PETER PEARSON was named after his great-grandfather, being born at Witton Station, near Langley Park in 1878. He lived with his parents until his marriage in 1902, to Mary Jane Young. They had wed in the Durham area and set up home at Brandon. Peter was a coal miner and fathered two daughters. He was also a talented violin player as well as winning a clog-dancing title at some point. He died around 1956.

WILLIAM PEARSON was born at Witton Station on 7th April 1880, being baptised at Bishop Auckland on 15 May that year. He worked as a coal miner. He was known as 'Bill' and in 1903, married Catherine Claughan, the sister of my great-grandfather George Claughan. Bill and Kate spent the majority of their lives living in Craghead and Blackhouse and prior to World War One were living in Edmondsley. They shared four children born between 1905 and 1913. Their youngest child, also named William died in July 1933, whilst living at Blackhouse. Bill and Kate were apparently both buried in St. Thomas' Churchyard at Craghead in unmarked graves.

JOSEPH PEARSON was born at West Hetton in 1882. Known as Joss, he lived with his parents until the early 1910s, and was living in Edmondsley in 1911, working as a coal miner. Joss married Elizabeth Hutton at Gateshead in 1918 but in the 1920s had moved to Surtees Terrace in Craghead. They had one son named Thomas, who I believe died around 1942 in a pit accident. It is thought that both Joss and his wife died in 1934.

ELLEN PEARSON was named after her mother, being born at West Hetton in 1884. She lived with her parents until gaining employment as a maid at the newly-built Craghead Hotel around 1900. Here, she lived in the domestic quarters, working for the manager, Samuel Leighton. In 1902, at North Shields, Ellen wed Thomas Rowley, and they made their home there until around 1913. They shared 8 children, all born between 1902 and 1920. Prior to World War One, Ellen and Thomas moved to Newcastle upon Tyne and following the War, appear to have moved to Morpeth. In the 1920s, Ellen and Thomas moved to the Nottingham area where they owned a large house called 'Rowley Villas'. From here, they ran their own business and employed servants.


John Edmund Pearson was born in the last quarter of 1887 at West Auckland, County Durham, the son of a coal miner. Edward Pearson and his wife, Eleanor. The latter were better known as Ned and Ellen Pearson. John was one of fifteen children, but who he was named after is unclear. It is most likely that his name was given out of respect to Edward's brother. In 1890, John lived with his parent's at Craghead but spent most of his youth at Beechgrove, which was situated on the Edmondsley to Blackhouse road. He lived around this area for many years until his death in 1954.

He married Harriet Ann Eager in 1910, but it is said that they had separated by 1948, the year of Harriet's death. This separation was to be the cause of John lodging between homes in the Blackhouse and Edmondsley areas. In 1918. the Electoral Register for Edmondsley lists John and Harriet's address as 1 Jubilee terrace, Blackhouse. It is questionable, regarding their separation, as both are recorded, on their burial records as living at
36 Claytonville, Blackhouse at the time of their deaths. At the time of his death, at Shotley Bridge Hospital on 29th September 1954. John's permanent address, on his death certificate was given as 10 Beechville, Edmondsley. John Edmund Pearson was buried in an unmarked grave at St. Thomas' Churchyard in Craghead on 2nd October 1954.

Harriet Ann eager was born in 1888 at Toptsham near Bradford, one of a probable six children to James and Lovenia Eager (nee: Sharp). Her family had moved from Bradford, to Northumberland around 1897, later moving to County Durham around 1900. Originally, the Harriet's ancestors had been traced to Sussex around 1751. The great-grandfather of Harriet is given mention in the 1826 Poor Law records for Ditchling, Sussex. On the 26th September that year, in the parish of Hurstpierpoint, one Richard Eager, a labourer was served with a warrant, for been the putative father of the unborn child of Mary Morley, his eventual wife. Also in Sussex, in 1793, a 'settlement order was issued to a certain Thomas Eager, his wife Ann (Richardson) and their 14 years old daughter. Ann. Such an order was issued when someone moved from one parish to another. The order was issued by their original parish, but was only valid if it bore the seals of the overseers of both parishes as well as that of the local justices. This order was not transferable. In the parish of Tillington, Sussex in 1751, a certain John Eager was issued with a 'removal order'. The local justice of the peace obviously, in his view believed that John Eager had become too reliant on parish relief funds, and was sent back to his last legal place of settlement.

