last update 26 April 2015


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Links to other Fletcher & Procter pages:


from the 1700s and 1800s - West Yorkshire wool combers


the John and Maria Fletcher Story 1824 - 1911


from the 1900s - Middle Class Folkestone


Photos of the Frank Edward Fletcher family and their spouses 1896 - 1928


Procter family Chronology, Photos and Document links from early 1700s to 1911


The families on this page:









Adrian James Fletcher (1943)

Michael James Rex Fletcher (1918 - 2007) and Peggy Aldous Sproule (1917 - 2005)

Frank Rex (Jimmy) Fletcher (1890 - 1974) and Ethel Henrietta Florence Burton (1890 - 1968)

Frank Edward Fletcher (1864 - 1946) and Elizabeth Stringer Procter (1865 - 1953)

John Fletcher (1824 - 1894) and Maria Dixon (1837 - 1911)


then, this page is about:


3 x grt grandparents

William Dixon (1810 - 1887) and Susan Sutcliffe (1811 - 1893)


4 x grt grandparents

William Dixon (1772 - 1841) and Mary Hepworth(?)(1776 - 1847)

John Sutcliffe (1786 - 1863) and Betty ? (1791 - 1859)



Ancestors of Frank E and Elizabeth Fletcher (Procter)



Chart linking four + generations of Fletchers, Procters, Dobsons, Stringers, Dixons, Sutcliffes





This page is about the Sutcliffes and the Dixons.


John Sutcliffe (c1786 - 1863 (77)), married to Betty, was a cotton mill owner / operator in Halifax and the Calder Valley, W Yorkshire.  They had several children of whom eldest daughter Susan (1811 - 1893 (82)) was to marry William Dixon jnr.


William Dixon snr (c1772 - 1841 (69)), was married to Mary Hepworth.  They married in their thirties and had just 2 boys (twins) - William jnr and John - in 1810 when they were living in Shitlington (now Overton), W Yorkshire.  William jnr married Susan Sutcliffe in St Michael & all Angels in Dewsbury in June 1831.


The Dixons had 9 children.  Number 3 was Maria - born in Stansfield in June 1837.  At the 1851 Census the family was living, and most of them were working, at the Brooksmeeting Mill in Shaw Lane.


Maria Dixon, aged 14, married John Fletcher (aged 27 and living in Upper Town) in the huge Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Temple Row Keighley, on 29 December 1851.  They lived in Oxenhope then Scarborough and had 15 children of whom number 6, Frank Edward Fletcher (1864 - 1946 (82)) was Adrian's great grandfather.


The John and Maria Fletcher story is here.


The Fletchers before John had lived in Coldwell (Shaw Lane, near Brooksmeeting) since at least the mid 1700s.  Coldwell (?Oxenhope) had no C of E church.  Their nearest church (designated a Chapel) was at Haworth, which in turn came under the church jurisdiction of the huge and appallingly led Parish of Bradford.


The earlier Fletcher story is here.


A large proportion of people from the Calder Valley / Halifax, and the Bradford area to the north had given up on the Established Church (C of E) and joined nonconformist movements such as Baptists, Quakers and Wesleyan Methodists, though this did not necessarily stop them using the established church for ceremonies like baptisms, marriages and burials.





Google Map of West Yorkshire, showing the Midge Hole Mills which John Sutchiffe managed, and in which the Dixon family worked.





History of the Textile Industry around Hebden Bridge

(click again to see timeline)




Calderdale History - "From Weaver to Web"





The River Calder Valley towns & villages of Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, Wadsworth and Stansfield Manor,  were Sutcliffe country as was Ovenden (just N of Halifax).  Midgehole - a "hamlet of mills" just NNE of Hebden Bridge on the east side of the Hebden Beck Valley - included Lower Mill where the Dixons were to be found, and another mill higher up where the Sutcliffes were.


Around the Calder Valley the surname "Sutcliffe" is a bit like "Jones" in Wales, but luckily the oldest Sutcliffe daughter, Susan, who had married William Dixon, was clever enough to be staying with her dad on the census night of 7 April 1861, which enabled us to tag our Sutcliffes for a couple of previous decades, but after that we became lost in a river of John and Betty Sutcliffes.


The Calder valley was Cotton (from America) Country, with water driven mills in places like Midge Hole being fed by the fast flowing watercourses draining the moor lands. 


The Sutcliffes were one mill cotton capitalists, employing over 80 people in Midgehole and later 60 at Prospect.  Women and children in this Sutcliffe family did not work!


The Dixons were originally from a bit further east near Dewsbury.  We don't know what William snr did.  At the time of his death he was living in Gauxholme - a bit south of Todmorden (where he, Mary, William jnr and Susan are all buried under a shared slab - see below). 


