37.7 – Annie Maria Smith

Annie was born in late 1855 in Mortimer, Berkshire. Her life was rather short and so there’s little to tell, but like so many others here, she is another single child whose parents came to Todmorden and then left again; the story of how she got here is more detailed than anything we could say about her.

Charles Smith was born in Alton, not far from Winchester, in 1832. His father Robert was a bricklayer, but Charles went a different direction and became a house servant, first a footman and then eventually a butler. In December 1854 he married Eliza Woodman, a fellow servant (but in a different household from what we can see) while both were working in Southampton. They had Annie Maria, their first child, around a year later. Frederick, Eliza, Herbert and Florence followed after.

Charles and Eliza moved around; first to Cheetham Hill in Manchester, then to Todmorden. We were curious as to whether they worked for Thomas Fielden, since he was the original owner of Dobroyd and bequeathed not just the property but also a large number of his own servants to his nephew John on his death in 1870. The answer is that it seems likely. Cheetham Place, where Charles and Eliza lived in 1861, led off of Woodlands Road which is itself a nice neat line which almost separated Cheetham Hill from Crumpsall. Crumpsall was Thomas Fielden’s home in Manchester, with there still, today, streets in that area called Wellfield and Dobroyd.

In 1871 the family can be found listed as living at Dobroyd Castle, with Charles still giving “butler” as his occupation. He was undoubtedly John Fielden’s butler.

Annie died on May 1st 1873, after suffering for a few months from phthsis – another word for tuberculosis. She was only 17 years old. Even living at Dobroyd Castle and having a father working for one of the richest men in Todmorden wasn’t enough to keep her from such an illness. Tuberculosis didn’t discriminate.

What happened to this family? We tried to track them further and had some success. They were still at Dobroyd in 1881, now listed as living at the Lodge which still stands today as a separate, private residence.

Dobroyd Castle Lodge, courtesy of Hunters Estate Agents

In 1891, though, Charles and Eliza had moved away on their own, and were living in Lytham St. Anne’s. Eliza’s place of birth was given on several censuses as Liverpool, and Charles is now “living on his own means”, so it makes sense that they retired to the coast. Interestingly Eliza’s place of birth is now given as Marylebone, London, but perhaps this is an error.

Their children must ultimately have left Todmorden as well, because there is little mention of them again in the area after 1881, and none of them are buried at Christ Church. Herbert we can find also in Lytham in 1891, a servant in the house of a doctor (but also strangely with “billiard marker” as his occupation), and a ship steward in 1901. Florence became a dressmaker and went back to Manchester. We cannot confidently trace either Frederick or Eliza. So Annie Maria remains here alone, and our volunteers have made an effort to make her grave a little less unloved – what do you think?

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