last update 14 June 2015



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a dynasty of West Yorkshre wool combers who lived near present-day Oxenhope before and through the Industrial Revolution


Fletcher / Procter / Dixon ancestor chart


We have combined the mid-1700s to late 1800s parish, census and gravestone records for the Fletchers in

Coldwell (Oxenhope / Haworth) and Scarborough into a simpler PDF


The John and Maria Fletcher Story 1824 - 1911        Fletcher documents and photos from the 1900s




The Dixons and Sutcliffes, from a bit further south in the cotton orientated Calder Valley / Halifax


Procter Chronology, Photos and Document links - Teesdale, York & Scarborough 1730 - 1910


Recent Ancestors (with Portraits)        all bmd links



Ancestors of Frank Edward and Elizabeth Fletcher



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


The Bradford / Oxenhope / Haworth / Keighley area had traditionally specialized in wool manufacture, and you can see from the map that  most of the mills in the Shaw Lane region manufactured worsted. 


This page is about the Fletchers - West Yorkshire woolcombers for more than a century from the middle of the 1700s or earlier.  They lived in crofters' cottages (some of which they owned) in Coldwell, a hamlet on Shaw Lane near modern day Oxenhope (see map lower in page), until they disappeared as the Industrial Revolution put paid to their jobs.


Wool combing was the last part of the production process to be industrialized - around the 1830-40s.  There were many reports of appalling conditions and low life expectancy in cottages that doubled as steaming germ breeding hand combing facilities and homes in villages such as Haworth.  Maybe the air in Coldwell was better, as the Fletcher men mostly lived through into their 80s.


The last comber (indeed Fletcher) in Coldwell was Adrian's 3xgrt grandfather Thomas Fletcher, who had been christened on Christmas Day 1799.  In the 1881 Census he was living on his own at 101 Shaw Lane, and described himself  as "Wool Comber Unemployed".  He died in 1883 aged 83.  We don't know where he was buried.


Google map of West Yorkshire today






Google map of West Yorkshire today














Back in the mid 1800s ....



The Oxenhope area in the mid 1800s.  Coldwell is shown in the middle of the map.  The main buildings of the Brooksmeeting Mill where the Dixon family worked are today (2014) in use as a furniture factory.  Today's Oxenhope encompasses Upper Town, Lower Town, and Goose Green.


Map of West Yorkshire today (Google)



Showing Oxenhope where the Fletchers came from, and Midgehole, Wadsworth, Heptonstall which was Dixon / Sutcliffe country (the name Sutcliffe is common in Yorkshire).  An 1852 map of Oxenhope is shown above.



3rd February - Feast of St Bla(i)se


click to enlarge



Bradford, Saint Blaise (San Biagio) and the last Great Medieval Festival



Coldwell and its other hamlet neighbours (categorized as "ffar Oxenhope" in old church records) fell within the geographically enormous parish of Bradford. Our Fletcher ancestors seem to have been loyal to the distant Chapel of St Michael and All Angels at Haworth, and several generations were buried there in the 1750-1850 century.  One couple, 5x great grandparents James Fletcher ("woolcomber from Coldwell") and Sarah Ratcliffe, were married in the mother church of St Peter, Bradford on 5 April 1768 - imagine what a trek that would have been! 


More about James Fletcher & Sarah Ratcliffe


In 1801 Bradford and its neighbouring townships had a population of just 13,264, but it was poised unknowingly on the edge of the industrial revolution which would drive it to being the "wool capital of the world" and other less complimentary things.  The population doubled by 1821, and was well on its way to doubling again ten years' later.


The incompetently led church had no idea what to do in this environment .... Dr John Simpson of Bradford says in his 1825 journal:


May 15th  "I got to church this morning.  The vicar preached.  I never saw the congregation so small.  It evidently decreases very rapidly whilst the congregations of the different chapels increase.  I don't think Mr Heap is a man of sufficient talent for the situation he holds, and what is worse he is very vain and very jealous of popularity so that he always takes care to have a curate worse, if possible, than himself.  The present clergy of the established church are doing great harm to their own cause and becoming every day more unpopular."


And that would have been our sole excursion to Bradford - a distant and uninteresting place for the hamleteers to the far west, except for recording one of the last great Medieval Feast events to take place in Britain. 


Saint Blaise (Biagio in Italian) is the patron saint of woolcombers.  He was an Armenian bishop who fell foul of the Emperor Licinius in 316, as a result of which he was beaten to death with hot wool carding combs. Which is why he became the Patron Saint of wool combers.  Saints causes have a magic irony about them - like Blaise, and the spit roasted San Lorenzo who became the Patron Saint of Chefs.


The Feast of Saint Blaise is on 3 February.  In Bradford (and other wool centres) the day was a holiday with dressing up, processions, drinking, dancing etc.  It is said that Thursday February 3rd 1825 was the best and last of the great (Bradford) St Blaise Day festivals, because after this the relations between mill owners and their workers deteriorated dramatically and such events became problematic.


Lucky then that  a Bradford Doctor - John Simpson - wrote a daily journal over the first half of 1825 and was descriptively present during the St Blaise celebrations.


Dr John Simpson describes the 1825 St Blaise Festival in Bradford


Wonder whether the Fletchers of Coldwell got a coach over for the fun?


Today such events can still be enjoyed in Central Italy, where they did not have an Industrial Revolution to get in the way.




Haworth - Saint Michael and All Angels

St George and King Charles II 1660


The nearest established church to "Fletcher Central" in Coldwell (until one was built in Oxenhope in 1849) was the Chapel (really Church) of Saint Michael and All Angels in Haworth, 2 to 3 cold and wet moorland miles distant.


Thanks to Ancestry and the West Yorkshire Archives it is now possible to see the surviving pages of the Haworth Chapel / Parish Registers from 1645.  This extract from 1660 is fun.  No Fletchers were present, however there was an earthquake in Haworth, and the curate attended the Coronation of Charles II with excitement on 23 April (St George's Day) 1660:



I mean, that's much more interesting to know than the often badly written lists of people which were to squeeze the interesting stuff out later!


The church record board says that Haworth Curate J Collier was expelled in 1654 in favour of Puritans E Garforth then R Town.  The board also shows that Collier was reinstated in 1662, but we suspect that it was he what wrote the above in 1660!



Absenteeism, ffornication, excommunication and a Great Storm




click map to enlarge


From Coldwell to Haworth in the mid-1800s



The link with Haworth and the Brontes


Haworth today is a (American) tourist destination because of its links with the Bronte family who lived there in the 1820-40s.  But when Fletchers started appearing in its Parish Registers in the mid 1600s, it was a small cold hamlet on the edge of the moors, with a few crofter cottages where hand processing of the meagre local wool clip would have taken place. 


One of the earlier "ffletcher" records we have unearthed concerns a ffletcher marriage to Mary Hardy in August 1670 - which ffletcher we know not because the curate had forgotten his Christian name and those of other long distance / male parishioners by the time he wrote up the record. 


Chapel of St Michael & All Angels, Haworth






It was from the mid 1700s that new technologies started impacting the wool / worsted and cotton industries ...  evocative names drift back from my school days - Kay's Flying Shuttle, Hargreaves' Spinning Jenny, Arkwright's Water Frame, Crompton's Mule and Watts' Steam engine.  The mechanization started out small scale and did not cover all processes, but it was the right size to progressively take hold in villages like Haworth and cause a mini economic boom in the early 1800s. 


Haworth grew, but It was populated by damp unsewered terraces and cottages built on badly drained hillsides - many with wool combing rooms which had to be kept hot round-the-clock to keep the metal combs at the right temperature, perfect incubators for all the nasty germs around.  The population rose as news of jobs spread, and birth rates soared but so did child and mother deaths and epidemics.


Larger coal fired mills with power looms replaced water wheels and cottages, and even wool combing was finally mechanized (mid-1800s).  But workers had to live somewhere and pressure on accommodation kept increasing.


By 1820 the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and the dark satanic mills of the large towns of West Yorkshire like Bradford, Keighley and Halifax were part of the landscape.


In contrast to the no hoper clergy of Bradford (see above), Haworth did at least have the advantage of a long term curate who was into pastoral care and could deliver a mean sermon.  His name was Patrick Bronte (1777 - 1861 (84)), and he was Curate of Haworth from 1820 to his retirement in 1841.  In his retirement years he was instrumental in the advocacy for and the building of a clean water supply for the village.  He died in 1851 aged 84 - outliving all his family.


The tourists today don't come because of Patrick, but his author daughters Charlotte (1816-1855) (Jane Eyre et al), Emily (1818-1848) (Wuthering Heights), and Anne (1820-1849) (Agnes Grey, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall et al).  The Brontes lived mostly in Haworth, and all except Ann are buried in a family vault in their church.  Anne's well kept grave is in the old Parish Church of St Mary, Scarborough


Like many of its kind, the decaying Haworth church was demolished and rebuilt by the zealously competent Victorians in 1879-1881 - the bill being footed by a local mill owner.  So there is no old church to discover, but we did discover several Fletcher slab graves when we visited in May 2014 - all of them now a bit underground!.











The West Yorkshire Archive Service and Ancestry have combined to make available images of the the original parish records of West Yorkshire churches.  In particular there is the opportunity to look at the records from Saint Michael & All Angels, Haworth, from 1645.


The ffletchers of Coldwell were categorized as being from "Far Oxenhope" in the register entries. 


So far, we have found several ffletcher / Far Oxenhope events in the second half of the 1600s and later, but it will take a lot of work by someone to see which of them can be linked in to "our line".  Sadly the earlier records have a lot of missing and badly faded pages, but there are a lot of beautifully written ones as well !


The records also reveal a marriage franchising arrangement whereby the chapel signed off (and the curate was paid) for some weddings in Bradford and at the "Clog and Shoe" Inn in Lancashire.