Harriet died just before Christmas day, on the 21st December 1948, and was buried in a single grave at Craghead on 24th December, with a headstone to mark her place of rest. From her marriage to John Pearson, four sons were born, with the possibility of two elder children being born in 1911 and 1913 respectively. The offspring of John and Harriet were as follows: -

Matthew Pearson (1916 - 2001)

Matthew was born in Stanley, Durham on 19th March 1916 and was baptised at St. Thomas' Church in Craghead on 16th April 1916. He was most likely named after his uncle, who was killed around this year, while on service in World War One. He never married and lived the majority of his life in and around Edmondsley. Matthew died in Chester le street hospital on the 14th September 2001. His usual place of abode at this time was listed at
34 Bracside, Edmondsley.

Ronald Pearson (1923- 1976)           

Ronald was born in Edmondsley on 8th March 1923. He died at 1 Bramble Close, Boughton on 15th January 1976. Ronald married Elsie Oliver at St. Paul's Church, Pelton on 8th January 1949. At the time of marriage. Ronald lived at his father's address at 36 Clayton Ville, Blackhouse, while Elsie resided at 16 John Street. Pelton, her parents being John Stephenson Reid Oliver and Lavinia Horniman The latter were both from the north east of England and were wed in 1914.

Reuben Pearson (1929 -1998)

Reuben was born in the district of Chester le street on 5th August 1929. He died in Dryburn Hospital, Durham during November 1998, later being cremated at Birtley.

John James Pearson (1919 -1960)

John was born at Craghead, County Durham on 19th October 1919. He married Violet Smith at Craghead St. Thomas on 2nd August 1947, and three children were born from this union, named Jacqueline (1952), Jennifer (1955) and John Pearson (1957). John James Pearson died at Edmondsley in 1960, aged just 41 years. Violet was still alive up to and including 2007, living at 10, Jubilee Close, Edmondsley. Electoral Register years have Violet as moving from one home to another in the area over the years, but in 1949. She and John James lived at
53 Beechville, Edmondsley.

Mary J. Pearson (born 1911)

Mary was thought to be the eldest child to John and Harriet, but this is uncertain.

Robert H. Pearson (1913 -1915)

Robert was possibly the eldest son to John and Harriet, but this is uncertain at present.

The offspring of Edward Pearson and Eleanor Jackson


Matthew was the youngest child to Edward and Eleanor Pearson, being born at Beechgrove, Edmondsley in 1892. It is uncertain if he ever worked in the coal mines, but, Matthew did experience service for King and Country during World War One. Following his enlistment at Edmondsley around 1914 - 1915, he joined the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), serving as a Private with the 32nd Company. His service number was 72552.

He married Lillian Wilkinson at Chester-le-street on 11th December 1916, a marriage that was to last a couple of years. It is believed that no children were born from this marriage. On his last home leave, prior to his death, Matthew had visited his parent's home at Beechgrove, and gave a present of newly developed oil-cloth to his mother, who refused to have it laid because she thought all the muck would get swept underneath.

On 6th October 1918, a month before the end of the war, Matthew was fatally wounded at Tincourt, France by shell fire from the retreating German forces. He was buried in Tincourt New British Cemetery in France. As one enters the Cemetery and heads direct for the Great Cross, at the opposite end to the entrance, Matthew’s grave is located in section VLD.24.

Tincourt is a village about 7 kilometres east of Peronne, and the Cemetery lies to the west of Tincourt. In March 1917, the villages, in and around Tincourt were occupied by British troops and from May 1917 until March 1918, Tincourt became a centre for Casualty Clearing Stations (CCS). On 23rd March 1918, the villages were evacuated but were recovered about 6th September 1918. From September to December 1918, CCS were again posted on the site of Tincourt. It is during this period that Matthew Pearson is thought to have been wounded by German shells. From war records it is shown that Matthew was not killed in action as was thought by family members. He actually died from his wounds.

Following Matthew's death, his widow re-married, in 1920. Her second husband, Uriah Balmforth Watson, was born at Kimblesworth, Durham in 1896, the son of a Northumberland father and a Durham born mother, Lilian and Uriah shared three children of note from their marriage, these being named Sylvia Watson (born 1920),
John E Watson (born 1922) and Wilfred Watson (born 1927).

