The Claughan’s throughout history

According to certain quarters the Claughan line held land at the time when the Magna Carta
(Great Charter) was signed at Runnymede in adl215 when, as baron’s, they were opposed to
King John. How much of this is true in reality is unknown, as is the actual meaning to the surname of Claughan. Many theories have been exposed regarding its origin, but if we were to split the name into two syllables, such as ‘Claga’ and ‘Han’, we can see that the former is the old name of a craft, while the latter ‘Han’ may refer to the Old Danish name of ‘Ham’, or village. The variations in the surname Claughan are mostly due to its pronunciation over the centuries and the dialects and accents that gave birth to this strange name. To locate its source of origin would be able to dictate exactly what the name means. Some versions suggest the name is of Irish descent but it is more probable that our common ancestors of Claughan were once located somewhere near the Scottish highlands, and prior to this maybe originating from the times of the Vikings or Danes, although at the moment this is pure speculation. However, it is of note that two towns named Claggan are recorded, one as a township near Pomeroy in Northern Ireland, while the other lies at the foot of Ben Nevis in Scotland, in the form of a hamlet in Fort William.

Above: (L) Claggan, Northern Ireland and (R) Claggan, Fort William

My own direct line of Claughan was based in and around the fortress town of Newcastle upon Tyne and its neighbour Gateshead, from around the mid-16th Century until the mid-18th Century. The Black Death had reached Newcastle on two occasions between 1597 and 1636, the latter wiping out about a third of the town’s population. The lack of finding burial records would suggest that some of the Claughan family line did indeed become victim to the Great Pestilence, and indeed, somewhere in Newcastle upon Tyne they lie in mass burial graves. Quite a few Claughan members had survived the plague though, evidence relating to at least ten Claughan marriages in the parishes of St. John and All Saints discovered between 27th August 1605 and 31st October 1645, along with 7 burial records between 1612 and 1678.

Above: How Newcastle upon Tyne looked when the Claughan’s lived here in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

The most common spellings of the surname in the Newcastle records during the late 16th through to the early 17th Centuries shows as Glawhome and Glawhum. These names have been cross-referenced with further baptism, marriage and burial records, indicating the names are an early version of the surname we now know, with the actual spelling of Claughan not fully appearing regular in the latter form until the 1700s. Even in the 19th Century, the variation of ‘Claughan’ was regularly spelled with an ‘M’ at the end rather than the now customary ‘N’ Early name spellings were often written as the individual accent was dictated, and the person writing the name would spell as pronounced. This being evident, it is known that my x8 great-grandfather Ralph Claughan pronounced his full name as Rayf Clawhum, with later generations of Claughan beginning to pronounce their surname as Claffin, this being evident from the late 17th Century through to modern-day generations. Happily, no Claughan family members are listed in the witchcraft trial of 1649 in which 27 persons, all named, were executed on Newcastle’s Town Moor. The last public hanging of a witch in Newcastle was in 1686. Whether by a result of the plague epidemic of 1636, or as a result of the Civil War in the 1640s, it is shown that by around 1660, my direct family line of Claughan were living in and around Ryton, residing mainly near Coalbournes and Chopwell. It is highly possible that they had in fact lived near Whickham in 1652 but this is uncertain at the moment. By the early 18th Century the family line had moved to the area of Houghton-Le-Spring and reference from burial records suggest the Claughan’s lived near Newbottle and Thornley Plains in the Houghton area, probably working at the Newbottle Potteries.
By the middle of the 18th Century, the Claughan’s had turned to coal mining at Tanfield, residing at Barcus Close at Tanfield Head, evidence showing they lived here until at least 1769 before moving to the Mount near Eighton Banks, this occurring between 1769 and 1789. The Mount was so named because it was, and still is a very steep embankment leading from Birtley to Eighton Banks. These dates are known to be accurate due to burial records from Tanfield and the later burial record of my x5 great-grandfather Daniel Claughan who had passed away at the Mount on 20th August 1789, being buried in an unmarked grave in Holy Trinity Churchyard in Washington. His widow, Ann Claughan later went to live at Birtley Fell, where here, during 1819, she passed away, being buried not in Washington, but at Lamesley instead. Their daughter, also named Ann Claughan had moved with her parents to the Mount, and she lived here on a permanent basis from around 1800 until 1829, residing mainly near Galloping Green Lane in Eighton Banks. Here, Ann lived with her only child George Claughan, my x3 great-grandfather. The surrounding area of Wrekenton was, at that time an unclean place to live, with cholera outbreaks and many pit explosions occurring, which in turn made the work here unsafe, and by July 1830, the Claughan family line had moved to Easington Lane, turning to coal mining at Hetton Lyons Colliery. Evidence of this is given on the 1842 Children’s Employment Commission report, which details an account given by George’s eldest son Robert Claughan, who had worked at the pit since 1840.

Hetton Lyons Colliery, pictured in 1842

Around 1846, The Claughan line had left Easington lane, and George took up employment in the relatively new pit village of Sacriston, living at Findon Hill. Here, George worked at Charlaw Colliery, which along with the Victoria Pit, had given birth to the old moorland that was to become Sacriston around 1839. The other main pit in this village, Witton Pit, was not sunk until 1859. Between March 1851 and August 1854, George Claughan had been promoted to the position of pit overman, a position that eventually took his life, courtesy of a stone-fall at the Charlaw Pit during the early hours of 18th August 1854. While checking the secure beams and general safety of the mine, prior to the 4am shift coming in to work, the stone began to fall. Still alive, following the stone-fall, George was transported home where he died later that day through his injuries. The very first Claughan to have been born in Sacriston was named Lawson Claughan, who lived from 1848 until 1852. Between 1851 and 1888, my immediate Claughan family line fluttered mainly between the areas of Sacriston and Edmondsley, before a brief spell near Malton Colliery at nearby Lanchester until around 1894, but by the turn of the 20th Century had returned to Edmondsley, residing at Pleasant Street. My great-grandfather, George Claughan (1887 - 1954) had worked at Edmondsley Colliery at the turn of the new century, and following his marriage in 1909, moved briefly to Grange Villa before returning to Edmondsley between May 1911 and January 1912., this coinciding with the death of his father, Thomas Claughan who had passed away on 17th May 1911 in Sacriston. Following the latter’s death, Thomas’ widow, Catherine had returned to Edmondsley to be cared for by her daughter Elizabeth and it is thought that George may have moved back to the area to be near his mother.
The colliery at Edmondsley operated from 1840 until its closure in 1921, at which point, George and his family moved to Waldridge Fell, living in a short-lived 19th Century building called the Nettlesworth Old Pit, residing here as a full family until my great-grandparent’s separation in the mid-1930s. My grand-mother lived at the Old Pit briefly, following her marriage in 1932, but after her union failed around 1935, she moved to West Yorkshire, residing at Keighley, until her return to Durham in 1955.

Ralph Claughan c1612 – c1636 (x 8 great grandfather)

The 16th Century sweeping agricultural landscape of Gateshead had gave way to the coal fields that eventually brought prosperity to the whole of the Tyne and Wear region. The area economy in the nearby fortress town of Newcastle upon Tyne, at the beginning of the 17th Century was based on coal mining, from the River Tyne as it had been since the 13th Century. Ship building here began from adl294, and in the middle ages the export was wool, hides, grindstones and lead. In ad 1530 a royal act restricted all shipments of coal from Tyneside to Newcastle Quayside, giving a monopoly in the coal trade to a cartel of Newcastle burgesses known as the Hostmen. The phrase ‘taking coals to Newcastle’ was recorded first in 1538. During the Elizabethan and Stuart times, plagues, witch trials and fires were common-place, indeed, in July 1597, plague hit Newcastle upon Tyne, and then again in 1635. The death rate for May - December 1636 is reputed to be the fourth biggest plague deaths recorded in England, when almost a third of a probable 20,000 population in Newcastle had died through the disease which had spread from nearby North Shields the previous year. The images below show the similar scenes that were viewed in Newcastle in the 1590s and the 1630s, the picture on the left depicting a mass grave burial of plague victims, while on the right, a picture of a plague Doctor, who would wear the costume when attempting to ward off the plague.

Records suggest that Ralph Claughan was possibly born in or around 1612 at Gateshead, one of 3 found children to one William Claughan and Elizabeth (Wastell), these two marrying at Gateshead on 19th November 1609. The surname of Wastell is rare in the Gateshead area at this time with only two further marriages being discovered there between 28 August 1561 and 2 August 1575. The general concept is that as a young man, Ralph Claughan, or ‘Rayf’ as he evidently called himself, worked in the coal industry on the Newcastle side of the river, also visiting the market in this town on a regular basis. It was here, around 1630 that he met a young spinster named Margaret Proudlock. On the 17th April 1634, Ralph Claughan married Margaret in the parish of St. John, near the Westgate area of the city, with their only child, Daniel Claughan being born in 1635. It is from this marriage record that it was discovered how Ralph actually submitted his Christian name. Below, we can see the church of St. John where the marriage and baptism took place.

