Just saying(s)

A recent discussion started me thinking about all the sayings, words, phrases and even rhymes that I know because they were uttered by my ancestors, some I use myself, others I am simply aware of, but I feel the need to share them with my family or anyone interested in words and the people who spoke them.

Great Grandmother Mary

Half in jest and wholly in earnest – I never met my Scottish Great Grandmother, but whenever my father or his mother coined this phrase they always paid homage to her. I use it infrequently but often think it, as it is apt on many occasions.

You took the luck through the house – more of a superstition really but you were reprimanded with this phrase if you entered via the front door and exited through the back (and presumably vice versa), I’m sure it just caused a draught.

Great Grandmother Nellie

Well you’re the little brown hen who never laid astray – said to anyone who is being a bit smug or pointing out their own virtues usually in comparison to someone else. I like it because it tells a whole story in my imagination and sometimes puzzles people.

Grandmother Hannah

I love the funny sayings and words that she came up with, here are the few that spring readily to mind.

Full up for Doncaster – when you’d had enough to eat, not sure if she made this expression up, was it something they shouted on the train? However she would always say about herself when she had eaten enough, “I’ve had sufficient” which makes no sense when you think about it.

Bobby Dazzler – all dressed up/new and shiny.

Christmas box – not a present

Starved – meaning cold, not hungry

He was in his eyeholes – very excited about something, I confused my school teacher by putting this in a history topic about the Vikings, “the Vikings were at their eyeholes when they saw fancy armour” all the more confusing for the poor teacher as the Vikings called their windows eyeholes.

Tearing your soul case out – doing something physically exhausting that wrecks your body (the case for your soul) I do use this one, particularly in reference to moving large pieces of furniture.

Nowt so funny as folk – well there isn’t is there?

In and out like a dog at a fair – probably taking the luck from the house at the same time.

Black as ‘ummer – filthy dirty, my mother said it should be hummer another word for hell, but I can find no reference to this maybe someone can enlighten me. I also don’t know how it should be spelt.

It needs bottoming – a house that needed cleaning.

It needs a good fettle – an object that needed cleaning.

It’s two O’Clock and not a pot washed – we aren’t getting much done today

This won’t get the baby a new bonnet – I’d better get going

My father

It’s black over Bill’s mother’s – when there is an ominous cloud on the horizon, I use this occasionally, my husband has finally stopped asking “who is Bill?”

Better than a slap on the belly with a wet fish – well aren’t most things? I love this one and say it whenever I get the chance. I was surprised to hear it said on Neighbours!

My mother

Was fascinated by the expressions but more in telling me about them rather than using them, two that spring to mind are:

Gormyruckles – a bilious attack, do I need to explain bilious?

All hot and floury – in reference to a meal being served.

Grandmother Winnie

She was very amused by a family friend saying that someone “doesn’t go to church, but he goes to all the dog hangings”.

She loved words and sayings, I remember her version of “This little piggy went to market” had the line “This little piggy had sugar and bread” rather than roast beef, perhaps the vegetarian version.

She also recited this alternative version of Mary had a little lamb.

Mary had a little lamb

His fleece was black as soot

And into Mary’s bread and jam

His sooty foot he put.

Great Aunt Lena

It’s very dirty underfoot – good put down if anyone asked her “is it cold up there?” She was a tall woman.

That’s all that comes to mind for now, I’ll add more as they occur to me, I’d love to know if you use any of them too or have any idea about their origins.


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Aunty Clemmy

I’ll start with the words of my mother.

Clementine (Clemmie) was the third daughter and was very loving and close to Jane and her family. Clemmie married Caleb Butterfield – what a character!

Can’t describe Clemmie – only what Hannah my mother told me, she was very smart and with a nice figure. Mum said she wore high-neck blouses with a cameo brooch. Hannah adored her Auntie Clemmie and admired her, Nellie, Clemmie’s daughter was Hannah’s pal).

Clemmie died with some blood complaint only in her forties and left everyone heart broken. She left a husband, a son and daughter.

The son was Percy and was in the army. He was an organist and played at the church (Methodist). He married another Nellie but had no family. This Nellie certainly paid a visit to Clowne. 

She had a very turned up nose, her husband said “Nellie’s nose is like a walking stick!” (She was a very nice friendly person). Percy died quite young.

Nellie (Sarah Ellen) Butterfield – Clemmie’s daughter married Harry Green and had Stanley and Geoffrey.

My mother had no memory of her Great Aunt Clemmy though, but she would have heard a lot about her as she was much loved by the family. We do have some photographic evidence.

Clemmy centre with friends from the Methodist Church, what splendid hats!
Clemmy with husband Caleb, son Percy and daughter Sarah Ellen (Nelly)

I am amazed to have discovered that Clemmy was not baptised Clementine but Clemmy with a Y, although she appears to have spelt her name with an ie, but who are we to worry, at least she could write her name unlike her poor sister Harriet. This letter was found in the family bible, it is from Clemmy to her parents, she was in hospital in Leeds.


