57.61 – Richard Newsome and Charles, Mary Jane, George and Alice Howarth

Banns =/= marriage. Someone should have told Richard this. Or maybe they did?

Richard Newsome was born in 1811 in Southowram, Halifax to William and Hannah Newsome. William was a stonemason and Richard and one of his other sons, William, followed in those footsteps. Richard moved down the valley to Wadsworth near Heptonstall and in the early 1830s he met Margaret Howarth of Todmorden. She made an impression and the couple had their banns read at St. Thomas in Heptonstall in February of 1834.

At some point after that Richard and Margaret, or at least one of them, decided not to take things further and get fully married. 1841 came along and Richard was living as a single man at George Street along with brother William and John Swift, both fellow stonemasons, and John’s wife and children. Had he and Margaret parted ways and then gotten back together? Had they always had something informal going on? Something was definitely going on in some way because in April of 1842 two children were baptised on the same day at Christ Church – Mary and Charles Howarth, the children of Richard Newsome and Margaret Howarth. They weren’t twins but two years apart, Mary being born in 1834 and Charles in 1836.

The most likely explanation is that whatever they had going on was very complicated, as Richard and Margaret didn’t go on to marry. When Richard died in 1859, at Dobroyd, his estate went to his other brother Charles who was a publican in Southowram and Richard was described in his probate record as a bachelor – not a widower, as he would have been had he and Margaret married (she died in 1855 and is buried ten plots over at 57.51 with her friend Grace Midgley Stell). Did any of his money, what little there was, go to his two illegitimate children?

Charles grew up to also become a stonemason, and in 1858 he married Mary Jane Mason at St. Thomas. Mary Jane was the same age as Charles and had been born in Knottingley, the daughter of John (sometimes Jonas) and Anne Mason, a cordwainer. The Masons had started out in Knottingley and then moved on to Pontefract before coming to the upper valley to settle. The Masons were a little better off than the Newsomes/Howarths, since Mary Jane didn’t have to work a trade prior to marriage, and Charles worked hard to make sure she didn’t afterwards either. Not that she’d have had much time – between 1858 and 1876 they had seven children, all decently spaced apart by two or three years. Their first child was named after Charles’s mother Margaret and their second son after father Richard.

At first Charles continued as a stonemason, but between 1861 and 1871 he made the move into soda water manufacturing and the family moved to Queen Street. Why he did this and why he stopped is anyone’s guess. In 1881 he was back to masonry, although at that point he had evolved to master stonemason, and is described as employing three men. All the children over the age of twelve are working in cotton mills in some capacity. Only the baby, George, would later break this mould and become a blacksmith. Charles briefly entered a partnership with another mason, John Greenwood, and they did work for the Town Board that included stonework on Royal Bridge, as the published accounts mention in September 1876.

Charles and Mary Jane lived at 12 Queen Street for almost their entire married lives, with Charles dying in 1893 and Mary Jane in 1899. Not long after Mary Jane passed away the widowed Mary Sefton and her children moved to 12 Queen Street, and Herbert, John William and George Howarth became lodgers in the home they’d all grown up in. Shortly after this George, working as a whitesmith, decided to go off on his own. In July 1901 he married Alice Parker of Roomfield House at York Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

Alice Parker was born in 1876 in Kingsley near Frodsham in Cheshire. Her father Thomas was a farmer, as was his father George, and in 1881 Alice and her brother Henry were living with Thomas and his parents and siblings on Depmore Lane in Kingsley. Thomas had been born when his parents George and Ann were young and his youngest sibling, Maria, was a year younger than Alice! Thomas’s wife and Henry and Alice’s mother, Hannah, had died in 1877, and in 1883 Thomas would also die – in his case from typhoid fever which was later traced to drinking polluted water from the watercourse running through Kingsley.

Runcorn Examiner, November 3rd 1883

By 1891 Alice had left Kingsley and was living in Hesby working for the Guest family as a kitchen maid. Edwin Guest, the head of the household, was described in the 1891 Census as a “Tanner, Wesleyan L[ay] Pricher [preacher] and J.P.” – you have to wonder what sort of work ethic he demanded from his servants! Alice continued working as a domestic servant and at some point prior to 1898 entered the employment of Caleb Hoyle of Roomfield House. Hoyle was Todmorden’s very first Mayor and a cotton manufacturer owning Derdale and Hollins Mills, a very wealthy chap. He was also a J.P. which might provide the connection from her employment with the Guests. As a nice little family-related detail, when Alice and George married, her brother Henry was one of the witnesses.

As far as we know, George and Alice led happy lives together; by 1911 they had had no children, and they stayed out of the newspapers so there’s little with which to pin them down futher. 1939 found them living at Queen Street and George working as a maintenance man at a machine tool works, and Alice as the standard “unpaid domestic labour” designation for housewives. They did lead long lives if nothing else – George died in 1954 aged 79 and Alice died in 1957 aged 81.

One Comment

  1. Pingback:57.51 – Margaret Howorth and Grace Stell – F.O.C.C.T.

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