Wedding Wednesday – 1929 (another visit)

This week’s Wedding Wednesday themed post stays in 1929, and visits George Moden and Lily Dewey as they walk down the aisle at Wentworth church, Cambridgeshire.

We’re staying in 1929 for this week’s Wedding Wednesday themed blog post.

This time, it’s the turn of George Edward Moden and Lily Dewey, at Wentworth, Cambridgeshire.

George Edward Moden and Lily, 1929
The second Moden/Dewey marriage – George’s sister had already married Lily’s cousin.

George was the youngest brother of my Great Grandmother Susan, whilst Lily was also related – being a distant cousin to Susan’s husband (and my Great Grandfather) Ernest Dewey.

This wedding also provides me with the largest photograph in my collection – an entire family group – featuring everyone from parents to bridesmaids, to best man and the vicar.

George Edward Moden and Lily Dewey's Wedding, 1929
A great 1929 wedding photo. Parents are seated at the far ends of the front row, with the bridesmaids either side of the newlyweds. The best man stands immediately behind them, and the rest is filled in with family, and the vicar. (Click for big)

The great thing about these wedding photos, is that it’s perfect for finding photos of relatives that you might not otherwise ever discover. A photograph of a great aunt for example, might never materialise because her own family have kept those.. but with these kind of group wedding pictures, you get a wide net with which to catch a family (and most smile).

In this example above, i’m fairly confident that nearly all of the people in this photograph are relatives of mine – from both the bride and groom’s sides.

George Edward Moden and Lily Dewey

The couple enjoyed 54 years of marriage until Lily died in 1983. George survived her by 15 years – dying in 1998 – not long after I began my research. I never met him, but his recollections were crucial to my early Moden research.

Wedding Wednesday – 1925

This week for Wedding Wednesday, I’ve gone back to 1925, to the wedding of my Great Grandparents Ernest Dewey and Susan Moden at Ely, Cambridgeshire.

This week’s Wedding Wednesday blog post, visits Ely in 1925, when my Great Grandparents were married.

After a nine year courtship, that reached back from November 1925, and into the First World War, Ernest Edward Thomas Dewey and Susan Jane Moden were wed at St Mary’s Church.

I’ve only stumbled across two photographs from this wedding, and neither of these show the bride or groom.

Here’s the first photograph – in very poor condition – showing their bridesmaids and the best man.

Bridesmaids Gladys (left) and Grace (right) with the mystery Best Man (centre).
Bridesmaids Gladys (left) and Grace (right) with the mystery Best Man (centre).

Their bridesmaids were Ernest’s cousin Gladys Anderson, and Susan’s younger sister Grace Violet Moden. Here is the other photograph, which has clearly been better looked after.

Gladys Anderson and Grace Moden in 1925
Gladys Anderson and Grace Moden in 1925

The best man is currently nameless, but a newspaper check should hopefully reveal his identity.

Ernest had many brothers, and Susan had just one. This man could easily be any one of those siblings (as was seemingly often done in this part of the family), or someone entirely different.

Bulldozing History – How the Eagle and Lamb became extinct

How The Eagle and The Lamb became extinct in Ely, Cambridgeshire, and how my ancestors survived it.

I get a sense of comfort or closeness in knowing that I am visiting somewhere where an ancestor once worked, lived, or even died. I don’t think I am alone in this, but it’s frustrating when you can’t see or visit the place they once knew.

It was five years ago since I first wrote about my publican ancestor, the uniquely named ‘Vine Cross’ (or Sabina Steadman Taylor as it turned out), on this blog.

Since then, my goal of seeing a photograph of her now demolished pub had drawn a blank and I aptly put it ‘on ice’. However, I recently received an email from a Robert Flood who had seen my request somewhere online, and had a photograph of the pub on file. This was Vine’s home and business. This was The Eagle and Lamb on Cambridge Road in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

The Eagle and Lamb, Cambridge Road, Ely
The Eagle and Lamb just before demolition in the 1980s.