My Dear Mother and Father

just a line or two to let you know I am going on allright I have begun to eat a bit now they are giving me meat dinners I have had a bit of Rabbit 2 days and it tasted very nice I think I shall be another week

before I get home but I am not going to worry no more than I can help as I had got tired of being like I was for 4 or 5 years nobody but myself know how I have done and then it has been a struggle but I hope it is God will I shall be stronger after this. Caleb and our Ginnie have been today its very nice to see them. The doctor has been wanting me to go to the convalescent home to day but I don’t know what I shall do yet excuse writing but my arm aches so bad. Best love Good night and God Bless you from your loving daughter Clemmie xxxx xxxx

Not sure how the letter got delivered, as this is written on the envelope.

I’ve looked the poem up and it seems to be a little rhyme people put in autograph books, the words vary a bit from one place to another!

Think of me in the hour of leisure

Remember me in the hour of pleasure

If I’m forgot in the hour of care

Remember me in the hour of prayer

Clemmy died aged 40, the family were distraught, my Grandmother cried for two days.

Two Clemmy memories that have been passed down, Clemmy ran a shop, (this isn’t apparent in the censuses but in 1901 the family are living with Clemmy’s mother-in-law Hannah Butterfield who is described as a Grocer/Shopkeeper of her own account, I presume that is where Clemmy worked.

One day a customer commented on how clean the shop was and asked if Clemmy used anything special to clean it with.

Elbow grease, was the reply, you can get it at Idle’s” and the customer went off apparently in search of this amazing product. As a child I thought the Idle’s part was made up too, implying that the customer was too idle to use elbow grease, but apparently it was a shop in Featherstone or nearby – perhaps someone can enlighten me further? I feel quite sorry for the poor customer.

Another day a gypsy woman left a tablecloth behind in lieu of payment for the goods she has bought, with the promise that she would come back and pay and retrieve the cloth. The gypsy never returned, and the cloth was passed through the family (probably went to my Great Grandmother because she had the largest table) and I still use it on special occasions. It is beautiful, with pictures of teapots and cups and saucers depicted in the “lacy” edging. I think it is tatting.

The “gypsy never returned” cloth

As for documentary evidence about Clemmy, well according to the censuses she was born in Woolley, Yorkshire although in later censuses she describes it as Woolley Colliery. In the 1891 census she is a servant for the Iredale family in Huddersfield. The other censuses find her living with her parents or with her husband and family. In the 1911 census she has a servant named Mary Ann Davies, this seems to have been the way of things, going out and working in service while young and strong, but equally employing a servant if you could afford to.

I was told Clemmy died from pernicious anaemia which is a lack of vitamin B12 which would be curable today, I also heard that she haemorrhaged to death so I’m not sure what to believe, she does sound weak in her letter home, clearly putting a brave face on things, she died in 1917 leaving behind a very sad family.

Her branch of the family remained close to mine and she now has descendants in Italy and France, they too have run shops, hotels and small businesses with the same creative flair.


Posted by on February 26, 2021 in Uncategorized


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I never remember Seth being called Uncle Seth, so I will just refer to him by his name. He was in fact Seth Shaw Townend and the youngest child in a family of sisters, but would have had a male friend to play with in nephew Wilf who was just a year younger.

Here is my mother’s memory of an ancestor she never met:

Seth in uniform

Seth was the youngest child of the family, married Louisa; he was killed in the 1914-18 war. Louisa was very pretty and a good mother to Renie and (I think) two boys, one boy was called Sonny. A small party of them came to Clowne one day. (I remember Louisa and Renie). My mother and Nellie were fond of Renie – their cousin. They lived at Featherstone. I believe Renie and brothers had children – not sure!

Of course, she was right. I have been in touch with one of Seth’s grandsons and all three children had families, Seth has a collection of descendants.

Seth’s life was short, he was born in 1885 in Featherstone and died in April 1917 in Flanders, he had attained the rank of Sergeant in the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment 10th battalion, he was killed in action aged just 32.

Seth was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In the 1891 census Seth is described as a scholar and is living with his parents Sam and Hannah, sister Jane, nephew Wilf and a couple of coal-miner lodgers, Amos Horne and Jos Haigh. By the next census his mother Hannah is widowed and the house holds Seth and Wilfred who are now both working as “Colliery pony driver – below ground”. Lodger Joseph Haigh is still living with the family.

It looks like Seth and Wilfred had a double wedding, they married Louisa Hill and Mary Ann Littlewood respectively, at the Parish Church Purston cum Jaglin on Christmas Day 1907.

The 1911 census finds Seth living with wife Louisa and one year old baby daughter Irene, his occupation is now a miner-hewer, boarding with them is Louisa’s brother George. If there was a spare room in a house it was filled with a lodger!

Seth appears on the 1913 electoral register, his name appears next to that of Wilfred.

Seth’s children, Renee, Sunny and Jim with their mother Louisa

Seth and Louisa had two further children:

George (known as Sonny) born in 1912.

James born 1914.

I have learnt from the family that Seth’s best friend was Dick Copeland and that they signed up together. Dick survived the war and went on to marry Louisa Seth’s widow.

Seth’s grave is at Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

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Posted by on February 26, 2021 in Uncategorized


Aunty Lizzie

Lizzie with a neighbour, Mum said that Lizzie’s neighbours were called Senior, I don’t know if this smiling lady is one of them

In Mollie’s words.

Auntie Lizzie was more of the 30s than her sister Harriet.