Frequently encountered Far Oxenhope surnames in the records include Fe(a)thers, Pighellss, Greenwoods and Rushworths.


We will add Fletcher events to the list on the right as we uncover them.





Since the above was written we have visited Haworth (May 2014) and discovered that there is a complete listing of all the grave inscriptions / names.  We have added grave numbers to relevant people in the listing on the right and some grave photos are also there.



The Fletchers of Coldwell live on through the Parish Registers and graveyard of St Michael & All Angels, Haworth


Names in yellow are direct ancestors


* signifies events recorded in the Haworth Parish Registers - we have copies



We also have the records of several "ffletcher" events in the 15, 16 & 17 00s - no knowing how they fit in at this stage!  "ffletcher" was not a mainstream name like Pighells, Greenwood, Fether and Rushworth, but a few were around in Far Oxenhope and Haworth.


A 1590 will



From p20 "Haworth Past and Present" by J Horsefall Turner, 1879




late 1600s




James Fletcher Snr Snr Snr  ch ?  bu ?



James identified because the burial record of James Snr Snr described him as "son of James Fletcher", however nothing further about him has come to light in Haworth so he may have been a "foreigner".


Children:  James Snr Snr, & probably more






James Fletcher Snr Snr ch ?,  bu* 22 June 1745



looks like the first ffletcher to move into Coldwell - know nothing about his origin, wife or children.


Children:  James Snr, & probably more







James Fletcher Snr ch ?,  bu* 19 May 1768 but no grave lkocation is listed.

m c1738

Betty ? ch? bu* 25 March 1776 grave C192 (aged 72 ie born 1704)


Children:  Elias ch* 23 Aug 1740, Bettey ch* 13 Aug 1743, James ch* 27 Jan 1745/46, & probably more





Thomas Ratcliffe ch ?,  bu ?

m* 8 Oct 1741

Susan Fether ch ?,  bu ?


Children:  John ch* Oct 1742, James ch* Dec 1744, Sarah ch*22 Aug 1747, Thomas ch* Sep 1750, & probably more







James Fletcher 1746-1795 (49) - woolcomber of Coldwell

& Sarah Ratcliffe 1747 - 1789 (42)


This is the earliest full set of records we presently have for a Fletcher family ensemble in Coldwell, complete with references to Far Oxenhope, Coldwell and James being a woolcomber.  And a marriage in Bradford St Peter (now cathedral) in 1768 where James signed the register and Sarah used an 'X'.  Both were to die earlyish - Sarah was buried in Haworth aged 42 on 24 June 1789 (Grave C-191) - cause "childbed", and James was buried in Haworth aged 49 on 10 January 1795 (Grave C-192) - cause "pleurisy fever".  All but one of the next 5 male descendants in our line lived into their 80s, and the odd one out was nearly 70!



James Fletcher  ch* 27 Jan 1745/46, bu* 10 Jan 1795  (49)

m 5 April 1768 in St Peter, Bradford     banns & marriage record

Sarah Ratcliffe ch* 22 Aug 1747, bu* 24 Jun 1789  (42)


Children: Thomas ch* 6 Jul 1769 (4x grt grandfather), Mary (to be Pighills) ch* Mar 1771 (and later bu in C214 in 1849 aged 79), Elias ch* Dec 1774,  James,  Bettey ch* Oct 1779 and more probably.



On 27 January 1745 / 46*, the Register of the Chapel of St Michael and All Angels in Haworth records the christening of Adrian's 5xgrt grandfather James, son of James Fletcher of Far Oxenhope ......



*New Year's Day for 1752 in England was reset to January 1st - up until this time it had been on March 25th.  So there was no January 1 - March 24 1751!  The first three months of years before this (as in this case) are sometimes shown with two year numbers - eg Jan 1550/51 - for clarity. 



On 22 August 1747, Sarah Ratcliffe of Far Oxenhope, Adrian's 5xgrt grandmother was christened in St Michael and All Angels, Haworth.  She was the daughter of Thomas Ratcliffe and Susan Fether.




James Fletcher married Sarah Ratcliffe in St Peter, Bradford (now Bradford Cathedral) on 5 April 1768.  This record also records the dates the banns were read.  There is another (Bishop's Transcript) record which confirms the couple were from far Oxenhope - then part of the huge parish of Bradford.  They must have seen this as a very very special occasion to make the trek to Bradford.




Both 5xGrt Grandparents Sarah and James Fletcher were to die earlyish - Sarah was buried in Haworth aged 42 on 24 June 1789 (Grave C-191) - cause "childbed", and James was buried in Haworth aged 49 on 10 January 1795 (C-192) - cause "pleurisy fever". 


Interestingly, all but one of the next 5 male descendants in our line lived into their 80s, and the odd one out was nearly 70!








Censuses were taken every 10 years from 7 June 1841, and the results are shown lower in this page


back to the church records





Thomas Fletcher Snr  ch* 6 Jul 1769  bu* 26 Apr 1851  (82) grave C191 (aged 82)


m c1795 - but we haven't located a marriage record yet, which is odd as it was easy to find christening records for their children.


Grace ch ? Heptonstall (as per census entries)  bu*  21 Nov 1855 (88) grave C191 (aged 88)


Children:  Mary ch* Oct 1797, Thomas ch* 25 Dec 1799 (Christmas Day), James ch* Jul 1802 m Sarah Thornton 1821 (Bradford) bu Oxenhope Jul 1862, Suse ch* May 1804, Grace ch* Oct 1806, John ch* Oct 1808, William ch* Dec 1810, Henry ch* Sep 1814.







Grave C191 in Haworth includes, inter alia:


"Thomas Fletcher died

April 23rd 1851, aged 82 Years

Grace Fletcher died Novr 16

1855 aged 88 years." 


Unusual here for a married couple to be buried together - they were probably fairly shrunken & thus easier to accomodate!




Both Thomas Snr and his son Thomas Fletcher  are recorded in the Keighley elector registers as owners of freehold houses in Coldwell, Shaw between 1840 (earliest records available) and just after Thomas' death in 1883. 



Grave C-213 in Haworth is inscribed:


"Betty Fletcher

Aged 30 1810 Mary

Fletcher Aged 35 1836"





Thomas Fletcher   ch* 25 Dec 1799 (Christmas Day),   bu 1883   (83) - burial location unknown


By the 1881 Census Thomas was "the last Fletcher" and probably the "last Woolcomber" standing in Coldwell


m* 24 Jul 1821 by Patrick Bronte (see below)


Mary Rushworth ch ?,  bu* 9 Sep 1836 grave 213 (aged 35)


Children:  Hannah ch* Oct 1821 by Curate Bronte, John b 13 Feb 1824 (no ch record yet for 2xG-Grandfather John - odd as there is one for each of his siblings), Mary ch* Sep 1826 by Curate Bronte, Thomas ch* Aug 1829 by Curate Bronte, Sally ch* Aug 1835 by Curate Bronte.




24 July 1821 - Patrick Bronte marries Thomas Fletcher and Mary Rushworth - both signed with an 'X'




9 September 1836 - Bronte'e assistant Wm Hodgson buries Mary, aged just 35.  Thomas lives on for another 47 years - aged 82 - burial place unknown.



Life after West Yorkshire .....


The Fletchers in Scarborough & Folkestone





John Fletcher b 13 Feb 1824 (Coldwell), d 25 January 1894 (Scarborough) (69) bu Manor Rd Cemetery grave P18-25


m 29 December 1851, Wesleyan Chapel, Temple Row, Keighley


Maria Dixon b 18 Jun 1837 Stansfield, d 30 May 1911 (Scarborough) also bu Manor Rd Cemetery grave P18-25



Children:  Mary, John, Thomas, Ada, Walter, Frank Edward, Emily, Susan, Sarah, Edith, Minnie, George, Arthur, Ethel


John is shown in the Keighley elector Register as owning a house and shop in Lowertown when he moved to Scarborough in 1880








Frank Edward Fletcher b 28 Feb 1864 Oxenhope, d 39 May 1946 Chatham (82)


m 24 Apr 1889, Wesleyan Chapel, Queen Street, Scarborough


Elizabeth Stringer Procter b 26 Dec 1865 Scarborough, d 26 Jan 1953 Folkestone (87)


Children:  Frank Rex, Doris Maude (Doris), Lillie Gwen (Gwen), John Lionel (Jack), Frederick Hugh (Hugh).




Adrian's Grandparents


Frank Rex Fletcher b 9 Jan 1890 Folkestone, d 18 May 1974 Folkestone  (84)


m 18 Aug 1915, St Mary Magdalene, Old Milton


Ethel Henrietta Florence Burton, ch 14 Sep 1890 Mangalore, India, d 1968 Folkestone (78)



Only child: 


Michael James Rex Fletcher (Adrian & Angela's father) (1918 - 2007 (89))











St Michael & All Angels, Haworth - Fletcher Family Graves - Visited in May 2014



It was a beautiful late morning for our May 2014 visit to Haworth.  One glimpse of the huge church cemetery confirmed the hopelessness of any serious attempt to find up to 5 graves of direct ancestors who we knew had been buried here.  There was no grave listing or map in the church, and there had been no response to two email enquiries sent to them.  So Adrian decided on a restful pub lunch followed by a random churchyard wander in the sun through the huge litter of slabs and gravestones ....



On the way I popped in to a gift shop to get a postcard of the old church and got talking to the owner, Margaret, a long term local resident from a long term local ancestry.  The subject of graves came up and Margaret, bless her, mentioned that the Haworth Visitor Information Centre had a complete map and listing of all the grave inscriptions.  OMG.  Off to Jan at the Information Centre, and 20 minutes later we had transcriptions of the slabs of 4 Fletcher graves, plus their rough locations.  Off to zone C of the cemetery ...




Blue means Fletchers - C79 turned out to be an 1842 grave not of obvious interest.  C196 (coloured Red) is the upright gravestone (C196) of Robert Greenwood bu Jan 14 1819 which we eventually used as a local marker after a lot of wasted effort - mostly the gravestones were flat slabs, often covered with leaves etc, sometimes a bit buried.




Looking down from around grave C133 to the area (centre of photo) of the buried Fletcher slabs



The same area a bit closer & looking up the slope



After a frustrating hour scraping and brushing the mainly flat inscribed slabs, we worked out roughly where ours were, and that they had pretty certainly sunk beneath the surface.  The first tentative trowel prod hit the corner of a slab (above) - one of ours? - sadly not - it belonged to Jane Pearson, wife of a Bridgehouse dyer, who had died aged 47 in 1777 - "Afflictions sore she often bore / Physicians were in vain / Till God did please by death to seize / and eas'd her of her pain" - it was c212 and we were one column to the left of success ......


Back to trowel prodding ... another slab hit .... presumably C213 - Adrian's 6xGrt Gmother Betty Fletcher (bu 1836), but no ... it turned out to be the bottom of C192 with, inter alia, 5xGrt grandfather James Fletcher (bu 1795). 



Looking up the slope just after it started to rain a bit later.  Our first clear (Jane Pearson C212) is on the left.  C213 is still buried middle front.  Front right, partially covered, is C214 (Pighills / Fletcher).   The cleared area of slab in the centre (detail below) is the left side of C192.  C191 is tilted and heavily buried to the right of C192.




The idea was to get a shovel somehow and return the next day, but heavy driving rain made a long hotel lunch seem more appropriate!  So it remains for someone to go back on a sunny day with a Sexton's Spade ....... meantime many thanks to Margaret (who can introduce you to the sexton) and Jan. 




Transcripts of the inscriptions on our Fletcher grave group - source: Haworth Visitor Information Centre



C-192 partially excavated (centre of photo).


Here lieth the body of

Betty (6xgrt) the wife of James

Fletcher* who departed

this life the 22nd day of

March 1776 in the 73rd

     Year of her Age.

James Fletcher** (5xgrt) aged 49

1795 Mary Fletcher

Aged 15 1813 John Fletcher

Aged 24 1832

Susey Gill Aged 33 1837





Here lieth the Body

of Mary the Wi(fe of)

Elias Fletcher of ........

House who departed ......

Life the 13th Day of .......

ary 1782  in the 53

     of her age.

Sarah Fletcher** (5xgrt) Aged

42 1790.  Mary Fletcher

aged 2 1812.  Sarah

Fletcher aged 6

1813  James Fletcher

Aged 29 1816

Thomas Fletcher (4xgrt) died

April 23rd 1851, aged 82 Years

Grace Fletcher (4xgrt) died Novr 16

     1855 aged 88 years.



*  Grave of this James F (bu 19 May 1768) not listed

**Husband and wife


Sunk quite a bit.  In bottom LH corner yellow type words were dug out / cleared to confirm identity of slab.


Used for burials in 1776, 1795, 1832 and 1837.






Sunk quite a bit and possibly missing some of right hand side.  Not excavated - out of time and tools - need a good sexton's spade!


Used for burials in 1782, 1790, 1812 (baby), 1813, 1816 (child), then 1851 and 1855 (Thomas & Grace).





Betty Fletcher

Aged 30 1810

Mary Fletcher (3xgrt)

Aged 35 1836





In memory of

Sally the daughter

of John and Mary Pickells

of Shaw who died Septr 24th

           1795, aged 6 years.

Also of the abovenamed

John Pickles who died March 22nd

1845, in the 86th year of his age

Also of Mary relict of the above

named John Pickles who died Sep

29th 1849 in the 79th year of her Age.



Mildly Sunk.  Not cleared (yet - we would have done it then if we had had a better weather forecast!) / two Fletcher women buried in 1810 and 1836.


Betty was dau of James & Sarah and sister of Mary (who is buried in next grave C214).


Mary Fletcher (Rushworth) (3xgrt) bu Sept 1836 was  Thomas Fletcher's wife.  Thomas, "the last woolcomber standing",  lived on for another 47 years in Coldwell until his death in 1883 aged 84.  Burial place not known yet.



Surface level.  Just needs a rigorous brush to reveal all.  Surname was probably Pighills which was quite common around Shaw (/Far Oxenhope) - in which case Mary was born Fletcher, ch here 1771, dau of James and Sarah.





We have combined our parish record and gravestone records for the Fletcher families in Coldwell (ffar Oxenhope / Haworth) and Scarborough into a simpler PDF


Records and Memorial Inscriptions from 5 generations of Fletcher families who lived in Coldwell,Shaw Lane, Oxenhope, W Yorkshire, from mid 1700s to late 1800s.




In the 7 June 1841 Census the hamlet of Coldwell was swarming with Fletchers



Shaw Lane Oxenhope


Shaw Lane from Hawks Bridge Lane / Dunkirk Mill (Autumn 2009).  On the left of the lane are the Brooksmeeting Mill buildings, followed by the hamlet of Coldwell at the T junction in the photo.  On the wooded hill is Upper Town, now Oxenhope.



