Lenton Hall Cousins: A Tale of Two Sisters.

When John Coll (born ~1846) and Ann Cannon (born ~1847) from Much Woolton, Lancashire (now Woolton in Merseyside) tied the knot in 1870, little did they know that the family they would soon begin would ultimately link the invincible left-hand side of the 1988-89 Lenton Hall 2nd XI football team at the University of Nottingham.

By 1891, after 21 years of marriage, John (a Bricklayers Labourer) and Ann (a Charwoman) had 7 children living with them at their house on Quarry Street, in St Peter's parish of Much Woolton. The eldest boys, John Jnr (14) and Martin (13) were already contributing to the family income, via their respective jobs as General Labourer and Greengrocer. Two of their younger sisters, Catherine (10) and Maggie (4) were at school. These girls would unwittingly provide the definitive family link between Graham Jackson and Simon Fielding, who first met almost a hundred years later at Nottingham in the October of 1988 (only one of them was wearing a fez at the time). Both born in 1969, the former in Formby, Merseyside (his excuse for supporting Liverpool FC), but raised in the south of England, and the latter in Blackpool, Lancashire.

By 1901, the Coll family home at 9, Quarry Street, Much Woolton had, on census night, been swelled by the return of eldest son Patrick (now a single 30 year old, employed as a Bricklayers Labourer like his father). Margaret (adopting a more formal naming standard) was now 13, but her elder sister Catherine (20) was no longer living there. It would appear she now called herself Kate, and was living and working as a General Domestic servant with a young, married, and childless 'couple of means', Herbert (a Ship Broker) and Lily Page, in Formby.

Within 6 years, Catherine and Margaret would both be married and living in Fleetwood, Lancashire, the fishing port north of Blackpool. First, Katherine (another name variation or affectation) married a Frederick Jackson in the Fylde (possibly Fleetwood) in early 1905, and then Margaret married William Hartley Dunderdale, a Marine Engineer, in early 1907.

By 1911, Katherine Jackson had 3 children (Frederick Arthur (5), Ellen (3), and Olivia Kathleen (1)) and a servant (Annie Gertrude Burns, aged 25 from Chester) living with her at her 7 roomed house, 372 Walmsley Street, Fleetwood. Her husband, Fred, would appear to have been away on census night. Katherine, a Confectioner, had begun to enter Fred's name at the head of the household census return, but had crossed it out, and she did not describe herself as a widow. Meanwhile, the other sister, Margaret Dunderdale, was living with her husband, 3 children (Dorothy Muriel Ruth (3), Annie Eliza (2) and Ellen Cornall (1 month)) and a general domestic servant (Maude Stephanie Burns, aged 21 from Chester) at her 5 roomed house, 106 Radcliffe Road, Fleetwood.

So, the two Coll sisters would appear to have separately taken on two other sisters - the Burns from Chester - as their respective domestic help.

The little girl from Walmsley Street, Ellen Jackson, would later marry in late 1931 a chap by the name of William Henry Jackson. This marriage of two Jacksons would likely not have merited much attention in the very insular town of Fleetwood, and it resulted in the birth of a boy, Donald, in 1937. Donald married Diane Drew in Kent, early 1966, and they are Graham's parents.

William Hartley Dunderdale was the brother of a Richard Albert Dunderdale of Fleetwood. This Dick Dunderdale was the father of Richard William Dunderdale, Simon's maternal Grandfather, who drove the 18 year old Simon to Nottingham that fateful day in 1988.

And so we have it. Katherine Jackson (née Coll) is the Great Grandmother of Graham, and her sister Margaret Dunderdale (née Coll) is the Great Great Aunt of both Graham and Simon, albeit the latter only by marriage and not blood. However, somewhere out there may be the descendents of Margaret Dunderdale who share blood ties with both the left back and left winger in that old University football team.

All this came about from a chance email conversation in 2009 between the occasional neighbouring occupants of Industrial Economics lecture theatre seats in 1989/90, when the more industrious of these former Economics students mentioned his family's Fleetwood past and being brought up on tales of England's greatest ever footballer, Sir Stanley Matthews (in what turned out to be the inspiration for their respective son's names, Matthew Jackson and Stanley Fielding).

All this raises many questions, some more disturbing than others. But first, what took those Coll sisters to Fleetwood after 1901? And second, are there common ancestors out there, maybe even still in Fleetwood, but hopefully not still coupling with any Jackson they can find?

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