A Black dynasty: the Lincolnshire descendants of John Black of Doncaster in the County of York

I’m writing up my notes about my wife’s ancestors the Black family of Lincolnshire for a relative who is visiting England next year.

John Black & Eleanor Martin

The story begins in 1773, in the Lincolnshire village of Carlton-le-Moorland, half way between the market town of Newark-on-Trent and the city of Lincoln, with the birth of a child. On 7 March that year, a girl was baptised in Carlton at the village church of St Mary’s, her name entered into the register as:

Black mark

Black mark – the mark of John Black
of Doncaster in the County of York“, his marriage bond, 11 March 1773. Reproduced from the original held at Lincolnshire Archives.

“Fanny, Illegitimate Dr of John Black & E. Martin”.1

Four days later, no doubt under pressure from the Martin family and from the church, the girl’s father John Black obtained a marriage bond from the Diocese of Lincoln: this allowed him to marry Eleanor Martin on 12 March 1773 in Carlton-le-Moorland without the usual reading of Banns… on pain of forfeiting £200 to the diocese if the marriage turned out not to be valid.1,2

(Spelling being much more variable in the 18th century than it is today, Eleanor Martin’s name was sometimes written as “Hellen”, and she herself signed the marriage register using the spelling “Ellner”. John Black made an “X”.)1

While Eleanor was resident in the parish of Carlton-le-Moorland, John Black had come from Doncaster in Yorkshire, forty-odd miles to the north. Like most working men in England in the time before the industrial revolution, John was an agricultural labourer.

After they were married, John and Eleanor had two sons in Carlton:1

  • George (1780)
  • William (1784)

John Black died in Carlton-le-Moorland in 1803. He was 57 years old when he died, which places his birth around the year 1746.1 I haven’t yet traced John’s early life in Doncaster before he came to Lincolnshire. He may have been born and baptised there, or like many agricultural labourers he may have moved from parish to parish, securing work at annual hiring fairs before eventually settling down.

William Black & Ann Eato

At some point before or following the death of John Black, his family moved to the village of Waddington, eight miles from Carlton-le-Moorland on the road to Lincoln. I haven’t been able to find out what happened to Eleanor and John’s first child – their daughter Fanny – but their two sons George and William Black both became successful farmers in Waddington. (Eleanor herself died in Waddington in 1827 at the age of 82 and was buried back in her home village of Carlton-le-Moorland.)1

The elder son George married Mary Hammond on 16 May 1809 at the old parish church of St Michael in Waddington.3 (This old twelfth-century church no longer exists – it was destroyed on the night of 8 May 1941 by a bomb intended for the nearby RAF base.)4 George and Mary had two sons (George and John); the family farmed land on the manor of Mere Hospital, east of the village of Waddington though now cut off from it by the huge airbase at RAF Waddington. George Black died in November 1846.3,5

St. Michael's, Waddington, Lincolnshire

The new St Michael’s Church, Waddington, built in 1954 as a replacement for the twelfth-century church destroyed during WWII.
© Copyright Brian and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

John and Mary’s younger son William married Ann Eato on 17 May 1821 in Waddington. “Eato” is an unusual old East Midlands surname subject to more than the usual amount of spelling variation – for example on William and Ann’s entry in the marriage register it is spelt “Aitoo”.3

OS six-inch map of Waddington and Mere, 1887

Ordnance Survey six-inch map
of Waddington and Mere, 1887,
showing the manor of Mere Hospital.  
National Library of Scotland.

Ann came from Wellingore and was the daughter of Joseph Eato and Mary Codling.6 Ann and William Black had eight children in Waddington village:3

  • Eleanor [or El(l)en, or Helena!] (1822)
  • William (1825)
  • Joseph (1826)
  • Mary (1828)
  • John (1830)
  • George I (1832 – died in infancy)
  • George II (1833)
  • Ann (1837 – died in infancy)

By now you will have spotted the repetition of names across the last two generations. This seems to be a particular feature of the Black family – until the early 20th century they were very conservative in following the traditional practice of naming sons after fathers, uncles and grandfathers; daughters after mothers, aunts and grandmothers. All families did this to a certain extent, but in farming families like the Blacks the custom seems to have been followed rigidly. It can make it difficult to trace individuals when, for example, there are four George Blacks on the go in the same village at the same time…

Black family tree (part 1)

Sketch family tree of the Black family (part 1).
Click on the image for a larger version.

William and Mary Black, with two of their six surviving children, appear in the 1851 census of England in the parish of Waddington. William – aged 66 and born in Carlton-le-Moorland – is listed as a cottager or smallholding farmer of 8½ acres – this is the land the Blacks were known to farm at Mere Hospital.7

When William died on 17 May 1856 he was 71 years old. In his will, proved at the Consistory Court of Lincoln on 6 June that year, William specified that the 8½ acres of copyhold land he held of the manor of Mere Hospital be made available for the use of his wife Ann for the rest of her life or until she remarried, then divided amongst their six living children (sons William, Joseph, John and George; daughters Elen and Mary).8 William’s wife Ann Black née Eato died one year after her husband, in June 1857.3

All of William and Ann’s children lived out their entire lives in rural Lincolnshire – except one. Their youngest son George Black (born in 1833) – named after an older sibling who sadly lived for less than a fortnight – was apprenticed to a joiner in his home village, but left Lincolnshire for the Chorlton area of industrial Manchester, where he became a beer retailer.7,9 He died in Manchester in 1868.10,11

William Black & Mary Robinson

William Black’s second child and eldest son with his wife Ann was named William Black after his father.

William the younger was baptised at Waddington St Michael’s on 1 May 1825.3 This William was born at a time of agricultural revolution in England, as a wide variety of new machinery was developed and new efficient methods of farming introduced. By the time William senior died in 1856, the proportion of the British population working in agriculture was under 22% – lower than in any other country in the world.12

On 8 July 1851 – three months after he was enumerated on the 1851 census as an agricultural labourer, living with his parents in Waddington – William Black married Mary Robinson at her home parish church of All Saints, Nettleham.13 Mary’s parents were William Robinson and Jane Clayton. The Robinsons were originally from Rampton in Nottinghamshire but had been living in Nettleham since the 1820s.7,13

The signatures of William Black and Mary Robinson

The signatures of William Black & Mary Robinson,
from the parish register entry for their marriage, 1851.
Reproduced from microfilm held at Lincolnshire Archives.13

By 1861, William and Mary were living in Waddington on Ancaster Road, with the eldest three of their eventual four children:3,9

  • Ann (1855 – died aged 15)
  • William (1858)
  • Mary (1860)
  • Ada (1869 – died in infancy)

After his mother’s death in 1857, William junior had inherited a part of his father’s land in the manor of Mere Hospital.8 By 1861 he had added to these 8½ acres, being recorded as cottager of 20 acres of land. (Yet more of the Mere Hospital land was being farmed by William’s siblings and Black cousins.)9

William died on 26 August 1872.3,10,11 The executors of his estate – his widow Mary and brother Joseph – arranged a public sale of the Mere Hospital copyhold land, at the Horse and Jockey Inn in Waddington on 24 October 1872.11,14 This sale of the land seems slightly strange to me: why didn’t the copyhold pass to William’s only son – who certainly carried on farming – and/or his only surviving daughter Mary? William’s probate file – which could be ordered from the UK Find a will service – may hold the answer.11

Horse and Jockey, Waddington, Lincolnshire

Horse and Jockey Inn, Waddington, Lincs., where William Black’s land was sold in 1872.
© Copyright Brian and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

William’s widow Mary was still living in Waddington in 1881. She was recorded as being of independent means: perhaps she was still living off the profits of the sale, eight years earlier, of her late husband’s land. With her was her son William, aged 23 and a farmer.15 Three years later her daughter Mary, who had been working as a cook in service at Usselby Hall,15 married coachman Edward Barnes.16 The couple moved to Coleby, the next-but-one village south of Waddington, and the widowed Mary Black moved in with her daughter and son-in-law: she died in 1891 shortly after the census was taken.3,17

William Black & Mary Pask

William Black, the third generation to hold that name, was born on 7 February 1858 in Waddington.3,10,18

William III grew up in Waddington, the son of a farmer and later a farmer in his own right. For some reason he did not inherit his father’s land at Mere Hospital manor, which was sold in 1872.14

Photograph of Mary Pask, William Black, Rebecca Mabbott and others

Photograph of (back row) Mary Black née Pask,
William Black?, “Eva” with unnamed baby,
(front row) “Tom” (Spicer?), Rebecca Pask née Mabbott,
at the latter’s home in Boothby Graffoe, before 1934.
Family photograph, © all rights reserved.

On 19 July 1885, William married Mary Pask at the Free Methodist Chapel on Silver Street in the city of Lincoln. (This chapel no longer exists – it was demolished in the early 1970s.)10,17

Mary Pask, the daughter of master cordwainer (shoemaker) William Pask and his wife Rebecca née Mabbott, was born in the village of Navenby on 9 March 1864 but grew up in nearby Welbourn before going into domestic service.10,15,18

The surname “Pask” is another unusual and interesting one, deriving from the Norman-French Pasque meaning ‘Easter’, and ultimately from Hebrew פֶּסַח (Pesach) – Passover. There is a long-running and comprehensive one-name study of the Pask families of Lincolnshire and elsewhere, with a website at: www.pask.org.uk

By the time of her marriage to William Black in 1885, Mary’s parents had moved to Boothby Graffoe, not far from William’s home village.15 Her mother Rebecca Pask (née Mabbott) is at the centre of a family photograph taken probably around the time of her 90th birthday. In it, Rebecca (born 1842), wearing very Victorian-looking black, is seated in her garden at Boothby Graffoe surrounded by members of her family including her daughter Mary and probably her son-in-law William Black. She is certainly the earliest person in my family tree that I have a photo of.

William and Mary Black née Pask left Waddington around the year 1887. Initially they moved into the West End of the city of Lincoln where William worked as a general labourer.17,20 Following this, the family spend several years moving from village to village (Burton in 1901; Nettleham in 1902; Skellingthorpe in 1903) where William did a series of agricultural jobs – these moves are reflected in the varied birthplaces of their children.2125

By 1906 the Black family were back in Lincoln, settling down at number 35, Hope Street, near the corner with Norris Street, in the south of the city very near the Cowpaddle common.24,25,26

Black family tree (part 2)

Sketch family tree of the Black family (part 2).
Click on the image for a larger version.

William and Mary had a large family – the largest in my family history software – of fourteen children:

  • Jennie (1885-1971) – born 8 December, Waddington. Worked as a domestic servant for George John Bennett, noted composer and organist of Lincoln Cathedral. Had a son, Robert Sydney (“Bob”) Black in 1913. Married building contractor Albert E. Donson, 1936, Lincoln; they lived at her parents’ old house, 35 Hope Street.10,18,25,27
  • William “Jack” (1887-1972) – born 5 February, Waddington. Emigrated to Australia; married Aletha May Eggins, 26 May 1915, Sydney. Lived at 443 Cabramatta Road, Liverpool, New South Wales; worked as a railway employee.10,18,28,29,30
  • Ada (1888-1948) – born 16 November, Lincoln. Married fish dealer Naaman Spicer, 19 December 1910, St Andrew’s Church, Lincoln. Lived in Long Bennington, Lincolnshire and Stanton Hill, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. Eight children including two sons who emigrated to the Canadian province of British Columbia.10,18,25,27,31
  • George Mabbott BlackGeorge Mabbott (1890-1915) – born 30 November, Sturton by Stow. Worked as a farm waggoner and foundry machine hand. Joined the Royal Navy in 1914 as a stoker. Died of dysentery on board HMS Wolverine, Aegean Sea, 27 August 1915; memorialised at East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos (Λήμνος), Greece.10,18,25,32,33,34
  • Amy (1893 – died in infancy)
  • Alice (1894 – died in infancy)
  • Three of the Black childrenEva (1896-1957) – born 12 February, Lincoln. Married Harry Bunn, 1923, Lincoln; one son (Maurice) who died in infancy. Worked as a housekeeper in Lincoln.10,18,25,27
  • Arthur (1897-1915) – born 2 May, Lincoln. Worked as a butcher at a shop in Sincil Street, Lincoln. Joined the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment in 1914. Killed in action in the battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, 13 October 1915; his name is recorded on the Loos Memorial.10,18,25,34,35
  • Fred (1899-1991) – born 17 August, Lincoln. Joined the Royal Navy in 1921; also served three years with the New Zealand Navy from 1926. Married Violet G. Goodenough, 1922, Kingston, Surrey; seven children. Lived in Portsmouth.10,18,25,32,36
  • Harry (1901-1986) – born 31 October, Burton. Married Annie Goy in 1928 in Timberland; five children. Lived on Fen Lane, Timberland; worked as a general labourer.10,18,25,27,36
  • John Victor (1903-1975) – born 6 May, Skellingthorpe. Married Elsie May Cullen, 1939, Lincoln. Lived at 14 Palmer Street, Lincoln; worked as a railway shunter.10,18,25,27,36
  • Elsie Mary (1904-1987) – born 7 December, Nettleham. Lived in Southsea, Hampshire; worked as a cook. Married Stephen Dudley Doust, 1940, Portsmouth; three children.10,18,25,27,36
  • Two of the Black childrenDora Annie (1906-1984) – born 13 October, Lincoln. Married millworker John Thomas (“Tom”) Foster, 1935, Lincoln; one son. Lived at 68 Goldsmith Walk. Died 12 June 1984, Lincoln St George’s Hospital.10,18,25,27,36,37
  • Cyril Stanley (1908-1974) – born 28 May, Lincoln. Lived in Timberland; worked as a roadman. Married Mabel Barrand, 1940, Timberland; one son.10,18,25,27

I’ve written elsewhere about the brothers George Mabbott Black and Arthur Black, both of whom were killed in the First World War – one by disease and one by enemy action. Since that original post I have been sent a copy of a newspaper article from 1915 which reported that the younger of the two brothers, Bugler Arthur Black of 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, had been reported missing in action. The article includes part of a letter of sympathy and reassurance written by Arthur’s comrade – and fellow Lincoln resident – Signaller George Crosby, to Arthur’s mother Mary Black:35

Commemoration of 100 years since the Battle of Loos

On Tuesday, 13 October 2015, the centenary of the battle which killed Arthur Black, the bells of St Mary-le-Wigford in the centre of the city of Lincoln rang out half-muffled.
The names of the men killed on that day were placed on a board outside the church.

