Posts Tagged ‘Butley’

A card from one sister to another

June 28, 2016

My Great Granny came from Butley in Suffolk but for reasons still unknown moved to Isfield in Sussex sometime in the 1870s. Her older sister, Ellen, was already in that area and they were joined by Susannah, a third sister in the 1890s.

It might have been a bit of a surprise that Susan(nah) sent this card to my great gran well into the twentieth century.


This, as we can see, is the Post Office and Street at Butley, birth place and youthful dwelling place for great gran.

By the time the card was sent Great Gran lived in Ringmer.image004We think the postmark is for 1927 and that could explain why the card was sent just to Mrs G Stevens (née Sarah Ann Crosby). Her husband, George Stevens, died in 1926.

The postmark is definitely for December 23rd so it is no surprise there is a Christmas message.image005With the Christmas greeting is the simple ‘Do you recognise this picture?’ It is signed by sister Susan(nah) and her daughter Nellie.

Nellie, my gran’s cousin, was known to me as ‘Nellie at Isfield’.

Dad’s notes on relatives from Butley

June 23, 2016

Butley is in south Suffolk, not far from Woodbridge.

I came across a note dad had made back in 1968. He visited Butley with his mum. Butley had been the childhood home of her mum – my great grandmother. Her maiden name was Sarah Ann Crosby.

Back in 1968 he knew very little. I’d have been a teenager and probably not much interested.

Here’s the first part of his note.


Dad’s writing never was that easy to read so I’ll transcribe.

Butley – 11-7-68

A woman named Crosby is remembered by the village shopkeeper. She married Charlie Mann the village cobbler. They had a daughter, Mary Ann whom my mother remembers visiting them at Isfield. Mary Ann went to Canada or America. There was also a son, Harry, killed in World War 1.

None of the children at the village school knew the name Crosby.

We now know a bit more than this. Eliza Crosby did marry Charlie Mann, We know of five children. Charles was born in 1888, Mary Ann in 1890, William (sometimes George) in 1892, Harry in 1894, and Edward in 1896.

There is a second part to dad’s notes.


Aunt Ellen married a Snowdon in Sussex and later he died and she married Huntley. It was this aunt who took charge of Sarah Ann. Sarah Ann worked at Gibraltar Farm.

There was an Uncle Ted and Uncle Jack.

In fact my gran had nine uncles and aunts called Crosby as well as her mother, Sarah Ann. Gibraltar Farm appears to be in Firle. I know my dad always thought that Sarah Ann moved to Sussex when she was a girl. I think from census records she was over 20 so being looked after by her big sister Ellen may not have been day to day care, but maybe helping her find a place to work.

It was interesting to find Dad’s note – largely correct but written on spoken testimony from his mum only.

A grave at Butley

January 16, 2016

Sarah Ann Stevens (née Crosby), who lived some of her life at Ringmer in Sussex, came from a village called Butley in Suffolk. Ancestors beforehand were Suffolk people and many had lived in that little village of Butley. It’s a fair bet that many are buried in the churchyard there, nestled close by the lovely thatched church.

image002 But there is just one grave I have found there with a family headstone and here it is.


Now that’s not so easy to read so we’d better try to digitally enhance it.


It reads In memory of Sarah the wife of James Crosby who died Oct 1828 aged 66 years.

Sarah was my great great great great grandmother and I find it amazing that I was able to come across such a survivor. Subsequent members of the Crosby family would not have had money for headstones.

Sarah had been born Sarah Fisk and she married James in 1784 at Butley. I’ve never managed to trace her Fisk line back and these days I’m less bothered than I once was.

Great Granny’s sampler

October 1, 2015

I’ve said before that out of sadness some joy can come.

There’s a difficult job still ongoing. It isn’t my job for my sister had two children and clearing her house is really something they have to do. But they are good enough to realise that some family things are probably best passed my way. This one is only a photo but I am still delighted to see it and to be able to make something of it.

