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A Yorkshire Family

Swain Richardson


Swain Richardson

  Details

Born 7 JAN 1848
Proven
Birth Certificate : 7 JAN 1848
Cowick, East Yorkshire
Christened ? -
Died 13 OCT 1917
Proven
Death Certificate : 13 OCT 1917
Rothwell, West Yorkshire
Buried 18 OCT 1917 Rothwell, West Yorkshire
Father Thomas RICHARDSON  
Mother Elizabeth HOLIDAY  

Family

Details for Ann SUTCLIFFE

Event Date Location
Married 22 JUN 1869
Proven
Marriage Certificate : 22 JUN 1869
Hensall, East Yorkshire


Children

Name Born Location
Ada 18 JUN 1870 Cowick, East Yorkshire
Ann Elizabeth 1872 Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Frederick 12 DEC 1873 Gowdall, East Yorkshire
Clara 1876 Gowdall, East Yorkshire
Ernest Henry 7 SEP 1882 Gowdall, East Yorkshire
Swain 1885 Gowdall, East Yorkshire
Arthur 1888 Pollington, East Yorkshire

Swain Richardson

Details

Born 7 JAN 1848
Christened ?
Died 13 OCT 1917
Buried 18 OCT 1917
Father Thomas RICHARDSON
Mother Elizabeth HOLIDAY

Family

Details for Ann SUTCLIFFE

Event Date
Married 22 JUN 1869

Children

Name Born
Ada 18 JUN 1870
Ann Elizabeth 1872
Frederick 12 DEC 1873
Clara 1876
Ernest Henry 7 SEP 1882
Swain 1885
Arthur 1888

Swain's Story


Swain Richardson was born in Cowick, a small village in the East Riding of Yorkshire, close to the town of Snaith. His parents were Thomas Richardson (listed as a 'Labourer' - though he later went on to work as a 'Gardener') and Elizabeth Richardson nee Holiday. Both his parents were relatively poor and illiterate, and since education in the 1850s, when Swain was a child, wasn't compulsory, it is unlikely that he ever had much in the way of an education and was probably illiterate just like his parents.

Not much is known of his early life, but back then, children born into an agricultural labourer's household were all expected to work as soon as they were able. The very youngest children would help to chase out mice and rabbits from the harvest fields, while boys from about the age of six could help in lifting crops, riding trace horse (driving a horse drawing a load in traces as a "tracer") and act as a "clapper boy" or bird scarer when crops were first sown. The pay was extremely poor, no more than 2d a day, but every little bit helped towards the household income.

In 1869, Swain married Ann Sutcliffe, by now, Swain, just like his father, was working as a 'Gardener', presumably at one of the many large houses in the area. The following year, they had the first of their seven children, a girl that they named "Ada". At this time they were living in Cowick, but shortly after the birth of Ada, they moved to Barnsley in South Yorkshire, presumably due to Swain's job. He was still working as a 'Gardener', unfortunately there is no indication as to who he was working for, or where about in the area. The place they were living at was 6 Old Mill Lane, a row of simple, two-up two-down terrace houses. It was whilst they were living here that they had their second child, another girl, who this time they called "Annie".

They didn't spend too long living in Barnsley, as certainly by the end of 1873 they were living in Gowdall, a small village approximately 1 mile west of the town of Snaith. They would continue to live here for at least the next 15 years where they would have a further five children - Frederick (1873), Clara (1876), Ernest (1882), Swain (1885) and Arthur (1888). Whether or not they lived at the same address throughout this period is not known to me, however, in the 1881 Census, they are recorded as living in Town Street. Swain was now working as an agricultural labourer and his four oldest children were attending school, as in 1880 school attendance was made compulsory, which no doubt created great financial hardship for many families as at that time schools charged a fee of 2d per week per child. On the plus side, Swain's children learnt to read and write and were no longer illiterate like their parents.

Sometime after 1881, the family moved again, this time to the town of Snaith, where in 1891 Swain, Ann and their three youngest children were recorded as living in a two-up two-down house on the High Street.

An old postcard showing High Street in Snaith circa 1905

Swain was working at this time as a farm labourer, his four older children had left home and found jobs in the local area.

Ada was working as a 'Domestic Servant' for a farmer by the name of "James Hebden" at Old Grange Farm in Airmyn. Annie was also working as a 'Domestic Servant' for another farmer by the name of "William Bristow" at New Grange Farm, also in Airmyn.

Meanwhile, Frederick was employed as a 'Farm Servant' to a farmer called "Robert Brown" in the village of Hambleton and Clara was a "General Servant" to a farmer called "Henry Arundel, living in the Manor House at Ledsham.

Times must have been tough and towards the end of the 19th Century, Swain and most of his family had decided to leave their life on the land and move to Rothwell in West Yorkshire and to find employment in the coal mines. By 1901 Swain, his wife, Ann and their three youngest children were living at 9 Prospect Place, Rothwell, once again atypical two-up two-down terrace house. Swain was now working as a 'Foreman Platelayer' on the colliery tramway. Platelayers were men who laid and maintained railway track used by the mines. They worked in gangs under a 'ganger' or 'foreman' (Swain's job), with each gang responsible for the maintenance of a particular length of track.

Swain continued to work in the mines until his 60s, however, by 1911, Swain now 63 years old was no longer a miner. Instead he was working as a 'Jobbing Gardener', whether he had lost his job at the mine or could no longer manage the heavy manual labour, we may never know. But, with no welfare state at that time and probably no pension, he needed an income to help pay the rent and put food on the table.

Sometime between 1911 and 1917, he and Ann moved house yet again, this time to 7 Chapel Street close to where they had previously been living. Swain eventually died towards the end of 1917 with the cause of death cited as: "Senile enlargement of the prostate" and "Cystitis". He was buried in the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell. Unfortunately, the entire graveyard is now in a very untidy and badly maintained state and the grave is very hard to find.

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