Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Sunday at Stamfordham

I first started my journey into family history six years ago this year, and Easter always acts as an Anniversary for that. For Easter Sunday this year I went to St Mary the Virgin, Stamfordham, Northumberland.

After a couple of months of searching my family history, I had acquired a few certificates concerning my Quinnin family. I now knew when and where my Great Grandparents, Martin Quinnin and Margery Rudd died, but not where they were buried. I asked some family members, but they did not seem to know either. 

The Quinnins were Catholics, but I knew the Rudd family were Anglicans. The nearest burial place for Catholics from where the family lived is St Francis Xavier, Cheeseburn Grange, but after contacting a priest he told me my ancestors were not buried there. 

I then turned to Anglican churches in the area, of which there were quite a few. After asking family members again if they knew anything at all, a suggestion of Stamfordham was given. Stamfordham lies just ten minutes south of Wallridge Cottages, where the Quinnin family lived.

St Mary the Virgin, Stamfordham
Soon after I went out to Stamfordham village and found it to be a very pretty village. It was small and very quiet - very picturesque. We went to the church, St Mary the Virgin and attempted to find the family graves. The later graves were down a bank near the bottom. I looked but sadly could not see the Quinnins there. There was however a Great Uncle-in-Law and his grandson buried there, so I did believe that Martin and Margery were possibly there, just without a headstone. 

On the way out I looked in the porch of the church to note down the contact details of the Vicar and churchwardens from the notice boards. To my surprise the church door was open. I went in and was met with lovely silence and such a calming atmosphere. I remember the sunlight was streaming through the amber stained glass windows along the sides of the church, and the windows at the back showing Jesus Christ and the saints were illuminated, making patterns on the floor. 

There was a small table at the front and to the left, with a ceramic bowl on top. The bowl was filled with sand, and there were candles nearby. I made sure to light a candle and I placed it in the centre of the bowl.

A few years later I went to Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn Museum and searched in the Stamfordham burial register for records on the family. There I found what I'd been looking for. I found Martin, then Margery, two Great Uncles, a Great Aunt and a second cousin. All at Stamfordham!

On Easter Sunday 2015, I went out again to St Mary the Virgin, Stamfordham and tried to estimate where exactly my relatives were buried. From looking at copies of the burial register and finding headstones of other people buried around the same time, I was able to guess the general area where my ancestors rest.

Top image - A guess at where my Great Grandfather, Martin Quinnin rests.
Bottom image - A guess at where my Great Grandmother, Margery Rudd Quinnin
is buried.
It's sad to think that I will never know where exactly the couple are buried, but at an educated guess I think I'm pretty close. At least I now know the general area where they are. From where they are, there's quite a nice view of the church and the surrounding fields.
A view of the church from the
section of the churchyard where
my ancestors are buried.
Like a few years ago, I found the church open again. I signed the visitor's book, and again lit a candle.


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