Wet Day in The Yorkshire Dales

It was a wet day in the Yorkshire Dales today.

We headed off this morning to St. Mary’s church at Conistone in Craven to look for the grave of my 3x great grandparents John and Sophia Spink.

The weather was fine when we left Leeds but we headed towards the grey rain clouds.  To be fair the weather forecast predicted a lot of rain but we decided to risk it.

It’s quite a small church and graveyard so it didn’t take long to check out all the headstones.  It was really impossible to read some of them – the inscriptions had been worn away over the years.

Unfortunately we didn’t find John and Sophia.  However it wasn’t a wasted trip.  We found three other graves of Spink relatives.  They were all next to each other in a row.  I suspect that John and Sophia may also have been somewhere there in an unmarked plot.

Anyway we got some good photographs and these will feature in Tombstone Tuesday posts in the coming weeks.  I need to do a bit of research on some of the people first.

We had thunder and lightening while we were in the graveyard.  So we took shelter in the small porch (see photograph above).  The church was also open and we were able to have a look inside.  I can imagine my ancestors coming to worship here.

The church was built in the 11th or 12th century.  In 1846 it was rebuilt under the supervision of Lancaster architects Sharpe and Paley, who maintained its original Norman style.  It was designated a Grade II listed building in 1954.

On the way home we called at The Angel Inn in the village of Hetton for lunch.

When the 1881 census was taken my 2x great grandfather, James Paley, was living a couple of houses away from The Angel Inn with two of his daughters, Martha and Betty (see census extract below).  His wife Mary Anne (whose maiden name was Spink – one of John and Sophia’s children) was at the home of another of their other daughters, Elizabeth and her husband in Skipton.  I guess that she was there to help out as Elizabeth had just had a baby who was 3 days old when the census was taken.

Here is a photograph of The Angel Inn taken in 1908.  I have cropped this from a much larger picture that the manager allowed us to photograph after we told him about my Paley connection.

I am now wondering whether my 2x great grandfather James Paley is connected at all with the “Paley” from the arhcitect firm who rebuilt St. Mary’s church.  Or am I just being silly?

Anyway, the day turned out really well in the end.

Surname Saturday – Spink

The surname Spink in my family tree is from my paternal line.  At the moment I have 27 people with this surname.  The earliest person is my 4x great grandfather William Spink who was born about 1764, probably in the Linton area of the Yorkshire Dales.

According to surnamedb the name Spink is of Anglo-Saxon origin.  It is said to derive from a nickname given in the first instance to someone thought to resemble a finch in some way.  Possibly with reference to its brightly coloured plumage or sweet singing voice.

A large number of early medieval surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, given with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as

– a person’s physical attributes or peculiarities

– mental or moral qualities

– a fancied resemblance to an animal’s or bird’s appearance or disposition

– habits of dress, or

– occupation

The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Roger Spinc dated 1133 in the “Chartulary of Ramsey Monastery”, Bedforshire.  Other early recordings are :-

Thomas Spink listed in the Assize Rolls of Northumberland in 1256; the marriage of Edmonde Spincke and Alice Madison in Stepney, London on 5th September 1604; and the marriage of Stephen Spink and Ann Ring on 29th October 1696.