When the plague hit Newcastle during the 1630s, it did with such force, that almost a third of the town was wiped out, and because no records are to be found with reference to Ralph Claughan after 1635, it is now believed that he himself became victim to the Great Pestilence (Great Plague), and like so many of the victims, was buried in a mass grave somewhere near the town centre. This is calculated to have occurred around May 1636, probably in or around Ralph’s 24th year. Arguably, the biggest disruption to the city of Newcastle during the Claughan’s time there came via the Civil War. In late August 1640, the Scots had seized Newcastle upon Tyne, and it was at this point that the coal trade here ceased and shops in the city were severely looted. During the Civil War, the city where Ralph had lived and worked supported King Charles and in 1644, Newcastle was besieged for many months, then stormed and sacked by Cromwell’s Scots allies based in pro-parliament Sunderland. The times were a one of suspicion in the mid-17th Century, and on 26th March 1649, a great witchcraft trial was held in the area. 27 out of 30 suspected witches were found guilty of witchcraft at Newcastle assizes and fourteen of these persons were executed on the Town Moor, one man being executed for being a wizard. Newcastle council magistrates sent two sergeants to Scotland to bring a witch finder to the city, a man named Cuthbert Nicholson. He was an unjust cheat who ordered the arrests of 30 women in the city. They were stripped to the waist and Nicholson would put a pin under their remaining clothes in order to pierce their skin. It was a simple task, should they not bleed, he would pronounce them witches. Nicholson himself was executed in Scotland when it was discovered he used a pin with a retracting top. He had been paid 20 shillings for each witch captured, and confessed responsibility for the deaths of 220 women. He was executed for ‘trickery’. The last hanging for witchcraft in Newcastle was Alice Molland in 1686.

Below: a typical witchcraft hunt during the Civil War.

It is thought that at some point between May 1636 and December 1650, Ralph’s widow, Margaret Claughan, along with her son, Daniel, moved, probably by a settlement order, to the Whickham area of Gateshead, where on 30th October 1652, Margaret remarried. Her new husband, Thomas Ward and She then moved about 4 miles North West, and along with Daniel Claughan, settled in the Ryton area, most likely near Coalbourn. It is currently thought that during 1683, Margaret died here, being buried at Ryton Holy Cross.

DANIEL CLAUGHAN 1635 -1685(x7 great-grandfather)

The village of Ryton hosts its earliest surviving building, this being the Church of the Holy Cross, dating from
AD 1220, and whose records go back to 1559. It was at this church during November 1664, that we can find the evidence of my x7 great-grandfather, Daniel Claughan, who, during that month, married local spinster
Mary Brown.The latter's own ancestry can be traced to the village from 1584, and from research it is known that the Claughan name may be found in Newcastle upon Tyne around the period that Daniel was living in Ryton. On the 4th August 1689, in the parish of Newcastle St. Nicholas, records indicate a certain Robert Claughan being buried. Daniel himself was born at Newcastle upon Tyne in the parish of St. Nicholas in 1635, being baptised there on 1st December that year, the son of Ralph Claughan. Daniel came to work in Ryton around the early 1660s.
The village of Ryton is situated upon a steep wooded bank, seven miles from Newcastle, and in the late 17th Century was governed by the Bishops of Durham. Ryton has not changed much since Daniel’s
time there but in 1705, the process of lead smelting became a major operation here. Prior to this, the economy of the area was built upon agriculture and coal-mining, so it stands to reason that Daniel Claughan came to work in the village in one of these two trades, both being prominent in later Claughan generations.

It is not known for sure where the surname of Claughan originates, but through church records and mine reports, it is evident that even in the 1600s, the surname was sometimes pronounced as Claffin, this pronunciation is again evident in 1823 and 1842. Certain parties would also suggest that at the time of the Magna Carta, signed at Runnymede in 1215, the Claughan’s held seats, and that their seal can be found on the Great Charter itself. However, upon quick inspection, no seal on that charter can be matched with the Claughan coat of arms. Either way, from Barony to common folk seems to be the name of the game for the Claughan’s, as from the late 17th Century their trades revolved around coal-mining and farming in general, with the odd exception in the 19th Century, such as Inn Keeping and Mill-Wright work.
Daniel Claughan and Mary Brown shared at least 8 offspring that we know of, all baptised in Ryton between November 1664 and January 1682, and this family remained in the area until at least 1700. In 1685, Daniel and Mary had lived at Coalbourn, one mile north - east of Ryton, where the former died on the 18th April that year. After that, Mary moved to Chopwell where, on 8th May 1698, in her 61st year, she passed away. Both Daniel and She were buried in the grave yard of the Holy Cross in unmarked graves. 
It is known that Daniel’s eldest son, Ralph Claughan, still resided in Ryton in 1700, this being the year he wed
Mary Speed there, but like most of Daniel’s children, Houghton-le-spring became their new home from the early 18th Century until at least 1727. This was the first of two known visits to the Houghton area for my Claughan line, the second period occurring in 1830 when the Claughan’s lived at Easington Lane, later working at Hetton Lyons Colliery



Right – Both Daniel and Mary Claughan
were  buried in this churchyard
in 1685 and 1698 respectively



Houghton-le-spring, in the early 18th Century was quite a prosperous area and became a stronghold for the Claughan’s until their arrival at Tanfield Head around the 1740s. It is thought that the family may not have resided in Houghton itself, but more around the area of Newbottle where upon the death of the above Ralph Claughan, in March 1737, the family was living near to the Tile Kilns that once existed here. These kilns were situated to the northern end of Newbottle Village, and were known as High Pottery and Low Pottery, the former operating from around 1720 until 1878. This is not to suggest that all the Claughan family line were involved in the pottery trade, as that industry did not become the predominant source of jobs and commerce in Newbottle until the late 1700s, but as stated, my main Claughan line were not in this region at that time. The offspring of Daniel and Mary Claughan were as follows: Jane (born 1665), Mary (born about 1668), Ralph (1671 – 1737), William (1674 – 1747), Daniel (1677 – 1723), Thomas (born 1679), John (1679 – 1685), and Stephen (born 1682).

THOMAS CLAUGHAN, born 1679 (x6 great-grandfather)

Thomas Claughan, my x6 great-grandfather had originated from the Ryton area in 1679, being baptized in the Church of the Holy Cross in January 1680. Like the main family line, Thomas moved to the Houghton-le-spring region, where, during July 1712, he married Ann Turnbull, although some records may show her surname as Trumbell. Very little else is known of Thomas, except he was a twin to John Claughan, and however long Thomas remained in the Houghton area is unknown, although burial records for County Durham indicate that he may have died around 1753.Thomas and Ann
resided in the Houghton district for many years, probably living in Newbottle and were the parents
of at least six children, all baptized at Houghton-le-spring between 1714 and 1727. The offspring of Thomas and Ann Claughan were as follows: Ralph (1714 – c1754), Elizabeth (born 1716), Thomas (born 1719), Daniel (1721 – 1789), Jane (born 1724), and Mary (born 1727).

DANIEL CLAUGHAN 1721 – 1789 (x5 great-grandfather)

Daniel Claughan was the fourth child to Thomas and Ann Claughan, being born in or around Newbottle in 1721.
He was baptized at Houghton-le-spring on 11th June that year. Around the 1740’s, Daniel went in search of work, gaining employment in the collieries at Tanfield. The railway here had been built in 1725, and in its heyday, from 1725 until the 1740’s, the scenery was blitzed by many wagon ways, with horses pulling coal wagons holding four ton of coal from Tanfield to Causey Arch. Before the collieries, it seems farming had been the main thing in Tanfield. Daniel’s abode, in the 1750’s is stated as Barcus Close which lay adjacent the East Tanfield Wagon way.
At the church of St. Margaret, on 9th June 1751, Daniel, or ‘Dan’ as he called himself, married Sarah Winshop, a marriage that was to last until Sarah’s death on 23rd September 1754, she being buried in an unmarked grave in Tanfield churchyard. Sarah had bore two sons to Daniel, named Thomas and Henry Claughan in 1752 and 1754 respective but burial record suggest that the latter may have died as a child. In 1757, Daniel re-married, this time his new bride was named Ann Elliot. The latter was aged around 34 years old when she wed Daniel but over the following eight years bore him four further offspring, all born at Tanfield Head between 1757 and 1765.

Tanfield became home to the Claughan line until at least 1769, this being evident from the burial record of
Lancelot Claughan, the youngest child to Daniel and Ann. During the late 1770’s coal mining here, on a commercial scale was halted, and finding work became less abundant than thirty years previous, probably meaning many miners leaving the area for richer pickings. It seems quite a lot of the Tanfield miners made for the Wrekenton, Lamesley and Eighton Banks areas, and the latter became home to Daniel and Ann until 1789. Eighton Banks was a village in its own right,but because of its high position on the landscape, it became better referred to as The Mount, and it was here on 20th August 1789, that Daniel passed away, being buried three days later in the Holy Trinity Churchyard at Washington. For some years afterwards, it appears that his widow went to live at Birtley Fell, she dying here during 1819 and being laid to rest in Lamesley churchyard. Daniel and his two wives shared six found children, all born at Tanfield Head, they being named as follows: - Thomas (born 1752), Henry (1754 – 1755), Daniel (1757 – 1844), Jane (1762 – 1766), Ann (1764 – 1844), and Lancelot (1765 – 1769).
From the 1840’s to the present day, there was quite a large Claughan gathering based in the County of Wiltshire, and this family is connected to Daniel and Ann through their great-grandson, Thomas Claughan (1825 – 1891), who, in 1847 at Highworth, married Mary Carr.



