16.2 – Sarah Jane, William, Ernest and Annie Taylor

William Taylor was born in 1861 in Heptonstall, the son of Paul Taylor, a mason, and his wife Sarah Ann (Paul and Sarah later became licensees of the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge). In 1871, Willie aged 9 was working as a mule piecer, in 1881 he was a cutter out, but by 1891 his occupation was “manager of ready made fustians”. So, what had caused this rapid rise in fortunes for William? The answer was almost certainly his elder sister, Sarah. In 1880 she married Richard Redman, who, in the 1881 census was shown as a wholesale clothier, employing 32 hands. It was this firm that William became a manager of and which his son, and later his grandson, would also work for.

William married Sarah Jane Bottomley, daughter of Eli Bottomley, a shoemaker, in March 1886 in Hebden Bridge. William was still a cutter out when he married and was living in Heptonstall, while Sarah Jane was a seamstress who had been living in Hebden Bridge. By 1891 they were living in Todmorden on Adelaide Street. William and Sarah had moved to 36 Stansfield Road when the 1901 census was taken and remained there for the rest of their lives. Sarah Jane died at Stansfield Road on the 5th December 1918.

William remarried after her death, to Harriett (or Harriott, both spellings have been used) Emily Stansfield, at Christ Church on the 15th December 1920. Harriott died on the 13th March 1946 and is buried with her parents in V3.4. William died less than a year later, on the 17th January 1747. William’s obituary in the paper states that he was a chorister in the Anglican Church for 70 years; some of that time will have been in Hebden Bridge, we know he was living in Todmorden when he was 29, so that means he sang in the choir at Christ Church (or St. Mary’s) for over 50 years.

Halifax Evening Courier, January 16th 1947

In addition to Ernest, William and Sarah had three more children: Arthur John born in 1876, Emily born in 1893, and Frank born in 1896. None of the other three followed their father into the family business. John Arthur became a Jeweller and his younger brother, Frank worked for him. Arthur died before his father, in 1945, and is buried with his wife’s family in V6.9.

Annie Spencer

Annie Spencer was the youngest of Joseph and Louisa Spencer’s children, born at Dobroyd Cottages on the 4th December 1885. In the 1901 census, aged 15, her occupation was given as “school teacher”, in the 1911 census she was a “Teacher (Trained Assistant)”. From a newspaper article in 1903 we know that the school where she worked was the National School.

On the 24th April 1916 Annie married Ernest Taylor, who by then was working an assistant manager in a clothing works. She would have had to leave her employment as a teacher. Annie must have gone back to Dobroyd to live as her husband joined the forces to fight in WW1 in July 1916 and he gave Dobroyd Castle as her address. Ernest’s employer (his uncle) had appealed against his conscription into the army but the tribunal only gave Ernest an exemption until the 1st June as he was a single man. His marriage to Annie a short time after that makes us wonder if he married so quickly to try and avoid the draft? Hopefully there was some romance there regardless of the timing. He originally joined the South Staffordshire Regiment and served in France with them before he was transferred to the Royal Defence Corps in 1917. His time in the Army came to an end in November the same year when he was discharged on medical grounds because of his flat feet. At least his mother was still alive to see him come home.

In 1921 Annie and Ernest were living at 34 Stansfield Road with Annie’s parents, Joseph and Louisa. They were still at that address in 1939. Joseph and Louisa had both passed away, but Annie and Ernest had been joined by the addition of a son, John Spencer Taylor who had been born in 1922. Ernest was a generous person, with one mention we found in the newspapers of him donating a bundle of illustrated newspapers and magazines to Stansfield View for the entertainment of those living there.

Todmorden District News, May 5th 1927

Ernest died on the 26th January 1947 at 34 Stansfield Road. Details of his will were published in the papers after his death, showing that he was a former town councillor and was the manager of the Todmorden branch of Redman Bros at Vale Mill. Annie Spencer continued to live at 34 Stansfield Road after her husband’s death. Little other information is available about Annie but we do know, from the details of her mother’s obituary, that she was the secretary of the Women’s branch of the Todmorden Conservative Association. She died on the 10th July 1956.

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