#52Ancestors #6 Thomas Cooling, Labourer in the lands of the Duchess

My 4G Grandfather Thomas Cooling was the father of Edward, in turn the father of  Sarah Cowling – apart from that he was a bit of an enigma.

I’d been searching the censuses for Edward and Sarah but Edward’s information was inconsistent and by extension misleading.  I experienced the same variation in his surname that I’d come across with his daughter, but for him Cooling, not Cowling, was the norm.  Also I was getting a mixture of birth info in various censuses as either Rothwell in Yorkshire or Scotton, slightly south in Lincolnshire.

By tracking down Edward’s line by his children with his second wife, Elizabeth II, I found his early life had indeed been in Scotton, Lincs.

Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

Another new county, I was quite chuffed.  My brother had been stationed by Lincoln and also some of the first historical novel I read – Anya Seton’s “daft book about Katherine Swynford”, to quote my mum, had had been based partly in Lincolnshire.  Yes it is a romanticised (and often inaccurate) history but it fascinated me and sparked an interest in history that’s steadily grown.

I got to visit Lincoln a couple of times where Katherine Swynford lived and is buried in the cathedral.

Tomb of Katherine Swynford

Tomb of Katherine Swynford

No it wasn’t a pilgrimage, I’m not that devoted, but it did feel quite nice to be there. It’s a huge cathedral and feels so opulent – the fortunes that built it are almost tangible; built of stone with a large contribution from wool.

Interior of Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

It’s amazing what time and money can do to the views of the church – she’s no scarlet woman, mistress – later wife – of a hated duke, but instead the duchess who was a generous benefactor and esteemed local lady.

I was chuffed, that is, until I found out that Lincolnshire hasn’t got the same digitised archives on Ancestry with scans of original documents that I’ve been enjoying researching in both Yorkshire and in Devon. I’d got used to these as the norm.  Not so, apparently.  So all hail Devon Family History Society and West Yorkshire Archive Service.

Thomas Cowling (yes from the high and mighty back to the peasants) was a labourer born c1781. He married twice in Lincolnshire, first to Mary, Edward’s mother with whom he had 4 children, then to his second wife Sarah, again in Scotton, with whom he had 6 (discovered so far). Times must have been hard – or prospects better around the Yorkshire mines – as c1823 they moved up to Rothwell, with their son christened at Rothwell Holy Trinity Church in early 1824.  He worked as a labourer still, until he died in 1843; he was buried in Rothwell Holy Trinity Church.

52 ancestors logoUnfortunately with no access to the original documents I’ll try the Lincolnshire Archives but suspect I’m going to have to park this work just now – I’d like to come back and follow it up when things are online – my brother is no longer based there so I have no handy access to the archives.  Still perhaps when I upload this recent work we will get some clues from other people.  Like Thomas, I’ll travel in hope….


©2014 words and photos copyright Lynne Black
Original post at: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/thomas-cooling/

2 thoughts on “#52Ancestors #6 Thomas Cooling, Labourer in the lands of the Duchess

  1. Dave HUDDART

    Hello Cousin
    I too am descended from Thomas COWLING of Scotton and Rothwell.
    I have managed to get to the Lincoln Archives, so I should have some material to share with you. I shall need to search for it in my attic…
    Dave HUDDART
    (now in France)


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