Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – Joseph Spink & others

This gravestone is in St. Mary’s church, Conistone, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales in England.

Buried here is a father, a mother and two of their sons.

Joseph Spink is my 2x great grand uncle.  He was born on 11th March 1838 in Conistone to parents John Spink and Sophia Shuttleworth Kitching (my 3x great grandparents).

At the age of 13 on the 1851 census for Conistone with Kilnsey Joseph is living at home with his parents and three of his siblings – James, Sophia and John.  Their father John is working as a shoemaker as is James (aged 14).

In 1861 we find Joseph still at home with his parents in the village of Burnsall, not far from Conistone.  His siblings John and Sophia are also there together with a niece, Ann Elizabeth Spink (8).  Joseph has followed in his father’s footsteps and is working as a shoemaker and also as a rural messenger.

Sometime in the December quarter of 1861 Joseph married Isabella Hannah Metcalfe.  The marriage is recorded in the Skipton registration district.

I haven’t researched Isabella’s line so I don’t have any earlier information about her apart from her date of birth, 27th December 1839, which I got from the gravestone.  Oh, I also know from census records that she appears to have been born in the village of Arncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales.

The 1871 census has Joseph and Isabella living in Burnsall with three children – Annie Sophia, Mary Jane and John Metcalfe.  Joseph continues to work as a shoemaker.

The family has moved to Conistone by the time of the 1881 census.  As well as working as a shoemaker Joseph is described as a Post Master.  There are four children at home – John Metcalfe, Margaret E, Joseph Ellis and Thomas Frederick.

Moving on ten more years and Joseph appears to have given up making shoes.  His occupation on the 1891 census is Rural Postman.  The family are still in Conistone and there are five children at home – Annie Sophia, Mary Jane, Joseph Ellis, Thomas Frederick and Robert Aubrey.

At the turn of the century Joseph is 63 years old and still working as a rural postman.  The address on the 1901 census is the Post Office, Conistone and Isabella is described as Postmistress.  Their daughter Mary Jane (35) is the only one of the children at home.

The last available census is 1911 and Joseph is now described as a retired postman.  Joseph and Isabella will have been looking forward to their golden wedding anniversary in 1912.  They are living at “Sunnyside”, Consitone.  Also with them is their daughter Mary Jane (46), their son Thomas Frederick (31) working as a butcher, and their daughter Annie Sophia with her husband of three years John Webster Smith who is described as a grocer and beer retailer.

Isabella died on 21st November 1916 at the age of 76 and Joseph survived for almost three more years until his death on 3rd September 1919.

Joseph Ellis Spink was living at home at least until the 1891 census when he was 15 years old and working as a drapers assistant.  Sometime over the next ten years he moved to Barwick in Elmet near Tadcaster, about 45 miles from Conistone.  On the 1901 census he is living with his brother, John Metcalfe Spink and his family.  John’s occupation is a self employed butcher and Joseph Ellis is working as a butchers assistant.

Within two years Joseph Ellis passed away.  I haven’t got his death certificate but I know from the gravestone that he died on 2nd January 1903.

Robert Aubrey Spink first appears on the 1891 census living with his parents.  By 1901 he had also moved to Barwick in Elmet to live with his brother.  His occupation is described as sorting clerk.

In the 1911 census Robert is listed as a visitor at an address on Harehills Lane in Leeds.  He is working as a telegraphist.

The gravestone shows his date of death as 18th April 1923 and that he was accidentally killed.  I visited Leeds Central Library last week and found newspaper articles about Robert’s accident and these will feature in future blog posts.

I also found both Joseph Spink and Robert Aubrey Spink in the British Postal Service Appointment Books recently released on Ancestry.  Joseph is listed as a “runner” in 1856 having been appointed at Kilnsey, near Conistone.  He next appears in December 1880.  Robert Aubrey Spink started as a “learner” in May 1900 working in Leeds.

Tombstone Tuesday – Fred and Bessie Espley

This plaque marks the spot where the ashes of Fred and Bessie Espley are buried.  The location is the graveyard of St. Clement’s parish church at Sutton on Sea, Lincolnshire.

Fred and Bessie are my wife’s parents.

Fred was born in Smallthorne, Staffordshire in 1909 and died in Sutton on Sea in 1977.

Bessie was born Bessie Britliff in Grimsby, Lincolnshire in 1919.  She died in 2001 also in Sutton on Sea.