You can be sure it’s the same site, going by the distinct chimneys of the house next-door, and that the pub site was also home to the Eagle brewery, part of which has been incorporated into one of the few houses that the newer development contains. The photo is sad, and I can probably understand why it was demolished in 1987/88. The pub closed in September 1932.

The modern day site gives little away – the lampost has seemingly moved a few feet, and perhaps some brick wall survives, but aside from this, there’s no other mark of this once being a place where many patrons enjoyed getting slightly (respectfully of course) sloshed, and where my Great Great Great Grandmother ‘Vine’ Cross and her husband George worked and lived, and for a while seemingly brought up their daughter’s Moden family.

Between George and Vine, the couple had the second longest landlord holding of the property (12 years). They were beaten only by Charles Scarr who held it from 1873 to 1889.

As for the wider history of the site, I turn to ‘Ely Inns’ by Patrick Ashton. As part of his book he has documented its past from the land purchase in 1848. He says:

.. on 7th April 1856, Richard Porter, freehold brewer, purchased the site for £700 and ran his business from there until he sold the premises to Morgan’s Brewery Co. Ltd on 24th June 1889 for £1250. Morgan’s closed the brewery part of the business in 1902 but used the site as a distribution depot until 11th May 1920 when Ely brewers A&B Hall purchased the premises for £5000.

My Great Great Great Grandfather George Cross was landlord from 1892 until his death in 1898, afterwhich he was succeeded by his wife ‘Vines Cross’, who then held it from 1899 to 1904.

In 1901 Sabina appears as ‘Vina Cross’, a 48 year old widow. Joining her at The Eagle and Lamb, are a ‘roadman’ Richard Ingrey (67yrs), and William Lemon (44yrs) a ‘railway platelayer’. In two rooms, it is listed that her 30 year old married daughter Mary Ann Moden, was living with there with her husband Edward and their three daughters (one being my Great Grandmother, Susan Jane Moden).

Calling time on pub life

Ten years later, she’s still on Cambridge Road, but living further along on the corner with Barton Road. She’s living alone, aged 58 years, and working as a shop keeper.

Vine Cross signature 1911

Sabina/Vine died in March 1916.

The shop was handed on to her daughter Mary Ann Moden who lived nearby, and the site remained as a shop until the 1980s (during which time I visited it once as a child, but was completely oblivious of my connection to it). It is now a private house.

What next for my Eagle and Lamb research

I hope to now find more records relating to George and ‘Vine’s time at The Eagle and Lamb, and also seek out an old photograph of Vine’s shop whilst it was under her ownership. It seems that there may be a trail of brewery documents to follow, but for now, it remains a mystery.

If you use Google to search for the Eagle and Lamb in Ely, Cambridgeshire, you pretty much only get search results for content that I’ve created. Surely there’s more information waiting to be discovered?

Surname Saturday: MODEN

Edward and Mary Ann Moden at home in Ely, Cambridgeshire

The surname of Moden appears twice in my ancestry and several other times through marriage.

My two ancestral occurrences are both on my maternal side, and even though they only live less than 10 miles apart (sometimes less), I’ve yet to find any link between the two branches.

Branch One: Coveney and Ely
The most recent ancestor of mine with this surname was my Great Grandmother Susan Jane Moden (1896-1981). She was one of seven children born in Ely to Edward Moden and his wife Mary Ann (née Cross) (pictured).

Edward was born in Coveney, Cambridgeshire, about 4 months after his father’s death (also an Edward Moden) in 1867. It was his mother’s later marriage to David Seymour that brought the Moden branch to Ely.

Edward’s (junior) wife Mary Ann owned and ran a shop on the corner of Cambridge Road and Barton Road until her death in the 1950s. The building remained a shop until the 1980s when it then changed in to the private house that it is today.

The earliest Moden ancestor that I can find is in Coveney in 1792, marrying Margaret Nicholas.

Branch Two: Haddenham and Wentworth
The other Moden family appear to live in Haddenham during the 1780s. Like the Coveney branch, the history before this point remains unknown and perhaps this is where the connection between the two branches occurs.