Back in 1860, when Great Granny was a 10 year old scholar at Butley School in Suffolk, she sewed a sampler. I had seen a black and white photo of it – indeed it appeared on this blog in a post about her (click here). I know the sampler has passed down another line of the family which is now quite distant from me. It is with a great grandchild of my granny’s sister. If I have it right that’s a 2nd cousin once removed.

But in a box of ‘stuff’ that my nephew brought to me from his mum’s former home there was a small colour photo of the sampler. The sampler as seen in the photo is just 5cm square. But modern technology can work wonders.

click picture to enlarge it

click picture to enlarge it

Most of the stitchwork is clear.

Remember now thy creator
in the days of thy youth
Sarah Ann Crosby Aged 10y
Butley School June 6th 1860

Back in 1968, I now know, my dad made some notes about the sampler. This was when he was sent the little colour photo.

The original is 33cm by 33cm. Some of the wool has faded and one of the lighter shades has begun to disintegrate.

Presumably the sampler was framed soon after it was made. Sarah Ann moved to Isfield soon after 1860 (actually it was after 1871) after the death of her parents. (Actually well before her mother died in 1888.)

She married George Stevens. Her eldest child, Ellen, born 1881 remembers the sampler in the same frame from her earliest days.

So this sampler is a real bit of family history.


Arthur Crosby and Maria Last

July 18, 2015

I have a fondness for my relatives from Butley in Suffolk which goes beyond how much – or rather how little – I know about them.

Arthur Crosby is a case in point. He was born, probably in 1829 in Butley and was baptised at the parish church there – still a pretty thatched building –  on 8th March of that year. He was the son of my 3 greats grandparents James Crosby and Mary Last. He was actually the 11th of 14 children I know James and Mary had. He was the brother of my great great grandfather, another James Crosby who was born in 1815.

In 1841 Arthur was living at home with his parents and other siblings. His dad died later the same year. Arthur was still living with his mother and his siblings in 1851. He was always in Butley.

On April 26th 1857 Arthur married Maria Last.


I do like the entries in the register. We can see that Arthur was a labourer as father and father in law had been as well. Arthur made a mark whereas it seems Mary could sign her name. William was the name of Mary’s father. He and the other witness, Eliza Last could not write names.

The question arises as to how or whether Maria was related to her new mother in law, Mary Last. I haven’t looked into that.

Arthur and Maria’s first child, a son called Alfred was born in 1858. His birthplace was given as Capel St Andrew – a part of Butley.

For all the censuses from 1861 to 1901 Arthur lived in Butley and was an agricultural labourer.

Daughters were born in 1868 and 1870.

Arthur died in 1903.

Maria worked as a dressmaker and still lived in Butley in 1911. She died in 1912.

I’m not sure if there are any descendants. Alfred married Julia Collins, also of Butley but they do not seem to have had children. Arthur’s daughter, Annie Mara was born in 1868 and died in 1882. The younger daughter, Mary Caroline Crosby was still a spinster in 1911 and I think she died in 1918 still as Mary Crosby.

But of course, I’m happy to be told I’m wrong and that there are descendants.



May 15, 2015

My Great Granny was born and lived her childhood in the little village of Butley in Suffolk. Although photography existed when Sarah Ann Crosby (that was her name) lived in Butley I have no photographs of her from that era or, indeed of the Butley area.

Lack of evidence from those eras led me to finding postcards of Butley to get the feel of the place, albeit at the start of the twentieth century. This is one of them.


Butley is quite a scattered community in the broad and flat lands of south Suffolk but I do know that my main branch of an extensive Crosby family lived on The Street, quite near the Post Office. The Post Office has, almost inevitably closed, but I do know my dad went there with my gran (daughter of Sarah Ann) in the 1960s and spoke to elderly proprietors. The Oyster, the pub in the village still survives and, I hope, prospers. It stands at one end of the street.