Dressed in “older person’s ” ’30s. Calf length dress, smart but comfortable. She had a nice house where we slept. There was always “comings and goings” between the sisters’ houses.

Auntie Lizzie, I now remember had a lodger – Sydney Nailor. He got married to a Ruth and the couple visited Clowne by car. Sydney was good looking and smart and popular.

How right she was, down to the spelling of Sydney if not Naylor.

I hope Sydney kept Lizzie good company during her final days. This electoral register for 1937 is probably out of date as Lizzie died in the January of that year. I can find no record of a Sydney Naylor marrying a Ruth, there is one married to a Rebecca, maybe that is them, or maybe Ruth was just a girlfriend.

So what else can be found about Lizzie?

Elizabeth Townend was born in October 1871 registration district Wakefield, according to the censuses in Crigglestone. Narrowly escaping the 1871 census she can be first found in 1881 with her parents and younger sister Clemmy, aged 9 she is a scholar.

In 1881 now 19, she is working as a domestic servant for a manufacturing chemist in Linthwaite, going into service like many of the females in her family.

In 1894 she married William Oldroyd, this was another surprise as we thought she was a Holroyd, a case of adding an H rather than dropping one., but William’s records are consistently Oldroyd. William is described as a navvy in 1901 but as a Blacksmith by the 1911 census, the couple had no children and William died in 1931.

Lizzie left just over £400 when she died, appointing sister Harriet as the administrator.

And now for Clemmy.

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Posted by on February 21, 2021 in Uncategorized


Aunty Harriet

I remember being told that Harriet was like someone from a different era to her younger sister Jane, my Great Grandmother, but there was an age gap of 17 years between them, so in a way they were.

I remember a shrivened old lady of the Victorian age, but living in the 30s in England, quite slim.

She spent no money on herself but bought her daughter a car (Ford 8) whose fiancé drove! (Jack Booth).

She and Clemmie ran a fruit and veg shop near where they lived and seemed to help finances and her husband Fred Spivey worked in carpets locally.

Harriet wore black full length (bombazine) high neck, beads stitched for decoration. Hair silver, centre parting, tight bun. Black kid boots (ankle) can’t remember her hands).

One felt that she was kind to all.

Illegitimate son – Wilf brought up like a brother to younger sisters.

Despite this age gap, Harriet’s daughter Clemmie was eight years younger than my Grandmother, born when Harriet was 45. I’m not too sure about the “kind to all”, she was a tough mother to Clemmie and threatened to lock her in the cellar when she misbehaved, whether she would actually have done this I have no idea. She also pestered Clemmie about wearing her bonnet to the extent that sister Jane would jump in and defend her niece. This element to the story was told to be not by my mother but by my Grandmother Hannah, usually when I climbed into bed with her early in the morning before my parents woke up.

I also understood that when her mother died Harriet objected to her son Wilf benefiting from her estate, from what I remember from listening in on grandmother Hannah and her cousin Nellie’s conversations, the solicitor sorted everything out so that everyone got their due.

Robert Fred Spivey, “Uncle Fred” did indeed work in carpets but weaving them, not fitting them as I had naively imagined. Uncle Fred still visited the family after Harriet’s death, taking Grandfather James Walker out for a drink with another widower brother in law Caleb Butterfield.

Harriet was born in November 1865, two months after her parents Hannah Shaw and Samuel Townend’s marriage (not sure what to make of this). She was baptised at Scissett, St Augustine’s in July the following year. She next appears on the 1871 census aged 5 and living in Crigglestone, she is living with her parents, described as a scholar, her birthplace is given as Cumberworth.

By the 1881 census Harriet has left home and is in service in Pontefract working for a young grocer John White and his family.

In 1886 Harriet gave birth to a son, he was brought up by his grandparents fitting in neatly at one year younger than their youngest child. It seems clear that she had no more to do with him than as an Aunt and seemingly a distant one. Her reluctance for her son to receive his rightful inheritance implies she resented him in some way, we can only speculate on the reason for this.

By the 1891 census Harriet was back in service, again working for a grocer but a much older one (aged 60), maybe she was learning the trade because by the 1901 census her life has taken a surprising turn that my branch of the family knew nothing of. It was thanks to another family researcher that this discovery was made.

In 1895 Harriet had married a Herbert Gomersal, a fishmonger. Not only was I surprised by this marriage I was also shocked by Harriet’s lack of signature on the marriage document. Could she really not write her name? What did she learn as a scholar aged 5?

Herbert Gomersal died around October 1900, he would have been 30, so Harriet was widowed after just five years of marriage and aged just 34. The following year in the 1901 census Harriet can be found living with her mother-in-law Emma Gomersal. The interesting part is Harriet’s occupation, she is a fish and fruit dealer, maybe taking over her husband’s business and adding some skills she picked up working for the grocer? Clearly she could do addition and subtraction even if writing evaded her.

Harriet didn’t hang around, Herbert Gomersal died around October 1900 and Harriet married Fred Spivey in the October quarter of 1902, he was eight years her junior.

Daughter Clemmie (not Clementine) was born to the couple in 1907 when Harriet was 41. Harriet died in 1938 just short of being recorded on the 1939 census and narrowly missing WWII.

