02 June 2015

The SPENCE Family of Cockfield in Durham

The next group of photos I picked up from the Hawera Antique shop all come from the same family.

The Spence family originated in Cockfield and son Eric Marmaduke emigrated to NZ sometime before 1969 when I found him & his wife living in Whakatane, he had married Sarah Lillian Pearl Alderson in 1920 in Durham.

Eric Marmaduke Spence was born on the 9 Oct 1896 in Cockfield, Durham to parents John Spence and Hannah née Dent, he had ten siblings with wonderful names like Methuna May, Osbourne Wycliffe, Mena Leucadia & Eldred John, a dream for anyone researching them. Unfortunately there wasn’t a photo of Eric but there was one of his three daughters & possibly his wife Sarah, she may have been known as Lily:-




Eric & Lily’s three daughters were – Catherine Lillian Pearl, Elsie & Ivy. I presume the names on the back were written by one of them which means Mam is Lily. So far I’ve had no luck in pinning down Mary Mandell, still working on her.

There were also three other photos of the girls taken at various times, two perhaps on the same day and all by the same photographer – Pictorial Studios in Redcar and Whitby.   ivy-or-who-spence-frontcatherine-spence-front



Ivy is the one holding the chair, it is dated 6 Aug 1937 on the back, the other two don’t have names on them although there is a date stamp which is faded but looks like 17 Aug 1936 or 1938. According to a few trees on ancestry Catherine died in Brisbane, Australia in 2003, she had married three times and had two children, Patricia Lillian Cody 1944-1997 and Peter Eric Cody 1947-2005.

Elsie married John Newton in 1947 in Durham, they have one living son, she died in NZ in 1989 & John in 2013. I think these photos may have been hers because it seems Ivy stayed in Durham.

Ivy married John G ____ in 1948 in Darlington, Durham, she died in the Memorial Hospital there on 16 Dec 1996, no death found for John so he may still be living.


The three other photos from the Spence family are three of Eric’s siblings:-







It took me awhile to realise the address was ‘Cockfield’ and not any of the other obvious spellings as they were not in the same place as the photographers were. Once I had that it was easy to find them in the 1911 census and earlier from there.

Eldred John 1899-1982 married Hilda Stevens; Osbourne Wycliffe 1905-1996 married 1st Jane Thompson 2nd Marjorie Young; Eunice Selina 1912-1995 married Harold Crombie. The woman with Osbourne is unknown, possibly either his first wife as he looks quite young in the photo or maybe one of his other five sisters.

The other Spence siblings are:- Ernest George, Frederick, Eva Lavinia, Cassandra Jane, Methuna May, Ida Muriel and Mena Leucadia.

References: ancestry.com.au; FreeBMD; familysearch.org


If anyone knows anything about or is connected to the SPENCE family please do contact me, I would love to pass the photos onto a family member, even a distant one. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting


Unknown said...

Eric Marmaduke Spence emigrated to New Zealand in the 1950s with wife and children. Some of the photos I recognise some of the photos,one being my grandfather Eldred John Spence, his brother.
A Wonderful find, thank you.

Jws said...

Osbourne Wycliffe Spence was my grandfather. The lady on the photo is not my grandmother, Jane. I do not recognise her but it could be a sister. It's a great find as I have not seen photographed of some of my relations.

John Wycliffe Spence


Unknown said...

John and Hannah Spence were my great great great nana and grandad, Eric, Osborn and all the other siblings are my great great great uncles and aunts.