cowling

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.

On this day…..29th March

1749     John Skelding and Mary Sadler were married in Old Swinford, Worcestershire.  They are my wife’s 5x great grandparents.

1793     Priscilla Dawson was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire.  She was the daughter of John Dawson and Ann Watson and is my 3rd great grand aunt.

Cowling – Postcard #2

This is a postcard of Croft Mill in Cowling, West Yorkshire.  The postcard is unused and undated.  There is no printer or publisher name although it looks to be from the same range as another one in my collection by F. Frith & Co. Ltd of Reigate.

The mill was owned and run by John Binns & Son Ltd. (1852-1971).  The mill was built on land behind the Bay Horse Inn known as “The Croft”.  A history of the mill was published in a book called Binns – A Weaving Century.  After more than a hundred years of production and eventual take over by big business tycoons the doors were closed for the last time on 17 July 1971.

The mill was demolished between 1971 and 1972 and houses now stand where once stood a piece of history from the industrial revolution.

Cowling – Postcard #1

We had a day off work today and the weather was pretty good so we decided to have a trip to Cowling village, the home of my Dawson ancestors.  You could have an interesting debate as to whether Cowling is in North or West Yorkshire.  The village falls within North Yorkshire County Council but has a West Yorkshire post code.  I prefer to think of it as in West Yorkshire.

We spent a good couple of hours wandering round taking lots of photographs.  I especially wanted to look for the locations in the postcards I purchased yesterday.  We had another search in St Andrew’s Methodist Church graveyard and took some more pictures which will appear in future Tombstone Tuesday posts.  I am really disappointed that I haven’t been able to locate any Dawson’s in the graveyard – it remains a mystery to me where they are buried.

This postcard is unused.  There is no publisher name or date.  I am guessing that the date is sometime in the 1960’s judging by the style of the vehicle in the image.  The scene shows a vehicle leaving Gill Lane and joining the main road that runs through the village – Keighley / Colne Road (A6068).

We took this photograph today from roughly the same place as the postcard.  We’re standing in Hartley Memorial Field – a bit nearer the railings because there are a few trees blocking the view further back.  As you can see the first two buildings on the front left of the postcard are not there anymore.  The side wall of taller property has now been painted white.

Postcard Fair

I recently decided I wanted to add some postcards to my collection of family history material.  We saw a postcard fair advertised at Pudsey Civic Hall so went along this morning to see what we could find.  I had been looking on eBay for a while but hadn’t bought anything so was quite excited at the prospect of coming home with some purchases.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of traders there and the huge selection of postcards available.  There was no trouble finding what we were looking for as they were all arranged either geographically or by subject.  I was looking for postcards of Cowling, West Yorkshire and Jayne was looking for postcards of Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire.

I came home with five purchases and Jayne came back empty handed.  My search was somewhat easier as I was looking for any village scenes but Jayne was searching for more specific images.  Her parents and grandparents had shops in Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe so she was hoping to find some pictures featuring the premises.

I’m happy with the postcards I found and will get them scanned and posted in my blog over the next few weeks.  There are a couple still on eBay that I didn’t see at the fair today so I might invest a bit more money in those.  This is an interesting change of direction for me – away from just researching individual ancestors and looking more at where they lived.

The postcard fairs in Pudsey are every couple of months and I’m sure we will be going again and spending more money.

Tombstone Tuesday – Tale of Two Sisters

This gravestone marks the resting place of two sisters who were born within three years of each other but who died nearly half a century apart.

Mary Ellen Gawthrop (nee Snowden) was born about 1869 in Cowling, West Yorkshire and her sister Leah was born about 1872, also in Cowling.

Mary Ellen is the wife of my 1st cousin 3x removed.

On the 1881 UK census Mary Ellen and Leah were living with their parents John (48) and Ann Snowden (44) and  their seven other siblings

Alice (19)

Annie (19)

John (16)

Emily (14)

Selina (10)

Dinah (6)

James (4)

The family is living at Fold Lane, Cowling.  The father is working as a weaving overlooker at a worsted factory.  The four oldest children are working as worsted weavers and the remaining children are recorded as scholars.

Mary Ellen married Joseph Gawthrop sometime in Q3 of 1889.  In the 1891 UK census they are living at 7 Gladstone Terrace, Trawden, Lancashire.  Jospeh’s occupation is cotton weaving overlooker and Mary Ellen is working as a cotton winder.

The following year their son, Wilfred, was born and his birth is registered at Burnley, Lancashire in Q3 1892.

I have no other information about Mary Ellen until her death on 29th April 1897.

Joseph married Selina Bannister in 1898 and they had twin boys the following year, John Elvin and Joseph Arthur.

In 1891 the UK census shows Leah Snowden living with her widowed mother Ann and still at Fold Lane, Cowling.  Also still living at home are siblings Emily (24), Selina (20), Dinah (16) and James (14).  All the children are working as cotton weavers.

In 1901 the family are still together and still living in Fold Lane and still working as cotton weavers.

In 1911 Leah remains living at home with her mother and three siblings – Emily (44), Selina (40), and James (35).

I have no other information about Leah until her death on 1st June 1944.  And I find it really interesting that sisters were buried together after so much time between their deaths.

Tombstone Tuesday – Alice Gawthrop

Here’s a rather understated tombstone and I think that the family gave quite a lot of thought to it with the little scroll effect at the bottom.

In Loving Memory of

Alice

wife of Isaac Gawthrop

of Crow Nest Farm, Colne

Died Jany. 16th 1922

Aged 60 years

At Rest

Alice Gawthrop (nee Snowden) is the wife of my first cousin 3x removed.

She was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire sometime in 1862.  As yet I don’t have any information about Alice’s parents.  To be honest I haven’t looked – it isn’t one of the priorities on my to do list.

Alice married Isaac Gawthrop in the first quarter of 1885 and the marriage was registered at Skipton in North Yorkshire.

The first time that they appear on a census together is 1891.  They had moved to Trawden in Lancashire – only a short distance away.  Isaac is shown as a farmer.  Sometime over the next ten years they moved to 28 Market Street, Colne, still in Lancashire and Isaac is now working as a stonemason.

Between 1887 and 1898 Alice and Isaac had four children

– Johnny (c1887)
– Edith Ann (c1890)
– Joseph (c1892)
– Ida (c1898)

    Given the six year gap between Joseph and Ida I have wondered if there was at least one other child who didn’t survive – but I haven’t looked at the death records to try and confirm this.

    Alice’s tombstone suggests that sometime after 1901 they had moved again and that perhaps Isaac was farming at Crow Nest Farm.