“I will enquire all over, every day, until I do hear of him…
It was terrible that day. Hundreds seemed to fall, and to see them falling, to rise no more, by our side, sent us all mad
Mrs Black, if the worst has happened, you can take it from me that he died a hero, and I am proud to be a pal of his.”

Lincolnshire Chronicle, 20 November 1915.

Arthur Black was killed on 13 October 1915 in the battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, when 357 soldiers of the 1/4th and 1/5th Lincolnshire Regiment died in less than half an hour along with a thousand other men. 90% of them – Arthur Black included – have no known grave.

William Black died at his home at 35 Hope Street, Lincoln, on 16 November 1938. He was eighty years old.10,26

His widow Mary moved out to the village of Timberland, fourteen miles south-east of Lincoln in the Witham Fen, to be near her sons Harry and Cyril Black; she died there in August 1939 after a short illness.10 Her funeral was attended by nine of her ten surviving children (only William, in Australia, could not be there) and by dozens of members of the extended family.38

Mary Black née Pask

Mary Black née Pask.
Family photograph, © all rights reserved.

Particular thanks are due to the staff of Lincolnshire Archives, to Stuart and Teresa Pask of the Pask, Paske one-name study website, and to E. Baglo for information, interest and photos.

Paul Harland Stainthorp (paul@paulstainthorp.com). Version 1.0, updated 20 September 2016.


  1. St Mary’s Church (Carlton-le-Moorland, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; digital images, Lincs to the Past (http://www.lincstothepast.com/ : accessed 29 August 2016).
  2. Diocese of Lincoln, marriage bond, ref. MB 1773/449, John Black, 11 March 1773; Lincolnshire Archives, Lincoln.
  3. St Michael’s Church (Waddington, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; digital images.
  4. Miller, Terry and Towers, Jean, Waddington at war 1939-1941 (Waddington Local History Group, 1992).
  5. Lincoln Consistory Court, will and probate, George Black (d. before 3 Nov 1846), ref. LCC WILLS/1846/47; Lincolnshire Archives, Lincoln.
  6. All Saints’ Church (Wellingore, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; digital images.
  7. “1851 England Census,” digital images, Ancestry Library Edition (http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/ : accessed 18 December 2015); The National Archives, Kew.
  8. Lincoln Consistory Court, will and probate, William Black (d. 17 May 1856), ref. LCC WILLS/1856/38; Lincolnshire Archives, Lincoln.
  9. “1861 England Census,” digital images; The National Archives, Kew.
  10. “FreeBMD,” digital images, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/ : accessed 29 March 2016); General Register Office, Southport.
  11. “Find a will: Wills and Probate 1858 – 1996,” digital images, Gov.UK (https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/ : accessed 1 July 2015); National Probate Calendar.
  12. Overton, Mark, ‘Agricultural revolution in England 1500 – 1850,’ BBC – History, 17 February 2011 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ : accessed 15 September 2016).
  13. All Saints’ Church (Nettleham, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; Lincolnshire Archives, Lincoln.
  14. Stamford Mercury, 11 October 1872, p. 2.
  15. “1881 England Census,” digital images; The National Archives, Kew.
  16. St Michael’s Church (Waddington, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; Lincolnshire Archives, Lincoln.
  17. “1891 England Census,” digital images; The National Archives, Kew.
  18. “Birth-Day Greetings”, birthday diary, printed circa 1900; family artefacts; privately held by the author.
  19. Lincolnshire Chronicle, 24 July 1885, p. 5.
  20. Church of St Mary-le-Wigford (Lincoln), parish registers; digital images.
  21. “1901 England Census,” digital images; The National Archives, Kew.
  22. “FreeReg,” database, FreeReg (http://www.freereg.org.uk/ : accessed 2 September 2016).
  23. St Lawrence’s Church (Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; digital images.
  24. St Andrew’s Church (Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England), parish registers; digital images.
  25. “1911 England Census,” digital images; The National Archives, Kew.
  26. Lincolnshire Echo, 17 November 1938, p. 1.
  27. “1939 Register,” digital images, Findmypast (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 3 March 2016); The National Archives, Kew.
  28. State of New South Wales, “Births, Deaths and Marriages search,” database, Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages (https://familyhistory.bdm.nsw.gov.au/ : accessed 23 July 2016).
  29. Clarence & Richmond Examiner, 5 June 1915, p. 1.
  30. “Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980,” digital images, Ancestry Library Edition (http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/ : accessed 28 December 2015); Australian Electoral Commission.
  31. Personal e-mail; privately held by the author.
  32. “British Royal Navy Seamen 1899-1924,” digital images, Findmypast (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 31 August 2016); The National Archives, Kew.
  33. Lincolnshire Chronicle, 4 September 1915, p. 1.
  34. Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “Find War Dead,” digital images, CWGC (http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/ : accessed 1 April 2015).
  35. Lincolnshire Chronicle, 20 November 1915, p. 5.
  36. “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ : accessed 12 July 2016); General Register Office, Southport.
  37. Lincolnshire Echo, 13 June 1984, p. 10.
  38. “The Death took place of Mrs. Mary Black…,” undated cutting, about 1939, from unidentified newspaper; family artefacts; privately held by the author.

Stainthorp, butchers

This post is inspired by the BBC television programme ‘Hidden Histories: Britain’s Oldest Family Businesses‘, specifically the episode about Balson’s butchers of Bridport in Dorset. My own family history can’t compete with Richard Balson’s: his ancestors have been butchers in the same town since 1515, only a few years into the reign of Henry VIII – five hundred years ago and counting – but there was an unbroken line of Stainthorp butchers in the north-east of England for at least 127 years:

Another difference between my line of butchers and the Balsons: while they have been in Bridport throughout their long history, my ancestors moved regularly, running shops in Hutton Rudby (Yorkshire), Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Seaham (County Durham), Gateshead, Wallsend, Whitley Bay, and possibly elsewhere, and branched out into the dairy business and into running licensed premises.

Before we were butchers

I’ve already written about my ancestors Francis (1765-1822) and his son Francis (1803-1882) Stainthorp, who were both hand-loom weavers of linen in the Yorkshire village of Hutton Rudby. Weaving was the main occupation in Hutton, and my Stainthorp ancestors had been weavers since at least the 1690s.1,2

Robin Hood Island, Hall Green - Butchers figure / dummy - Guinness hat - St Patrick's Day

Butcher’s figure / dummy
© Copyright Elliott Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

By the middle of the 19th century, the industrial revolution brought cheap imported linen to Britain and killed off the cottage hand-loom weaving industry in north-east Yorkshire. Ironically one of the last uses of Hutton Rudby home-spun linen was to make the traditional striped material used for butchers’ aprons.3

The Stainthorps of Hutton Rudby were also farmers, again since at least the late 17th century,1 owning between 15 and 22 acres of land at Enterpen and North End.4,5 They will have slaughtered their own livestock and sold the meat locally and at nearby Stokesley market.

The booklet ‘A History Walk round Hutton Rudby‘ notes the “great many” butchers and slaughterers that were based in Hutton Rudby from the middle of the 19th century onwards, and describes some of the less-pleasant effects on the village environment:

“…the butchers’ refuse was dumped in the Blood Midden – the ponds off Green Lane to the west of Campion Lane. The smell was dreadful, especially when the farmer spread the rotted waste as muck, but it was a very popular place to go ratting, as the rats there grew “as big as terriers”.

– ‘A History Walk round Hutton Rudby’.6

One of these 19th-century butchers was my three-greats grandfather Charles Stainthorp.

Charles Stainthorp (1835-1905), butcher, farmer and dairyman

Charles was born in November 1835, the youngest and only surviving son of my four-greats grandfather, linen weaver Francis Stainthorp (1803-1882) and his wife Ann Seamer (1800-1883).2 He had two older brothers, William and Francis, who both died young of consumption – i.e. tuberculosis.7 Charles grew up with his parents at North End, Hutton Rudby;8 he is in the 1851 census of England as a fifteen-year-old farmer’s servant, in the household of farmer Ralph Agar at Tees Tilery, Normanby-on-Tees.9

In 1859, just before he married grocer’s daughter Ann Kay at Rudby All Saints’ church,2 Charles set himself up in business as a butcher with £50 capital.10 His first shop was located in Enterpen, which is the name of both a road and an associated hamlet-cum-suburb of Hutton Rudby proper.11

At first, Charles was the picture of the successful rural small businessman. He and Ann had six children (tragically, three died in childhood including their two-year-old daughter Phillis who was fatally injured when she fell out of her father’s butcher’s cart while travelling home from his shop in Enterpen).11 Charles also had an apprentice, the splendidly-named Denton Fortune, who later became a butcher in his own right in East Rounton.4,5 He continued to farm sheep on the family land in Hutton,12 and also bred and exhibited prize-winning greyhounds.13 During the 1860s, Charles Stainthorp held the role of chairman/vice-chairman of the local Friendly Society and presided over their annual dinners.14

By 1883, Charles and his son William had a butcher’s shop at 87 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough.15 This building still exists, and in 2016 was occupied by a branch of the electronic goods retailer, Maplin.

Newspaper advertisment for Charles Stainthorp, butcher, 1883

Christmas advertisement
The North-Eastern Daily Gazette [Middlesbrough],
22 December 1883, p. 2

Around this time, things seem to have started to go wrong for Charles. Within a single year he lost both of his parents and his wife Ann (aged only 53, to heart disease).7 Already responsible for his youngest unmarried daughter Maria Stainthorp, and for a household including two servants, since 1886 Charles had also had to support six of his grandchildren, the offspring of his eldest daughter Lucy Ann, after her husband Alfred Cockcroft – violent and a meths-drinker – had abandoned his wife and children.10,16,17

By the end of 1887 Charles knew he was falling into insolvency. On 10 April 1889, at court in Stockton-on-Tees, he was declared bankrupt with debts of £686 3s 3d – close to £57,000 in today’s money.18

The Stainthorp family farm was sold, and Charles and William Stainthorp both left Hutton Rudby for good. There were no Stainthorps left in Hutton by the end of the nineteenth century.