St. Clement's Church

Tombstone Tuesday – Ruth Margaret Tomkins (1934-1969)

This is the gravestone of my 2nd cousin, Ruth Margaret Bentley.

Ruth was born on 13th July 1934 to parents Albert Bentley and Ruth Halstead.

Sometime in the third quarter of 1956 Ruth married John Stuart Tomkins.  The marriage is recorded in the Clitheroe registration district.

You can see from the inscription that Ruth was only 35 years of age when she died in 1969.  Her husband John survived for almost a further 33 years until December 2002.

I took the photograph on a recent visit to Clitheroe cemetery in Lancashire.

Tombstone Tuesday – Ruth Bentley (1906-1977)

This is the gravestone of Ruth Bentley, she is my 1st cousin 1x removed.

Ruth was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire on 26th January 1906 to parents Robert Halstead and Ellen Musgrove.  She married Albert Bentley sometime in the third quarter of 1933 and the marriage is recorded in the Clitheroe registration district.

The grave is in Clitheore cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday – William Buckley (1824-1887) & Mary Heaps (1826-1890)

This is the gravestone of my 2x great grand uncle William Buckley and his wife Mary Heaps.

I took the photograph last week when I visited Utley Cemetery at Keighley in West Yorkshire.  The grave is plot number 58 in Section F Con. and was bought by Mary Buckley.

William was born about 1824 in Keighley to parents Thomas Buckley and Henrietta Mason.  He first appears in the 1841 census living with his parents.

Mary Heaps was born about 1826 also in Keighley.  I haven’t any firm evidence about her parents.  There is a Mary Heap (no “s”) in the 1841 census who is a good candidate.  I could always get William and Mary’s marriage certificate and see if that helps – but to be honest this isn’t a priority.

Anyway, William and Mary married sometime in the first quarter of 1844 and the marriage is registered in Keighley.

Over the next twenty one years they had at least 7 children

  1. Thomas – c1846
  2. Smith – c1848
  3. James – c1850
  4. Lettice – c1855
  5. Ann – 1857
  6. Pamela – c1859
  7. William – c1865

There are some gaps in the years that might suggest they had other children who died young and didn’t show up in any census.

I have found the family on the census returns for 1851 in Bingley (about four miles from Keighley),1861 and 1871 in Keighley, and 1881 back in Bingley.  William worked as a “blacksmith” throughout all this time.

William died on 12th March 1887 and Mary on 22nd June 1890.  According to the information from Utley Cemetery Mary’s name at the time of her death / burial was Parker.  I haven’t been able to find a marriage for Mary Buckley to a Parker in the period from 1887 to 1890.  So that mystery is still to be solved.

The grave also includes the remains of Thomas Buckley (son) who died at the Keighley Workhouse Infirmary in December 1899; James (son) who died in August 1904 and his wife Margaret Ann Pickles who died in September 1932.

Memorial Inscription

In Affectionate Memory of

William Buckley

of Keighley

who died March 12th 1887

in his 64th year

“In the midst of life, we are in death”

Also of Mary, wife of the above

who died June 22nd 1890 aged 64 years

Tombstone Tuesday – John Smith Buckley & Mary Ellen Buckley

This is the headstone at the grave of John Smith Buckley and his wife Mary Ellen. I took the photograph yesterday.

The grave is at Utley Cemetery, Keighley, West Yorkshire – it is grave number 494 in section N.

Clearly as you can see the headstone is in a very poor state with the top having broken away from the base. Also the ground around it is overgrown. Even so, after a bit of brushing away the dirt and debris, I was able to just make out the inscription.

John Smith Buckley is my 1st cousin 3x removed. He was born sometime in 1858 in Keighley, West Yorkshire. His parents were Mason Buckley and Susannah Hargreaves.

In the 1861, 1871 and 1881 census returns John is living with his parents. In 1871 he is working as a “worsted spinner” and in 1881 as an “iron moulder”.

Sometime in the March quarter of 1882 John married Mary Ellen Brigg. Mary was born about 1854. I have only done some very quick searches for her on the subsequent census returns but haven’t found a definite entry for her.

John and Mary had two daughters – Annie in 1882 and Ellen in 1887.

In the census records for 1891, 1901 and 1911 the family remained living in Keighley. John continued to work as an “iron moulder”. In 1911 their daughter Ellen is still single and living with them – she is employed as a “dressmaker”.

Their other daughter Annie married Willie Appleyard in the fist quarter of 1907. In the 1911 census Annie and Willie are living with Elizabeth Brigg – who appears to be a sister of Mary Ellen (Annie’s mother). I mention them particularly because Willie was also buried with John Smith and Mary Ellen when he died in 1947.

