S4.6 – Llewellyn, Emily and John Pugh, and Edith and Sarah Cowgill

Llewellyn Pugh was one of ten children, and his parents and some siblings and nieces/nephews can be found at 31.25 and 51.59. He and his family, as well as the stepdaughter he never met, are under the school.

Llewellyn Pugh was born in 1851 to John and Susy (Marshall) Pugh. John was a nail maker from Newtown in Montgomeryshire, Wales, and Susy was from Todmorden. As we said, Llewellyn was one of ten – the eldest son but the fifth child to be born. He grew up at Bank Top in Honey Hole, right next to the Unitarian Church (although it wasn’t yet built for most of his life there). John died in 1870, by which time most of the Pugh children were working in the cotton mills, with the exception of Alpha – what a name! – who was a factory operative.

In 1872 Llewellyn married Sarah Leybourne Steel. Sarah was born in 1851 in Bolton by Bowland, west of Gisburn. It’s a long way from there to Todmorden. But not as long a way as it is from London, where her father John and mother Harriet had both been born! John was a gardener, and like Thomas Frederick Lloyd in the vaults, went where the work was. His eight children were born in Hampstead, Bowland, Sale, Moston, Prestwich, and Chalfont in Buckinghamshire. By 1871 the family had moved to Todmorden where John’s occupation was still gardener, but now an unemployed one. They lived at Hanging Ditch, now the bottom of Honey Hole and incorporating Longfield Road. Not far from the Pughs…

Llewellyn and Sarah stayed in the Honey Hole area, moving to the back-to-backs at Castle View just above Well Street. They had just two children, Emily in 1875 and John in 1877. In 1882 the family left Todmorden for Colne where Llewellyn joined the Lancashire Constabulary and became a police constable. His new role was a short-lived one, because in March 1884 he died aged 33 from inflammation of the bowels. It was a lot easier to die back then.

His funeral received a writeup in both the Burnley and Todmorden newspapers.

Burnley Express, April 5th 1884
Todmorden Advertiser, April 4th 1884

Sarah was left a widow, with two young-ish children, and quickly remarried as was common. This time her husband was Edwin Cowgill of Colne, a farmer eight years her junior. The couple had a daughter together, Edith Annie, in 1887.

Sarah had a long life, outlasting not only two husbands but two of her three children. First had been Llewellyn; next was Emily, who died in 1899 aged 24. Next was Edwin, who died in 1905 aged 42, and then came Edith Annie in 1914 aged 27. None of the last three people’s deaths made the newspapers the way Llewellyn’s had; all we see are basic death notices. Their lives didn’t really make the newspapers either, so all we have are the basic public records. Edith worked as a cotton weaver…Edwin was an electrician’s labourer in 1901…Sarah did not say whether she had any children who had died young, or at all, in 1911…so we’re left with merely dates of death.

Sarah herself died in 1918, and John in 1922. Now, John’s death DID make the newspaper in somewhat more detail, and is a sadly ironic bookending to his father’s death, the first and last person into this grave suffering from what might have been similar complaints. John was living in Blackburn, lodging with someone, working at the local cinema. He overextended himself on Christmas Day and, being a “weak and delicate man”, suffered the consequences and was found dead a few days later.

Lancashire Evening Post, December 28th 1922

Not every death in the graveyard is a noble one, and hopefully if John is still with us in some way or another this hasn’t embarrassed him too badly (or, if it does, he’s had some time to get used to the whole thing).

We don’t know where Edwin is buried, by the way – could be here, could be anywhere.


  1. Pingback:31.25 – John, Susy, Mary, Eliza, Harriett, Sarah Jane and Frank Pugh – F.O.C.C.T.

  2. Pingback:47.59 – Willie Dawson – F.O.C.C.T.

  3. Pingback:51.59 – Frederick, Emma and Frank Arthur Pugh – F.O.C.C.T.

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