A Branch from Cumberland and Anglesey
Written by Jill Coulthard, wife
of Captain John M. Coulthard, Master Mariner
MARTHA COULTHARD AND THE MOSSOPS
MARTHA, daughter of Alexander and Mary Coulthard was born in 1799 at Barngill House, Distington, Cumberland. After her father's death in 1807, his widow moved the family to Sandwith near St. Bees, nearer to her own family. Her mother then died in 1814 when Martha was aged fifteen with a older and younger brother, Robert and Alexander. It is likely that they were cared for and guided by her mother's sister and her husband, Isaac and Ann Bell. Isaac was a sea captain and shipowner of Whitehaven. His father had been a Stone Mason as had Martha's own.
Martha married CLEMENT MOSSOP of Rottington Hall near St. Bees on 14th February 1832 at St. Bees Parish Church.
ST. BEES HEAD FROM THE EGREMONT ROAD
In the picture, St. Bees nestles in the valley beneath the Head. The port of Whitehaven lies out of sight over the hill. Sandwith and Rottington are two hamlets or villages on the Head.
The Mossops were well established yeoman farmers in the area and the farm stayed in the descendants of Clement's brother Henry until the mid 20th century. Their father, Moses, was sixty when Clement and Mary married and retired to the adjoining cottage of Whinyeat, which his own parents had had built for their retirement, in favour of the young couple taking over the farm.
ROTTINGTON HALL FARM
The farmhouse was in a state of disrepair when Clement inherited its use. He set about rebuilding it with energy and hope for his new family. In the meantime the first two children were born whilst the couple lived with his parents at Whinyeat. The later children, it is said, were born at the Hall.
ANOTHER VIEW OF ROTTINGTON HALL AND FARM BUILDINGS
THE ADJACENT COTTAGES TO THE LEFT ARE WHINYEAT AND THE ROOKERY
Clement and Martha had five children, all baptised at St. Bees Church:-
CLEMENT, born 1834, was baptised 28th September.
MARY, born 21st April 1836, was baptised 29th May.
CATHERINE (KATIE) and ANN (ANNIE) were twins born 13th July 1838 and baptised 15th July, a proud and happy start to their tenure of the Hall.
HENRY (LITTLE HARRY) born 1840 and baptised in October, completed the family and provided them with a second son.
Clement had an elder brother, ISAAC, who was a Surgeon in Whitehaven, married with a growing family. He also had a younger brother, HENRY, who was to marry MARY DICKINSON of Loughrigg in 1834 and who farmed nearby at Demesne. He also had two unmarried sisters, ELEANOR and MARY who would play a crucial role in the family story.
Tragedy struck in February 1842 when their eldest son, Clement, died and was buried on 12th February at St. Bees, two days short of Clement and Martha's tenth wedding anniversary. Another cruel blow of fate robbed them of their only remaining son, Little Harry, in April the following year.
Two years later Martha succumbed to illness and died at the Hall on 27th March 1845, leaving Clement a widower with the three remaining young girls. It was fortunate that his parents and unmarried sisters lived close at hand. It appears that Clement went into a decline and himself died 3rd October 1847 leaving his children orphaned to the care of their grandparents and aunts. His daughter Mary, the one who also commented that the Coulthards originated in Dumfriesshire, later said that one of her earliest, most vivid memories was coming down the hill into St. Bees and seeing her father's cousin and close friend, William Fox of Abbey Farm, sitting at the window weeping, having just heard the news of Clement's death. Alexander Coulthard, the brother-in-law of both Clement Mossop and William Fox had himself died less than a month previously and in the next few years the families were bereaved over and over again by children, younger adults and old people.
Clement's mother Mary, nee Fox died in April 1848
leaving Moses, Eleanor and Mary to care for the remaining children.
Moses' sister Hannah, who was William Fox's mother, had died less than
two weeks before her sister-in-law. As Moses was by that time
76, the upbringing of the girls would henceforth fall largely to aunts
Eleanor, then aged 40 and Mary, aged 37. The sisters never
married and lived together at Whinyeat into old age, being collectively
referred to as "the old ladies of Rottington" where they were visited by
their young relations.
THE PLAQUE OVER THE DOOR OF WHINYEAT
The cottage was built for Clement and Eleanor
Mossop in 1800 for their retirement
The text has been translated as "God give happiness to those who enter"
The family suffered a further loss in November 1854 when Katie, Annie's twin, died aged sixteen. The two remaining daughters of Clement and Martha, Mary and Annie both married Schoolmasters of St. Bees School, Mary to Arthur Brewin on 3rd April 1861 and Annie to John MacQueen on 18th July 1866. Mary and Arthur moved to Settle, Yorkshire where Arthur taught at Giggleswick School. Annie and John remained at St. Bees School for the rest of his career.