Right – St. Margaret of Antioch, Tanfield,
where Daniel Claughan married






Below: Photograph one shows a modern day picture of Barcus Close, where Daniel lived in 1754. Photograph two shows part of the Mount at Eighton Banks, which was home to the Claughan’s from the 1780s until the 1820s.












ANN CLAUGHAN 1764 – 1844 (x4 great-grandmother)

A certain Ann Claughan married Joseph Simpson at St. Andrew’s Church, Lamesley, on 21st July 1834. However, for all my x4 great-grandmother’s death certificate states she was the widow of a man named Joseph, this information is incorrect, as is the age of her death, recorded as 89 years.
The subject of the biography was born in 1764 at Tanfield Head, the daughter of Daniel Claughan and Ann Elliot, and all her life, she remained a spinster. Nothing is known of Ann’s relationship to the father of her only son
George Claughan in 1802, and the latter’s baptism record does not give any hint who Ann may have been involved with at that time. It is fair to suggest the Christian name of ‘George’ does not coincide with any other Claughan fore-names linked to Ann’s immediate family at that time, so one can only surmise that the partner of Ann may have been known by this name. Ann’s parent’s had moved to the parish of Lamesley around the late 1770’s, residing at
The Mount, and it was in this area that her parent’s passed away in 1789 and 1819 respective. In 1802, Ann was living at Eighton Banks, also referred to as The Mount, and it was here, on 24th May that year, that she had her only child.
Little is known about Ann’s private life, except that she lived with her son, even when the latter married in 1823, and then in 1830, and when George married in that latter year, and moved to
Easington Lane, his mother came to live with him and his family. It was here, on 1st April 1844 that Ann passed away, being buried two days later in the grave yard of St. Nicholas at Hetton-le-hole alongside her grandchildren, Ann (15th April 1838 – 1841) and Ralph (10th May 1843 – 18th February 1844); an extra note; - Durham assizes records show that in 1803 there was Claughan activity in nearby Usworth, when, on 6th August that year a certain Martin Wind of Gateshead assaulted and stabbed William Claughan, and was fined one shilling.

GEORGE CLAUGHAN 1802 – 1854 (x3 great-grandfather)

 According to his death certificate, George Claughan was 54 years of age when, as a result of a pit accident he died, during the summer of 1854. However, the 1851 Census contradicts that certificate, stating that in March 1851, George was a middle-aged man of 49. His actual birth date falls on 24th May 1802 and he originated from Eighton Banks, otherwise commonly referred to as The Mount, so named because of it steep climb towards Eighton Banks and Wrekenton. He was baptized at Washington on 24th October 1802, the illegitimate son of Ann Claughan, she originating from Tanfield head around 1764, and moving to The Mount with her parents in the last quarter of the 18th Century. At the time of George’s birth, the area of Wrekenton, and its surrounds were an unruly, lawlessness place to live, the district was part of Gateshead Fell and desolate. In 1822, the Fell was enclosed and divided and it was only then that the village began to expand. Even so, it was still an area of unhealthy living with bad sanitary problems. A row of cottages had been built here in 1816 followed by a large house and a public house. The area was inhabited by tinkers, pitmen and quarrymen. Between 1825 and 1835 many explosions occurred in the local mines and the pitmen refused to return to work with Davy Lamps and were laid off, their jobs being taken by tinkers and tramps. The crime rate and filth rose rapidly here-on causing epidemics of typhus and cholera. The tramps and tinkers
were blamed for this and about 30 families were driven from the area. The slums that George Claughan grew up nearby were pulled down around 1940.

George had worked in the pits since he was about six years old, as was custom at the time. Although a young pitman’s life was harsh, with long hours of darkness and danger, George Claughan overcame these difficulties.
Many of his young colleagues would have lost their lives, the biggest problem facing young children in the mines was due to the long dark hours – many children simply fell asleep in the shafts, and unknowingly, they would lie on open rail-tracks, never to see the on-coming coal-wagons which would almost certainly end their young lives.
During 1823, George worked in the mines around the Gateshead and Lamesley areas, and on 25th March that year, in Gateshead, he married Phillis Bell, making their home at Eighton Banks. The latter bore two children to George, before her untimely death at Eighton Banks on 23rd July 1829, she being buried in an unmarked grave at Lamesley. The eldest child, Mary Ann Claughan was baptized at Lamesley on 20th February 1824, but died three years later at Eighton Banks. Her brother, Robert Bell Claughan was baptized on the same day as Mary Ann was buried, this being 20th May 1827.
The church of St. Andrew, in Lamesley had seen Claughan activity, long before George was born nearby, when one hundred years previous, on 10th January 1702, a certain Mary Claughan married John Cuthbart here, but we know from research that George’s own direct line did not venture to the area until the last quarter of the 18th Century.


Right – St Andrew’s Church Lamesley


A large portion of Eighton Banks was formed from Lamesley parish, and Lamesley Township, which gives its name to the parish was very rich in coal, work being abundant here, but by the early 1830’s, George had moved to Easington Lane along with his mother Ann, and his son Robert, where George was employed at Hetton Lyons Colliery. From the 1842 Children’s Employment Commission report for Hetton Colliery, it is shown that Robert himself was working here. George eventually rose to the position of Over-man, but this did not occur until around 1850, when he was working at Charlaw Colliery in Sacriston. 1831 was the year the Sunderland and Durham Railway was constructed by the Sunderland Dock Company. Railways undoubtedly meant coal transportation, and one other distinct possibility where George may have worked was Elemore Colliery, which had been established in 1825 by the Hetton Coal Company, and was situated not far from Easington Lane.
At Houghton-le-spring on 26th June 1830, George Claughan wed for a second occasion, this time to Harraton born Elizabeth Lawson, she being born there on 25th March 1812, the daughter of Ralph Lawson and Elizabeth Naisbett.
George and Elizabeth lived at Easington Lane for almost two decades, before the former gained employment at Charlaw Colliery in Sacriston and it was in Easington Lane that the majority of children Elizabeth bore him, five in total, were born between 1833 and 1843 with a further three offspring being born in Sacriston between 1848 and 1855. Sadly three family deaths had occurred in the 1840’s, with the demise of George’s daughter, Ann in 1841 aged just three years: this was followed by his nine months old son Ralph on 18th February 1844, and just six weeks after this, George’s mother, Ann passed away, all three being buried in St. Nicholas’ church yard at Hetton-le-hole in an unmarked grave. One reason why Victorian’s believed in large families was due to the fact that a large cluster of offspring was supposed to be ample consolation for the loss of a family member: cruel, this may appear, and this is why many Victorian’s appeared cold towards their children, as if to prepare themselves in case of a death.

Calculations suggest that George and his family moved from Easington Lane and set up home in Sacriston between April 18th 1844 and April 8th 1848. Originally being empty moor land with a medieval manor house, Sacriston village really came into being around 1839, with the opening of a colliery called Victoria Pit, below the woodland of Sacriston Heugh. Also, around 1839, the Charlaw Colliery re-opened a quarter of a mile to the south Victoria Pit. The other main pit in the village was called Witton Pit which was sunk in 1859. The Charlaw Colliery closed in 1884, followed by the Closure of Witton Pit in 1966, and finally the Victoria Pit in 1985, the latter due to Margaret Thatcher’s bad government. Prior to the mines, agriculture had been the main activity in the area, although small-scale mining had taken place in the vicinity since medieval times, and coal mining at Charlaw pre-dated 1733. Back then it was a small pit and early in the 19th Century only three men were employed there. Sacriston was enclosed in 1809, and when the Claughan’s moved here, they inhabited a colliery house at Findon Hill. The increasing demand for coal and coke led to a rapid development of the mining industry in the area of Sacriston and its surrounds, and by the early 1840’s the population of Witton Gilbert, which included the whole of Findon Hill had risen to 1243, as compared with a mere 417 in 1831. As an overman at the Charlaw Colliery, George’s duties revolved directly around the colliery workings. Usually, one pit had one overman, who was a man versed in all aspects of coal-mining, and had started his trade from bottom to top. At Charlaw, George was responsible for the workings of the pit when there was no viewer or under-viewer (manager) on the premises, and he had to check the state of the mine every morning before the men went to work, and was responsible for the mines safety and ventilation checks. The morning shift pin-points George’s eventual cause of death occurring in the morning and no later than that. He was literateand kept daily accounts of the colliery work and the whole of the underground expense and wages. George Claughan, in the 1850’s was paid between 26 and 28 shillings per week, given a free house with a garden and free coals. The early 1850’s was a hard time for George, on a personal level – ten years previous he had witnessed the burials of his mother and two of his children, and now, history was repeating itself. When his son Thomas Claughan was born in May 1851, there was signs that this child would not survive, evidence being given via two baptism dates for the latter, and the following spring, on 25th April 1852, another child, Lawson Claughan, passed away aged just four years of age.
On the morning of the 18th August 1854, George Claughan made for his usual shift at Charlaw Colliery, a journey that was to be his last. He was carried home to Findon Hill on that morning, a dying man, due to a stone-fall in the colliery. Filing the death certificate was a long process, and was not registered until 42 days after the event, by Coroner John Milne-Favell, of Eighton Cottage in Eighton Banks. No record of the Coroner report may survive due to coroner’s having the right to destroy records after a fifteen year period back then. Favell himself died on Christmas Eve 1882 aged 75, due to a riding accident.
He had been born in Yorkshire, but became Coroner for Gateshead and County Durham in 1843. John Milne-Favell is buried in the churchyard adjacent where he lived. The Mine Inspector report into George Claughan’s death began on the 19th August that year, and he was laid to rest in St. Michael and All Angel Churchyard at Witton Gilbert on the 21st August in an unmarked grave. Shortly after his death, his widow gave birth to another son who was never to know his father, this child being named Lawson Claughan out of respect to his elder brother who had died in 1852. Sadly, the second Lawson also died young in 1856. Over the coming years, George’s widow worked as a nurse until her own death on 11th June 1892 at Witton Row in Sacriston. At the start of the 1870’s she went to live for a while with her son Joseph Claughan at Oxford Street in Whitworth, where he was the inn keeper at the Angel Arms, until his death in 1872. After this, Elizabeth returned to Sacriston, living at 1 Fell House, acting as house nurse to the wife and daughter of local tailor Robert Turner. On 14th June 1892, Elizabeth was laid to rest in St. Peter’s graveyard in Sacriston in an unmarked grave, she being joined on 1st October 1894 by her great-grandson John Claughan-Hancock, who had only lived for 15 Minutes. George Claughan fathered a total of ten children from his two marriages, these being name as follows: (To Phyllis Bell)
Mary Ann Claughan (1824 – 1827)
And Robert Bell-Claughan (1827 – 1905).
(Children to Elizabeth Lawson)
Joseph Claughan (1833 – 1872),
Elizabeth Claughan (1835 – 1914),
Ann Claughan (1838 – 1841),
George Claughan (1841 – 1907),
Ralph Claughan (1843 – 1844),
Lawson Claughan (1848 – 1852),
Thomas Claughan (1851 – 1911), and
Lawson Claughan (1855 – 1856).





