Thomas Coull born c 1800 married to Caroline Emily Roberts - elusive origins
by, 24-02-12 at 07:47 (860 Views)
My link to the Coull family is via the marriage of Eleanor Butcher, born 1838 St Pancras, to William Coull in 1859. This changed the direction of her life from that of a milliner in Islington to emigration to New Zealand with her ailing husband and his 2 brothers in 1871.
The 3 brothers, already established in the printing and publishing trade, went on to thrive in Dunedin, New Zealand. I am in touch with a direct descendant of William’s brother, Thomas. He has confirmed this tree, which goes back to Scotland and Antigua.
There is a tantalising missing link which could give a distant link through marriage to the Dunbar line back to King Robert II of Scotland but that is another story (see separate blog on Helen Coull).
The most mysterious missing link is that of Thomas Coull, the father of the 3 brothers. From a letter he wrote from Antigua to his fiancee, which my NZ contact has, it is proved he was the son of Dr Thomas Coull. In all the family memorabilia and published pedigree of the Coull family, he and his mother are never mentioned. For Thomas to visit his father for permission to marry, the relationship must have been acknowledged.
I have a wealth of information about the Coulls, which I am willing to share.
Experienced FTF members have helped extensively but we have drawn a blank with Thomas. The purpose of this blog is to see if anyone ‘out there’ might be able to shed some light on his origins/early life. This is what I have so far:
Birth: Not on Ancestry.co.uk or Family Search IGI. If, as is highly likely, the burial below is him, his year of birth was about 1796.
These miniatures could have been painted on their coming of age. Unlikely to be on the event of their marriage due to their age difference which is not evident in the portraits:
Marriage: Caroline Emily Roberts was known as Emily:
IGI: Thomas Coull & Caroline Roberts 23/5/1826 Old Church, St Pancras.
Ancestry.co.uk parish record: No parents, addresses, occupation given. Witnesses do not give clues. One is M Roberts.
Caroline Emily was only about 16 when she married and would have needed parents’ consent, if they were alive.
Westminster parish records on Find My Past - mistranscribed as Coule:
Burial: 29/11/1835 St Martin-in-the-Fields, Middx. Thomas Coull, aged 39.
This makes Thomas's year of birth about 1796. His father was about 21 years old when he was born and still training as a doctor in Edinburgh, where he qualified in 1797. So that would mean Thomas was probably born in or around Edinburgh or even back in Cullen area. We cannot find a marriage for Dr Thomas Coull around that time.
Also means he was about 14 years older than his wife...if her year of birth was correct on 1851 census. If their portraits were done around the same year, he does not appear so much older than her.
From my N Z contact: ‘Thomas Coull (b1829) wrote in his 1857 journal that his mother had just died and that she had been a widow for some twenty years'.
His father: Dr Thomas Coull born 12/2/1775 Antigua, died 13/9/1852 Antigua. He had 2 Antiguan marriages with 7 children. It would be interesting to see the actual parish record of his first Antiguan marriage to see if his status was single. It was to Ann Lydia Matilda Rogers on 30/9/1818 St Peter's, Antigua.
He qualified as a physician at Edinburgh in 1797 and is thought to have worked as an assistant to a relative, Dr Coull, in London. He returned to work in Antigua before 1815.
He is said to have been a Citizen of London. His children were sent from Antigua to school and university in Britain and he visited London, being there on the 1841 census.
Dr Thomas Coull's father was Rev James Coull who was born 21/6/1748 in Cullen, Banffshire, Scotland. Rev James Coull’s father was Patrick Coull born about 1722 probably in Cullen. He was a merchant.
We can glean a little about Thomas Coull born about 1800 and his family from the online records:
Wife: Emily Caroline Roberts born 1810 Thames Ditton, Surrey (a/c to 1851 census).
Her death Ancestry London burials: nil.
The New Zealand Coull descendant has a copy of her death cert:
Emily Coull, 48 years of age. Died: 4/5/1857 at 2 Stanmore Cotts.
Occupation: Widow of Thos Coull, Bookseller
Cause of death: Hypertrophy of the heart PM
Reg District: Islington, Sub-reg district:Islington W, Middx. Informant: Thos Coull, present at death, 2 Stanmore Cottages, Caledonian Rd
Their children – all christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London.
1. Thomas born 17/11/1829. Chr: 17 or 18/1/1830.
2. William born 8/10/1831. Chr: 6/11/1831
Fa: Thomas Coull, bookseller. Mo: Emily Coull. Abode: St Martin-in-the-Fields.
3. James Francis (also k/a Frank) born 1834. Chr: 4/4/1834
From William’s christening record on Ancestry.co.uk, and Emily's death cert, we know that Thomas was a bookseller, probably in the area around Westminster.
The three brothers, William, James, Thomas Coull who went to New Zealand
1841 Thomas's son, Thomas b1829, resided at the Caledonian Asylum School. Their archives reveal he was admitted to the school on 1/6/1837, by which time his father had probably died. He left on 29/1/1844.
We cannot find the rest of the family in 1841.
We know that Thomas's son, William, spent some time in Antigua as a young man.
1851 Head: Emily Coull b1810 Thames Ditton, Surrey. Widow. Householder.
Lived with her 3 unmarried sons who worked as printer compositors.
34 Freeling St, Islington.
Edinburgh University, where Dr Thomas Coull qualified, does not hold any biographical information on him. We are left to wonder where he met the mother of his son, Thomas (the bookseller). Did he marry her, did she die, who brought Thomas up, was he sent to boarding school? From the family memorabilia, we do not know which schools in England any of Dr Coull's children went to, apart from William Anne S. Coull who matriculated at Oxford University.
The Antiguan Coulls appear to have been an upper middle class family, many of whom held public office and owned plantations in the West Indies.
The three Coull brothers appear to have had happy and fulfilling lives, remaining close to each other in their printing/publishing company and families. They were involved and well-thought of in their community and churches.
Footnote: The British Library have recently republished two books by Thomas Coull born 1829, originally published in 1861:
The History and Traditions of Islington
The History and Traditions of St Pancras
Both are available from Amazon. My public library obtained them for me.
Also on Amazon (amazingly) on same page of this link is the thesis written by Dr Thomas Coull in 1797, in Latin.
The archivist at Edinburgh University thought the title translated as:
'His thesis title is given much as you mention, with some slight differences: 'De Luce quae ex chemia medicina accepit'.
The 'Disputatio medica inauguralis' part of the title denotes 'first medical dissertation' (or 'disputation' - at this time, a medical student would submit his thesis, in Latin, to two professors and then the rest of the Faculty and would be questioned on it orally).
As for the rest of the title, it (very) roughly translates as 'from light is given/we learn the gift of medicine/chemistry' ('chemia' can mean 'chemistry' or 'gift')'
To see the extensive research done by FTF members on the Coulls, here are links to the threads on our Research Forum: