So That's Where I Get It From

May 24, 2015

Sentimental Sunday – Completion of Restoration of my ancestors’ Table Top Tombs

Having been away from my blog for such a very long time, which was never meant, looking after my 104 and a half year old Aunt has taken over our lives so I just haven’t been able to post here as I wanted to.

Today I had some wonderful news so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to post on my blog once again.  I can’t stop smiling 🙂

I am placing this under the Blogging Prompt of Sentimental Sunday because to me this is very sentimental.

I am sooooooooooooooooooooo delighted, excited, thrilled, happy and all sorts of things in that mood 🙂  🙂  🙂 Please bear with me while I explain and add lots of photos!! Many of you know I have been researching my family tree (for almost thirty years now) and have my Read family back to the 1500s. Many of my ancestors are buried in what I call the Read Plot at Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire and in the plot are three tabletop tombs. One contains my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and his wife Elizabeth, another contains his son William Read, William’s Wife Mary, their daughter Mary and Mary’s husband John Moores. The third tabletop tomb contains another of Cozens Read’s sons, Michael Read and his wife Martha.

A few years ago, in 2007, my other half Paul and I visited the Plot and cleared and tidied up and repaired these and other Read gravestones – pictures of this follow. Two or three years or so ago, William Read’s tomb collapsed and I was informed that the church was going to restore it. I tried to get grants for restoring it but that took such a long time, waiting waiting waiting for decisions and in the meantime the church and the villagers managed to organise a Lottery Heritage grant.

Last year I was told they were going ahead with the restoration and asked my thoughts about it. I was very pleased of course. Anyway, today, I found out that yesterday the restoration is complete! They have restored all three table top tombs and here is a link to the BBC news item about it – They even mention me!!!! 🙂…/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-32829542

I am thrilled because they have found that Cozens Read has six children buried with him and his wife, these are those of their 20 children who did not survive to adulthood and I can find no burial record for them apart from that of their first child. I have searched for these children for years thinking they must be buried elsewhere as they are not in the Nether Winchendon parish register.

Now I know exactly where they are! These children were buried long before Cozens Read was buried in 1783 (the news item has the date wrong, they say 1720)!

I am so excited by all this as it means so very much to me 🙂

Here are some of the photos we took in 2007, before and after pics on that day, which can now be compared with the pics in the BBC News item.

This is how the table top tombs looked when we arrived that day in 2007.

The Read Plot - NW - 2007 - Before we cleared up a bit


This is William Read’s table top tomb. This one was the worst one for needing to be repaired and cleared of the plantlife and even small tree that was growing from the inside!  This is the tomb that eventually collapsed a few years later.

William Read and family - before clearing it up - 2007


This is Michael Read’s tomb which contains him and his wife Martha.

Michael Read - before clearing it up - 2007


Here lies Cozens Read with his wife Elizabeth and as I have just discovered, six of his children.

Cozens Read - before clearing it up - 2007


And here is how it all looked that day, after we had been clearing, cleaning and repairing the table top tombs and some of the graves.

The Read Plot - after clearing it up - 2007

I’m so so so so so happy and very very grateful to the villagers who took such an interest in long-deceased members of my family. So thrilled 🙂 🙂 🙂





July 11, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Write a Genealogy Clerihew

I know I am a little late for this as it is not Saturday, but Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has suggested we write a Genealogy Clerihew as part of his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun series.

It seems that a “clerihew” is a four line irregular poem or verse which follows an AABB rhyming scheme and it has been named for the birthday of the inventor Edmund Clerihew Bentley who was also known as a writer and poet.  (More can be read about this at Jim Smith’s A Genealogy Hunt blog).

Randy asks us to add a post to our blog, or comment on his blog about our attempts at writing a Genealogy Clerihew!!

I have to warn you that I really am not a poet, and while I have had a look at some of the other GeneaBloggers’ own Clerihews (actually really very good), I somehow think my attempt is completely wrong from what it should be like.  But hey, I’m giving it a go and at the very least my attempts should cause some laughs!!  😉

And for those of you that know me and know of my great preoccupation with my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read, this attempt had to be about him!!

