The Hardys of Park Head

I have been collecting information about the Hardys of Park Head for some time now. My interest was because they were linked through marriage to the Smiths of Melmerby in the mid-19th century and, later, through the transfer of land ownership to two Smith descendants at the end of that century.

I have already mentioned the Hardys a number of times when writing about John Smith of Melmerby and his wife Mary Hardy. They were married in 1849 in Renwick Parish Church. I also mentioned that John and Mary’s two youngest sons, John and Christopher Smith, had taken up farming with the Hardys in Park Head, near Kirkoswald. (The place name is written both as Park Head and Parkhead; I have chosen to use the former).

I have also explained that the children of John and Christopher Smith were beneficiaries from the wills of two of their aunts, Hannah and Mary Ann Smith (this was described in the post titled The Misses Smith of Penrith). So I thought it would be worthwhile to describe what I know about the Hardys and how they affected the lives of John and Christopher Smith, who were second cousins of my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall.

The Hardys lived on a farm called Low Huddlesceugh, near Park Head, a hamlet in the parish of Kirkoswald. The farm was roughly equidistant between the small hamlet of Renwick and the even smaller hamlet of Park Head. As far as I can determine, the Hardys had lived on that farm as a freehold property for several generations before Mary Hardy was born in 1822.

The farm is identifiable on Ordnance Survey maps and also can be found on Google. First, though, a bit of geographical context.

If you have read other posts on this blog, you will know that the Smiths of Melmerby lived in the upper Eden Valley of Cumberland, very close to the Pennines. The small town of Kirkoswald is about 5 miles (8 km) north west of Melmerby.

Looking more closely at the Kirkoswald area to see where Park Head and Renwick are, here is a map that shows their geographic relationships. Park Head is so small that it does not merit a place name on the Google map even at this scale so I have added it in.

Mary Hardy’s father was Christopher Hardy (1788-1876). He was a yeoman farmer and came from a farming family that had lived in the Parish of Kirkoswald for generations. Christopher’s father was also called Christopher Hardy (1750-1792) and his mother was Mary Dixon. And Christopher’s grandfather was another Christopher Hardy (1703-1783). This earliest Christopher’s father was John Hardy (no dates available).

Mary Hardy’s mother was Eleanor Haddock, who was from Kilburn Parish in Yorkshire. Christopher and Eleanor were married in Yorkshire, in Felixkirk Parish in 1818. (Eleanor was from near Thirsk – many miles away from Cumberland and it would be interesting to know how she met her future husband.) Christopher and Eleanor had seven children: four sons and three daughters. One daughter Ann died at the age of 13 in February 1850. One son, George, died aged 21 later in the same year.

The five surviving children were: Christopher (born 1819), Mary (born 1822), Thomas (born 1826), Eleanor (born 1832), and Donald (born 1839). Of the five, only Mary was married. It would be interesting to know why that was.

Aside from Kirkoswald parish records, the Hardys can be traced in the 19th century through directories and census records. The earliest record I have for Christopher Hardy  is from the 1829 History, Directory & Gazetteer of Cumberland and Westmorland, where he is listed as Christopher Hardy, yeoman, Low Huddlesceugh. In the 1841 census (although the record image is very faint), the Hardy family can be found at Low Huddlesceugh in the Parish of Kirkoswald; Christopher Hardy is again listed as a yeoman, living with his wife Eleanor and six children. In the 1847 History, Directory & Gazetteer of Cumberland, Christopher Hardy is listed as being a yeoman and a corn miller at Low Huddlesceugh. In the 1851 census, Christopher Hardy is described as a landed proprietor and living at Park Head with his wife Eleanor and four children (by this date, his daughter Mary was married and living in Gamblesby a few miles away).

The change of description and location for the Hardys is not significant. A landed proprietor was another name for a yeoman farmer. Park Head was usually (although not always) the location assigned in later censuses although the directories used either Low Huddlesceugh or Park Head. I do not think the location of the Hardy farm had changed; only the description of its location.

The Ordnance Survey map for the area enables us to see where Low Huddlesceugh farm was (and still is) located, between Park Head and Renwick.

An aerial view is also helpful is showing where the farm of Low Huddlesceugh is. Renwick is at the top of the photo and Low Huddlesceugh is at the lower left of the image. The farm with larger buildings to the lower right is what used to be called Huddlesceugh Hall.

In November 1876, Christopher Hardy died and his eldest son, the fourth Christopher Hardy, took over as head of household for himself, his two younger brothers and his sister Eleanor. Also living with them in the 1881 census was their niece Mary Ann Smith.

The probate for Christopher Hardy’s will states:
“The Will of Christopher Hardy late of Parkhead in the Parish of Kirkoswald in the County of Cumberland Yeoman  who died 24 November 1876 at Parkhead was proved at Carlisle by Christopher Hardy and Thomas Hardy both of Parkhead Yeomen the Sons the Executors”

So I have concluded from that record that both sons inherited the land at Low Huddlesceugh. I do not know what the youngest son Donald received. He died in 1889.

By the 1891 census, the Hardy household consisted of Christopher Hardy, farmer aged 70, his brother Thomas, then 65, his sister Eleanor, aged 57, their niece Mary Ann Smith, aged 36, and their nephew John Smith, aged 30. (Christopher Smith, aged 25, was still living at home in the Smith household working for his oldest brother George Hardy Smith on the family farm in Melmerby.)

In the 1897 Kelly’s Directory of Cumberland, both Christopher and Thomas Hardy are listed as farmers in Park Head (perhaps the distinction of yeoman from farmer was fading by then although it re-appeared later in some other directories).

Thomas Hardy died in 1898 and the oldest brother Christopher Hardy died in 1899. Because none of the brothers married and had children, there were no Hardy sons to take over the family farm.

Christopher Hardy did have a will which was given probate in December 1899; the executors were Christopher Smith and John Smith yeomen and Thomas James Scott solicitor. The estate was valued at £5,251 3s 3d (worth about £560,000 today). From this I assume that John and Christopher Smith were farming somewhere in the Park Head area and either had ownership of the land there or were both owners of the Hardys’ Low Huddlesceugh property.

It is worth noting here that the British government had established a regime of death duties starting in 1894 and the effects of this on property owners – even rather small owners like the Hardys and the Smiths – cannot have been good for enabling them to help the following generations to continue living on the land.

In the 1901 History, Topography & Directory of Cumberland, Christopher Smith is listed this way:
Smith, Chris. (yeoman), Low Huddlesceugh

From this record, I think it is clear that Christopher had taken over the ownership of the Low Huddlesceugh farm. I cannot find a reference to his older brother John in the 1901 Directory although he does appear in the 1901 census. At that time, John Smith was living at Scales, in Staffield, another small community of the Parish of Kirkoswald. John was then 40 years old, a farmer, with a wife Elizabeth (Simpson) and a son Thomas Hardy Smith, aged 2.

Tracking someone called John Smith in any English community is not easy so I am unsure where this John was living from 1901 until 1911. He may have continued to live in Staffield for a time. By 1908, however, he was probably living in Park Head because that is where his wife Elizabeth died. In the 1910 Kelly’s Directory of Cumberland John Smith was listed as a yeoman, Park Head, and his brother Christopher also as a yeoman, Low Huddlesceugh.

In the 1911 census, John Smith is recorded as a widower, living in Park Head with his son Thomas Hardy Smith, aged 12. His occupation was listed as farmer. Christopher Smith was also listed as a farmer but at Low Huddlesceugh. Christopher and his wife Hannah (Bird) had two children: Christopher Hardy Smith, aged 9 and Sarah Eleanor Smith, aged 5.  (Christopher and Hannah later had two other daughters, Mary Hannah Smith, born in 1911, and Clara Anne Smith, born in 1913.)

The 1911 census records being the latest available, any other information to be found about the Smiths of Park Head and Low Huddlesceugh is unavoidably sketchy. Both John and Christopher Smith died at relatively young ages. John died in 1917 aged 56 and Christopher died in 1922 – also aged 56. Christopher’s wife Hannah lived until 1926.

Both brothers left behind children who were too young to manage their own affairs. John’s son Thomas Hardy Smith was only 9 when his mother Elizabeth died and he was 18 when his father died. John Smith did have a will and probate was granted with limited administration to his older brother George Hardy Smith of Melmerby. The probate record describes John Smith as a yeoman of Park Head. The value of his estate was £4,372 18s. (that would be worth at least £233,000 today). I do not have a copy of his will; nor do I have any information on what happened to his land or to his son.

There is more information about Christopher Smith because I do have a copy of his will. Probate was granted to Hannah Smith widow and Hartley Graham solicitor. The estate was valued at £2,316 4s 4d. This was considerably less than the estate of his brother John just a few years earlier. Christopher’s estate would be worth about £120,000 today. This would not include the value of the land.

The will makes it clear that Christopher wanted to ensure that his son Christopher Hardy Smith would inherit the farm at Low Huddlesceugh when he was 25 years old. Christopher Hardy Smith’s three younger sisters were to receive their inheritance in money when they reached the age of majority (21) or when they married. Christopher’s widow Hannah was to receive the usual widow’s entitlement of household goods as well as money in trust for her support.

The only other glimpse we have of Christopher Smith’s family at Low Huddlesceugh can be found in the 1939 Register – a valuable source of information about people in England just at the start of the Second World War. Living at Low Huddlesceugh in September 1939 were: Christopher H Smith, general farmer; John G Haugh, poultry farmer and his wife Mary H Haugh – Christopher’s second sister Mary Hannah Smith. Living not far away at Town Foot Farm in Renwick was Andrew Greenop, mixed farmer, and his wife Sarah Eleanor Greenop – Christopher’s oldest sister – with John Stanley Greenop, aged 9. And living at Brunswick Terrace in Penrith was Robert W Thompson, chauffeur, and his wife Clara A Thompson – Christopher’s youngest sister Clara Anne Smith.

So we know that all four of Christopher Smith’s children managed to survive to adulthood. The three daughters were married by 1939 but Christopher Hardy Smith was not. I have not found any evidence that he did marry. He died at Low Huddlesceugh in 1960 at the age of 57 and was buried at Kirkoswald Parish Church.

The Hardys of Park Head were long established in the Parish of Kirkoswald as yeoman farmers. When they died out in the 1890s, their heirs were Smiths from Melmerby who continued farming in Park Head. They too seem to have died out by the 1960s.

A ground-level image gives some idea of the farm at Low Huddlesceugh today.


Posted in Families, Hardy, Kirkoswald, Melmerby, Park Head, Places, Renwick, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Hardys of Park Head

The Misses Smith of Penrith

In an earlier post, I wrote about John Smith of Melmerby (1815-1884) and his family. He and his wife Mary (nee Hardy) had three daughters who lived to adulthood and none of them ever married.  They were:

  • Mary Ann  1854-1923
  • Agnes  1856-1903
  • Hannah  1858-1921

I am interested in these three sisters because they all had wills in which they named their nephews, nieces and several other relatives.  This information has been helpful in giving me a clearer and more complete picture of the Smiths of Melmerby in the early 20th century.

The three sisters had two older brothers and two younger brothers. Their eldest brother William died unmarried at age 35 in 1884 a few months after his father John had died. The second oldest brother George Hardy Smith became the heir to the Melmerby freehold farm under the provisions of his father’s will. The two younger brothers John and Christopher had been working at the Melmerby farm until 1884 and they then went to farm in Park Head with their mother’s brothers, the Hardys. (More on them in another post.)

Although Mary Ann was the oldest of the sisters, and she should be first in this narrative, I will describe each of them in the order in which they died because that makes it easier to explain the contents of their wills.

Agnes Smith (1856-1903)
Agnes was the middle sister. My description of her life will be rather short because I know very little about her until the time and place of her death, which was rather unusual.

Agnes lived at home with her parents John and Mary Smith at the family farm in Melmerby from the year of her birth until her father died in 1884. At that time, she was 29 years old. Agnes received £400 in her father’s will as well as one-third of the residue of his household effects after her mother Mary had taken what she wanted. £400 in 1884 would be worth about £38,270 in terms of today’s cost of living.

Agnes continued to live at the family home after her brother George Hardy Smith took over the farm and household. In the 1901 census, however, Agnes was living with her sister Hannah at 94 Lowther Street in Penrith. She was living on “own means”. Penrith is about 9 miles (15 km) from Melmerby and is the nearest market town.