It’s about a kilometre to the church and the former village school which stands next to it. Sarah Ann attended this school and there is, within the family, a sampler she made there in 1860.

It’s about another kilometre to the abbey and priory which stand near Six Cross Ways.

So here we have six peeks at views Great Granny would have known in her original home village.

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.

Granny at Butley

September 22, 2014

Granny was born in the heart of East Sussex. It was on New Year’s Day 1892 that Granny first saw the light of day. Her parents lived in the parish of Little Horsted at the time. But whilst dad was a local man, mum was not. Well obviously she was a woman, but she hailed, originally, from the little village of Butley in Suffolk. Why she and two sisters all arrived in the same part of Sussex is not clear, but a James Cable also moved from Butley to become a woodreeve and to live at Plashetts Park in Little Horsted. Maybe, in some way, the three sisters came with him, or maybe one did and the others followed.

Anyway, Granny was no traveller but in her old age, when my dad had a car, he did take her about. And so, in 1968, Granny visited Butley, birthplace of her own mum, and dad took a photo of her standing by the school which her mum had attended.


Granny looks small against the school – which I know is a private house these days and it probably was back in 1968. Let’s zoom in on her a bit.


My dad was usually good with captions.


I am sure this was quite a moment for Granny, to be standing in the footsteps of her ancestor and, indeed, ancestors. Generations of Crosbys came from Butley.

Butley Street

July 12, 2014

There was a time when Butley in Suffolk was filled with ancestors and relatives of mine. Not that they’d have known this, for I’m going back to the mid 19th century – 100 years or more before I was born.

Butley was hit badly by agricultural depression and people moved away. Great Granny, born 1850, joined two of her sisters at Isfield in Sussex. Some of her brothers moved north up to the Newcastle area to work as miners. Others found they could still make a living in agriculture in Essex. But pretty well the tribe of my ancestors and relatives left the area. By the twentieth century just one of great granny’s sisters was still in the Butley area.

I have no family postcards of Butley but I have bought some to add to my collection in genealogy. This one shows Butley Street.


The marking of a house with an X was done by the card sender – nothing to do with me, but I think Miles Crosby who was a first cousin of my great great grandfather lived there. The house is called Forge Cottage and Miles was a village blacksmith.

I have a picture of the same cottage which I took in 2004.


Censuses only tell us people lived in Butley, but I am sure relatives lived in the terrace of little cottages. I have my photo of them as well.


It’s a delightful, if somewhat scattered village but I bet life was hard for those ancestors.

Louise Reeve

December 2, 2013

Meet the Relative

Louise (known as Lewie) was not a close relative of mine. Actually, she is so distant that she is what I term a genealogy relative. That means a relative I only know of because of genealogy. Louise is, or was, my third cousin twice removed. Her great great grandfather was my 4 greats grandfather. I think that means we have less than two percent of common genetic material.

But Louise is interesting and I have a photo and a bit of information. It is surprising that these two things can make a person seem more real.

Let’s start with her Granny. Her Granny was Fanny the Granny. Fanny, born as a Miss Crosby is some one we have already met on this blog and you can click here to read about her.

Descendants of the somewhat scandalous Fanny have an advantage. They already start interesting.

Louise was born in the Butley area of Suffolk in around 1898. Her father, Henry was a horseman and her mother was Susan. She had two older brothers. The family lived at Wantisden Corner. That would be in one of the cottages in this terrace. I believe Louisa was there all her life.


It was as an adult that Louise led a truly singular life. She became a forester and had a uniform to wear, as we can see in the photo.


By 1930 vast areas of the local heathland had been purchased cheaply by the Forestry Commission. Over 3500 acres were planted and planting trees was what Louise did. She planted saplings, one at a time by hand after the ground was prepared. Planting the forest became the life work for Louise and she lived long enough to see the effect of the 1987 storm which must have been a sad time for her. Of course, the trees have now reached maturity and are being felled.

Louisa died in 1990.