Luke Richardson (1774 to 1852) – a family of teachers, ministers and solicitors

I added Luke, my 4th great grand uncle, and some of his family to my tree some time ago. In the 1841 census he was intriguingly described as a schoolmaster in Northgate, Market Weighton. As I re-checked my research before writing about him and his family, I discovered a previously unknown son. This led me to finding more school teachers, two Wesleyan Ministers, a number of solicitors, and a tragedy off the coast of New Zealand.

Luke was baptised on 27 February 1774 in St Catharine’s Church, Barmby Moor to parents Luke (1734-1813) and Ann Kirkby (1732-1811). He married Ann Cook (1781-1865) by license in St Michael’s Church, Spurriergate, York. Luke’s application for a license gave his address as Pocklington and that Ann was from York. They married on 1 December 1804. So far, I have traced eight children, four boys and four girls. Initially they lived in Pocklington, although by the time their second child Jane (1807-1883) was born, they had moved to Market Weighton. It’s not clear at what point the family became Wesleyan Methodists. The earliest non-conformist baptism record found for a member of the family is one for their youngest son Francis (1819-1854). He was baptised on 4 November 1819 in the Wesleyan Chapel in Market Weighton. The chapel is mentioned in Lewis’s description topographical directory of England as follows:

Lewis’s Topographical Directory of England – Market Weighton

What also proved helpful in finding out what Luke was doing prior to the 1841 census, was a series of trade directory entries for Market Weighton on the Genuki site. They provided the following information for Luke:

  • 1823 Baines’s trade directory – gentlemen and boarders academy run by Luke Richardson in Northgate.
  • 1829 Pigot’s trade directory – day pupils and boarders academy run by Luke Richardson in Northgate.
  • 1834 Pigot’s trade directory – gentleman’s day and boarding school run by Luke Richardson in Northgate.

In the 1851 census Luke was still running the school in Northgate, assisted by two of his daughters, Jane (1807-1882) and Ann (1812-1886), and son Francis, who were all described as teachers. It is this census record which alerted me to Luke and Ann’s son Henry, who was a visitor, and described as a Wesleyan Minister.

Luke died in 1852 and was buried in St Catharine’s churchyard, Barmby Moor.

St Catharine’s Church, Barmby Moor

After his death the school continued to be run by his family. In the 1861 census it was described as the Northgate House boarding and day school. Luke’s widow Ann was the school proprietor, son William (1806-1887) assistant school master, daughters Jane and Ann school mistresses and daughter Mary Ann (1825-1882) the assistant manager. They had two servants, two male pupils aged 12 and 15 and 11 female pupils aged between 7 and 15. The following OS map from 1855 shows the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel circled in black and the National School, in North Gate circled in blue. Unfortunately, the precise location of Northgate house couldn’t be clearly identified; it was possibly on the other side of the street to the National School nearer to the junction with Market Place.

OS Yorkshire Sheet 209 date 1855

After Ann died in 1865, the school continued to be run by the family. In the 1871 census Jane was the head of the establishment with her siblings William and Ann recorded as teachers and Mary Ann as the housekeeper. By 1881 Ann was shown as the head of the school with Jane, Mary Ann and William as teachers. Jane and Mary Anne died in 1882. According to her gravestone, Ann was still living at Northgate House when she died on 10 March 1886. Her nephew Joseph Richardson was her executor and she was buried in Barmby Moor churchyard like her parents and siblings. William was living in Leeds when he died in 1887 and is also buried in Barmby Moor churchyard. There was no trace of the school in Bulmer’s 1892 trade directory for Market Weighton.

A summary of Luke and his family is included in the following outline descendant chart. People outlined in purple are the teachers in the family, the Wesleyan Ministers are outlined in pink and the solicitors in blue.

Outline descendant chart for Luke Richardson

Rev Henry Richardson (1809-1884) was the second oldest of Luke and Ann’s sons. He had probably become a Wesleyan Minister by 1833. Henry married Jane Elizabeth Bell (1812-1897) by license on 7 August 1837 in Eastrington parish church. They had at least six children, four boys and two girls. By the 1881 census Henry, Jane and daughter Hannah were living at 5 Stockhill Grove, Eccleshill, Yorkshire. They had moved to Greengates by the time Henry died on 28 January 1884. His probate record mentions his son William (1843-1923), schoolmaster of Ashville College, Harrogate.  The college is still an independent day and boarding school operating under Methodist principles and values. Henry was buried in the Greenhill Wesleyan Methodist Chapel yard in Rawdon near Leeds. Underneath his name was the inscription “In labours more abundant”. The gravestone also remembers his eldest son, John Bell Richardson (1840-1881) with the inscription:

“Also, in living memory of his eldest son the Rev John Bell Richardson Wesleyan Minister President of the New Zealand Conference Born January 18th 1840 perished in the wreck of the SS Tararua off the coast of New Zealand April 29th 1881”

John had followed his father Henry into the Wesleyan Ministry, and by 1868, he was in New Zealand when he married Mary Ann Hay (1843-1897). They had at least eight children, three boys and five girls. Information about the wreck of the SS Tararua was easy to find on the Trove website as there were many reports of the tragedy (for example, The Ballarat Star, 2 May 1881). It seems that only 20 of the 140 passengers onboard were saved. The ship had struck a reef on the most southerly part of New Zealand’s South Island. John was one of a number of clergy and lay people traveling to Adelaide, Australia for an Intercolonial Wesleyan Conference. He was specifically mentioned as one of those who had died in the Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumerda Advertiser (6 May 1881). The following woodcut appeared in the Illustrated New Zealand Herald.

Wreck of the SS Tararua

John’s only surviving son, Henry Hay Richardson (1871-1951) trained in New Zealand as a teacher, while John’s youngest brother Joseph (1853-1930), remained in the UK where he married Sarah Hannah Firth (1853-1899) on 25 July 1876 in the Wesleyan Chapel in Armley near Leeds. The ceremony was carried out by his father Henry and Rev Joseph Midgley. In the 1891 census Joseph was described as a solicitor and the family were living in Eccleshill near Bradford. He was followed into the profession by his son Frederic Henry Richardson (1877-1964). When Joseph died in 1930, he was buried in the Norman Lane Wesleyan burial ground in Bradford.

Finally – It seems that an interest in schooling runs in the family. After I left university, my mother asked me if I was going to be a school teacher. I didn’t do that but have retained my interest in education. The last qualification I gained was an MSc in genealogy, palaeography and heraldic studies. I haven’t ruled out taking another Masters course as I’m finding that having some knowledge of local and social history adds to what I’ve been able to find out about my ancestors.

I am interested in knowing more about the Richardson family, and in particular, any descendants in New Zealand. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


1939 Register.  : accessed January 2022.

Barmby Moor. : accessed January 2022.

Barmby Moor Memorial Inscriptions. : accessed January 2022.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials.  and : accessed January 2022.

Census Records.  : accessed January 2022.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. : accessed January 2022.

Market Weighton. : accessed January 2022.

Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Records.  : accessed January 2022.

OS Maps. : accessed January 2022.

Probate Records.  : accessed December 2021.

Trade Directories. : accessed January 2022.

Trove. : accessed January 2022.

Wreck of the SS Tararua. : accessed January 2022.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s