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Mary Bolstridge 1863 - 1960

Mary Bolstridge 1886, picture by Greens Studio,Coleshill St, AtherstoneMy interest with the Bolstridge name stems from my great grandmother, Mary Bolstridge, who was born in Ratcliffe Culey, Leicestershire, on 31 January 1863 just a few doors away from her future husband George Tonks Parsons. Her mother died when she was 12 leaving a family of seven girls and one boy  the youngest just 12 months old. Her eldest sister Ann, then just 16, took on the mantle of mother and brought up the family until she herself married  in 1884. Her early years in the confines of a small 3 room cottage at Ratcliffe left a lasting impression on Mary. Mary Bolstridge 1921 On Holiday at Rhyl North Wales She made a decision to have no more children once she had delivered a son and was very critical of her family who did not or could not share the same restraint. Her elder sister Ann was obviously not of a similar disposition bearing fourteen children six boys and eight girls, eleven surviving childhood.

Mary went into service at the age of fourteen and later worked for a confectioner in Nuneaton. She married George Tonks Parsons son of George Tonks of Ratcliffe Culey and Jane Parsons from nearby Upton. George was a gardener by trade as were many of the Parsons Family and they lived at Coleshill Street Atherstone. By 1886 they had opened a small confectioners shop in Long Street Atherstone, the premises had been used as a confectioners since at least 1851.  Sometime between 1892 and 1896 they had moved to Wolverhampton trading as confectioners from a shop in Victoria Street and the Retail Market.

Mary Bolstridge 1943Mary was the driving force behind this enterprise and by the 1930's they had four shops in Wolverhampton and one in nearby Dudley  managed by my father. These sadly had to close shortly after the outbreak of world war two due to sugar rationing. The family still had close ties with Ratcliffe Culey, Nuneaton and Atherstone, regularly visiting relations there well into the 1950's. Mary Bolstridge had a presence about her even into her closing years, she was a great story teller even in her nineties. Sadly I was of an age not to take much notice of an old ladies memories, how I wish now I could revisit those times. In Mary Bolstridge 1958 Her 95th Birthday the early months of 1960 shortly after her 97th birthday she caught a minor cold and her doctor insisted she went into hospital. Due to lack of care she slipped on a wet floor and broke her hip and within a month was dead, the doctor never forgave himself.

The Bolstridge surname had been one I had been familiar with since childhood and had never considered it unusual until I started to research my family history. The research has been relatively easy back to the 1790's as the family is extremely well documented at Ratcliffe Culey. The attempts to go back further have been more difficult and in the last 8 years I have collected an enormous amount of data. The discovery of a subscription volume of Norman Dudley's "The Bolstridges alias Bulstrode of Bedworth" some two years ago lead me to the Society Of Genealogists library in London where he has deposited all his research notes. This research carried out in the 1980's is impressive but incomplete and I have found a number of errors in his published trees. A lot of this information has been used by other researchers and submitted to the LDS and World Family Tree without checking. This one of the primary reasons for starting this 'One Name Study' to build on and extend Norman's excellent work.

Copyright Martyn Parsons. All rights reserved.
Revised 15/10/2023

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