Although many of the parts of the TATTERSFIELD family emigrated, the majority did not. Many families remained centred upon the traditional areas of Dewsbury-Heckmondwike, York, Hull, London, Leeds and Lancashire.
In the section which follows we would very much like English-based families who are, or who are descended from, TATTERSFIELDS to submit an article about themselves and their history for inclusion.
The first such article, kindly suppied by Jane Weyer, concerns a family who moved to Leicestershire and who still remain closely in touch with each other.
Further contributions would be very welcome, and will be published in this section of the TATTERSFIELD website as they come in!
There are seven of us. We are all grandchildren of Herbert Tattersfield (of the Heckmondwike branch) and Lilian Coatsworth who came from Lincolnshire. They had lived in Carlton, Nottingham before moving to Leicester. Herbert was the fifth child of Joseph Tattersfield and Betsy Pickering, and a grandson of George Tattersfield (see the next article).
I am Jane Elizabeth Weyer (nee Perkins and formerly Ellison). My mother was Winifred Tattersfield the oldest of Herbert and Lilian’s family. She always felt hard done-by as she would have liked to have been a teacher but the younger members of the family took priority. She married Arthur Goodall Perkins in 1939 just prior to the outbreak of World War II. Life was difficult at that time and I was born in September 1940 – a Battle of Britain Baby. No more children were born to them. After the austerity of the war years we settled into a comfortable life as my father had inherited his long-established family furniture business in Leicester and I felt I had a privileged up-bringing qualifying as a Primary Teacher in 1961. I married Michael Ellison an adventuring yachtsman in 1964 and after a divorce in 1983 married accountant Colin Weyer, until our divorce in 1996. Having lived in Berkshire during my marriages, I returned to live in Market Harborough, Leicestershire four years ago in order to be closer to my cousins.
Mary was the next member of Herbert and Lilian’s family who married “Jack” Cumming in 1936. They had three children: Patricia Mary (born 1938), John Andrew (born 1940) and Helen Margaret (born 1946). They lived in Humberstone, Leicester until each married and moved away. Patricia (Tricia) married Ivan Nicholls in 1959 and has moved many times including a time in France. Andrew qualified as a Doctor and after some time in the RAF stationed in the UK and in Bahrein, married an Australian nurse, Liz, in 1968 and settled in Australia where he is now. Helen married firstly to Bruce Lord and after a divorce married her boss the finance director, Basil Cole in 1991 with whom she is happily settled. Helen has just retired from her Secretary’s job.
Tricia always maintains that, like my mother, she couldn’t have the career training she would have liked as all the financial resources went into educating her brother Andrew and sending him to St. Mary’s Medical School in Paddington. She became a librarian and subsequently qualified as a teacher after her marriage.
Tricia and Ivan are living in Tixover in Rutland and maintain it is the longest they have been in one house. Andrew and Liz are in Toowomba, Queensland whilst Helen and Basil live in Thurnby on the outskirts of Leicester.
Kathleen was the third daughter of Lilian and Herbert. She married Reginald Hurst, the son of another Leicester business family in 1941 . They had an only child, Virginia (born1947) and lived on Fosse Road South, Leicester before moving out to Oadby on the outskirts of Leicester. Virginia married David Speed in 1969 and they now live in Wolverhampton. Virginia is a Nursery Head Teacher in Wolverhampton.
Edith the youngest surviving daughter of Herbert and Lilian worked in the Midland Bank, Granby Street, Leicester before her marriage to Frederick James in 1943. Fred served in the Army during the Second World War and following the Normandy Landings served in Europe until the end of the War. Upon demobilisation he took over his family business of Painting and Decorating which he ran until his retirement. Auntie Edith used to help him with accounts and administration. They had a son Peter Nicholas (born 1946) and Amanda Elizabeth (born 1958). Peter had a brief career in the Royal Navy and then went into Advertising and is now enjoying working as a Design Technician in the local School. Peter married Veronica Day, a personal assistant in an advertising agency in 1999. They now live in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire. Amanda (Mandy) is Deputy Head Teacher at a Primary School in Nottinghamshire and lives in Papplewick, Nottinghamshire.
Lilian and Herbert had two other children – Betty who died as a child from possibly diphtheria and Jack who lost his life during the Second World War whilst serving in the Fleet Air Arm.
That’s the background to the “Leicestershire Cousins”. We are all close geographically and are very close as a Family. When the last Aunt died (Kathleen) she was the last of that generation so we all decided that we must keep in contact as we had only been seeing each other at FUNERALS and we are the next generation!