Sadly I don’t have a photograph of Harriet.

Mollie would go with my aunt, her sister Joan, for a “holiday” in Featherstone, Clemmie gave them a lovely time, taking them to Leeds to the big store Schofields where they would go up the escalator and down the lifts and have tea and cakes while watching the mannequins parade in the latest fashions.

Mollie would be kitted out in her best clothes if not the latest fashions for these trips to Yorkshire. The local children would shout after her, “swanky cat, swanky cat”, she remembered that some of the children were playing barefoot, something she never encountered in Clowne, the mining town in Derbyshire where she grew up.

Mollie would stay at Harriet’s house and would share a bed with Clemmie. The house was one up, one down (large rooms apparently) and Clemmie slept in an alcove off the main room downstairs and Mollie would sleep in the same room as Harriet and Fred with just a curtain to separate them. They had a lovely time with Clemmie and were extremely well fed. There wasn’t room for sister Joan at Harriet’s house, so she would stay up the road with Aunty Lizzie… This is a postcard sent from Aunty Lizzie’s house to Mollie’s friend Jeanne, apparently they visited Golden Acre Park as well.

Jeanne’s son gave us the card back after she died, she had kept it for around 80 years.

More about Aunty Lizzie to follow.

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Posted by on February 21, 2021 in Uncategorized


The Townend siblings

Many people regret not talking to their parents or grandparents about their family history. I can honestly say that I have always been interested in family stories but many of them were living on in my own head and needed putting down on “paper” so I asked my mother, Mollie, to write down her memories of her relations, particularly the ones who died before I was born.

Inevitably her jottings weren’t quite what I expected, but in a way that’s a good thing too, in some ways I think her perspective changed over the years, also she clearly didn’t understand that I could find out dates etc. quite easily and just wanted the soft part of their stories.

This is what she had to say about her Grandmother’s siblings and niblings! I’ll add my own comments and things I’ve found through research.

Aunty Harriet

Aunty Lizzie

Aunty Clemmy

Great Grandma Jane


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Posted by on February 20, 2021 in Uncategorized


Anthony Eaton – spurious gentleman

I first found out about Anthony Eaton’s existence when I broke the brick wall presented by my GGG Grandmother Jemima Eaton. I had posted on Rootschat about trying to find her parents and sometime later got this response from (as it turned out) a fourth cousin.

My GGG Grandfather is Anthony Eaton who married Ann Capewell in 1816. Anthony’s siblings were Harriot, Jemima, Daniel and John Podmore Eaton. Their mother was Elizabeth who was born a Halden, to William & Mary (nee Sargent)* in 1774 in Milwich. She married my GGGG Grandfather (also called Anthony) in Brent Pelham in 1790. After they married they moved back to Shoreditch and then onto Bonsall in Derbyshire where the children were all born. Anthony senior died in 1802 (he’s buried with his parents in Darley churchyard). Elizabeth moved back to Milwich after his death and married sometime after Roger [Richard] Halden, a cousin. Jemima then married Edward Halden, a cousin of hers and her mother’s! Jemima and Daniel (who was a butcher and moved to Longton) were witnesses to Anthony junior and Ann Capewell’s wedding, and enabled me to make the link to Derbyshire.

* Elizabeth Halden married to Anthony Eaton was actually the daughter of Elizabeth Podmore and John Halden, I discovered this through the will of John Podmore, brother to the above Elizabeth who explains the relationship between Elizabeth Halden and her parents. Also explains the naming of John Podmore Eaton.

I then started to try and find out more about Anthony Eaton and soon came across Ince’s pedigrees. Number 13 on the diagram below is Anthony Eaton, 14, is his first wife Ann Noble, 15, is his second wife Elizabeth Halden (although she isn’t named, maybe the original document is illegible).

These are the details given about Anthony and his wives.

So according to the pedigrees (which though old may not necessarily be correct) Anthony was a Gentleman and a Yeoman of the Guard, as was his first father in law. He is from the Study House Bonsall and died aged 56 years and is buried at Darley in 1812.

A baptism can be found in 1745 in Stoney Middleton for Anthony Eaton son of John Eaton and Ann, however this is a little strange as all his siblings were baptized at Darley. I have since heard that he was in fact baptized at both Stoney Middleton and Darley on the same day, it was suggested that Anthony’s father John was chief barmaster for the Duke of Devonshire and may have been trying to impress him.

This document (or transcription of) shows that Anthony Eaton was a Yeoman of the Guard for the English Royal household, and may have attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, or Lance Corporal (the record refers to LC). It would explain why he thought he could term himself a Gentleman. The record (which is an index of officers), and seems to refer to a pension he received between 15 October 1771 to 5th January 1802, the time of his death.

Records do show his first marriage to Ann Noble in 1768 at St George, Hanover Square, London, they married by licence and were both single, no profession is given. Their witnesses were the alliteratively named Mary Mutch and Mary Masters, I wonder who they were.

Their children were:

Elizabeth Eaton born 1769, baptised at St George, Hanover Square.

John Eaton born 1771 he died the same year, baptised at St George, Hanover Square.

Ann Eaton 1774 baptised at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, this record gives a parents’ address as New Road.

Mary Eaton 1776 baptised at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, gives parents’ address as New Road.

