50.58 – Jessie, Ada, Richard and Caroline Stansfield, and Kate Ogden

Some of Richard’s story is told in his daughter Nellie’s story, but we will start from the beginning here, and include a few of the other bit players in her tale – with Richard and Caroline (Barker) Stansfield.

Richard’s story begins with his father’s story. Charles Stansfield was a labourer living at Sourhall when he met and married his wife, Sally Ratcliffe. Charles became a farmer’s labourer at what in 1851 was called “Stones Grange” on the census, then in 1861 was a plate layer for the railway living at Pexwood. The family would return to Stones and Charles became a tenant farmer, farming 50 acres of land that belonged to the Fielden family. Richard, who had formerly worked as a power loom weaver, became one of his farmworkers.

You can see that by this point Richard had a wife – Caroline Barker was her name. Caroline was born in 1850 at Inchfield Mill to William and Mary Barker. William was a carter who died shortly after Caroline’s death, and Mary became a housekeeper to make ends meet. It won’t have been easy with an infant, let alone with five children. The family moved from Walsden to Millwood, and later to Back Brook Street nearer the town centre.

Richard and Caroline married in November 1870 – Caroline was working as a mill hand operative and Richard was a farmer. Richard continued to work for his father at Stones, living at the cottage next door with Caroline. They welcomed five daughters in the first eight years of their marriage, including Jessie and Ada who are also buried here. They died only ten days apart, on June 5th and 15th 1878. Jessie was three and Ada was one.

Charles died in 1882 (and is buried at 38.23), and Richard took over the farm. He and Caroline had three more children – Kate in 1882, Evina, and Richard Jr. in 1888. 1882 was the year Richard took over his father’s farm, but 1888 was the year he lost it.

He attributed his losses to a number of things; loss of livestock, poor crops, the “unsatisfactory state of farming” and losses during cattle trading. He had kept no financial records or a decent accounting of his profit and loss, and had borrowed money from many to try and keep going, including his mother Sally. Ultimately he was granted bankruptcy but it must have been an utterly humiliating experience.

Richard and family moved from Stones down to Henshaw Road and Richard became the groom for one of the many members of the Blomley family who had gone into law. No longer a farmer, he moved from this to carting stone from Lobb Quarry, then Pexwood, and finally, in 1911, to Dobroyd Castle Lodge. At this point he was working as a picker maker’s labourer, so how he managed to get a tenancy in a building that previously had been home to butlers and other servants to the Fielden family is unknown. Maybe someone remembered him?

Kate, meanwhile, was a clever girl, and was able to escape mill work and train to be a teacher instead. In 1901 her occupation is given as “pupil teacher”, with “school” annotated next to it. The rules back then were that women couldn’t be married and be teachers, so corn miller Thomas Spencer Ogden must have made a big impression on her. They married in 1904 and Thomas moved back to Quarry Cottages so he and Kate could be near her family. The couple never had any children, and Kate died young, aged 27 in 1911.

Richard and Caroline, now having lost three of their children, had more stress during WW1 with their only son Richard. He was lucky enough to come home in one piece, but in the meantime, both his parents ended up being the ones he lost. Richard Sr. died in 1917, and Caroline followed in 1918.


  1. Can you send the transcript of this as I’m their great great granddaughter as my Gran was Nellie’s eldest daughter Helen

    • Hi Heather, do you mean the transcript of the full inscription on the grave, or a transcript of the newspaper article about Richard’s bankruptcy? Let us know and we’ll sort it 🙂

  2. Heather Sutcliffe

    I actually meant the story transcript at the time of my comment although since then I’ve sent the link to the website my 2nd cousin over in Canada who is also related to these 3 families through his Dad who was my Mum’s 1st Cousin. Nellie & John William’s 2 eldest children Helen & John known as Jack were mine & his grandparents.

  3. Pingback:53.59 – Hannah, Charles, Ernest, Elizabeth, William and Frank Helliwell – F.O.C.C.T.

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