Thursday, 18 November 2010

Taylor and Cordeaux

This tablet at St Nicolas’ is the only monument on the wall of any of our three churches which dates from before the twentieth century. The absence of others may indicate the modest means and status of most of the inhabitants of the three villages in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its presence has made me wonder from time to time who Richard Taylor might have been; his status and/or longevity in Great Coates or in the life of St Nicolas’ must have been enough for others to wish to commemorate him in this way.

I found him in the 1851 census. It says he was born at Gayton-le-Wold, was unmarried, lived in what the census spells as Cook Lane, and was one of seven farmers who lived in the parish. His was the largest farm (670 acres, employing fifteen men and boys; all but one of the other farms were half the size). There were eight employees living at the same address: a housekeeper, three young servants, a waggoner, and three farm labourers.

Richard Taylor’s twenty year old ‘nephew’ John Cordeaux was also living with him in 1851 as an ‘agricultural pupil’, and the 1861 census shows John (by then married with a five month old baby) has taken over the farm. I've found out no more about Richard Taylor, but John Cordeaux turns out to be of particular interest, partly because a listed estate cottage in Cooks Lane is called Cordeaux House today, and the name is also that of a Secondary School in Louth.

A family history website fills in the picture for John Cordeaux (1831-99) who turns out to have been one of the leading ornithologists of his day writing on issues like parasitology and migration. He cataloguing the birds of the Humber and his work provoked early surveys of the variations in bird numbers round the coast of Britain.

His mother was a Taylor and he developed his interest in nature when visiting her family in the Louth area. The Richard Taylor whose tenancy in Great Coates he took over was his great-uncle. John both farmed local land and went on to be Agent for Sutton Estates which owned most of the village (which would explain how his name became attached to an estate cottage).

Rod Collins’ website has a recent reference to his antiquarian discoveries and interests.

It is after his grandson Edward (1894-1963) that Cordeaux School in Louth is named. Edward was born in Great Coates but also ended up living in Louth. He had a distinguished war record (including a DSO) and ended up both a Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff for the county.

No comments: