Mary Hinchcliffe (1846 – 1919) & George Bentley (1841 – 1907)

I searched for George Bentley’s birth certificate for a long time. Born c. 1841/1842, his birth should have been registered. His siblings were. Until it clocked. George parents (Rachel Hall & John Bentley) had not married until the second half of 1842. George Bentley wasn’t born George Bentley he was born George Hall.

Birth certificate of George Hall, otherwise known as George Bentley.

Whilst contraceptive methods in the 1800s were somewhat unreliable, the Bentley family appeared to have no knowledge of them: two of George’s sisters had illegitimate children and his maternal aunt, Mary Hall, had not one, but four. The Hinchcliffes were not that different. Mary Hinchcliffe’s mother, Martha (Deighton) was illegitimate, and Martha’s mother’s mother, Mary (Milnes) had also had an illegitimate son.

It was not wilfulness and lack of morals but rather poverty and lack of education which led illegitimacy to increase to around 7% in the 1840s (when about a third of women were pregnant at marriage). George’s start in life, together with that of Elizabeth Dean, makes this generation of our family statistically average. What feels more skewed is that all the illegitimacies which occurred in our family are ancestors of my Nana. Partly this is down to poverty, but this line is also the one least connected with agriculture. I can’t help thinking farmers must have had more idea of how to prevent conception than a coalminer or factory worker.

So let us meet Mary Hinchcliffe & George Bentley, parents of Nana’s maternal grandmother, Annie Bentley and the youngest of our 3xg grandparents.

George Hall was born on 7 October 1841 in the village of Midgley within the township of Shitlington, to the west of Wakefield (now, unsurprisingly, having dropped the “h” to become Sitlington). Whether or not John Bentley was the biological father is largely mute as George always considered himself to be John’s son and from now on, so will I. John was a coal miner and, by 1861, so was George and had likely been so for some time for his twelve year old brother, Alfred, was already working as a hurrier.

Mary Hinchcliffe was born on 16 November 1846, in Barugh, near Barnsley. Mary was the first of at least nine children born to Martha Deighton & Silvester Hinchcliffe. Silvester too laboured in the coal mines and his oldest surviving son, John, was also working in the mines by the age of twelve.

A hurrier and two thrusters heaving a corf full of coal as depicted in the 1853 book The White Slaves of England by J Cobden, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mary & George were married at Wakefield registry office on 22 October 1867. At first glance the different locations of their births and marriage didn’t add up. However, the marriage certificate contained a clue with both listing their address as East Moor being the site of Park Hill Colliery. The couple had clearly both moved there for the mine – the main mine shaft was being sunk in 1863 providing new opportunities for local miners.  

With all that lack of contraceptive knowledge it is no surprise that Mary & George went on to have a large family, twelve in all, nine alive, according to the 1911 census, although I have only managed to identify eleven: John (b. 1868), Elizabeth Ann (b. 1870), Joshua (b. 1872), Henry “Harry” (b. 1874), Annie (b. 1876), Charles Hall (b. 1879), Abigail (b. 1882), Ada (b. 1884), Florence (b. 1886), Ernest (b. 1882) and Emma (b. 1893).

Whilst the couple’s first son, John, was born in Gawber (close to Mary’s birthplace) in 1868, he was christened in Thornhill (the parish church for Sitlington at the time) later that same year which suggests they had moved back to where George’s parents lived. The family stayed in or close to Netherton (a village within the township of Sitlington) and by 1882, Mary & George had settled Little London, about 4 miles south of Netherton, Wakefield. Little London consists of six (now ex) coal board houses and was to become for the Bentleys as Toft Gate & High Garnshaw were to the Wellocks, a multi-generational home, so I will write more about Little London in a future blog.

Little London, near Netherton. The Bentley house was probably the nearest one. Own photo.

