27.39 – Betty, Eli, John, Hannah, Mary and Margaret Nuttall

This stone is less of an indication of who’s buried here and more of a straightforward family memorial – we’ll explain below.

Eli Nuttall was born in 1775 on the Lancashire side of Todmorden. His future wife, Betty Stevenson, would be born on the same side of Tod twelve years later in 1787. The pair married in December 1807 at St. Thomas in Heptonstall, and their first child Hannah came along the following year. The Nuttalls would have four children in total, all of whom are named on this stone; Hannah, Margaret (also known as Peggy), Mary, and John. John came along in 1823 so there was quite a large spread between the four, fifteen years all told.

Eli worked variously as a weaver and a stonebreaker – in other words, manual labour of whatever type he could. It’s unclear whether he was ever able to make the leap from handweaving to power looms, but his children would. The Nuttalls lived near and likely worked at Gorpley Mill, which in 1851 was occupied by Abraham Ormerod & Bros. – yes, the Abraham Ormerod, then of Stones Wood House and later of Ridgefoot.

Death came to the family with Eli first – as noted on the stone, he’s buried at St. Mary’s. Eli died in 1852 aged 77. Next was son John who died in…well, on this stone it says February 14th 1859. That’s not correct though; we know that because John is buried up at the back of Christ Church in 57.59 where it says he died on January 11th. A quick visit to the burial registers confirms that John Nuttall, aged 35 of Albert Terrace, was buried in January 16th 1859.

Albert Terrace was where the family had moved after Eli’s death. In 1861 Betty, Hannah and Mary are there at number 3. Margaret/Peggy had left home to go into service, and her whereabouts are unknown for 1861. Betty died in 1865 and was supposedly buried at Christ Church – no notation is in the register saying “buried at St. Mary’s”, as there would have been by that point – but she cannot be buried in this particular plot because of the grid formation of the graveyard here. She may be in a non-“family” grave so not able to have a gravestone over here; perhaps she’s buried with John, even? There are few Stevensons here at Christ Church and none who appear to be related to her.

Neither of the three Nuttall daughters ever married. In 1871 Hannah and Mary were still at 3 Albert Street. Hannah was working as a housekeeper for James Sutcliffe of Patmos, a grocer, and Mary working as a cotton winder. Margaret was in Newchurch working as a domestic servant for Sarah Maden, an unmarried older woman who lived off of rents from properties she owned. Hannah died in 1873 aged 65. Mary stayed on at Albert Terrace for some time after, although she moved from 3 to 12, but eventually she moved up to Bacup to live with Margaret. By 1891 Margaret was, funnily enough, living on Maden Street (named after her former employer no doubt!) and “living off her own means”. Sarah Maden died in 1877; perhaps she left something to one of her faithful servants?

Mary died in 1892 aged 76. This row, row 27, is an 1892 row – which means that the only person so far who we’ve named who’s buried in this grave is Mary. It stands to reason that Margaret paid for this stone to remember her last sibling and the rest of her family on, and that when Margaret died in 1899 aged 86 that she was buried here too. But this is an excellent example of why we can never simply assume that all the names on a stone rest in a plot, just as there can be people in a plot who aren’t named on a stone either. It works both ways!

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