SO…….we now have Get-togethers which we call “Cousin’s Dos” using any excuse to celebrate and to enjoy each others’ company. We take it in turns to host each others’ birthday parties, Christmas, Easter, Bank Holidays, Bon Voyage parties, any special days like VE Day or just when we think it’s time we saw each other. Usually it’s a lunch which goes on until evening or it might be a supper. We’ve also been on the local Great Central Line steam train for lunch in the dining car. Sometimes, if it’s a special Birthday or Anniversary, we book a room for lunch at an hotel, restaurant or local pub. Someone always bakes a Birthday cake and of course, we sing “Happy Birthday”. We club together and buy a joint present for the Birthday Boy or Girl or the Anniversary couple.
Of course, we have good laughs, reminiscing and catching up on family news and sometimes playing silly games. When we are all together there are ten of us which is a goodly number of “Chatty Tatts” Yes, there is a lot of NOISE!!
It would be nice to think that the next generation will keep in touch after we have gone but with extended families and wider spread of residences due to work it may not be quite the same.
Jane Weyer January 13th 2007
Nearly all that is known about George is based on written records. The only family information to come to light is that his many descendants in the Philadelphia area know him as “Starchy George”. Alas nobody now seems to know whether this was a comment on his personality or his clothing!
He was from a comfortable background, the 9th (or possibly more) and last child born to Joseph Tattersfield (1779-11 Sept 1851) and Martha (nee Brook) (1780-20 June 1853). The latter seems to have been called “Dame Tatt”, but the reason for that is also lost.
Joseph was a blanket manufacturer, and was listed as such in numerous trade directories between 1822 and 1848.
In the 1841 Census, Joseph was described as a Woollen Manufacturer of Kilpin Hill (near the Batley/Heckmondwike border). Martha was with him, and a female servant, but their children seem to have left home, except for the youngest, George, who was 15, and a Woollen Weaver. It looks as though the young boy started at the bottom of his trade and worked his way up.
In 1851 Joseph was still a blanket manufacturer of Kilpin Hill, now employing 16 men and 12 women. At home there were both a female and a male servant.
Joseph was eligible to vote. In 1807 he cast his vote for M (Melbourne perhaps?), and in 1835 and 1848 for the Whig Lord Morpeth.
Joseph is recorded as having made at least 5 land transactions.
In Nov 1803 Joseph was admitted as a member of The Independent Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike. He is recorded as donating £25 towards the building of a new chapel, probably about 1843. He was to become Senior Trustee in later years. Martha was admitted to membership on 3 May 1838.
Joseph was buried in the Chapel graveyard. Sadly he and many others were disinterred a number of years ago, and their tombstones disappeared. However, the details were recorded three times; by Dr. L.W. Ackroyd, by myself, and later by NACRO (National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders), Kirklees. The epitaph of Joseph read “He was a man of integrity and truth, a warm and faithful friend, a kind husband, a tender parent, a man of God, and his end was peace.”
In less that two years Martha joined him. Of her it was written “She lived to do good and was respected by all who knew her. ‘Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. They rest from their labours and their works do follow them’”.
Memorial Cards announcing the deaths of Joseph and Martha have kindly been made available by Tammy Lee Hoffman, a Tattersfield descendant, having been kept by her family in Flandreau, S. Dakota.
Surely the young George had a good start in life.
At this point it might be helpful to relate George to other Tattersfields whose families are included in this series of Articles. He had an older brother Jeremiah, two of whose sons emigrated (see Article 8 - the Monthan Family, and soon to follow, Article 9 - the Field Family.). Jeremiah had a grandson James Walker Tattersfield, who emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, as described in Article 3.In Article 5, Joseph Alfred was the great grandson of George. Herbert, whose descendants still live in Leicestershire, was a grandson of George.
The birth of George, on 25 Mar 1822, is recorded in the register of Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike, his parents’ place of worship. He was baptised there on 21 Apr 1823.
He married Hannah Walker (1822-16 Mar 1895). She was born in Batley or Heckmondwike, daughter to “Old James” Walker, blanket manufacturer. The Walkers were a very prominent family in the area, and at least four marriages with the Tattersfields are known. The marriage was on 20 Dec 1848 in Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike. George, age 26, was a described as a blanket manufacturer. He and Hannah both signed their names. Many could not do so in those days.
In 1851 George and Hannah were together at Kilpin Hill, with their first child, Joseph ( my great grandfather), aged 1. There was one female servant.
