13.37 – Robert Sherington, Mary Ellen and Leonard Anderton, and Bessie Tolley Lingard

More members of the Anderton family, this time in a separate plot – another of Theodora’s sons, as well as his wife’s nephew. Or is it niece? Or both?

Robert Sherington Anderton was the first child and first son of John and Theodora Anderton, and was born in 1861 in Todmorden. Like his father, he was interested in metalwork rather than cotton weaving or spinning, and can be found in 1881 working as a machine fitter while living with the family at 14 Broad Street. In December 1882 he married Mary Ellen Hargreaves Jackson of Union Street South (the road now leading onto Lever Street carpark) and they settled at 9 Eagle Street.

Mary Ellen was born in late 1861, also in Todmorden. Her father Thomas was a mechanic. She was her parents’ first child, born when mother Sarah was still a Hargreaves; her birth is registered as Mary Ellen Jackson Hargreaves, but she went by Hargreaves Jackson later on much as James Stanton Luke/James Luke Stanton did as he got older. Did she and Robert meet via her father’s occupation?

Robert and Mary Ellen started a family, but their luck was not so good. While they seem to have been “safe” from the high levels of infant mortality that were common then, they also only (at least in terms of self-reporting from 1911) had two children. Lily was born in 1888 and Edith in 1892. Which begs the question of who Leonard Anderton, buried here too, “belongs” to.

Leonard is the first person buried in this plot and the Sexton’s book gives his burial date as September 17th 1900, and his age as only three days old. Mary Ellen certainly wasn’t too old – but why not mention him in the “children who have died” section of the 1911 Census? Maybe it was too much. Given that Leonard’s address on the burial register is the same as Robert and Mary Ellen a year later, it seems reasonable without ordering his death certificate to assume Leonard is their son, too painful to be remembered on the census or, indeed, on this gravestone.

By 1906 Robert was working at Lord Brothers at Baltimore as a foreman fitter – we know because of his testimony at an inquest for an employee who died of sepsis (most likely tetanus) after getting a scratch on some metal objects that wasn’t cleaned properly. By 1911 the family had moved to 76 Burnley Road and now also consisted of Mary Ellen’s sister Amy and Amy’s four year old daughter Gladys. More about them later.

Just before Mary Ellen’s death in 1915 Robert and presumably her and Amy as well took on a new venture, running the “Coronation Restaurant” out of their Burnley Road home. People familiar with that part of Burnley Road might be wondering, “was 76….the cafe?” And the answer is yes; 76 Burnley Road was the “leaning cafe” famous to younger residents from the pages of the Todmorden Album. The Coronation Restaurant only received mentions in the newspapers during 1915 and 1916. Mary Ellen died in March 1916 aged 54, and Robert followed in December 1917 aged 57. By April of that year he had been advertising the business as for sale, so his health and/or energy must have been declining by then.

Back to Amy Jackson Lingard and her children. This became complicated for us because there are a few Lingard-Anderton-Jackson marriages and children to sort through; but from what we can tell, Amy Jackson, Mary Ellen’s youngest sister, married Frank Lingard in December 1906. Frank was possibly “a bit of a one” – it’s hard to tell because he has entirely disappeared from the record in Todmorden by 1911. He may be the same Frank Lingard as died in Haslingden in 1913, or he may be one of many who died many years later. What we do know is that Amy and Gladys carried on without him and Amy much later went to live in a house at Blind Lane and became the “assistant to a refreshment house keeper” to earn money – possibly she kept on working at the “family” business even after it had been sold onwards. Until then though, which was the early 1920s, she stayed at the Burnley Road house even after her sister and brother-in-law had died.

Mystery 1. on this gravestone was the name of the child buried here. Jesse Tolley Lingard is the name in the old transcript, and is a name that on the face of it makes perfect sense. However the stone reads “Also an infant son, Bessie Tolley Lingard”. Fair enough, mistakes are certainly common (Fielden/Fielding is a common example), but surely someone would have caught this? Is Bessie the error, or is the son the error?

aged 43…yeabs???

Mistakes happen, and they happen in stone. Even daft mistakes happen in stone. This could be a daft mistake. It’s sad because it’s a child, and it’s weird because of all the other mystery that surrounds the child themself. The comma after “son” in “also an infant son” is to blame, we think; it ought to have been a period. The infant son being referred to was, in fact, little Leonard.

We did at least work out Bessie’s most likely father – John Thomas Tolley, a popular Lydgate footballer, who had left his wife and child and moved in with Amy as her “boarder” (hmmm) and was living with her and Gladys in 1921.

So there we are. A mystery unravelled, and the record updated.

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