Tag Archives: WestRidingYorks

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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography:

1921 Census. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

1939 Register. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Berkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1965. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

British newspaper collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

British Phone Books, 1800-1984. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

County Asylums. https://www.countyasylums.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Croft Road, Thame image by Joan Reid.

England and Wales, Electoral Registers 1910-1932. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : 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. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : 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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography:

1921 Census. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

British newspaper collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Dewsbury. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Dewsbury : accessed June 2022.

Garforth. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Garforth : accessed June 2022.

Garforth Colliery Deaths. http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/g230.htm : 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. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england : accessed June 2022.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Old photos of Garforth https://www.ianatkinson.net/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. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Yorkshire baptisms, marriages and burials. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Palframan family – changing occupations

While researching my family history I have come across a number of unusual surnames and this blog post in the first in a series I plan to write about them. I’ve chosen Palframan for my initial post, in part because it is an interesting occupational surname, and also, because it leads to one of my many brick walls.

Origin of surname

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, Palfreyman, plus its variants Palphreyman, Palfreman, Palfreeman, Palframan and Parfrement, is an occupational surname from the Middle English palefreiman; a man responsible for the palfrey’s or riding horses, alternatively a groom. In the 1881 census there were 645 occurrences of the name, mainly in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Interestingly, Redmonds, in his book on Yorkshire surnames, describes another possible spelling variant, Palphramand, and describes the surname as reflecting the man in charge of the palfreys, or saddle horses. He also explained that in 1881 the surname Palframan was most prominent in Selby with Palframand in York and Palfreeman in York and Pocklington.

My ancestral connections

My ancestors mostly use the variant Palframan, although the records for my five times great grandfather, Michael (1722-1812), also include the variant Palfreyman.  Michael died in Pontefract, West Riding of Yorkshire and his burial record gives his age as 90, suggesting he was born about 1722, and that he was a hatter. He was apprenticed to Joseph Rawnsley, a hatter, of Pontefract and his stamp duty was paid in 1740 for his apprenticeship. By 1753 Michael was master to an apprentice, Thomas Thresh, and his occupation given as a felt maker. Despite searching I’ve been unable to find his baptism and parents. I do have a working theory but need more evidence to prove a link. Michael’s 1740 apprenticeship record gave his father’s name as Michael.

The following chart shows Michael and two generations of his descendants. The people circled in black are, reading from left to right, my five times great grandfather Michael, my four times great grandfather John (1754-1839) and my three times great grandfather Michael (1782-1877) who was the father of my two times great grandmother Sarah (1845-1920). Thomas Palframan, annotated in orange at the top of the chart, is the father of my first cousin four times removed, John (1817-1874), who moved to farm in Wistow, Yorkshire and whom more about later. The chart has also been annotated to show where in Yorkshire each family group lived.

Dandelion chart for the Palframan family

Hambleton is 9 miles (about 13 km) from Pontefract and I was intrigued as to why my four times great grandfather John (1754-1839) moved from Pontefract to Hambleton.

John Palframan (1754-1839)

John was baptised on 19 August 1754 in St Giles and St Mary’s church, Pontefract. He married Ann Booth (1751-1831) in the same church on 12 December 1782. They had six sons and two daughters and were living in Hambleton by the time their second son Thomas (1756-1858) was baptised in St Wilfrid’s Church, Brayton. The following map shows the layout of Brayton in 1851; St Wilfrid’s church is marked with a circle.

OS Yorkshire 221 dated 1851

Brayton and Hambleton were largely agricultural areas as described in the following two extracts from Lewis’s topological directory of England dated 1848. At that time only Brayton had a parish church and this is where John and his wife continued to baptise their children.

Description of Brayton from Lewis’ Topographical Directory
Description of Hambleton from Lewis’ Topographical Directory

Whilst living in Hambleton John was recorded as possessing an alehouse licence in 1803 and in 1810 he appeared in land tax records showing that he occupied land owned by the Vicar of Brayton and William Bew senior.   By 1822 he still occupied land owned by William Bew and the Reverend Richard Paver. In the same land tax record his son John (1883-1859) was recorded as occupying land owned by the Hon. Edward Petre, who later became the Mayor of York in 1830.  

John died in January 1839 and was buried on 13 January 1839 in Brayton parish church. The ceremony was conducted by the Vicar of Brayton, the Reverend Richard Paver, the owner of the land he occupied in Hambleton.

John and Ann’s fourth son, Michael Palframan (1792-1877), is my three times great grandfather.  He married his first wife Sarah Slater (1797-1834), on 3 March 1823 in Brayton. They had seven children, four boys and three girls.

By 1832 Michael was also occupying a house and land owned by the Hon. Edward Petre and in the same year Michael appeared in the Poll Book for Hambleton as the occupier of a “farm above £50 per year”. His brother John and Joseph also appeared in the same Poll Book.

Soon after Michael’s first wife Sarah died, he married Martha Seymour (1813-1889), on 26 December 1835. They had nine children: five boys and four girls. I am descended from their daughter, Sarah (1845-1920), my two times great grandmother.

By the 1841 census Michael was described as a farmer in Hambleton. The following map shows the layout of Hambleton in 1850 with a circle around the Wesleyan Chapel.

OS Yorkshire 220 map dated 1850

By 1871 Michael farmed 96 acres and employed three labourers. He lived in Chapel Street, Hambleton. The approximate position of the street can be seen in the above map as the Wesleyan Chapel is located on it.

When Michael died on 25 February 1877 he was described as a farmer from Hambleton and his sons George and Michael, also farmers from Hambleton, were his executors. Michael left effects valued under £450.

Thomas Palframan (1786-1858) and John Palframan (1817-1874)

Thomas was the brother of my three times great grandfather, Michael; i.e., my 4th great uncle. He too became a farmer and by 1832 was farming at Henwick Hall, Burn where the Poll Book recorded him as a “Farmer £50 rent” per year. He continued to farm at Henwick Hall and the 1851 census recorded that he was a farmer of 164 acres employing two men. He was still living at Henwick Hall when he died on 17 March 1858 leaving effects under £600. The following is a modern photograph of Henwick Hall farm:

Modern photograph of Henwick Hall Farm by Bill Henderson/CC BY-SA 2.0

Thomas’ eldest son John (1817-1874) left Burn to farm in Wistow. He was recorded in the 1871 census as a farmer of 86 acres who employed two labourers at “Old Ouse”. John is buried with his wife Sarah Otley (1818-1872) in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Wistow. The majority of their children stayed in Yorkshire except their daughter Mary (1847-1916) and son John (1856-1924) who both emigrated to Ontario, Canada

Finally, the brick wall

I am intrigued as to how the son of a hatter from Pontefract came to move to a more rural area where he kept an alehouse, and also perhaps, became a small farmer. I would like to know more about all the people mentioned in this blog post, and in particular, if there is any information about the parents of my five times great grandfather Michael, the hatter/felt maker, from Pontefract. It seems his father was called Michael. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Note: the maps used in this blog have been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Bill Henderson/Henwick Hall Farm via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Brayton. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Brayton : accessed May 2021.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

Hanks, Patrick et al. (2016.) The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england : accessed May 2021.

Petre, Hon. Edward. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/petre-hon-edward-1794-1848 : accessed May 2021.

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

UK, Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentice’s Indentures, 1710-1811. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

Vision of Britain. https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

West Yorkshire, England, Alehouse Licences, 1771-1962. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

West Yorkshire, England, Select Land Tax Records, 1704-1932. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.

Yorkshire baptisms, marriages and burials. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed May 2021.