Saltmarsh family – a rare Yorkshire surname

Whilst I was researching my Silversides ancestors, I came across two women who had married into the Saltmarsh family, Ann Silversides (1823-1853) my fourth great aunt and Ann Silversides (born 1813) my second cousin five times removed. Saltmarsh is another very unusual Yorkshire surname which according to Redmonds (page 640) links to a specific place, Saltmarshe, a village on the River Ouse, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It’s in the parish of Howden. The following map shows the position of Saltmarshe on the River Ouse.

OS Yorkshire 238 date 1852

A prominent gentry family used the spelling Saltmarshe and Sir Lionel Saltmarshe was knighted by William the Conqueror in 1067. It is an uncommon surname although the variant Saltmarsh is now more numerous in other parts of Yorkshire.

Lewis had the following to say about Saltmarsh in his 19th century topographical directory:

Saltmarsh from Lewis’ topographical directory

Saltmarsh family – Both my fourth great Ann, and my second cousin five times removed Ann, married into the same Saltmarsh family. I have traced their line back to Richard (1689-1736) from Huntington, a village 3 miles NNE of York in the North Riding of Yorkshire. It is approximately 30miles from Huntington to the village of Saltmarsh. The map below shows Huntington and nearby villages.

OS Yorkshire 157 date 1854

The following dandelion chart for Richard shows him, his wife Ann Allison (born 1702) and two generations of descendants. The blue circle highlights Richard (1790-1868) whose son Richard married my fourth great aunt Ann Silversides and the green circle denotes John Saltmarsh (1806-1831) who married Ann, my second cousin five times removed.

Dandelion chart for Richard Saltmarsh and Ann Allison

So far, I haven’t found a connection between Richard’s family and the Saltmarshe gentry family.

My ancestors – Ann Silversides, my 4th great aunt, was baptised on 12 March 1823 in St Mary’s Church, Riccall. She married Richard Saltmarsh (1822-1900) on 6 July 1843 in the same church. Richard had been baptised to parents Richard Saltmarsh (1790-1868) and Sarah Simpson (born 1800) on 8 September 1822 in the nearby market town of Selby.

By 1851 the family were living Kelfield where Richard was described as a brickyard labourer. Richard and Ann had three sons. After Ann’s death Richard married Jane Wrigglesworth (born 1837) and they moved to Monk Fryston. By 1881 Richard was again a widower living in Lumby Hill in the parish of Monk Fryston in a multi-generational household, with his son Samuel (1848-1935), a railway platelayer, Samuel’s wife Sarah Jane Sykes (1850-1897) and two of their daughters. Richard death in 1900 was registered in the Pontefract civil registration district. More information for the family can be found in the following report.

Descendant report for Richard Saltmarsh – three generations

The people marked on report, Mark in blue and Mary and George Thompson in green, are discussed in the next two sections of this blog post.

Mark Saltmarsh – the divorce in 1877 – Mark (1851-1921) was the youngest son of Richard Saltmarsh and Ann Silversides.  He was born in 1851 in Kelfield and baptised on 25 May 1851 in St Helen’s church in the nearby village of Stillingfleet.

Mark was recorded in the 1861 census living with his aunt Jane Silversides (born 1827) and uncle Thomas Pickersgill (born 1821) in Walmgate, York. He married his first wife Lucy Toes (born 1855) on 21 February 1871 in York Registry Office and by the 1871 census they were living with her parents at 34 Oxford Street, York. Mark was described as an engine fitter. According to Mark and Lucy’s divorce papers they had moved to 22 English Street, Hull later in April 1871. Mark said that Lucy had lived with him for about 11 days before returning to York.

Mark filed for divorce on 28 May 1877 on the grounds of Lucy’s adultery. In his affidavit he was described as a marine engine fitter living at 10 English Street, Hull and in it he stated that from:

April 1871 to the twenty fifth day of May 1877 as I am informed and believe to be true the said Lucy Saltmarsh has been leading the life of a common prostitute in the City of York and has during such period repeatedly committed adultery with men.