Charles moved: first to nearby Skelton-in-Cleveland where son William was also living, and later to the Heaton area of Newcastle upon Tyne. By this time Charles had remarried, to Sarah Wood.19 27 years his junior – younger in fact than Charles’ eldest daughter – Sarah had been living in Enterpen, Hutton Rudby, and had two sons baptised and registered under her own surname.2 It’s not clear whether John George Wood and Joseph Wood were actually Charles Stainthorp’s biological sons, but he raised them as his own children and they both took the surname Stainthorp after Charles and Sarah were married.2022

047221: Shields Road, Heaton 1908

Shields Road, Heaton, 1908
Public domain image, Newcastle Libraries

In Heaton, in a departure from butchery, Charles and Sarah established a milk delivery business. Operating first out of 56 Addison Road, and later at 97 Cartington Terrace, Stainthorp’s dairy became well-known in the Heaton area and the business was carried on well into the 20th century by Charles and Sarah’s two sons John G. and Joseph, daughter Lily (1894-1974), and their descendants.2124

Sarah died in Heaton in 1904; Charles Stainthorp, “milk salesman formerly a butcher (master)“, passed away a year later on 21 November 1905, at the age of 70.7

William Stainthorp (1862-1924), butcher and publican;
also his sons Frank (1886-1918) and Charles (1887-1945)

My great-great grandfather William was the second child and eldest son of Charles Stainthorp and his first wife Ann (née Kay). He was born on 27 January 1862 in Hutton Rudby;25 by the time of the 1881 census he was working in his father’s butcher’s shop in Enterpen.5 Perhaps in order to strike out on his own in business, William later took out an £80 bank loan on which his father Charles was guarantor.10

When he married Margaret Annie Harland in 1884, William was living at the family butcher’s shop in Middlesbrough, at 87 Linthorpe Road.19

Margaret Harland was from a County Durham family of iron workers, but in recent years her father William Harland had been landlord of a string of Teesside pubs including the Cleveland Arms, North Ormesby, the Clarendon Hotel, Marske, the Tees Inn and the Lord Byron, Middlesbrough … and last of all the Royal Hotel, Redcar, where William Harland died in 1892, after falling down the stairs of his own pub.26 Margaret’s brother Henry Harland and half-brother William Dobson were also publicans.4,5,20

At first William and Margaret Stainthorp followed their Harland relatives into the licensed trade. In the late 1880s William was the keeper of the Crown & Anchor Hotel, High Street, Redcar (their first two children were born there)25; at the same time it appears they also ran a separate lodging house down the road at 135 High Street, Redcar – however they definitely still had the Middlesbrough butcher’s shop as late as 1887, and William’s occupation is recorded sometimes as an innkeeper, sometimes a butcher.25

Cleveland: Redcar: CROWN & ANCHOR

Crown & Anchor Hotel, Redcar
The building would have looked significantly different in William Stainthorp’s day, with an additional top floor demolished after 1961.
© Copyright emdjt42, all rights reserved

In the 1891 census William appears as a licensed victualler, landlord of the New Inn, 1-3 Cleveland Street, Skelton-in-Cleveland: two more of their children were born in those premises.20,25

In 1895, William, Margaret and their five children embarked on their next major move. (A sixth child, named William Harland Stainthorp after his maternal grandfather, had died aged 13 months of measles and is buried in Skelton cemetery.)27 By the end of that year the family were in Hartlepool;28 almost immediately they moved again, northwards to the area of Tunstall/New Silksworth, near Sunderland. (With all the chaos of these multiple moves, they neglected to register the birth of their youngest child.) Nowadays New Silksworth is part of the built-up metropolitan area of Sunderland. When my ancestors moved there it was a small colliery village of newly-built miners’ houses, surrounded by open fields.

This move also marks the end of William and Margaret’s career in the licensed trade, although two of their daughters married publicans, and Margaret Annie Stainthorp – like her father – died in a pub.7

Between 1897-1904, the Stainthorps lived at 57 Castlereagh Street, New Silksworth, Tunstall. Margaret and William’s last three children were born there, including the youngest of all, my great grandfather, Henry Harland Stainthorp (1904-1952).25 57 Castlereagh Street is at the corner of two streets and is currently a shop – in 2016, Devito’s pizza takeaway; before that a BMX bike shop – so it may well have been the location of William’s butcher’s shop in the early 1900s.

