Category Archives: Sarginson

Herbert and Sabra Silversides – the road to Thame

When we moved to Thame in 2012, I had only just started researching my family. On the Sarginson side I knew that many of my ancestors came from Yorkshire, and more specifically the East Riding. I didn’t expect to find anyone in Oxfordshire, and certainly not in Thame. I have previously written about the origin of the name Silversides, and as I started to research more of my cousins, I came across Herbert Silversides (1882-1955), my second cousin three times removed, who died in Thame.

Herbert was born on 23 March 1882 in Wakefield, Yorkshire to parents Guy Crispin Silversides (1853-1933) and Ellen Butler (1854-1932). Although in the 1891 census his father Guy was a tailor, by 1901 he was the Lodge Keeper at the West Riding County Lunatic Asylum for Paupers at Wakefield. He continued to work there until at least the 1911 census. The asylum was located on the north side of Wakefield as shown in the following OS map extract from 1894.

OS Yorkshire CCLVIII.NE date 1894

The asylum was opened in 1818 and became the Stanley Royd hospital in 1948. It closed in 1995 and has since been converted into residential accommodation. It is now known as Parklands Manor.

So how did Herbert and his wife Sabra Emma Blacker (1881-1972) come to live and die in Thame? Sabra had also been born in Wakefield and they were married on 21 April 1906 in the Primitive Methodist Church, Chapel Street, Blackpool. An extensive report in the Fleetwood Express (25 April 1906) gave an insight into the occasion:

The bridal party consisted of lady and gentleman friends … with the guests, numbering over seventy persons, travelled by special saloon from Wakefield to Blackpool.”

Sabra’s dress was described in some detail and two gifts from the bridegroom specifically mentioned, an exquisite shower bouquet and gold opal brooch. There were six bridesmaids and Herbert’s brother William was his best man. The couple honeymooned in Scarborough and there was a long list of wedding presents which included many doyleys and other items of silver and linen.  

By the 1911 census Herbert and Sabra were living at 53 Jacobs Well Lane in Wakefield with their son Ronald aged one. Herbert was a clerk in the architect’s department of West Riding County Council. It looks like they were regular visitors to Blackpool though. The Fleetwood Chronicle dated 15 March 1912 has an account of Sabra’s brother William Blacker marriage to Molly Brown in the Primitive Methodist Church, Chapel Street, Blackpool. Molly was the daughter of a Blackpool councillor and William’s father Alfred the manager of the Royal Pavilion and a lay preacher at the church. Both families were well known attendees of the church. Sabra was a bridesmaid and Herbert a groomsman.

Herbert and Sabra’s son Ronald died in 1914 in Blackpool. Herbert and Sabra were also in Blackpool in 1916 when the Blackpool Gazette and Herald (11 February 1916) reported that Mrs Blacker and Mrs Herbert Silversides had arranged a concert after a young people’s tea which had been held at the Chapel Street Primitive Methodist School, Blackpool.

Herbert and Sabra were next found in the 1921 census as visitors at a property called Rossendale, Coronation Street, Cleveleys, near Thornton in Lancashire. The head of the household was Andrew Milligan and Sabra’s parents were boarders there. Her father Alfred was described as the cinema manager at the Savoy cinema, Cleveleys. Herbert was chief clerk at Wakefield County Council.

Herbert and Sabra seem to have then moved to the “Holiday Camp”, Rossall Road, Thornton, Lancashire where they were found in the 1923 Electoral Register. However, by 1939 Herbert and Sabra were living at Caradoc, Daws Hill, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire with Herbert described as a wholesale and retail wool dealer. How his change of occupation had come about isn’t clear.

Ancestry’s collection of British Phone Books was an invaluable resource which helped to track down Herbert and Sabra’s movements towards Thame. The 1944 Phone Book records them living in Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire and in 1954 there were two entries. Herbert and Sabra were living at 70 Chilton Road, Long Crendon and had a business called Silver Wools in High Street, Princes Risborough. They had moved inro 18 Croft Road in Thame by 1955; the following is a recent photo of the house:

18 Croft Road, Thame – image by Joan Reid

Herbert died on 23 September 1955 at 18 Croft Road. Sabra was not mentioned in his probate calendar entry and he left effects worth £2594 9s 4d. It seems that Sabra did not stay in the house for long after his death. She had moved into 1 Victoria Mead, Thame by the time the 1959 Phone Book was published. A local resident confirmed that the property was one of a number which had been built in 1958. The following is a recent photo of the house which has had an extension at some point; it would just have been two windows wide when Sabra moved into it.

