50.57 – Maria, Eveline, William, Isabella and William Thomas Heyworth

The story of those buried here shows some of the interconnectedness of the yard; peeling apart each grave’s story makes seeing those links possible. It’s part of why we do what we do. The story of this grave can’t be fully told without also telling the story of the Charltons at 49.58, the Buttons at 47.63, and who knows how many others. Those stories will be on our website eventually.

Starting from the beginning; William Thomas Heyworth was born in 1847 in Todmorden. That same year his future first wife, Maria Charlton, was born at Gedley near Nottingham. William’s father John was a joiner who would teach William the trade, although William took a long time to settle into it as you’ll see; Maria’s father Joseph was a servant who brought the family to Todmorden to work for the Fieldens. The two met and then married in 1873, and Maria may have been excited to start married life and a family…but her happiness would be short-lived. Two sons and four years later both her parents and one of her sisters died, and the year after that she did too. Maria was only 31 and left a four year old, a one year old, and a grieving husband who was also trying to wrap up his father and mother in law’s estate – and many debts – along with his uncle in law Isaac Button.

Todmorden Advertiser, August 24th 1877

Many men in William’s situation remarried within a year, but he took an extra year before finding a new wife and mother for his children. Wife #2 was Isabella Holland Mills of Lower Laith. Isabella was four years younger than William and a native of Rochdale. Her father Edmund had been a greengrocer, also a Rochdalian, and her mother Margaret (Whelan) Mills the same, although Margaret died when Isabella was young. Her father remarried quickly and while Isabella and her two siblings were in the family home in 1861, by 1871 all three children were gone. Isabella was old enough to be independent at that point but her younger siblings were 17 (also old enough) and 11 (not quite old enough…) so perhaps things weren’t splendid at home. Isabella was in Liverpool at the time of the 1871 Census, visiting Joseph and Mary Jane Zedi along with Mary Jane’s brother William Graham and his three year old daughter Lydia. Isabella’s occupation was given as milliner. Why was she there with them? You tell us.

And how did she then get to Todmorden? You also tell us. Her marriage certificate is maddeningly short on detail, from no occupation to her father being named as deceased when he wasn’t and his occupation as wool stapler when it wasn’t. But she got here and met and married William in October 1880, and they started their family.

Or didn’t, at least not right away. There may have been lost children we don’t know about but the first we do is little William in 1884, then Eveline in 1886. Eveline died the same year she was born and little William the year after. However Bertha, Clifford, Ruth and Annie followed from 1888 onwards, and in the end the couple had six living children when you include Maria’s two sons. The “lost years” at the beginning of their married life may be to do with William’s profession; while he had become a joiner, he was restless, and within a year of their marriage he and Isabella and his first two sons had moved to Bury. He was also restless for a change of occupation and for a few brief years became the landlord of the Britannia Hotel in Heywood, and then the Britannia Inn in Rochdale. The period between taking over the Hotel (around 1883) and giving up the license of the Inn (before autumn 1888) was a short one but incorporated the years in which his and Isabella’s first two children were born and died, and perhaps that was something to do with it. By 1888 they had moved back to Todmorden, where Bertha was born, and in 1891 the Heyworths were living at Barker Street and William was back to earning a living through carpentry.

…but as we said, William was restless, and by 1893 the Heyworths had moved again. This time they went to Chorley where their last child, Annie, was born in that year. The 1901 Census gives us questions to ask – there are three actors in their home, one from Manchester and two from London. One, Lewis B. Alexander, was their boarder. We tried to find information on him on the British Newspaper Archive but were sadly unsuccessful.

Also, when we say William was restless, he isn’t described as a journeyman carpenter/joiner or in any way that indicates that he was travelling on contract to anyone, as a sought-after expert in his trade. He was simply moving about with his family in tow.

One more move was on the cards, and it was their last. In 1907 Isabella died at Foundry Street in Bury, and a year later William joined her. After all those house moves, finally, William found a place in which he could stay put.

Their four children stayed in Bury and were all living together in 1911. John and Frank, William and Maria’s sons, had already more or less settled in Chorley, although John would move to Wrexham later where he died in 1923, and Frank went to Canada in 1923 but returned home and died in Chorley in 1932.

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