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Sutcliffe family


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Part 1: Joseph Sutcliffe (? - ?)


Working life and marriage to Grace Patchett

The surname ‘Sutcliffe’ is strongly associated with the area around Halifax. It has not been proved beyond doubt that Joseph Sutcliffe was the first ‘known’ Sutcliffe of this particular branch, but there is a very strong likelihood. Very little is known about him, particularly when he might have been born and who his parents were.

Joseph lived in Warley, a village on the western outskirts of Halifax, Yorkshire. He married Grace Patchett at Saint John the Baptist Church, Halifax, 06 July 1800. The only information about Grace was that she came from Wadsworth, a village to the west. She had had no education, unlike Joseph who was able to sign his name. He worked as a cordwainer, producing luxury boots and shoes (as opposed to a cobbler who repaired them). They had four known children: Sally, John, William and Anne, who were all baptised at St Thomas Church, Heptonstall. The family moved regularly around the Heptonstall area, probably wherever Joseph could find work. It is not known when Joseph and Grace died.


Children of Joseph and Grace

Sally (c1801 - ?) was baptised in March 1801. She was staying with her brother William in the 1841 census and working as winder, transferring yarn from bobbins in a mill. It is possible she had an illegitimate daughter, Harriet, born c1833 who was still living with Sally’s brother William a decade later. There is no confirmed record of Sally after 1841.


John (c1802 - ?) was baptised 12 December 1802. Nothing else is known of him.


More information about William (c1805 - ?) appears in Part 2.


Anne (c1808 - 1846) was baptised 08 May 1808. She married Jonathan Appleyard Bairstow (c1806 - 1849) 04 October 1835 at St John the Baptist Church. Neither could sign their name. The family lived near Spaw Mill (also known as Spa Hole Mill), Stansfield, where Jonathan was a mule spinner. He would have worked with one or two others operating a pair of spinning mule machines (invented a few decades earlier by Samuel Crompton) which would spin cotton (or other fibres) onto hundreds of spindles in preparation for the weaving process. The working conditions were hot and humid and the floors were usually covered in machine oil. Jonathan would have had to work barefoot as a result.

Anne and Jonathan had five children: Sutcliffe, William, Grace, Hannah and James. Sadly, Anne died following the birth of James and was buried 26 May 1846 at St Thomas Church, Heptonstall. James died aged 6 months and was buried 26 November. Following the death of Jonathan in June 1849, the other children were separated. Sutcliffe went to live with his uncle William and worked as a cotton piecer but died aged only 20. William went to work on a farm as a labourer but it is not known what happened to him after 1851. Grace and Hannah worked as infant nurses, still young themselves at 7 and 9 respectively. Grace married and had five children but died in 1883, aged 42. Hannah died aged 16 in 1859.


Next: William Sutcliffe