39.37 – Sarah Taylor

The common experience for most FOCCers is that on your first or second visit, something catches your eye. Passively, of course, but maybe…well, if you believe in something else, you might think something actively caught your eye, but that’s a digression. For our Secretary it was Grace Bell. For our Chair it was Sarah Taylor.

If you don’t know about “my other world”‘s Little Sarah Taylor, go have a look at that part of our website after you read this. If you already do, but don’t know the real Sarah Taylor’s story, here it is.

Let’s begin in 1812.

British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated, The United States declare war on the United Kingdom, Napoleon is running rampant across Europe, the battles of Salamanca and Borodino take place, Charles Dickens is born ……. and in Bilton in Ainsty, near Wetherby in the small church of St Helens, a shoemaker named Robert Akers is married to a young lady named Betty Gill.

These are Little Sarah Taylor’s Maternal Grandparents.

Nature takes its course, and on the 6th of August, 1815 ….. less than two months after the Battle of Waterloo …… Robert and Betty’s first child Mary, is baptised at St James’ church in Wetherby.

This is Little Sarah Taylor’s Mother.

Time passes ……. Mary Akers grows up.

Somehow she ends up in Rochdale, and she meets Joseph Taylor.

Mary and Joseph are married at St Chads in Rochdale on the 14th of January 1833.

Joseph’s profession is a Tallow Chandler , he makes candles , he brings light into the world …….. and now you know where the idea of lighting candles to remember somebody in the yard and post photos of them , came from.

Time passes, Mary and Joseph have moved to Todmorden and are living at Hanging Ditch, which is the area at the bottom of Longfield Road behind the Golden Lion.

In October of 1836 their first child is born, a daughter …… Little Sarah Taylor.

Little Sarah Taylor’s life is short …… she doesn’t leave much behind.

A baptism record at Cross Stone on the 28th of February 1837.

A Death certificate, which shows she died on the 11th of June 1839 of Tetanic Convulsions.

A Gravestone at Christ Church.

Her gravestone reads

Sacred to the Memory of Sarah, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Taylor of Hanging Ditch near Todmorden who departed this life June 11th 1839 aged 2 years and 8 months.

She was a star of comfort

For a moment given

Just rose on earth

Then set to rise in heaven.

Mary and Joseph would have been devastated and sometime after they left Todmorden ….. perhaps the memories here were too painful.

Their lives continued though and on the 10th of August 1841 their second daughter Hannah was born in Wardleworth.

Hannah was baptised at Christ Church on the 7th of November, 1841 and I am in no doubt that Mary and Joseph visited Little Sarah’s grave and laid some flowers.

That is the last date though, that I am sure somebody visited Little Sarah Taylor.

She has been alone a very long time ….. until the FOCCers came along.

In 1845 another daughter was born, this time in Macclesfield.

She was named Mary after her mother.

Little Sarah Taylor has two sisters ….. how cool is that.

The 1851 census shows Mary and Joseph and their two young daughters living in Macclesfield.

However 7 years later, tragedy strikes, Joseph dies of inflammation of the lungs and he is buried at St George’s church, Sutton near Macclesfield.

1861 census – Mary and her two daughters are still living in Macclesfield and they have a boarder, Elizabeth Norbury.

The 3 young woman are working as silk piecers and Mary’s occupation is given as mangle house keeper.

1871 census – Mary and her daughters are living in Burley in Wharfedale.

Little Sarah Taylor’s sisters are working as Weavers.

1881 census – The family has moved again, this time to Bradford.

1891 census – Again the family has moved, now they are in Steeton with Eastburn, Keighley. This is the last census where Little Sarah Taylor’s Mother and two sisters appear together.

Little Sarah Taylor has now been deceased and alone for 52 years.

In 1894, Little Sarah Taylor’s mother dies and is buried at St Thomas’ church, Sutton in Craven.

1901 census – We are nearing the end now for Little Sarah Taylor’s family.

Her two sisters are still living in Steeton in Eastburn, Keighley.

Both are still single.

Hannah is 59 and blind, Mary is 55 and her occupation is Nurse (domestic), most likely for her older sister.

In November of 1901, Mary marries a widower, Reuben Stansfield ….. the marriage is short though as Mary dies the following year and is buried on the 6th December 1902 in the same graveyard as her mother, and presumably in the same grave.

Hannah Taylor dies in July 1905 in the Union infirmary and is also buried in the same graveyard as her mother , and again presumably in the same grave.

There you have it, the very brief story of Little Sarah Taylor and the long, long story of her family.

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