David Spencer, limestone quarry delver

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was David Spencer. David was born on 11 May 1867 in Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, to Judith Brooks and William Spencer.

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David’s birth certificate

He was their eighth child. His baptism took place one month later.

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

The 1871 census shows David aged three, living at Rise End in Middleton, and at school. There is a school record for Middleton By Wirksworth National School showing his admission at 3 years, 7 months in October 1870.

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Front cover of the register, National School Admission Registers & Log-books 1870–1914, Findmypast.co.uk

David was still listed as a scholar in 1881 at the age of fourteen, when the family were living in Water Lane, but by 1891 he was working in a quarry, probably a limestone quarry (where his father William worked). His mother, Judith, had died the year before.

On 9 May 1897, David married Elizabeth Pearson at the parish church in Wirksworth. His profession was given as Quarryman.

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The 1901 census shows them living at 11 Dale Street in Wirksworth with their two daughters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth. David’s mother-in-law and father-in-law were next door.

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1901 census, Ancestry.co.uk

In 1911 David was a limestone quarry delver, living at Coldwell Street in Wirksworth.

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1911 census, Ancestry.co.uk

(Sadly, baby Emma, their last child, had died in 1908.)

I have this photo of the family (Elizabeth and David on the left, then Harry, with Mary at the back and David on the right).

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David died on 19 January 1938 at 26 Queen Street, Belper. By this time he was working as a hoist man (lift operator) at the English Sewing Cotton Company. His son David was present at the death.

I have to share this story featuring Queen Street in 1930!

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 15 February 1930, Findmypast.co.uk

 

The house is still there, in the middle of this picture:

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Ari, this is how you are related to David:

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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
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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
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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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Harry Spencer of Wirksworth

Harry (christened Henry) Spencer was born on 15 August 1901 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, and was Ari’s great-great-grandfather.

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His parents were David Spencer and Elizabeth Pearson, and their address when he was born was No. 6 Bowling Green Lane, Wirksworth.

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Bowling Green Lane
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Baptism record, Wirksworth St Mary’s (Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916)

Harry attended Wirksworth New Bridge School from 1912 until 1914.

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National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914

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From various records, we know that he had several different jobs. In 1928, when he married, he was a service mill hand. In 1934 he was a glove trimmer at the British Celanese factory in Spondon.

 

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Derby Daily Telegraph 31 December 1932

Harry married Edith Winifred Morris on 7 April 1928 at the Salem Chapel in Belper.

They had three sons and three daughters.

Harry was listed on the 1939 Register as an unemployed glove puncher. In 1957, when his daughter Audrey married, he was a fitter’s mate at the locomotive works in Derby.

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1957

 

 

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Harry died on 2 April 1971 and is buried at Belper Cemetery.

henry winifred belper

Ari, this is how you are related to Harry:

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Mary Ann Brewell

Mary Ann Brewell was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother. She was born on 21 May 1846 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, the third daughter of Ann Land and Joseph Brewell. Her father registered the birth and was unable to sign his name. His occupation was recorded as chimney sweeper. Mary Ann’s baptism took place on 14 June.

In the 1851 census Mary Ann is listed as a scholar, age 4, and ten years later she is still at school. The family live in the Dale, Wirksworth.

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At 18, Mary Ann married Henry Pearson, a labourer. Both gave their residence as Cromford. The wedding took place at St Mary’s church in Wirksworth. Mary Ann was unable to sign her name.

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St Mary’s. Norman carved fragments built into the north wall of the interior of the north transept

Their first child, Robert, was born in 1865 and baptised on 20 August. A daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1867. Between these two births it seems that the family had moved to Scarthin Nick in Cromford, and this is where they were living in 1871. No occupation was given for Mary Ann in any of the censuses.

By 1891 they had moved to Bolton in Lancashire, where Henry was working in a cotton mill. Mary Ann was now 45. Robert and Elizabeth were living with them, and Robert was working as a carter to a coal merchant. Ernest Pearson, a ‘nurse child’ aged 2, born in Bolton, was also living with them. Was he related or had he just been adopted and taken their name?

In 1901 they were back in Derbyshire. They were living at 3 Bowling Green Lane, in Wirksworth. Both children had married by this time.

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Bowling Green Lane is a narrow ‘jitty’ or ‘ginnel’.

By the 1911 census they had moved to the almshouses in Wirksworth. Mary Ann was now 65, and they had been married for 46 years. They had nine grandchildren. Henry died a few months later, and Mary Ann lived until 20 August 1923, when she died at 23 Dale Street, of atrophic degeneration of the heart. She was 78. Her son Robert was present at her death. No will, burial, or death announcement has been found yet.

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary Ann:

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Henry Pearson, mystery man

Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, Henry Pearson, was born in about 1838 in Cromford, Derbyshire, but has proved difficult to trace.

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According to his marriage certificate, his father was a labourer also called Henry, but I can find no census records for 1841 or 1851 that fit this family, nor any record of a birth or baptism.

The alternative theory, which is supported by various records, is that he was born in 1842 to Mary Kitchen Pearson. In this version of his story, in 1851 he is living with his grandmother Elizabeth Pearson in the almshouses in Cromford.

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Mary then married Jabez Fenton, and the family can be found in 1861 living in Scarthin Nick, Matlock. If this is the right story, then we probably won’t ever know who his father was.

Henry died on 17 Aug 1911 in the almshouses at Wirksworth, aged 73, occupation general labourer, and was buried two days later in the public cemetery there. I would love to know the truth about his origins and solve the mystery!

Ari, this shows how you are related to Henry:

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Favourite hymn

I discovered a newspaper account of Elizabeth Spencer (nee Pearson)’s funeral in the Belper News of 22 Jan 1937 (available on FindMyPast). Elizabeth is Ari’s three times great-grandmother, born in 1867 in Scarthin Nick, Cromford, Derbyshire. She died in 1937 in Belper, Derbyshire. We now know that her favourite hymn was “My Jesus, I Love Thee”, and the names of people who sent flowers to her funeral.

Eliz Pearson

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Elizabeth:

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Postscript

I now have Elizabeth’s death certificate. She died on 16 Jan, at No. 2 Patten Yard, from myocardial failure and pulmonary congestion and pleurisy. Her daughter Mary Ann was present at the death and informed the registrar.

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