Agnes was only 46 when she died in 1903. I knew the date she had died from a gravestone in the Melmerby Church graveyard but was puzzled as to why I could not find the civil registration of her death. When looking for a probate record, I realized that she had died in Edinburgh although I had no idea why she was there. It turned out (when I got a copy of  the death record) that she had died after a surgical procedure to remedy a “mobile kidney” (also called a floating kidney). I assume she went to Edinburgh to a surgeon recommended to her although one might think there would have been someone competent enough in Carlisle, the nearest city to her home. The operation was, apparently, a success but the patient died several days later from heart failure. Her sister Hannah had accompanied her to Edinburgh and was present when Agnes died on the 20th of March 1903. Having to deal with the sudden death of her sister in a strange city must have been horrible for Hannah.

Agnes did have a will, signed only a few weeks before she died.

The probate record states that her estate had a value of £1,471 5s 8d (worth today about £145,000). She specified bequests of £100 each to: her sister Hannah; her niece Elinor (Eleanor), wife of James Beaty; and her niece Sarah Agnes Smith. Both these nieces were the daughters of George Hardy Smith. (£100 in 1903 would be worth about £10,000 today.) The rest of her personal estate and her real estate were bequeathed to her two sisters equally and she also appointed her sisters as executrices. Probate was approved in May 1903.

Hannah Smith (1858-1921)
Hannah was perhaps a bit more adventurous than Agnes because she was not living at home in Melmerby by the time she was 22. In the 1881 census, she was living in the Penrith house belonging to her aunt Agnes Scott; the house was called Ashley House and was on Union Street.

I was rather surprised to see Hannah listed as head of household at such a young age and also as an unmarried girl but I believe it was a temporary arrangement while her aunt (recently widowed) was visiting a sister in Reigate (that episode was described in the post titled The Two Milliners). Hannah had her niece Eleanor (aged 2) staying with her in the 1881 census; again, a temporary arrangement, I am sure.

Hannah was living in Penrith with her aunt Agnes Scott in 1891. I think Hannah was probably acting as a companion for her widowed aunt. Agnes Scott died in 1898 and her will appointed Hannah as her executor. I wonder if Agnes gave her real estate property (Ashley House) to Hannah and maybe some money also.

In 1901, Hannah and her sister Agnes were living in Penrith at 94 Lowther Street. When Agnes died in 1903, I assume that Hannah continued to live there at least for a time. By 1911, Hannah was sharing a house with her sister Mary Ann at 1 Brunswick Square. They continued living there until Hannah died in 1921 at the age of 62.

Below is an excerpt from a map published in 1900 showing the town of Penrith. The main street goes diagonally from upper left to lower right with a secondary street running almost parallel to it to the right. The long curved line on the left is the railway.

This is how the centre of Penrith looks today in an image from Google Earth. You can still see the main street running diagonally and going to St. Andrew’s Church. I have added in arrows to show where Lowther Street and Brunswick Square are.

Hannah died on the 26th of August 1921. Probate for her will was granted in October to the executrices, her nieces Eleanor Beaty and Sarah Agnes Dodd – the two daughters of George Hardy Smith. Personal effects were valued at £3,478 2s 6d (worth about £142,000 today).

Hannah’s will is a great deal more detailed than that of her sister Agnes. Without going into all the details – which you can see in the will itself – all of Hannah’s household property was bequeathed to her sister Mary Ann for her use and then, after her death, to be divided between Eleanor Beaty and Sarah Agnes Dodd. The income from Hannah’s personal estate was to be paid to her sister Mary Ann during her lifetime and, thereafter, the proceeds from her personal estate were to be distributed in the following way:

  • Legacies of £200 each to the executrices and £40 each to Lancelot Fowler and Alice Muriel Oswald. (Lancelot Fowler was the son of Hannah’s cousin Ada Mary Harrison; Alice Muriel Oswald was one of the daughters of Hannah’s cousin Mabel Gertrude Harrison.)
  • The rest of the estate was to be turned into money, placed in trust and shared equally between Hannah’s eight nephews and nieces:
    – Eleanor Beaty, Sarah Agnes Dodd and John Smith (children of George Hardy Smith);
    – Thomas Hardy Smith (son of John Smith); and
    – Christopher, Sarah Eleanor, Hannah and Clara Smith (children of Christopher Smith).

Careful provision was made for the disbursement of the residual estate in case any of the nephews and nieces should die before the funds could be given to them. In the case of Christopher’s children, the will had an extra provision to ensure that their share would remain in that family. When the will was signed in 1918, Christopher’s children were quite young so that may have been the reason for the extra care taken with the money intended for them. (They would not have received the money until after 1923 when Mary Ann Smith died.)

Mary Ann Smith (1854-1923)
Mary Ann was the eldest sister and lived the longest. For much of her life, Mary Ann lived with the Hardy family – her maternal grandparents, uncles and aunt.

Mary Ann can be found in several census records living with her maternal grandparents Christopher and Eleanor Hardy in the hamlet of Park Head, which is between Kirkoswald and Renwick.   Why she was living with them is not known but it was not an unusual arrangement in the nineteenth century for children to be sent to live with relatives.  What was perhaps unusual is that she continued to live with the Hardys for much of her life. In the 1861 census, Mary Ann was in the Hardys household listed simply as a granddaughter, aged 6.  As Mary Ann grew older in the Hardy household, she was listed in the 1871 census as a domestic servant, which again would not be unusual at that time. Mary Ann was still with the Hardys in 1881 but with no occupation listed. By this date, her grandparents Christopher and Eleanor Hardy had both died and the household consisted of three bachelor brothers: Christopher, Thomas and Donald; and one spinster sister Eleanor – as well as Mary Ann.

In 1891, the Hardy household had changed a bit. Christopher and Thomas Hardy were still there along with Eleanor and Mary Ann. Another Smith had joined the household as farm servant: Mary Ann’s younger brother John. In 1901, Mary Ann was living in Gamblesby with her aunt Eleanor. Both were shown as “living on own means” so they each had some money of their own. By this time, Mary Ann was 46 years old and her aunt was 69. Eleanor Hardy died in 1908 and it seems likely that Mary Ann then went to Penrith to live with her sister Hannah. The two sisters were living together at 1 Brunswick Square in Penrith in 1911 and Mary Ann continued to live there until her death in September 1923.

Probate on Mary Ann’s will was granted on the 8th of October 1923 to her two executrices, nieces Eleanor Beaty and Sarah Agnes Dodd. The value of the estate was £2,788 6s 6d (worth about £146,000 today). Like her two sisters, Mary Ann had a modest estate: sufficient for her to live comfortably in a small market town.

Mary Ann’s will was a good deal more complicated in terms of bequests than was Hannah’s. The same idea of disbursing the residual estate funds equally between the eight nephews and nieces still prevailed. But, before that could happen, there were a number of specific bequests of household objects to be dealt with. They ranged from giving her brother George Hardy Smith a long cased clock to giving her niece Mary Hannah Smith a Sheraton side table and dividing her silver plate, plated goods, old rose china tea set and linen equally between the three daughters of Christopher Smith. There were eight such detailed bequests. These bequests obviously meant a great deal to Mary Ann because she had them spelled out so clearly.

There were also some financial legacies. Her brother Christopher’s son Christopher Hardy Smith got £300, his three sisters got £50 each and Mary Ann’s great-niece Kathleen Beaty (Eleanor Beaty’s second daughter) got £30.

The rest of her estate was to be converted into money, put in trust and disbursed to her eight nephews and nieces equally. As with Hannah’s will, special provisions were made to safeguard the money intended for the children of Christopher Smith and to make available funds to support those children as needed.

I have described – at least in outline – the bequests in the wills of the three Smith sisters because they give an interesting glimpse into the relationships in the Smith family. It is very interesting to me that Hannah Smith gave small bequests to two of the grandchildren of her aunt Elizabeth who had married William Harrison. Lancelot Fowler and Alice Muriel Oswald were first cousins once removed to Hannah. Why were only those two chosen? She gave nothing to the children of other Smith cousins. Sometimes omissions are as interesting as inclusions.

In her turn, Mary Ann was very specific about which of her nephews and nieces were to benefit. Aside from sharing equally in the residual estate, they were not treated equally in receiving money legacies or in receiving one of her valued household items. The careful attention to providing financial support to the children of her brother Christopher is especially interesting – and laudable. (Christopher died in 1922 and – although Mary Ann could not know this – his wife Hannah died only a few years later  in 1926 so I imagine any financial help for the children would have been very welcome.)

None of the three Misses Smith had large fortunes but they were sufficient to support them in their lifetime and gave some benefit to their brothers’ descendants and a few other relatives after they had died. All three were buried in the graveyard of the Melmerby Parish Church.


Posted in Families, Gamblesby, Hardy, Kirkoswald, Melmerby, Park Head, Penrith, Places, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Misses Smith of Penrith

John Smith of Melmerby (1815-1884) and his family

There are a lot of John Smiths in the family – I know of seven and there may be more – so it is sometimes hard to keep them straight. This particular John Smith was born in 1815 in Hesket, which is about 6 miles (10 km) from Melmerby in Cumberland. He was the eldest son of William Smith and Mary Longrigg. William and Mary Smith were living in Hesket before William inherited the Melmerby farm from his father (another John Smith). I have already written a set of four posts about William Smith and his family and about his younger children. I put John Smith aside until now because he was the next in line to inherit the Smith farm and other freehold property in Melmerby.

John is part of the Smith family who stayed in the Eden Valley of Cumberland and continued to farm in Melmerby and Gamblesby, unlike my Smith line who migrated to Ireland in the early 1850s.

The Eden Valley is east of the Lake District and west of the Pennines. The Eden River flows north-west to Carlisle and the sea. The principal town in this agricultural area was, and still is, Penrith.

I have already written briefly about the Melmerby Smiths after 1821 in an earlier post.

John Smith was a first cousin of my great-grandfather Lancelot Smith of Corballis (1824-1899). So, John’s children were second cousins of my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall.

John Smith married Mary Hardy of Park Head in 1849. Park Head (or Parkhead) is near Kirkoswald – about halfway between Kirkoswald and Renwick – and only about 3 miles (5 km) north-west of Melmerby. Mary’s parents were Christopher and Eleanor Hardy. She was born at Huddlesceugh and baptized in the Parish Church of Kirkoswald in April 1822.

In their early married life, John and Mary lived in Gamblesby while his father William continued to farm at Melmerby. The places I have mentioned here are all very close together in the upper reaches of the Eden Valley.

In the 1851 census, John and his wife Mary with their young son William, aged 1, were living in Gamblesby where John was farming 60 acres. This farmland was freehold property belonging to John’s father William Smith.

John’s father William Smith died in June 1857 after which he (John) inherited the Melmerby freehold property then known as Churn, later called Churnside. On inheriting the freehold property in Melmerby, John Smith would then be described as a yeoman farmer. Owning freehold property conveyed both economic status as well as social status in a rural community.

Under William’s will, John shared the residue of his father’s estate with his younger brother William Smith of Gamblesby (I have already written about this William Smith in the post titled The Islington Families).

John and Mary had eight children, four sons and four daughters. The eldest son William was born in Park Head, the next four children were born in Gamblesby and the three youngest in Melmerby. The youngest daughter Eleanor died as an infant; seven children survived to adulthood.

The naming of the children is interesting because it did not follow the usual pattern. While the eldest son was named after his paternal grandfather William Smith, the second son was not named Christopher after his maternal grandfather Christopher Hardy of Park Head. Indeed, the name George is very unusual in this Smith family – I don’t know of any other. Mary Smith had a brother George Hardy who died in 1850 at the age of 21 and that may have been why the name was chosen. Giving the boy a middle name was also unusual at that time in Cumberland. Most children received only one baptismal name.

When it came to naming their daughters, John and Mary chose to call their eldest daughter Mary Ann although it would have been customary to name her after her maternal grandmother Eleanor Hardy. Again unusually, they gave her two baptismal names. Their second daughter should have been named after her paternal grandmother but that name – Mary – was already used and the second daughter was called Agnes. Only later were the names of the Hardy grandparents given to the two youngest children.

John Smith and his family lived in Melmerby from about 1858 until his death over 25 years later.