Right – Robert Claughan 1827 – 1905,
the eldest son to George Claughan and Phyllis Bell






(x2 great-grandfather)

My great-great-grandfather worked in the collieries from an early age, and for around sixty years lived the hardships that every miner felt of the period. Following the death of his father in 1854, money became scarce in the family home thereafter, meaning that a young Thomas was soon to work underground, in which evidence is given on the 1861 Census, stating that he was a coal miner at the age of nine years old. He was illiterate, and does not appear to have had a great deal of schooling.
Born in a colliery house at Findon Hill, Sacriston on Tuesday 27th May 1851, Thomas was a ninth child of ten, born to George and Elizabeth Claughan. The death rate in this family was no different to any other household of the time, and up until his birth, Thomas was in fact the sixth surviving child, as three siblings had died prior to 1851. Where Thomas was actually born in Findon Hill is not known, as the Hill, in the 1850’s stretched from the modern-day hill and traveled as far as modern-day Charlaw Close near St. Peter’s Church. It also covered a distance leading towards Witton Gilbert.
Possibly a child of ill health, two baptism dates are recorded for Thomas Claughan, both taking place in the church of St. Michael and All Angel in Witton Gilbert. This church is situated towards the south end of the village adjacent the old Leper hospital and was the main church for the area, the parish church of Sacriston not being built until around 1866. There is quite a time limit between both baptism dates, the first occurring four days after Thomas’ birth, followed by the second event on 31st July 1853.
When Thomas was born, Sacriston had only been in existence as a village for about twelve years, this coming about as a result of the Victoria and Charlaw Collieries around 1839, prior to this, the area had been agricultural, with enclosure occurring during 1809. The history of the area did in fact originate from at least the 12th Century when the Bishop of Durham, Hugh Pudsey gave land to the senior monks of Durham Cathedral Monastery. These monks were known as Sacrists, also referred to as Sextons or Sacristans. In the 1840’s, the village boasted a few houses, scattered around where the nowadays crossroads are situated. The following decade saw the development of the Cross Streets, and the 1860’s saw the Staffordshire Streets erected which stood for 80 years and had been built to commemorate the arrival of the miners, to Sacriston, from the South Staffordshire coal-fields.
The Cross Streets consisted of ten back-to-back terraces with narrow alleyways and were the venue for a large number of Irish families in the village. These houses were demolished around 1939 and were the houses that Thomas’ elder brother Robert Bell Claughan (1827 – 1905) had once been landlord of, letting them to the pit workers in the 1860’s, while acting as Gamekeeper at Sacriston Colliery.
Thomas Claughan was aged just three years old when his father died, as a result of a pit accident in Charlaw Colliery and was raised by his mother thereafter, and by the 1860’s, the family household consisted of Thomas, his mother, and his brother George Claughan (1841 – 1907), who did not leave the family premises until the late 1860’s, when he wed Elizabeth Raine. In 1871, both Thomas and his mother were living at the home of the former’s elder brother Joseph Claughan at the Angel Inn, at Oxford Street in Whitworth, and following Joseph’s untimely death the following year, Thomas and his mother returned to Sacriston.

At Chester-le-street Registry Office, on 6th March 1875, Thomas Claughan married Catharine Williamson, the daughter of a coal miner, Joseph Williamson. During the mid 1870’s, Catharine had began working as a domestic servant in Edmondsley and records show that her parents may have also lived in this area, due to Catharine having a sister, Mary Ann Williamson later residing at Broomeyholm Farm, about quarter of a mile down Edmondsley bank. Mary Ann, too worked as a domestic servant, employed at the farm by Mary Ann Young, a farmer’s widow. Following their marriage, Thomas and Catharine set up home at Findon Hill before moving to 9 Witton Row in Sacriston around 1880. They do however appear to have spent many years traveling between Edmondsley and Sacriston, and it was in the latter, at Findon Hill in the spring of 1875 that their first child, Elizabeth was born, named after her grandmother. Tragedy struck the family in 1883, when Thomas’ eldest son, George was killed on Sacriston Front Street, aged just 6 years old, apparently he being struck by a passing coal wagon by all accounts while out on a shopping trip with his mother. A total of four children are thought to have been born at Findon Hill between 1875 and 1879. By 1887, Thomas and Catherine had moved to Staffordshire Row in the village, and it was here, on the 16th March that year, my great-grandfather, a second George Claughan was born.
In the later 1880’s, Thomas gained employment near Lanchester, working at Malton Colliery, a fairly new pit which had opened in 1870. From 1890, this colliery had the distinction of providing gas for Lanchester Village. All that remains of this colliery nowadays is in the form of a picnic area, the pit itself closing in 1961. Two children, the last of ten in total, were born at this colliery to Thomas and Catharine, before the family made their way to Edmondsley by the turn of the century, living at 55 Pleasant Street, and we know from Thomas’ will that Catharine and he still lived here in September 1906.
Thomas Claughan was a very strict catholic-minded individual, and his headstone, to the left of the graveyard at St. Bede’s in Sacriston, was apparently the first to be erected in the graveyard. By the time he died, in 1911, Thomas and his wife had moved to Turners Buildings in New Town,
Sacriston, these houses lying down from where the old swimming baths once were: here, Thomas owned three properties, houses 2, 3 and 4 and it was at number 3, that he passed away on Wednesday 17th May that year, he had been ill for three days. After this, Catharine returned to Edmondsley where she died on 3rd September 1923 at Watsons Buildings. The houses that Thomas once owned in Sacriston were eventually ‘let’ for private use, later being demolished in order for the council to build a new estate, now known as Newtown Villas. Thomas Claughan’s grave was originally intended as a double grave, but over the twelve years period between his death and that of his wife, tree roots had grown over the ground where Thomas lay making it an impossibility to lay his widow at rest there also. Event-ually, she was laid to rest in a separate unmarked grave to the rear of the church. The full list of the offspring of Thomas and Catharine were as follows: Elizabeth (1875 – 1931), George (1876 – 1883), Joseph (1878 – 1942), Mary Ann (1879 – 1955), Catherine (1881 - ?), Thomas (1883 - ?), Edward (1885 – 1965), George (1887 – 1954), James Lawson (1889 – 1967), and Sarah (1891 - ?).


Right – The grave of Thomas Claughan 1851 – 1911


GEORGE CLAUGHAN 1887 – 1954 (Great-grandfather) (Below: The Staffordshire Streets at Sacriston)

The Staffordshire Streets in Sacriston were built in 1860 to commemorate the influx of miners from the South Staffordshire coalfields, but by the 1880s, these buildings had been let to the locals. For almost eighty years, these streets stood in a village that had begun around 1839 with the opening of the Victoria and Charlaw Collieries. The Staffordshire Streets stood adjacent to where the local workingman’s club stands now and was sandwiched between the latter, and the community centre that was demolished in 2008. Long gone are the streets, but it was here on Wednesday 16th March 1887, that my great-grandfather, George Claughan was born.


By 1889, George and his parent’s left Sacriston, due to his father gaining employment near Lanchester, and it was here, at Malton Colliery that the Claughan’s lived in the early 1890’s, later moving to Pleasant Street, Edmondsley, by the turn of the new century. At the age of fourteen, my great-grandfather was working at Edmondsley Colliery as a coal miner and driver. As a child, George had been reared in a strict catholic household, this being evident regarding his father’s views on religion. However, my great-grandfather’s view on religion did not seem to agree with his father’s views as George later wed a Methodist. Around the year 1907, George left Pleasant Street and went to live with his aunt Mary Ann Williamson at nearby Broomeyholm Farm, which lay just before the foot of Edmondsley bank. It isn’t clear as to why George moved here, as he had very little to do with farming. On 2nd October 1909, my great-grandfather married Ruth Pearson at Chester-le-street Registry Office. She was a local born spinster, living at the home of her parent’s Edward and Ellen Pearson at nearby Beech grove, a set of cottages about 5oo yards from the farm, and it is thought that Ruth may well have been working at Broomeyholm Farm as a farm labourer when she met George. Following their wedding, my great-grandparent’s moved to Lee Buildings in Grange Villa and it was here on 7th August 1910 that their first child, Mary Ann Claughan was born. Their time in Grange Villa was brief and between April 1911 and January 1912, George and Ruth moved back to the Edmondsley area. In the latter year, they lived for a while at 7 Red Rows in Edmondsley, these being pit houses for miners working in the district. My grandmother, Catherine Claughan was born at this address on 31st January 1912.
Prior to the outbreak of World War One, my great-grandparent’s moved to other premises in Edmondsley, this time residing at Blackburn Buildings. Their eldest son, Thomas Claughan was born here, two day before George’s 27th birthday. The latter served in the army during the Great War of 1914 – 1918 but it is uncertain how many times he may have visited his home over this period, although he was home during the spring of 1917, this being when Ruth fell pregnant with her fourth child, sadly, this child dying within a short time of his birth at Edmondsley. Following the War, George returned to coal mining at Edmondsley Colliery until its closure in 1921, and also, by 1919 Ruth and he had once again moved premises, this time to Coxons Row.
Edmondsley Colliery had a life span from 1840 until 1921 and the reason for its closure lay with its owner, who wanted more coal produced but without extra expense. In order to meet this demand the Manager decided to mine coal from near the bottom of the shaft, he thought that once hewed, the coal would not have to be transported a big distance to the shaft bottom for it to be brought to the surface. Thus the extra coal was produced quickly and at less expense. However, this was a bad manoeuvre on behalf of the colliery owner. When the coal was extracted, there was insufficient coal to support the bottom of the shaft area, with the result that the shaft fell in on itself. This closed the pit as it was believed not worth the expense of re-opening the shaft. The mine did re-open for a short time when a drift was cut into the old workings from a bank side to the north of the old shaft near the Mill Wood.
George and Ruth’s children were schooled at Edmondsley in the main. My grandmother would recall how her parent’s would argue, which led to my grandmother and her siblings constantly being transferred between schools, giving no proper stability to their learning’s. When her parent’s were actually speaking to one-another, the offspring attended the local Catholic school, but should George and Ruth be at loggerheads, which was often, the children attended the local protestant school. This would never have occurred in the area during the 17th Century, for Catholics were persecuted, as part of the reforms by Henry the Eighth.Following the closure of Edmondsley Colliery, Ruth and George moved to the Nettlesworth Old Pit, situated on Waldridge Fell. It is uncertain, but the ‘Old Pit’ may have been a short lived 19th Century mine known as Nettlesworth Colliery. For all its name is the same as Nettlesworth and Kimblesworth Village, the Old Pit was actually in Edmondsley. A further five children were born at the Nettlesworth Old Pit to George and Ruth from 1921 until 1928. My great-grandfather appeared to prefer a drink in the local Fleece Public House at Edmondsley crossroads, perhaps more than looking after his family and many stories arise how he would often participate in bare knuckle fighting on Waldridge Fell. His relationship with his wife grew more adrift over the years, and by the mid 1930’s their marriage was as good as over and they separated. Ruth moved out of their home and went to live at 2 Farm Cottages at Chester Moor; here she worked at Smith’s Farm. She had left George to raise most of their children on his own, but he was far from lonely. When my Grandmother married Kenneth Campbell in 1932, they spent a short time living with George at the ‘Old Pit’, as did my grandmother’s younger sister, Hilda May Claughan, following the birth of her son Dennis Claughan during June 1937. During the 1930’s, Nettlesworth Old Pit was quite a considerable abode which had consisted of quite a few different family set-ups. In the main, my great-grandfather shared one room with his twin sons, George and Edward, and during 1936, his son Thomas, and the latter’s family lived here until they moved to 6 the Stables, Waldridge Fell.
During the 1920’s, my great-grandfather lived briefly with his brother, Thomas Claughan at 36 Cross Keys Lane, Low Fell. This came about due to George needing a much needed rest after giving blood to save the life of his younger brother, James Lawson Claughan. The latter had worked until the age of 35, when he contracted an illness called Pernicious Anemia. At one point, James needed a blood transfusion to save his life, and George was found to have the perfect match. The latter was required to attend a hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in those early days, blood was transferred direct from one person to another. George was so weak afterwards and for health reasons, had decided to go to Cross Keys Lane. The hospital required George to give more blood and the police were called in order to locate him and take him back to the hospital. James outlived his brother by 13 years.
The Nettlesworth Old Pit was demolished around the 1940’s and George was then re-housed at Nettlesworth Hall Farm where he is on the 1947 electoral register with his eldest daughter Mary Ann and her family, as was his son Thomas, and the latter’s family. The register also list 4 further people at the abode, these being a family named Stark and a man named George Flintoff. In December 1952, Mary Ann died at 6 Boyntons in Nettlesworth following a battle with cancer, and after that event, my great-grandfather’s own health began to deteriate. In 1954, he was admitted into the General Hospital at Chester-le-Street, where he died from heart failure and Chronic Bronchitis on the 8th January, Both he and Mary Ann lie in the same unmarked grave in the churchyard of St. Philip and St. James in Nettlesworth. For all, at the time of his admittance into hospital, George’s address is given as 7 Claytonville, Blackhouse; it is known that he actually resided at The Boyntons.
George Claughan and Ruth Pearson shared ten offspring in total, these being as follows:
Mary - Ann (1910 – 1952), Catherine (1912 – 1999), Thomas (1914 – 1977),
George -Edward (1918 – 1918), Hilda – May (1919 – 2011), Edward (1921 – 1922),
Ellen (1923 – 2002), George (1926 -2013), Edward (1926 - ?), Joseph (1926 – 2012).

CATHERINE CLAUGHAN 1912 -1999 (Grandmother)

My grandmother, Catherine Claughan, was born in a colliery house at 7 Red Row, Edmondsley on Wednesday 31 January 1912, the second child to a coal miner, George Claughan and his wife Ruth. The former had previously worked at Edmondsley Colliery from around 1900 until his marriage to Ruth Pearson in 1909, and then moved to Lee Buildings in Grange Villa before returning to Edmondsley around late 1911. George had family links in this area since the 1870s.

In the first decade of the 20th Century, Edmondsley had at least two pits, as well as a coal wagon - way leading from Sacriston to Daisy Hill. From here, the wagon - way veered west towards Edmondsley. From Daisy Hill it veered east, towards the Byron Pit near Waldridge Fell. As a pit village, Edmondsley did not really come into being until around 1840 following the opening of Edmondsley Colliery, or the Wellington Pit as it was initially called. This colliery closed in 1921. The Ancient Anglo Saxon area of Edmondsley is first mentioned in Durham's Boldon Buke of 1183, and early spellings of the name suggest a farmland area with roaming sheep. 'Ley' meant 'clearing', while 'Edeman' was the old word for a herder of sheep. (Above – how Edmondsley looked when Catherine Claughan was a child.)

As a child, Catherine would visit her grandparent's home on a regular basis. Up until the 1920s the latter had lived in a cottage called Beechgrove, which was situated at the foot of Edmondsley bank, set back into a wooded area, with a well at the bottom of the garden. My grandmother spent many happy times here, and then continued to visit her grandparents when they moved to nearby Blackhouse Village. She recalled how her grandmother, Ellen Pearson, would sit on the front doorstep, smoking a little clay pipe due to an ailment.

Right – Beechgrove Cottage once stood behind these trees on the left.

Catherine attended school in Edmondsley between 1919 and 1926, recalling how, as a child, her parents would argue on a regular basis. Her mother and father followed two different religions and this often lead to Catherine and her siblings being moved from the local Catholic school to the local Protestant school from time to time, and vice-versa. As a child, my grandmother lived in various different houses in Edmondsley, the reason for this being uncertain. By the outbreak of World War One, her parents had moved from Red Row, setting up home at Blackburn Buildings, where it is thought they remained until after the War. By May 1919, the family had moved to Coxon's Row.

Edmondsley Colliery closed in 1921, and it was around this year that Catherine's parents set up home at the Nettlesworth Old Pit, situated on the Edmondsley to Waldridge Fell road. The Old Pit may have once been the site of an old disused Victorian mine called Nettlesworth Colliery, but this is uncertain. It was here, between 1921 and 1928 that the majority of Catherine's siblings were born. The reason for the closure of Edmondsley Colliery lay with its owner, who wanted more coal produced but without extra expense. In order to meet this demand the Manager decided to mine coal from near the bottom of the shaft. He thought that once hewed, the coal would not have to be transported a big distance to the shaft bottom for it to be brought to the surface. Thus the extra coal was produced quickly and at less expense. This was a bad manoeuvre on behalf of the colliery owner. When the coal was extracted there was insufficient coal to support the bottom of the shaft area, with a result that the shaft fell in on itself. This closed the pit as it was believed not worth the expense of re-opening the shaft. The mine did re-open for a short time when a drift was cut into the old workings from a bank side to the north of the old shaft near the Mill wood.

Catherine remained at the Nettlesworth Old Pit until 1932, when, on 2 July that year, she married Sacriston born Kenneth Campbell at Chester-le-street Registry Office. Her bridesmaid, Hilda Grigg was a replacement for Catherine's cousin, Dorothy Claughan, who had died one week beforehand through diabetes. Following their wedding, Catherine and Kenneth set up home briefly at the Nettlesworth Old Pit by kind permission of the formers parents, and here, they lived in an upstairs room. By 1933, they had moved to John Street in Sacriston but within a year had moved to Staffordshire Street, the place of Kenneth's birth in 1910. The Staffordshire Street's stood for 80 years, originally being built in 1860 for the influx of coal miners from the South Staffordshire coalfields, but had apparently been let to the local miners after that. Catherine's father, George Claughan was born in these streets in 1887.

In or around 1934, Catherine and Kenneth lived at Front Street in Witton Gilbert,and it was here, around that year that they were expecting their first and only child. Sadly, the child was stillborn, but Catherine still gave it a Christian name - Nancy. The latter was buried in a unmarked grave to the right of the gateway entrance to St. Michael and All Angels Church in Witton Gilbert. In the mid to late 1930s, Catherine and Kenneth separated, but did not divorce. In 1938 she made her way to West Yorkshire, working as a chambermaid in Keighley. In that year, she had previously worked at the Queens Head public house in Framwellgate Moor and apparently got some form of transfer to Keighley. Here, my grandmother was employed at The Queens Hotel, which was situated at the top of Dalton Lane. Many pubs, Inns, Hotels and beer houses in Keighley, were actually houses and not built designed to be pubs,
but converted house or cottages. Many had land adjoining with out buildings, a completely different picture to what we imagine. Once the licensing laws had changed, it became more common place for pubs and hotels to be purpose built, especially with the coming of the railway. Probably one of the most important premises, with regards to bringing trade to Keighley, also stood at the top of Dalton Lane, a hotel called 'Station Hotel', which has long gone, as too has the Queens Hotel, which stood on the corner of Dalton Lane, leading to Bradford Road. This stone built, slate roof building had been built in 1901, and in its prime stood three and a half storeys high.

Right – The Queens Hotel, where my grandparents worked in the 1930s.

Here, at the Queens Hotel, Catherine met my grandfather, James Quinn, who worked as a barman on the premises. The latter was born in Middlesbrough in 1906, but following his divorce from his first wife around 1935, he too had made the journey to West Yorkshire. When he met my grandmother, James was lodging about half a mile from the hotel itself, at
28 Beatrice Street
. Just before the outbreak of World War Two, Catherine and James married in Keighley, but the former did not declare her separation from Kenneth Campbell, and in doing so, was forced to return north to answer a court summons. The result of this meant that her marriage certificate to James Quinn was deemed void.

Catherine returned to Keighley and set up home with James at 20 York Street, which was in Worth Valley, and here, on 26th April 1939, a son was born to the couple, who they named Gordon James Quinn. The latter was two months premature, which means that evidently, Catherine was living in Keighley from at least September 1938. A Whooping Cough epidemic had spread around the area in May 1942, and both Gordon, and my mother, who was born in 1940 at York Street, caught the germ, except it became worse for the former, who also caught pneumonia. Sadly, he died on 15th May 1942 and was buried in Uttley Cemetery in Keighley. Two further children were born at York Street between 1945 and 1952.

The war years in Keighley were not that bad, in respect that no bombs ever fell. Just after the war, a local pilot was flying over Worth Valley and reported that it seemed as though he was looking out over the sea, and for this reason, the German Air force probably thought this as well and therefore left the villages alone. York Street actually stood in Worth Village, and outside the front doors were cobbled stones and each street had its place to hang washing out. My mother recalls that, when the coal man, or bin man came down the street, the clothes prop had to be raised as high as could be to save the washing getting dirty. Around 1942, Catherine was employed at a hotel named The White Bear, and in 1948 she worked at the Cotton Mills on Dalton Lane. The Mills was one of the largest textile mills in the region, employing over 2000 workers. It was built by Joseph Craven in 1869, replacing an original mill, once owned by Rachel Leach in the 1780s. The Mill was named Dalton Mills after the manager employed by Rachel, a man named Dalton. In its heyday between 1869 and 1877 the mill provided jobs for workers all over Keighley and the Worth Valley. In 1955, an adjacent mill to this one caught ablaze, killing many people. On 1 January 2011 the Dalton Mills itself was ablaze.

Right – The Dalton Mills, where my grandmother worked in the late 1940s

My grandmother later worked at St. John's Hospital in Fell Lane, as a cleaner, where one of her main duties was to clean the morgue, and in order to bring in more money, Catherine also took up employment as a home-help and laundry worker, while my grandfather gained employment at Hammonds Bakery. In 1952 they had moved from York Street, setting up home at 44 Bracken Bank in Keighley. No one can argue that their relationship was perfect, and for years, Catherine had apparently suffered verbal abuse from James. On 18th August 1955, this abuse came to a head when Catherine packed her bags and took her children north to Durham. On that date she made her way to
7 Clayton Ville, Blackhouse Village, which was the home of her brother-in-law, Arthur Clowes. The latter had wed Catherine's sister, Mary Ann Claughan in 1932, but sadly, Mary Ann had died in 1952.

At no. 7, Catherine and her two sons, Bernard and Brian Quinn briefly stayed, not only with the Clowes family, but also, with Catherine's widowed mother, Ruth. My mother, however, did not stay at number 7, but instead had gone to live at 27 Clayton Ville, the home of my grandmother's brother, Thomas Claughan and his wife Eleanor. The following day, Catherine, her two sons, and my mother moved into 19 Clayton Ville, sharing the abode of a family named March. It was at this address where my mother and father first met. It didn't take James Quinn very long to track Catherine down, but even after their reconciliation, his attitude towards her never really changed, causing my mother to dislike her father very much.

By 1959, Catherine and James had moved to 52 Riding Hill, Great Lumley. Over the last few years, the latter's health had slowly deteriorated, due to breathing difficulties and pneumonia of the lungs. James had spent long periods going to and from hospital for check - ups, this even preceding his arrival in Durham in 1955. In early March 1961, my grandfather was admitted to Chester-le-Street General Hospital and remained there until his death on 20th March that year. He was buried in an unmarked grave at Great Lumley. Following James' demise, Catherine remained in Great Lumley until 1976.

As a child, I stayed at my grandmother's home on a regular basis. Every Sunday, weather permitting, we would walk from Great Lumley to Waldridge Fell, and then onto Edmondsley to visit her cousin, Sarah Robinson at 4 Watsons Buildings. The latter had grown up in this house since being a little girl.


Right – (white door on right) 4 Watsons Buildings, Edmondsley,
the home of Sarah Robinson for many years.


In 1976, Catherine moved to Chester-le-street and resided at Northlands, adjacent the railway line, staying here until 1978, at which point she moved to 45 the Avenue. By 1985, she had moved again, this time to 5 Cookson Terrace and by 1989 she resided at
45 Cookson Terrace. From 1990 until 1998, my grandmother lived at
146 Wynyard in Chester-le-street, but due to her health, she was later accepted into Mendip House for the aged. An incident had occurred on 30 April 1993, when my grandmother had gone to lunch on that day in Chester-le-street Town Centre. She was crossing the road towards the market with a group of people. Unfortunately, she was knocked down by a bus, causing my grandmother injuries to her neck, back, arms, and shoulders. She was taken to Dryburn Hospital as a precaution, but since that time, she continued to have problems with the areas originally injured. Over the next few years, my grandmother became frailer, making it difficult to walk steadily. Due to a bad fall in August 1999, outside my mother's home, my grandmother was admitted to Dryburn Hospital, where sadly, she died on Sunday 15th August 1999 at 10.58 am. Her daughter and grandchildren were in attendance, including myself. My grandmother was buried four days later in Ropery Lane Cemetery, Chester-le-street.


Right – Catherine’s grave at Chester-Le-Street. Pictured in 2002.


MARGARET ELLEN QUINN was born on 15 May 1930 at 16 Margaret Street, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, the daughter of James Quinn and his first wife, Ellen Eliza Jane Collie (1905 - 1945).

NANCY CAMPBELL was stillborn around 1934, the child of Catherine Claughan and her first husband, Kenneth Campbell. Nancy was buried in an unmarked grave in St. Michael and All Angel Churchyard at Witton Gilbert.

GORDON JAMES QUINN was born at 20 York Street, Worth Village, Worth Valley, Keighley on Wednesday 26th April 1939, the son of James Quinn and Catherine Claughan. Gordon lived at York Street all his short life. In 1942, he caught pneumonia and Whooping Cough, being admitted to Morton Banks Hospital where sadly, Gordon died on Friday 15th May that year. The tragedy of this is apparent, because Gordon was put in an isolation ward and it was not possible for my grandparent's to be at his bedside when he died. Gordon was buried in Uttley Cemetery in Keighley.

ANNIE QUINN - biography to follow.

BERNARD JAMES QUINN was born at 20 York Street on Saturday 9th June 1945, he died on the 26 June 2014,
the third child to James and Catherine. Bernard never married, and has recently retired from working. He lived in Keighley until his family came to County Durham in 1955, and in 1959 moved to Great Lumley. In 1976, Bernard moved to Chester-Le-Street and currently lives near the Garden Farm public house.

BRIAN QUINN was born at 20 York Street on Wednesday 5th March 1952, being baptised at St. Anne's R. C. Church on 3rd April that year. In 1955, his family came to County Durham and in 1959, Brian moved to Great Lumley. In 1976, he moved to Chester-le-street. From 1987 until 1989, Brian was living at 26 Ruskin Avenue in Pelton Fell, and on 12th October 1990, married Linda Cook at 7 Thorneyholme Terrace in Stanley. They separated around 1996, later divorcing, and following this, Brian went to live with his mother. From his marriage, there were two sons named David John Brian Quinn (1991) and Barry Gordon James Quinn (1993). Since 21st April 1997, Brian had lived at 44 Eighth Avenue, Chester-le-street, and it was here, on 13th September 2001 that he died. Two further addresses are recorded for him - in 1995 to 1996, he lived at 31 Sixth Avenue and also, he spent time at 45 the Avenue. Brian was buried in Ropery Lane Cemetery in Chester-le-street in the same grave as his mother.

(Born 1940)

(Early Keighley)

The name Keighley, which has undergone various changes of spelling throughout its history is accepted to mean Cyhha's farm or clearing and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Henry de Kighley, a Lancashire knight, was granted the first charter to hold a market in Keighley on 7th October 1305 by King Edward 1. The poll tax records of 1379 show the population of Keighley, in the area of Staincliffe, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was 109 persons (47 couples and 15 single people). The town's industries have typically been in textiles, particularly wool and cotton processing. In addition to the manufacture of textiles there were several large factories making textile machinery. Two of these were Dean, Smith and Grace and Prince, Smith and Stell. The former operated as a world-class manufacturer of machine tools, particularly precision lathes, until 2008.

In the 1820s, Keighley was described as a market and parish town, with the former being held every Wednesday.
The town was in the east-division of Staincliffe, four miles from Bingley, ten miles from Bradford and Skipton, and twelve miles from Otley and Halifax. Fairs were held annually on May 8 until May 10, and from November 7th until November 9th for cattle, horses, sheep, and peddler ware.

By the turn of the 1840s, Keighley's parish had no independent townships, and it was six miles long and four miles wide, and comprised 10,160 acres of land. The population at the beginning of the 19th Century was 5,745. The town became a municipal borough in 1882, and was merged into the Metropolitan Borough of Bradford in 1974 under the Local Government Act. This caused bitterness among Keighley residents who resented being 'taken over9 by Bradford, and in 2002, Civil Parish was restored to Keighley, providing it with its own town council.

Keighley lies at the meeting point between the River Worth and River Aire, and is therefore in Airedale in the south Pennines. Its northernmost boundary is marked by the village of Bradley, and its southernmost limit is the edge of Oxenhope. To the west, the town advances up the hill to the suburb of Black Hill and in the east; it terminates at the residential neighbourhoods of Long Lee and Thwaites Brow.

Worth Village was begun by The Airedale Co-operative Building and Manufacturing Company, established in April 1861, but Worth Valley was created on January 1 1947, and this area, and indeed, most of Keighley, is very prone to flooding. The town was particularly badly hit in 2000, but since then, millions have been spent on strengthening flood defences. Other outlying villages that make up part of the town are Oakworth, Cross Roads, Haworth, Stanbury and Oxenhope. The two main settlements to the north are Silsden and Steeton. These village are often referred to as separate places, but are united by their post codes and the land registry as part of Keighley. In 2001, the population was 74,098.

On 1st August 1940, my mother was born in the living room of 20 York Street, Worth Village, Keighley at about one o'clock in the morning, with the sound of the 'all clear' sirens echoing in the background. Had those sirens not rang out; my mother would have been born in the cellar of the house. She recalls that this was a cold, and dowdy looking place - mainly used as a storage space for coal. This, of course was the war years, and the house she was born in had been built in the 1800s, but, in the 1940s was part of a large quantity of streets, grouped near Dalton Lane.
The war years in Keighley were not really bad in respect that no bombs ever fell over Worth Village. Just after the war, a local pilot was flying over the village, and he said that, looking down, it seemed as though he was looking over the sea. Maybe the German's also thought this and left the village untouched.

Outside the front door at 20 York Street, were cobbled stones and each street had a place to hang out its washing. The clothes lines stretched between the facing streets, and when the local bin man or coal man made his rounds, the washing was propped up as high as could be, to save it getting dirty. In 1942, a parachute was discovered in the street where my mother lived, and was duly shared between the neighbours. My grandmother made my mother a dress from her piece of silk.


Right – An early view of Worth Village.


My mother recalls York Street with fond memories and describes the village in great detail. Using the toilet was an ordeal back then; the convenience was situated half way up the street in a little alleyway, and in the winter, the toilet used to freeze up. The locals had to carry buckets of water to flush it Just outside the street was a 'hollow9, where a man named Hector Moore stored all his scrap. He had put a big fence around the 'hollow’ to stop intruders, but my mother and her friends still managed to get in. This was also a short cut to the shops. Today, Hector Moore is a scrap metal merchant and skips hire business in Deal Street, Worth Village. Back in 1942, the locals also used 'Hectors walkway' to go across to the local beck, the latter being a small river with an old bridge.
The Victoria Park was also a highlight to the children back then, as it had swings and a museum. 

Right – a modern view of Victoria Park


At the top end of the beck was a grassed area where a small caravan was parked up, the occupants being an elderly couple. The winter of 1947 was particularly bad, and when the snow had gone, the floods came, covering a large section of the village with water. The caravan floated down stream with the occupants inside. Everyone, except the old couple thought this was very funny and it became the topic of conversation for weeks.

My mother was almost two when her elder brother, Gordon died. The latter had himself, just turned three, when he and my mother contracted Whooping Cough. Sadly, Gordon also got Pneumonia, from which he died on 15th May 1942. As children, my mother and her brother were very close and the latter's death affected mother deeply. For a while she stopped eating and on occasions would go outside, calling out, "Gordie, where are you? “. At one point my grandmother feared she would lose my mother as well. My mother and grandmother would walk regular to
Utley Cemetery in Keighley, where my Uncle Gordon is buried. On route to the cemetery was a house with a parrot in the yard, which used to shout at people walking by.

In the late 1940s, my grandmother worked at Dalton Mills and also cleaned at St. John's Hospital in Fell Lane.
My mother would look after her brother, Bernard, who had been born in June 1945. She would take Bernard to a place known as Newsholme Dene, which was a lovely country place, also in Fell Lane. They would often picnic there until it was time for my grandmother to finish work, at which point, Bernard and my mother would go to meet her. From the Hospital, a bus could be caught, straight to Worth Village.

My mother attended schooling at
St Anne's Roman Catholic School in Keighley from 1945. Most of the teachers here were strict nuns, and the head teacher of the infant school was named Sister Gabriel. The latter was quite pleasant, but the head teacher of the bigger school, Sister Monica, was stricter and often issued corporal punishment via the use of the cane.
My mother was late for school on a regular basis, and was caned just about every day. My mother stayed at school for her dinner, and she had two friends that went home for lunch. Sadly, one friend, Jean Gibson was struck by a vehicle while crossing the main road, killing the seven year old child in the process.

Right – St. Ann's R. C. Church, Keighley


In the 1950s, the council decided to condemn most of the houses in Worth Village, and because of this, my grandparents were re-housed on a newly built estate called Bracken Bank. Here they lived at number 44, a house with three bedrooms and a bathroom - never before known at York Street For all this was a new estate, my mother always felt that number 44 Bracken Bank (pictured right 2009) was haunted and she was always afraid of the spare bedroom at the rear of the upstairs, so my grandparents slept in that room. By the time my mother was living here, her family had increased in size, due to the birth of her youngest brother Brian, who was born in York Street in 1952.
The main bedroom pictured, was the one that Bernard and Brian slept in as children, while the room to the right of the picture was my mother’s room.


Below – 44 Bracken Bank – photographed in 1952, shows my mother’s brothers Bernard and Brian.

In 1955, my mother left school and began working with some of her school friends at Peter Black's bag factory in Keighley, making shopping, shoulder, and 'bucket' bags, which were so named due to their shape. The Peter Black wholesale store was established in 1947, later developing into a footwear and Accessories Company. In 2007, a Chinese firm, Li & Fung, bought the business for £48 million.

To say that my mother's relationship with her father was not very good would be an understatement. Ever since she was a little girl, she had often listened to her parents arguing, and this was quite a regular occurrence when her father came home from the hotel he worked at. He was a nasty tempered man and for years, mentally abused my grandmother by all accounts, to the point where, on 18th August 1955, my grandmother and Uncles, Bernard and Brian, met my mother at her workplace, and evidently left Keighley and my grandfather behind them.

They made their way to County Durham, and went to Blackhouse Village, not far from where my grandmother had been born at Edmondsley in 1912. This village had stood since 1925, but due to constant drainage problems, was demolished around 1978. The main part of the village was named Clayton Ville after an early 20th Century school master, who's house has stood half way down Edmondsley bank since 1881. At number 7 Clayton Ville lived the brother-in-law of my grandmother, Arthur Clowes, as well as my mother's grandmother, Ruth Claughan. Arthur had been widowed for almost 3 years, following the death of his wife Mary in December 1952. My grandmother and two Uncles stayed at number 7 on the evening of August 18 while my mother slept at the home of her Uncle Thomas Claughan at 27 Clayton Ville. on the following day, 19th August, my mother, uncles, and grandmother Visited the home of Thomas and Mary Ellen March, who resided at 19 Clayton Ville, and it was here. In a rented room that the Quinn’s lived. My grandfather meanwhile had made his way north from Keighley, and for the next four years, the Quinn family lived here.