Subsequent censuses and a directory show the expansion of George’s family, and also of his work force.
By 1861 the couple had moved away from Kilpin Hill to Brickhouse, Newtown, Mirfield, only some 3-4 miles away. The two eldest boys, Joseph and James, were away at the nearby Wellhouse Boarding School, in Mirfield. The next three children were with George and Hannah, the most recent, Percival, being 11 months old. George’s workforce now numbered 50 men, 70 female and boys.
A directory of Mirfield for 1866 lists George Tattersfield, Spring Place Mills, and Tattersfield Howgate & Co, Oakland Mill (the Tattersfield is believed to be George).
In 1871 the family were still at Brick House, Mirfield, the last child Emily, being six. As always, there was a female servant in the household.
In 1881 the family now lived at Dunbottle in Mirfield. (This is taken to mean Dunbottle House, rather than Dunbottle Street). As ten years before, the two eldest sons were away, with five children at home. George seems to have reached his business peak, with a workforce of “250 hands”. This fact seems rather surprising in light of the events recounted below. In 1873 it is recorded that George’s land rent brought in £1,542-19-0.
George was on the Polling Register in 1859 and 1868. Which way he voted has not been found, but the family, both before and after, seem to have been Liberal. As a slight digression, Sir Ronald Walker (1880-1971), who was the son of Hannah’s brother John Eli Walker, was not only chairman of the family firm James Walker & Sons Ltd., Mirfield, but also, in 1932, Chairman of the Central National Executive of the Liberal Party. He had previously held many posts in the party, and been a parliamentary candidate.
All that had gone before looks like a logical progression up the ladder to wealth and status. What was to follow might have been the inspiration of Charles Dickens’ “Jarndice v Jarndice”.
The later part of George’s business life can best be recounted by direct quotations from The Dewsbury Reporter.
18 May 1878. FAILURE OF A RAVENSTHORPE FIRM. LIABILITIES £80,000.
On Tuesday evening, Messrs G. Tattersfield & Co.,blanket and woollen manufacturers, Ravensthorpe, Mirfield, filed a petition in the Dewsbury County Court for the liquidation of their affairs. The liabilities of the firm amount to about £80,000, but the bulk of the creditors are secured. To the unsecured creditors is owing some £40,000. It has been known for some time that the debtors have been in difficulties. The recent failure of Sir Charles Firth, of Heckmondwike, has had much to do in hastening this catastrophe. The creditors mostly carry on business in Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Batley, Mirfield, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and London. The persons composing the firm are George Tattersfield, of Spring Place Mills, Ravensthorpe, blanket manufacturer, and James Walker Tattersfield, of Oaklands Mill, in the same village, woollen manufacturer. Messrs. Chadwick and Sons, of Dewsbury, are the debtors’ solicitors, and Mr. J.D.Good, accountant, is the receiver to the estate.
James Walker Tattersfield, referred to above, was the second son of George and Hannah.
1 June 1878. Re GEORGE TATTERSFIELD & Co.
At a preliminary meeting of the creditors of this firm, held on Wednesday, at the offices of Messrs. Chadwick and Sons, solicitors, Dewsbury, it was resolved to recommend the acceptance of a composition of fifteen shillings in the pound, payment to be spread over two years.
22 June 1878. Re GEORGE TATTERSFIELD & Co., MANUFACTURERS.
Yesterday, a meeting of the creditors of this firm, and also of the separate estate of George Tattersfield, took place at the Royal Hotel, Dewsbury, Mr. George Clay being in the chair. It was the second general meeting in each case, and the creditors resolved to accept an offer of a composition of 13s.4d. in the pound payable by instalments-viz., at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months.
So far the bankruptcy may appear to be straight forward. However:-
9 Nov 1878. IMPORTANT MOTION IN BANKRUPTCY.
On Thursday, at the Dewsbury County Court, before the Judge (J.W. de Longueville Giffard, Esq.), Mr. Pullan, solicitor, of Leeds, applied by way of motion on behalf of Marcus Benjamin Schumann, commission agent, of Leeds, for the admission of a proof against the estate of Messrs. George Tattersfield and Co., of Ravensthorpe. Mr. West. Barrister, of Leeds (instructed by Messrs. Chadwick and Sons, of Dewsbury), appeared on behalf of the trustee, Mr. J.D. Good.
It appeared that in the month of April, 1877, Messrs. Tattersfield were wanting to make a payment, and, in order to procure the money, they entered into negotiations with a firm carrying on business in Paris as Goodman and Son. They waited upon Mr. Schumann on the 4th of April, 1877, and produced two bills of exchange, one for £1,000, and the other for £1,200. The bills were both dated on the 4th of April, and were both drawn by George Tattersfield and Co. on Messrs. Goodman and Son, Paris. Mr. Geo. Tattersfield waited upon Mr. Schumann and asked him to discount these bills for him, and he would give him an additional commission. Under exceeding pressure Schumann gave a cheque for £2075 6s. 8d. On the bills being presented to Messrs. Goodman and Son, the transaction not being of a satisfactory description they simply declined to accept the bills.
That was the nub of the problem, but in the account of the trial there was much much more! Schumann was examined, as were James Walker Tattersfield, and his younger brother George Henry. The two had jointly dealt with Schumann. The judge reserved his decision, and the court reconvened four weeks later.
The judge began by saying “The facts, which are of a singular character, are as follows.” He then recounted every detail of the case, at great length, concluding with “I can, on the whole case, come to no other conclusion than that it was not intended, from the first, that these bills were to be accepted by Goodman, and the whole was a plan to defraud the vendor (ie George Tattersfield and Co.) of his property by means of this juggle between Schumann and Goodman, and all I can do to show my disapproval of the course taken by the alleged creditor is to refuse the motion, and to refuse it with costs.”
Definitely Round 1 to George!
BUT…on 1 February 1879, the Dewsbury Reporter wrote:-
LOCAL BANKRUPTCY APPEALS. LONDON BANKRUPTCY COURT. Before Sir James Bacon, Chief Judge. Re TATTERSFIELD EX PARTE SCHUMANN.
Schumann appealed against the judgement of the Dewsbury Court. This time both parties were represented by QCs. The whole saga was described again in detail. After that “The remainder of the sitting was occupied in reading the evidence given in the Dewsbury County Court, and at the conclusion of the reading the hearing was adjourned till Monday next”.
On the following Monday the QCs for the trustee of George Tattersfield and Co replied to Schumann’s argument. Sir James began his judgement by saying that the case was perfectly clear. At first he felt some difficulty in the matter, because there were circumstances of great suspicion. The creditor claimed to prove as a holder of a bill of exchange for which he had paid £2,200. The £2,200 was given for the purchase of a bill drawn by Tattersfield and intended to be accepted by Goodman, but the bill never having been accepted by Goodman, he had paid his money for a consideration that had failed. It had been said that the question turned upon the bill having been endorsed by Tattersfield “without recourse”, but that could only have reference to Tattersfield as the endorser and not as the drawer, and did not release him from liability in that respect………Even if it had been obtained by conspiracy, he (the learned judge) was not at liberty to deal with it………He thought that the appellant (Schumann) was entitled to succeed …….. The appeal was consequently affirmed with costs.
Round 2 to Schumann.
But George, or somebody representing him, did not give up easily. We read in The Dewsbury Reporter on 17 May 1879:-
THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE. HIGH COURT OF APPEAL. Before Lords Justices JAMES, BRETT and COTTON. Re TATTERSFIELD EX PARTE GOOD.
This was an appeal against the decision of Sir James Bacon, the Chief Judge, reversing the decision of the Judge of the Dewsbury County Court, and admitting the proof of Messrs. Schumann Bros. of Leeds, against the estate for the sum of £2,101 16s.
The argument between the QCs and, indeed, with the Law Lords, is recorded in excruciating detail and must have seemed to last an eternity. No holds were barred. Early in the proceedings Lord Justice Brett observed that he very much doubted the fact of a Roumanian (sic) firm trading as Goodman and Son. There was no evidence in the proceedings to show that such a firm ever existed.
Later on Lord Justice Brett interrupted Mr. Winslow, QC for Schumann, by saying it was clear that the evidence of Schumann and Dr. Woolf, a witness called on his behalf, could not be believed for one moment. Mr. Winslow replied “Very well. If your lordship decides the case before hearing the arguments I have nothing to do but throw up my brief.” Lord Justice James said he had no wish to stop the argument, but the case was so clearly one of fraud that it would be useless to take any further time.
Lord Justice Cotton weighed in with “So far as it depends on the credibility of the evidence of Schumann, I quite agree with what has been said by the rest of the court, that so far as it depends on his evidence, we cannot place any credit upon his evidence whatever.” Later he added “So far as it depends on the evidence of Schumann, I say no possible reliance can be placed on his evidence …..I should say that it was a mere sham, and that Goodman was interposed as a dummy by Schumann. Goodman has never been produced here. Of Goodman we know nothing really, because there is no evidence about what he was except that Schumann says he believes he was a Roumanian, sending all manner of goods from Paris over to him (Schumann) from woollen goods to diamonds. That he was the real purchaser in this case I do not believe at all….”
At the conclusion, Mr. Horton Smith, QC for Mr. Good, the trustee of George Tattersfield and Co, summed up “Then your Lordship will reverse the order of the Chief Judge and give us the costs both here and below.” Lord Justice James replied “Yes”.
Round 3 to George on a knock out!
But all of this court action, dramatic as it was, was only a side show.
On 18 June 1879 two creditors of George Tattersfield and Co. took the firm again to the County Court in Dewsbury. The first instalment of the composition of 13s.4d. in the pound, agreed on 22 June 1878 had, indeed, been paid, but now the firm was unable to pay the second. One debtor in particular, The London and Yorkshire Bank, requested the Company be liquidated to meet a debt they claimed was due. The matter was referred to a London accountant to verify the figures.
However, readers of the Reporter on Saturday 12 July 1879 were told:-
Re GEORGE TATTERSFIELD & Co.
Our readers will be sorry to learn this firm, which has lately been working under a committee of inspection, have now to liquidate, as the debtors are unable to pay the composition offered. This is much to be regretted, especially as a large number of workpeople will be thrown out of employment if the mills are stopped, and the committee have resolved to close the works immediately the material is worked up. Mr. J.D. Good has issued the following circular on behalf of the committee:- “In consequence of the inability of Mr. George Tattersfield to provide for the dividend bills accepted by him, in pursuance of the special resolution of creditors passed on the Twenty-first day of June, 1878, and falling due on the Fourth day of July instant; and also by reason of the refusal of certain creditors to acquiesce in an extension of the time for paying the dividend of 13s. 4d. in the pound, provided for by the said special resolution; and also by reason of other unforeseen difficulties and circumstances that have arisen, the committee of inspection have come to the opinion that it would be for the interest of the creditors of Mr. George Tattersfield that his business should no longer be carried on; and they have accordingly resolved to close the same, and to liquidate the estate….”
Where did this leave George and Hannah?
Although the liquidation was in July 1879, we have already noted that the 1881 Census showed George was still employing 250 people, an anomaly difficult to explain. He seems to have changed house fairly frequently. He and Hannah had lived at Brick House, Mirfield in 1871. There is a House of Commons Brit Sessional Paper of 1874 which gives his address as Heaton Lodge, a fine stone house, still in use, some 2 miles west of Mirfield. A hand-written paper from the Sykes Collection held by Leeds Local Study Library, also places George in Heaton Lodge. By 1881 the pair were at Dunbottle, Mirfield, and at Bankside House in 1887, where George died on 5 July of that year.
The fact that he lived ten years after his estate and his business were liquidated, suggests he was robust enough to have got over the experience. Hannah survived him by nearly 8 years, and died on 16 Mar 1895. In the 1891 Census she had been the head of the house, living on her own means at 10 Denby Villas, Knowle Road, Mirfield. That is where she died. It is not known where they were buried.
In his will, signed on 24 June 1887, just eleven days before his death, George bequeathed all his estate to go to Hannah. It amounted to £2,317 18s.7d.gross, £392 5s.4d.net; a modest amount in light of his early business success. Hannah in her turn left £1,197 5s.0d.to her children and grandchildren.
One memento of Hannah still exists. Peter James, a great great grandson, has a Bible inscribed “Joseph Stanley Tattersfield. A present from his grandmamma Tattersfield. November 12th 1877. With love & Best Wishes.” Rather a heavy present, as the date was Stanley’s 1st birthday.!
And what became of George’s and Hannah’s family?
The eldest, Joseph, married Betsy Pickering. They had five sons, the second being my grandfather Charles Pickering Tattersfield, and five daughters. Two of the sons, the eldest George Arthur and the third Joseph Stanley, went to Philadelphia to join their uncles James and Percival in Tattersfield & Co. In due course each became President of the Company. There are numerous descendants in England and in America. Joseph died in South Street, Savile Town, Dewsbury in 1920. Joseph and Hannah's fifth child was Herbert, who moved to Leicester. His descendants are described in the article above, entitled The Leicestershire Tattersfields.
George's second son, James Walker, who was in bankruptcy proceedings with his father, married Arabella Hemingway, and emigrated to Philadelphia about 1882. There he set up Tattersfield & Co, together with his younger brother Percival. James and Arabella had two sons and four daughters. Only two of the six married, and one of those had no children. The unmarried four lived together, and were known as “The Talking Tatts.” With good reason! I visited them in 1957. Each could hold a conversation, and correct the others at the same time! Only one son had a family, of two boys and a girl. The elder son went to Mexico about 1933, and started a family there. There are many descendants today in Mexico and USA.
George and Hannah’s third child, Constance, married Malcolm McCulloch Paterson, a civil engineer, and had three sons and a daughter.
Next was George Henry, who had been in business with his father and brother. Once again the Dewsbury Reporter comes to our aid. On 12 Aug 1899 there was a heading “MR.G.H. TATTERSFIELD’S BANKRUPTCY.” George Henry had previously lived at Thornleigh House, Mirfield. He had commenced business in 1882 as a rug maker with about £50 capital. He later carried on business as a blanket and rug manufacturer at Spring Place Mills, bought in 1890, and Bankfield Mills, bought in 1886. The former had belonged to his father George. On 28 Sept 1897 he himself petitioned for a receiving order. A trustee was appointed and public examinations went on until 4 Jan 1898.The liabilities were estimated at £18,297 10s.9d., and the non-assigned assets £8,490 11s.5d. On 9 Aug 1899 George Henry applied to the Dewsbury Crown Court for discharge from bankruptcy. There was lengthy presentation of facts and figures, and the official receiver said George Henry had not kept “such books of account as are usual and proper in the business carried on by him, and as to sufficiently disclose his business transactions and financial position…. The bankrupt’s conduct during the proceeding under his bankruptcy had been satisfactory.” A petition was presented, signed by creditors representing a total liability of £19,000, asking that the bankrupt should be leniently dealt with. Evidently business in Victorian England did have a human side. An order of discharge in two years was granted.
George Henry married Gertrude Tolhurst, believed to be from a diamond merchant family, in London. They had one son. On her death her estate was modest at £111 13s.10d.
George and Hannah had a daughter Sarah Jane, who died aged one. The next child was Percival. He emigrated to the USA on 23 April, 1884. Later he joined older brother James Walker in Tattersfield & Co., Philadelphia. He married Katherine Zenaida Bary, said to be of White Russian parentage. They had a son and unmarried daughter. There was only one grand-daughter, Shirley, who was a notable artist in Philadelphia, and who died on 17 May 2007.
Lucy was the next child. She married Montague Goodall, whose firm were wholesale stationers and playing card manufacturers in London. It is not known how they came to meet. They had four sons and one daughter.
Last in the family was Emily, who never married. She wrote a published book of children’s poems, and died in 1932, in Knaresborough, Yorkshire.
I am grateful to Jane Helliwell, of Dewsbury Library, who has kindly sent me newspaper cuttings about Tattersfields, whenever she has come across them.
I would also like to thank Carol Hendrickson, a Tattersfield descendent who lives in Florida, for providing many photographs of tombstones, which she took in 1988.
It is very much hoped that readers will make contact suggesting any corrections or additions to these accounts. In particular, descendants of George and Hannah might feel moved to write their own account of their branch of the family, which we will be most happy to include in this series of articles.
John Tattersfield November 17th 2007
The earliest Tattersfield of whom there is evidence that he lived at Kilpin Hill, was Joseph (1747-1795).
Kilpin Hill is a winding minor road, near the Heckmondwike/Batley boundary. It rises quite steeply from the Halifax Road, which runs from Heckmondwike to Dewsbury. Some 500 yards from the bottom of Kilpin Hill, on the other side of Halifax Road, is Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike, a centre of Independent (or Congregational) worship since 1674. The Kilpin Hill Tattersfields attended Upper Chapel, and some were Elders or Trustees.
Joseph, and his wife Sarah (1749-1819) had been born in Dewsbury, and they were married in Dewsbury Parish Church on 7 October, 1768. They had five daughters and five sons.
The eldest child, Sarah (1769- c1841), was baptised in Dewsbury Parish Church on 16 May 1769. No baptism records have been discovered for the next six children. The seventh child, William, was baptised on 22 July 1786 at the New or Zion Independent Chapel, Wakefield, which was founded about 1782. The register shows that children of "Dissenters" were brought for baptism from some miles around, so does not provide any proof that Joseph and Sarah lived in or very near Wakefield at that time. It is not known why William was taken to Wakefield for baptism, when Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike, would appear to have been closer.
The ninth child, Amos, was baptised on 4 Dec 1889 at Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike. Unfortunately, the first volume of baptisms and burials at the Chapel seems to be missing, and this record, in the second volume, is the first known reference to the name Tattersfield at the Chapel.
The last child, Moses, was baptised at Upper Chapel on 17 Mar 1791. On the same day John Carr, the eldest child of Joseph's and Sarah's first daughter Sarah (and hence the nephew of the baby Moses!) was also baptised at Upper Chapel.
Amos died on 9 Mar 1790, aged 1, and was buried at Upper Chapel. His parents were later buried in the same grave, (which was exhumed some years ago). The flat slab tombstone read:
of Amos the son of Joseph
Tattersfield of The Height, in the township of Heckmondwike, who
died the 9th day of March 1790
Aged 1 year
And also of the abovementioned Joseph Tattersfield who died the 3rd
Day of June 1795 Aged 48 years.
"Watch therefore for ye know neither the day nor the hour
wherein the Son of Man cometh"
Also Sarah the Wife of the
Abovesaid Joseph Tattersfield
Who died Oct 4th 1819
Aged 70 years.
The Height, mentioned in the epitaph of Amos, is a row of houses, still to be found at the top of Kilpin Hill.
Eight of Joseph's and Sarah's children married in Birstall Parish Church nearby, and were described as coming from Heckmondwike. The eldest, Joseph (1779-1851) was married in Batley Parish Church, perhaps because his wife Martha Brook was a Batley girl. It seems probable that the Non- conformist ministers of Upper Independent Chapel were not authorised to conduct marriages, so the Tattersfields, though Independents, were married in the local Anglican Birstall Parish Church.
All the above shows that Joseph (1747-1795) and Sarah moved from Dewsbury to Kilpin Hill some time between 1769 and 1789, either directly or via some other home. They founded at Kilpin Hill a Tattersfield colony, which was not only numerous, but which played a substantial part in the industry and the economy of the area. Their descendants established many important woollen mills, such as Jeremiah Tattersfield and Sons, George Tattersfield & Co., Moor End Mills, John Tattersfield and Sons, and Tattersfield Oddy and Co. (later Staincliffe Mill Co. Ltd), to name a few.
Joseph (1747-1795) drew up a Will, the first Tattersfield will known. He signed it on 28 May 1795, just six days before he died. It described him as a Clothier. It is believed he would have bought woollen cloth from cottage weavers round about, transported it, and sold it on at larger markets. His assets were less than £300. He was probably quite comfortably off, living at The Height.
The first three sons of Joseph and Sarah all became prominent blanket manufacturers in Kilpin Hill, each employing between 15 and 30 people, men and women. The youngest, Moses, was a Fuller and Farmer in the 1851 Census. All four died in the 1850's.
The five daughters all married and produced families in the immediate area, with surnames Carr, Scatchard, Oddy, Taylor and Dey.
No attempt is made in this article to descrbe the lives of the children of Joseph and Sarah in detail. However, a fascinating snapshot of Kilpin Hill around 1860 is given in an unattributed newspaper article in the Dewsbury Reporter of Saturday May 21, 1910, entitled "OLD KILP- An Old Time Blanket Centre". It is reproduced below in full.
First, however, it will be useful to see who the persons named in it were, and their relationship to each other. Of the 14 people named, only Joe Pinder and William Walker cannot be positively connected to the Tattersfield family, although the latter may well have been related also.
Jeremiah (1812-1886, see photo below and other articles on this website), William (1806-1869), George (1822-1887) and Samuel (1817-1853) would all have been sons of Joseph (1779-1851), who was the eldest son of the original Joseph (1747-1795) and Sarah. (More details of George are given in a separate article on this website).
Aked was, as stated, a son of William. He emigrated to America in June 1881, and bought a farm 4 miles north west of Flandreau, South Dakota. He and his wife Catherine nee Tattersfield, who was also his first cousin, founded a very large family, many of whom still live in USA. It is hoped to present a separate article about that branch of the family. The genealogy shown on this website names some 330 of their known descendants and spouses.
All the above fall within Charts 2&3 of this website.
The Moses named in the newspaper article, is very probably the son of John (1784-1856), second son of Joseph and Sarah, and comes within Chart 1.
Old James Walker and Young James Walker were father and son. Hannah Walker (1822-1895) was a daughter of Old James. She married George, (my great great grandfather), as described in the separate article about him. Members of the Walker family have married Tattersfields in at least four instances.
Christopher Oddy was married to Patience Tattersfield, a daughter (probably the third) of Joseph (1747-1795) and Sarah. John Heald was a son-in-law of Christopher Oddy. John Clegg was the second husband of Christopher Oddy's daughter-in-law!
The affectionate reminiscence reproduced below, while being about Kilpin Hill and its woollen industry, is, at the same time, a brief and tantalizing account of a part of the Tattersfield family of Heckmondwike.
From the Dewsbury Reporter of May 21, 1910.
SOME INTERESTING REMINISCENCES
Old Kilp! did you know it fifty years ago? (1860)
What a busy place it was, to be sure, and what a difference there is now. Pass through it today and it looks lost; forsaken, desolate; many of its roads are paved with stone, and today grass is growing between the stones. A stranger would surely ask why a town like Batley should have gone to the expense of paving roads in an outlying district at the extreme edge of its boundary, where no business is being carried on, and where the rateable value must be small. But let him ask some of its old time inhabitants and they can tell you a tale of its old time bustle and business that you would never expect from its appearance today.
Buttonhole the right man, such as old Joe Pinder(1) (I think he is still living), and he would tell you that in his day there were at least twelve blanket makers on Old Kilp, and today there is not one; of how they dropped off one by one, death and extinction of business for some, failure and stoppage of machinery for others, giving up the business for real or fancied exchange into a more remunerative trade in some cases, and with two firms only, removal of their business to other localities.
There were Jeremiah Tattersfield and old James Walker in those days, pushing men both, who often took a good sized order between them and bought their wool together and spun and wove it at their workshops. They were not strong enough in the pocket at that day to take a big line by themselves, but 'union was strength', and they made good progress for many years, both becoming able to walk alone and tackle anything likely to turn up in trade.
Jeremiah was a grand old man, tall and comely, fine to look at, fond of a good horse, and knew how to drive it. He had a generous soul with it all, and many an old body received a weekly dole in times of stress. And what a family he had, five stalwart sons and four daughters.
Old James Walker was so called to distinguish him from his son, young James who died at Mirfield some ten years ago in his 78th year. The old man was a Deacon at Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike, for a generation before his death, and was looked up to as a Patriarch on the top of Old Kilp, and had old folk in his service who had known no other master, and lived on the hillside all their lives.
Then there was William Tattersfield, alias "Butcher Will", a name that stuck to him all his life. In his early years he was a butcher for a year or two; he was a shrewd, calculating man, and did very well in his day out of the blanket trade. His son Aked thought he could do better out of Malting, and in the long run went to America.
There was George Tattersfield, alias "Becca George", and John Tattersfield, alias "A.T.", the founder of the present firm of John Tattersfield and Sons, of Dewsbury Moor. Moses Tattersfield was another of the Tattersfield blanket making clan, a dapper little man who loved to wear a blue blanket instead of a top coat.
Sammy Tattersfield also ran a few looms, he was reported to be a pushing man. A hand-loom weaver left him because his pushes were 'perpetual'. In those days a hand-loom weaver would occasionally work two nights and two days at a stretch; one imagines that a few clandestine naps must have happeed in the night.
Another man of broad proportions was Christopher Oddy, one of the founders of Tattersfield Oddy and Co., now Staincliffe Mill Co., Ltd. At what was called the 'Back of the hill' John Heald used to put down a blend of wool outside his front door, with the blue sky as a roof for his warehouse. On a fine day this was a pleasanter way of blending than is pursued now.
There was John Clegg, a little further on, who was noted for his 'Extra Super Blankets' and to make up the dozen, William Walker at the bottom of the hill. In his younger days he used to mill his own pieces, and I remember hearing him say when he was over seventy that he liked to hear the 'Nap' of a stockfoot. The great grandfather of Major P.B.Walker (of Messrs Wormalds and Walker) was a native of Kilpin Hill, and made blankets there. Old James Walker and he were great cronies as young men, say about 1830.
As a child the writer knew all these men but one, and he must have seen him but cannot remember his face. Some of your readers will imagine that the blanket trade is dying because it has become extinct in one hamlet, but we must remember that fifty years ago Dewsbury mills did not turn out the quantity that they do today, and that there were no blanket mills at Mirfield then, where over half a million blankets a year are made now, and that Witney(2), with its lower wages, has more than trebled its output. A village may sink and a town may decay, but the volume of trade still remains, and Yorkshire Blankets can still maintain their own.
All Website content ©John Tattersfield
Last corrected: 3 January, 2008