Catherine Eaton 1779 baptised at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, gives parents’ address as New Road.

James Noble Eaton 1783 baptised at St Luke’s Finsbury, no address but Anthony is described as a victualler. Sadly James Noble Eaton died in 1785 he was buried back at St Leonard’s Shoreditch.

George James Eaton 1785 baptised at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, gives parents’ address as “the road side”, this transpires not to be a sign that the family had become homeless or travellers but is their actual address, as shown on this land tax record for St Leonard Shoreditch 1780.

It does seem that Anthony Eaton ran into some difficult times as revealed by a couple of articles in the London Gazette. In one from 1787 he is described as a stone mason, another career change, quite when or how he acquired this skill I have yet to discover. It is definitely him as it cites the will of his father-in-law James Noble.

James Noble died in 1786 leaving money in his will for Anthony Eaton to pay off his (Anthony Eaton’s) debts.

Anthony Eaton and James Noble’s names appear again in the Gazette in 1791 by this year he had reverted or risen to being described as a Gentleman. It seems that James Noble owed money as well.

James Noble’s actual will makes much mention of Anthony Eaton, there is this telling paragraph, transcribed as best as I can.

I Give and bequeath to John Mackell of Park Lane in the Parish of Saint George Hanover Square ?? ? of Chelsea in the County of Middlesex Gentleman and my daughter Ann Eaton the Wife of Anthony Eaton or to the survivors or survivor of them upon trust in the first place to pay off and discharge all the debts that shall be justly due and owing by my said son in law Anthony Eaton to any person or persons ?? [whobocoil] at the time of my decease

Will of James Noble 1876 – PROB 11: Will Registers
Piece 1141: Norfolk, Quire Numbers 209-261 (1786)

In short it seems that in his will James Noble was trying to ensure that his son-in-law’s debts were paid off and that his daughter and her children were provided for.

There is an enormous document at the National Archives, where, from what I can make out, the beneficiaries of James Noble’s will, including Anthony Eaton and his children by Ann Eaton and their spouses have some sort of dispute with a James Bolger.

The document was so large that I felt my time could be better spent on other research, but it does leave a question as to what Anthony Eaton’s financial position actually was and perhaps shows that he was close to his children as they bonded together over this dispute.

Description:[W1800 B11].Short title: Bolger v Wilson.Document type: bill and five answers.Plaintiffs: James Bolger and wife.Defendant: John Mackell, John Ford, George Wilson and wife, Adam Wolley and ann Wolley his wife, Mary Eaton, Catherine Eaton, George Eaton, James Eaton and Anthony Eaton.XP
Note:Suit titles taken from OBS 1/653; data on parties taken from IND 1/4156 fo 53
The enormous document – one day maybe…

Ann (Noble) Eaton, Anthony’s wife died in London in 1790, she is buried at St George Hanover Square, maybe with her father James.

It isn’t long before we hear of Anthony Eaton again, this time it is his second marriage to my 4 x Great Grandmother Elizabeth Halden. The marriage took place at Brent Pelham, Hertfordshire where Elizabeth’s parents lived. He is described as Anthony Eaton, Gentleman. I have no idea how their paths would have crossed. The Halden family also had connections with Milwich in Staffordshire while the Eatons were from an adjoining county, Derbyshire, maybe the connection is there somewhere. Anthony would have been looking for a mother for his children, George James was only five when his mother died.

Brent Pelham Church – from Genealogy in Herefordshire

He didn’t waste any time, first wife Ann Noble was buried 22nd November 1790, the marriage to Elizabeth Halden took place on 3rd March 1791. The birth of Anthony and Elizabeth’s first child Harriet took place a respectable 12 months later. You may raise an eyebrow at their age differences, Elizabeth was born around 1774 (according to the 1841 census) so could be only 17 at the time of the marriage, whereas Anthony was baptised in 1745 so was about 30 years older than Elizabeth.

The marriage document shows us little new other than that Anthony was still residing in Shoreditch and that Elizabeth couldn’t write her name, dispelling my theory that maybe she had been governess to Anthony’s first family.

Anthony lived another 12 years, dying in 1802 (not 1812 as the Ince pedigree transcription implies). He kept himself (or Elizabeth) busy!

As stated Harriet was baptised in 1792, followed by my direct ancestor Jemima in around 1793, Anthony in 1795, Daniel in 1796 and John Podmore in 1798. Sadly John Podmore died the same year as his birth but the other children all survived and had offspring, several of whom I have been in contact with.

It is a bit of a mystery as to where Anthony Eaton lived in Derbyshire during these last years of his life. Records of the marriage of his daughter Ann record him as being “of Bonsall”.

This record of the marriage of his granddaughter Ann Wolley to Charles Clarke, magistrate, describes him as of The Study, Bonsall aligning with the Ince’s pedigree mentioned earlier.

However, the Study House, Bonsall was a large house apparently owned by the Flint family.

Thanks to Stuart Flint for explaining this on the Wirksworth Parish Records website.

It seems unlikely that Anthony Eaton owned the property, maybe he just lived in that general area. But this document may explain Anthony Eaton’s connection with The Study, it seems he was renting land or property from Henry Flint. It is a land tax redemption record for Bonsall properties in 1798. Note that Henry Flint and two other men (and their families?) are residing at the property.

