S4.5 – Scholfield and Mary Jane Selina Collins, and Winifred Mary Metcalfe

This stone supposedly has four names on it and four people buried beneath it; but we worked out earlier in this research project that Martha Jane Sutcliffe here actually “belongs” one row below, at S3.5 with her husband William Sutcliffe. So we won’t include her in the story for this grave.

Scholfield Collins (occasionally spelled “Collings”, but Collins for the purposes of this post) was born in Todmorden in 1849. His father John was a watchman at a cotton mill, an economic migrant from Salisbury, and his mother Ann (formerly Scholfield) was a local girl 18 years his junior. Ann was John’s second wife and Ann herself had a child out of wedlock before marrying John, and their household in 1851 even included John’s stepson from his first marriage – blended indeed. By 1861 both John and Ann had died, and Scholfield and three of his siblings were living with their eldest (full) brother Robert and his wife and daughter.

On the 1871 Census, in an interesting little “small world” moment, Scholfield is found boarding with the Sefton family from S4.7 just two plots over. He had become a stone mason like his brother Robert, and of course James Sefton was a bricklayer, so they likely had met while working together. Scholfield would not live with the Seftons for much longer, because in November 1871 he married Mary Jane Selina Ashworth in Halifax. In another sign that Scholfield wasn’t merely a boarder with the Seftons, Alice Sefton was one of their witnesses.

Mary was born in 1852 in Peterborough. Her father Joseph was a baker and confectioner and her mother Mary Ann (Spring) was a straw bonnet maker, and continued at this work until not long after Mary was born, when she finally had too many children to have any occupation other than housewife. Like many of the young women who ended up in Todmorden from far-flung places, Mary went into service, and in 1871 was working as a domestic servant for John and Priscilla Lord at Cliff Villas. John and Priscilla, by the way, are buried under a very fine monument over at 37.2, nearly the opposite side of the (original) graveyard from this plot.

After their marriage, Scholfield and Mary moved to 9 Lewis Street, and started a family. They had five daughters, including Winifred, who was born in 1874. Their last daughter was born in 1882. Two years after that Scholfield died from phthsis, aka tuberculosis, from which he had apparently been suffering for three years. One in four deaths in the 1880s was due to tuberculosis; it was very common.

After his death Mary took on work as a dressmaker and the family moved to 10 Well Lane. All bar the youngest daughter had become cotton spinners, warpers or weavers. Later, Mary and her three youngest moved up to 352 Burnley Road, in Lydgate. Her eldest daughter Agnes had married William Henry Greenwood, another weaver, and they lived just a little further up on Kitson Wood Road. Come 1911 and only Winifred was left living with Mary, now up in Portsmouth at 943 Burnley Road, along with Agnes’s daughter Nora Mary Greenwood.

We don’t know much about Winifred, aka Winnie, apart from the fact that she loved the stage – she was a member of the Harleywood Amateur Dramatic Society and appears in several newspaper mentions as having performed with them. In 1922 she married John Metcalfe at St. Michael’s in Cornholme, a widowed pipe-fitter who lived ten doors up from her and Mary and Nora. Winnie was 48 and John was 57. They shared nine happy years together before John died in 1931.

Todmorden District News, November 2nd 1931

Winnie and Mary died a year apart from each other – Winnie in 1937 and Mary in 1938. Winnie was at 2 Myrtle Street, and Mary was at Stansfield View. Some of her other children were still living, but perhaps her medical needs were too great to stay at home any longer.

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