53.64 – Mary Ann, Rachel Alice and John Howorth, and Sally Hollinrake

This lancet with its still-clear ivy motif marks a grave with two small and only children, and a husband and wife whose bond remained beyond death and remarriage.

Sally Haigh was born in the summer of 1845 to James and Ann (Dyson) Haigh of Walsden and was baptised at Walsden St. Peter’s in September of that year. Ann died not long later, in 1849, and she grew up at Bottoms with her now widowed father and her older siblings, Thomas and Mary. In 1851 the household also held a lodger, James Howorth, whose occupation was given as “pauper”…a little foreshadowing in terms of surnames that would be meaningful to Sally later in life, but thankfully for her, better financial prospects.

James Haigh followed his wife to the grave in 1858, and in 1861 Sally was living with her brother Thomas and his wife Mary. Sally worked as a throstle piecer, joining the cotton yarn on the throstles as it was being spun before it was wound onto bobbins in preparation for weaving. Thomas and Mary by that point had lost a child and still had space for Sally, but by 1871 they had a living child, Emma, and Sally was lodging at the house next door which was owned by Joseph and Emma Stansfield, a railway plate layer and his wife. She would stay as their lodger at 1 Railway Cottage for the next six years until her marriage to John Howorth, the landlord of the Woodpecker Inn at Shade, in February 1877.

John was born in the spring of 1848 to Jeremiah (or Jeremy) and Rachel (Barrowclough) Howorth of Knowlwood. Jeremy was a beer seller and James would eventually follow in his footsteps, after his older brother Jeremy chose other to become a butcher rather than take on the family trade. Or did he? Because in 1851 Jeremy Sr. was a beerseller, but in 1861 he was a butcher. He must have bounced back and forth between trades because in 1871 his widow Rachel had taken over the license for the Spinners Rest in Knowlwood – this was common for women to do whose publican husbands had died. They wouldn’t have had an occupation on a census, but they were deeply involved in the running of the pub, and no one blinked an eye at applications to have the license transferred to them on the man’s death (and we haven’t yet seen an application to do so that was turned down).

After John and Sally married, we find them in 1881 at the Woodpecker, just the two of them. We know though that they’d had a daughter, Mary Ann, in the spring of 1879. Mary Ann was one of the many children who didn’t make it out of toddlerhood, and was the first person buried in this plot in 1880. Next would come Rachel Alice, named for John’s mother, who died 1884 just a year after her birth. That would be the sum total of John and Sally’s children, and they are found still at the Woodpecker in 1891, still just the two of them.

In 1893, John had what seemed to be a close shave with a runaway horse belonging to the cotton manufacturer Samuel Starkie. It bolted while pulling a cart, broke free, and went galloping down the road, knocking John down and causing him to injure his head. That was in September; he died on November 25th. He seems to have not been in terrible health before the end – on November 17th there was a magistrates session where a man who came back to the Woodpecker with John got drunk and then refused to leave after John went to bed around 3pm, and Sally called the police to remove him – but it seems awfully suspicious. John was only 45, young even then. But a quick trip to the GRO shows why you should never make assumptions…John died of acute gastroenteritis.

Sally took over the license for the Woodpecker, as expected, and carried on alone for the next two years, until she married fellow widower Charles Hollinrake in 1895. Charles’s first wife, Alice, had died nine years earlier, and while he was happy to find companionship again he didn’t interfere in Sally’s work and she continued to run the Woodpecker, now as Mrs. Hollinrake. Charles appears on the 1901 Census as “landlord”, but Sally is listed as the head of the house and the “landlady”. One interesting question: how did Sally and Charles know each other? Well, his late wife Alice was born Alice Howorth…she was John’s sister.

Sally and possibly Charles Hollinrake, date unknown (from Ancestry)

Charles died in 1903 and is buried at 35.8 with his first wife Alice and four of their grandchildren. In keeping with the same, when Sally died in 1907, she was buried here with her first husband and her two lost daughters.

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  1. Pingback:35.8 – Alice and Charles Hollinrake and their grandchildren – F.O.C.C.T.

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