The Village with no M, N or O

By Judith Phillips


The 44 townships that Owen Scott originally contacted for roll of Honour information included several places south of the River Tees in North Yorkshire but in the Teesdale Poor Law Union.  There is a list of the townships on the project website – click on the link on the home page on  When the North East War memorials Project kindly gave us the details of their holdings for Teesdale, this did not include places south of the Tees.  So we are gradually collecting information from war memorials and from families about people from these places who were involved in the First World War.  We’d love to hear from you if you have information about people from these places or would be interested in helping us look for them.

There is a beautiful hand-written Roll of Honour book in Cotherstone parish church and we are very grateful to have been given a digital copy.  The book lists men who died in the war on a page that is bordered with in red and then lists the men who served and survived on six pages with a green border.  When I came to look at the names more closely, I was surprised to see that there are no names between Lynd and Parkinson in the list of those who had served but not died.  I thought, perhaps, a page had been missed out in our copy but, when I had it checked, that’s what is in the original book.  I was then intrigued to discover that there are no names between Howard and Parkin in the list of those who died.

So, Cotherstone in the early 20th century might not have had any families – or, at least, any families with men of an age to serve – with surnames beginning with M, N or O.  That’s quite surprising, given that M in particular usually produces several entries in most lists of surnames.  We’ll be keeping an eye open for these elusive surnames as we check the 1911 census returns, parish registers, school records, absent voters list and any other records we find for Cotherstone.