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Sutcliffe family


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Part 2: William Sutcliffe (c1805 - ?)


Working life and marriage to Hannah Gibson

William Sutcliffe was the third child of Joseph Sutcliffe and Grace Patchett and was baptised 10 March 1805 at St Thomas Church, Heptonstall. He lived in Lumbutts, Langfield, working as an overlooker in the local mill. He had a relationship with Hannah Gibson (c1811 - ?) and she gave birth to their son whom she named Sutcliffe, 15 October 1829. William was reported to be the father on the baptism record the following April but it was not until 26 December of that same year that they both married. However, this would not have made Sutcliffe legitimate. (It would not be until the Legitimacy Act of 1926 that this would be possible, provided certain conditions were met.)

Like his parents, William and Hannah married at St John the Baptist Church. Unlike his father, William (and Hannah) could not sign their names and nothing is known about Hannah’s family. Altogether they had eight sons and one daughter: Sutcliffe, Patchett, Charles, Joseph, William, George, John, Gibson and Mary Ann. It is not certain how much education any of their children had, though it is known that Patchett could sign his name. It is likely they all had some schooling, but likely only for a few years before they were needed to earn money for the family.

The family lived in King Street, Stansfield. There is no place called ‘Stansfield’ now but it was an area surrounding Heptonstall. By 1850 the family had moved to Rishworth, to the south. William worked in mills as a cotton spinner until sometime in the 1850s. He took in his nephew and niece at one point and the family also had lodgers to help make some extra money.

By 1861, the family was living in Facit, Spotland, near Rochdale, where William worked as a gas maker. Rochdale had large deposits of coal surrounding it. The coal would be heated to produce gas which could be used for lighting, heating or powering a gas engine. William died sometime before 1871 and Hannah between 1871 and 1881.


Children of Joseph and Grace

Sutcliffe (1829 - ?) was born 15 October 1829 and baptised the next year 25 April at St Thomas Church, Heptonstall. There is no confirmed record of him after this date.


More information about Patchett (1832 - c1896) appears in Part 3.


Charles (1834 - ?) was born 03 November 1834 and baptised 22 February 1836 at St Thomas Church, Heptonstall. There is no confirmed record of him after 1841.


Joseph (c1837 - ?) was born c1837. There is no confirmed record of him after 1841.


William (c1839 - ?) was born c1839 in Stansfield. By the age of 12 he was working as a cotton piecer. There is no confirmed record of him after 1851.


George Thomas (1844 - c1905) was born in 1844 in Stansfield. By the age of seven he was working as a cotton piecer, repairing the broken threads during spinning. By this time children younger than nine were not allowed to work in the mills so the family must have needed the money desperately. He later worked as a cotton spinner at the local mill in Facit. He married Elizabeth Sunderland (c1846 - 1906) c1868 and they had four children: Sydney, Joseph, Sarah Ann and Harry Smith. He remained in the area for the rest of his life, working as a cotton mule overlooker, and died aged 60 c1905.


John (c1847 - ?) was born c1847 in Stansfield and worked as a cotton mule spinner into adulthood. After the death of his mother, he lived with his older brother George. There is no confirmed record of him after 1881.


Gibson (1850 - c1898) was born in Rishworth in 1850. Unlike some of his siblings, George did not seem to work in a mill at a young age. By adulthood, he was working as a cotton mule spinner and also like his brother John, went to live with George after the death of his mother. He later boarded with a family, remaining in the Spotland area. He died c1898 in Lancashire.


Mary Ann (c1855 - ?) was born in Sowerby c1855. In her teenage years she worked as a cotton rover in the local mill. There is no confirmed record of her after 1871. It is most likely she married.


Next: Patchett Sutcliffe