In 1861, John and Mary Smith were living in Melmerby with five children: William, George H., Agnes, Hannah and John. Their oldest daughter Mary Ann, aged 6, was living with her Hardy grandparents Christopher and Eleanor at Low Huddlesceugh, Park Head. Also in the Hardy household were three of Mary Ann’s uncles and her aunt Eleanor. In the 1861 census, John Smith is described as a yeoman and farmer of 100 acres employing one labourer. Christopher Hardy was also a yeoman farming 100 acres.

In 1871, John and Mary Smith were living in Melmerby with five children: George H, aged 18; Agnes, 14; Hannah, 12; John, 10; and Christopher, aged 5. Mary Ann Smith was still living with the Hardys in Park Head. The eldest son William was living in Penrith with his aunt Agnes Scott and her husband Francis. William was described as a draper’s assistant.

In the 1881 census, John and his wife Mary were living at Churn in Melmerby with four of their children: William, Agnes, John and Christopher. Mary Ann was still living with the Hardys in Park Head although by this date her grandparents had both died. She was living with three Hardy uncles and her aunt Eleanor.  In the same 1881 census, George Hardy Smith was living in Stainmore, Westmorland, farming there on 90 acres. He and his wife Mary had a one-year-old daughter Sarah A Smith living with them and Mary’s mother Sarah Jackson. John and Mary’s daughter Hannah  was living in Penrith in the house of her aunt Agnes Scott and looking after her niece Ellinor (actually Eleanor) Smith, George Hardy Smith’s older daughter, aged 2. (We can assume that George’s daughter Eleanor was simply visiting Penrith at the time of the census.)

John Smith died in April 1884, aged 68, and he left a will that provides some interesting information about his family. The will was signed in March 1883 and proved at Carlisle in July 1884.

He appointed as his executors his second son George Hardy Smith and his brother William Smith of Gamblesby. Why not his eldest son, you may wonder? His eldest son William died at the age of 35 in July 1884 – only a few months after his father died – so I believe it was already apparent in 1883 that William would not survive long.

The will provides for the usual bequest of household goods to his widow Mary Smith; whatever goods she did not want were then to be divided between his three daughters, Mary Ann, Agnes and Hannah. His son Christopher got special mention with a bequest of a fell allotment. His widow got, in addition to the household goods, an annuity of £30 “as long as she shall continue my widow”. Perhaps he thought she might re-marry; she was over 60 years old in 1884.

To his eldest son William, he left an annuity of £15 during his life, the amount to be paid half-yearly with the first payment to be made six months after John’s death. (I assume this sum was never paid because William died before October 1884.)

The will goes on to provide legacies to his two younger sons John and Christopher and to his daughter Hannah in the sum of £400 each. His two other daughters, Mary Ann and Agnes, were given the sum of £200 each. It was quite common at that time for sons to receive more money than daughters. But I wonder: why did Hannah get better treatment than her two sisters? A legacy of £400 in 1884 would be worth about £38,270 today in terms of standard of living.

John’s will specifies that the annuities and legacies were to be charged against the real estate he owned and that all the real property was bequeathed to his son George Hardy Smith, the heir to the Melmerby farm. This meant that George had to either sell some of his newly acquired property to pay the legacies and annuities or he had to borrow the money on the value of the property. I assume he did the latter and could re-pay the loans later from farm revenues.

The remainder of John’s personal estate and effects were to be divided between all his children equally. In 1884, John’s personal estate was valued at £781 and 14 shillings.

In today’s currency, £781 and 14 shillings would be equal to about £75,000 in terms of the standard of living. I think it is safe to say that John Smith of Melmerby was a wealthy man when he died in 1884. His principal wealth was in his real estate property (the freehold farm in Melmerby and other pieces of land that he owned or leased). The personal estate was a minor part of his wealth. And he was able to give significant legacies to most of his children. However, a general depression in agriculture in England was looming and had already had serious effects in south-eastern counties during the 1870s and early 1880s. Tougher times for Cumberland farmers were likely ahead for John’s successor, George Hardy Smith.

In another post, I will write about John Smith’s three daughters Mary Ann, Agnes and Hannah. They all lived in Penrith in their later years and all left wills, which is very helpful to family historians.

Another upcoming post will tell you what I know about John Smith’s two younger sons John and Christopher and their later lives farming in the Park Head area, where their Hardy grandfather and uncles had lived and worked.

Posted in Families, Gamblesby, Hardy, Kirkoswald, Melmerby, Park Head, Places, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Islington Families

This is the fourth in a series of four posts about the children of William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his wife Mary Longrigg.

The three Smiths I am writing about in this post are William, Elizabeth and Lancelot – the three youngest children in the family. They were first cousins of my great-grandfather Lancelot Smith of Corballis (1824-1899). There are several Lancelots in this story as well as several Williams and Elizabeths so I will try to make it clear which one I am writing about as I go along.

Although writing about three people in one post has made it rather long, I have found it necessary to write about all three of them together because there are significant inter-connections between these Smiths and the Harrisons of Gamblesby and with the Borough of Islington in London.

The three Smiths were:
William Smith (1825-1905);
Elizabeth Smith (1831-1900); and
Lancelot Smith (1833-1889).

William Smith (1825-1905) was the second surviving son in the Melmerby family. In late 1857, William married Elizabeth Harrison from Gamblesby and around the same time in 1857 (I don’t have the exact dates), William’s younger sister Elizabeth Smith married William Harrison. So, a Smith brother and sister married a Harrison sister and brother. Having two same forenames and two same surnames can lead to confusion but it helps a bit that William Smith and his wife Elizabeth (Harrison) stayed in Cumberland whereas William Harrison and his wife Elizabeth (Smith) went to live in London, specifically in Islington.

William Smith inherited freehold property in Gamblesby following the death of his father in June 1857 although he apparently did not take possession of the farming property right away. William and Elizabeth were living in Great Broughton, Cumberland when their son William was born in December 1859. They were still in Great Broughton at the time of the 1961 census. By 1871, they were living in Gamblesby with a farm of 80 acres and by 1881 William was farming 130 acres.

Below are photographs that I believe show William Smith of Gamblesby and his wife Elizabeth Smith (formerly Elizabeth Harrison).










William and Elizabeth lived in Gamblesby for the rest of their lives. However, their son William did not – even though he would have been the heir to the freehold property of his father. Perhaps farming did not appeal to him.

Their son William seems to have been overlooked in the 1871 census when he would have been 11 years old. He re-appears in the 1881 census, by which time he was living with his uncle Lancelot Smith in Islington. From then on, William stayed in Islington and worked in business with his two uncles – Lancelot Smith and William Harrison. (More about this younger William Smith later.)

Meantime, William Smith and his wife Elizabeth continued living in Gamblesby. In the 1881 census, nearby neighbours were Sarah Cowen and her husband Joseph. Sarah was a younger sister of Lancelot Smith of Corballis. She had moved to Ireland in the 1850s with her family but she returned to live in Gamblesby after the death of her father in 1871 and married Joseph Cowen in 1875. Sarah was born in Gamblesby in 1829 and would have known the Smiths, Harrisons and Bensons in Gamblesby. William Smith was her first cousin.

In 1884, William Smith was co-executor and trustee of his brother John’s will (the other co-executor and co-trustee was John’s son George Hardy Smith of Melmerby). I will be writing a post about John Smith and about his son George Hardy Smith later.

William Smith died in June 1905 at the age of 79 and was buried in the churchyard of Melmerby Parish Church.

In her husband William’s will, Elizabeth was to get a legacy of £20 to be paid within two months of his death (he died in June 1905).  She also got all household effects and an annuity of £60 per year and the use of Brook House and its adjoining garden during her lifetime. All of William Smith’s property was bequeathed to their son William after Elizabeth’s death.  Sadly, Elizabeth did not live long enough to benefit from all these bequests because she died in September 1905, only three months after her husband. She too was buried at Melmerby Parish Church. In 1928, a memorial tablet was installed in the Church by their son, then known as William Harrison-Smith.

Elizabeth Smith (1831-1900) and Lancelot Smith (1833-1889) were the two youngest children in the Smith family of Melmerby. Elizabeth was born in early 1831 and Lancelot in early 1833.  Their lives were so intertwined that I have found it best to describe them together.

In 1851, Elizabeth was still living at home, aged 20, while Lancelot, aged 17, had gone to live in Penrith with two of his older sisters, Mary and Agnes. Lancelot’s occupation in the 1851 census is given as draper’s apprentice. (I have written about Mary and Agnes in a previous post titled The Two Milliners.)

Elizabeth’s father William died in June 1857, after which she received £140 in his will. That legacy would be worth about £12,260 today. Lancelot inherited a house and some property (Croft Bowen) in Gamblesby in the same will.  I do not know what happened to this property but Lancelot did not choose to live there and I assume he sold it, possibly to his brother William.

In late 1857, Elizabeth Smith married William Harrison from Gamblesby. William Harrison was born in 1828 and baptized in Addingham Parish Church in October of that year.  William was a younger son of William Harrison and Mary Benson; his older brother John Harrison inherited the family property, a farm of 120 acres in Gamblesby. As well as being a farmer, John Harrison was a local Methodist preacher.

As a younger son, William Harrison would have had to earn his living in some way other than farming. It is interesting to see that, in 1851, William was living as a boarder in Brampton (east of Carlisle), aged 21 and a student. Another student boarding in the same household was Joseph Falder, also 21 and also from Gamblesby. The household they were staying in included a teacher “at the academy” aged 24 and a pupil-teacher at the academy aged 16 – as well as William Harrison and Joseph Falder. It seems likely that the four young men were all involved in the same academy in Brampton. It is possible the census record is incorrect and William was actually a student-teacher at the academy. The academy referred to was most likely Croft House Academy (also called Croft House School), a boarding school for about 80 boys aged between about 11 and 15. The school was run for many years by Joseph Coulthard and appears to have taught a traditional grammar school curriculum as well as some commercial subjects.

I have not found where William Harrison and Lancelot Smith were between 1851 and 1861. At some time in that decade they moved separately or together to London. In the 1861 census, we can find William Harrison, his wife Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s brother Lancelot Smith all in one household at 73 Upper Street, Islington. William Harrison was the head of household, aged 33, and Lancelot Smith was a boarder, aged 28. William’s occupation is given as lace manufacturer and his brother-in-law is described as partner in the business employing 50 people.

The 1861 household also included two interesting visitors: Mary Smith, annuitant, aged 67 and a widow (this was Elizabeth’s and Lancelot’s mother) and Mary Smith, retired milliner, aged 32 and unmarried (this was Elizabeth’s and Lancelot’s older sister).

Photographs of Lancelot Smith, William Harrison and his wife Elizabeth (nee Smith) have kindly been shared with me by another family historian so this is what they looked like in later life. This is Lancelot Smith:










And here are William Harrison and his wife Elizabeth (formerly Elizabeth Smith):










It would be fascinating to learn how William Harrison and Lancelot Smith managed to establish and develop a lace manufacturing business. As far as I know, there was no tradition of running this type of business in either of their families. I can only assume that they had both learned enough about the business and, for some reason, found it worthwhile to move to London – rather than, say, Manchester or Birmingham – to develop their business there.

Post Office directories for London from 1865 onwards show that William Harrison and Lancelot Smith were partners in a lace manufacturing business called Harrison & Smith (later called Harrison, Smith & Co.). The company also manufactured hair nets, ruches, trimmings, head-dresses and – a bit surprising to me – umbrellas and parasols. In the city directories and later censuses, William and Lancelot are variously described as lace manufacturers, lace merchants, warehousemen and merchants. In this context, warehousemen were businessmen who owned warehouses and dealt in the buying and selling of goods manufactured by other businesses as well as in the selling of their own products.

The business addresses changed over time from 5 Angel Street to 15 King Edward Street, and then to 28-29 Hamsell Street. All these places were in the City of London, in an area of warehouses near St. Giles Church in Cripplegate; this area has been completely rebuilt since the Second World War and is now occupied by the Barbican Centre and many newer buildings. (Hamsell Street was about half-way between what is now the Museum of London and the Barbican Theatre.)

The business continued in operation until at least 1925 although neither William Harrison nor Lancelot Smith were involved after 1888. In early 1889, their nephew William Smith took over the business and ran it from then on, possibly with new partners. I believe it was at that time the business name changed to Harrison, Smith & Co. A catastrophic fire in the Cripplegate area in 1897 destroyed many buildings on Hamsell Street and several neighbouring streets but my understanding is that the warehouses and factories were re-built and Harrison, Smith & Co. continued at the same address on Hamsell Street thereafter. A fascinating newspaper account of the fire and its effect on the businesses in the area can be found on the website Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.

Although I am interested in following Lancelot Smith’s and William Harrison’s business career, I do not want to lose sight of William’s wife Elizabeth Harrison (nee Smith). Elizabeth had seven children of whom four daughters survived to adulthood. William and Elizabeth had only one son and he died as an infant. The 1861 census record for the Harrison household (mentioned above) is especially interesting not only for who was there but who was soon to arrive. The census took place on the 7th of April, 1861 and Elizabeth gave birth to twin girls on the 16th of April. The imminence of the births could explain why Elizabeth’s mother and sister were in the household that month.

Elizabeth and William Harrison’s four surviving daughters were:
Ada Mary Harrison, born 16 April 1861;
Elizabeth Maude Harrison, born 16 April 1861;
Mabel Gertrude Harrison, born 3 June 1867; and
Clara Wilhelmina Harrison, born 5 September 1870.

Meantime, in 1864 in Islington, Lancelot Smith married Eleanor Jane Morrison, who was born around 1840 in Gateshead, Durham. They had two sons: Lancelot Smith, born in 1865 and Horace Smith, born in early 1867. Both boys were born in Islington. The Smiths were living at 7 Highbury Park North in 1865. Their home address in 1870 was Newport House, Quadrant Road North, Highbury New Park. They continued living in the same house although the address changed to Quadrant Road Inner Circle Highbury in 1871 and to 14 Highbury Quadrant in 1881. Also in the 1881 household was William Smith, his nephew from Gamblesby, aged 21, and a warehouseman. During these years from 1871 to 1881, Lancelot’s occupation changed from warehouseman to merchant. In each census, the Smith household had two or three domestic servants.

By 1870, the Harrisons had moved to Addingham House, 11 Quadrant Road, Highbury. I think it was a nice touch that William Harrison named his house in Highbury after his home parish in Cumberland. In the 1871 census, the Harrison household was listed as living at Quadrant Road South Side and by 1881 this was 23 Highbury Quadrant – still the same house, I believe. As with Lancelot Smith, William Harrison’s occupation also evolved from warehouseman to merchant. His household also enjoyed the benefits of having several domestic servants.

This is what Highbury Quadrant looked like in 1885 in an excerpt from a map of London. The map excerpt below shows the area known as Highbury Ward, within the Borough of Islington. Highbury Quadrant is in the upper right hand corner.

The smaller map below is a closer look at Highbury Quadrant.

Below is another map, this time from Charles Booth’s London poverty maps dated from 1898-99. The colour coding refers to the level of wealth (or poverty) of people living in London at that time. Yellow represented “Upper-middle and upper classes. Wealthy.” while bright red represented: “Middle class. Well-to-do.” As you can see, the residents of Highbury Quadrant and the adjacent north-south street called Highbury New Park were assessed as either well-to-do or wealthy.

Living on the same street in the Highbury Park area for decades and working together in the lace manufacturing and warehousing business in the City even longer shows the very close personal relationship between Lancelot Smith and William Harrison. I imagine that the two families spent a lot of time together as well. Probably their nephew William Smith did too.

Unfortunately, this harmonious state of affairs suffered a serious blow in 1889. On the 3rd of June, Lancelot Smith died at 14 Highbury Quadrant at the early age of 56. Probate for his estate shows that his executors were his two sons, the Rev. Lancelot Smith and Horace Smith, a student at Cambridge University. The probate record states that his business was at 28 Hamsell Street, St. Giles-without-Cripplegate in the City of London (this information would have been from his will, which could have been written some years before.). The estate effects were £58,709 6s. The value of this estate in today’s currency would be about £6 million.

In 1891, Eleanor J. Smith, Lancelot’s widow, was living with or visiting her son the Rev. Lancelot Smith who was then an Anglican curate in Fakenham, Norfolk. Eleanor’s younger son Horace was a medical student at Cambridge University and living in lodgings.  In the same 1891 census, the Harrison family was staying in Newton Abbot, Devon – probably on a spring holiday in Torquay. They seem to have been staying in rented accommodation with no servants of their own. William Harrison’s occupation was given as Justice of the Peace for the County of London. The only person of interest who was in Islington in the 1891 census was William Smith, who was living in lodgings and working as a lace merchant.

In 1894, the Rev. Lancelot Smith married Florence Worsley Gibson in Cowes, Isle of Wight, where he was then the vicar of St. Mary’s Church. They had four children over the next 12 years. The family moved to various parishes in Southern England over the next three decades.

In 1897, the Harrison household started to change as the daughters were married. The first one to marry was the youngest of the four: Clara Wilhelmina. She married her cousin Horace Smith, in Islington. By 1897, Horace was a medical doctor. Clara and Horace had no children.

Two more Harrison marriages followed in 1900: Ada Mary married Elisha Fowler and Mabel Gertrude married Philip Stanley Oswald. Elisha Fowler was an inspector of insurance agents. Philip Oswald was then a barrister, who later became an Anglican clergyman. The Fowlers had one son; the Oswalds had seven children.

In November 1900, Elizabeth Harrison died in Islington. In early 1901, William Harrison was at 23 Highbury Quadrant living with his only unmarried daughter Elizabeth Maude (known as Maude), aged 39. Also there on census day were Ada Mary and Elisha Fowler and a visitor, Ella Oswald, who was probably a sister of Philip Oswald. In the same census, William Smith was still living in Islington although in different lodgings and his occupation was described as lace maker. By this time he was 41 years old and unmarried.

Lancelot’s Smith’s widow Eleanor was at 14 Highbury Quadrant in 1901, with one of her widowed sisters, while her son Horace Smith and his wife Clara were living in Bournemouth. Horace was a practicing physician (although he retired from his practice before 1911). Also visiting the Bournemouth household in 1901 was Horace’s brother the Rev. Lancelot Smith, his wife Florence and two children: Marjorie E. W. Smith and Lancelot E. Smith.

William Harrison died in November 1907, aged 79. His estate was valued at £48,318 14s 7d (which today would be worth nearly £4.7 million). His executors were his daughter Maude and two of his nephews, William Smith, merchant, and Horace Smith, MD.

In June 1909, Elizabeth Maude Harrison married her double first cousin William Smith. The couple adopted the name of Harrison-Smith. They had no children. William and Maude Harrison-Smith lived at 23 Highbury Quadrant until about 1930 when they moved to Bournemouth, where Horace and Clara were already living.

Perhaps a modified family tree chart here may help to explain the complex inter-relationships that had developed between the Smiths and the Harrisons.

This is an adapted version of the usual family tree structure. Reading from left to right, in the first column are William Smith and Mary Longrigg who were the parents of  William Smith, Elizabeth Smith and Lancelot Smith. At the same level (and unusually in this type of chart) I have added William Harrison and Mary Benson, who were the parents of Elizabeth Harrison and William Harrison. Having a brother and sister who married a sister and brother in another family is probably not particularly unusual but genealogy software for chart creation does not seem to allow for that possibility so I have had to improvise.

On the right hand side are the children in the next generation. Again, I have had to improvise. Usually, those children would be coloured the same as each other because they are of the same generation but I have chosen to colour some differently to illustrate that several of the cousins married each other. William Smith (coloured bright yellow) married his double first cousin Elizabeth Maude Harrison (also coloured bright yellow) and changed his name to William Harrison-Smith. Clara Wilhelmina Harrison (coloured green) married her cousin Horace Smith (also green).


Final Comments
The lives of the three Smiths (William, Elizabeth and Lancelot) were quite closely entwined in marriage, business and living together in Islington. The lace-making business that William Harrison and Lancelot Smith established in London was successful and provided considerable wealth for both families and later also for their nephew William Harrison-Smith. The interconnections were made even closer by the marriages of several of their children.

This all occurred very far away from the Cumberland farming communities where the Smiths and Harrisons were born.

Posted in Families, Gamblesby, Harrison, Islington, London, Melmerby, Photographs, Places, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Islington Families

The Two Milliners

This is the third in a series of four posts about the family of William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his wife Mary Longrigg.

The two milliners are two of William Smith’s four daughters: Mary Sutton and Agnes Scott.  Mary and Agnes were first cousins of my great-grandfather Lancelot Smith of Corballis (1824-1899).

Mary and Agnes did not marry farmers – unlike their older sister Ann and probably most of their aunts and great-aunts before them. Instead, their lives took a different, more urban, path.

Mary Sutton (1821-1882?)
Mary was the sixth child in the William Smith family of 11 children. She was baptized on the 30th of May 1821 in Melmerby Parish Church. Mary appears in the 1841 census as Mary Smith, living in Penrith with her younger sister Agnes Smith. Mary’s occupation was listed as milliner. Her age was given as 20 but this is not necessarily reliable because in this first full census people were asked to round their age down to the nearest 5 or 0. Actually, Mary would have been just 20 years old when the census was taken on 6 June. In the same household, Agnes was listed as aged 15 when she would actually have been 17 years old. It is not clear from the census record if Agnes had an occupation but I expect she was also a milliner or learning to be one. There was also a third girl living with them called Ann Errington; she too was listed as being 15 years old.

When I first saw this census record, I felt badly for the two sisters having to leave their family home in Melmerby and go to live in Penrith, about 9 miles away (15 km). Presumably their income from the making or selling of ladies’ hats was small.

In the following census of 1851, Mary Smith was still living in Penrith as a milliner, with her sister Agnes and now with her youngest brother Lancelot. He was aged 17, working as a draper’s apprentice. Both sisters were milliners. The census record says Mary was aged 27 (actually 29 or 30), and Agnes was 24 (actually 27). I felt even worse having found the three siblings living together in 1851 and thought their prospects were dim.

In 1857, when Mary’s father William died, she received a legacy of £140 in his will. Mary was still unmarried at that time. The legacy would be worth about £12,260 in today’s currency.

In the 1861 census I was interested to find Mary was visiting family members in Islington, London. She was recorded in the household of her youngest sister Elizabeth, who had married William Harrison (more on them in a later post). This particular census record was especially interesting because it listed in the same household: William Harrison, lace manufacturer employing 50 persons, aged 33; Elizabeth Harrison his wife, aged 30; Lancelot Smith, unmarried, partner (in above business), aged 28; Mary Smith, widow, aged 67 (Elizabeth’s widowed mother), annuitant; Mary Smith, unmarried, aged 32, retired milliner; and a house servant. So by this time, Mary was able to retire from millinery (on the strength of her legacy?) and her brother Lancelot was in business with his brother-in-law – a business that was clearly an impressive size. I no longer needed to picture Mary eking out a miserable living in a small Penrith house!

In 1871, Mary was recorded in the household of her brother Lancelot Smith in Islington. From this record, it seems that Mary was by then living with Lancelot and his family (a wife and two sons) with three domestic servants.

Then, in November 1873, Mary Smith married James Henry Driver Sutton in St. Augustine’s Church Highbury in the Parish of Islington. Her husband (known as Henry at this time) was a widower. Witnesses at the wedding were Lancelot Smith (Mary’s brother) and Maude Harrison.

This marriage was quite a surprising discovery because Mary was 52 at the time. Her husband Henry was about six years younger than her. I wonder how Mary met Henry Sutton. He was living in Islington at the time of the 1871 census but mere propinquity would not likely have been enough. I think they may have met through Methodist social circles. The Smiths were Wesleyan Methodists of long standing and, in the 1881 census, Henry was identified as a local Methodist preacher in Reigate. However, the Wesleyan connection is speculation on my part.

In the 1881 census, Mary was recorded as Mary Sutton, living with her husband Henry  in Reigate, Surrey. Henry Sutton was listed as a printer and stationer  and also a Methodist preacher. He had been born in Gosport, Hampshire. The 1881 census record is also helpful regarding Mary’s sister younger Agnes who was visiting her. Agnes was listed as Agnes Scott, widow. At this point, I thought I knew who Agnes had married but nothing else about her after 1857 when she was mentioned in her father’s will.

I believe that Mary Sutton died in early 1882 in Reigate. She would have been about 60 years old. I have not found a will or probate record for her or her husband Henry.

Henry continued to live in Reigate and, in the 1891 census, he can be found living there with his son Bertram Henry Daniel Sutton (listed simply as B Sutton), who was also a printer. Looking into the story behind Bertram, I have found that he was born in late 1866 and that his mother Elizabeth Monk died in that same quarter so I assume she died in childbirth or shortly thereafter. In 1901, Henry was living with his widowed sister Matilda Jones and her two daughters in Bracknell, Berkshire, but after that I have lost sight of him.

Agnes Scott (1823-1898)
Agnes was the seventh child in the family of 11 Smith children. She was baptized in Melmerby Parish Church on the 27th of August 1823. In describing Mary Smith, above, I referred to the fact that Agnes was living with her in Penrith in 1841 and 1851, according to the census records. Agnes was two years younger than Mary.

In her father William’s will of 1857, Agnes – like her three sisters – was given a legacy of £140. When she was mentioned in the will, she was referred to as being the wife of Joseph Scott. Actually his name was Francis Scott.

Agnes married Francis Scott in 1856 in Penrith District (which could mean in the Parish of Melmerby or the town of Penrith). Francis was born in Kendal, Westmoreland, in 1829. He was a linen draper in Penrith, where his business was at Long Front, Penrith.

In the 1861 census records, Agnes and her husband can be found living at 23 Arthur Street in Penrith. No children are listed.

In the 1871 census, Agnes and Francis were still living in Penrith; this time they were living at Ashley House, Union Street. Also living with them was William Smith, a draper’s assistant, aged 20. I think this William Smith was the eldest son of Agnes’s older brother John Smith of Melmerby. I assume that William was working for his uncle and learning the drapery business. (This work may have been short-lived because William Smith was back in Melmerby at the time of the 1881 census.)

Francis Scott died in late 1880 in Penrith. For his widow, he left what I think was a considerable estate of close to £4,000. The sum of £4,000 at that time would be worth around £360,000 in terms of today’s standard of living.  It would be safe to say that Agnes Scott was then comfortably well-off as a widow in Penrith.

As already mentioned above in my comments about Mary, in the 1881 census Agnes Scott (widowed) was staying with her sister Mary and Mary’s husband Henry Sutton in Reigate, Surrey. This was a temporary visit, perhaps following on the death of Agnes’s husband Francis Scott in late 1880. I say this because, in the 1891 census, Agnes was again living at Ashley House, Union Street. This time she was living with her niece Hannah Smith (one of the daughters of John Smith of Melmerby). Agnes was “living on own means”; Hannah had no stated occupation or means of support. Possibly she was living as a companion to her aunt.

(Meantime, when Agnes was in Reigate in early 1881, her house in Penrith called Ashley House was occupied by Agnes’s niece Hannah Smith with Hannah’s own niece Elinor Smith (George Hardy Smith’s daughter), aged 2. Clearly, there were strong connections between various members of the Smith family.)

Agnes Scott died in 1898. Hannah Smith was the executor of her will. Effects as stated in the probate record were £2,270 15s. That would be worth about £232,100 in today’s currency. I wonder if Agnes bequeathed her house and other assets to her niece Hannah.

There are three other children in William Smith’s family to be described but I will leave them for the final post in this series of four posts. They are: William, Elizabeth and Lancelot.

Posted in Families, Islington, Melmerby, Penrith, Reigate, Scott, Smith, Sutton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Two Milliners

The Elusive Dobsons

This is the second of four posts about William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his family. In a previous post I said that William and his wife Mary Longrigg had seven surviving adult children:

John Smith (1815-1884)
Ann Dobson (1819-    )
Mary Sutton (1821-1882?)
Agnes Scott (1823-1898)
William Smith (1825-1905)
Elizabeth Harrison (1831-1900)
Lancelot Smith (1833-1889)

The oldest surviving son John inherited his father’s freehold property in Melmerby when William died in 1857. I will write about John Smith and his family later.

This particular post will be about Ann, who was a first cousin of my great-grandfather Lancelot Smith of Corballis.

Unfortunately, I know less about Ann and the family she married into – the Dobsons – than about any of her siblings. Actually, I have more questions than answers about her life. If any of my readers knows more, I would be pleased to get additional information or be advised of incorrect information or assumptions I have used here.

Ann Dobson (1819-????)
Ann was actually the fifth child but the second surviving child and eldest surviving daughter of William Smith and Mary Longrigg. In 1841 Ann was listed in the census records as living at home in Melmerby with her parents William and Mary Smith and five other siblings: John, William, Jane, Elizabeth and Lancelot. Ann would have been 21 years old at that time.

In July 1847, Ann married Benjamin Dobson in Melmerby Parish Church. Benjamin had a small farm of 11.5 acres; I think the farm was in Patterdale, Westmorland, although that is not certain. (Curiously, he was born in Southwark, London although his parents lived in the West Ward of Westmorland both before and after he was born.) Although Patterdale is in Westmorland, it is quite close to Penrith and, therefore, to Melmerby.

In this map, Penrith is in the upper right hand corner. The red line is the border between Cumberland to the north and Westmorland to the south. Patterdale is at the south end of Ullswater, one of the famous lakes in the Lake District.

In the 1851 census, Ann with her husband Benjamin Dobson and two young daughters (Margaret aged 2 and Mary aged 5 months) were visiting the Smith family in Melmerby. In the same census of 1851, Benjamin’s brothers Lancelot and Hiram, sister Caroline and his mother Margaret Dobson were all recorded as living in Patterdale. (Benjamin’s mother Margaret and her husband Lancelot Dobson had about eight children, some born in Southwark, London, and others in Westmorland).

In 1857, Ann was given £140 in her father’s Will of 1857. (Each of  her sisters received the same legacy.) This was a significant amount of money then. One estimate is it would be worth about £12,260 in terms of today’s standard of living. I imagine this money was very helpful to Ann.

The first big question I have is: where were Benjamin, Ann, Margaret and Mary in 1861? In the census for that year, they were not in Patterdale although Benjamin’s siblings Lancelot, Hiram and Caroline, as well as his mother Margaret, were still there.

The second question:  when (or where) Ann or Benjamin did die? Dobson was quite a common name in mid- to late-nineteenth century Northern England – particularly in Yorkshire and Durham  but also in Westmorland – and there are too many Ann Dobsons and Benjamin Dobsons in the civil registration records for reliable identification. I thought Benjamin had died in 1866 but now I am unsure. Possibly the Dobson family was not in Northern England, in which case their identification in the English civil registration lists is even more difficult.

Information I have been given (but have not fully verified) is that Ann and Benjamin had four children: Margaret (born September 1848), William (born May 1849), Mary (born October 1850) and Jane (born August 1855). I believe all the children were born in Patterdale.

Having searched diligently for any of the Dobson family members in the 1861, 1871 and 1881 censuses in England, I found none of them – which is odd. Further searches for Benjamin, Ann, Margaret and Mary Dobson in other records (e.g., emigration records, US and Canadian censuses and civil registration records in Ireland and Scotland) have all proved fruitless. So, where were the Dobsons?

What is even odder is that I think Ann’s daughter Mary Dobson re-appeared later. She was a small baby when visiting her grandparents in Melmerby in March 1851. But the next time I can maybe identify her is in 1891, when she was 40 years old. This raises another question: where was Mary living for the previous four decades? The most likely answer is: living in another country. But where?

In 1891, there was a Mary Dobson, born in Patterdale, who was unmarried and living with an aunt and uncle, Rebecca and Joseph Alcock in Threlkeld, which is west of Penrith and in Cumberland. Joseph Alcock was a master shoemaker and his wife Rebecca was a younger sister of Benjamin Dobson. So, unless Rebecca had two nieces called Mary Dobson, both born in or around 1850 in Patterdale, I think this Mary must be the daughter of Benjamin and Ann Dobson.

Rebecca Alcock died in Threlkeld in 1897 at the age of  80. In the 1901 census, Mary was still living in Threlkeld with her uncle Joseph, by then a retired shoemaker. Joseph died in 1904, aged 87. Mary stayed in Threlkeld and appears in the 1911 census living on private means, aged 60 and unmarried. So I assume she inherited the house and some money from her uncle Joseph. Mary died in 1922, aged 72, in Penrith civil registration district (which would include Threlkeld).

This is a very incomplete story about Ann Dobson, her husband Benjamin and her daughters Margaret and Mary. I hope I can improve it over time. More records may become publicly available. I do not believe Ann had any direct descendants but possibly someone better acquainted with the Dobsons than I am can add more information to this story.

Posted in Dobson, Families, Melmerby, Patterdale, Penrith, Places, Smith, Threlkeld, Westmorland | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Elusive Dobsons

William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his family

This is the first of four posts I am writing about William Smith and his family even though they are not direct ancestors of mine (William was my great-great-grandfather’s older brother). I am doing this because I have found some interesting information about this family that I want to share.

I have tended to picture the Smiths of Melmerby as preferring to stay put in the Cumberland village where they owned freehold property, sometimes living in nearby communities in the Upper Eden valley such as Gamblesby, and only reluctantly leaving there to go to live somewhere else. This may be only partly true. Certainly, by the nineteenth century, other possible ways of making a living were opening up following the industrial revolution.

Upper Eden Valley, Cumberland

So far I have found that, rather than leave the land and go to work in a Lancashire cotton mill, a coal mine or other industrial enterprise, the Smiths either moved to the nearest market town of Penrith or in some cases they ventured further afield, including to London. (My own line of Melmerby Smiths stuck to farming and went to Ireland to continue farming there on a scale that was impossible for them in Cumberland.)

When I started researching the male line of Smiths going back from my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall, I was focused on tracing the eldest sons in order to get back as far as possible in Cumberland. While doing so, I did often wonder what happened to the younger sons and to the daughters. In the earliest generations, information about those sons and daughters was very scarce indeed. However, by the nineteenth century, the available sources of information had expanded.

Those sources are now increasingly available on-line so it is possible to learn much more about all the members of the family fairly easily. The principal sources I have used here are: church baptisms, census records, probate records and wills (when available), and civil registration of births, marriages and deaths.

The William Smith I am writing about in this post was the oldest surviving son of John Smith of Melmerby so he inherited the family farm in Melmerby (see his father John Smith Jr.’s will, probated in 1821).

William  also inherited freehold property in Gamblesby (Parish of Addingham) under his mother Hannah Smith’s will of 1832.  Hannah Huddart came from Gamblesby where her father William Huddart was a yeoman farmer. I believe that Hannah was an only child and inherited her father’s property. Gamblesby is about a mile and a half (2.5 km) north-west of Melmerby.

William had an older brother John who died in 1802, aged 24, in Jamaica. There is a gravestone in Melmerby parish churchyard commemorating his death. I have no information on why he went to Jamaica.

In February 1812, William married Mary Longrigg in Kirkoswald Parish Church.  (Her birthplace in census records is always given as Kirkoswald.) Mary was under age when she married, with her parents’ permission. She was baptised in Kirkoswald Parish Church on November 3rd 1793 so she was eighteen when she married William Smith, who was 31.

In their early years of marriage, William and Mary lived in Hesket, which is north-west of Kirkoswald and about 12 miles (20 km) from Melmerby. Hesket is where their first three children were born. The other children were born in Melmerby.

William and Mary had 11 children, of whom four died young. (Thomas was an infant, Isaac was aged 7, Jane died when she was 16 or 17 and the eldest daughter Hannah died when she was 25.) There were four surviving daughters and three surviving sons.

William’s three adult sons were: John, William and Lancelot. John inherited the Melmerby farm and other freehold property; William inherited freehold land in Gamblesby and farmed there; and Lancelot inherited a small freehold property in Gamblesby but he went to London (more later on him and his surprising career). Both John and William were yeoman farmers in their respective communities.

William had four adult daughters: Ann, Mary, Agnes and Elizabeth. Each of them received £140 in William Smith’s will of 1857.

Tracing females in public records is somewhat more difficult than searching for males but I have identified all the daughters’ married names and have been able to follow a bit of their lives, as described in later posts. They were: Ann Dobson, Mary Sutton, Agnes Scott and Elizabeth Harrison.

William lived in Melmerby until his death in 1857. His will provided for generous support to his widow Mary, who continued to live in Melmerby until she died in 1868. Both of them were buried in the churchyard of Melmerby Parish Church.

William’s successor on the Melmerby property was his son John Smith. I will be writing about John later when I describe his family. Before I do that, I want to write about William’s other children. The next post will be about William’s oldest daughter, Ann Dobson.

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More Branches and Twigs on the Family Tree

In my original quest for information about my Smith ancestors – starting from my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall – I was most interested in tracing back the male line to the origins of the Smith family in the small village of Melmerby. For much of its existence, Melmerby was in the county of Cumberland in north-west England; in 1974, the county was absorbed into the bigger county of Cumbria.

