Tag Archives: kinghorn

The font of St James’s Church, Piccadilly

22 Jul

One of the most outstanding features inside St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London was the beautifully carved white marble font.

St James's Church font

The font is said to have been installed in 1686 and to be the work of Grinling Gibbons, and is described on the church website as:

an ovoid bowl raised on a stem realistically carved to represent the Tree of Knowledge, with the serpent entwined about it, Adam standing on one side and Eve on the other. The bowl is decorated with three kidney-shaped panels carved in low relief to represent (a) the Baptism of Christ, (b) St. Philip baptising the Eunuch of Candace, (c) Noah’s Ark afloat

I mentioned yesterday that four of the children of my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN were baptised in this church, they were:

  • 29 Apr 1851 – Eliza KINGHORN daughter of Thomas and his second wife Eliza WARREN
  • 30 Jul 1854 – Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN daughter of Thomas and his third wife Isabella GRAHAM (my 2x great grandmother)
  • 22 Jun 1856 – Abraham Graham KINGHORN son of Thomas and his third wife Isabella GRAHAM
  • 26 Dec 1858 – Isabella KINGHORN daughter of Thomas and his third wife Isabella GRAHAM

Most of the fonts that I have come across previously have been in country churches, and whilst many of them are a lot older than this one, none of them have been quite so beautifully carved. It is wonderful for me to think that such a beautiful piece of sculpture was probably used during the baptism of my 2x great grandmother and of her siblings.

St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London

21 Jul

This weekend was the first time I have set foot inside St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London. I have passed it many times before without realising that there was an ancestral connection to the church.

The connection is through the KINGHORN family, more precisely my 3x great-grandfather Thomas KINGHORN. Four of his children were baptised here between 1851 and 1858, and he married his third wife (Isabella GRAHAM) here in 1853.

St James's Church, Piccadilly

It is slightly annoying that it seems impossible to actually get a photo of the entire building. It is sandwiched between two roads and encircled by buildings, with a small market on the northern side of the churchyard, and some trees on the western side. Bing Maps provides a wonderful view of the church and it’s surroundings.

From the outside it seemed quite a small building, tall but not particularly long or wide. Inside the main body of the church it becomes obvious that this is not the case. I had expected it to be quite cramped and dark, but instead it was light and spacious.

St James's Church interior

It certainly changed my views of what an urban church was like, although I need to remember that this church has seen much restoration, after all it was nearly destroyed during the Second World War. Not only is it a beautiful church but it has a remarkable history, as architects go you can’t get much better than Sir Christopher Wren.

Hopefully one day I will have time to visit the church again and spend a little longer enjoying the peaceful atmosphere inside whilst the world rushes past outside.

Day tripping genealogist

17 Jul

I was back up in London today, not walking (well not proper walking) or visiting an archive, but being a tourist, along with thousands of other people. My wife and I spent the day looking around London, but I just couldn’t help taking her on a tour of some of the sights of KINGHORN interest in the City of Westminster.

London Eye

So as well as seeing the sights like the London Eye (pictured above) and taking a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich, we also popped into St James’s Church, Piccadilly, which is the first time I have actually been inside (but more about that another day).

St James's Church, Piccadilly from Swallow Street

We passed through several of the other streets nearby where the KINGHORN family lived, including Meard Street pictured below. When the KINGHORNs were living here this part of the street was known as Meards Court, but it is now all one street.

Meards Court, Soho

Closure of Carlisle Record Office

5 Apr

The bad news is that Carlisle Record Office will be closing on the 29th April 2010. The good news is that it will be re-opening in January 2011 (if all goes according to plan) in a new building.

When I read the news I was a bit annoyed, not by the closure, these things happen and it is surely for the best in the long run.

No, I was annoyed at myself. I have been saying for months that I was going to go to the Carlisle Record Office and pursue my KINGHORN ancestors. Now I have just under four weeks to make it happen or I will have to wait until next year.

So, I have to make a very quick decision and if I decide to go I will need to do a lot of preparation and research. I am not even sure what I expect to find there. I don’t even believe that Thomas KINGHORN came from Carlisle (I think he was originally from London, but that is another story) and I am not even sure that he spent much time in Carlisle.

There are a few parish register entries that I need to check, but that could be done at one of the other libraries that will be providing access to some of the resources. What I am really interested in is finding records of taxes and rates, that might tell me when Thomas was actually in Carlisle.

So as hard as it may be for me, I am going to have to make a decision, either to visit Carlisle or to put this particular part of my research on hold for the rest of the year.

Clowning around on the railway

22 Feb

It is not often that I find something in my research that makes me laugh out loud. Sure I find things that make me smile all the time, and occasionally something that makes me chuckle, but very rarely will I actually laugh out loud.

I don’t know quite why I found it so funny. I was searching in the 1911 census on Findmypast.co.uk, whilst investigating my 3x great-uncle Abraham Graham KINGHORN and what happened to his wife and children after his early death in 1886.

I had found his widow Sarah and two children living at 60 Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, Sussex in 1911. They shared their house with two boarders, and it was the first of these that made me laugh.

