Category Archives: Silversides

Herbert and Sabra Silversides – the road to Thame

When we moved to Thame in 2012, I had only just started researching my family. On the Sarginson side I knew that many of my ancestors came from Yorkshire, and more specifically the East Riding. I didn’t expect to find anyone in Oxfordshire, and certainly not in Thame. I have previously written about the origin of the name Silversides, and as I started to research more of my cousins, I came across Herbert Silversides (1882-1955), my second cousin three times removed, who died in Thame.

Herbert was born on 23 March 1882 in Wakefield, Yorkshire to parents Guy Crispin Silversides (1853-1933) and Ellen Butler (1854-1932). Although in the 1891 census his father Guy was a tailor, by 1901 he was the Lodge Keeper at the West Riding County Lunatic Asylum for Paupers at Wakefield. He continued to work there until at least the 1911 census. The asylum was located on the north side of Wakefield as shown in the following OS map extract from 1894.

OS Yorkshire CCLVIII.NE date 1894

The asylum was opened in 1818 and became the Stanley Royd hospital in 1948. It closed in 1995 and has since been converted into residential accommodation. It is now known as Parklands Manor.

So how did Herbert and his wife Sabra Emma Blacker (1881-1972) come to live and die in Thame? Sabra had also been born in Wakefield and they were married on 21 April 1906 in the Primitive Methodist Church, Chapel Street, Blackpool. An extensive report in the Fleetwood Express (25 April 1906) gave an insight into the occasion:

The bridal party consisted of lady and gentleman friends … with the guests, numbering over seventy persons, travelled by special saloon from Wakefield to Blackpool.”

Sabra’s dress was described in some detail and two gifts from the bridegroom specifically mentioned, an exquisite shower bouquet and gold opal brooch. There were six bridesmaids and Herbert’s brother William was his best man. The couple honeymooned in Scarborough and there was a long list of wedding presents which included many doyleys and other items of silver and linen.  

By the 1911 census Herbert and Sabra were living at 53 Jacobs Well Lane in Wakefield with their son Ronald aged one. Herbert was a clerk in the architect’s department of West Riding County Council. It looks like they were regular visitors to Blackpool though. The Fleetwood Chronicle dated 15 March 1912 has an account of Sabra’s brother William Blacker marriage to Molly Brown in the Primitive Methodist Church, Chapel Street, Blackpool. Molly was the daughter of a Blackpool councillor and William’s father Alfred the manager of the Royal Pavilion and a lay preacher at the church. Both families were well known attendees of the church. Sabra was a bridesmaid and Herbert a groomsman.

Herbert and Sabra’s son Ronald died in 1914 in Blackpool. Herbert and Sabra were also in Blackpool in 1916 when the Blackpool Gazette and Herald (11 February 1916) reported that Mrs Blacker and Mrs Herbert Silversides had arranged a concert after a young people’s tea which had been held at the Chapel Street Primitive Methodist School, Blackpool.

Herbert and Sabra were next found in the 1921 census as visitors at a property called Rossendale, Coronation Street, Cleveleys, near Thornton in Lancashire. The head of the household was Andrew Milligan and Sabra’s parents were boarders there. Her father Alfred was described as the cinema manager at the Savoy cinema, Cleveleys. Herbert was chief clerk at Wakefield County Council.

Herbert and Sabra seem to have then moved to the “Holiday Camp”, Rossall Road, Thornton, Lancashire where they were found in the 1923 Electoral Register. However, by 1939 Herbert and Sabra were living at Caradoc, Daws Hill, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire with Herbert described as a wholesale and retail wool dealer. How his change of occupation had come about isn’t clear.