Melmerby and the Fells: from photograph by Val Corbett

I have written numerous posts and pages on this blog about the Smith family line and do not expect to find out much more about them through traditional genealogical research. For example, in the case of two of my direct male ancestors in Melmerby – John Smith (1712-1795) and William Smith (1640-1720) – I cannot identify their wives other than by their forename. Maiden surnames were not considered important to record in parish marriage registers of the time. Maybe through DNA tests and genetic matching, I will be able to find out more about these unknown female ancestors… I would also be interested to learn more – if I could – about the younger sons and the daughters in each Smith family that I have explored.

Recently I have spent time researching the 19th-century branches of the Smith family in Cumberland who are related to my Smiths in Ireland through cousin-ship. Records for this more recent century are much better, particularly with the establishment of the census system every ten years starting in 1841 but also with civil registration of births, marriages and deaths after 1837 and the publication of probate records for wills (which were becoming more common in the family).

Much earlier on this blog, I wrote a brief post about the Melmerby Smiths after 1821 but they were not a major focus for me at that time and I did not know much about them.

The following chart shows when the Smith family lines diverged from my perspective. Both lines go back to John Smith and Hannah Huddart. (In my genealogy charts and pages I have called him John Smith Jr. to distinguish him from his father of the same name.)

While it is very nice that the Smith families of Melmerby continued – with rare exceptions – to use the forenames familiar to them, this has often made it difficult to know which William Smith, John Smith or Thomas Smith is being documented. It is also a challenge when writing about them. Although Lancelot Smiths abound in the larger family tree, they were not – in the Melmerby line – the eldest sons. Common names for the Melmerby Smith daughters were Mary, Agnes and Hannah.

My great-great-grandfather Lancelot Smith (1785-1871) was a younger son of John Smith of Melmerby and his wife Hannah Huddart of Gamblesby. Lancelot’s older brother William Smith (1781-1857) inherited the freehold farm property in Melmerby from his father while Lancelot had a small freehold property in Gamblesby as well as a small freehold property in Melmerby (inherited from his uncle Thomas). I imagine it was difficult for him to support his wife and family of eight children on the property he could farm. In the 1850s, this Lancelot Smith and most of his family, including two of his sons – Lancelot and Thomas – moved to Ireland to farm as tenants in County Tipperary. This might have been seen as a step down from being a yeoman farmer in Cumberland but I believe it represented a significant economic opportunity to manage much larger farms and, ultimately, to own them after the Irish Land Acts of the late 19th century were implemented.

After William Smith died in Melmerby in 1857, his son John Smith (1815-1884) settled into the Melmerby property. He was a first cousin of my great-grandfather, Lancelot Smith of Corballis (Corballis was the name of the farm in County Dublin where he lived for many years from the early 1870s).

John Smith died in 1884 and his heir to the Melmerby property was George Hardy Smith (1852-1928). George and his siblings were second cousins to my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall.

Having now collected more information about the 19th-century Melmerby Smiths, I will be writing several posts about them soon. The first posts will be about William Smith of Melmerby (1781-1857) and his family of eleven children.

That will be followed by a few posts about his son John Smith (1815-1884) and his family, with some focus on John’s daughters – the Misses Smith of Penrith – as well as his younger sons John and Christopher. Related to these posts will be one about the Hardys of Park Head.

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Mystery Photographs from Penrith

I have several old photographs that are a bit of a mystery. They were taken in Penrith, Cumberland, in formal studio settings.  The photographs have come to me via a cousin, who was given a photograph album belonging to a distant cousin in the Smith family. Most of the people in the album can be identified as Smiths or relations of Smiths.

However, there is a set of photographs containing people whom I cannot identify. These are the “mystery photographs”. I hope by adding them to my blog that someone will have an idea of their identity.

The photographs in the album are wonderfully clear even though they are only 4″ by 2.5″ (about 10 cm by 6 cm) in size.  Most of them were taken by the same photographer; on the backs of these particular photographs, it says “T H S Melt, Photographer, 26 Arthur Street, Penrith”.  Because the photographs were taken in Penrith, the people portrayed may be Smiths from Melmerby. (I wrote an earlier post about the Melmerby Smiths after 1821 on this blog.)

Judging by the clothes the people are wearing, the photographs were probably taken in the early to mid-1870s.  If I choose the date of 1875 and then find the Melmerby Smiths who were adults in that year, I might get close to finding out who these people are.  But I recognize this is only a guess.

I would welcome any ideas you have about the people portrayed as well as when the pictures were taken.  If you know anything about the photographer “T H S Melt”, that would be helpful as well. I could not find him in any on-line listing of 19th century photographers.

In 1875, the head of the Smith family in Melmerby was John Smith who was 60 years old at that time; his wife Mary Smith (nee Hardy) was 53.  Their children at that date were:

  • William Smith, aged 26
  • George Hardy Smith, aged 23
  • Mary Ann Smith, aged 21
  • Agnes Smith, aged 19
  • Hannah Smith, aged 17
  • John Smith, aged 14
  • Christopher Smith, aged 10

Penrith group 1873This is the family group picture.  There are also individual portraits of some of the people in this group.

The arrangement of people in such formal portraits is usually significant.  I think the man seated in the centre is the head of the family.  The focus of the picture appears to be on the young woman seated at the front with a young man beside her.  Was this photograph taken on the occasion of a betrothal?  The woman standing behind the head of the family is a widow, based on the black dress and the small black head-dress she is wearing.  The older woman seated on the left also seems to be a widow.

Well, who are they? Here is my guess.

The man seated in the centre is John Smith.

The bearded man standing on the right bears some resemblance to the head of the family (and it is not just the whiskers); I think they could be brothers.  John’s younger brother William Smith and his wife Elizabeth Smith (nee Harrison) lived in Gamblesby and they were both 50 years old in 1875.  I think it is William and his wife who are standing together on the right of the picture.

The young man standing at the back on the left has his arm around the shoulders of the older woman next to him; she is wearing a striped dress. I think this is George Hardy Smith and his mother Mary Smith (nee Hardy).

The young woman seated at the right bears a strong resemblance  to George Hardy Smith so is probably one of his three sisters. Maybe it is Mary Ann Smith although it could be his second sister Agnes Smith.  (I suggest the latter possibility because Mary Ann was living with the Hardys in Park Head at the time.)

The widow standing behind the head of the family could be John Smith’s sister Ann Dobson, who was married to Benjamin Dobson; he had died in 1866.

I do not have any idea who is the older woman seated on the left.  It is not John Smith’s mother because she died in 1868. Nor is it Mary Smith’s mother, Eleanor Hardy, who died in 1864. Possibly she is related to the young woman seated at the front?

The couple at the front of the group is the biggest puzzle of all.

Is the young man William Smith, John and May Smith’s eldest son? If so, is the young woman his fiancee? And what is her name?

An alternative is that the young woman is a Smith but it is unlikely to be one of John Smith’s daughters; none of his three surviving daughters ever married. Another possibility: is the young woman the daughter of Ann Dobson? She had an older daughter Margaret who never married. There was a second daughter Mary but I have no information about her life.

Definitely a mystery.

Below are individual portraits of four of the people in the group picture. I have no idea why only these few portraits were in the photograph album. It might have been expected there would be portraits of the two people at the front of the group but I do not have those. In any case, the following images help to show more clearly four of the people in the group photograph.

Penrith 1

Penrith 2

Penrith 5


Posted in Dobson, Families, Gamblesby, Hardy, Harrison, Melmerby, Penrith, Photographs, Smith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mystery Photographs from Penrith

The Sad Story of William B. Upton

(Updated November 17, 2017)

When I was looking for on-line information about my 3X great-grandfather William Bayly Upton, I came across a few items about a William B. Upton, born around 1828 and living in Cashel. I wondered who he might be and if he was related to the Uptons I was researching. Recently I concluded that he was related but the question remained: who was he? I thought there were two possible candidates: William Upton, son of William Upton, apothecary, and brother of Eliza Upton (my great-grandmother); and William Bayly Upton, son of David Upton, and first cousin of Eliza. I don’t have good evidence of this but I believe that Eliza’s brother William died as a boy in 1849. That has left David Upton’s son as the most likely person.

When David Upton died suddenly  in 1846, he left his widow Mary nee Gilbert and three children in Cashel. I have found their eldest son was William Bayly Upton, probably born in early 1828. The second son was Matthew Gilbert Upton who was born in November 1829. The only daughter Frances (Fanny) was born around 1837. So, at the time of their father’s death, they were aged about 18, 16 and 9 respectively.

At some time between 1846 and 1860, Mary Upton emigrated from Ireland to the United States with her daughter Fanny. Mary owned property in Cashel but was not living there in the 1850 Griffith’s Valuation records. So I think she had left Cashel by 1848 or 1849. Her son Matthew may have emigrated on his own in 1851. To date, I could not find any of them in the US Census for 1850.

In the 1860 US census, Mary and Fanny were living in New York City while Matthew was living in San Francisco. Mary and Fanny do not appear to have prospered in New York; Mary died in Brooklyn in 1869 and Fanny died in New York City in 1876. Fanny was unmarried.

Meantime in California, in 1860 Matthew was a widower with a young son, William Bayly Upton, aged 3. (The young boy was living with a family called Gorham, presumably because his father could not care for him on his own.) Matthew was an editor of the San Francisco ‘Bulletin” newspaper and continued in this occupation for many years. Around 1865 he married a second time and had two daughters, Frances and Elizabeth. In 1892, Matthew’s son William Bayly Upton also had a son, William Bayly Upton Jr., and he in turn had one son, William Bayly Upton III, born in 1929 and died unmarried in 1984. As far as I can tell, that is where the male line of Uptons from Cashel ended in the United States.

Here is an abbreviated version of the Upton family tree showing the David Bayly Upton line and how it relates to Eliza Upton and the Smith family.

On-line searches have not shown any trace of Matthew’s brother in the United States and I believe he stayed at home in Cashel. In the Upton family book written by W. H Upton in the 1890s, there is a cryptic comment about this particular William Bayly Upton that “his life was wrecked in early manhood”. What did this mean? See what you think from the story I have been able to piece together about this unfortunate man.

The following descriptions of William B. Upton come mainly from the Irish Prison Registers we well as from Dublin Workhouse registers and a couple of newspaper items. Already you can see this is not going to have a happy ending. Nor does it have a happy beginning, in early 1860.

Bear in mind that William Bayly Upton, this man’s grandfather, was still alive in 1860 and continued to live in Cashel until January 1863. William B. Upton also had three aunts and numerous cousins living in the town. His cousin Eliza Upton married Lancelot Smith in 1862 and she went to live on the farm at Rathcoun with the Smiths. They stayed at Rathcoun, very close to Cashel, until 1871 when they moved to the farm at Corballis in County Dublin.

The first time that it is recorded that William Upton was sent to gaol (or jail if you prefer) was on February 23, 1860. He was charged with assault – the record does not say who he assaulted. He was committed to Clonmel Gaol by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench at the Cashel Petty Sessions with a sentence of bail or three months. The Clonmel Gaol Registry shows he was discharged on May 22, 1860 so obviously he did not have bail money. The registry also includes information about the person being imprisoned. Age: 32. Can he read and write: yes. Religion: Protestant. Height: 5′ 8.5″. Physical appearance: blue eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion.

On July 5 1860, William Upton was charged with insubordinate conduct in the Workhouse in Cashel. So we know that by this time (if not earlier), he was living in the Workhouse. Again he was committed to gaol by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench with a sentence of 14 days’ hard labour; he was discharged the second time on July 18, 1860. (This time, the registry says he was 5′ 9″ tall and had hazel eyes.)

On August 14, 1862, William B. Upton was charged with refusing to work in the Workhouse. This time in the Clonmel Gaol registry he was described as: aged 34; can read and write; Protestant; 5′ 9″ tall; blue eyes, fair hair, fresh complexion. He was committed to gaol by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench and sentenced to one month’s hard labour. The prisoner was discharged on September 10, 1862.

Having apparently learned nothing from this experience, William B. Upton was charged on October 30, 1862, with four offences of refusing to work in the Poor House (the same institution as the Workhouse). The Clonmel Gaol Registry description this time was: aged 34; read and write; Protestant; 5′ 9″; hazel eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion. He was sentenced by the Hon. J M. Ffrench to 14 days’ hard labour times four (in other words, to 56 days of hard labour); he was discharged on December 24, 1862.

