Posts Tagged ‘Suffolk’

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.



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.

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.


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.

Frederick Crosby

September 15, 2014

Meet the Relative

Frederick Crosby was my great great uncle. I never knew him.

He was born in Tunstall in Suffolk in 1845. His parents were James Crosby and Mary Ann Cullingford Smith who were my great great grandparents. Don’t get any idea that the double barrelled surname of Mary Ann implied any kind of high status. It was quite the reverse. Her father was born out of wedlock and was officially a Smith but used the name of his dad (and mum when they married) of Cullingford.

But let’s look at Frederick. By 1851 his parents had moved down the road to Butley and we can find Fred there for both the 1851 and 1861 censuses.

Frederick then became a part of the family exodus from Suffolk and in 1871 we find him working on a farm near Tillingham in Essex. Several members of the Crosby family moved there.

But agriculture was very depressed and Frederick moved to Durham to become a miner. Here he married a girl from East Anglia called Ann Smith. I say a girl, but she was already 41 when they married in 1878. She was a widow and her maiden surname was Buck.  They had a daughter, Mary Ann Crosby who was born in 1880. She died in 1960.

In 1881 Fred, Ann with children from her first marriage and baby Mary were in Consett and Fred was a miner. The 1891 address was lovely – Delight Bank in Collierley, Durham.

Ann died in 1897. There is a memorial card.


In 1901 we find just Fred and daughter Mary Ann in Collierley with Fred now working as a roadman.

Fred remarried in 1904 his wife was Elizabeth Skipper. She was a widow, nearly twenty years younger than Fred. She brought her children to the marriage. The following year they had a son, also Frederick Crosby.

I wonder if this photo of Fred senior dates from around that time.


The 1911 census shows the family in Collierley.

Frederick died in 1929. Elizabeth in 1944.

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.