Sunday’s Obituary

Sunday’s Obituary – John Musgrove (c1833-1884)

John Musgrove is my 2x great grandfather. He was born c1833 to parents Joseph Musgrove and Jane Dewhurst.

On 6 October 1855 John married Catherine Ainsworth at the Parish Church in Blackburn, Lancashire. They had at least 5 children:-

Susannah – born 2 August 1856 – died 1 February 1869
George – born 20 August 1857 – died 20 August 1857
Thomas Ainsworth – born 12 December 1860 – died 16 April 1928
Joseph – born 13 April 1864 – died 3 June 1948
James – born 5 August 1868 – died 23 November 1868

I have found John on the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1881 census returns. His occupation varied over the years and he was described as a crofter, a carter and a general labourer. In the 1871 census Catherine is living at 18 Ellen Street, Over Darwen, Lancashire and I assume that John was away from home at the time of the census.

On the 2 December 1858 tragedy struck the family when John’s father, Joseph Musgrove, died as the result of a fall at home. Here’s a blog post about his death – Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph Musgrove

Ever since I started my interest in genealogy and researching my family history my mother has regularly told me of a story about a suicide by hanging somewhere in the past. So I was aware that at some point I may find the evidence.

Back in August this year I finally got round to ordering a copy of John Musgrove’s death certificate. And now I have the confirmation of the family story – cause of death was “suicide by hanging – unsound mind”.

John Musgrove - Death Certificate

According to the death certificate John died at Railway Road, Clitheroe, Lancashire, on 17 September 1884. An inquest was held by the Deputy Coroner J C Anderson on the same date.

The family story was that John returned home one night and the door was locked. Whether he had been drinking, whether John and Catherine had argued, I guess I will never know. Catherine refused to let him in and John replied that he might as well kill himself. If the story is to be believed then Catherine threw him a rope.

Despite my best efforts I have not been able to find any record of the inquest. I have tried Clitheroe library and been to Blackburn library to search the newspaper archives. I’ve also spoken with the Blackburn Coroners Office.  There is a death notice in the local Blackburn paper but no report of the inquest. I discovered during this search that inquest records/reports were considered to be the property of the coroner and were most likely destroyed when the coroner retired.

So sadly it seems I will never learn any more about the tragic events of Wednesday 17 September 1884.

Sunday’s Obituary – Harrison Musgrove (1858-1911)

Harrison Musgrove is my great grand uncle.  His parents are Harrison Musgrove and Jane Rooking (my 2x great grandparents).

Harrison was born on 29 May 1858 in Kendal, Westmorland.  He remained in Kendal until sometime in the mid 1880’s.  On the 1871 census at the age of 12 his occupation is given as “tobacconist” and in 1881 he was working as a “farm servant indoors”.

Sometime in Q2 1883 Harrison married Jane Harrison in Kendal.  As far as I can tell Harrison and Jane had at least six children:-

Agnes Jane – 1881; Eliza – 1886; Alice – 1888; Elinor – 1892; Rachel – 1894; Elizabeth Ann – 1896

In the 1891 census the family were living near Horton in Ribblesdale and Harrison was working as a “general labourer”.  By 1901 they had moved to Holme, Lancashire and Harrison was now a “limestone quarryman”.

The family continued their regular travels and in 1911 they were living in Halifax, West Yorkshire.  Harrison was employed as a “quarryman”.

I have today found the following article from the Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer of 15 July 1911.

Harrison Musgrove 1911DEATHS FROM HEAT

A farm labourer, named Harrison Musgrove, aged 45 years, died from the effects of the intense heat on Thursday, at Burton-in-Lonsdale, four miles from Ingleton.  Dr Troughton was able to certify that death was due to heat apoplexy.  Musgrove hailed from Jubilee Street, Halifax, where his wife is now living.

This was the first time I had come across suggestions  that there was a heat wave in the summer of 1911.  I was able to find a report from The Independent newspaper from July 2006 with details about the Long, hot summer: The Great British heatwave of 1911

Harrison Musgrove ProbateHarrison left a will with effects of £5 going to his wife Jane.


Sunday’s Obituary – Ellen Hurtley (1858-1934)

My great grandmother Ellen Hurtley (nee Paley) died on this day in 1934 at the age of 75.

Ellen is one of my ancestors with missing information because I can’t find a registered birth for her. I know from census returns and from her death certificate that she was born about 1859. I have searched the GRO records both online and on microfiche at Leeds Library. I am fairly confident that there is no birth registered [UPDATED].  Well what do I know!!  One of my regular readers, Richard Thornton, has emailed me with details of a birth registered in Skipton Q3 1858 for Ellen Saley – I’ll be ordering the certificate today.

Ellen’s parents were James Paley and Mary Anne Spink. They had at least six other children and I have been able to find registered births for five of those children. The other missing birth is for Mary Paley.

Thankfully I made a breakthrough recently!!!

I discovered a baptism record for Ellen Paley and Mary Paley on 3 December 1858 at Conistone in the Yorkshire Dales. Ellen and Mary were twins.

Ellen & Mary Paley Baptism - Burnsall 1858







I have been able to find Ellen on all the census returns from 1861 to 1911. She was at home with her parents in 1861 and 1871. Then in 1881 she was working as a “domestic servant” at 4 Water Street, Skipton for Margaret Cooper (widow).

Ellen married James Hurtley on 5 February 1885 in the parish church at Rilstone, near Skipton. They were living in Flasby at the time of the 1891 census then in Silsden (1901) and finally Cononley in 1911.

James and Ellen had at least seven children:-

Rhoda – Abt December 1885
Jim – Abt March 1887
Jessie – Abt June 1889
Maggie – Abt March 1892
Nellie – 9 September 1894
Tom – Abt September 1897
Alice – 29 October 1900 (my grandmother)

It also seems that Ellen had a daughter before she married James Hurtley – Annie Paley (birth registered September1881). I haven’t yet obtained a birth certificate for Annie so haven’t been able to confirm whether or not a father is shown.

Ellen’s death certificate shows that she died at home – 58 Main Street, Cononley and that her daughter Jessie Brown was present at death.

Below is a photograph of Ellen Hurtley (nee Paley) and my grandmother Alice Dawson (nee Hurtley).

Ellen Hurtley & Alice Dawson















Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph Musgrove (c1791-1858)

Joseph Musgrove is my 3x great grandfather.  He was born in Kendal, Westmorland about 1791.  Joseph married Jane Dewhurst on 8 April 1833 in Blackburn, Lancashire.

I haven’t been able to find him on the 1841 census so far.  I have found Jane and their son John living with Jane’s father Lawrence Dewhurst.

On the 1851 census Joseph and Jane are living at Barrow Row, Wiswell, Lancashire (about 3 miles south of Clitheroe) and Joseph is working as a blacksmith.

I have recently found the following article from the Preston Chronicle of Saturday 11 December 1858.  Not so much an obituary – more an inquest report.

Preston Chronicle - Saturday 11 December 1858

Preston Chronicle – Saturday 11 December 1858

THE FATAL EFFECTS OF DRINK AT BILLINGTON – On Monday last, an inquest was held at the “Judge Walmsley” public-house, Billington, on the body of a blacksmith, named Joseph Musgrove.  Joseph carried on business in Billington, and was, like many men of iron, rather too fond of his beer.  On Thursday week, however, he took his beer for the last time, for within half an hour of leaving the “Judge Walmsley” he was a corpse.  So soon as he reached home, he sat down in a chair, and partook of some supper which his wife had prepared for him.  Whilst he was eating his evening meal, his wife went out, was absent between ten and twenty minutes, and then returned.  Not seeing her Joseph, however, in the chair where she had left him, she went up stairs to ascertain if he had gone to bed.  She felt on the top of the bed clothes, got hold of his trousers, but could not find him.  She then went for a light, determining to see what had become of him.  On reaching the bed-room a second time, she saw him laid partly on the floor and partly on a box.  His head was under one side of the bedstead.  On trying to lift him up she found that he was quite dead.  It is supposed that in getting into bed, he slipped, and falling on the floor, dislocated his neck.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with these facts, namely, one of “Accidental death”.

When he died Joseph was about 67 years old.

I feel quite sad now knowing the circumstances of his death.  Having been out for a drink after what was presumably a hard day in the blacksmith forge Joseph’s life ends so tragically.

Judge Walmsley Public House

Judge Walmsley Public House

Sunday’s Obituary – Benjamin Gawthrop

I have written about my cousin, Benjamin Gawthrop, twice already, here and here.

Since then I have been lucky to make contact with one of Benjamin’s grandchildren and she very kindly send me the photograph and the article below from The Australian Baptist, 3 July 1928.

Death of Rev. B Gawthrop

“ Christian Gentleman”

Tributes to his life and ministry

After a protracted illness, Rev. Benjamin Gawthrop, A.T.S., passed into the Eternal Presence late on Saturday night last at a private hospital in Randwick (Sydney). Though his death, judged from the nature of his illness, seemed imminent, the end came more suddenly than was expected. Within twenty-four hours of his passing, all the members of his family had been with him, but none of them thought he was so near life’s close. Happily, those closing hours brought consciousness and Mr. Gawthrop was able to enjoy his last fellowship with those dearest to him

In his death the Baptist denomination in New South Wales has lost one of its ablest, wisest and most gifted ministers, and his passing leaves another gap in the fast thinning ranks of our senior ministers.

It is twenty years since Mr. Gawthrop came to Australia, and up to the time that his health began to fail, he occupied a commanding place in our ministry, and exerted wide and beneficient influence. He was one of our Greathearts, radiating sunshine and goodwill wherever he went and in whatever he did.

Mr. Gawthrop was a native of Colne, Lancashire, England. Had he lived till August he would have reached his  59th milestone on life’s journey. Educated at Rawdon College, where he gained his A.T.S. degree, he entered upon his first pastorate as minister of the church at Heaton (Newcastle-on-Tyne).

After a ministry there extending over 14 years, the call came to succeed the late Rev. Dr. Thomas Porter at Petersham, and 1908 Mr. Gawthrop made his great adventure and followed the gleam which led him to Australia. His fruitful ministry at Petersham continued for ten years, and one of the happiest features of the funeral service conducted in the church previous to the interment at Rookwood was the presence of quite a number of young men who had grown up in his Bible-class, and came to pay their last tribute to his memory and his influence.

From Petersham, Mr. Gawthrop went to Katoomba, and later to Newcastle, where he was minister of the Tabernacle for four years, with conspicuous success. In both these spheres of service his memory will long remain as a sweet savour. From Newcastle Mr. Gawthrop returned to Katoomba, but as an invalid. It was hoped that the mountain air and a subsequent visit to England, would cure him an his malady. But it was not to be, and soon after his return to the lowlands his friends realised that his days of active service were over.

Mr. Gawrhrop is survived by his widow, his only daughter (Mrs. Horace Simpson) and three sons (Mr. Clifford Gawthrop, Mr. Martin Gawthrop, and Master Jack Gawthrop).

Sunday’s Obituary – Benjamin Gawthrop (1869-1928)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my cousin Benjamin Gawthrop and his work as a Baptist minister here in the UK and in Australia.

Benjamin died on 30 June 1928 – he was living in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.

Here is an obituary from The Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday 3 July 1928.


A large and representative gathering attended the funeral of the Rev. B Gawthrop at Rockwood yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Gawthrop fulfilled ministries at Petersham, Newcastle, and latterly at Katoomba Baptist Churches.  He occupied for a full term the presidential offices of the Baptist Union of New South Wales, and the Northern Baptist Association, and he also rendered services during the war as a local army chaplain.

A graduate of Rawdon College, Leeds, his first pastorate prior to his receiving a call to Petersham Baptist Church was at Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The Rev. G A Craike conducted a service at the Petersham Baptist Church prior to the interment, with the assistance of Revs. J Barker, S Sharp, W Lamb, W Higlett and Rev. A P Doran, president of the Congregational Union.  At the graveside the service was conducted by Rev. G A Craike, Dr. Waldock, and other ministers.  Mr Gawthrop leaves a widow, three sons, Clifford, Martin and John, and a daughter, Mrs. H H Simpson.

Among those present were Messrs. F R King, J A Young, F H Searl, A Lord, R H H Butler, H Palmer, C J Dixon, W L Turnham, D Barr, J Maclean, F E Hood, Dr. H T C MacCulloch, H J Morton, H H Simpson, F W Oliver, and J A Packer, and the Revs. W Higlett, E G Hockey, A Jolly, E L Leeder, J Worboys, and W Lamb.

Sunday’s Obituary – William Holdsworth Hurtley

William Holdsworth Hurtley is my 2nd cousin 2 x removed.  Our common ancestors are Thomas Hurtley (1772-1855) and Hannah Braidley (1778-1858) who are my 3x great grandparents.

William was born in 1865 to parents Robert Hurtley and Mary Holdsworth.  He was born and raised in Leeds, West Yorkshire together with his siblings – Thomas, Annie Maria and Robert Frank.

From everything that I have found on the Internet it is clear that William was very academic excelling in the field of chemistry.  A simple Google search will produce plenty of scholarly references about his work.  He lectured in the subject at the University of London and was a Fellow of the Chemical Society and an original member of the Biochemical Society.

Here is a copy of William’s obituary from the Journal of the Chemical Society