Uriah's middle name of Balmforth, was taken from his mother’s maiden name, she being born at Shincliffe, Durham in 1867. The Balmforth’s in general, were Yorkshire family, living in and around the Huddersfield area, from at least 1690 until 1864. Uriah Js main lineage came to Durham between 1865 and 1867. Following his parent's marriage in 1883, the Balmforth's returned to Yorkshire, this taking place from around 1885 until 1893. They returned to Durham around 1894 and lived at Crook, Durham, before moving to Kimblesworth around 1895.


RUTH PEARSON 1890 -1981

My great-grandmother was born near Bloemfontein, Craghead on Tuesday 24th June 1890, and the second youngest of fourteen children. Up to the beginning of the nineteenth Century, the area was a tiny hamlet of a few stone built, low cottages and an inn named John's Castle Inn, but following the Industrial Revolution, the village soon shaped into a coal mining community. The first colliery houses to be built at Craghead were in Wagtail Terrace. They stood at the left side of the road near the old wagon way bridge. Each consisted of 2 rooms; the upstairs room, reached by a ladder, had no ceiling and the roof beams were exposed. This room was often referred to as the loft' or 'garret'. The downstairs room was paved with red flagstones. The fireplace was large with a set - pot for hot water on one side and a round oven on the other. These houses had only one door, a window to each room and the one downstairs fitted with a wooden shutter secured by a bolt and cotter pin. In between the rows of cottages were the ash pits and closets.

By the time of her second birthday, Ruth and her parents had left Craghead village and made home at
Beechgrove Cottage, situated a mile and a half southwards towards the bottom of Edmondsley bank, set back in a wooded enclosure not far from Beechgrove Farm which still stands to date. There were one or two other cottages nearby. Although long gone, a gatepost today marks the former entrance to Beechgrove Cottage. In its heyday, the latter was a tranquil place with a well at the bottom of the garden. A small hamlet known as Blackhouse Village was built nearby in 1925, but was demolished in 1978 due to constant drainage problems. Ruth stayed at Beechgrove Cottage until she was nineteen years of age. She had attended schooling in Edmondsley from around 1895, eventually leaving around 1904. The school was built in 1875 and was situated to the east of the road, heading northbound. It had an adjoining Primitive Methodist Chapel, and both these buildings were demolished in the 1960s. Only the schoolmaster's house, built in 1881, remains. A more recent school was later built behind his house. After leaving school, Ruth began working on the local farms. In the first decade of the 20th Century, the two main farms in Edmondsley were Broomyholme Farm and East Farm, the latter being situated on the Edmondsley to Holmeside road on the opposite side to Edmondsley Colliery. It seems more likely that Ruth, at some point worked at Broomyholme Farm.
This was, and is today situated in its original location, about500 yards from where Beechgrove Cottage stood. It was at Broomyholme Farm in 1909, that Ruth’s future husband George Claughan lived.

On 2nd October 1909, Ruth and George married at the Register Office in Chester-le-street, and moved to Lee Buildings, Grange Villa, shortly afterwards. It was here, in August 1910 that their eldest child,
Mary Ann Claughan was born. Ruth and George remained in Grange Villa until 1911 before the latter took employment at
Edmondsley Colliery. This colliery had opened in 1840, and had a life span of 81 years. In Edmondsley, Ruth and George lived at 7 Red Rows, where my grandmother Catherine Claughan was born in January 1912. George worked at this colliery until the outbreak of World War One, at which point, he enlisted in the army.

By the start of the War, Ruth and George had moved from Red Rows, and set up home in Blackburn Buildings, Edmondsley. They shared nine offspring in total, all born in Edmondsley with the exception of Mary Ann. Following the end of the War, George went back into coal mining and Ruth helped out on the local farms. In 1919, they lived at Coxons Row, Edmondsley.

Edmondsley Colliery closed in 1921 and in the event of this, Ruth and George moved to Nettlesworth Old Pit, situated on Waldridge Fell. The Old Pit had at one time, been a short lived Nineteenth Century mine, possibly known as Nettlesworth Colliery. Their last four children were born here between 1923 and 1928.

Right – dated 1935, my great grand-father,
George Claughan sits beside a wall at
Nettesworth Old Pit. He is pictured
With two of his grandchildren.