The same scene in Spring 2014




In 1841 the hamlets that are now known as Oxenhope fell within the township and parish of Haworth (which was actually a chapelry within the huge and very badly vicared parish of Bradford).  The 1841 census sheets for the Shaw Lane area show 4 Fletcher households (17 people) in West Shaw and Cold Well (cottages clustered at a T-junction in the middle of Shaw lane).  We had a look at the  preceding and subsequent 1841 census sheets, but could not find any other Fletchers!  The last Fletcher to go was Thomas, at this census  a widower aged c40, who was still living here in 1881 and died in 1883 aged 84.






Census, 7 June 1841

Shaw Lane / Coldwell


17 Fletchers





Approx Birth











West Shaw Ln







James was the brother of Thomas (next cottage down) and uncle of John.  He marries Sarah Thornton in Bradford St Peter in January 1821.  At the time he was described as a cordwainer.  Buried with wife Sarah in St Mary, Oxenhope







Stuff Weaver








Thomas was the son of James and Sarah, buried with wife Mary-Ann in St Mary, Oxenhope.







Stuff Weaver
















Adrian's 3xgrt g-father.  He was christened in Haworth on Christmas day 1799.  He lived on in Coldwell as a widower (eventually alone) for another 4 censuses before he died in 1883 aged 84.  No Fletchers were left after that.








Thomas had been married to Mary Rushworth (Adrian's 3xgrt g-mother) who had died in 1836 aged 35, and had been buried at Haworth


Their 5 children are listed next ......
















Adrian's 2xgrt g-father.  No profession stated here, but at next census he is a Tin & Iron Plate Worker.  Married Maria Dixon in 1851 and they eventually moved with their large family to  Scarborough.  He died aged 69 in 1894, and his and Maria's grave is in the Manor Road Cemetery, Scarborough.
















Married Betty Dixon, Maria's older sister, in Heptonstall St Thomas on 29 May 1858.  They had 7 children between 1859 and 1869.























Stuff Weaver

Adrian's 4xgrt g-father. Ch 6 July 1769 in Haworth, the son of James Fletcher (Adrian's 5xgrt gfather).  Died in 1851 (by which time he described himself as a "proprietor of houses") aged 82 and buried at Haworth








Adrian's 4xgrt g-mother. Died in 1855 aged 87 and buried at Haworth.  Maiden name not yet known - we have yet to find birth or marriage record but know from the '51 census that that she was born in Heptonstall.








Thomas' son William, wife Ann and baby Grace living in the same cottage as Thomas and Grace.





























Stuff Weaver

Henry, the 8th and youngest child of Thomas and Grace, and his wife Mary.







Stuff Weaver



1841 - Fletchers at Cold Well (Shaw Lane, later Oxenhope) - part of Haworth in 1841.  See above.




Includes Thomas Fletcher (woolcomber), son John (17 no occupation stated), father Thomas (stuff (=worsted) weaver) and his wife Grace, and two other Fletcher woolcomber / stuff weaver households.  The older Thomas is listed in the 1840 electoral roll as an owner of "freehold houses".  The Thomas Fletchers appear regularly in the Keighley roll until just after the death of the older Thomas in 1883.







1851 - Old Thomas and Grace Fletcher



1851 - Young Thomas









are still  alive (both aged 83) - Thomas described as a "proprietor of houses" - presumably the three next to his in Cold-Well containing other Fletcher families. 


Young Thomas is being looked after by his daughter Sally.



1851 - John Fletcher has moved





up to Uppertown (Oxenhope - see map) with brother Thomas and is working as a Tin and Iron Plate Worker - maybe including in the cotton mill where wife to be Maria works.



1851 - Meantime the Dixon Family have relocated north over the moors to the evocatively named Brooksmeeting Mill on Shaw Lane (near Oxenhope).  Some of the mill buildings are still there.





Dad William Dixon and the girls (including 13 year old Maria) are all working in cotton power loom weaving.  John Fletcher's cousin Thomas is living nearby.



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




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.






1861 - John Fletcher with his new wife Maria (Dixon) and young family at Lowertown / Goose Green, Oxenhope (see map).



John Fletcher (37, b1824) Tin & Iron Plate Worker & Gas Fitter - with wife Maria (Dixon) (23) and their first 4 children.  Also John's apprentice, 19 year old Joseph Heaton, and luckily for us, John's Sister-in-Law Mary Jane Dixon (16 year old cotton weaver) who led us to Maria's maiden name.


1861 - John's cousin Thomas Fletcher


living with wife Mary Ann and lots of kids in west Shaw Lane, Oxenhope.  Photo of their gravestone lower in page.

1861 - John's dad Thomas Fletcher still at Cold Well (Oxenhope), with grand-daughter Mary (maybe one of John's children).


Thomas (61 year old widower) is still working as a hand wool comber whilst his only companion, his grand-daughter Mary E Fletcher, aged just 8, is described as a spinner in a worsted factory.


