Thomas Paley

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.

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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)