Jacob Sheldon, miner

Jacob Sheldon was born in 1767, in Bonsall, Derbyshire. He was the fourth of six sons of Benjamin Sheldon and Elizabeth Haynes, and was baptised on 11th October 1767 at the church of St James.


On 29th December 1795, he married Elizabeth (Betty) Rowbottom, also in this church, the banns having been read on the three preceding Sundays.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1932, on Ancestry.co.uk

By the time that Jacob and Betty’s eighth child, Esther, was born in 1813, the parish records were recording the occupation of the father, so we know that he was a miner.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916, on Ancestry.co.uk

And their abode was Slaley, just south of Bonsall.


Photos of the disused quarry at Slaley can be seen on this page.

In January 1830 we can see the auction of some land that he owned:

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Derby Mercury, 20 January 1830, on Findmypast

The 1841 census shows Jacob in Slaley, aged 73, and described as “of independent means”. He died on the 17th April 1844, reported in the Derbyshire Courier:

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Derbyshire Courier, 27 April 1844, on Findmypast

The cause of death was “decay of nature”, and he was buried on the 21st at Bonsall.

Jacob left a will (written on the 12th of June 1840), naming his eight children:

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Staffordshire, Dioceses of Lichfield and Coventry Wills And Probate 1521–1860, on Findmypast

Two of his sons, the executors, stated under oath that the estate was worth less than twenty pounds.

Ari, this is how you are related to Jacob:

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(And Jacob’s daughter Mary Ann married John Frost Bunting and thereby became your 5x step-grandmother as well as your 7x great-aunt!)

Mary Kitchen Pearson

Mary was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother, born on 24 February 1821 in Bonsall, Derbyshire, and baptised at the church there two days later.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916 on Ancestry.co.uk
The remains of lead working on Bonsall Moor.

Her parents were George Pearson and Elizabeth Kitchen, and she was their second child.

The second record we have for her is the 1841 census, and she and her brother Peter are living with Elizabeth in Cromford. No occupation is given for her or her mother. Also in the house is Henry Walker, 25, tin plate worker.

The following year, Mary gave birth to a child, Henry Pearson, mystery man and then on 13 April 1846 she married Jabez (or James) Fenton, a railway labourer. They went on to have six children. In the 1851 census only the first, Elizabeth, had been born, but there is also a son Henry, 6 (who may have been counted twice as he was also listed with his grandmother).

The 1861 census shows Mary and family living at Scarthin Nick.

Mary appeared in the local papers a couple of times. This was in 1866:

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Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 21 December 1866

And 1868:

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Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal 20 March 1868

Mary died in July 1870, aged 49, and was buried at St Giles in Matlock.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1991 on Ancestry.co.uk
Victorian memorials at St Giles, with a view of Matlock across the valley of the Derwent.

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary:

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Troth Shore from Darley Dale

Troth Shore was Ari’s 8x great-grandmother. She was born in Darley Dale, Derbyshire, in 1725 and baptised on 5 March. Pigot’s Directory from 1835 tells us that:

DARLEY DALE is a hamlet, in the parish of Darley, which is partly in the hundred of Wirksworth, but chiefly in the hundred of High Peak, lying on the road between Matlock Bath and Bakewell, about five miles from either place. The situation of this hamlet is one of great beauty, being seated in a lovely valley, upon the banks of the Derwent.” (See http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DBY/DarleyDale)


Her father was Roger Shore, but her mother isn’t mentioned in the baptism record. At the age of twenty-three she married John Kitchen. I have just discovered that he was from Bonsall (and also his age, which was twenty-seven). This is recorded on the marriage licence document, included in Findmypast’s collection of the Dioceses Of Lichfield & Coventry Marriage Allegations And Bonds, 1636-1893:

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I have found records for five or six children: John (probably born in 1749, died in 1752); Robert (born and died in 1751); Elizabeth (born in 1755); Roger (born in 1757); Sarah (born in 1759); and Betty (died in 1764 – I think this could be Elizabeth):

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It seems as though they were living in Bonsall, as all the children were baptised there.


I have just found a burial date for her: 22 Feb 1794, in Bonsall.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Troth:

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Rebecca Woodhouse

Rebecca Woodhouse was the daughter of Mary Redfern and Anthony Woodhouse, and was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother. She was their first child, born in 1791 in Bonsall, Derbyshire, and baptised on the 24th of July.


At the age of 20, she married a quarryman, Isaac Spencer. The couple had ten children: Hannah, Isaac, Charlotte, Joseph, Anthony, William, Francis, Rebecca, Thomas and Sarah.

In 1841 the family are at Water Lane, in Middleton-by-Wirksworth. Four of the children are at home, with 15-year-old Anthony working as a lead miner.

In 1851, just 14-year-old Thomas is at home with Rebecca and Isaac.

Rebecca died on 20 February 1854 in Middleton. She was 62 years old.

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Looking north from Middleton, with Bonsall in the distance. Strip fields can be seen in middle distance, right. 

Ari, this is how you are related to Rebecca:

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Anthony Woodhouse of Bonsall

Anthony Woodhouse (or Woodiwis) was born in one of my favourite places: Bonsall in Derbyshire. According to Pigot and Co’s Commercial Directory for Derbyshire of 1835, the approach to Bonsall from Cromford is “by the Via Gellia, a singularly romantic ravine”.

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Anthony was Ari’s 6x great-grandfather, born in about 1760. He married his first wife, Mary Whitaker, in 1782, and she had three children before her death in 1789. One of the witnesses to this marriage was Henry Woodiwiss, possibly his father or brother?

In 1790, he married another Mary, who had three more children. (One daughter, Rebecca, born in 1791, was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother and will have her own page.)

I don’t know what Anthony did for a living, but many people in the village were involved in lead-mining. Two very interesting booklets (Bonsall in the Seventeenth Century and  Bonsall – a Thousand Years of Growth), produced by the Bonsall History Project, give a great picture of life in the village over the years. The Woodiwisses are listed in the latter booklet as one of the established Bonsall families, with Mary Woodiwiss owning 296 acres in 1848. (Any connection to Mary is yet to be established. There are several relevant wills that I will use to try to sort out the families.)

Anthony died in 1814 and was buried in Bonsall on 19 Jan.

As some of Ari’s Derbyshire family were framework-knitters, I had to include this eighteenth-century framework-knitter’s workshop that you can still see in Bonsall:


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Ari, this shows how you are related to Anthony:

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