The impression given by snippets from the Sunderland Daily Echo is that William’s business was thriving in the first few years of the 20th century. In 1901 he advertised both for a “STRONG, respectable GIRL” to work as a general servant and for a “good MAN, capable of taking charge” of the shop in Silksworth.29 (A few years later he placed an advert in the same newspaper for a lost black-faced sheep… had his new assistant left the slaughterhouse gate open, letting William’s profits run away on four legs?)30

Birth notice, William Stainthorp

Birth announcement
Sunderland Daily Echo, 24 July 1901, p. 2

There is also an entry in Kelly’s Directory of Durham, 1902, for William Stainthorp, butcher, at 3 Trimdon Street West in the Millfield area of Sunderland. This can only be my two-greats grandfather, but I have no other record of a butcher’s shop at this address (which is right across the other side of the city from their home in New Silksworth), and the original buildings on Trimdon Street West have now disappeared.31

After 1904, the Stainthorp family moved two more times: to Horden in County Durham by 1911,22 then, around the end of the First World War, to the Northumberland seaside resort of Whitley Bay. I do not know where William’s shop or shops were located during this period. (As late as 1921, the butcher’s shop at 215 High Street East, Wallsend, which would later belong to William’s youngest son Henry, was being operated by a Mr William Coupe; before that by J. Cosans.)32,33

William died of a stroke at his home in Whitley Bay on 4 March 1924. His widow Margaret died fourteen years later at the Gladstone Hotel, Scotswood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne:7 I don’t know whether she was there merely as a customer or as the mother/mother-in-law of the licensee.

(Other pubs run by the descendents of William and Margaret include the Biddick Inn, Fatfield, and the Gibraltar Rock, Tynemouth. It’s likely there were many more but that will have to be the subject of a future blog post and a punishing genealogical pub crawl.)

My grandfather, born five years after William Stainthorp senior passed away, remembered his grandmother Margaret as a “sweet, quiet old lady”. He had less-fond memories of his aunt Madge – William & Margaret’s eldest child – who sent him to bed in the afternoon for misbehaving.34

Three of Margaret and William’s sons carried on the family butchery business: my great grandfather Henry Harland Stainthorp (below), and his two older brothers Frank and Charles:

Francis “Frank” Stainthorp (1886-1918)

Frank Stainthorp's headstone

Frank Stainthorp’s headstone,
Bedford House Cemetery, Ypres.
© Chris Leach, all rights reserved

I have already written about Frank Stainthorp, who was killed on 31 October 1918 near Kerkhove in western Flanders while serving with the 19th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.35

The second child and eldest son of Margaret and William, before the war I believe Frank ran his own butcher’s shop in Seaham, although I have not been able to find the exact location.

He married Mary Helena Mason (known as “Lena”) in Sunderland on 28 July 1919 – they had two daughters.19

Frank carried his peacetime trade into the Army: when he was up in court in 1915 for being so drunk at Chesterfield Midland railway station that he jumped onto the railway line and had to be dragged out of the path of an oncoming train(!), he told the magistrate that he was butcher to his battalion.36 (He was demoted from lance corporal back to the rank of private for this instance of being drunk and A.W.O.L.)37

Frank Stainthorp may have been butchering right up to his untimely death. The family story is that he was doing his rounds, “bringing food up to the front” when the call went out for volunteers for a mission into no-man’s land to rescue a wounded soldier. Frank volunteered for the mission and never returned.34

As an aside, what happened to Frank Stainthorp’s widow and two children after WWI is still one of the major mysteries in my family history research.

Charles Stainthorp (1887-1945)

Frank Stainthorp’s younger brother Charles was born above his namesake grandfather’s butcher’s shop at 87 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough on 23 November 1887.25 In 1911, he was working as a butcher alongside his father William, and living with his parents in Horden.22 On 11 December 1912 Charles married Margaret Elliott Smith at Gateshead register office.19

Charles Stainthorp

Charles Stainthorp
Family photograph, © all rights reserved

Rejected from military service in WWI because of an unspecified disability,37 Charles established his own business south of the Tyne. One early premises, according to the ‘History of The Felling‘ website, was at 12 High Street, Felling.38

By 1939 Charles was living and operating out of a shop at 145 Sodhouse Bank, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, supported by his three children: Sidney, Frank and Verita.

After Charles’ death in 1945, his middle son Frank Stainthorp (1916-1975) took over the shop in Sheriff Hill.

Stainthorp’s sausages are the best,
they’re good for your belly and your chest.
If you eat them twice a week
they’ll cure your sweaty feet!

– Gateshead children’s rhyme34

This shop at 145 Sodhouse Bank is the earliest Stainthorp butcher’s that I have a photo of. I am extremely grateful to two of my relatives who both sent me copies of this photograph. It was probably taken after 1945. The man in the door in the white butcher’s apron is Charles Stainthorp’s son Frank.

The last record I have of Frank Stainthorp’s Gateshead shop is from 1952.39 It’s now a private house, though some of the original features have been preserved including butchers’ hooks in the ceiling.34

F. Stainthorp, butcher, Sodhouse Bank, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead

F. Stainthorp, butcher, Sodhouse Bank,
Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, after 1945?
Family photograph, © all rights reserved

Henry Harland “Harry” Stainthorp (1904-1952), master butcher

Henry Harland Stainthorp

Henry Harland Stainthorp
Family photograph, © all rights reserved

My great-great uncles Frank and Charles Stainthorp had three younger brothers: William Harland Stainthorp, mentioned above, who died in infancy; another William Stainthorp (1901-1919) who died aged 17 of a kidney infection;7 and finally the youngest of the nine siblings – my great grandfather Henry Harland Stainthorp, known as Harry. He was named after his uncle Henry Harland, another publican.