Ancestry’s collection of British Phone Books was an invaluable resource which helped to track down Herbert and Sabra’s movements towards Thame. The 1944 Phone Book records them living in Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire and in 1954 there were two entries. Herbert and Sabra were living at 70 Chilton Road, Long Crendon and had a business called Silver Wools in High Street, Princes Risborough. They had moved inro 18 Croft Road in Thame by 1955; the following is a recent photo of the house:

18 Croft Road, Thame – image by Joan Reid

Herbert died on 23 September 1955 at 18 Croft Road. Sabra was not mentioned in his probate calendar entry and he left effects worth £2594 9s 4d. It seems that Sabra did not stay in the house for long after his death. She had moved into 1 Victoria Mead, Thame by the time the 1959 Phone Book was published. A local resident confirmed that the property was one of a number which had been built in 1958. The following is a recent photo of the house which has had an extension at some point; it would just have been two windows wide when Sabra moved into it.

I Victoria Mead, Thame – image by Joan Reid

Sabra died on 11 January 1972 at 1 Victoria Mead. She left effects to the value of £7550. So far, I’ve not been able to find burial records for either Herbert or Sabra. I also wondered if they continued to worship in a Primitive Methodist chapel. The one in Thame, on the junction between East Street and Park Street, is now a private house, but was once part of the Thame and Watlington Methodist circuit.

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


1921 Census. : accessed June 2022.

1939 Register. : accessed June 2022.

Berkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1965. : accessed June 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths. : accessed June 2022.

British newspaper collection. : accessed June 2022.

British Phone Books, 1800-1984. : accessed June 2022.

Census records. : accessed June 2022.

County Asylums. : accessed June 2022.

Croft Road, Thame image by Joan Reid.

England and Wales, Electoral Registers 1910-1932. : accessed June 2022.

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. : accessed June 2022.

OS Maps. : accessed June 2022.

Redmonds, George. (2015) A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames. Donington: Shaum Tyas.

Victoria Mead, Thame image by Joan Reid.

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910. : accessed June 2022.

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


Births, marriages and deaths. : accessed June 2021.

British newspaper collection. : accessed June 2021.

Census records. : accessed June 2021.

City of York Apprentices and Freemen, 1272-1930. : accessed June 2021.

City of York Militia and Muster Rolls 1509-1829. : accessed June 2021.

England and Wales, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1918. : accessed June 2021.

Glamorganshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1570-1994. : accessed June 2021.

Huntington. : accessed June 2021.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. : accessed June 2021.

Maritime history Archive. : accessed June 2021.

OS Maps. : accessed June 2021.

Redmonds, George. ((2015) A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames. Donington: Shaum Tyas.  

Riccall. : accessed June 2021.

St John the Baptist Church, Wilberfoss by D S Pugh. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0. : accessed June 2021.

Saltmarshe. : accessed June 2021.

SS Cincora. : accessed June 2021.

Stillingfleet. : accessed June 2021.

UK, Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893. : accessed June 2021.

UK, Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Regimental Registers of Pensioners, 1713-1882. : accessed June 2021.

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935. : accessed June 2021.

Wilberfoss. : accessed June 2021.

Yorkshire baptisms, marriages and burials. : accessed June 2021.

Silversides family – from labourer to farmers and an alleged army fraud

While researching my family history I have come across a number of unusual surnames and this blog post is the second in a series I plan to write about them. I’ve chosen Silversides for this post, in part because it is an interesting surname, and also because it leads to one of my many brick walls.

Origin of surname – according to the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, Silversides has two possible derivations. Firstly, it’s the plural of Silverside, thought to be a nickname from Middle English: silver plus side (of the body or head). Other names to compare it with are Siluermouth (silver mouth) and Silvertop (silver hair). An alternative is that it is a locative name from Silver Side in Farlam in Cumbria which was recorded in 1485. The following OS Cumberland XVIII map dated 1868 shows its location:

In the case of my own ancestors, I think it’s more likely that their surname, Silversides, is the plural of Silverside, a nickname from Middle English. The majority of family members I’ve found come from the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire. 209 Silversides were recorded in Great Britain in 1881. 