Marriage details of daughter Harriott describe Anthony Eaton as “Anthony Eaton, Esq., of Snitterton Hall, yet another prestigious sounding address.

I have been told that John Eaton Anthony’s father baptised 1702 – buried 1777 was from Bonsall but was taken under the wing of a benefactor who lived at Snitterton Hall, and so moved there.

It’s unlikely that Anthony Eaton owned the hall, but given the above information maybe he rented a property there and farmed some of the land. The following extract from The History of Chesterfield by George Hall implies this could be true:

By 1794 this newspaper article shows him to be involved in community matters as a member of the Association of the inhabitants of the parishes of Ashover, Bonsall, Darley and Matlock, for the prosecution of FELONS, etc.

Other names included in this association and listed below are the aforementioned Henry Flint, Edmund Eaton (probably Anthony’s brother) George Wolley and Adam Wolleys senior and junior, Adam Wolley junior would have been Anthony Eaton’s son-in-law for about a year at this stage.

I’m not sure how well Anthony Eaton’s involvement in local affairs and was received. I am told by another descendant that the minutes of the Bonsall Parish Council describe him as a “spurious gentleman”.

Gentleman, genuine or not Anthony Eaton moved among some of the important families in the area and whether by accident or design, several of his daughters “married well” and his son George James Noble took articles with Adam Noble junior, son-in-law to Anthony and brother-in-law to James. This was arranged just six months before Anthony’s death, maybe ensuring his son would be taken under Wolley’s wing. George James did become a solicitor but not a particularly successful one, declaring himself our of business in 1835.

A year later Anthony Eaton wrote his will and also died. It is a fairly straight forward will compared to others that he is mentioned in. He appoints son-in-law Adam Wolley and brother Edmund Eaton as executors and leaves his “personal estate and effects” to his “dear Wife Elizabeth Eaton and the Children I now have by her or hereafter may have by her”. Maybe by this stage he thought that his children by Ann Noble could take care of themselves.

So what became of his children that survived to adulthood?

From his marriage to Ann Noble.

Eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married George Wilson they had at least two children and many of their descendants were in the spectacle making industry. I was pretty sure that George Wilson was a jeweller but I can find no record of that now.

Next daughter, Ann Eaton, married the aforesaid Adam Wolley junior, attorney at law, genealogist and keeper of the Wolley manuscripts; they had two daughters Mary and Ann, Mary married Reverend John Francis Thomas Hurt a descendant of Richard Arkwright who changed his surname to Wolley to prevent the name dying out. Descendants included a schoolmaster at Eton, a bacteriologist, and an ornithologist. Ann married Charles Clarke, magistrate, the couple had no children but if the censuses are anything to go by, entertained many relatives and employed a range of servants.

Daughter Mary remained single.

Daughter Catherine married the Reverend George Sanders, Rector of Wollaton, they had five children and some impressive descendants including a surgeon and a lunacy commissioner.

Son George James became a solicitor, he may have married the Widow Flint (according to the Ince pedigree) but the British Newspaper Archive also shows him as Step Grandfather to an Eliza Faulder who married in Sydney, Australia in the 1860s, so was the widow Faulder in fact widow Flint?

His son went on to be a fairly successful fishing tackle manufacturers in the Derbyshire area, but had a couple of brushes with the law.

Then from Anthony Eaton’s second marriage to Elizabeth Halden

Daughter, Harriott, married John Thompson a wood engraver who designed the figure of Britannia printed on British bank notes. Their daughters and one son were also engravers, one son was a well known photographer, another was director at South Kensington Museum, daughter Isabel Agnes Cowper took over as photographer at the museum after the death of her brother Charles Thurston Thompson. Isabel has her own Instagram account! @isabelagnescowper

Photograph by Isabel Agnes Cowper, ‘Hatfield House’, albumen print, 1868 from a collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The youngest three surviving children moved to Staffordshire probably with their mother Elizabeth who after Anthony’s death married her double cousin Richard Halden, a butcher in Milwich.

Then came Jemima Eaton my 3 x Great Grandmother, she married her mother’s double cousin Edward Halden (and stepuncle) and lived in Milwich, Staffordshire but the family moved to the USA and she ended her days in Chicago.

Anthony Eaton’s sons seemed to lead much simpler lives than their sisters (except maybe Jemima), no articled clerkships or wealthy spouses for them.

Anthony Eaton married Ann Capewell, he moved like his sister Jemima to Milwich in Staffordshire, he had a large family and was an Agricultural Labourer.

Lastly son Daniel also moved to Staffordshire, to Longton where he had several children and worked as a butcher (maybe trained by his stepfather).

Anthony Eaton’s life leaves many unanswered questions:

What was his profession? Yeoman of the guard, licensed victualler, stone mason, farmer or simply gentleman or maybe all of them?

Was he a good businessman or constantly in debt?

Was he a genuine gentleman or a spurious one? Was he a bit of a Del boy or a self made man or could he truly claim to be “to the manor born”?

How did he meet Elizabeth Halden?

Where did he really live?

But when you think that he died in 1802 I am really lucky to have so much information about this ancestor and his many fascinating descendants.

