Barker, Parker, Thompson & Wilson in Sheffield

Cobbler, Cobbler, Mend my Shoe!

When we began our family history research, we established that great grandmother, Norah Thompson b.1877 had a mother, Mary Anne Barker. That Mary Anne’s parents were Samuel c1829 and Jane, and Samuel’s parents were Samuel c1805, and Mary Ann. Both Samuels were ‘Boot and Shoemakers’.

All seemed reasonably straightforward, so this branch of the family was put aside, at that point. Every now and then I would go back to it, but could never get back beyond Samuel c1805.

I have now decided to have a more serious attempt at getting further back, and already I have noticed some intriguing points, including ‘a Gentleman’.

So far, the majority of my known ancestors, have less usual or localised surnames, although even sorting through these can be confusing. However it appears this branch of the family contains a number of more common English names, which can be found all around the country. This was compounded by the fact that thousands of people migrated to Sheffield, bringing with them more of these same common surnames.

However, on closer examination, it appears that Barker is perhaps more common in Sheffield than other places. There is even an area of Sheffield called Barkers Pool. It appears that Shoemaking was also a common occupation for the Barkers in Sheffield, and so it may be that these all originate from one person.

I will start with what we already know: – Great grandmother Norah Thompson 1877-1957

In the 1881 census, she was with her family, parents David Thompson and Mary A, and siblings Elizabeth, Mary, Rosey and Frank, living at 4 Walkley Bank Road, Sheffield. We know from family memory that this was correct.

1881 census, Norah Thompson and family.

However, on checking for census entries for other members of this branch, it appears, Norah, was entered twice, this is unusual, but not unheard of. She was also a granddaughter in the household of Samuel and Jane Barker. Samuel was an Innkeeper at 45 Snig Hill, Sheffield.

It is assumed to be ‘The Black Lion’, an inn sometime mentioned at 33 Snig Hill. It may have had a questionable reputation, as local newspaper reports mention, ‘lock ins’, card playing and other misdemeanours.

Mrs Mary Ann Barker, landlady 1876 (43-45 Snig Hill). The previous landlord was operating in 1873.

Mrs Mary Ann Barker, landlady 1876.

Samuel Barker Innkeeper 1881

By 1883, the landlord had changed.

As these were common surnames, it could be considered we have the wrong family, but as we continue, we shall see, it is the correct Norah.

When she was a little older, Norah was employed as a barmaid, at The Anvil pub in Stannington Rd, to the disbelief of her descendants. This was probably the way she met my gt grandfather, Vincent Sanderson, who enjoyed a drink, rather too much.

1881 census, Norah Thompson with Samuel and Jane Barker.

Ten years earlier, David Thompson aged 25 and Mary Ann 21, were living at Bk325 Langsett Road, with 4 month daughter Elizabeth. They also had two families lodging with them, both soldiers as they lived near Hillsborough Barracks.

1871 census David and Mary Ann Thompson.
David Thompson and Mary Ann Barker marriage 1870.

On 10th June 1870 David Thompson aged 24 married Mary Ann Barker aged 20, at the Parish Church of Neepsend. They both lived at Percy Street. The father of David was Ralph Thompson a grinder. Mary Ann’s father was Samuel Barker a Boot closer. Witnesses Edwin Bowes and Mary Anne Barker

This is the first reference we have of Samuel Barker, as father to Mary Anne.

On the night of 11th March 1864, Dale Dike Reservoir, at Bradfield, breached the reservoir wall, flooding the whole valley and into Sheffield, the effects were felt as far as Doncaster. This awful disaster caused terrible destruction and loss of life. Known as ‘The Sheffield Flood’ Further reading – Sheffield Flood Archives

Flood memorial

Several of my ancestors were affected by the flood in Sheffield. Joseph Gillott and family who lived at Dun Street, Ralph Thompson at Hill Bridge, aswell as two Samuel Barkers, shoe and bootmakers.

Flood claim by Samuel Barker snr.

Flood claim by Samuel Barker jnr.

Flood claim by Ralph Thompson

The flood turned the lives of the people who lived in its path upside down. Homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, perhaps 300 people lost their lives, with many others being injured.

It appears that some of my ancestors were forced to move home or business premises, and perhaps used the claim money to change occupation.

Going back to the 1861 census to determine ancestors, and using ‘Samuel Barker, living in Sheffield’ as the search terms, since we now knew Mary Ann’s fathers name. Samuel is generally a less usual name than Mary Anne, for searches.

There were 13 results, but just two, who were Boot/Shoe makers.

  • Samuel Barker aged 30, wife, Jane aged 29 Children Annie 10, Elizabeth 9, Thomas 4, Rosie 3 months, all born in Sheffield. And two shoemaker apprentices from Northamptonshire (a centre of shoemaking). ‘Annie’ it is presumed is ‘Mary Anne’, she was named Mary Anne, but known as Ann prior to marriage, perhaps as there was already a Mary Anne Barker in the family (Samuel’s mother).
  • Samuel Barker aged 56, wife Mary Anne aged 53. Son, Albert 26, and grandson, William H Barker aged 8, all born Sheffield.

It is likely that Samuel aged 56 in 1861 (c1805) was father to Samuel c1829, and this Mary Anne Barker, was the witness at David Thompson and Mary Ann Barker 1870 marriage.

1861 census, Samuel Barker, c1829.
1861 Samuel Barker c1805 page 1
1861 Samuel Barker c1805 page 2.

From Sheffield Indexers transcriptions, I found the following –

Samuel Barker, was born 11th March 1829 in Sheffield and Baptised April 1829, at Sheffield Cathedral. Parents were Mary Ann & Samuel Barker (Cordwainer). Cordwainer is an old term for shoe maker.

1851 census Samuel Barker c1829

In 1851, Samuel Barker a boot closer, aged 22, and Jane 20, lived at 4 Court Hoyle Street, with daughter Ann,11 months, and brother in law, John Barker aged 37.

Daughter ‘Ann’, presumably ‘Mary Anne’.

Brother in law ‘John’. Is this Jane’s brother, and miswritten as Barker rather than Parker, or Samuel’s step brother?

1851 census Samuel Barker c1805

The 1851 census gave a surprise, as Samuel c1805, and Mary Ann were for some reason in Manchester. They were lodgers in the house of John and Martha Aton and family, with their daughters Emma 14, and Elizabeth 10, (Elizabeth was a twin, but it appears her twin Martha, had died). They were all living at 107 Silver Street, Hulme. Samuel was a Boot maker, and his family were all born in Sheffield (miswritten as Shefford).

Samuel Barker marries Jane Parker.

Samuel Barker and Jane Parker marriage 1848.

Samuel Barker aged 19, a shoe maker and living at Hollis Croft, married Jane Parker aged 18, of Water End Lane, on 19th June 1848. The copy is very bad quality but it is just possible to make out that they were married at the Parish church of Sheffield. Samuel’s father was also Samuel a shoemaker, Jane’s father was left blank. (Was this because Jane was illegitimate or, because her father had died by 1848?) Witnesses Samuel Barker? (others say Geo. Parker) and ? Hudson.

See more about Jane Parker later

The first child of Samuel and Jane was Mary Ann Barker, born 9th April 1859 at 4 Court, Edward Street, Sheffield. Father Samuel Barker a boot closer, mother, Jane Barker, formerly Parker.

1841 Samuel Barker c1805 and c1829.

In 1841, living at Savile Street were Samuel a shoemaker, aged 36, Mary Ann 33, and children, James (William/Wilson?) aged 13, Samuel aged 12, Albert 6, Emma 4, and Martha and Elizabeth twins, aged 7 months.

So now to find the marriage of Samuel Barker and Mary Ann, presumably in Sheffield, as they both claim to have been born in Sheffield in census entries. Mary Ann born c1808.

Ancestry has the following reference

Samuel Junr. Barker

Age: 20 Birth Date: 1805

Marriage Date: 6 Jul 1825

Marriage Place: Sheffield, York, England

Father: Samuel Barker

Spouse: Mary Ann Wilson

FHL Film Number: 1469707

As Samuel is entered as Samuel ‘junr’ it is to be presumed his father was also Samuel Barker. This gives Mary Ann’s surname prior to marriage as Wilson.

Most suitable birth entry for Mary Ann Wilson on Ancestry is as follows –

Name:Mary Ann Wilson
Gender:Female
Birth Date:4 Aug 1807
Baptism Date:30 Aug 1807
Baptism Place:Cathedral Saint Peter,Sheffield,York,England
Father:James Wilson
Mother:Elizabeth
FHL Film Number:919327
Mary Ann Wilson birth 4 August 1807.

This would certainly tie in with the ages of Mary Ann in census entries. The fact that Samuel Barker and Mary Ann baptised their first son James Wilson Barker in 1827, also ties in. But further evidence is required to be certain. Getting back further is increasingly difficult, given the surnames of Barker and Wilson, which are common names in Sheffield.

Samuel Barker probate 1878

There are two entries for Samuel Barker. We can assume that the first entry relates to our Samuel c1805, died 4th January 1875, a shoemaker, Mary Ann was his widow. Mary Ann Barker died 1880.

Mary Ann Barker probate 1880

Mary Ann Barker died 11 January 1880. For some reason son Samuel left her will unadministered, and so it passed on to son James Wilson Barker to be administered.

Children of Samuel Barker c1805 & Mary Ann Wilson c1808

  • James Wilson c1828 (second name ‘Wilson’, links to Mary Ann being ‘Wilson’ prior to marriage)
  • Samuel 1829 (after father and paternal grandfather).
  • Alfred c1835
  • Emma c1837
  • Elizabeth c1841
  • Martha c1841

Searching on ancestry for other people researching the same family, can be helpful, as we may get a lead as to where to look next. It is never a good idea to take things at face value, and always best to check the facts for ourselves. There are other researchers for this family.

They suggest the father of Samuel c1805, was Samuel Barker c1786 – 1841, and his mother was Mary, also born 1786.

This death date, just allows a search of the 1841 census, before Samuel dies, and the following was found.

Living at Westbar Sheffield, were Samuel Barker aged 55, a shoemaker, and wife Mary also aged 55, both born Yorkshire.

According to Pallots marriage index, a Samuel Barker married Mary Simpson in Rotherham 1800.

And according to Sheffield Indexers

SIMPSON, Mary (Widow, age ~, ~, residing at parish of Rotherham). Married Samuel BARKER, on November 24, 1800, by ~ (Banns) at Parish Church, Rotherham. Father’s name is ~ (~). Married in the presence of ~. Notes: . Page No: ~ Reg No: ~

So Mary was a widow at marriage.

I applied to the GRO for the death certificate of Samuel Barker, and received the following.

On 15th July 1841 at 3 West Bar, Sheffield West, aged 61 years, he was a boot maker. Cause of death, diseased liver. Present at the death was James Pilkington also of 3 West Bar.

This is all for the time being.

1841 Census Samuel Barker born c1786

So, back to Jane Parker. After several searches on ancestry, and concerned that she may have been born illegitimately, I eventually found the following entry for her in 1841.

1841 Census, Jane Parker and family.

Living at Ebenezer Street, Sheffield, were George Parker, aged 50, a File Cutter and Susannah aged 40. Susannah was not born in Yorkshire. Also children, George 20, Wilfred 15, William 1, Joseph 1, Sarah 15, Elizabeth 15, Emma 13, Jane 10, Lydia 7, and Harriet 4. Although these are reasonably common Christian names, some of them are less common and will be useful for later identification. It would seem that Jane Parker was born legitimately and part of a large family.

By 1851, it appears that George Parker had died, as Susannah was a widow, aged 52, and born in Northwich Cheshire. The family were living at No.16 Russell Street, Moorfields, Sheffield, with (daughter in law?) Ann (aged 20, married?), and daughter Lydia, 18. Also three lodgers.

1851 census Susannah Parker

Lines of Descent – Angela Sanderson – David Sanderson – William Sanderson – Norah Thompson – (David Thompson & Mary Anne Barker )

(Ralph Thompson & Elizabeth Priestley) – (Samuel Barker c1829 & Jane Parker) –

(Samuel Barker c1805 & Mary Anne Wilson) – (George Parker & Susannah Howard)

(Samuel Barker c1780 & Mary)