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A Journey across Grimsby 1050 to 1935.

31 Mar

Dairy of a Family Tree Researcher

My research took me to Grimsby , North East Lincolnshire this morning to look up and photograph a number of head stones and inscriptions.
Contrary to the image that modern Grimsby portrays, it is a City of great historical interest and it’s hidden beauty shows evidence of its once affluent society.

St Marys Old Clee

My first visit took me to the heart of Grimsby’s residential district, to photograph homes and also to visit the area of Old Clee’, where the parish church dates back to 1050 and has seen much of the areas inhabitants walk through its gates.
St Mary’s in old Clee is is the oldest building in Grimsby. My client’s ancestors had been baptised and married in St Mary’s. Holy Trinity and St Mary served for many centuries as the parish church for the farming village of Clee and the fishing hamlet of Clee Thorpes. The Saxon tower dates from c1050. The nave was rebuilt and the transepts added in Norman times. St Hugh, the first Bishop of Lincoln, re-dedicated the church on 5th March 1192, during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart.

From Old Clee, I travelled a bout 1 mile to visit site of Grimsby’s first school , where the building is currently under renovation. Holme Hill school was the place of education for several of my client’s ancestors in this case. Holm Hill was so named by the Saxons but it was the Victorians who built the first school there.

Across the road from Holme Hill school is the Church and Vicarage of St Mary’s of the Sea Catholic Church. A stunning restoration has exposed beautiful wall paintings from 1908 in this Victorian church. The work has also uncovered the decorations on the chancel arch and the reredos screen.
In 1869, Sir John Sutton purchased part of the Holme Hill Estate of Lord Heneage for the building of a church. Unfortunately Sir John died before it could be built. In the meantime, Canon George Johnson arranged for the building of the school and presbytery. Eventually the foundation stone for the church was laid in 1880 and Bishop Bagshawe of Nottingham officially opened it on 19th August 1883. The church has many stained-glass windows, the most impressive being the Hawkins Window, situated above the organ balcony and dedicated to the memory of Canon Hawkins, who died in 1913 and is buried in the Sacred Heart Chapel. The sanctuary has a wonderful reredos with paintings of archangels, evangelists and saints. In 1892, a local parishioner donated the richly carved pulpit in memory of her late husband.

Scartho Cemetary Grimsby

My final stop of the day, is also the final resting place of many of Grimsby’s past inhabitants; Scartho Cemetary . This huge cemetery is difficult to explore but I have mad my own map over the years and am confident of the coordinates I have for it. The cemetery first opened it gates in 1889 and extends to 67 acres. On average it has nearly 200 new burials each year.
One interesting point of discovery, in the cemetery was the people of Grimsby ‘s valuable part in both War’s, with much evidence of merchant seaman and royal naval reservists giving their life at sea and also evidence of other maritime tragedies. Grimsby is after all, a great sea faring city.

My morning ended successfully with a number of great images, though if I can complain about such a thing, the sun was just too bright !
What journey will your family history take you on ?

More images at Flickr


An experienced former Government Researcher and Investigator (UK) offering specialist services to descendants of families originating in the United Kingdom. Offering a special emphasis on Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, I can research your ancestors from any region of England, Scotland and Wales providing all available personal details for your family tree. As well as being a member of the Society of Genealogists, I am also a member of several other UK based Family History Societies.
For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington

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