If you think I have got anything wrong or have any more that you can add, please let me know, I’m sure there is more information out there, it is just a matter of tracking it down.

Special thanks to Jeremy Evans for his research on the Eaton family and to Chris Eaton for further insights into Anthony Eaton and his Derbyshire connections.

Another interesting addition from Chris Eaton.

“I’ve also recently had a suggestion from someone that Anthony was the illegitimate son of a marauding Scotsman that came down with the Young Pretender (our YDNA is of Gaelic origin, i.e. Scots-Irish, which begs the question how we ended up in the Peak) but I’ve dispelled that as the baptisms were one year before Charlie got to our part of Derbyshire.”


Posted by on October 24, 2020 in Uncategorized


Henry William or William Henry Cleasby – a drunken child

While looking for newspaper articles for my Cleasby one-name study I was particularly drawn to a paragraph-long article about a six-year old boy called Henry Cleasby, found drunk in the streets of London. It sounded straight out of a Dickens novel and far removed from the other newspaper articles which nearly all related to elderly farmers in the North of England.

Manchester Evening News Tuesday 16th November 1875

Looking at the births for Henry Cleasby in the London area in 1869 revealed two Henry Cleasbys, both born in the June quarter one in West London and one in Islington. The West London Henry was born to a Frederick Cleasby and Frances Kemp while the Islington Henry was born to a single mother Hannah Cleasby.

West London Henry is living with his parents in both the 1871 and 1881 census so doesn’t look abandoned, he also has several siblings living in the home. Islington Henry is living with his mother and Grandmother in 1871 with his age wrongly given as 12 rather than 2 (not a transcription error). In 1881 there is a Henry Cleasby born in Islington at The Home for Little Boys in Kent. It seems this is likely to be the “child charged with drunkenness”.

Hannah goes on to marry a Richard Reed and has further children, presumably Hannah and Richard are the “parents” who deserted Henry.

The homes aim was to “care for boys who were homeless and destitute or in danger of falling into crime” poor Henry fitted into all three categories.

Further investigation of the papers show that was indeed where Henry was sent. There is a great deal of pity shown for Henry by the journalists; although the Dublin Evening Telegraph uses his plight as an opportunity to boast the superiority of Ireland over England or perhaps Dublin over London. The article uses wonderfully flamboyant language to describe Henry’s discovery.

This particular article goes on to describe Henry being discovered by the police.

But no; the horror is increased when on raising the nondescript creature to the light it is found to be a child – a poor, forlorn, diseased, unhappy, drunken child!

and in the cell, (clearly the writer’s imagination).

Do you see the wooden plank of the cell at the station on which is laid the limp, mud-saturated form of the child, apparently lifeless…

The report goes on to say that Henry was “cleaned and combed” before being brought before the magistrate.

A report a week later in The York Herald tells of a possible happier end for Henry. The article confirms my suspicion that he was illegitimate (so the son of Hannah), again states that his grandmother is “indigent” and that the school board recommends he be sent to the Home for Little Boys where “Henry Cleasby will, we trust, be made a man of”

So what became of Henry, did he become a man, did he fear God and honour the Queen?

Well unless my researching has led me up the wrong track, Henry did indeed become a man and as far as can be told, a good one. Whether he feared God and honoured the Queen, I have no idea.

In 1891, Henry has shaved a couple of years off his age and has joined the army. He is in the Shaft Barracks in Dover.

In 1894 Henry (now Henry William, there are no other Henrys or Williams born in Islington in this timeframe) marries Rebecca Sarah Raymond. He gives his occupation as bandsman, maybe he learned an instrument at the Home for Little Boys. He gives his father’s name as John Cleasby deceased, an Agent.

Henry William and Rebecca Sarah go on to have several children, Henry’s occupation is again reported as bandsman at the baptism of their first daughter Nellie Margaret in 1894 but by the birth of second daughter Florence May 1898 Henry’s occupation is now labourer, as it is for further children, Ethel Hilda, Henry Raymond, Violet Rebecca and twins George William and Winifred Lilian.

The family, with the first four children can be found in 1901 living with three of Rebecca’s brothers. Henry is known as William on this census and Rebecca as Sarah.

The family can’t be found in 1911, so what happened to Henry (or Henry William or William Henry or William)? Well some family trees via descendants of daughter Ethel showed that Henry ended up in Scotland.

A little investigation of the ever helpful Scottish death records found a death for Henry, one for Rebecca and a marriage for Ethel to a Dugald Crawford, sister Violet is witness to the marriage and Dugald Crawford is witness to Henry’s death.

Also at death Henry’s father is given as John Cleasby an Agent, maybe just copied from the marriage certificate and a figment of Henry’s imagination?

So it seems little Henry Cleasby did well for himself considering his sad beginnings. I’d love to hear from any of his descendants about how he ended up in Scotland and what happened to the rest of his family. It seems son Henry went to Canada in 1929 but ended up in Australia. Other family members remained in the London area.

While I am still not 100% sure this Henry is the drunken child, I can find no evidence that this is not the case, there are no other Henry’s born in the area that fit the time frame apart from Henry Frederick, whose short life ran a different course.