My ancestral connections – William Silversides (1690-1756) is my seven times great grandfather on the Sarginson/Foster side of my family. According to an entry in FindaGrave he was baptised on 5 March 1690/91 in Nun Monkton, West Riding of Yorkshire and his father was named as William.  Nun Monkton is 8 miles Northwest of York and 12 miles from Escrick in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Escrick where William married his wife Mary Brown (1691-1780) on 25 November 1725.

William and Mary had at least six children, five sons and one daughter. Their two eldest sons were born in Stillingfleet and the family then moved to Riccall. The following OS Yorkshire 206 map dated 1851 shows the villages of Stillingfleet and Riccall:

Some of the children’s baptism records give their father’s occupation as a labourer, most likely an agricultural labourer, as Escrick, Stillingfleet and Riccall are all villages within a few miles of each other in the Vale of York known for its agriculture. The following descendant chart shows William and Mary and two generations of their descendants:

The family settled in Riccall. William was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard on 20 June 1756 and his wife Mary on 23 August 1780 when she was described as a widow aged 89 who had died of a fever.

William and Mary’s son William (1726-1802) was my six times great grandfather. He married Mary Fughill (1731-1810) and they had at least five sons. When William died his burial record gave his age as 77 and that he had been a farmer who had died of natural decay. So far, I haven’t found any land tax records for him to indicate from whom he leased land.

Mark Silversides (1755-1833) my five times great grandfather – Mark was William and Mary Fughill’s eldest son. He was baptised on 13 May 1755 in St Mary’s Church, Riccall and he married Elizabeth Cant (1761-1845) on 2 December 1783 in the same church. They had four sons and a daughter and the following dandelion chart shows Mark,  Elizabeth and two generations of their descendants:

Mark and Elizabeth’s eldest son Guy (1784-1861) is my four times great grandfather. He married Mary Tomlinson (1796-1866) in St Mary’s Church on 13 March 1817 and together they had 12 children, five boys and seven daughters.

By 1822 Mark was the licensed victualler at the Greyhound Inn in Riccall according to the 1822 edition of Baines’ History and Directory of the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire. The pub was one of four in Riccall at that time and survives to this day. Baines also helpfully gave the population of Riccall as 599 and that Mark and Robert Silversides, Guy’s father and uncle, were farmers and yeomen in the village.

By the 1841 census Guy had become a shoemaker, a trade he continued until the 1861 census, the last he was recorded in. Riccall, in Lewis’s 1848 topographical directory, had a population of 718 as described in the following extract from it:

Guy died on 11 July 1861 and was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard on 14 July 1861.

Guy and Mary’s children – The dandelion chart in the previous section shows their 12 children. Their eldest son Guy became a tailor and moved to Appleton Roebuck, George a labourer was buried in Riccall, Mark became a shoemaker and was buried in Riccall, William is the subject of the next section and their youngest son Robert died in infancy.

Mary, Susannah and Ellen all married farmers. Bessy married a glass bottle packer and Jane a tanner. Ann married a brickyard labourer and moved to nearby Kelfield. Their fifth daughter Isabella (1830-1885), my three times great grandmother, married Thomas Foster (1825-1902), a brick and tile maker, on 4 March 1848. They settled in the nearby village of Kelfield.

Alleged army fraud – William Silversides (1829-1912) is my 1st cousin 4 times removed and the brother of my three times great grandmother Isabella. By the 1851 census William had moved to Ebenezer Place in the parish of York St George where he was living with his sister Jane and her husband Thomas Pickersgill. William’s occupation was butcher. He married his first wife Frances Walker (1814-1874) on 29 August 1853. They lived at no 33 Shambles, York in both the 1861 and 1871 censuses with William’s occupation a butcher.

William’s first wife, Frances, died in 1874 and he married his second wife Emma Jane Smith (1834-1900) two year later. They had one daughter, Ethel Beatrice Silversides (1879-1959), and in 1881 the family were living at The Priory, Grange Crescent, York. This property exists to this day and is now run as a small hotel. William’s occupation was recorded as an army contractor. Grange Crescent is near to the army barracks in the Fulford Road.