I Victoria Mead, Thame – image by Joan Reid

Sabra died on 11 January 1972 at 1 Victoria Mead. She left effects to the value of £7550. So far, I’ve not been able to find burial records for either Herbert or Sabra. I also wondered if they continued to worship in a Primitive Methodist chapel. The one in Thame, on the junction between East Street and Park Street, is now a private house, but was once part of the Thame and Watlington Methodist circuit.

Lastly – I would like to know more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

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


1921 Census. : accessed June 2022.

1939 Register. : accessed June 2022.

Berkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1965. : accessed June 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths. : accessed June 2022.

British newspaper collection. : accessed June 2022.

British Phone Books, 1800-1984. : accessed June 2022.

Census records. : accessed June 2022.

County Asylums. : accessed June 2022.

Croft Road, Thame image by Joan Reid.

England and Wales, Electoral Registers 1910-1932. : accessed June 2022.

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. : accessed June 2022.

OS Maps. : accessed June 2022.

Redmonds, George. (2015) A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames. Donington: Shaum Tyas.

Victoria Mead, Thame image by Joan Reid.

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910. : accessed June 2022.

Tillotson family – another interesting surname

I was first motivated to write about this branch of my family when I came across Hannah Maria Thompson (1864-1932), my 3rd cousin three times removed, whose parents were Joseph Thompson (1835-1907) and Sarah Tillotson (1837-1920). In the 1911 census Hannah was living with her widowed mother Sarah, brother Charles (1865-1926) and niece (Gertrude) Irene Thompson (1898-1970) at Moor, Garforth near Leeds. Hannah was described as a baker and confectioner (maker) and employer; her brother Charles a baker worker. The census also included three servants: two assistant confectioners and a servant. Her brother Henry Malcom Thompson (1868-1938) was also a baker in 1911. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of them in the 1908 Kelly’s directory for the West Riding of Yorkshire. However, a judicious purchase of the 1921 census from FindmyPast revealed that, at the time the census was taken, Hannah was still a confectioner on her own account and that she was living with her brother Charles and Aunt Maria in Main Street Garforth. The following 1908 OS map shows the locations of Garforth Moor and Main Street, Garforth.

OS Yorkshire Sheet CCXIX.NW dated 1908

Hannah’s family – Hannah had been born into a family who worked in the pits in Garforth. Mining coal was one of the main industries in the area, as noted in Lewis’ 1848 topographical directory of England.

Lewis’s Topographical Directory of England 1848 – entry for Garforth

Hannah was the eldest daughter of Joseph and Sarah’s six children. The 1871 census records the family as living in Moor Garforth with Joseph described as a weighman at the colliery, possibly working at the nearby Sisters Pit owned by the Gascoigne family. He continued to work as a weighman until he retired. Just two of his sons, Charles and Frederick (1870-1936), spent part of their working career in a colliery. By the 1901 census no family members were working in the pits. By then Charles and Henry were bakers, alongside their sister Hannah, Frederick was a railway porter, Emily (1872-1926) a servant and Edward (b 1875) a bricklayer. The following chart shows Joseph, Sarah, their children and grandchildren.

Descendant chart for Joseph Thompson and Sarah Tillotson

Working in the collieries could result in accidents and deaths. The Durham Mining Museum has an entry for Garforth Colliery which has a thought to be incomplete list of 57 deaths dating from the mid-19th century until the early 20th century. It contains the details of three Thompson’s who were killed there: G Thompson, a shunter, in 1896, and T Thompson and H Thompson who fell off roofs in 1897. Unfortunately, there is only limited information about the deaths in local newspapers like the Skyrack Courier. It is possible these men could be related to Joseph Thompson but clear links have so far not been found.

Tillotson surname – Hannah’s mother Sarah, is my 2nd cousin four times removed, and I decided to see what I could find out about the origin of the Tillotson surname. Redmonds book of Yorkshire surnames is an excellent source of information and has entries for Tillotson (with variants Tillitson and Tillottson and the variant Tilson. The following is a quote from Redmonds about Tillotson and its variants:

“’Son of Tillot’, a diminutive of Matilda via the pet form Till. This is a surname with a single origin and the progenitor can be identified in the poll tax of 1379. Her name was Tillot de Northwod and she was listed in Cowling along with her two sons, John and William Tillotson. The surname ramified in Kildwick parish and surrounding parts of Airedale and it remains numerous there… The most illustrious bearer of the name was John Tillotson of Sowerby near Halifax, born in 1630 and created Archbishop of Canterbury in 1691.”

