Posts Tagged ‘Blythburgh’

James Crosby and Family

March 8, 2015

This maintains a Blythburgh theme for it is the family of James Crosby and Mary Ann (Cullingford) Smith. She was born in Blythburgh as was oldest daughter Ellen. The little bit of family tree I have included (click it to see it at a readable size) was produced before I knew much more about this family. I see I didn’t know how to spell Blythburgh when I did this bit of tree!


Let’s look at James – the dad of this family. He was my G G Grandfather and was born in 1815, the year of the battle of Waterloo. He was born in Butley in Suffolk. We do not know when or why he moved up to Blythburgh which was also in Suffolk but is some 17 miles from Butley, in a straight line. Perhaps he was selected by a Blythburgh farmer at a hiring fair.

He married Mary Ann in Blythburgh in 1840. Ellen was already born by then. The next four children were born at Tunstall in Suffolk and then James got back to his home parish of Butley in time for my Great Granny, Sarah Ann to be born there.

James died in 1865 and we have a memorial card.


We also have a memorial card for Mary Ann


She died in 1888.

Once again, I feel really lucky to be a descendant of hoarders. My great gran must have kept these cards and they have passed through my gran and my dad to me.

Blythburgh (2)

March 7, 2015

Having looked, yesterday, at Paul Bennett’s view of Blythburgh I thought that today we could see some of my photos.


This was a hazy day in April 2004 and we can see that little hill with the village on it.


It was even mistier on another visit in February 2008 when we walked paths in the marshes.


This boat’s useful days are clearly over – but modern photography makes it all too easy to brighten up what was a very misty shot.


Aha. Now here’s one for a nerd. It’s an old AA reflector to help make sure cars don’t crash into the corner of a building.


Sorry folks. I have photos of church and village but there are dozens of them on the web already


March 6, 2015

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


James Skoulding Burton

August 30, 2013

Ancestors of mine came from Blythburgh, a little village up the creek from Southwold in Suffolk. In terms of actual ancestors I’m going back to the first half of the nineteenth century, but other relatives hung around for longer and it is one of them I feature today. James Burton, with the unlikely middle name of Skoulding would have been a great great great uncle of mine. It probably goes without saying that I never knew him. Indeed, I don’t even have a photo of him, but I have located his grave in Blythburgh’s church yard – and here it is.

image002This photo was taken in April 2004

The main inscription reads, simply, ‘In loving memory of James Skoulding Burton who died April 67th 1890 in his 87th year’. The verse underneath is telling readers that James is lucky for he has now gained eternal life.

James was born in around 1804 in Blythburgh. He was baptised on 26th February of that year. His middle name came from his grandfather, who was also my five greats grandfather – James Skoulding. James’ elder sister, Sarah, was my 3 greats grandmother.

James married Sarah Gray on 9th January 1827. You can see her rather careworn grave behind that of James. The marriage was in the utterly enormous church at Blythburgh.

As far as I know, James and Sarah spent their whole life in Blythburgh.

The censuses from 1841 to 1881 all tell the same story of James as a shoemaker. The couple had seven children we know of. I have no further details so let’s hope they had a happy life.