulate them on their ability to hide from me, and as I agonise over who's linked to whom.
In the meantime, I'm going to have a cup of tea and think about how to find out how Samuel Culpin, born in Spalding, can be connected back to the Kings Cliffe/Woodnewton branch.
A bientot!