9.35 – Theodora, John Stephen and William Anderton, and Elizabeth Fielden

This post about the Anderton/Fielden double plot is split into two, because there are simply so many people in this plot. This post will concern Theodora and her three children who are buried here; the other will concern the wives and children of the sons buried here.

Theodora’s baptism at Brixton Hill Wesleyan Chapel, Streatham

Theodora was born Theodora Spencer Sherington, and not just any offcumden but – gasp – a LONDONER! She was born in Brixton on December 3rd 1830 and baptised right at the start of January 1831. Her father Robert was a hairdresser, as described on the 1841 Census, and the family remained in Brixton until his death in 1848. Faecd with raising four children as a widow, Theodora’s mother Elizabeth quickly remarried, to a tailor named George Lloyd from Sydenham. She assisted him in the business by making stays for corsets and Theodora joined them as an apprentice dressmaker.

Meanwhile, John Anderton of Walton-le-Dale, near Preston was busy living his life up north. In 1859 he and Theodora married, and by 1861 they had moved to Todmorden. How the two met and how they got to Todmorden is something we haven’t been able to discover. John was an iron moulder, so probably travelled for work; but how did Theodora get so far north? Perhaps her stepfather George was a travelling tailor…anyway, marry and then move to Todmorden they did.

John and Theodora had five children together between 1861 and 1873, four sons and a daughter. John died in Preston in 1896, after son William married and before son John Stephen married. More about those marriages in the next post. It seems he hadn’t been able to work for a few years but the record is silent about the reasons.

Lancashire Evening Post, September 14th 1896

Theodora remains absent from the newspapers until a grandchild’s death – again, more in the next post. In 1901 she was away from Todmorden, living in Preston with John’s elderly widowed mother and with her and John’s only daughter, Elizabeth, present too. In 1911 she had left Elizabeth and was living with William and his wife Marian instead. She died in July 1916 aged 85.

Back to her children now…of the three buried here, Elizabeth was the eldest. Born in 1864, the second of their children, Elizabeth seems to have fallen into the common trap of being the junior caregiver, as did so many young women in working families. Like her brothers she became a cotton weaver, and went with her parents back to Preston when her father was ill and stayed to help look after her grandmother. Romance came late to Elizabeth, but it came eventually, and she married Sutcliffe Fielden in Preston not long after that 1901 Census was taken. He travelled up there to marry her, him also having been born in Todmorden. In 1911 they were living in Oldham, Sutcliffe working as a timber sawyer for a joiner. Sutcliffe died in 1923 and Elizabeth moved back to Todmorden, dying herself in 1946 aged 82.

The next eldest buried here is William. Born in 1868, the penultimate child, William became a cotton weaver. Over time the family had moved around Todmorden from Fair View to Broad Street and finally to Wood Street in Lydgate, where they stayed. In 1895 he married Marian Horsfall, his near neighbour at Lineholme Terrace. The two moved to Church Street before 1901, but by 1911 had moved from Todmorden out to Brierfield near Nelson, where William had embarked on a new career in the “chip potatoe business”. Theodora was living with them.

Brierfield wasn’t forever for the Andertons and within a few years they were back in Todmorden, with William volunteering as the verger and out-of-hours caretaker for Harley Wood church. Something happened in 1929 that we’ve been unable to discern, but in the 1939 Register William is described as having been “unfit to work” since that date. Their nephew Leonard is living with them. Marian died in 1950, and William in 1954. Leonard was one of William’s two beneficiaries.

This, by the way, is the problem with “later” deaths – the lack of available public records makes it hard to track people down after 1921 unless they were popular, (un)lucky, or notorious enough to make the newspapers (and if those newspapers are available online).

Finally, of Theodora’s children, there is John Stephen. The last of her and John’s children, born in 1873, John became…yes, a cotton spinner…and in 1898 married Susannah Horsfall of Holme Street, another near neighbour. And in more ways than one, which we’ll discuss in the next post. John Stephen had the shortest life of all Theodora’s children buried here, dying aged 39 in 1913.

Unlike Elizabeth and William, though, John Stephen and Susannah left children behind – Harry and Leonard. Leonard and two of their other children, Wilbert and Eric, are also buried here along with Susannah and Marian. Some of these people we can tell a little more about due to the above point about luck giving their lives a little more “newsworthiness”, and we will in the next post about the Andertons…


  1. Pingback:9.35 – Marian, Susannah, Wilbert, Harry and Leonard Anderton – F.O.C.C.T.

  2. Pingback:13.37 – Robert Sherington, Mary Ellen and Leonard Anderton, and Bessie Tolley Lingard – F.O.C.C.T.

  3. Pingback:26.41 – George, Jinefer, Stephen, Bertha and John Anderton – F.O.C.C.T.

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