…Our Family Tree

Our family history research started with the family history of Alfred Culpin, my grandfather. His family had originated from Ailsworth and Castor in Northamptonshire and although he spent much of his adult life in Sheffield, he always spoke warmly of his time there with his parents and grandparents.

Deeping St. James Signal Box where Alfred’s father was signalman. The box is now dismantled but being preserved ready for re-erecting on a new site.

His father, George Culpin was born in Castor and had joined the Great Norther Railway working in various positions, until he became a signalman for the railway. He was posted to various stations in Lincolnshire finally ending up as the Signalman at Deeping St. James Station, a post he held for many years and the place where both Alfred grew up and his mother died. The loss of his mother Emma Sophia, on Christmas Day 1901, deeply affected him and Christmas was a time, even in his older years, that he found hard.

Alfred had always wanted to work on the railway like his father but as his father was already employed by the GNR, he was forced to leave the family home, in his mid teens, and travel north to find employment with another railway. Family members working on the GNR was discouraged at the time (or possibly even not allowed) and as a result he spent a few years living in lodgings and working as a farm labourer, until he could find employment with another railway company.

Alfred’s first station was Woodhouse, near Sheffield where he was a porter. He met his future wife, Gertrude Eccleston here. Image taken in 1960s. Copyright D. Boston

Eventually he found a post with the Great Central Railway and was transferred to Sheffield where he worked with that company and its successors until retirement.

Grange Lane Station. Alfred was made Head Signalman here on his return from World War One. Image taken 1960s. Copyright D.Boston

He worked at various stations within Sheffield including Woodhouse, where he started and Grange Lane. His later career was as a Guard based at Broughton Lane Goods Yard, in Attercliffe, Sheffield.

His grandfather Wright Culpin was born in Castor, Northamptonshire and worked on the Milton estate. A number of generations of Culpins lived in the village for many years.

One of the earliest Culpins to move there was Richard Culpin (born 1797 in Woodnewton, Northamtonshire) who had moved there in the early 1800s, again to work on the estate.

Woodnewton had been the home of this branch of Culpins for many generations, stretching back to the 1600s. The earliest member of the family to move there was probably Charles Culpin sometime about 1640. He was a landowner, copyholder and juror on the local court and was born in King’s Cliffe in the early 1600s. He was clearly quite financially successful, as were future generations. This properity continued until the late 1700s when the family fell on harder times. By then these generations were labourers, renting the very houses their ancestors had owned. By the time the last male Culpin, Richard, died in 1828, most of his children had left the village for employment elsewhere and the end of the families association with Woodnewton was drawing to a close.

Charles Culpin who had moved to Woodnewton in the 1600s had been born in Kings Cliffe a village nearby where the Culpin family had settled a few generations earlier.

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