Here goes:   A Genealogy Clerihew –  “Ode To Cozens Read” 

For ten long years I searched the Baptism of Cozens Read, 

Now it’s the same for his Mum so of him I plead, 

Can you give me a sign please to show the parents of Elizabeth Cosens, 

And hopefully that will take me back many more years by the dozens! 

Christine Read  –  copyright 2010

Oh dear, not a very good attempt I feel, but I did try to do it quickly!!

June 16, 2010

Find-a-Grave: I’ve now joined and added my first memorial

Filed under: COZENS READ, General — Tags: , , — rootsresearcher @ 5:52 pm

Having done the Find-a-Grave Challenge a couple of weeks or so ago, I had decided that I would join so that I could add the graves of many of my ancestors.

I joined today and for the first added ancestor it had to be for the grave of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read!!  I only had time to add his, but over the next few days I intend to add a lot more ancestors.  The link to his memorial if anyone wants to visit is: page=gr&GSmid=47304706&GRid=53752951&

June 8, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: The collapsed table top tomb isn’t Cozens Read’s!!

A little while ago I did my first Tombstone Tuesday, showing the Table Top Tomb of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and went on to describe how I had been informed that his tomb had collapsed and that I was concerned the pieces would be thrown away etc..  I also mentioned that I was looking into obtaining grants for restoration of this tomb, but they take forever to make their decisions.

A couple of days ago I received a photo from my cousins in Australia.  Bob and Pam had been on a holiday taking in some family history research at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire and took this photo of the collapsed tomb.

original photograph copyright 2010 - Pam and Bob Herbstreit

 and the full view photograph

original photograph copyright 2010 - Pam and Bob Herbstreit

While I was extremely surprised but relieved that this was not the Table Top Tomb of Cozens Read and his wife Elizabeth Shirley, I was still very saddened by the sight of it and immediately knew that  it was the tomb for Cozens and Elizabeth’s son William Read.  The tomb holds William (1736-1803); his wife Mary Pollard (1742-1821); their daughter Mary (1783-1850) and their daughter Mary’s husband John Moores (1783-1855).  (Cozens Read’s Table Top Tomb can be seen through the fencing that is now surrounding the collapsed tomb).

My partner Paul and I had visited this church in 2000 and 2004 and took various photos of the graves there and we realise now that the reason for the collapse of this tomb is obviously through a tree that was growing up from inside it.  Some of the following photos taken in 2004 show what was happening then and so Paul cut the branches back and we tidied the Table Top Tomb up as much as we could.

The following photos show the state the tomb was in and the tree roots and branches quite obviously did most of the damage which resulted in its collapse a few years later!

original photograph taken by me in 2004 at Lower Winchendon - copyright 2010

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2004 - copyright 2010

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2004 - copyright 2010

original photograph taken by me at Lower Winchendon in 2004 - copyright 2010

I will continue trying to find out what grants and help is available for trying to restore this tomb, but somehow don’t think we would ever be able to get it back like it once was.

Luckily on our visits in 2000 and 2004 I was able to take a transcript of the details engraved all around William, Mary, Mary and John’s tomb.  From the bits that have been laid flat as can be seen in the top photo, I think most of the engraving will have been more or less completely ruined.  I’m so glad that I have a record of it.

June 5, 2010

Ancestor Anniversaries: Edward Read

Filed under: ANCESTOR ANNIVERSARIES, Edward Read — Tags: , , , — rootsresearcher @ 9:34 pm

This latest Ancestor Anniversary is to mark the Baptism on this day in 1737 of Edward Read.  Edward is the nephew of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and is the son of William Read and Mary Turner, their first child.  Sadly there isn’t much to tell about Edward as the poor little chap died when only about 6 weeks old.  He was Baptised in Stoke Talmage, Oxfordshire and within those six weeks he was buried in Wheatfield, Oxfordshire.  His parents had only been married about a month when he was born.

