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Benjamin James RANDELL 1848

Benjamin Randell was born 18 June 1848 and baptised 6 August 1848 at St Peter and St Paul Church, Cromer. He was the forth child in the marriage of Thomas Randell and Judith Ann Mayes and interestingly the only one of their boys to enjoy a middle name. He arrived in this world, documented in both the parish register and his birth certificate as Benjamin Randell. He even married as the Benjamin but by the arrival of his own children, his name had expanded to embrace the authoritative embellishment of James. Once extended to Benjamin James Randell it appeared in all subsequent references to him.
As a child Benjamin lived in Brooke Street, Cromer with his family and then for a short time in Hall Street, Holt. Ultimately he followed his uncles Ephraim and John to a life at sea and by 1881 had washed up on the shores of the North East England and was recorded as a married man living in Sunderland.
Benjamin Randell, aged 29 years married Catherine Agnes Martin of Sunderland, 13 February 1877 but it was another ten years before the birth of their first child leading to the possibility that others were born but died. However, the 1911 census confirms that the marriage produced two children and none had died.
By 1881 Benjamin J and Catherine Randell were living at 15 Queen Street, Bishopwearmouth in central Sunderland with Catherine’s parents, Owen and Catherine Martin.
Catherine and Benjamin lived the remainder of their lives in Sunderland. By the 1891 census they had changed address to Crescent Row and later still they were in Church Street. In 1911 the family, Benjamin James, Catherine and their two children Thomas Owen and Catherine Anne were living in Coronation St, Sunderland. The area of Bishopwearmouth is central Sunderland. The entire area has undergone several phases of redevelopment, including a significant contribution from Hitler. All this has left little of Sunderland's earlier street plan.
In the 1871 Census, Benjamin Randell was recorded as a Master Mariner or ‘Sea Captain’ in the Merchant Service. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any record of him at sea. By 1891 Benjamin’s status as a Mariner had changed to Driller in a shipyard. This undoubtedly reflected the economic times, young children, family life and it does represent a commitment of almost 25 years at sea.
handwriting The 1911 census which was handwritten by Benjamin James Randell sees him record himself and his son Thomas Owen as Seaman, poignantly, it records both are unemployed on that particular evening.

Benjamin J Randell died in Sunderland in the first quarter of 1922 aged 74.

ANCESTRY ~ Clement / Thomas / Thomas / Benjamin James

Catherine Agnes MARTIN 1856

I was unable to find an index number for the birth certificate of Catherine Agnes Martin but according to the census of 1861, she was five and born in 1856. The 1871 census restates the same but all subsequent records show her born two years earlier in 1854. They all agree she was born in Sunderland, Co Durham, the daughter of Owen Martin and Catherine Coates who were married 10 February 1849 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Bridge Street, Sunderland.
Catherine Agnes was one of five children, all of which are listed as having been born in the central Sunderland. The 1861 census lists the family at 24 Bridge St., Sunderland and records Owen Martin as born 1820 in South Ireland, with his wife 'Colleen' and all five children Joseph b.1850, James Coates b.1852, Dorothy Jane b.1854, Catherine Agnes b.1856 & Mary Anne b.1860.
In this instance Catherine and Colleen seem to be interchangeable names, as there is no doubt Catherine Coates was the wife of Owen Martin. 'James Coates Martin', their son is testament and more evidence is presented in 1851 when Owen and Catherine, together with baby son Joseph, were living at 18 Pan Lane, Bishopswearmouth. Owen a master tailor and employer of one apprentice was enjoying the company of Dorothy Coates, elderly widow but significantly identified as his mother-in-law.
The Great Famine of the 1840's caused over a million deaths in Ireland and a similar number left forever. Owen Martin a master tailor seems to have arrived in England during this period. By 1851 Owen was living in Pan Street central Sunderland and in the 1860's Owen and his family lived at 24 Bridge Street. Pan and Bridge Streets intersect High Street West and still, in part at least, exist. These streets are typical city high streets, grand Victorian sandstone buildings with shops at street level and three or four stories of diminishing ornate windows above. All very grand.
The 1858 Post Office Directory, shows 'Owen Martin ~ Tailor & Draper' had a shop at 4 High Street West. It was opposite St Michaels Church just before Garden Place. This address still exists. Meanwhile 'Miss Bainbridge' ran a 'Confectioners' from the ground floor of 24 Bridge Street. Interestingly next door was John Coates, Upholster and two doors away in the opposite direction, Thomas Coates, Wine & Spirits merchant.
Catherine Agnes's mother, Catherine Coates was born 1822 in Sunderland and in turn was the daughter of Dorothy Coates who was recorded in the census as born Durham, 1787. Dorothy died 1853 aged 66 years.
Owen Martin died in Sunderland in the early winter of 1886 having outlived his wife Catherine by two years.
All the family marriages and christenings appear to have taken place in the Catholic Church. The family lived next door to the Catholic Rectory for long period which was possibly more than a coincidence.
Catherine Agnes Randell died age 69 in Sunderland in July 1924, two years after Benjamin.

Benjamin and Catherine had the following children:

Thomas Owen RANDELL 1887 Sunderland, Co Durham
Catherine Ann RANDELL 1890 Sunderland, Co Durham


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