There is little more to tell of their lives. Their remaining children (mostly) married and left home. George continued to work in the mines whilst Mary ran the household until they died, George aged 66 in 1907 and Mary aged 73 in 1919. Both are buried at St Michaels & All Angels at Thornhill, their grave seemingly unmarked. Gone, but certainly not forgotten.

What the 1921 census told me that I didn’t know

I’ve been cautious about the 1921 census. £3.50 for each page. Half the price of a GRO certificate, double that of a will. And unlike both of those I know that it will be available within a standard subscription at some point in the future. (I am still considering taking out a premium subscription for findmypast – had they made this clear a couple of years ago I was ready to transfer my allegiance from ancestry, but since then I’ve invested even more in building my family tree on that platform, so it’ll be even more of an effort to transfer over).

I also had to manage my own expectations about what I would find. It wasn’t a helpful year for our family. Grandpy was a few months old, but none of my other grandparents had been born. Grandad arrived just five days later and Grandma the following month. Nana’s parents were not yet even married. All my great grandparents were around, but I knew where they were. Four of my great great grandparents would be missing, being four of the least well researched. I am grateful that the general strike which postponed this census did not affect the possibility of seeing the last of my great, great, great grandparents in the census as Martha (Handley) Clapham died on 29 March 1921. In other words, this census, unlike previous censuses, only really covered three generations about whom I already knew quite a lot.

I narrowed my purchases down to just the ten relating to direct ancestors alive at the time. One grandparent, eight great grandparents and twelve great great grandparents. Twenty one in total which is kind of apt.

Richard Walker, Mary (Wellock) & George Thomas Barrett

1921 census from findmypast including Richard Walker, Mary (Wellock) & George Thomas Barrett

Grandpy (Richard Walker Barrett) was always going to be the first person I searched for. And yes, it was super cute to see him recorded for posterity aged just three months. It also allowed me to tick off his parents Mary (Wellock) and George Thomas Barrett. But I already knew they had lived at Scalebar Farm in Gargrave when Grandpy was born and it wasn’t either Toft Gate, Greenhow Hill nor Upper West End Farm, Stainburn the two farms with which this family is most closely associated. I didn’t know that Uncle Henry had been born at Greenhow Hill which gives me a possible date for when they might have taken on the tenancy of Scalebar, but the rest of the data on this page is all well documented elsewhere.

Mary (Walker) & Richard Wellock

1921 census from findmypast including Mary (Walker) & Richard Wellock

Possibly the least interesting was that relating to my Wellock great great grandparents. I could have filled in this entire form myself.

Jane (Brooks) & Henry Barrett

1921 census from findmypast including Jane (Brooks) & Henry Barrett

Whilst there was nothing new to be learnt about Grandpy’s Barrett grandparents, Jane (Brooks) & Henry Barrett, it was lovely to see a reference to William Henry Barrett. William served his country during WW1. It was only a couple of years ago that I learnt of his existence for he died from tuberculosis in 1924 and may have disappeared were it not for census records.

Then there are visitors. Amy, a niece of Henry’s went on to marry her fellow visitor, Henry M Chambers, thirty-four years her senior, but not until 1930, by which time, Henry was 74 and Amy had been his domestic help for at least twenty years. Amy suddenly made it onto my list of sibling & cousin stories to explore.

Marion, Annie (Bentley) & Ernest Moody

1921 census from findmypast including Marion, Annie (Bentley) & Ernest William Moody.

Unlike our other grandparents, Nana wasn’t even a twinkle in 1921. Her parents weren’t even to marry for another four years.

The Moody family (Nana’s maternal side) was the second census I looked for, mainly to check out the lodger. There’s a family rumour that the youngest son, George, may not have been Ernest’s and whilst I have a different interpretation it was rather satisfying to find the same Tom Atkinson, who was with the family in 1911, still living with the family on Lodge Terrace. George was born in between the two censuses so if a lodger was the father, then this was certainly he.

Edith Moody at work. Colourised using myheritage. Own collection.

More excitingly still (and that which I consider to be “the” finding of the 1921 census) was the listing of Aunty Edie’s occupation and workplace as blanket weaver for Clayton Brothers, Coxley, Netherton. Finally, I was able to put some context to the photo I had inherited. These were factory girls.

Arthur, Sarah (Cooper) & Thomas (Butterworth) Booth

1921 census from findmypast including Arthur, Sarah (Cooper) & Thomas (Butterworth) Booth

On to Nana’s father’s family, the Booths. Whilst there is very little here which I didn’t know, it was good to have further confirmation of certain details such as Sarah’s birthplace where I had previously considered different options. However, Arthur’s workplace on a nearby farm is new and something worth doing further work around. Scales Farm clearly couldn’t support the whole family. I have an intriguing photo of Arthur as a young man together with a group of men of varying ages. As much as I would love this to be of Arthur, Thomas & other relatives, it is just as likely to relate to his 1921 employer.

Mary Abigail (Clapham) & George Houseman, Mary Ann (Wilkinson) & Samuel Clapham

Figure 52: 1921 census from findmypast including Mary Abigail (Clapham) & George Houseman

Switching sides to my Dad’s parents.

I perhaps shouldn’t have such low expectations of Grandad’s family given that it is through Grandad that I have found both a proven link to women’s suffrage through Martha Clapham (aka Maria Greevz) and a rather more spurious link to royalty but the 1921 census did nothing to help change my opinion. If only Grandad had been born five days earlier.

Mary Abigail (Clapham) & George Houseman (Grandad’s parents) are to be found at Fairfield Farm with their children. George was the oldest of my great grandparents by some fifteen years, so it is no surprise that both his parents had died more than a decade earlier. Mary Abigail was the next youngest and her parents Mary Ann (Wilkinson) and Samuel Clapham are both to be found farming at North Rigton.

1921 census from findmypast including Mary Ann (Wilkinson) & Samuel Clapham

Hilda Mary (Scott) & Jesse Houseman

1921 census from findmypast including Hilda Mary (Scott) & Jesse Houseman

Grandma was born just over a month after the census was taken. I do rather smile at her mother, the rather smart Hilda Mary, being caught on paper at eight months pregnant – I feel certain she would never have allowed herself to be photographed at this stage. But rather more importantly are the birthplaces of Grandma’s older sisters, Muriel (born in Thirsk, home of Hilda’s parents) & Jessie (born in Birstwith) plus the actual recorded address (Park Head, Norwood). There’s potentially more movement in Hilda & Jesse’s early married years than Grandma either knew or properly recorded.

Maria (Reynard) Scott

Figure 55: 1921 census from findmypast including Maria (Reynard) Scott

Of all my great, great grandparents, Maria (Reynard) & John Scott were the only pair who came close to being upper middle class. Remember this was the generation who were born twenty years into Queen Victoria’s reign, class mattered, and Maria epitomised this age. It is from her I have inherited the classic middle-class Victorian photo album (for which I am very grateful!). Hilda, her daughter, though always smart, was also quoted, by my Grandma, to have “married down”. Here, in 1921, we see Maria in her element. She’s my only female ancestor to head a household in this census, proudly describing herself as “head” and “farmer” and her son as only “farm manager” working for “Mrs Scott.” Her husband, John, had been dead for a year and there was no sense of handing over control here.   

This census also neatly links in the Housemans. Whilst I already know that Maria’s daughter, Laura, married her sister’s husband’s uncle, future generations may not and the 1921 neatly demonstrates a sister who is also an aunt.

Amelia (Bradbury) Houseman

1921 census from findmypast including Amelia (Bradbury) Houseman

I am pretty certain that Grandma inherited her matriarchal tendencies from both her Grandmothers but Amelia (Bradbury) Houseman’s appearance in the 1921 census completely cloaks this.

I end this tour with the most unfairly represented of all my ancestors in the 1921 census. Amelia was rightly recorded as retired and living with her daughter and son-in-law, at Lime Street in Harrogate, where she was to live for the remainder of her life. The census says nothing of the thirty years following her husband’s death during which she continued to run the family farm both alone and in partnership with one or more of her sons. It is also silent of her fight against the 1920 rent increases which ultimately forced her to retire and left her, as a woman, disenfranchised in the 1922 election, the first in which women could vote.  

Are the 1921 censuses worth the money? I can only speak to someone who knew a lot about her twenty-one ancestors who were living at the time.  Two (Maria (Reynard) Scott & Amelia (Bradbury) Houseman) reinforced the impression I have held, that the women in our family have always been matriarchs. Two (Hilda Mary (Scott) & Jesse Houseman and Arthur Booth) will lead me to better map the places my ancestors lived and worked). One (that of Jane (Brooks) & Henry Barrett containing Amy Barrett) leads me to an intriguing story, albeit of a cousin, and one (that of the Moodys) was pure gold – helping both confirm the lodger of family legend and explain an intriguing photo.  

With much gratitude to Natalie Pithers who runs the Curious Descendants for setting twenty-one as today’s challenge.

My sister is also my aunt

Atticus: Double first cousin. Scout: How can that be? Atticus: Two sisters married two brothers.” (From To Kill a Mockingbird).

Eric Houseman (the young boy in the photo) is both my Grandma’s cousin (Laura, his mother, being Grandma’s mother’s sister) and my Grandma’s first cousin once removed (John Taylor, his father, being Grandma’s father’s nephew). Own collection.

It’s the stuff of fairy (or scary) tales – pairs of siblings marrying either together in a double wedding or perhaps with the second relationship arising as a result of the first union.  

Whilst we have at least one example of this classic tale in our tree – the marriage of Elizabeth Furniss & George Downs (3 x great grandparents) in 1866 followed on from that of their siblings Mary Downs & John Furniss in 1859 – I’ve just this week come across a third example of a different double relationship – two sisters marrying an uncle & a nephew.

It’s not as strange as it seems. Mothers frequently bore children for up to twenty years meaning uncle and nephew could be much closer in age than the uncle was to his own sibling. In larger families, children would often go to work as farm servants on their relatives’ farms. And in remote villages there wasn’t always a great deal of choice of partner….. Add to the mix a deceased or otherwise missing father and which requires elder siblings to look after their younger ones and I am only surprised I haven’t found more cases of these dual relationships where one man is both uncle and brother-in-law to another.

Here are the stories of those three double relationships.

Elizabeth Hornby & Robert Walker

I am currently researching our 3x great grandparents Elizabeth & Robert’s story. They are Grandpy‘s mother’s mother’s parents. In short, Robert’s father died when he was just twelve. By 1841 he was living at West Side House, Malham Moor with his maternal grandfather, uncles and his Uncle William Pratt’s new wife, Margery. In this instance, Robert was over twenty years younger than his Uncle, but then so was William’s new wife – generationally Margery & Robert were very similar.

Malham Moor is a bleak remote place but fortunately Margery had only moved a mile up the road from her family home and she likely saw a lot of her younger sister Elizabeth which means Robert probably saw a lot of her too. They married in 1844.

The Bentley girls and the Greenwood boys

A slightly more complex set of relationships underpins not just two, but three linked marriages between the Bentleys & the Greenwoods.

The Bentley side is straightforward: Abigail (b. 1882), Ada (b. 1883) and Florence (b. 1886) Bentley were all sisters of my great great grandmother (Nana‘s mother’s mother), Annie. Abigail was the first of the three sisters to marry a Greenwood (Richard, b. 1879) in 1908. Florence was next in 1909 marrying Richard’s brother, John (b. 1881) at which point Florence and Abigail became both sisters and sisters-in-law.