The church at Wheatfield, Oxfordshire where Edward is buried. The church is in the middle of a field.  (Please excuse the poor quality)

Original photograph taken by me in 2004 and in my private collection - copyright 2010

May 13, 2010

Eureka Moments!! Update on “Digby” Read – I know who he is!!

Filed under: "Digby" Daniel Read, "DIGBY" READ, EUREKA MOMENTS!! — Tags: , , , — rootsresearcher @ 4:09 pm

I know who “Digby” Daniel Read is at last after such a looooooong time, isn’t that wonderful!!!!  I am absolutely delighted although I could not have been further from the truth about who he could be and his age.

After a considerable amount of digging and delving and checking this and checking that I came across three related Daniel Reads – Grandfather, Father and Son.  They are all from Emberton and Hardmead in Buckinghamshire, just a little group of them, so the main family was from elsewhere.

Grandfather Daniel was born about 1649 in Moulsoe, Buckinghamshire and died at Hardmead in 1716.  He married Sarah Hootton in 1682 in Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire and they went on to have six children between 1684 – 1692.  One of these children is Daniel who was born about 1687 and he married Rebeka.  I have not been able to find where or when that marriage took place or Rebeka’s maiden name yet.

Daniel and Rebeka had eight children mostly born in Hardmead, but with a little foray into Bow Brickhill, Buckinghamshire where they had a daughter.  One of their eight children was another Daniel. He was born about 1732 in Hardmead and this is “Digby” Read!!!

“Digby” Daniel then marries a local Emberton girl in 1755 and they move away to Bletsoe, Bedfordshire where they have six children.  “Digby” Daniel dies before he reaches the age of 40.  I have not found his death/burial yet but know  his wife is a widow by 1771 as this is mentioned in her Father’s Will.

“Digby” Daniel had a brother, Lavender Read (I just so love his name and he is the only Lavender Read anywhere, so far).  Lavender married a sister of Daniel’s wife and Lavender and Mary moved away also after their marriage but they went to Huntingdonshire.  Sadly, Lavender  like “Digby” Daniel, also dies in his thirties but his wife goes on to remarry.

So, answers to all my original questions.  The Memorandum was done in 1753 with “Digby” taking no part in it, not because he was an old, much respected gentleman who just may have been losing his wits a bit, but because “Digby” Daniel must have been learning the ropes as he was only about 20 years old, so was maybe messing things up a bit!  And being under full age he would not be a party to signing any documents.

There was no family for “Digby” showing in the parish registers because at that time he wasn’t even married yet!  And he wasn’t buried there as he was still a young man, yet to marry and have his family and as it turned out, he moved away to another county anyway, so was no longer in Lower Winchendon.

When he settled at Bletsoe, Bedfordshire he had a farm there so he obviously learned enough to run his own place eventually.

I have now managed to go back beyond “Digby” Daniel’s Grandfather Daniel to Grandfather Daniel’s own Grandfather, Edward Read born about 1600 in Moulsoe, Buckinghamshire.  But since there are only a couple of Reads in Moulsoe and a few in Emberton, it is apparent there are other siblings for Edward and his son Thomas that I haven’t found yet. 

So, still a bit of a brick wall to knock down for yet another Eureka Moment (I hope) to find out exactly how “Digby” Daniel is related to Cozens Read at whose farm he was learning the ropes.  And so it also shows that Cozens Read did not go to Lower Winchendon to help his old relative “Digby” as I originally thought.

The search goes on – look out for another Eureka Moment at some stage as I am sure there will be with the “Digby” Read saga!!!!!

April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Cozens Read

For my first addition to Geneabloggers’ suggestions of Daily Blogging Themes, I had to start with Cozens READ, my 6 x great grandfather.  It was his burial anniversary two days ago, 25th April 1783.