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Posted by on July 20, 2020 in Uncategorized


Henry Frederick Cleasby

Henry Frederick Cleasby was born in 1869 in Holborn, not to be confused with his cousin Henry William Cleasby born in Islington. Unlike his cousin Henry Frederick was not abandoned by his parents. His father Frederick James Cleasby was a book gilder as were most of Henry’s brothers, the remaining two brothers worked for the railway.

Henry was presumably still at school in the 1881 census, where he is found living with his parents and siblings, mysteriously (or maybe because of a mistranscription) he cannot be found in 1891 by the end of 1898 he is dead.

What did Henry do in the years between 1869 and 1898?

Records show that Henry married in 1890 a Mary Ann Kelley whose father James was a Stevedore, Henry’s occupation is given as coster so probably selling fruit or vegetables (or anything else) on a market stall, the couple married on May 26th. Later records in the workhouse show that the couples children were Roman Catholic whereas Henry was Church of England, I presume Mary Ann was from an Irish background. I don’t know how common it was for protestants and catholics to marry in those times, but the couple married in an Anglican church. Despite the available clues (father’s name and occuption) I can’t find Mary Ann (for certain) before her marriage to Henry.

Further records show that the couple had three children, another Henry Frederick, a James Joseph and a Mary Ann Margaret.

Henry Frederick also appears to have more than one brush with the law.

In June 1889 he is sentenced at the Old Bailey with “Burglary in the dwelling-house of Edgar Ashley, and stealing ten pairs of boots and other articles, and 14s.” He is found guilty and sentenced to 15 months hard labour.

This doesn’t fit in with his marriage less than 12 months later, was he let out early, did he escape prison, is this the wrong Henry Cleasby?

Another case at the Old Bailey featuring a Henry Cleasby who I think must be Henry Frederick again, took place four years later, but this time Henry was acquitted. The sentence was “Feloniously receiving seven boxes and fourteen dozen neckties, the property of John Craggs Leefe, well knowing them to be stolen.”

In the year of his death Henry Frederick was reported in the newspaper as having fought with fire irons with James Kelly, a relative. I wonder if James was an illegitimate son of Henry’s wife Mary Ann as it says Cleasby abused James Kelly’s mother, but maybe the relationship is more complicated than that or it would be explained in the newspaper. Anyway this is definitely Henry Frederick Cleasby because of the Kelly connection and also because of the occupation of costermonger.

Mary Ann died in 1897 and in January 1898 Henry can be found with son James and daughter (named as Margaret) at the Archway Road workhouse. They were admitted on 5th January and released on the 22nd. But by 22nd February Henry is back in the workhouse in City Road, with sons Frederick and James*, Henry’s occupation is given as newsvendor, so a slight change in career. The three were discharged on the 26th of the same month. Henry’s death is recorded in that same quarter no more than a month after his release. I don’t know how or why he died, it seems poverty may have played a large part.

Henry Frederick was just about 29 years old at his death, quite a lot packed into his short life. One day I hope to purchase his death certificate to see if it gives any more clues, but in the meantime, if you are his descendant, I would love to hear from you.

© The British Library Board

*Young Henry Frederick and James Joseph are back in the workhouse in 1899. Daughter Mary Ann Margaret can be found living with her grandmother, described as a step-daughter by the 1901 census, which also finds Henry Frederick at an orphanage, but James is nowhere to be seen, he later pops up in the army and marries a Florence Tyler, becomes a newspaper warehouseman and lives until 1971 leaving £3971 in his will.

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Posted by on July 19, 2020 in Uncategorized


Thomas Wood Ingram Cleasby

Ingram CleasbyThomas Wood Ingram Cleasby was born on 27 March 1920 in Kendal, Westmorland, England, he died in Dent, Cumbria, at the age of 88 on 9 February 2009.

Son of Thomas William Cleasby and Jessie Brown Wood, he had two younger sisters, his father was a bank manager in Windermere. His ancestors were farmers from Westmorland (see tree).

Ingram Cleasby, as he was known, was educated at Sedbergh school and Magdalen College Oxford where he gained a Master of Arts in Modern History with honours in 1947. He attended Cuddesdon Theological College, Oxford as a postgraduate between 1947-1949.

This was after playing an active role in WWII.

During the war Ingram Cleasby served in the 1st Battalion the Border Regiment receiving a commission as a second lieutenant and rising to the rank of major.

He was among the first British glider men to land at Arnhem, where he took part in the battle and was wounded in action and captured, not being released until April 1945 a month before the war ended. His service number was 160854.

Ingram Cleasby became a curate assistant at Huddersfield Parish Church serving the parish between 1949 and 1952 before taking on the important role of domestic chaplain to the Archbishop of York between 1952 to 1956 during which time he took part in the procession at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

He became chaplain to Nottingham University between 1956 and 1963 and then Archdeacon of Chesterfield until 1978 and was Dean of Chester Cathedral between 1978 and 1986.

His interests were gardening, bird watching, walking, local history and fishing.

Ingram married Elizabeth Vibert Douglas, August 25, 1956 and had two daughters and a son, Elizabeth died in July 1967 and he married Monica Mary Tomkins on April 4, 1970 they had one daughter, Emma who is an actress.

Ingram Cleasby tree

Sedburgh school magazine



Westmorland Gazette

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Posted by on April 13, 2020 in Uncategorized