Friday, 24 June 2011

Alexander Kerss 1758-1831 and Catherine Errington 1765-1844

Alexander Kerss was born in 1758 in the village of Coldstream, Berwickshire, on the Scottish side of the border between Scotland and England. He was the son of Robert Kerss, a cooper (barrel maker) and his wife Janet Wood.

Probably as a young man, Alexander moved 60 miles south to the town of Gateshead, Co Durham where he worked as a "sugar baker" - my guess is he was a baker who baked cakes as well as bread. When he was about 30 he married Catherine Errington.

Catherine was born in 1765 in Ravensworth, in the parish of Lamesley, close to Gateshead. She was the daughter of Robert Errington and Mary Barras.

Alexander and Catherine married at St Mary's Church, Gateshead on 6 January 1788. For the rest of their lives they lived in Gateshead, probably on Hillgate next to the river Tyne, where Alexander owned some land. Their family of 9 children were all born in Gateshead:

Robert 1788-1860
Mary 1790-??
John 1792-1852
Alexander 1794-1818
Thomas 1796-??
Samuel 1801-1802
Samuel 1803-??
William 1805-1874
Catherine 1808-??

The children were all baptised in local Presbyterian churches (generally known as  "Scotch churches"), initially Silver Street Presbyterian Church in Newcastle (the other side of the river Tyne from Gateshead), and later Half Moon Lane Chapel in Gateshead.

Alexander died at the age of 73 in 1831, and was buried at St Mary's Church. Catherine continued to live in Gateshead, until her death at home in Church Walk in 1844 at the age of 78. Alexander's will (here) stated that he owned two houses and a bakehouse (plus some land with a third house) on Hillgate and Church Walk. All the property was left to Catherine for her life, before then being divided between the surviving children.

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