His name was Frederick VOYCE and according to the transcription his occupation was apprentice clown. Like I said, I don’t know why that seemed so ridiculous to me. When I thought about it, I assumed that there had to be some clowns and circus entertainers listed in the census, and clowns had to learn their skills like anybody else, so why shouldn’t there be an apprentice clown.

Of course when I looked at the actual image, he wasn’t a clown, I am not sure what he was an apprentice of, the word is hard to make out, but he was working for a railway company, so I think it is safe to say they weren’t training many clowns at the time.

Looking at the occupation code (the three digit number) the enumerator has written on the schedule (512) it appears he was training to work on railway engines either as a driver, stoker or cleaner.

Have you found anything in the census that has made you laugh out loud during your research? Have you come across any clowns in the census?

My top-ten surnames

2 Feb

I was fiddling around with Family Historian last night and then in Excel, producing a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree.

I thought this was going to be a mostly pointless exercise, purely for fun and curiosity, but it has highlighted an imbalance in my research, which I now wonder whether I should try and put right.

The top-ten surnames (really top-eleven surnames), with the number of individuals in my family tree, are as follows:

1.  TROWER (127)
2.  GASSON (104)
3.  MITCHELL (84)
4.  FAIRS (45)
5.  BOXALL (38)
6.  KINGHORN (28)
6.  VINALL (28)
8.  BATEMAN (27)
9.  GEERING (26)
10.  DRIVER (25)
10.  HEMSLEY (25)

The first three names are no surprise, after all they are the surnames of three of my grandparents, the surprising thing is that my fourth grandparent’s name is HEMSLEY, right down at the bottom of the list.

I don’t know quite why I feel that this imbalance is wrong, but I certainly feel I should invest some more time on it so that it moves up the chart. It wouldn’t be difficult to add lots more HEMSLEYs to my tree, but it needs to be done with purpose rather than just adding everyone I can find.

I am going to add the task of reviewing my HEMSLEY line to my to-do list, seeing what meaningful work I can do on the family. I am sure there are some interesting people and stories waiting to be discovered in Framfield, Sussex.

2010 to do list – some actual research goals

31 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

So far most of what I have written is about the actual research process and organisation of my family history information, so now it is time to look at some of the people and stories I want to actually find out more about in 2010.

John GASSON – I already know quite a bit about John GASSON my 5x great-grandfather, but there are still a lot of pieces to put together, including sorting out his will and his three wives. Ideally I would also like to find his baptism (around 1715 in Surrey) and identify his parents. Ultimately I want to pursue the GASSON surname as far back as possible to find out where it comes from.

Mercy TROWER – I wrote about my 3x great-aunt before, but haven’t really done any more about finding the missing marriages. Even though see is not a direct ancestor I think it is time I got this troublesome character sorted out once and for all. I going to have to hand over some money for a death certificate and a copy of her will. The death certificate will hopefully give me her deceased husband’s name and that will give me further clues.

William Joseph Henry BATEMAN – This is my 2x great-uncle, who joined the navy and ended up in Australia, getting married and starting a family. I would really like to find out more about him and his family, and hopefully trace some distant cousins down under.

The ALLCORN and EADE families – These two families left Brighton, Sussex for America in the mid to late 1800s, Mary EADE and Hope ALLCORN were sisters, both the daughters of William and Mary TROWER of Henfield, Sussex. Whilst it would be nice to trace some relations in the US, what really interests me is why and how they left England and why did they settle where they did, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Thomas KINGHORN – My 3x great-grandfather, the tailor from London (although born in Scotland). I still want to piece together more of his life, especially find out where he is buried (I suspect Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey) and what happened to all his children, and why did the family seem so attracted to Brighton.

Thomas KINGHORN – My 4x great-grandfather, the mail coach guard from Carlisle, Cumberland. There is so much I would like to find out about his life, but really I need to try and establish where he was born. I suspect he was originally from down south, probably London, and was only up north because of his job. Proving that is not going to be easy to say the least.

Wybrants KINGHORN – There is so much about this man that intrigues me, firstly his own crime and punishment, and then his subsequent murder. I have feeling that his life story would make a good book, if only I could find enough evidence.

Luther TROWER, Henrietta KING and Charles BRINTON – Talking of good stories, this story is rather tragic and quite complicated. I don’t think I have mentioned them before, only in passing perhaps. Luther TROWER was my 3x great-uncle. One of these was a bigamist, there were two marriages, one divorce, two suicides (although seemingly unrelated) and quite a bit of alcohol and blood. I have a few more pieces of evidence to try and gather, but I would like to get this story told, in one form or another.

Thomas NICHOLLS – Another of my 4x great-grandfathers, about whom I know very little. He appears to have come from Chiddingstone, Kent and died quite young. It looks like he was a navvy working on building the railway, and I have a gut feeling that he died as a result of an accident at work. I would love to be able to prove that, and also find out what happened to his widow and children.

It looks like I am going to have my plate full in 2010, what with this little lot, plus all the other families that I will no doubt end up chasing, and the 5x great-grandparents I want to find and all the re-organising I want to do.

I can guarantee that within a week or two of the new year I will have found something else that seems much more exciting will be heading off somewhere totally different, notebook in hand and camera at the ready.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers

%d bloggers like this: