Thomas Waterfield 1826-1876

I think Thomas son of Thomas, bp 1827 at Loughborough, may be the man who married Martha Read at Warrington in 1853 although both the marriage register and the GRO certificate says Thomas, son of William. At that time he was a labourer of Little Sankey but his father's occupation was given as waterman.

In 1861 they were at 18 Littons Row, Warrington: Thomas claimed to be aged 37 (i.e. born 1824), a general labourer, born in Loughborough. His wife, Martha, was 28: children Joseph [6], Hannah [3] and Mary [11 mo] were also there.

In 1871 he was living at Sankey Bridges, a labourer but still aged 37, this time claiming to have been born in Nottingham, as was his 'lodger' Joseph Waterfield, aged 55. Martha had only aged to 32! Sons Joseph [16, carpenter] and William [7] were also living there, as well as daughter Hannah, my great-grandmother, then aged 14 i.e. born 1857 .

By 1881 Martha was a widow, living at 11 Richardsons Row, correctly aged 48. Youngest son William (18) was still living at home, a labourer at the wireworks. Our ancestor Hannah was there, too - now married to Mark Atherton, and with their two daughters Lilly and newborn Mary. This time Mark, like Joseph Waterfield in 1871, is described as a 'boarder' rather than 'son-in-law'. It must have been a big house - there were two further lodgers - Robert Caithness, a 32-year-old from Scotland and Henry Wixton 34, from London - both bricklayers, both married, but both without their wives.

Just along the Row at no 7 was her older son Joseph Waterfield, a ship's carpenter, with Ellen his wife and daughters Mary (4) and Minnie (7 months)

1891 sees Martha still living at no 11, still with Hannah and her family (though Mark is away - presumably at sea). Hannah's family has, of course, increased (more details in the Atherton section), perhaps filling the house as this time there are no other lodgers. My grandfather has arrived - aged 2!

Martha's younger son William (age 28) is at no 9 this time. He's still labouring at the wire-works but now he's married to a local girl Mary (21) who had given birth to their daughter Esther Ann just two months before. No sign of Joseph, though we know he didn't die till 1915.

Was Thomas born in Nottingham, but baptised in Loughborough? Possibly, if his father worked on the canals - his parents seem to have married in Lougborough - and Joseph's parents, too. The two places are not so very far apart.

Wherever he was born, he is a far cry from the rich Dutchman my father believed him to be! Such family stories usually have a germ of truth in them, if only it can be found. Perhaps in this case it is linked to the widowed Martha's apparent wealth - living in such a big house.

The children of Thomas Waterfield and Martha (nee Read)

  1. John 1853-1854
  2. Joseph 1855-1915
  3. Hannah Waterfield 1857-1908 (my great-grandmother)
  4. Mary Waterfield 1860-1866
  5. William Waterfield 1863-(aft 1901) - ancestor of Nick Walker
  6. James Waterfield 1866-1866