By the mid 1930s, Ruth and George's relationship had taken a turn for the worst and they separated. Ruth moved out of their home and left George with most of their children. Following my grandmother's marriage to Kenneth Campbell in 1932, she too spent a short time at the Old Pit. Nettlesworth Old Pit was quite a considerable abode which had consisted, in the 1930s of quite a few different family set-ups. In one room there was my great-grandfather and his twin sons, Edward and George. My great-grandfather's eldest son, Thomas Claughan lived, with his own family in another part of the building, but had moved around 1937, to 6 The Stables, Waldridge Fell. Meanwhile, Ruth had set up home at 2 Farm Cottages, Chester Moor. This abode was originally situated on the opposite side of the road where the current garden centre is sited. At Chester Moor, Ruth worked at Smith's Farm.

The remains of Nettlesworth Old Pit at Edmondsley, pictured in 1955

In the 1950s, Ruth went to live at Blackhouse Village with her son, George, later moving to 7 Clayton Ville in the village, named after the Edmondsley School Master. Here, she lived with her son-in-law Arthur Clowes and his family. Arthur's wife, Mary Ann (Claughan) had died in 1952, and following the death of my
great-grandfather in 1954, it wasn't long after that when Ruth moved into 7 Clayton Ville. Arthur himself, had only lived here a short time, and in the late 1940s, he and Mary Ann had lived at Nettlesworth Hall Farm.

In 1957, Ruth remarried and went to live at Bloemfontain in Craghead, but following the death of her second husband, John Eager in the early 1959, Ruth went to live at Guardhouse in Keighley, West Yorkshire, before moving to Braithwaite, Keighley in the late 1970s. John Thomas Eager was born in Bradford in 1891, one of 9 found children born to a stone worker, George Eager and his wife Emily. Although the latter were wed in Bradford in 1885, neither originated from there.


Right – Taken around 1967, Ruth stands at the rear
Of some of her great-grandchildren. The boys in the
Photograph are from left to right – Joseph Claughan,
Dennis Claughan, David Claughan
And Charles Claughan.


It would certainly appear that my great-grandmother's long life was full of conflict and bitterness. In my possession I have the last letter ever written by Ruth, to her daughter Catherine in 1980. In it, Ruth complains about how her youngest daughter, Ellen, was constantly arguing with her when Ellen visited Ruth's home at 25 Bank-field Drive in Braithewaite. After hearing other person's views on Ruth, it would seem the latter had a deep hatred on many issues, none more so than her contempt for the German race. She never forgave the Germans for the war death of her youngest brother, Matthew Pearson, one month before the end of the First World War in 1918. Right up to the day she died, my great-grandmother was often quoted as saying "The dirty rotten buggers, they killed our poor Matt". Ruth passed away in Calverley Hospital in Pudsey on 22nd May 1981, a few weeks short of her 91st birthday, and she was buried next to her grandson, Gordon Quinn in Uttley Cemetery in Keighley. I believe the last time I ever saw my great-grandmother was in 1975, when she stayed for a few days at my grandmother's house in Great Lumley, but at that time, genealogy held no great significance in my life. Shame really, because Ruth may have given me first hand knowledge on the early days of the Pearson's.


Right - My great-aunt Ellen sits at the grave side of my great grand-mother.



MARY ANN CLAUGHAN was the eldest child to Ruth and George Claughan, being born at Grange Villa,
near West Pelton on Sunday 7th August 1910. In 1911, the family address is given as Lee Buildings, Grange Villa. Between April and December of that year, Mary Ann and her parents moved to Edmondsley where George worked at Edmondsley Colliery until its closure in 1921. Like her mother, Mary Ann, or Mollie as she was better known, worked on the local farms and stayed in the Edmondsley area for many years. In 1932 she wed Arthur Clowes and five children were born to this marriage between 1932 and 1952.The electoral register of 1949 lists Mollie and Arthur as living at Nettlesworth Hall Farm, the place her father had moved to after he vacated Nettlesworth Old Pit. At the Hall Farm, Mollie's younger twin brothers also lived with her. Mollie died on 5th December 1952 at 6 The Boynton's in Nettlesworth following a battle with cancer, and following her burial in the village churchyard, her widowed husband moved to Blackhouse Village. Arthur died in 1972, six weeks after the sudden death of his son, who had drowned at North Shields.

CATHERINE CLAUGHAN - Click the Claughan.button or use the link at the bottom of this page.

THOMAS CLAUGHAN - was born at Blackburn Buildings, Edmondsley on Saturday 14th March 1914, being named after his Grandfather. Tom earned his living as a coal miner, later working on the building sites and as a handyman during the 1940s. In the 1970s, he worked as a Council labourer. On 20th April 1935 at Chester-Le-Street Registry Office, Tom married Eleanor Johnson, making their home at the Nettlesworth Old Pit until 1937. On September 9th that year, they were living at 6 The Stables on Waldridge Fell and by 1949 had moved to 13 The Boynton's in Nettlesworth. By 1971, Tom and his wife had moved to 27 Clayton Ville at Blackhouse Village, moving to
4 Clayton Ville by 1976. Thomas died at Dryburn Hospital near Durham City on 21nd July 1977 following a battle with cancer and was buried in Sacriston Cemetery. Following Tom's death, Eleanor moved to 10 Fern Road in Sacriston and died in Dryburn Hospital on 20 November 1987. From their marriage, Tom fathered 12 children in total.

GEORGE EDWARD CLAUGHAN was born in Edmondsley in 1918 but died within a short time of his birth.

HILDA MAY CLAUGHAN was born at Coxon's Row, Edmondsley on Saturday 3rd May 1919. She lived at the Nettlesworth Old Pit from around 1921 until at least 1937. On 23 June that year, aged 18, and unmarried, Hilda gave birth to her eldest child Dennis Claughan at the Old Pit, but in 1939 she married the alleged father of Dennis, one Charles William Fisher. However, this marriage ended in divorce and in 1948, Hilda re-married in Worth Valley,
West Yorkshire, to one William Ward, the father of her then two illegitimate children, William and Maureen Ward.
A further three children were born in wedlock. On 8th May 1938, Hilda was employed as a maid in the north-east and had moved to West Yorkshire between 1939 and 1944. Here, she settled in Oxenhope before moving to Keighley around 1946. Hilda still lives in Keighley.

EDWARD CLAUGHAN was born in Edmondsley in 1921, but died in 1922

ELLEN CLAUG HAN or Nellie as she was known was born at Nettlesworth Old Pit on Sunday 20th May 1923. In her youth, Nellie worked on the local farms, later gaining employment as a factory worker. In the 1930s she moved to West Yorkshire and lived with my Grandparents at 20 York Street, Keighley remaining there until 1942. In that year, Nellie wed James Peaks, a Londoner who was doing National Service with the Air Force, stationed in Keighley. Following their marriage, Nellie and Jim moved to County Durham where their only child, Margaret was born in 1943. In that decade Nellie and Jim resided at a farmhouse situated on Waldridge Fell, near where the former had been born. By 1955, Nellie and Jim had moved to Northampton, remaining there for many years until they again came north, during the 1990s, settling at Sherburn Village. Nellie passed away on 3rd February 2002 and was buried in the village cemetery.

EDWARD CLAUGHAN is the twin brother of the following George Claughan, being born at the Nettlesworth Old Pit on Friday 2nd July 1926. Edward, or Ned, attended schooling at Edmondsley during the 1930s, later earning a living as a pitman. Following the separation of his parents around 1935, Edward and his twin stayed with their father and in the 1940s lived with him on a farmhouse on Waldridge Fell. In 1949, both Ned and George lived at Nettlesworth Hall Farm along with their sister, Mary Ann and her husband, Arthur Clowes. In 1948, Edward married Jean Sweeney and moved to 5 The Boynton's in Nettlesworth where they show on the electoral registers of 1956 - 1968, before moving to Keighley around 1969. In 1981, Edward was living at 25 Bankfleld Drive, Braithwaite, in Keighley. From their marriage, there were 8 children born between 1952 and 1969. Edward still lives in Keighley.

GEORGE CLAUGHAN is the twin brother of the above Edward Claughan. Their upbringing was practically identical except that George married on two occasions. In 1947, he wed Edith Hutchinson and after 1958, moved to Keighley, where Edith died in 1986. From this marriage, five children were born between 1947 and 1958, all in County Durham. On 30th January 1993, in Keighley, George re-married. His new bride, Joan Clough died in 2005. George still lives in Keighley.

JOSEPH CLAUGHAN was the youngest child to George and Ruth Claughan, being born at the Nettlesworth Old Pit Thursday 14th June 1928. When his parents separated around 1935, it is thought that Joe went to live with his mother at Chester Moor. In 1954, he was living at 5 The Boynton's in Nettlesworth. Joe had married
Florence Green in 1952, she dying in January 2006. From this marriage, three children were born between 1953 and 1970. Today, Joe still lives near Chester-Le-street.


Continued on “CLAUGHAN”