John Espley is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Joseph Booth Espley and Christiana Boyle. Their common ancestor is Martha Espley – my wife’s 2x great grandmother.
John was born on 5 May 1869 in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
In the 1891 census John was with his uncle & aunt Frederick Espley and Frances Espley in Biddulph, Staffordshire. He was working as an iron turner. By the time of the following census in 1901 John was living in Burnley, Lancashire working as a builders labourer.
On 7 December 1901 John married Sarah Booth at St Matthew the Apostle church, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire.
Sarah was a young widow of 25. Her maiden name was Sarah Baines Turner. She had married Samuel Booth in the first quarter of 1897 in Burnley. Samuel died three years later. This left Sarah on her own with three children under three years old – Betty, Jane and Samuel.
By the time of the 1911 census John and Sarah had six children of their own but sadly two died in infancy. By now John was working in the water department of the Burnley Borough Council.
John was a conscientious employee for the water department and eventually retired from there in 1934. The Burnley Express of Saturday 5 May 1934 reported on his retirement (images from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
THIRTY-THREE YEARS WITH WATER DEPARTMENT
After completing 33 years service with the Burnley Corporation Water Department, Mr. John Espley, of 14 Hawk Street, enters into a well-earned retirement today. Mr. Espley, who is 65 years of age, has served under three managers, and for over 20 years has been a foreman with the department.
He holds the proud record of never having been late for 32 years. One day, when he had been with the department about 12 months, he arrived five minutes late and was sent home for three days. He has never been late since! Mr. Espley is interested in gardening, with which he occupies much of his spare time.
John’s retirement lasted for eleven years before he died on 4 June 1945. He was buried three days later in Burnley cemetery.
The Burnley Express reported on his death on Saturday 9 June 1945.
MR. JOHN ESPLEY
The death of Mr. John Espley (76) took place at his home, 81 Albert Street, Burnley, on Monday, after a short illness. Mr. Espley, a well-known Fulledge resident, was employed by the Burnley Corporation Water Department for about 33 years, being a foreman for about 20 years. He retired about 11 years ago. The funeral took place at the Burnley Cemetery on Thursday, preceded by a service in the Latter Day Saints’ Chapel, Rosegrove, with which he was connected. Elder John R. Moore and Elder W. Duckworth officiated. Arrangements: Mr. Joseph Harling, 29 Yorkshire Street.
Sarah lived for a further 13 months – she was buried on 29 July 1946 in Burnley Cemetery.