This particular episode was reported in a somewhat jocular manner in the local newspaper, the “Tipperary Free Press”, on October 31, 1862:

A pauper inmate of the workhouse named William Upton, was brought up for refusing to work on the farm for four consecutive days, and otherwise infringing the regulations of the house. Upton had frequently occupied a position in advance of the Cashel Magistrates, with a body guard around him. On the present occasion he retired, and will not appear in public until about Christmas. He is going for training at the county gymnasium.

Leaving aside the contemptuous tone of this little item in the newspaper, it is worth noting the mention of the frequency of William Upton’s appearances before the magistrates in Cashel and the comment about a “body guard”. Does the latter imply that this man was prone to being violent?

On May 7, 1863, William B. Upton was back again at the Cashel Petty Sessions court, this time charged with seven offences under the Poor Law. What those offences were is not stated in the Gaol Registry. His description: aged 35; read and write; Protestant; 5′ 8.5″; hazel eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion. He was committed to gaol by I. M. Bushe, Esq. and Richard Phillips Esq. to one month’s hard labour times 7. He was discharged on November 18, 1863.

Three and half years later, William B. Upton was back in court. On June 21, 1867, he was charged with using “threatening language, etc.”.  No further details are given to show who he threatened or what the “etc.” represented. His description: aged 39; can read; Protestant; 5′ 8.5″; grey eyes, sandy hair, fresh complexion. He was sentenced by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench Esq. to bail of £10 and sureties in £5 each or six months. Hard labour was not mentioned this time. He was discharged on December 4, 1867, so again he could not raise the money for bail.

On July 7, 1868, William B. Upton charged a blind man with an assault at the workhouse. The “Tipperary Free Press” of July 17 gives its version of what this case at the Cashel Petty Sessions was about:

William B. Upton charged a blind man named Denis Gooly with an assault at the workhouse on the 7th instant. It appears Gooly had been struck by some missile which was thrown, and he brandished an old floorcloth over his head, which struck Upton in the face, and he retaliated by giving Gooly a blow to the temple. Case dismissed.

Further trouble ensued. On August 27, 1868, William B. Upton was again charged with assault and was sentenced to two months’ hard labour by the Hon. J. M. Ffrench at Cashel Petty Sessions. By now, William B. Upton was 40 years old. The Gaol Registry description also says: can read and write; Protestant, 5′ 9″; hazel eyes, auburn hair, fresh complexion. He was discharged on October 21, 1868.

I have included the personal descriptions from the Clonmel Gaol Registers because it helps to confirm we have the same person each time. Although the first two events are about “William Upton” and the others are about “William B. Upton”, I think the descriptions of personal characteristics show it is the same person each time.  The age matches the estimated birth date and the Protestant religious affiliation is uncommon in the Clonmel Gaol registers. The height measurements vary only slightly although the eye colour and hair colour seem to change a few times. The “fresh complexion” descriptor is not particularly meaningful since it seems from the registers that almost all prisoners had this. Not many Irish people are sallow (the other option).

The last time that William B. Upton was in Clonmel gaol was in 1868. I assume he continued to live at the Cashel Workhouse as a pauper. William B. Upton died in 1874 in Cashel. His age in the civil registration records is given as 44 but he would have been 46.

A very sad, poverty-stricken, violent and short life. Here was a man who must have had many opportunities to do well in life but was unable – for whatever reason – to take advantage of those opportunities. William B. Upton’s father David Bayly Upton was Actuary to the Government Savings Bank in Cashel and Clerk of the Quarter Sessions – both highly responsible positions – before his untimely death in 1846.

His grandfather William Bayly Upton was a relatively wealthy man of considerable education and status in the town of Cashel. I wonder what he thought and felt about this grandson who was his namesake and could have been his heir. Did William B. Upton suffer from some form of mental illness that nowadays would have been identified and treated? It seems clear to me that the Upton family had given up trying to help him so he descended to being a pauper in the local workhouse and being sent to prison periodically for insubordinate and violent behaviour.

I also wonder when William B. Upton became destitute. We know he was in the Cashel Workhouse in 1860. There is a record in the Dublin Workhouses registers of a William Upton from Tipperary aged 28 in 1856 who stayed for a few months in the North Dublin Workhouse. Had he already been disowned by his family at that date? What had he done to have earned that treatment? When did he have to seek help under the Poor Law that would require him to live and work in the Cashel Workhouse? These are questions that have no answers and we are unlikely to get any from the records of his time.

A sad story indeed.


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Margaret Joyce – from Cashel to Romford

I became interested in Margaret Joyce and her family initially because of their link to the Smiths via the Uptons of Cashel, County Tipperary.

The Joyce family is linked to the Uptons in this way: The second daughter of William Bayly Upton and his wife Margaret McClure was named Rebecca, who was born in or around 1809. She was the second youngest in the family, I believe.

In 1830, Rebecca Upton was married to Terence McGrath  (also written as Magrath). They had seven children, including two daughters: Rebecca and Margaret. These children were first cousins of Eliza Upton who married Lancelot Smith.

Rebecca Upton Magrath was named as one of two women who inherited the real property of her father William Bayly Upton in Cashel when he died in 1863. According to the will, Rebecca’s inheritance from her father was tied so that, when she died, her own daughters Rebecca and Margaret were to inherit. (The other heir to the Upton property was Rebecca’s older sister Prudence who married Robert Charters. Her inheritance was similarly tied to the next generation, Ellen Charters.)

Rebecca Magrath died in December 1875 and probate for her will was granted in October 1877 to her sole legatee: her daughter Margaret  – by then called “Margaret Joyce, wife of John Joyce”. From this I assume that Margaret’s sister Rebecca had already died and had left no children. Usually in those days, probate was granted in much less time than 22 months so there may have been some question about who was to inherit. Possibly it was related to Margaret’s very recent marriage and consequent change of name.

Margaret Joyce was one of William Bayly Upton’s grandchildren and, therefore, one of Eliza (Upton) Smith’s many cousins. I have no information so far on what happened to the ownership of the houses and other real property that Margaret inherited in 1877. Since she probably did not live in Cashel after her marriage, I wonder if the property was simply sold off. Collecting rents from afar would have been difficult although she could have appointed an agent.

Margaret Joyce had a very unusual middle name: Affra (also written as Aphra). I have no idea what the origin of that name was. Happily, with an unusual name like that, it has been a bit easier to trace her in Irish records and to distinguish her from all the many other Margaret Magraths. (There was a second married couple around the same time period called John Joyce and Margaret Magrath which has made it a bit difficult.)

I have found that Margaret Affra Magrath and John Evans Joyce were married in 1877 in Dublin. John was born in County Galway around 1848 and was a Clerk of Petty Sessions. Judging from the birth places of their children – Tipperary, Kerry, Carlow, Leitrim and Roscommon – he and his family moved around the country quite a lot. Their children were:

Theobald Upton Joyce, born 1878
Emily May Joyce, born around 1883
John Ulick Joyce, born 1885
Affra Margaret Joyce, born around 1886
Charles William Joyce, born 1887
Walter E. Penefather Joyce, born around 1888

Given the date gap between the first two children, it is probable there was at least one other child born in the family but I have no firm information on their names or whether they died young. It is possible there was a daughter Ephemie Elizabeth, born in Limerick in 1879.

The Joyce children were second cousins of my grandfather William Smith of Blackhall.

The following chart is a very abbreviated version of the family showing the connections between the Joyce family, William Bayly Upton and the Smiths.

The name of the eldest son Theobald Upton Joyce is interesting in two ways. The name Theobald is unusual and makes it more likely one can find him in later records (more on that in a while). Also, the inclusion of the name Upton as his middle name is helpful in ensuring I have the right family. Joyce is a common surname, especially in western Ireland.

The youngest son Walter also had an interesting name. Other records show his full name as Walter Evans Penefather Joyce.

The Joyce family can be found in Wexford in the 1901 Irish census which shows the parents with their five younger children. Irish censuses are always useful when it comes to information about religious affiliations. John Evans Joyce and his children were listed as Church of Ireland (i.e., Anglican) whereas Margaret Affra Joyce was Methodist. I could not find the eldest son Theobald in the Irish census in 1901 (an explanation for this emerged later).

None of the Joyce family is listed in the 1911 Irish census. In looking elsewhere for Theobald Upton Joyce, I was interested to find him in the 1911 English census, living in Liverpool with his mother Margaret, a widow, and his two sisters: Emily and Aphra. Therefore, it seems that Margaret’s husband John Evans Joyce died between the two census years. I have not been able to find a death date or death place for him in Ireland or England. In the 1911 English census, Theobald’s occupation is given as a Pensioner, South African Constabulary. So that suggests he was probably in South Africa in 1901.

In another document I found references to the fact that Theobald was “invalided from the South African Police at the end of the Boer War” and, in 1915, was “serving on the staff of the Royal Naval Ordnance, Portsmouth”. Theobald served in the Devon Regiment from November 1914 until December 1916. From at least 1911, Theobald’s three younger brothers were serving in various capacities in the Royal Marines. His brother Charles served in the Royal Marine Artillery and his brother Walter fought in the Dardanelles with the Portsmouth Battalion Royal Marine Brigade during the First World War. Both brothers survived the war.

Theobald’s third brother John Ulick Joyce was less fortunate. He was a corporal in the Royal Marine Light Infantry and was killed in the devastating explosion on board HMS “Bulwark” at Sheerness in December 1914 that killed hundreds of men. He was 29 years old and had been married for only two years to Josephine Corish in County Wexford. Their son Raymond U. Joyce was born in Hampshire in late 1914, maybe only a couple of weeks or months before John was killed.

Looking for information on the two Joyce sisters has been much more difficult. I believe that Affra Margaret Joyce died in Poplar, London in 1913 but I do not have any information on her older sister Emily May (Mary) Joyce after 1911. It is possible she married but, since I don’t have her married name, I cannot search for information on her later life.

From other searches, I have concluded that the three surviving Joyce brothers had close links with the British Royal Navy and Theobald in particular continued to be employed in some capacity by the Royal Navy in the Portsmouth area for many years. According to English electoral registers, between 1915 and 1926 Theobald lived in Gosport, Hampshire, with his mother Margaret and – at various dates – with his brothers Charles and Walter. I lost track of him after 1926 until 1931, when he appears again on the electoral register but this time living in Macclesfield, Cheshire, with his mother Margaret.

In what seems like a major life change, Theobald was married in 1935 to Florence E. Day in Romford, Essex. I can only assume that his work with the Royal Navy had required him to move to that part of England although by then he was about 56 years old. In 1936, Theobald’s mother Margaret Joyce died in Romford aged 86.

In the 1939 Register, Theobald and Florence were living in Ilford, Essex.  By this time Theobald was a retired Royal Naval Ordnance Clerk. Theobald died in Ilford in early 1960. His age of death is given as 79 although I think he was actually 81.

Theobald’s brother Walter E. P. Joyce died in 1951 in Gosport, Hampshire, at the age of 62. I have no other details of his life after the First World War.

An interesting family, all born in Ireland but living in England from the early 1900s. Their move to England happened long before the 1917 Easter Rising and all of the chaos that followed up to and beyond the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 and the civil war. I wonder if they kept in contact with any of their Irish relatives and if Margaret Joyce continued to own any property in Cashel.

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William Bayly Upton’s will

(Updated November 17, 2017)

Finding a will – even if it is a transcription – is a wonderful thing in Irish genealogy research. So many original wills and similar documents were lost in the fire at the Four Courts in Dublin during the Civil War in 1922.

Recently I found the transcription of the November 1861 will of William Bayly Upton, my 3X great-grandfather. I knew he had died on the 13th of January 1863 but had no idea what happened to his property and other possessions after that. Now I know something about that.

The transcription is part of a collection of wills that were registered in the District Registry for Waterford, which covered the counties of Waterford, Wexford and Tipperary. The volumes of transcriptions were kept in Waterford and are now being digitized and made available on-line by the subscription service Find My Past.

From looking at the lists of properties in Griffith’s Valuation published in 1850, I knew that William Bayly Upton lived in Cashel and had significant property in the town including houses, gardens and vacant lots on several streets and lanes branching off Main Street in the centre of the town. I was curious to know what he decided should be done with that after he died.