Redmonds, George. (2015) A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames. Donnington: Shaum Tyas. p. 743

In my own family research, I have probably traced my ancestors back to James Tillotson, my 6th great grandfather, who died in 1778 in Barwick on Elmet, just a few miles from Garforth. Encouraged by the information about the surname in Redmonds, I carried out further research and found two possible baptisms for James:

  • James Towleson baptised 30 July 1698 in Hartshead cum Clifton, a chapelry in the parish of Dewsbury, to father Abraham.
  • James Tillson baptised 1 September 1705 in Pontefract to father Henry.

James’ burial record suggests that he was 80 at the time of his death in 1778 which would suggest that the 1698 baptism was the more likely one for him. However, it is probable that the Towleson baptism is not his. Towleson is a variant of Tolson/Toulson which Redmonds attributes to the place name “Toulston, a locality in the parish of Newton Kyme near Tadcaster”. In contrast, Tillson is also said to derive from ‘Son of Till’ a pet form of Matilda. It occurred in a number of places in Yorkshire and was also found alongside Tillotson and Tillison. Redmonds asserts that it “must often have been a contraction of that name”.

In the case of my 6th great grandfather James, it seems possible that he was baptised as a Tillson and buried as a Tillotson. If the 1705 baptism is correct for him, then his father Henry was born in 1676 in Dewsbury and married Elizabeth Walker on 2 December 1703 in Pontefract. They had their first child James there and then returned to Dewsbury. The following is a possible family chart for James showing how he is descended from Samuel. All my potential great grandfathers are circled on the chart in purple. John (1734-1798) is my 5th great grandfather, then James my 6th great grandfather, Henry my 7th great grandfather and at the top of the chart Samuel my 8th great grandfather. Sarah, my 2nd cousin four times removed is circled in lilac.

Pedigree Chart for Sarah Tillotson

Lastly – I would like to know more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

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


1921 Census. : accessed June 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths. : accessed June 2022.

British newspaper collection. : accessed June 2022.

Census records. : accessed June 2022.

Dewsbury. : accessed June 2022.

Garforth. : accessed June 2022.

Garforth Colliery Deaths. : accessed June 2022.

Kelly and Co. (1908) Kelly’s Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire. London: Kelly and Co. Vol 1. p.278.

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

OS Maps. : accessed June 2022.

Old photos of Garforth and information about the pits

Redmonds, George. (2015) A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames. Donington: Shaum Tyas. p. 743 and p.747.

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935. : accessed June 2022.

Yorkshire baptisms, marriages and burials. : accessed June 2022.

Stanley Pickard (1760-1779) – a short life

Whilst researching my ancestors on the Sarginson side of my family I came across a record which intrigued me. Stanley, my first cousin seven times removed, seems to have been apprenticed to a member of the Glover’s Livery Company in London in 1779. The Company was one of the City’s ancient Livery Companies with a Hall which had been established in Beech Lane, Cripplegate in 1638. However, by the late 18th Century the number of members in the Company had decreased and the Hall was given up as there were limited funds to maintain it. Unfortunately, there is only a transcribed record of Stanley’s apprenticeship which states that he was the son of George Pickard from Dunkeswick, Yorkshire who had died by 1779.   Stanley was apprenticed to William Pickard on 25 January 1779.

Further research determined that Stanley had been born on 9 April 1760 and baptised on 7 May 1760 in All Saints Church, Harewood, Yorkshire to parents George and Mary from nearby Dunkeswick. George’s sister Catherine Pickard (1732-1793), is my six times great grandmother (1737-1775) and married Thomas Selby (1730-1818) on 24 November 1754 in Sherburn in Elmet, Yorkshire.

All Saints Church, Harewood – Tim Green / CC BY (

At the time of his burial in 1775, George (1737-1775) was described as a labourer from Dunkeswick. The 1848 Topographical Directory of England describes Dunkeswick as a township within the parish of Harewood in the West Riding of Yorkshire. In the late 18th century much of the lands were owned by the Lascelles family and the parish is well known for a significant property: Harewood House. Catherine’s brother William (1729-1807) was a tenant farmer in Dunkeswick on land owned by the Lascelles family.