It was the third Bentley – Greenwood marriage in 1910, between Ada and Hanson (b. 1883), which left me stumped. The Bentley family and the two Greenwood brothers all lived in the same parish, Sitlington so their marriages made sense. Hanson, however, came from Wadsworth some thirty miles away and past the major urban centre of Halifax. There had to be some sort of family connection.

1891 census showing the Greenwood clan. Charles with his second wife Alice, mother to Richard & John (Richard is missing from this census) and his grandson Hanson. From

The 1891 census furnished a vital clue as Hanson was living with his grandfather, Charles Greenwood and Charles’s son, John, who’s vital statistics matched those of Florence’s Greenwood husband. After a lengthy bit of research I discovered that Alice, mother of John & Richard, was Charles’s second wife. They had a much half sibling, Mary Ann (b. 1862) who had an illegitimate child named Hanson! Whilst I haven’t been able to discover much about Mary Ann, Hanson appears to have grown up with his uncles and this no doubt led to him meeting Ada. This makes Abigail & Florence both sister & aunt to Ada as well as sister & sister-in-law to each other!

Hilda Mary Scott & Jesse Houseman

Hilda & Jesse are my Grandma‘s parents and as such I know a lot more about them and their relationships including that Hilda’s sister Laura married Jesse’s nephew, Jack.

Hilda (b. 1891) had a particularly close relationship with her younger sister Laura (b. 1895) as these two photos clearly demonstrate.

What intrigued me more was Jesse’s relationship with his nephew John Taylor “Jack” Houseman (b. 1894), son of Jesse’s oldest brother, Robert.  Three of Jesse & Robert’s middle siblings had died from scarlatina in 1882 and I believe this had almost created two generations within the one family: Robert (b. 1867), Thomas Bradbury (b. 1869), Betsy Jane (b. 1871) and John Charles (b. 1873) being the first and then Alice (b. 1882), Jesse (b. 1885), Beatrice Maud (b. 1888) and Emma (b. 1892) being the second. This would have been more pronounced after the death of Robert & Jesse’s father, Michael, in 1892 when Jesse was just seven. It would have been natural for Robert, as eldest brother and with three children of his own of similar age to the younger group, to have stepped in.

These WW1 postcards from “Jack” to his Uncle Jesse give a glimpse of the warm relationship between the two.

Hilda & Jesse were the first to marry on 28 September 1915. Five years later Laura married Jack. I wonder if Hilda & Jesse were responsible for setting the pair up?

This was not only the marriage of two sisters to an uncle & nephew but the marriage between two sets of close friends which is perhaps why the relationship between the two couples and then their children stayed strong. Aunty Laura became Grandma’s godmother for example. However, the final, sweetest tribute to this double relationship was to come at the end. Both Hilda & Laura died relatively young, Hilda aged 62 in 1954 and Laura aged 61 in 1956. On can only assume that Jesse & Jack took comfort from each other as they chose to bury their wives in next door plots. Both Jesse & Jack outlived their wives by almost 30 years with Jesse dying aged 91 in 1977 and Jack was the last to die aged 87 in 1982 bringing to an end this incredible dual relationship.

The twin gravestones of Hilda Scott & Jesse Houseman (right) and Laura Scott and John Taylor “Jack” Houseman (Left) at Otley Cemetery. Own photo

Annie Bentley & Edith Moody – my mother’s line

The old leather suitcase full of genealogical goodies. Own photo.

Back in March I snuck up to Yorkshire to see my Mum. It was her birthday, I hadn’t seen her for eight months, she’d had her first jab and she was on her own for a few days. Technically we could be a household bubble as I live on my own, but we were both cautious not wanting to advertise a 200 mile trip at a point when we were still advised to stay close to home. I brought my scanner. Mum dug out a little leather suitcase full of old family photos and documents. We spent three wonderful days identifying photos, family artifacts and sharing family stories.

My Dad’s family history is well documented – my Dad’s Mum, my Grandma, was, essentially, a genealogist. I can also (benefiting from the hard work of others) trace Grandpy’s line (my Mum’s Dad) back to the 1500s.

That leaves me with my Mum’s Mum, my Nana, Mary Booth. Her parents, Marion Moody and Arthur Booth grew up in different parts of Yorkshire – Marion’s family were coal miners living close to Wakefield, Arthur’s family were farmers living around the Otley/Bingley area. Those who know Yorkshire will understand why I still have a question as to how they actually met. Both families were relatively poor (two feature in my paupers blog) and moved a lot for work. Of my first 126 direct ancestors (ie up to great great great great Grandparents) I have just one illegitimate ancestor and it’s in this branch [Postscript, November 2022, Annie’s father, also turned out to be illegitimate].  Even the DNA evidence is scattered – just enough distant cousins for me not to question the track, not enough to help me go back. That’s why the most exciting discovery in that little leather suitcase was a photo of my Mother’s Mother’s Mother’s Mother, Annie Bentley – the first one I had ever seen. This being just after Mother’s Day in many parts of the world is a good reason to tell the story of Annie and her family, particularly of her daughters Edith & Elsie, who, for different reasons, never got to be mothers, which makes it important to tell their tale too.

The sole photo of Annie Bentley, own collection

Childhood & marriage

Annie Bentley was born on 7 July 1876 in the village of Netherton, near Wakefield, the fifth of twelve children. Annie’s parents, Mary Hinchcliffe & George Bentley were both from mining families. The Hinchcliffes came from Barugh near Barnsley and the Bentleys from the Netherton area near Wakefield. Whilst Barugh and Netherton are within an easy half hour drive these days it was a very different proposition in the 1860s and 1870s. It seems likely both Mary & George moved for work associated with Parkhill Colliery as their marriage at Wakefield registry office in 1867, has them both living in Eastmoor without family as witnesses.

The marriage certificate of Mary Hinchcliffe & George Bentley, Annie Bentley’s parents, in 1867

By 1882, the Bentleys had settled in Netherton in a row of mining villages called Little London. This little strip of housing was apparently built by Emma Lister-Kaye. Emma was the daughter of Sir John Lister-Kaye who owned Caphouse colliery. Emma, being female, did not inherit the baronetcy, but she did inherit the colliery. She was heavily supportive of the local area and on her death her manager described her as “an aristocrat to her fingertips, and an excellent business brain, which could not be said for her father.” Annie grew up in a miner’s cottage, but likely a better than average one.

The Bentley girls seemed to have developed an obsession with the Greenwood boys. Three of Annie’s sisters married two brothers and their nephew (see my sister is also my aunt). One of these, Florence, moved to Otley, which might just be the explanation for how my great grandparents (Marion & Arthur) met. Annie, however, had different ideas and chose nearby boy, Ernest William Moody. Ernest was just a couple of months older and living in close by Horbury Bridge. In 1891 they were both working in a mill, Annie as an assistant feeder and Ernest as a millhand and whilst I haven’t, yet, been able to prove they were the same one it seems a likely explanation. They married on 26 December 1899 at St Johns, Horbury Bridge. A Christmas wedding sounds romantic but was more likely chosen to coincide with a factory closure.

St John’s church, Horbury Bridge complete with Mum. 2021. Own photo.

The Moody family

By 1901, Annie & Ernest were settled in a small terrace house on King Street, Horbury Bridge.

Children followed, Marion (my great grandmother) was born on 5 April 1902, Edith on 15 September 1904, Elsie on 8 February 1907 and then a bit of a gap before a son, George, arrived, on 10 September 1913.

The new century was a time of social movement. The labour party was formed in 1900. In Horbury canals had given way to railroads but left plentiful water for factories and of course there was the coal which drove the economy at that time. There are hints about how the family were involved in this social movement. George (their son) was heavily involved in the labour movement in adult life, Ernest gave some very detailed evidence at the inquest of a fellow worker in 1936 suggesting he was prepared to be public about workplace accidents and then there is an intriguing photo of Ernest at the Harrogate baths that feels like an organising conference of some sort. It’s a direction for future research.

