Family Roots appeal pays dividends

Julie Cordiner outside Holy Trinity Church
Julie Cordiner outside Holy Trinity Church

FAMILY Roots has done it again.

Within days of asking the people of Hartlepool if they could come up trumps with information, they helped historian Julie Cordiner with her research into the background of Holy Trinity Church, in Seaton Carew.

Julie has been researching the church’s history to put together an exhibition and wanted some information on the people who had played an important part in Holy Trinity over the centuries.

It was fellow Hartlepool woman Gillian Smith who came up with some of the answers, especially in respect of one man.

Julie wanted to know more about Ralph Thompson Walker who was born in 1849 at Middleton Grange to Ralph Walker and Ann (neé Corker).

He was a farmer at Fence House Farm, in Seaton Carew, and married Mary Stephenson, in Hexham, in 1872.

He died in September, 1876 at Helmsley, aged only 27, and is buried at Holy Trinity.

Gillian contacted the Mail to say: “I have no connection to Ralph Thompson Walker’s family but Fence House Farm used to stand in the cul-de-sac where I live.”

She also provided numerous newspaper cuttings which show Mr Walker had taken ill early in the month that he died and the cause of his illness was suspected to be epilepsy.

Just before his passing, he had paid a visit to the home of Marshall Stephenson, an agent of the Earl of Feversham, and was a guest of that man when he fell ill.

Mr Walker was described as a keen sportsman, genial friend and a good neighbour.

Other newspaper cuttings show that, just two years before his death, Mr Walker had been appointed as a sub-lieutenant in the Durham Military Corps.

And less than a year after his passing, an auction firm called R Merryweather and Son held a public auction to sell off the stock held by Mr Walker.

It included 15 draught horses, 52 head of fat and grazing stock, 60 ewes and “their followers”, and the “whole of the implements of husbandry”.

A further cutting seems to indicate that Ralph’s widow Mary did find love again.

On June 18, 1885, she married a Mr Arthur Hutchinson, of Howden, in Stockton-on-Tees at St Peter’s Church, in Harrogate.

Our thanks go to Gillian for her quick and detailed response.

Julie also wants to know more about some of the other people with links to the church.

They are:

Jane and Anna Wray.

The earliest stained glass window still surviving in Holy Trinity Church is in memory of Anna and Jane Wray.

The inscription reads:

“Anna Wray died ye 9th of Dec A.D. 1843.

“Jane Wray died ye 12th of May A.D. 1856.”

Both Jane and Anna died in Stockton, in 1843. Their father was a doctor, George Wray, from Stockton, and their mother was Jane née Catterick.

Stanley Dryden Robinson

Stanley Robinson was born in Seaton Carew in 1909 to Thomas Buick Robinson and Laura Dryden.

He was a choirboy and a churchwarden. He had a bad experience in the Second World War as a prisoner of war, captured by the Japanese on the surrender of Singapore. He relied on his Christian faith to survive in the POW camps.

William Henry Loveridge

William Loveridge was born in 1857 and died in 1938, wife Annie Maria nee Oughtred; sons William Edmonds Loveridge and Henry Norris Loveridge.

Julie would love to hear from anyone who can help her with extra detail on any of the above.

Those interested should contact Chris Cordner by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX, via email to or by calling (01429) 239377.