Blythburgh

Some of my long ago ancestors came from the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk. My three greats grandfather, Edward Cullingford Smith was born there in 1795. Now don’t get any idea that it’s a double barrelled surname and an indication of poshness. Oh no! It’s just that Edward’s parents, Mr Cullingford and Miss Smith weren’t married at the time although they did manage to tie the knot before the next child, Lucy, came along.

Edward’s first born was my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Cullingford Smith. From the genealogy point of view that lack of a timely marriage by her parents is a real curse for it meant that oh so difficult to trace Smith name went down to her. All the clues I can get to usage suggest that the Smith part was only used for those formal things – like birth and marriage certificates.

The most recent of my relatives to have been born in Blythburgh was my great great aunt, Ellen, who was the daughter of Mary Ann Cullingford Smith and her partner, James Crosby. Mary Anne and James also tied the knot after her birth and Ellen was always known as a Crosby but officially she was a Smith as well! Ellen has featured on this blog for I have a photo of her and my gran always described her as ‘a favourite aunt’. You can click here to see that post.

As a little aside, I always reckon I can get a sense of how Ellen talked from the censuses. She was a Suffolk girl who moved to Sussex and enumerators – even her husband, married in later life, didn’t know Blythburgh and had to write down what she said. Her hubby, on the 1911 census wrote this.

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That’s Blyburrey. The 1881 enumerator had written blibury.

Blythburgh is on the edge of the River Blyth and is surrounded by a marshy area. The village – and from the name you can tell it was once an important place with Burgh status, sits atop a little hill. I can’t say the church is a favourite of mine. It is simply vast – also an indication of past wealth in the area – and very ornate. I might prefer more simple and homely, but it is impressive and it stands out as a beacon from miles around.

On a visit to that church I purchased a piece of art showing the village across the marsh and river.

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It is always so hard to snap a picture behind glass. Glass reflects and that photo doesn’t do justice to the original which has been created using pastel colours.

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There’s the village with the church sitting atop the little rise in the ground. I love it so I say a big well done and thank you to the artist.

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Paul Bennett is Paul O’Leary Bennett and he is a man who clearly loves his home area – Blythburgh. In writing this blog I have found his web site and I can tell you I drool over his pictures. They catch the atmosphere of the Blythburgh area so well.

In case anyone thinks this is a bit of a commercial, I don’t know Paul and he doesn’t know me.

 

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