Tag Archives: Sargison

William Sargison killed by lightning

Sometimes, when researching people, a specific record catches your eye. This was certainly the case with William Sargison (1786-1811), whose burial record from the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, dated 14 June 1811, indicated that he was the son of Thomas (Sergeason/Sergesson) and gave his cause of death as “killed by lightening”. At the time of the incident Cottingham was located in the East Riding of Yorkshire, near to Hull, and its position has been marked on the following map (see bibliography for map attribution):

Map from Vision of Britain website

William is included in the “Sargison South Cave and beyond tree” which includes people living in Cottingham.

The story of William’s death seems to have been picked up by newspapers outside the local area. For example, a report in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal (24 June 1811, page 4) reported that:

During a thunderstorm at Cottingham, near Hull, on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Sarjeson, his son William, and his nephew, being all engaged in hoeing turnips, the former at the end of the field and the nephew and son at the other, the latter (son) was suddenly struck dead by the lightening, his face on one side was completely scorched, and his hat, clothes and shoes, all rent to pieces.

In other reports William’s age was given as 22 and that he was “a remarkably steady young man” (Stamford Mercury, 21 June 1811, page 3). None of the reports identify his father by his first name although they do report his surname in a number of different ways: Sargerrison and Sarjeson are just two examples.

William was buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, Yorkshire (see bibliography for photograph attribution):

St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, Yorkshire

William was the youngest of two sons born to Thomas Sargison (1747-1825) and his wife Jane Milburn (1746-1815). His elder brother Thomas (1773-1839) continued to live in Cottingham with his wife and children. Thomas and William also had seven sisters, some of whom I’ve been able to trace. The following chart shows Thomas, Jane, and the children and grandchildren that I’ve found so far.

Descendant chart for Thomas and Jane


Baptisms, marriages and burials. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

Cottingham. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/ERY/Cottingham : accessed March 2021.

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cottingham, in East Riding of Yorkshire and East Riding | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time. URL: http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/979  Date accessed: 11th March 2021

Newspapers. Collection: British Newspaper Collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham. East Riding Archives, CCO, via Wikimedia Commons : accessed March 2021.

Hallgate Zion Independent chapel in Cottingham, Yorkshire

Whilst I was working on the Sargison tree which, includes people in the parishes of Eastrington, South Cave and Cottingham, I came across a couple who had had three children baptised in the Hallgate Zion Independent chapel. The children of Thomas Sargison (1773-1839) and Mary Kitchin (1774-1857) were as follows:

  • Jane (1803-1834) baptised on 10 Oct 1803.
  • Sarah (1806-1871) baptised on 3 Sept 1806.
  • Thomas (1811-1846) baptised on 18 March 1811.

At the time of their baptisms the congregation worshipped in a pre-1800 Presbyterian chapel located in Hallgate, Cottingham. The Presbyterian congregation had become Independent after the death of the Arian Minister, Edward Dewhirst, in 1784.   The chape was replaced in 1819 by a new building (Zion United Reform Church) which is now listed on the Historic England website.

Cottingham in the early 1800s was considered a large village with upwards of 2000 inhabitants. Although Thomas was a labourer, he was listed in the Poll Books of 1830 and 1832. Certainly in 1831 the largest occupational group in the census were agricultural labourers and it is likely that Thomas worked on the land until his death in 1839.

By 1841 the population of Cottingham had grown to more than 2500 people. Two new streets had been built near the Hallgate chapel: George Street and Crescent Street. In the 1841 census Mary and two of her children, Sarah and Thomas, were living in George Street with another possible member of the extended family, Mary Sarginson aged 45. All three ladies were described as laundresses. Mary’s son Thomas was aged 30 but had no occupation recorded against his entry. The following extract from the 1855 OS map shows the position of the two new streets and the Hallgate chapel.

Extract from OS Map (1855) Yorkshire 225

By the 1851 census Mary’s son Thomas had died and it was just Mary and her daughter Sarah who lived Crescent Street. Mary’s occupation was laundress and Sarah “at home”. Mary died in 1857 and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Cottingham. Her daughter Sarah was then left without immediate family and she was admitted to the North and East Riding of Yorkshire Lunatic Asylum in Clifton (near York), Yorkshire on 10 November 1860. A series of records from the Sculcoates Poor Law Union, catalogued at the East Riding Archives, show that she was regularly recorded in their returns of pauper lunatics from 1861-1871. The asylum census recorded Sarah as a charwoman from Cottingham in both 1861 and 1871. She died in the asylum on 5 May 1871 with her age given as 66. She was the last member of her immediate family.

I am interested in knowing more about the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.


Cottingham. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/ERY/Cottingham : accessed December 2020.

Cottingham. https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/979 : accessed December 2020.

Elrington, C. R. ed. (1979) Victoria County History: A History of Yorkshire, East Riding Volume IV. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 61-84.

OS (1855) Yorkshire 225 Map. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed December 2020.

Zion United Reform Church. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1103393 : accessed December 2020.