It is unclear how Stanley came to be apprenticed to a master glover in London. While the master was called William Pickard, there does not seem to be a close connection between his father George and his master William. What does seem to be the case is that Stanley did not complete his apprenticeship. A record for his burial was found in the parish records of St Mary at Hill parish church near Billingsgate, London. It shows that he was buried on 31 August 1779 aged 19. No further information was included in the record. It seems that his apprenticeship was short lived.

I found a further record for his brother James (1763-1832) which showed that he did gain the freedom of the City of London on 3 April 1799, on payment of 46 shillings and 8 pence, after completing his apprenticeship with the Draper’s Livery Company. His father was also named as George Pickard from Dunkeswick, deceased. So far, I’ve been unable to find James’ apprenticeship record. Draper’s Hall does still exist in the City of London in Throgmorton Street.

I am interested in Stanley’s ancestors as I have limited information about them. Do contact me if you know more about the family.

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


Harewood Parish. : accessed August 2020.

London Apprenticeship Records. : accessed August 2020.

London Freedom of the City Admission papers. : accessed August 2020.

OS Maps. : accessed August 2020.

St Mary at Hill Church. : accessed August 2020.

The Drapers Livery Company. : accessed August 2020.

The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London. : accessed August 2020.

West Riding Land Tax Records. : accessed August 2020.

Yorkshire baptisms, marriages and burials. : accessed August 2020.

Searching for a landed gentry family in my ancestry

As a family historian I was hoping that at some point I would find a significant historical figure in my family. Early on in my research I came across a possible link into the Fairfax family who had risen to significance during the English Civil War. On further investigation it proved incorrect as there were two Henrie Arthington’s living in the old West Riding of Yorkshire during the 17th century. The first Henrie Arthington (1616/7-1681) was baptised on the 2 January 1616/7 in St John the Baptists Church in Adel; his parents were William and Ann Tancred. Arthington is also a place within the parish of Adel and Arthington Hall was the seat of the Arthington family from 13th to 18th century. Henrie married Mary Fairfax (1616-1678) in 1638; Mary’s father was Ferdinando Fairfax (1584-1648) who was on the side of the parliamentarians in the Civil War and was at Marston Moor. The second Henrie Arthington (1605-1656/7) was my 10th great grandfather and he was buried in Gargrave on 19 January 1656/7. Gargrave is near Skipton in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Henrie married Elizabeth Shaw and I am descended from their son William (1630-1670) – see the following chart.

Descendant Chart for Henrie Arthingtoncropped

Descendant chart for Henrie Arthington of Gargrave

I have a copy of the transcribed Gargrave Parish Records for the period 1558-1812 which include quite a lot of records for members of the Arthington family, some of which I’ve been unable to link to my own family. For example, the register records on 10 April 1637 an agreement that the vicar and churchwardens had come to over the pew rights of Richard Arthington and that “Henrie Currar is contented to suffer the said Richard Arthington to sitt in (the pew) during his natural life”. If anyone else has been able to link together more of these Arthington records then do please contact me.


Waterhouse family coat of arms

Turning then to another landed gentry family, the Waterhouses, it seems likely that there are connections between them and my ancestors. My first clue came when I eventually found the baptism for Bridget Waterhouse in the Braithwell parish register. Braithwell is in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Bridget had been baptised on 6 October 1635 with her father recorded as Charles, gent. Bridget married Thomas South (1629-1685) on 30 April 1655 in Braithwell and they are my 9th great grandparents.



St James Church Braithwell ID 166756155 © Peter Shaw |

Bridget’s father Charles proved more difficult to find until I found a reference to Charles in the pedigree of the Waterhouse family of Braithwell (near Halifax) reproduced in Joseph Hunter’s history of South Yorkshire. Charles was one of Thomas Waterhouse and Dorothy Vincent’s younger sons and his baptism was recorded in 1580 in the Braithwell parish registers; the registers can be found on Family Search. Thomas and Dorothy had married in 1573 and the lands of the Vincent family at Braithwell passed to Dorothy, the daughter and heir of Thomas Vincent, and thus her husband Thomas Waterhouse. Very little information could be found for Charles, although he does seem to have received an inheritance when his father died. The estates at Braithwell went to his elder brother Vincent and were passed to his descendants.