Born in New Silksworth on 17 March 1904,25 Harry Stainthorp married my “Nana” – my great grandmother – Marion Curry at St Paul’s church, Whitley Bay, in 1928.19 The couple moved from Walkergate near Newcastle to the coastal village of Cullercoats – to Links Road, then in the 1940s to a house on the Broadway.7,25,40

From at least 1936 until his sudden death in 1952 (at just 48 years old),7 Harry Stainthorp had a shop at 215 High Street East, Wallsend, directly opposite Wallsend Town Hall.39,40 I am sure that a photograph of this shop must exist somewhere – perhaps in North Shields library’s collection of 50,000 local images.

The Wallsend shop is just off the right-hand edge of this commercially-available photograph.

When I passed the location of the shop on the High Street in 2015, the building was empty and shuttered.

Harry seems to have had an odd sense of humour: during the Second World War he had more than one letter published in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle in which he commented on the more absurd aspects of wartime restrictions, including a poem about the honey-trap agents apparently used by the Ministry of Food to ensnare an unwary Wallsend butcher tempted to bend the rules on rationing…

Medallion and sash of the Tynemouth Butchers Association

Medallion and sash of the
Tynemouth Butchers’ Association

which belonged to my grandfather.
© Copyright stainthorp_ph,
all rights reserved


You may talk about your ration,
Through teeth you can’t help gnashin’,
While knittin’ scarves to warm the soldiers’ throats.
But when it comes to duty,
I can tell you of a beauty,
Whose job’s to make the butchers burn their boats.

There’s a girl I’ve heard them say
In the Food Controller’s pay
Who plys her trade with nothin’ but good looks;
She flits from shop to shop
Like a sparrow on the hop
To buy some meat without her ration books.

With her “Please, please, please,”
She’s almost on her knees;
The butcher tries to meet those eyes that melt;
The mutt succumbs at last,
And wraps her meat up fast,
And another scalp is added to her belt.

– H. Stainthorp, Cullercoats, 1940.41

William “Bill” Stainthorp (1929-2010), master butcher

When his father Harry Stainthorp died unexpectedly in 1952, my grandad Bill Stainthorp gave up his job as a bank clerk with Lloyd’s Bank and his expected future career, to take over the family business.34,42 He was joined in this at first by his brother Robin (1937-2007), who later went into the insurance industry. A third brother, Norman (1944-2006) emigrated to New South Wales in the 1970s.

William “Bill” Stainthorp was born on 7 July 1929 in Wingrove Road, Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne.25
He ran his late father’s shop at 215 High Street East, Wallsend until about 1967.39

W. Stainthorp, butcher, Ilfracombe Gardens, Whitley Bay

W. Stainthorp, butcher, Ilfracombe Gardens, Whitley Bay, about 1985.
Family photograph, © all rights reserved

Before the birth of his eldest son in 1954, Bill Stainthorp bought another shop at 9 Ilfracombe Gardens, Whitley Bay. This shop had already been a butcher’s before my grandad took it over – in the 1930s it was run by a Mr T. L. Tyson.40

In 1974, William Stainthorp was taken to court by the trading standards department of the newly-formed Tyne & Wear County Council for selling brawn (which contains 60% meat, the rest being jelly) in his Whitley Bay shop under the name “potted meat” (which by law must be a minimum of 95% meat). His argument that “it is one of the quirks in the North-East for people to call brawn potted meat” – and that only “visitors from the south” called it by its ‘proper’ name – fell on unsympathetic ears and he was fined £10 and ordered to pay £10 costs.43

I can remember visiting my grandad’s shop as a child – I have a clear mental picture of the layout of the shop, the cold room up a couple of steps, and a small yard out the back. For some reason certain details have particularly stuck in my mind – the smell of the shop, sawdust on the floor, my grandad’s collection of pottery pig ornaments in the window, and containers full of tripe and pease pudding (“Geordie hummus”!) in the display cabinet.

Bill Stainthorp retired in 1986,34 127 years after his great grandfather Charles Stainthorp started out in business in Hutton Rudby. As far as I know my grandad was the last of the line of Stainthorp butchers: by 2015 the shop on Ilfracombe Gardens was being used as the offices of a firm of heating engineers. Bill died after a fall, on holiday in Yorkshire in 2010.7

Timeline of identified Stainthorp butchers' shops

Timeline of identified Stainthorp butchers’ shops
Created using RootsMagic software. I have not been able to find the addresses of any shops between 1904 and about 1934.

The end.

Diagram of butcher's cuts of pork

Paul Harland Stainthorp (paul@paulstainthorp.com). Version 1.5, updated 18 September 2016.


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