A Little Chapel in Yorkshire

Always elusive, the Fisher’s have not been an easy family to find. But earlier last month I was able to locate my great great Grandfather, John Marshall Fisher & his wife Charlotte, along with most of their children, on the 1901 British National Census.

What a decadent source of information. I learned the ages of John Marshall (44) & Charlotte (34) in 1901, which in turn indicated their birth year. I learned where they were born and how they made their living (John worked in a Chemical Works plant).  I was also able to confirm that they were neither lunatic, imbecile nor feeble-minded (phew!).

But one of the more interesting things I learned (and this is something often overlooked) was the discovery of their home address and the neighbours that surrounded them.

In 1901 John & Charlotte and five of their six children (twins would come later) lived in 4  Cookson’s Cottage, Whitley Bridge, Yorkshire, West Riding. Their oldest son, John Marshall jr., worked and lived on a neighbouring farm about a mile and a half away (also found in the 1901 census).

4 Cookson’s Cottage was beside the local almshouse. Their neighbours in the almshouse were the widow Jane Cooper, age 73, widow Sarah Hepworth, aged 80 & a 63 year old bachelor, George Harrison.  Also, just a few buildings down from them was a Wesleyan Chapel (listed next to 1 Cookson’s Cottage in the Census).

The presence of this Chapel is an important clue. Time may have erased the Cookson’s Cottages, but a chapel has a better chance of surviving the ages. And even if the Chapel is gone, the local archives probably have a record of where it was. And if I can find the Chapel location, then I know that John and Charlotte were only steps away.

The Census also indicated that Whitley Bridge was in the Ecclesiastical Parish of Kellington. In 1868 someone wrote this about the parish :

KELLINGTON: …The parish is noted for its superior breed of sheep and short-horned cattle, also the quality of its barley for malting purposes. The soil is a light sandy loam. A canal passes through the parish to Goole. The village, which is of considerable antiquity, at one time belonged to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of York, value £300, in the patronage of Trinity College, Cambridge. The church, dedicated to St. Edmund, is an ancient structure, with a low, square, western tower containing three bells. In the churchyard is an ancient stone with a cross rudely sculptured. The parochial charities produce about £5 per annum. The Wesleyans have a chapel. Earl Cathcart is the principal landowner.” (GEN UKI).

I have yet to sort out the religion of the Fishers. Likely they were Anglican, and if that is the case then there may be records of marriage and birth at the St.Edmund Church in Kellington. But there is a chance that the Fisher’s may have attended this Wesleyan Chapel a few doors down. Perhaps they joined the widows Jane & Sarah and old George for the walk to Church on Sunday morning.

Published in: on 26 March 2009 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment