Jonathan Sanderson 1720

1720- 1760

Parental Links under review!

Determining the birth of this ancestor, has taken many years, and although we cannot be completely certain that we have identified the right birth date, the information points us in this direction.

Discovering the life events of our ancestors in chronological order, can rarely be achieved, and in this case it was the marriage information, the death information, then the extended family relationships examined, before eventually the birth was ‘confirmed’.

We managed to work back from ourselves, into the history of Bradfield, as far as Jonathan Sanderson who married Mary Bramhall at Bradfield Church 31st October 1750.

For years, this is where the trail stopped and this Jonathan became an important person in our research, but looking at him, from his place in the family, perhaps he was less so.

Mary Bramhall was from a respectable Bradfield family, and baptised 26 December 1731, to Joseph Bramhall and Martha Hawkesworth. (The Hawkesworth’s were another respected and ancient Bradfield family), both Bramhall and Hawkesworth research has helped to confirm family relationships.

Following marriage, Jonathan and Mary had four children, all born at Mill Lee, Bradfield and baptised at Bradfield Church. Martha baptised, 24 September 1751, Jonathan baptised, 9th June 1754, Joseph baptised 9th May 1758 (our family is descended through both of these brothers), and Mary baptised 25th March 1759. Three days before the baptism of Mary, on 22nd March 1759, Jonathan was buried in Bradfield Church. Mary sr. was left a widow with four young children.

Unfortunately, the burial record does not give Jonathan’s age or cause of death, but later research, showing that he was born in 1720, means he was aged 39 years. Many males in this family died around the age of forty. It appears that it was a common age for cutlers to die, as a result of the working conditions encountered in the cutlery industry. Years of inhaling metal and stone particles, given off by grinding on the cutlers wheels, led to breathing related diseases. Although we have no proof, it seems likely that Jonathan died from a work related illness.

Mary didn’t take long in finding a new husband, she married Joshua Hartley at Bradfield on 4 November 1760.

When we first began family history research, we concentrated on the Sanderson surname, collecting and collating as much information of Sanderson individuals in the Bradfield area as we could find. Although useful, for recognising relationships between people with the Sanderson name, it only gives half a story.

I noted that Mary Sanderson was left a widow, at less than ten years of marriage with 4 young children, I considered her an unfortunate victim of circumstance, but later, by finding out more about her circumstances, of those around her, and family relationships, my opinion changed.

Although Jonathan was from a respectable background, and probably comfortable by the standards of the time, he did not leave a will, which has always seemed strange. Operating a cutlery business from a good size premises, surely this would have been a prudent step to take.

Having investigated further, when Mary remarried to Joshua Hartley also a cutler, but apparently not from Bradfield. she was already pregnant, with her 5th child. The child was born ….followed by a further four children.

The family remained at Mill Lee, and it now seems likely, that the property came with Mary, not Jonathan. Joshua Hartley, took on Jonathan’s children, treating them as his own, taking the boys on as apprentices, and treating them equally in his will dated 1803. Mary died in 1807.

So the family was much more influenced by a Hartley upbringing, than a Sanderson one.

So how did we determine which Jonathan Sanderson was ‘ours’?

We began by noting all Jonathan Sandersons in the locality (Bradfield, connected villages and hamlets, Ecclesfield and Sheffield), who could have married in 1750. Eventually this list numbered about ten individuals, who we checked for other marriages, or death prior to 1750.

The other relevant piece of information available, was that the previous Sanderson marriage in Bradfield registers had been between John Sanderson and Martha Bramhall 12th January 1748. They set up home at Haychatters /Hay/Heigh House, having five children before John’s death in 1764. John was also a cutler. Martha remarried, Joseph Hobson 5th July 1767. This seemed to mirror the lives of Jonathan and Mary. I wondered whether two brothers had married two sisters.

I then set about trying to find a suitable pair of brothers named John and Jonathan, who could have married in 1748, and 1750.

7/10/1715JONATHON son of JOHN
13/3/1717JONATHON son of JONATHON
12/5/1722JONATHON son of JONATHON
24/9/1738JONATHAN son of ROBERT
(born too late to marry 1750)
Jonathan Sanderson baptised Bradfield 1700-1738
17/11/1701JOHN son of FFRANCIS
(Francis was from the Penistone – Midhope Sanderson branch)
9/6/1704JOHN son of JOSHUA
( Joshua was from the Penistone – Midhope Sanderson branch)
3/7/1705JOHN son of ZACRIAH
16/2/1717JOHN son of JOSHUA (BORN)
John Sanderson baptised Bradfield 1700-1738

I noticed that there was a possible family emerging, with father Joshua.

At the end of 1500’s a branch of Sandersons moved to Penistone and Midhope. This area was still part of the Bradfield parish, and they used Bradfield church, but they were a separate group of families, some, later becoming Quakers. Any Sandersons ‘of Midhope’ can be discounted. This family has also been quite well documented by the Church of Latter Day Saints.

On 27th January 1705 Joshua Sanderson married Dorathy Sanderson at Bradfield. (Another Joshua Sanderson married Grace Hague on 3rd September 1701. Although I have not seen where this marriage took place, it has been documented online, and was possibly a Quaker marriage).

The following children were baptised to ‘Joshua Sanderson’ in Bradfield between 1701 and 1720.

17/11/1702 MARY daughter of JOSHUA MIDDOP

Joshua ‘of Midhope’, and born before ‘our’ Joshua’s marriage to Dorathy in 1705. Therefore discounted.

9/6/1704 JOHN son of JOSHUA

Born before ‘our’ Joshua’s marriage to Dorathy in 1705. Therefore discounted.

15/4/1706 ELIZABETH daughter of JOSHUA

15/10/1706 ANNE daughter of JOSHUA STANNINGTON

Both Elizabeth and Anne were born in 1706, Elizabeth to ‘Joshua’ and Anne to ‘Joshua of Stannington’, suggesting we have two different Joshua’s.

20/6/1708 HANAH daughter of JOSHUA

No ‘of Stannington’ in the parish reference, therefore not ‘our’ family.

30/3/1709 MARY daughter of JOSHUA STANNINGTON

‘Of Stannington’ therefore of our family.

17/2/1714 WILLIAM son of JOSHUA

(from the Hallamshire cutlers records – William son of Joshua Sa(u)nderson to Stephen Parker of Stannington cutler 8 ,1728, Free 1736). It appears that William died 1748, 27/4/1748 ‘WILLIAM SANDERSON OF ‘STANINTON’. (Bradfield Burials).

16/2/1717 JOHN son of JOSHUA BORN


I believe these three boys are brothers, and that the Midhope family, no longer use Bradfield Church. Jonathan is ‘our’ ancestor, and is stated to be from Stannington, and surprisingly, is one of the few people in the parish records with their birth date stated at this time.

One of the most useful resources for people with cutler ancestors in this region, is the The Hallamshire Cutlers records. It gives names, fathers, dates, places, and apprentice masters, and can be used as further evidence in the confirmation of ancestors.

My supposition, leads me to suggest that Jonathan Sanderson was born 6th August 1720, the youngest child of Joshua Sanderson and Dorothy, from Stannington. Siblings, Anne 1706, Mary 1709, William 1714, and John 1717.

To be continued……