1864 - Frank Edward Fletcher born 28 February



Frank Edward, son of John and Maria, was born on 28 February 1864 in Lowertown (later to be incorporated in Oxenhope by command of a railway company). 


1867 - Keighley (pron Keefly) and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) opens.



The railway was funded by mill owners and led to the redefinition of the location of its southern terminus to "Oxenhope", which embraced Uppertown, Lowertown, Goose Green, etc, most of which appear on earlier censuses as part of "Haworth".  Unfortunately the station had to be located downhill some way from Lowertown and its mill, because the trains could not manage the required gradient - a task which had to be left to horse and carts.







1871 - John's father Thomas, 71, "formerly wool comber",



now on his own in Coldwell, with no other Fletchers around.


1871 - John (47) and Maria Fletcher with 7 children at Goose Green / Lowertown.



As part of the general naming confusion Goose Green was part of a farm overrun by Lowertown - which in turn became part of Oxenhope.  There's nothing green about it today - just terrace houses and unsealed roads.

1880 Electoral Roll - John Fletcher shown owning


a freehold house and shop in Lowertown, whilst his father Thomas still has freehold houses in Coldwell, Shaw.


1881 - John's father Thomas, Adrian's 3xGrt grandfather, now 81



"wool comber unemployed", still on his own in Coldwell for his last census - he died in 1883 aged 83.






The Procters and Stringers were already there








Number 14 Marine Road, left and above far left, is still (2009) an ironmonger / paint shop.

Scarborough trams only ran from 1904 to 1931.


1881 - John and Maria Fletcher and 10 of their children at 14 North Marine Road, Scarborough.











The John Fletcher family has moved east from the windswept moors, bleak mills and crofters' cottages of Oxenhope and West Yorkshire, to the bracing air of seaside and Victorian spa town of Scarborough, and John (57) is an ironmonger, helped by Frank Edward and no doubt other sons. 


The Fletcher's town of Oxenhope is between Hebden Bridge and Haworth


Scarborough is now best known for the song about its 6 week medieval trade fairs which ran from the Feast of the Assumption (15 August) to St Michael's Day (aka Michaelmas - 29 September) every year from 1253 to 1788 - "are you going to Scarborough fair?".  Despite the fact that this was a pretty big 535 year deal - how many other commercial institutions have lasted for 500+ years? - even the very helpful Scarborough Library could not tell us anything about it.


From the late 1600s Scarborough became a fashionable spa town (coupled with fully clothed sea bathing from bathing "huts" wheeled into the waves to maximize privacy) for the well-clothed.   The coming of the railway in 1845 opened the town to a much wider Victorian seaside going audience, and started the relocation of the "CBD" from the old port to Westborough, where the Procters and the Fletchers located their shops.


The Fletcher Ironmongery had moved in from North Marine Road to North Street, Scarborough, which was as luck would have it but a short walk away from the Procter Drapery in Westborough !




Children of John and Maria Fletcher



Mary H Fletcher (1855)

John William Fletcher (1857)

Thomas H Fletcher (1859-1926)

Ada M Fletcher (1860)

(Rev) Walter Edward Fletcher (1862)

Frank Edward Fletcher (1864-1946)

Emily Jane Fletcher (1866-1882)



Susan Annie Fletcher (1868-1939)

Sarah Louise Fletcher (1870)

Edith A Fletcher (1782)

Minnie E Fletcher (1874)

George H Fletcher (1877)

Arthur E Fletcher (1880)

Ethel M Fletcher (1884)



By the 1881 census, Mary, John and Thomas have left home, leaving 10 Fletcher children at home in 14 Marine Drive, Scarborough.  Despite the large body count, Maria is still only 44 and will not have her 14th and final child until 1884 when she is 47.  Emily Jane dies in Scarborough in November 1882 aged 16, and eventually shares a grave with her parents and sister Susan Annie in Manor Road Cemetery (see below).




1886 - Frank Edward Fletcher (Adrian's Great Grandfather) is appointed Organist and Choir Master of Christchurch, Folkestone.



Outside his day jobs working for his father John as Plumber's Apprentice (Oxenhope) and Ironmonger (Scarborough), Frank Edward had been studying and playing the organ since his Oxenhope days.  Fifty years' later he talked about this and how he came to move to Folkestone.


1889 - Frank Edward Fletcher (25) marries Elizabeth Procter (23).


One of our "Holy Grails" would be an 1889 Scarborough Procter / Fletcher family group wedding photo ??? !!  They would have existed .... Please come in for a glass of champagne if you are out there.......



This earlyish photo of Frank Edward was taken

in Glasgow  - what was he doing there?




On Wednesday 24 April 1889 in (a corner of) the huge (1,800 people capacity) Centenary Wesleyan Methodist "Chapel", in Queen Street, Scarborough.


thanks to the Scarborough Library for this image


Today's grim looking and impenetrable chapel is an early 1900s rebuild after a major fire in next door Boyes store.