Anyway, Mary Ellen died on 19th March 1918 and was buried three days later at Utley Cemetery.

At some point after he was widowed John appears to have moved to Morecambe in Lancashire. The information I got from Utley Cemetery says that at the time of his death on 16th July 1932 he was living at 41 Victoria Parade, Morecambe.

The remaining mystery for me is where is Annie Appleyard buried? I found an Annie Appleyard in the National Burial Index who died in 1956 aged 75 years – which puts her at the right sort of age. This person is buried at a church in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. So I will need to do far more detective work to discover if this is my Annie Appleyard (nee Buckley).

Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas Paley (1825-1873)

This headstone is in the graveyard at St. Michael and All Angels Church at Linton in the Yorkshire Dales.  I took this photograph about three weeks ago.

Buried here is Thomas Paley, his wife Harriet and their daughter Martha Jane.

Thomas is my 2nd great grand uncle.  He was born sometime in 1825 to William Paley (1797-1882) and Mary Blackey (1794-1877) and was the first of five children.

On both the 1841 and 1851 census returns Thomas is living at home with his parents and siblings.  In 1851 his occupation is described as a collier.  His father and brother Francis were also working as colliers – presumably in the coal mines on Threshfield Moor.

In Q1 of 1853 Thomas married Harriet Richmond.  I haven’t researched Harriet’s family so have no information about her parents.  I know that the census returns show her as having been born in Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Thomas and Harriett had at least five children between 1855 and 1865

William abt 1855
Martha Jane abt 1858
James abt 1860
John abt 1863
Joseph abt 1865

In the census returns for 1861 and for 1871 Thomas is described as a coal miner.  So it appears he stuck to that dangerous occupation all his working life.

Thomas died at the fairly young age of 49 on 22 November 1873.

Unfortunately Harriet only lived for a further five years and died at the age of 51 on 9 August 1878.

Their daughter Martha Jane had died on 30 June 1866 aged just 9 years.


I was surprised to discover that coal mining took place in the green pastures of the Threshfield Moor and the Yorkshire Dales.  In fact coal was mined on Threshfield Moor as long ago as the early 17th century.  A document dated June 1607 records Lancelot Johnson sinking a coal pit at Threshfield.  From the mid-19th century the colliery had a succession of owners.  The last, John Delaney, built a washery at the pithead in an attempt to improve the quality of the coal.  His aim was to produce coal to burn in his new lime works in Threshfield.  The mine worked an area full of old workings and in the end the miners simply ran out of coal.  The colliery was abandoned in 1905, although Delaney’s company continued to run Threshfield Lime Works until well into the 20th century.

(Source: Gill M C (1994) The Wharfedale Mines. (British Mining No 49) Keighley: Northern Mine Research Society)

Tombstone Tuesday – Fred and Florrie Musgrove

This is the headstone at the grave of my maternal grandparents Fred and Florrie Musgrove. They are buried at Clitheroe Cemetery in Lancashire.

Fred Ainsworth Stowell Musgrove was born 1st February 1898 in Clitheroe, Lancashire and Florrie Musgrove was born 6 January 1897 at Horton in Ribblesdale, Yorkshire.

They were married on 16 September 1917 at the United Methodist Church, Moor Lane, Clitheroe.

Over the next 18 years Florrie and Fred had eight children

Kathleen Musgrove (born 1918)

Thomas Musgrove (born 1920)

Joseph Harry Musgrove (born 1922)

Hazel Musgrove (born 1925)

Elizabeth Musgrove (born 1927)

Stowell Musgrove (born 1929)

Alice Musgrove (born 1930) – my mum

Mary Musgrove (born 1935)

The marriage lasted almost 54 years until Florrie passed away on 18 May 1971 – forty years ago tomorrow. Fred survived another four years and passed away on 12 September 1975.

Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas Musgrove (1920-1977)

This gravestone marks the resting place of my uncle Tommy.

I took the photograph on a recent visit to Clitheroe Cemetery in Lancashire.

Tommy is my mum’s brother and the son of Frederick Anisworth Stowell Musgrove and Florrie Musgrove. He was the second of eight children and the first boy, born on 2nd August 1920.

Sometime in the second quarter of 1942 Tommy married Winifred Agnes Taylor. The marriage was registered at Nelson in Lancashire. They had two children and five grandchildren

Tommy passed away on 20 May 1977.