Right – Blackhouse Village

While living at Blackhouse Village, my mother met a young soldier named Sid Rivett who was a good friend of the Claughan family. She dated Sid for two years until 1957, but over that period, he had been posted to Aden in the Middle East, and when he returned, he gave my mother a present of a musical box, which she still has today. However, the late 1950s was bringing a new chapter to my mother's life. Mr. and Mrs. March had three sons, Thomas, Henry and James, the latter being my father. He was almost 22 years older than my mother, but they made such an impact on each other, that on 31st October 1959, they married at Chester-le-street Registry Office.

In the late 1950s, my mother worked in a clothing factory called The Webwear, situated in nearby Bloemfontein in Craghead. Here, she worked as a clothes cutter for about 4 years. The Webwear factory employed many local girls and women, and had an excellent canteen where socials, concert parties, dances and wedding presentations were held. A working day began at 8.10am and finished at 5pm with tea and lunch breaks, which all told, made a 5 day 41 and a quarter hour week. All employees got 6 Bank Holidays over and above the two weeks annual summer holiday with pay. The Bishop of Durham made a surprise visit to this factory on 16th June 1960. Prior to their marriage, my father would pick my mother up from the factory after work, on the new Aerial Leader motorcycle he had recently bought. The Webwear Factory closed in the 1980s.

Following their marriage, my parents had a week away in Doncaster and then settled down to married life. They lived for a while, with my mother's parents at 52 Riding Hill in Great Lumley, and during May 1960, a daughter was born to them, whom they named Shelly Grace March. The latter was born at the Princess Mary Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Soon after this event, the rented rooms that my father's parents had let at 19 Clayton Ville became available, and my parents and Shelly went to live there until 1961. My mother's father died on 20th March this year, following a long battle with breathing difficulties.

In that year they moved to 38 Tin Street, Bensham This flat had no electricity or hot water, but my mother loved it, and at last, had a place they could call their own, and here, on 4th December 1961, a second daughter was born, named Margaret Catherine March. By 1963 my mother and father had moved to the east of Gateshead, to
Low Felling, where they rented the premises of 16 Friars Dene,.Road, on the Old Fold Estate here I was born in August of that year in 1965, my parents decided to move from Felling and put a notice in a shop window, asking if anyone in the Chester-Le-Street area wished for a house swap. Luckily an elderly couple saw the advert, and had themselves, wished to return to Gateshead, where they had previously lived. The swap went ahead after arrangements with both area Councils. We moved to a small colliery village called Sacriston not far from Clayton Ville, residing at
10 Morningside in the Village.

Money had never been in abundance with my parents, and in November of 1965, my father was involved in a serious motorcycle accident at
Chester Moor, which put him out of work for four years. He had worked at the Royal Ordinance Factory in Birtley since 1958, and in the late evening was coming home when the accident occurred. The uneasy financial times lasted until September 1967, when my father received a payout from his army days of the 1940s. In the February of 1967, another daughter was born, whom my parents named Kim March.

In 1969, my father's compensation for his motorcycle accident was settled out of court, and following a well waited holiday, my parent's decided to enter the paper -shop business. Premises were bought at 7 Water Street in the village from a family friend, Gilbert Comby. This street was demolished in the late 1970s. The following photograph was taken around 1920, showing 7 Water Street behind the horse. The man on the carriage is the village surgeon, Doctor Garson, who's name appears on the death certificates of my great-great-grandparents in 1911, 1923 and 1927 respectively. At some point, he was also my grandmother's doctor.

In 1971 my mother worked as a cleaner at Durham County Hall, and it was in that year, she had a slip at work, which resulted in her wearing a medical collar for a year, but she continued working at the County Hall until 1974. On Saturday 5th May 1973, my parents gave up the paper-shop and moved to 32 Witton Avenue in the village. This was of course, F. A. Cup Final day, and my mother was none too pleased with my father (who followed Sunderland A. F. C), due to the fact that he and my mother's cousin, Thomas Claughan, kept sneaking off to watch the game on television, when they should have been house moving.

At Witton Avenue, we had good, kind neighbours. In those days, in Sacriston, people could leave their doors unlocked without the threat of unwanted intruders; there was a community spirit then that you would not find nowadays. September of 1973, saw the funeral of my grandmother, Mary-Ellen March; take place from number 32 Witton Avenue, followed eleven months later, by the sudden death of my father. The very last holiday we shared as a family occurred about two weeks before my father's passing. Due to bad weather, our holiday in Blackpool had been cut short, and on August 3rd 1974, we arrived at Dene View Caravan Site near Hartlepool.

We returned to Sacriston on 10th August, and I took full advantage of my school break by staying at my Grandmother Quinn's house at Great Lumley for a few days. I was not at home on the evening of 14th August 1974 when my father died. Understandably, my father's demise had a great impact on my mother, who at the time, felt like her world had ended. Here she was, a widow at 34, with four young children who had been robbed of their father so early in their lives. However, my mother did receive plenty of support from her family, and she had lots of relatives living in the area.

As time went by, my mother re-married on two occasions. In 1975 she began dating John Caulfield who had previously been in charge of her at the County Hall, where he also worked, and on 11th October 1975, they married at Durham City Registry Office. John came to live with us at 32 Witton Avenue and we moved to Framwellgate Moor in December 1975. The reason for this lay with John's work.

John Caulfield had no biological children, and on 8th December 1976, at Durham Juvenile Court, my sister Kim, and I had our surnames changed by law to Caulfield. At the time, I was young and did not think much of it, but as I grew older, I felt my original identity had been taken away. Further to John's work, we again moved home in September 1982, this time occupying one of the bungalow's inside the County Hall grounds. We remained here until September 1986, following John's sudden death on 15th March that year, and then my mother, Kim and I moved back to Framwellgate Moor. My mother's third marriage occurred on 13th January 1990, also at Durham City Registry Office. The previous year, she had renewed her friendship with Sid Rivett, after meeting him in a shop in Chester-le-street where he worked as the store security officer. Their marriage however, was full of ups and downs and my mother felt like all her freedom was being taken away, due to Sid's persistent jealous nature. This eventually led to them living apart. By 1993, my mother had completed her third operation on her back and was diagnosed with brittle bones which meant that the doctor could not operate again and therefore, she would have to live with her complaint. Further to this, she developed hip and leg problems and now permanently uses crutches to aid her walking.

In 1997, my mother's ninth grandchild was born, and the former was quite content with her life until her mother died two years later. My Grandmother Quinn passed away on 15th August 1999 after being in Dryburn Hospital for 5 weeks, following a severe fall outside my mother's home. This was followed, in 2001 by the death of her brother Brian. Tragedy again struck in 2003 with the demise of Sid Rivett. In May 2004, my mother again became a grandmother, and up until the present day, is also a great-grandmother to 5 children.

The Offspring of Annie Quinn and James March


Birth: May 1960 at Newcastle upon Tyne.
Baptism: May 1960 at Great Lumley.
Marriage: October 1978 at Durham City to Arthur Metcalfe.

Offspring of Shelly and Arthur Metcalfe.

Christopher Arthur Metcalfe: Born October 1979 at Hartlepool.
Andrew Charles Metcalfe: Born February 1981 at Hartlepool.
Angela Metcalfe: Born October 1983 at Chester, Cheshire.

Details for Christopher Arthur Metcalfe.

Marriage: 2006 to Carla Partington at Ellesmere Port.
Children: Christopher Brandon Metcalfe: Born February 2003 at Ellesmere Port.
Lucy Anne Metcalfe: Born September 2004 at Ellesmere Port.


Birth: December 1961 at Bensham, Gateshead.
Baptism: December 1961 at Great Lumley.
Marriage: April 1981 at Durham to Lenard John.

Offspring of Margaret and Lenard John.

Gary Lenard John: Born July 1981 at Durham.
Michael John: Born December 1983 at Durham.
Drew John: Born August 1985 at Durham.

Details for Gary Lenard John.

Children: Holly John: Born September 2010 at Durham to Gary L. John and Jane Fodden.

Details for Michael John.

Marriage: August 2011 to Sarah Gowland at Durham.
Children: Daniella Faith John: Born May 2009 at Durham to Michael John and Sarah Gowland.


Birth: February 1967 at Durham.
Baptism: March 1967 at sacristan.
Marriage: May 1987 at Durham to Mark James Bowes.

Offspring of Kim and Mark J. Bowes

Ashleigh Anne Bowes: Born August 1989 at Durham.


Birth: August 1963 at Felling, Gateshead.
Baptism: September 1963 at Felling, Gateshead.
Marriage: As below.

Offspring of Gordon March

Kirsty Nicholson: Born June 1987 at Durham to Gordon March and Fiona Campbell Smith.
Daniel Williams: Born October 1997 at Durham to Gordon March and Dawn Tracey Williams.
Matthew James Caulfield: Born May 2004 at Durham to Gordon March and Sarah Louise Thraves.