Thomas Lord was born on 4th April 1826, in the Sunderland area, where his father, George Lord (1799-1862), was parish clerk and registrar of births, marriages and deaths for many years. He was the second child of seven of George Lord, and grandson of Corporal John Lord of the Royal Artillery. Thomas Lord was trained at St Bees, Cumbria, and ordained deacon in 1851 and priest in 1852. He was curate and vicar of Rainton in Durham from 1852 to 1862 and vicar of Howden Pans, Wallsend, from 1862 to 1868.
Thomas Lord then moved to be vicar of Escomb, where he remained for 30 years, dying in office in 1897. In 1868 Escomb and Witton Park were one parish. During his incumbency, the congregation for the newly built top church in Escomb (built 1863) was established, Witton Park church, St. Paul’s, was built and two separate parishes formed in 1877. Thomas Lord contributed £50 to St Paul’s church building fund, a considerable sum in the 1870s. He recognised the antiquity and importance of Escomb Saxon Church, along with the Reverend Hoopell from Byers Green, and raised funds for its restoration in 1880.
In 1860 Thomas Ebenezer Lord was married to Catherine Jackson Bowness, born about 1834 in Chester-le-Street and the daughter of the Revd. George Bowness, who was vicar of Chester-le-Street for many years. Catherine Lord’s mother, Margaret, appears to have been George’s second wife and much younger than himself. There is a grave to a ‘Catherine Bowness, wife of the Revd George Bowness’, (his first wife?) in the churchyard at St. Helen’s Auckland. She was buried there in 1817 at the age of 44.
The widowed Margaret Bowness lived in Escomb vicarage, where she probably looked after her grandchildren after the death of their mother in 1871. Margaret died in Escomb in1888 at the age of 88. Thomas and Catherine Lord had seven children and the family suffered many tragedies. His children:-
Margaret Bowness Lord was born in 1861 in Rainton and died in Escomb vicarage in 1895 of cardiac disease at the age of 34 and two years before her father. She was unmarried.
John Foster Lord was born in May 1862, but died after 6 hours.
George Bowness Lord was born in 1864 in Wallsend. He went to Durham Bellasis boarding school with his brother John. He became a dispenser but in the 1901 census he was in the Sunderland workhouse where he died in the infirmary there in 1904, aged 40. On his death certificate the cause of death is reported as, “General paralysis, 3 years.”
Catherine Foster Lord was born in 1865 in Wallsend. She died in December 1901, aged 36 years and four years after her father. She was also unmarried. She spent her final few years living in Sunderland with her married sister, Georgina.
John Edward Lord was born in 1866 in Wallsend. He was lost at sea in the ship ‘Shannon’ on its way from London to Calcutta in 1885. He was aged 19.
Georgina Sarah Lord was born in 1869 in Escomb. She married at age twenty and lived in Sunderland, where her first husband died in 1904. She married David Reah shortly afterward but died of scarlet fever in 1916, aged 47, leaving two young children, Catherine Isabella, 7 years, and William, 3 years. Her death certificate gives ‘cerebral haemorrhage’ as the cause of death.
Thomas Escombe Lord was born in 1870 in Escomb. He married a local girl, Elizabeth, from Etherley and moved to Sunderland, a mile from his married sister Georgina. In the 1901 census he was living in Roker, Sunderland, with his wife and 1 year old son, John Escomb. His occupation is given as Seaman,merchant service on his death certificate in 1939.
Catherine Jackson Lord, the Reverend Thomas Lord’s wife, died in July 1871 in Escomb. She was aged 37. Her youngest child, Thomas, was born a year previously. It appears she and two of her daughters had heart conditions. One is supposed to have died in church. Her death certificate gives as cause of death, “Disease of the heart. Died suddenly. No medical attendant.”
Thomas Ebenezer Lord died in Escomb on 4th August 1897, aged 73. The cause of death was ‘senile decay’ (old age). In his will he left £5 to his son Thomas and the remainder of his estate in trust for his two surviving daughters, Catherine and Georgina. The family grave in Escomb top churchyard records the interment of Thomas Lord and his four oldest children Margaret, George, John and Catherine. There is no mention of Catherine Lord, Thomas’ wife who died in 1871.
Below is a photograph believed to be of some of the Lord family taken in Escomb. The two girls are probably Catherine and Georgina Lord and the young man Thomas Escombe Lord. The older woman is definitely Thomas Ebenezer Lord’s sister, Elizabeth.
Written by Gill Beddow