Steeton with Eastburn

Military Monday – Arthur Dawson (1879-1944)

Arthur Dawson is my 1st cousin 2x removed – our common ancestors are my 2x great grandparents John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop.

Arthur is the brother of Prince Dawson and John Dawson – his parents are John Dawson and Elizabeth Bradley. He was born 18 July 1879 and lived at Steeton with Eastburn about three miles from Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Before I found his WW1 service records I knew that Arthur married Lily Cockshott sometime in Q2 1906 and their marriage is recorded in the Keighley registration district. They had one child – a son, Eric born in 1909.

Arthur enlisted on 30 August 1916 in Keighley and was assigned to 7th West Yorkshire Regiment. His service number is 238029. He was 37 years old. At the time of his conscription he was living at 19 School Street, Steeton with Eastburn. His trade is given as ‘mason’.

The enlistment documents also show that Arthur had previous service in the Royal Engineers.

His service papers provided confirmation of the date of marriage to Lily – 10 April 1906. They also give Eric’s date of birth as 21 October 1909 – so more information for my tree. However his service record through up a bit of surprise. There is another son shown – Alan with a date of birth of 3 March 1911.

I have the 1911 census record for Arthur, Lily and Eric – but no Alan.

I have been able to find a birth for Alan Dawson at the right time and in the right location but no trace of him in the 1911 census. So, I searched for a death and found a record for Alan Dawson who died in Leeds in 1977 with a date of birth given as 3 April 1911.

Could this be the answer to my conundrum?  Maybe 3 March 1911 was incorrect. The 1911 census was undertaken on the night of 2 April 1911. So Alan could have been born the following day and that is why he is not recorded. I’m happy with this solution and have now added Alan to my family tree.

Anyway, back to Arthur and his war service.

It seems that Arthur was at home until 3 January 1917. The following day he embarked for France, returning home again after 105 days on 18 April 1917. There is reference to him serving in the Royal Defence Corps (RDC) – the role of this regiment was to provide security and guard duties inside the United Kingdom.

Arthur was finally discharged on 23 March 1919.

Searching for the graves

Holy Trinity Church, Cowling

I have a couple of weeks off work and thought I would make the most of my time on family history stuff.

So I spent all day yesterday updating and cross checking some research on a tree I am doing for a relative. I hardly moved from the computer screen from first thing in the morning until early evening.

Today I decided that I would get out in to the fresh air.

I dropped Jayne at the bus stop at about 6.45am and carried on to Cowling, near Keighley – a journey of about 26 miles. I had a flask of coffee, sandwiches and my camera. The plan was to hunt down some more gravestones.

I trawled through the National Burial Index recently and identified a number of relatives buried at Holy Trinity Church in Cowling and a couple at a small cemetery in Steeton with Eastburn not far from Cowling.

I had quite a long list including Dawson, Gawthrop and Snowden ancestors. I have to say that I wasn’t all that optimistic of finding very many headstones. And indeed that turned out to be right – I came home with only six names crossed off my list.

I am guessing that the graves I can’t find must all be without headstones. There were a great many of these. So I am thinking that perhaps the church will have a record of who is buried in which unmarked grave. There wasn’t anyone around today so I will have to follow this up later.

I was a bit more optimistic when I visited the small cemetery at Steeton with Eastburn. I was looking for the graves of two brothers – Arthur and Clement Dawson. Unfortunately I couldn’t find them either. And by now it had started to rain so I was feeling rather miserable.

I did manage to take a good photograph of Holy Trinity Church though. I have been on the look out for a postcard but haven’t seen one yet.

This is a Victorian church designed by Robert Dennis Chantrell and built in 1845. It is now a Grade II listed building.

The village of Cowling is Saxon in origin and is recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Collinge’. The name means Coll’s people or tribe. At the time of the Norman Conquest the main landowner was Gamel who had very large land holdings in Yorkshire. His name survives in Gamsgill on the northern edge of the village.

Originally the village comprised three separate hamlets namely Ickornshaw, Middleton, Gill and Cowling Hill. It was only following the construction of the main Keighley to Colne Road and the building of large mills alongside the road that what is now regarded as the main village was constructed providing terraced cottage homes for the mill workers.

The older parts of the village faded in importance and as a result the parish church and village school are located on what appears to be the outskirts of the village between Ickornshaw and Middleton, the centre of the village having moved since their construction.