My own photo taken in 2000 of the Table Top Tomb of Cozens Read and his wife Elizabeth copyright 2010

 Cozens READ was baptized 24th May 1706 in Caversham, Oxfordshire and died in Lower Winchendon (I much prefer it’s ancient name of Nether Winchendon) in 1783.  From at least his marriage in 1734 to Elizabeth SHIRLEY they lived in Lower Winchendon and had 20 children.

He was my 6 x great grandfather and I discovered that he was a Churchwarden for a number of years and also the Overseer for the Poor.

The above photo was taken at what I call The READ Plot at the parish church in Lower Winchendon.  Cozens READ’s Table Top Tomb is one of three READ such tombs.  Two of his sons, Michael and William have their Table Top Tombs very close to their father’s.

Sadly, I was informed a short while ago, that Cozens READ’s Table Top Tomb has now collapsed!!  And because of new rules and regulations it has meant that much of the parts of this tomb will have been taken away and some laid flat for safety.  I have requested that none of the collapsed pieces should be thrown away, perhaps they could be stood around the wall edging the boundary of the churchyard?  I am hoping that as a direct descendant my wishes have been granted.

In the meantime, I have been trying to make enquiries as to what grants are available to allow restoration of a Table Top Tomb.  It seems these types of graves are historic so are part of our heritage, and because my 6 x great grandfather appears to have been very important to this village, I am hoping that we can restore his tomb.  But, the authorities that allow grants for historic monuments can take half a year to a whole year before they meet up to discuss whether to allow a grant or not.

So I am just waiting and really hoping that all the pieces haven’t just been thrown away.  Any Inscription on Cozens READ’s tomb was almost completely gone when we saw it in 2000 and then again in 2004.  But I did see myself the letters COZ and a gap and then READ (but very feint) with the name Elizabeth underneath it, so I know it is his tomb.  I could also make out a date that started 16.. on another side of the tomb, which suggests to me that another READ was also buried in this tomb first, as Cozens READ and his wife were born in the 1700s.  But it was all much to feint to make out.

There is nothing in the Parish Register to show another earlier READ being buried there, so I wonder if it was saying something about the family Cozens READ came from??  Now I will never know!!!

All the other gravestones that can be seen in this photo are for the children, grandchildren and later generations of Cozens READ and his wife Elizabeth SHIRLEY.

April 18, 2010


Filed under: BRICK WALLS!!!!!, COZENS READ, Cozens Read, EUREKA MOMENTS!! — Tags: , — rootsresearcher @ 5:43 pm

I suppose this has to be the main, worst Brick Wall that I have come across so far.

I mentioned in a previous post that it took me just short of ten years and a search of 300 or so Parish Registers and other documents before I found Cozens READ’s baptism and which then gave me his parents.  I already had an idea of who his parents might be, by going through a very long process of elimination (and through my various databases I have made to find who is who and where they are and so on).  I also mentioned that when at last finding Cozens READ’s baptism it threw up another little problem, just a little one, as he was called the daughter of William READ.  Daughter!!

I can remember the moment exactly when I found the baptism.  I was thrilled, delighted, excited, ooh there are just not words enough to explain it.

I had had what they called a small stroke a few months before this “find” and luckily it left me with no problems apart from a complete lack of motivation, which was just not me.  For quite a while I did not do any family history at all, just not motivated because of the small stroke.  I got a bit fed up with being like this, so decided to do something about it.  Although not motivated at all into doing any of my family history research, I decided that I was going to buy some microfiche and push myself into the search for the baptism of Cozens READ.  I hadn’t done all those years research for it to just give up looking because I wasn’t motivated!!

I bought about about ten microfiche from the Oxfordshire Family History Society and proceeded to work my way through them (I was working my way through all the parish churches in Oxfordshire to find the baptism).  I had to do this in the evenings to read from the microfiche reader better when the room was in near darkness.  I had worked my way through the fiche over several evenings and there I was, sat in the dark kitchen at the ironing board (just the right height for placing the microfiche reader on and with room for my notebooks etc)., and was on the very last of the ten or so microfiche I had bought.

