A Branch from Cumberland and Anglesey
Written by Jill Coulthard, wife of Captain John M. Coulthard, Master Mariner
REVEREND ROBERT COULTHARD
ROBERT was born 16 August 1797 at Barngill House, Distington, Cumberland, to Alexander and Mary Coulthart. He was baptised at the High Meeting House, Whitehaven on 25th September that year. Robert attended, as did many boys from the area and beyond, St. Bees School from about the age of ten, possibly staying with his mother's relations during weekdays. The School was founded in 1583 by Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was a local man with a great affection for the district. It was to be a Free Grammar School for boys and no doubt is responsible for the high level of education of many boys in the area which also had the offshoot that many of their sisters were privately educated too. Sadly, Archbishop Grindal did not live to see its completion but it still flourishes today but as a co-educational public school. Several later members of the Coulthard family and their relatives attended the school.
ST. BEES SCHOOL. FRONT QUADRANGLE
Robert went up to Queen's College, Oxford and was later a Fellow of
the College. He was an ordained clergyman, spending time in Ashby-de-la-Zouch,
Leicestershire and then in Chertsey, Surrey where he probably met his future
wife, whose sister was newly married to Charles James Ives, a surgeon in
that town. He was then appointed Rector of Sulhamstead, Berkshire
where he remained until his death in 1868.
THE QUEEN'S COLLEGE, OXFORD. FRONT QUADRANGLE
IT WAS FOUNDED IN 1341 BY ROBERT DE EGLESFIELD,
A CHAPLAIN IN THE HOUSE OF
QUEEN PHILIPPA IN WHOSE HONOUR IT WAS NAMED
PREFERENCE WAS GIVEN TO BOYS FROM CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND
AND THIS LATER BECAME A MONOPOLY
SEVERAL RELATIVES OF THE COULTHARD FAMILY STUDIED HERE AND
REVEREND JOHN FOX (1774-1855), UNCLE OF CATHERINE COULTHARD WAS PROVOST FOR SEVERAL YEARS
AND HAS A STAINED GLASS WINDOW IN THE LIBRARY TO HIS MEMORY
Robert married late in life on 10 November 1846 at St. Giles,
Reading, HENRIETTA NEATE, a lady also
advanced in years and a few years older than himself.
REVEREND ROBERT COULTHARD
Robert and Henrietta had no children but doted on and enjoyed visits
from their collective nephews and nieces. Reverend Robert's diaries,
which detail his daily life as a clergyman, neighbour and friend, only
survive from after Henrietta's death in 1860. He reveals that
her death was very sudden and happened in the water closet.
From these also we learn about his visits to his Cumbrian relatives and
his acerbic comments on his nieces' choice of husband - both schoolmasters!
He appears to have been fond of both as he comments that he hopes Ann's
future husband will treat her as well as Mary's. He was also
prone to refer to his nephew in law Arthur Brewin as "Bruin".
He was rather miffed to find out at second hand about the second proposed
marriage rather than being informed by the party herself. Extracts
from one of the diaries have been deposited with Berkshire Record Office
and were also sent to the then Rector of Sulhamstead who commented how
much of his life was the same and how much very different.
THE RECTORY EXISTS TODAY AS A PRIVATE HOUSE
Robert had a small glebe and orchard attached to his Rectory, also the subject of entries in his diaries. He could by no means have been described as an absentee incumbent as his diaries detail years of visits to both rich and poor, his involvement with the management of the local workhouse as well as the text for each of his Sunday sermons. It appears from his comments that he had a dry wit.
It also seems that he had a taste for the finer things in life as the sale of his possessions after his death indicates a goodly number of items of quality around his house and stable. Some of his modest fortune probably came as part of the marriage settlement of his wife, whose family were fairly well-to-do. The legacies due to this side of the family were bound up in the disposals after her and his deaths.
Reverend Robert Coulthard died, aged 70, at Sulhamstead Rectory, on 22nd February 1868, having insisted on taking his church services up until the last week of his life. He predeceased his sister-in-law, Catherine Coulthard, by less than three weeks. Whilst his nephew Robert was in Berkshire attending to his late uncle's affairs he received a message that his own mother had been taken dangerously ill back in Cumberland. This may have been a euphism as a relation of Henrietta, a solicitor working on the probabe, wrote sympathetically to Robert that several of his family had died suddenly as had Robert's mother.
The main beneficiaries of Reverend Robert's will were his nephew, Robert
Coulthard, son of his late brother Alex, and his two nieces, Mary Brewin
and Ann MacQueen, daughters of his late sister Martha Mossop.
Robert and Henrietta are buried together in St. Michael's old Churchyard in Sulhampstead, not the church currently in use.