You are here: HomeSt Kenelm's GravesIndex of Graves in St Kenelm's Churchyard (Part I)The Coley Smiths

The Coley Smiths

Extracts from a paper written by Mr. Norman Jones

A headstone in St. Kenelm's Churchyard, Romsley (No. 99 in the transcriptions), marks the grave of Richard Coley-Smith and his wife Sarah. Although Richard ended his days with the surname Coley-Smith, he undoubtedly used the names Coley and Smith separately at different times during his life. Most of the information regarding his early life was derived from the recollections of old natives of Hasbury, many of them his descendants. One such informant was his grandson, Harry Moore, who died in 1974 at the age of eighty.

He offered an explanation for the mystery surrounding the name. According to Mr. Moore, Richard's father had died and his mother remarried before Richard was born. His father was named Coley and his stepfather was named Smith. It was considered that Richard should carry both names. No matter what name Richard started life with, he bore the double name, or had it bestowed upon him when he died.

Will Hackett, who has lived in Hasbury for all his ninety years, remembers Richard as 'Dick Smith'. He described Richard as being the favourite nephew of Thomas Coley, the owner of a prosperous 'button manufactory' in Love Lane, Hasbury. Thomas Coley is reputed to have advanced the money to start the nailmaking business which Richard carried on throughout his adult life. Will Hackett also recounted how Richard took a Jack Ingram as a business partner. Ingram married Leah Crumpton, the sister of Richard's wife. Which occurred first, the marriages or the partnership is not known.

Sarah Crumpton came from an established Hasbury family but there is no evidence of when or where she and Richard were married. Inscriptions on their gravetones and ages recorded on various documents indicate that they were born within a year of each other. If these dates and the estimated date of birth of their first child are correct, Richard and Sarah would still have been in their 'teens when the child was born.

At some date towards the end of the century, Richard and Sarah went to live at High Farm, Back Lane, Hasbury, and Arthur Smith moved into the house vacated by the parents. It is not clear how deeply Richard became involved in farming; he is said to have remained primarily concerned with his family's nailmaking activities. Richard is remembered by a number of his grandchildren as being an avid reader but, surprisingly, unable to write.

He died at High Farm on December 31st, 1909, and Sarah returned to Hagley where she lived until her death on February 12th, 1917.

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