1890 - Frank Rex (later Jimmy) Fletcher birth certificate



Frank Rex (Rex) Fletcher was born in Folkestone on 9 January 1890 - his father appears on the certificate as a Professor of Music and had moved to Folkestone in 1886.


1890 - Scarborough 


Newborough Bar (Newborough / North St) looking East from Westborough towards Old Scarborough c1885



The 1890 Scarborough Post Office / Bulmers Trade Directory lists both Procter, Jsph, Draper & Milliner, 108 Westborough, and Fletcher, John, Ironmonger – 20 North Street.  In 1890 the Victorian Newborough Gate or Bar, whose predecessor was one of only two gated entrances to the old town, is demolished, the Westborough / Newborough roads are seamlessly aligned / joined and North Street (which traced the line of the medieval city wall) is opened up.  Mind you, the bar had obviously been no barrier to Frank Edward's romance with Elizabeth Procter.





1891 - Frank Edward Fletcher is living at 6 Brockman Road, Folkestone.



Frank and Elizabeth are living with little Frank Rex (1) and a servant - a luxury the older Frank had never known before.


1891 - John Fletcher (now 67) and Maria (54) and 6 children are living in 39 North Marine Road, Scarborough.



Between 1855 and 1884 Maria has had 14 children.






39 North Marine Rd (left and above right) is now the Thornhurst Hotel


1891 - Back in Oxenhope, Thomas Fletcher,




John's cousin (and mostly a woolcomber though in 1861 he was a stonemason's labourer), is a widower living in Oxenhope with daughters, a son-in-law and grand children.  He is to die in 1895.



Gravestone of John's cousin Thomas (1824-1895 (71)) and Mary Ann (1823-1879 (56)) Fletcher, and two of their daughters Mary Grace and Priscilla, in the Parish Church of St Mary, Oxenhope (built 1849), where the graveyard is perched precipitously above the main road in Uppertown.  Nearby (photo below) is the grave of Thomas' father James Fletcher (1802-1862 (60)) and his wife Sarah (1801-1877 (76)).  Before 1849 the Fletchers trooped over the moors to the Haworth church for at least 100 years. 




1892 - Hagyards Trade Directory, Scarborough



13 ironmongers in Scarborough, including Fletcher, John, 20 North Street – just down the road from the Procters, Draper & Milliners at 108 Westborough – easy courtin' distance.




January 25 1894 - John Fletcher dies in




Scarborough aged 69.  He is buried with Maria (died 1911) in Manor Rd Cemetery in Scarborough - grave P 18-25.







THE JOHN (1824 - 1894 (69)) AND MARIA (1837 - 1911 (73)) FLETCHER STORY

 by Adrian Fletcher


has been moved to here



Link to the Procters, Stringers and a Master Mariner called Matthew Dobson in Scarborough








1901 Census - Maria Fletcher and two daughters are



still in Scarborough - 9 Trafalgar Square (close to previous North Marine Road house - the house with no extra storey in the 2011 photo below).



Maria (63) is described as living on own means.



1901 - Frank Edward and family now at 20 Brockman Road, Folkestone.



20 Brockman Rd (left behind tree, semidetached) Folkestone - the Victorian church at the end of the road is next to the Victorian railway station.



The support staff has been expanded to include a domestic governess as well as a maid, and one child (Frank Rex, Adrian's Grandfather) is off at boarding school (Kent College, Canterbury).  The dapper Frank Edward must have been in reasonable demand as a music teacher and probably Elizabeth the draper's daughter, who also photographs as a striking and simpatico person, came with a reasonable Draper's dowry.

1901 Census - Frank Rex (11)



is a boarder at Kent College (Methodist school - still operating) near Canterbury.  In those days there was a railway line along the beautiful Elham Valley between Folkestone and Canterbury - a signal box can still be found at Sheperdswell.






1911 census - Maria Fletcher now being looked after



by one daughter (Susan Annie) at 9 Trafalgar Square, Scarborough, just a stone's throw from their previous place at 9, North Marine Drive.  In 2011 the house had a cared for but unrenovated look - it's the only one that has not had an extra storey added.



Maria is to pass away a couple of months later on 11 May 1911, aged 73 and survived by 12 of her 14 children.  Good strong stock! 


She is buried with husband John (and later Susan Annie, the last remaining daughter-carer) in Manor Rd Cemetery in Scarborough - (now horizontal)


grave P 18-25.
















BORN FEB 13 1824



















1911 Census - Frank Edward and family still at


20 Brockman Road, Folkestone.


1911 Census - Frank Rex (nicknamed Jimmy by now) lodging at 12 Mildmay Rd, Islington (house no longer there).




Frank Rex (Jimmy) (21) has been a student at England's oldest medical school - the London Hospital Medical School - since 1907.   He was the United Hospitals heavyweight boxing champion.



Sutcliffes and Dixons in the Calder Valley


A special page about John and Maria Fletcher


Link to the Procters & Stringers in County Durham, York and Scarborough


Fletcher documents and photos from the 1900s continue here