At some point William had gone into partnership with his first wife Frances’ brother Ambrose Walker (1821-1896) as farmers of Naburn Lodge Farm, Askham Bryan. Ambrose was also a butcher in the 1861 census but by 1881 he described himself as a forage contractor. The dissolution of William and Ambrose’s partnership for the farm, by mutual consent, was reported in the 23 February 1884 edition of the Yorkshire Gazette. In the same newspaper, notice was also given of the dissolution of a partnership between William, Ambrose and Ambrose’s nephew John Philips Walker (1855-1892) who were acting as army contractors in York. This seems to have taken place in advance of a case brought before York Crown Court in 1885 of alleged army fraud.

The alleged fraud case was reported in the 1 August 1885 edition of the Yorkshire Gazette. The case was before Mr Justice Mathew. William Silversides and Ambrose Walker, army contractors, and Thomas Christopher Lewis, butcher were indicted:

that they did unlawfully conspire, combine, confederate and agree together, in the years 1883 and 1884, at the township of Gate Fulford, having contracted to supply 3100 tons of forage and straw, and also a certain quantity and quality of meat, did from time to time deliver less weight and inferior quality, and that they by falsely pretending they had delivered the said forage, straw and meat of the quantity and quality contracted for, did receive the contract price for the same, with intent to defraud Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for War; and in pursuance of the said conspiracy did pay certain sums of money to one John Anderson Banks, to bribe and induce him to permit the said breaches of contract to be made, with intent to defraud the said Secretary of State.” (Yorkshire Gazette 1 August 1885, page 1)  

All three defendants entered a plea of not guilty and the case took place over three days. It seems that not all the defendants were indicted on every charge. John Anderson Banks mentioned in the charges was the Quartermaster of the 5th Dragoon Guards and was key to the provision of forage to the troops. This particular aspect related to tenders which had been won by William Silversides to provide forage during the period August 1882 to 1884. The prosecution asserted that short measures of oats had been supplied and that, although this had been noticed by the troops, it wasn’t until July 1884 that Troop Serjeant Major Saul found that the oats were short by 44lb that the matter was raised with Lieutenant Gore. 

The charges against Ambrose and Thomas Christopher Lewis (who was married to his niece) were regarding the quantity and quality of meat supplied to the troops. It was also alleged that they paid bribes to Banks. Banks had been arrested when the regiment arrived in Manchester but had absconded and not been seen since.

A large number of witnesses for the prosecution appeared at the trial, including five Corporals and John Chipchase who was a journeyman butcher who had worked for Lewis. His view was that the meat supplied was often from diseased animals and “he would not have liked to eat the meat himself”.  It seems that he had been let go by Lewis and that when he had previously worked for William Silversides as a butcher, the meat he served hsd been passed was by the health inspectors.

A similarly large number of witnesses appeared for the defendants attesting to their good character; these included a number of officers from the barracks. Both barristers for William and Ambrose closed their remarks to the jury with the assertion that the prosecution had not proved its case. Lewis’ counsel said that the money paid to Banks was the result of “betting transactions”.

There was then some to-ing and fro-ing between the jury foreman, the court and the judge. Eventually the defendants were found not guilty in both cases and were discharged.

After the case William spent some time as a hotel proprietor of the Sea Horse Hotel, Fawcett Street, York where he was recorded as living in 1891. The building is now grade II listed. He also seems to have continued his association with Ambrose as probate was granted to him when Ambrose died in 1896.

By 1901 William was a widower for the second time and living on his own means at The Priory, Fulford Road, York. He had moved to 1 Wilton Terrace, Fulford Road, York by 1911 and was described as a retired farmer and butcher. Probate was granted to his daughter Ethel.

Finally, the brick wall – I would like to know more about all the people mentioned in this blog post, and in particular, if there is any information about the parents of my seven times great grandfather William Silversides. I have found some possible family members who lived in Stillingfleet; however, the parish records are rather damaged making it problematic to determine family relationships. 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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