Rare Birthing Corbel
Andrew Frooks Ellery (1832-1892)
Stonemason of Romsey Hampshire UK
This rare birthing corbel is firmly believed to have been sculpted by A F Ellery, who left his name engraved as graffitti on the corbel's left-hand side along with the date 1.6.85.(or perhaps 1865)
This corbel, situated on the north side of Romsey Abbey, is known as 'The birthing corbel' and thought to be a play on the name of the Rev Berthon who designed and had the adjacent window installed. (note the Sheena na gig above right of the window) The reverend was also a local inventor, engineer and businessman.
Andrew Frooks Ellery (1832-1892) was the son of Thomas Ellery (1797-1875 ) both were stonemasons who worked upon Romsey Abbey.
They moved into Bath House, at 91 & 93 Middlebridge Street Romsey in 1874, then set about sculpting various decorative faces, animals, capitals,and foliage to the facade and friezes around the doorways and windows, which not only advertised their trade, but also transformed the footprint and appearance of the two houses.
There is a fine stone window at the rear of the property which is rumoured to have come from Motisfont Abbey situated to the north of Romsey.
They moved their business from Middlebridge to 1, Station Road; and embellished the building with various stone carvings to display their craft. Records show that it operated there in 1875, but by 1895, according to a Romsey Directory, it had been sold to Stonemason John Grace.
Records also show that A. F. Ellery died in 1892 and is buried in Plot No. I 214 at Botley Road Cemetery. His wife Persia who died in 1893 lies with him.
Andrew Frooks Ellery’s son Alfred Squire Ellery died in infancy in 1864 and has an elaborately carved headstone in Plot. I 210.
Extract from Slater’s Causerie of Romsey written in 1952
Of Mr. Ellery who succeeded Marsh and Son I have written, and his building of Bath House. He also built, behind that house, Ebenezer Cottage from old remnants of stone. Later he moved to the first house in Station Road, where note the stone and carvings that he embellished it with.