I have no idea why, but as I put the first fiche into the reader I just felt that this could be good!  I had been through so many fiche and CDs and actual Parish Registers and never had a feeling like that although I always hoped I would come across the baptism I really wanted.

The first READs appeared in the very early 1600s (I note all those I come across wherever they are) so I noted those. Suddenly there was a baptism for a female READ in 1703 (I can’t remember the correct order as I write this) but when I saw the name Elizabeth I knew it was looking promising. From my process of elimination I had found a marriage of a William READ to an Elizabeth COSENS in 1703 but in a different place.  So this baptism wasn’t at the wrong time!!  Next came a baptism for Mary READ and because I had found a  Mary READ mentioned as the sister of Cozens READ on the huge ROSE Family tree book (details elsewhere on the blog later) this baptism also looked good.  I think it was 1704 0r 1705.  I thought to myself that if the next READ was Rachel then I knew I had the right family (because it was the Discharge of Legacy document I found in the huge ROSE Family Tree book (again details elsewhere on the blog later) for Rachel READ which enabled me to get her Will and then find Cozens READ’s other siblings), so I was getting just a tad excited!!

Well, it wasn’t Rachel READ that was next in the register, it was Coessens READ the daughter of William!!!  That’s when I got so excited, it was a real Eureka Moment, it was delightful and if I had been fitter than I am, my head would have been hitting the ceiling as I would have been bouncing about all over the place with excitement!  And, it certainly didn’t worry me at all that this entry said “Daughter”.

As mentioned in another post, I did search for the burial of this daughter and another baptism for a son, but there is none.  I put the error down to the Clerk not taking as much care as he should have done writing the entries, but then he knew no-one was really going to see anything he wrote.  He certainly did not think about those of us a few hundred years later looking at the Registers!  So this was the baptism of Cozens READ my 6 x great grandfather and the Brick Wall broken through after an almost ten year search.  Pheeewwww!

And, I got my motivation back!!  😉

April 17, 2010

COZENS READ – my 6 x great grandfather

Filed under: COZENS READ, EUREKA MOMENTS!! — Tags: — rootsresearcher @ 5:29 pm

Cozens READ has become extremely special to me.  It took me just short of ten years to find his baptism and therefore his parents after searching through over 300 Parish Registers and many different documents (for clues) and Wills and things.

When I found his baptism, it really did not matter at all that he was shown as the daughter of William READ!!

Because of the research I had done to find him I knew there was no other Cozens READ.  His name for his baptism was shown in the register as Coessens Read and I have a copy of that page, which hopefully I will be able to show on this blog soon.  But of course, I still had to prove that this daughter was in fact my 6 x great grandfather, so I continued searching for a burial of a daughter with that name and then another baptism after any burial for the son called Cozens.  Again, I have searched so many registers and not found a burial for the supposed daughter nor another baptism for a second Cozens READ.

Anything I have found regarding Cozens READ does only apply to my 6 x great grandfather so I am fairly sure that he is the daughter shown in this particular baptism entry.  What makes me think the Clerk made a mistake while writing the entry is that there were many daughters having their baptisms registered on that page so he must have just written the word daughter as he had done so many times already and then a couple of entries after the mention of Coessens Read, the Clerk has written about “Sary the the of “(and her father’s name – not a Read) so the Clerk doesn’t even say if she was a son or a daughter!!  (I refer to her as female because I am pretty sure that Sary is for the name Sarah).

Because of doing so much research on Cozens READ I now tend to relate all the ancestors to him, for eg. my 8 x great grandfather John READ does not really get referred to as that by me, instead I only refer to him as Cozens READ’s grandfather.  The same applies to other ancestors, they are referred to as whatever relationship they had to Cozens READ.  Makes life so much simpler, I know who I am talking about then!!  😉

You will probably find as you wend your way through my blog that Cozens READ gets a lot of mentions!!  Wouldn’t it be nice if he knew he had a 6 x great granddaughter who was so fond of him.

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