41.3 – Thomas, Ellen, Grace, Mary, Nathan and Ellen Buckle

The final (for now, at least) Buckle grave at Christ Church, and yes – it’s a Buckle with a career in beer.

This grave is mostly filled with the children of Nathan and Ellen Buckle. Nathan’s story is similar to that of the other Buckles and their extended families found here. He was born in Well, North Yorkshire, in late 1818. His mother was Mary Buckle and he was illegitimate – she never married the man who fathered him, so while he would later say the man’s name was John Buckle, we know no such man exists. Mary was the daughter of Henry and Mary (Wood) Buckle of Knaresborough, and we think she was likely to be Anthony, Hannah, and Isabella’s cousin. This makes Nathan the second cousin of other figures in our story so far, namely George Watson and Mary Heslop Holmes.

Nathan came to the valley first via Halifax, in his first career as excise officer. He boarded at the Anchor and Shuttle Inn in Luddenden Foot with the recently widowed Elizabeth Wormauld who was running the place along with her daughter Ruth following her husband Joshua’s death. Nathan appears once in the papers during this time, as a witness in a case against a man found to be drinking in a pub outside of licensed hours. Ironic, really, since he would soon be tempted Todwards by his second cousin George, and perhaps his uncle-once-removed Anthony, to join George in the alcohol business. But not before 1845, as that was the year he married Ellen Titterington of Midgley.

(look at Nathan’s signature!)

Ellen Titterington was born in 1822 in Luddenden to Ely and Grace (Ogden) Titterington. Ely and his son James were worsted cloth manufacturers living at Higgin Chamber, and Nathan must have thought himself INCREDIBLY lucky to have made such a good marriage for himself. Some time after 1845 and before 1851, Nathan’s mother Mary Buckle and his half-brother Thomas moved down from the north, and they all made the move to Church Street in Todmorden. In 1851 their address was the dwelling that sat across the other side of the steps down to the Vaults, aka the Grapes, which was the premises of Anthony Buckle. Nathan was engaged in a professional partnership with George Watson, but it would be short-lived, as the Halifax Guardian ran the official dissolution of partnership notices required when one person left the business. In this case it was Nathan who left the entire business over to George’s running and ownership.

Professional or personal falling-out? More likely it was due to Nathan’s health. He would die two years later, in 1856, aged only 38. The Buckles had moved to Charlestown and Nathan had taken on the license for an unknown pub there, but it was not to be.

Meanwhile, if you look at this grave’s inscription, you know that the Buckles had lost two young children. Their first daughter Mary had survived, but their only son Thomas had died in 1850 aged 12 weeks old and their second daughter Ellen had died in 1852 aged 6 months old. Another daughter, Grace, had been born in 1854 around the same time that Nathan and George dissolved their partnership. Poor Ellen, left with two young children. Unlike many widows of publicans she didn’t attempt to take on the license of the pub, but instead took herself and her daughters off back to her family in Luddenden. Luckily for her she came from decent money and she found herself renting a cottage from her brother Thomas at what must not have been a terribly dear cost, since in 1861 the only person in her household working was 14 year old Mary.

Tragedy struck again in 1863 when little Grace died. She joined her brother, sister and father in the grave here at Christ Church. Ellen and Mary continued on at the cottage at High Lees. In 1871, Ellen’s status was now “landowner” – she had been bequeathed some property and was able to live off the rents from it, and they were high enough to mean Mary no longer had to work either. However this was only brief, because by 1881 Mary was working as a worsted weaver again, and Ellen had a lodger – admittedly her home was nice enough that the lodger happened to be the manager of a worsted mill, but still…

The Buckles led such a quiet life in Luddenden Foot that, in the end, that’s all we know. No newspaper mentions, no other public records. Ellen died in 1888, and left her land to Mary. Mary continued on at 3 High Lees for the rest of her life, all the way to 1921 when she died and joined her parents and all three siblings in the grave here.

This grave stands out in a way because so often we have graves here with one, two, even five children who died young and whose parents moved on; or with one parent, and the other parent and other siblings elsewhere in the country. The three Buckle family grave stories here all have this one thing in common, and that’s the running thread of family members supporting one another and remaining close to one another. These Buckles here wanted to stay together, and they did, even when death and geography separated them for decades.

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