It was usual in most families for the sons, particularly the eldest son, to inherit their father’s property. But, as I have already explained in other posts, all five of William Bayly Upton’s sons died before he did. Two of his sons, William and David, had children. But, as far as I know, William’s two sons died as children. David had two sons; the younger one, Matthew Gilbert Upton, emigrated with his mother and sister Fanny to the United States after his father died in 1846. I think Matthew’s older brother William stayed in Tipperary and was not reliable (I will write about him on another occasion). William Bayly Upton’s youngest son, Bayly, died in 1852 and I believe he was unmarried. So William Bayly Upton had no Upton grandsons in Cashel that he could trust with his estate. He did have grandsons from his daughters’ families but they were not favoured in the first instance.

He also had a granddaughter Eliza Upton (my great-grandmother), who was living in Cashel in 1861. She was the daughter of William Upton. She is not mentioned in the will. Eliza married Lancelot Smith in June 1862 so maybe her grandfather thought she would be provided for through that marriage.

Interestingly enough, he decided to bequeath his real property and residual assets to two of his daughters – although he had three daughters (Prudence, Rebecca and Margaret). What was the reasoning behind this? I think Margaret was omitted because she was no longer living in Cashel whereas the other two were. Margaret, who married Thomas Ryall, died in Dublin in 1866.

Prudence Upton was the eldest daughter and she was married to Robert Charters (also often written as Chartres). She was born in 1798, by my calculation, so she was 63 years old when her father’s will was signed. This is what Prudence received:

I will and bequeath unto my daughter Prudence Charters all that and those houses in Chapel Lane viz. the house occupied and inhabited by herself and the three other houses above her and on the same side of the said street and which three houses I hold by lease under Margaret Harrington the third of said three houses is situate at the entrance into Lester’s lane and also the several eight houses and the void and empty spaces of ground extending from the house occupied by Patrick Ekins to Mrs. Dolan’s gate leading into her garden and the empty space extending from the other side of said gate to the houses occupied by John Ryan and the garden behind the house occupied by Michael Keefe, all which house and waste ground and garden I now hold under Abel Richard Woodroofe Esquire and here I have to state that the space over Mrs. Dolan’s gateway heretofore a room belongs to me and forms part of my lease

This is quite a complicated description that is hard to follow without a map.

So here are a couple of maps to give you an idea of where these properties were.

First is a modern map showing the centre of Cashel with Main Street going in a diagonal line. The Rock of Cashel, with its ancient church buildings is to the north of Main Street beside Rock Lane. The streets and lanes where William Bayly Upton had property were: Main Street, Friar Street (also written as Friar’s, Fryar, or Friary Street), Chapel Lane (now called Dominic Street), Lester’s Lane (not visible on this map), and Green House Lane (also not visible).

Ordnance Survey of Ireland modern map excerpt

The second map is a closer look at the centre of the town at about 1900. It shows more of the lanes as well as the streets. Lester’s Lane is identified as Lyster’s Lane, to the left of Chapel Lane. Green House Lane is not identified in this map either but may be what is called Quirk’s Lane, which leads into Main Street on the south side of that street.

Ordnance Survey of Ireland map excerpt c 1900

Rebecca Upton married Terence McGrath (later written as Magrath) in 1830. She was born around 1809 so she was about 52 when her father’s will was written in November 1861. Apart from one other bequest, Rebecca Magrath received the rest of the property, as follows:

And to my daughter Rebecca Magrath I will and bequeath all the rest of my property consisting of holdings in Fryar street, in said city of Cashel being the house in which John Dunn collar maker lives and the next house now a gateway held from me under a proposal by William Corcoran and the next house some time since occupied by Margaret McEnroe which property I hold under the late Mr. William Phelan as also the house and concerns which Mr. Thomas Carew holds from me under lease and which I purchased from Richard Lockwood Esq. at forty years purchase and also that portion of Green house lane in said city of Cashel which the said Mr. Thomas Carew holds under lease from me and which Garden is part of the property I hold in said Green house lane which I hold under lease from Thomas Dwyer Esquire Solicitor all which garden and houses in said Green house lane I will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Magrath being the Bakery house and two rooms one over Mr. Thomas Hayden’s kitchen and the second over a back room of the adjoining house and a house opposite to where Patrick Magrath lives in said lane both which places Mr. Thomas Hayden holds from me under leases also a house the said Mr. Hayden holds at a weekly rent of one shilling per week the rest of the houses in said Green house lane being held by weekly tenants and consist of twelve distinct houses and ten rooms in the large house I also will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Magrath the property partly in the Main street and Chapel lane which I hold under lease from the late Richard Wood Apothecary which consist of three houses once held by Catherine Farrel another held by Mrs. Dolan and the one in the lane by Michael Ryan barber and the fourth being in the lane called Chapel lane and next door to the house held by Michael Ryan the barber as aforesaid and the two houses held by Catherine Farrel and Mrs. Dolan in the Main street, in stating the houses held under the late Richard Wood Apothecary I mentioned at first any three houses instead of four which number I wrote over the word three as above

It seems to me that Rebecca got the bulk of the property from her father’s will. She was also named as the residuary legatee for any money that remained after other assets (including his books) were sold and his debts were paid.

The will also describes certain yearly rents that each daughter would have to pay to those who were the ultimate owners of specific pieces of property they would inherit.

Having stated which property was to go to Prudence and which to Rebecca, their father’s will then goes on to bind them as to who would inherit the property when they died. So, in the case of Prudence, her daughter Ellen Charters was to be the heir to her mother’s real property (assuming she had not sold it before then). Prudence Charters died in 1864, only about a year after she inherited the property from her father.

I have no information on the life of Ellen Charters and do not know if she married. I did find an Ellen Charters in the 1911 Irish census living in Kilshane townland, which is not far from Cashel. She was unmarried, aged 72, and a member of the Church of Ireland. I have not been able to find her in the 1901 census; that might help to confirm I have the right Ellen Charters.

The will further specifies that if Ellen died without any legitimate children, the property would then go to her cousin William Bayly Magrath, one of Rebecca’s children.

Rebecca Magrath was also tied as to whom she could bequeath the real property she inherited from her father. The will specifies that the property would then go to Rebecca’s two daughters Margaret and Rebecca “share and share alike” (in other words, split equally). Rebecca Magrath died in 1875 and probate for her will was granted in 1877 to her daughter Margaret who was recently married to John Evans Joyce. Margaret’s sister Rebecca must have died before 1877 because Margaret was the sole legatee.

Going back again to the original will, William Bayly Upton specifies that if his granddaughters Margaret and Rebecca Magrath died without legitimate issue then the property was to be shared equally between their brothers Terry and James Magrath. This provision would not have been activated because Margaret (Magrath) Joyce had several children. I will write about the Joyce family in another post later on.

Probate on the will of William Bayly Upton was granted to Rebecca Magrath, widow, on the 7th of February 1863.

It is tempting to speculate about why William Bayly Upton decided to favour some of his female descendants as his heirs but it is probably best not to do that. Of course, you can do so if you wish …

Posted in Cashel, Charters, Families, Magrath, Ryall, Smith, Tipperary, Upton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on William Bayly Upton’s will

So, was it Bayley or Bayly?

From the beginning of my family history explorations into the Upton family (who are linked to me through my great-grandmother Eliza Upton), I have been struggling with the name of Eliza’s grandfather. His name appears in various documents, directories, newspapers and so on in various forms: Wm. Upton, W.B. Upton, William Upton, William B. Upton, William Bailey Upton, William Bayley Upton, Wm. Bayly Upton and William Bayly Upton.  When I began this blog in 2012, I was under the impression his name was William Bayley Upton and I continued to use that form until recently. I was particularly influenced in this line of thought by a hand-written family tree chart of the Uptons that showed his name in that way. The chart also showed his fourth son as David Bayley Upton so it seemed clear enough.

However, I now need to change how I have identified these two men and others because I have recently found on-line a transcription of the will of “William Bayly Upton”, signed in 1861. The will refers to property (land and buildings) that he owned in Cashel and bequeathed to two of his children (more of the details in a later post).

So, from now on, I will refer to my 3X great-grandfather as William Bayly Upton. Other posts that mention him are being amended to reflect this correction.

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The evolving family tree for the Uptons

(Updated November 17, 2017)

Every now and again, in my searches, I come across another fragment of information about the Uptons who were the children of William Bayly Upton and his wife Margaret McClure. The family lived in Cashel, County Tipperary.

The hand-written chart that I inherited turns out to be not very accurate regarding the birth order of the children. The birth years I estimated for them, therefore, require periodic amendments.

The hand-written chart shows five sons in order of birth and then three daughters. This implied birth order is not right. Church records from the Parish of St. John Baptist, Cashel, have helped to identify their probable birth years but I do not have the actual birth dates. Prudence Charters was baptized in Cashel on November 3, 1796, so I believe she was the eldest child. She was followed by four brothers, then Rebecca, Bayly and, finally, Margaret. (There had also been a couple of other children who had died young.)

I have found information on two of the sons in the records of Dublin University (usually known as Trinity College). Christopher Upton entered Dublin University at the age of 14 on November 2, 1813. He graduated with a B.A. in spring 1819. Later, his younger brother David entered the university aged 19 on November 2, 1822. He does not appear to have graduated. This information would suggest that Christopher was born in 1898 and his brother David in 1802. Neither Samuel nor William attended Dublin University although I believe that William attended lectures and took examinations at the Apothecaries’ Hall of Ireland in Merrion Square, Dublin in order to qualify as an apothecary.

So baptismal records on most of the children with some the additional information would give the following order to the children:

Prudence (1796)
Christopher (1798)
Samuel (1800)
William (1801)
David (1802)
Rebecca (1805)
Bayly (1806)
Margaret (1811)

Sadly, the sons in this family had very short lives. According to the W.H. Upton book on the Upton family, both Christopher and Samuel died as solders between 1820 and 1822 in Peru. William died aged 35 in 1836. David died in 1846 aged about 43. And Bayly died in 1852; he would have been about 45 years old. The daughters survived longer although none of them was older than 70. Their parents actually had longer lives; William Bayly Upton was 86 and his wife Margaret was 74.

Below is the current version of the family tree chart I am maintaining.

Upton Family tree as of Nov 17, 2017


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Upcoming Topics – October 2017

In April 2012, I posted a list of topics I hoped to cover in the following weeks and months.  It has taken me years to cover SOME of the topics on that list! Looking for reliable information, being distracted by searches on other lines in my family tree, day-to-day living and other pursuits has resulted in my spending very little time on this blog in the past few years. I do get comments occasionally from distant relatives and others interested in peripheral families and I am happy to get those comments. Meantime, I continue to be interested in the Smiths and their ancestors.

This is an updated list of the upcoming topics to keep you aware of where I am going with this blog.  My intention is to publish as much as possible of the information I have and then to continue searching for more and better information.

Most of the early posts were about the Smiths in Ireland and Cumberland; I am gradually coming to the end of that aspect of the family tree although I still want to get more information on the Upton and Kent families in Ireland.  Some of the upcoming topics will be about the Smiths and their relatives who stayed in Cumberland.

If you have looked at the blog’s layout, you will have realized that I am using the top menu as a means to provide a lot of information that should not change much (unless I have got it all wrong).  So I have created a number of static pages in the sections called “Family Stories” and “Family Trees”.  I consider these pages as providing basic information about the Smith family, focusing on the male line as far back as we can go at present.  There is no doubt much more I can learn about the Smiths from doing additional archival research.  But this is what I know or believe now.  I will update the pages and add new pages as I need to and will post a message to let you know what was changed.

Posts are usually shorter than pages and they cover topics that will probably change over time and will include different perspectives in response to your comments.  All the posts are found at

Comments are always welcome because they will help me to improve the information on the blog.  They will also help me to focus on the topics that are of interest to you.  I have my own ideas of what is interesting but that doesn’t mean you will agree.  Maybe there is a topic you are longing to know about and I haven’t mentioned it yet.  Please let me know what it is!

Meantime, to give you an idea of what else will be added to the blog , here is my current list of the topics to be covered in new posts (not necessarily in this order):

  • Miss Going of Monaquill
  • The Misses Smith of Penrith
  • Photographs from Penrith
  • The Hardys of Park Head
  • The Mortons of Gamblesby and Melmerby

I will update this list periodically in response to your suggestions and in light of new information I come across.


Posted in Families, Topics | Comments Off on Upcoming Topics – October 2017