William Dixon jnr (1810 - 1887 (77)) seems to have been an all-round competent worker and manager - he was inter alia a (corn?) miller, a skilled cotton power loom operator who worked (as did all his children but not wife Susan) in the Midgehole and Brooksmeeting mills.   Then he became a (clothes?) shop proprietor in Heyward in Lancashire (west of Todmorden).  He also wrote "The thinking man's friend, or a series of religious dialogues designed as a confutation of infidelity" (Halifax, 1852) and other tomes.



The Midge Hole mills c1850










Our John Sutcliffe born in Heptonstall



from 1851 census information.  We have a couple of possibilities but can't pin anything down.


Our Elizabeth (Betty) Sutcliffe ( maiden name not known ) born in Stansfield (Heptonstall)



from 1851 census information, but in the absence of marriage information we don't know her surname.


Our John m Betty someone  



First child Susan was born in 1811.  There are 4 John Sutcliffe / Betty someone marriages in Heptonstall St Thomas - in 1807 (Betty Sutcliffe), 1808 (Betty Bodin), 1809 (Betty Barker), and 1810 (Betty Sutcliffe - again?). And that ignores Todmorden and any non-conformist records. So we are unlikely to know who this 4x grt gmother was !



1811 - Susan Sutcliffe (to be Dixon) born in




Clough, Stansfield, and Registered in the Heptonstall (?) Baptist Chapel - her parents were John Sutcliffe (cotton carder) and Elizabeth. 




1816-1830 - residence




The 6 other Sutcliffe kids were all born in Ovenden, which is now part of N Halifax, and to which John and Betty eventually returned to operate the Prospect Mill..



1841 Census - Sutcliffes and Dixons at Midge Hole mills - overlooking and on Hebden Beck, just north of Hebden Bridge.



Stone bridge at Midge Hole - the buildings at the end of the bridge look pretty heavy duty, and the old Midge Hole WMC (Working Men's Club) and another mill-like remnant are just out of the picture to the left.


The scenically attractive area is now owned by the National Trust, and there is a popular walk to Hardcastle Crags.




At Midge Hole is John Sutcliffe, cotton spinner, his wife Elizabeth, and 6 children (aged 11 to 20).  Daughter Susan is now Mrs Dixon, and lives in Lower (Midge Hole) Mill - at the top of the next page of the census return.


click to enlarge



1851 Census - John and Elizabeth Sutcliffe still at Midge Hole.  The Dixon family have moved north over the moor to Brooksmeeting Mill.







Deserted buildings of the Upper Mill at Midge Hole which was operating to 2009 - latterly as a dyeworks.  The 1850 ordinance survey map shows the mill pond in its earlier existence as a water driven cotton mill.







John Sutcliffe (60) is described as a Cotton Spinner employing 83 people:  14 men, 14 boys, 40 women and 15 girls; and farming 30 acres of land.  80 employees was a lot, especially in this lightly populated valley.


John and his wife Betty are living with 5 children aged 21 - 35, of whom 4 are women who do not work - compare the Dixon family below, where even children younger than 10 were splitting their time between school and mill.


click to enlarge


John Sutcliffe told the Factory Commissioners in 1833 that children employed at his mill had "very easy work" and that too much was made of the subject of corporal punishment, as "no mills that I worked in had a tenth of the corporal punishment inflicted as is found in the best schools of the land".



1859 - Betty Sutcliffe dies in Ovenden on 29 Sept 1859.





John had taken over the Prospect Mill in Prospect Lane, Ovenden, some time after 1851.




1861 Census - John Sutcliffe (75) at the Prospect Mill, Prospect Pl, Ovendon.




John Sutcliffe is now a widower aged 75 and mill proprietor - Prospect Mill, Ovendon (just north of Halifax - Prospect Lane is still there).  John Sutcliffe and Son are recorded as the mill proprietor in one other record, but this does not seem to have been a long lasting thing. 


In 1861 the mill employed 63 (pairs of) hands.  Still living with him in Prospect Place are son William (42 and "the Son"), unmarried daughters Alice (39) and Harriet (34).  Married daughter Susan Dixon is staying with them and it is through our census search for her that they were identified as ancestors - stroke of luck!  Note that the mill itself, a "Providence Chapel" and associated day school are also recorded in the census.



1863 - John Sutcliffe dies at the Prospect Mill.  He was not one of your maga-rich mill owners!




22 December 1863 ......




We have not yet found out where the Sutcliffes were buried.









Parish record for the christening of a William Dixon in All Saints, Batley on 29 July 1772.  No knowing if he is our William, but time and place (just north of Dewsbury) are hopeful.






Batley was a small country town in those days,







but things changed dramatically in the 1810s when it became the centre of production for "shoddy" - woven cloth made from a shredded mix of old rags and virgin wool.  "Mungo" was the name for a more up market product made from a mix of new rags and wool.


Presumably, William Dixon was the same person who went on to marry Mary Hepworth in All Saints, Batley on 25 May 1807.




'X' marks for both bride & groom.




1 July 1810 - William Dixon and (twin possibly) brother John baptised in Saint Michael & All Angels, Thornhill by Dewsbury.




Their parents were William and Mary Dixon of Overton (earlier Shitlington).



St Michael and All Angels, Thornhill by Dewsbury - a large firmly locked church.





1831 - William Dixon marries Susan Sutcliffe in Saint Michael & All Angels, Thornhill by Dewsbury, witnessed by his brother John.  One of the records shows William as a Corn Miller.




21 July 1837 - Maria Dixon (Fletcher to be),




Susan and William's daughter and third child, baptised in a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in the Parish of Halifax (possibly Heptonstall) - William was recorded again as a miller living at Stansfield.




1841 Census - Dixons at Lower (Midge Hole) Mill.


Midge Hole is to be found on the Hebden Beck, near the beautiful road (traversed in the 2014 Tour de France on day 2) which climbs north from Hebden Bridge and over the moors to Oxenhope. In 2014 the mill was heading for a new life as ?








click image to enlarge


Lower in the return (at Lower (Midge Hole) Mill) is William Dixon, 31, power loom manager, living with wife Susan (30 and a daughter of John Sutcliffe) and 4 little Dixons aged between 2 and 8, including Maria (3) who will marry John Fletcher later.


Next to the Dixons is cotton spinner Titus Gawkrodger, his wife, 10 children and servant - not related to anyone here but a fascinating name - would have been known as "Gawko" in Australia !




1851 Census - William Dixon (sp Dixin) & family





Shaw Lane, Brooksmeeting Mill and Coldwell





William Dixin (sic), Susan and their 8 children have moved north over the moors to the Brooksmeeting (cotton) Mill in Shaw Lane.  Unlike the Sutcliffes, everyone over the age of 9 was working, at least part time.  Daughter Maria, aged 13, is a full time power loom weaver, whilst her sister Lucy (9) combines weaving and school.  Nearby are Thomas Fletcher (son of James, cousin of John), his wife Mary-Ann and two children.


click to enlarge


The cottage at Brooksmeeting Mill where the Dixon family probably lived in 1851.



29 December 1851 - John Fletcher (26) marries Maria Dixon (14) (John Sutcliffe's granddaughter)


We have yet to locate a church record, though all denominations were required to complete the standard 1750 form.



in the huge (1600 seat) and newish Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Temple Row, Keighley - a long way from Oxenhope in those pre railway days.  The chapel is now a mosque.



click to enlarge


1852 William Dixon publishes a tract entitled -



"The thinking man's friend, or a series of religious dialogues designed as a confutation of infidelity - Halifax, 1852".  He also dabbled in poetry.


Source:  John Albert Green, "Bibliography of the Town of Heywood", 1902


We have so far not been successful in tracking down any of these



1858 - A siblings' wedding



John Fletcher's brother Thomas (now a Liverpool policeman) marries Maria Dixon's sister Betty in St Thomas, Heptonstall.  The Dixon's are now at Stamps Mill.


1861 - William Dixon & Family in Heywood (Lancashire)



except for wife Susan who is staying with her dad John Sutcliffe at his Prospect Mill. 


1871 - William & Susan Dixon



and 2 Daughters with a shop at 39 Bridge St, Heywood (Lancashire). 


1881 - William (70) & Susan (69) Dixon



and grand-daughter Emma living at their shop at 41 Bridge St, Heywood, Lancashire.  William dies in February 1887 aged 77 leaving behind a few tracts.


1891 - Susan Dixon (Sutcliffe) living with



daughter Sarah Taylor in Rochdale, where she dies in 1893.



William Dixon is buried with his wife Susan and parents William and Mary in Christ Church, Todmorden.



Their slab, in good condition (centre of photo), is located up the hill from the gate - Row 42, 8 Ledger - near the boundary fence between the graveyard and west end of the now privatized church.



Christ Church was a green-fields Victorian church, built between June 1830 and April 1832 to replace the decaying parish church of St Mary.


The new church never supplanted its predecessor in the hearts of many of the parishioners, and the old church of St Mary refused to die.


History of Christ Church, Todmorden.


In the end St Mary won, and Christ Church was closed in 1992.  In 2004 it was bought for conversion to a private house.  A daunting task, and when we saw it 10 years later it looked pretty forlorn and unfinished.






ROW 42,  8 Ledger


In memory of William Dixon, who died May10th 1841, aged 70 years

Also Mary, his wife who died Feb.20th 1847, aged 71 years

Also of William their son, who died 14th February 1887, aged 76 years

Also of Susan, his wife, who died December 23rd 1893, aged 82 years


Sexton's Ledger entries

42. 9

William Dixon






Mary Dixon






William Dixon

Bridge St. Heywood





Susan Dixon

87 Ramsay St. Rochdale





Slab Transcription


ROW 42

8. Ledger.


In memory of William Dixon, who died May10th 1841 aged 70 years .

Also   Mary, his wife who died Feb.20th 1847 aged 71 years .

Also William Dixon, son of the above, who died 14th February 1887 aged 72 years

Also of Susan, his wife , who died December 23rd 1893 aged 82 years .