My earliest ancestor on this side is William Moden (1781-1839). He married Esther Whitehead and later to Elizabeth Howard.

During the 1830s, the family shift from Haddenham to Wentworth.

This branch intertwines with the Clements, Dewey and Boulter branches at Wentworth and like Branch One, includes several Dewey/Moden marriages.

The name has appeared in many different guises, which makes it a challenge to trace. I’ve seen it noted as: Moden, Morden, Moten, Modan, Moreden, Moodan, Mowdan and even Martin.

Climbing Up The Vines

Vine Elizabeth Moden (1893-1980)There are a few strange names in my family tree – Yarrow, Moden, Tingey, Gotrop, Babbage and many more but none are quite as strange as the female firstname of Vine.

My Great Grandmother’s older sister was born as Vine Elizabeth Moden in Ely in 1893. She married a Frederick Newell of Ely, where she remained until her death in 1980. She has always been referred to as ‘Aunt Viney’ – but it has often occurred to me as to what a strange first name that is.

Often, strange names like Vine, are simply a maiden name of a maternal ancestor re-used – and I’ve seen them occur as middle names but rarely the first name. I decided that I should try and find out where the name Vine came from.

The 1870 birth certificate of Mary Ann Cross (Vine and my Great Grandmother’s mother), gave me their parents – George Cross and Vine Taylor. This was backed up by the Census returns for 1871 onwards. “Vines” Cross was the landlord of The Eagle and Lamb pub on Cambridge Road in Ely during 1899-1904, preceded by her husband George from 1892 until his death in 1898. The pub has long since been demolished (although I’d love to see a photo of it).

Having seen the census returns and found the burial entry in 1916’s Ely Cemetery for Vine Cross (née Taylor), I decided to try and find her birth certificate. However, no ‘Vine Taylor’ was indexed as registered in Cambridgeshire and searches at FindMyPast, the IGI and brought me no closer with their wider UK searches.

With Vine Taylor having been born in the 1850s and married with a 1yr old Mary Ann Cross by 1871, 1861 was to provide the clue I needed that would link Vine Taylor to a Taylor family… but, ah.. the flood. The critical record I needed was the one that was destroyed by flooding years ago.


Stuck until a chance comment on (where I post most of my awkward puzzles that magically get solved in hours) when a forum member suggested I tried variants of ‘Vine’ – real big strange variants – and that brought up a ‘Sabina Taylor‘ – born in Ely at about the right date (1852). Quite how you can go from Sabina to Vine in 10 easy steps, I’m not sure.. but I gave it a go and ordered ‘Sabina Taylor’s’ birth certificate. I soon found that Sabina was the illegitimate daughter of Susan Taylor of Cutter’s Yard, Ely and that she also bore the middle name of Steadman.

‘Susan’ linked nicely in with my tree too – with my Gt Grandmother and her deceased infant Aunt also having this name.

With another name thrown into the midst, I started tracing Susan Taylor, to see if Steadman or Vine played a role in her family tree… in a bid to confirm that this Sabina was the right person in my tree and if so, to then find the Vine link. I found no trace of Vine there, having found myself in the mid 1700s.

After browsing through marriage records, I stumbled across the marriage of Sabina’s mother to a William Steadman in Ely, in 1856. This made me feel certain that the ‘Steadman’ appearing on Sabina’s birth certificate was right – confirmed by this, their eventual marriage.

Still, no mention of Vine though…

…until I started looking at William Steadman’s ancestry (afterall, at that point in my research, I was quite enjoying the potentially ‘surrogate’ family). I soon found a baptism for William Steadman’s younger sister, and there it was…… Vinecrow Steadman. She was baptised on 13th August 1836 but lived only the age of 1 year.

Again, expecting to find that the mother of this Steadman family once used the maiden name of ‘Vine’, I was proven wrong. In 1829, James Steadman married Elizabeth Murfitt in Ely… but at second glance, there it was again.

Witness to the marriage was a Vine Steadman! the trail continues…….