Photo taken at Harrogate Baths. Ernest Moody is sitting on the front row, third from the left. Own collection.

What this meant to Annie is impossible to establish. There is a family rumour that George was the son of the lodger. There was such a lodger, Tom Atkinson, registered on the 1911 & 1921 censuses, but I suspect the rumour is more likely to be a reflection on a couple who had different lives than of an actual affair. More likely still is that this was a family dealing with an ill child. Elsie, Annie’s youngest daughter, died on 29 June 1924, at home with her family in Lodge Terrace, Netherton (now South Lane) in Netherton. She was just seventeen. In the one photo we have she is sat in a chair with a newspaper or magazine and I believe she would have been ill for some time.

Elsie Moody. Own collection.

Annie’s eldest daughter, Marion, my great grandmother, married the following year and moved away. Edith, however, stayed close.

Edith (aka Auntie Edie)

Edith Moody, possibly between 1914 & 1918, possibly in a work place – possibly either a factory or in a hospital. Own collection.

Whilst Elsie’s story is contained within Annie’s, Edith’s continued long beyond Annie’s and deserves its own telling. Whilst my great Grandmother, Marion, died when my Mum was just nine. Auntie Edie was someone I had the pleasure of having personally known. The two things that shine through for me are her love for family and her love for Uncle Charlie.

Annie died in 1932 aged just 56 and Edith married Charles (“Charlie”) William Hardy in 1934. Charlie was cute, came from a good family (his father was a police constable) and he had a solid job in a local factory. Did she wait until after her mother died and no longer needed her at home? Maybe. It was often the case that at least one daughter was “encouraged” to stay at home and look after her parents. There is further evidence of filial responsibility in the 1939 register. By then Edie & Charlie were living at Sunny-Dene, 17 Elmwood Grove, Horbury, the home where the two were to live out their whole lives and her father, Ernest and her younger brother, George, were living with them continuing to be supported by Edie.

Edith Moody. Own collection
Charles Hardy. Own collection

The photos I have continue to tell the tale of family love. They fall into two groups. One group has Edie by the side of her sister Marion either with or without Marion’s two children my Nana, Mary & her elder sister Hilda. The other group is generally taken in the garden at Sunny-Dene, Edie & Charlie with their arms around each other and, generally, a brother, a niece or a nephew.

Edith with her sister Marion (my great Grandmother) and her two nieces Hilda & Mary Booth (my Nana). Own collection
Auntie Edie & Uncle Charlie in the garden at Sunny-Dene. Own collection.

My strongest personal memory of Auntie Edie is of a trip to Horbury, to the garden of Sunny-Dene. I think it was around the time of my birthday and we had were visiting for tea. Auntie Edie’s neighbour gave me a black handbag and this became the holder of my marbles as we competed in the playground of Norwood School. I have no idea who that neighbour was, but this generous gift is a suggestion of someone who made deep friendships with their neighbours.

Sadly, Uncle Charlie died on 13 December 1978 and, yet, even here we have evidence of the closeness of the coupler. Charlie’s probate wasn’t finally settled until Auntie Edie, too, died on 20 February 1984 when the estate, such as it was, was split equally between Edie’s two nieces and one nephew. A few months later my Dad died. My Mum always says that she was grateful Auntie Edie had never had to learn of her great niece’s loss, a reflection of the great affection Auntie Edie had for my Nana & my Mum, who were almost as close as a daughter and granddaughter in her heart. With much gratitude to Annie Bentley and Edith & Elsie Moody who are just three of the people who make up my motherhood. Also, to Amy Johnson Crow whose 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge encouraged me to publish this series of stories.

Postscript: Edith also appears in Nana’s box of joy.