Although Mark had been aware of Lucy’s adultery for some years, he had been unable to file divorce papers sooner because, as a marine engine fitter, he had had long spells of time working on steamers away from home and had limited means. He filed his petition through William Wilkinson solicitors located in St Helen’s Square, York. By a strange coincidence I used the same firm to carry out a conveyance task some 130 years.

A court hearing for Mark’s divorce petition was held in open court at Westminster on 26 February 1878; a further hearing took place on 9 April 1878 when, after hearing evidence from Mark and witnesses including his uncle Thomas Pickersgill, Mark was granted a decree nisi. The final decree absolute was granted on 19 November 1878. The York Herald reported the undefended case on 13 April 1878 with some additional information about Lucy:

It was now shown by the evidence of o policeman named Denham that the respondent lived the life of a prostitute in Priory Street, York and at the house of a woman named Maud Crawford.”

After his divorce Mark wasted little time in re-marrying. As Mark Charles Saltmarche, bachelor and engineer, he married Sarah Ann Rodgers (born 1855) on 12 April 1878 in Holy Trinity Church, Hull, by licence. At the time Mark was living in Queen Street, Hull and Sarah at 17 English Street, Hull. They had a daughter Jane (born Q2 1878) soon after their marriage and in 1881 Sarah and Jane were living at 158 Bean Street, Hull with Sarah describing herself as a marine engineer’s wife. So far, I’ve been unable to trace Sarah and Jane’s whereabouts after 1881. 

Mark was 1st engineer on the SS Cincora in docked in Barcelona, Spain in the 1881 census.  The cargo ship was a screw steamer, built in 1874, and engaged in foreign trade. It sank after a collision with another vessel near Dungeness, Kent on 25 January 1893. It was carrying a cargo of lead and oranges from Valencia in Spain to London.

Mark settled in Wales and married his third wife, Mary Hughes (1865-1940) in the Bridgend, Wales Registry Office on 25 January 1888. They were both said to come from Porthcawl in Wales. Mark and Mary had a son and two daughters and Mary had a son who later used the surname Saltmarche. Mark continued working as a marine engineer. In the 1911 census Mark was a boarder living with the Smith family at 141 Carlisle Street, Splott, Cardiff. His wife Mary was recorded as a housekeeper in the entry for the Sevine family, living at 36 Janet Street, Splott, Cardiff, a few minutes’ walk from where her husband was a boarder. Mark’s death was registered in Q4 1921 in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales.

Two cousins marry – Mary Saltmarsh and George Thompson – Mary (born 1890) in Porthcawl, Wales was the eldest daughter of Mark and Mary. She wasn’t living with her mother and two siblings in 1911 and was a boarder with the Jackson family in Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire.  How she had secured work as a cotton weaver is not clear, however at some point she had met her 1st cousin once removed, George Thompson (born 1890). They married on 5 February 1916 in the parish church of Middleton, Yorkshire. George gave his occupation as a miner from Belle Isle, and that his father George was deceased and been a railway guard. Mary’s address at the time of their marriage was recorded as 36 Janet Street, Cardiff where her mother had been living in the 1911 census. Her father was given as Mark Charles Saltmarsh, a seafaring engineer. Unfortunately, further records for the couple have been difficult to trace.  

Wilberfoss family – Ann (born 1813), my second cousin five times removed, married John Saltmarsh (1806-1831) on 22 March 1831 in St John the Baptist church, Wilberfoss. John died at the age of 25 and was buried in the churchyard on 12 September 1831. Ann was pregnant with their daughter Elizabeth (1832-1854) who was baptised in the same church on 12 January 1832. Ann re-married and called one of her sons by her second marriage to John Shaw (born 1799), Silversides John Shaw (born 1850).

St John the Baptist Church, Wilberfoss by DS Pugh

Lastly – I would like to know more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Note: the maps used in this blog have been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


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