OS map 1854 showing Micklebring and Moot Hall in the parish of Braithwell

Charles’s father Thomas (1547-1598) is descended from the Waterhouse family of Halifax whose pedigree is recorded in Foster’s Yorkshire families and can be traced back to Sir Gilbert Waterhouse (1275-1340). Thomas’s grandfather was Robert Waterhouse (1500-1581) of both Moot Hall and Shibden Hall which his wife Sibil’s (1500-1588) grandfather William Otes had owned. Shibden Hall dates from the early 15th century and was owned by the Savile and Waterhouse families before the Lister family. One of the Lister families descendants was Anne Lister, also known as ‘Gentleman Jack’.

Returning now to Bridget Waterhouse and her husband Thomas South, after their marriage they continued to live in Micklebring near Braithwell and had at least 10 children: eight boys and two girls. Three of their children died young and no marriages could be found for any of their siblings in the Braithwell parish register. It seems that some family members did marry in the nearby parish of Conisbrough. Thomas’s burial record in the Braithwell parish register records that an affidavit was sworn indicating that he had been buried in a woollen shroud. Thomas and Bridget’s son Samuel (1677/78-1729) is my 8th great grandfather. The family chart shows Thomas and Bridget and their children.

Descendant Chart for Thomas Southcropped

Descendant chart for Thomas South and Bridget Waterhouse

I am interested in knowing more about the South family as I have not been able to trace all of Thomas and Bridget’s children. Do contact me if you know more about them.

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


Adel, West Riding of Yorkshire. : accessed July 2020.

Braithwell, West Riding of Yorkshire. : accessed July 2020.

Braithwell, West Riding of Yorkshire. : accessed July 2020.

Burke’s Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland. : accessed July 2020.

Clay, John W. ed. (1895) Familiae Minorum Gentium. London: The Harleian Society. Vol III. pp. 844-850. : accessed July 2020.

Foster, Joseph. (1874) Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire: West Riding. London: W Wilfred Head. Vol II. : accessed July 2020.

Hunter, Rev Joseph.  (1828) South Yorkshire. London: Hunter. Vol II pp. 130-135.

Gargrave, West Riding of Yorkshire. : accessed July 2020.

OS Maps. : accessed July 2020.

Turner, J. Horsfall. (1883) Biographica Halifaxensis. Bingley: T Harrison. Vol I. pp. 274-276. : accessed July 2020.

Turner, J. Horsfall. (1911) The Coats of Arms of the Nobility and Gentry of Yorkshire. Idle: John Wade. : accessed July 2020.

The unidentified John Sarginson

It was probably about a year ago when my brother Tim set me a family history challenge. He is interested in a specific name on the WW1 war memorial which resides in St Helen’s Churchyard in Escrick; the village we were born and brought up in. The man’s name was John Sarginson. Neither of my parents was able to shed any light on this man who shares the same surname as we do. Our uncle Taff, one of my father’s brothers, wasn’t able to help either when we asked him about him earlier this year. Mind you he didn’t know that one of his ancestors from a nearby village had served in World War One, survived and is included in one of the historical books about Riccall; the village which he lives in.

Anyway how hard can this be to identify someone who is currently unidentified I thought to myself. Well much harder than I’d anticipated is the short answer. I started with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and found some John Sarginson’s who had not survived the war but, having carried out further research,  I don’t think it is any of them. Then I thought well perhaps he is in some of the other WW1 records: Ancestry, Imperial War Museum lives of the Great War, Findmypast and the National Archives at Kew. No luck there though.

Then I realised that there would probably have been some meetings to discuss the war memorial and discovered that some papers and meeting minutes had been lodged at the Hull history centre as part of the Forbes Adam collection. Perhaps this was going to be the eureka moment that we family historians crave. Yes you’ve guessed it, it wasn’t. A very interesting letter from Lady Wenlock written in 1921, just after the commemoration service for the war memorial, did reveal some of the local feeling around it and some of the the names which had been included on it. But no the papers didn’t provide any information about who was going to be included on the memorial. A separate sub-committee run by the Rector made those decisions; and so far it doesn’t look these papers still exist or are accessible.

So it was back to the drawing board. After extensive further research, including also looking at the other soldiers on the war memorial and who they served with, I am no further forward in identifying the unidentified John Sarginson. I am loathe to leave him as a mystery so have written to the local historian who wrote a book about Escrick to see if he can help.

If you know anything about this John then do please contact me. I have also posted this blog to my other genealogy website

Postscript: it looks like John may no longer be unidentified. He was probably Corporal John Sarginson of the West Yorkshire regiment. It would be good though to know more about his connection to Escrick as he wasn’t born there. If you have any further information do please get in touch.