Father’s Fore-Father’s

Sanderson Bradfield & Beyond

Paternal Ancestry

As with most family historians, this journey began, with the search back along the paternal line of SANDERSON. This was my maiden name, and seemed a good place to begin. This page summarises the research done so far into the story of the Sanderson family in and around Bradfield, South Yorkshire. When they arrived, where they came from and where they went. It has branched out to extended family members, and other surnames connected to them.

Maybe this is where it all started.

For a brief resume of my take, on the Sanderson family tree in Bradfield, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Bradfield stone village marker

As we are all made up from parts of each of our ancestors, we cannot say that we exist as any one ‘surname’ more than another.

Although our ancestors traits may not be reflected equally due to the way DNA transmits from generation to generation, each person in our lineage, is as important as the next, in making us who we are.

Sanderson as a surname, and its first appearance in the Bradfield area.

Early suggestions, led us to believe that the SANDERSON name can be traced back to the MacDonald Clan in Scotland, although other suggestions are that it may be Norwegian, and that the name is a corruption of ‘Alexanders Son’.
Many years ago, a fellow researcher suggested, that this branch of the Sanderson family arrived in the area, during the 1400’s or possibly late 1300’s from the North East of England, some settling in Sheffield and some in the Bradfield area. To have made this journey, they must have been more than lowly peasants, who would not have had the freedom or money to have made such a journey.

Early references to ‘Sandersons’ as Yeomen / Farmers would bear this out. The family soon began spreading into neighbouring districts, and over the centuries, the Sandersons intermarried with the indiginous folk, and other incomers, to become fixed in the area.

However Sanderson research in the Bradfield area, is confused by the fact that some families converted to Quakerism at an early stage, and so individuals enter, leave or are never entered in the Parish records through the years. Luckily Quaker records are well kept.
Below are links to the life stories for the direct paternal line of SANDERSON in my ancestry.

The Formidable Females page contains the same in my female line.

AMS was born in Lancashire 19XX, Dad joined the RAF, just before my first birthday. As a family we moved around the UK, and spent three years in Malta, before settling in Norfolk.

MDS ‘This is Your Life’ a light hearted 80th birthday celebration. Dad born in Sheffield in 19XX and lived at Malin Bridge until 1957, when he moved to London to start college.

William Arthur Sanderson (b1913) married Esme Gillott b1920. He was born in Stannington and lived at Malin Bridge from the time of his marriage in 1940 until his death in 1996.

Vincent Sanderson (b1881) in Stannington, married Norah Thompson of Walkley (b1877) in 1903. Miner and Mine Manager, died 1933 of pneumoconiosis (Miners Lung).

Albert Sanderson (b1844) in Bradfield, married Elizabeth Dyson of Stannington (b1841) in 1866, died 1920. Razor Grinder and Miner.

Joel Sanderson (b1824) married second cousin, Eliza Sanderson (b1825 -1888). Joel died 1890. Labourer.

George Sanderson (b1797) Bolsterstone, father of Joel, married Martha Ibbotson (b.1802 -1847) in 1819. Died Bradfield 1850, Cutler. Thomas Sanderson father of Eliza (b1800) married Mary Ann Siddons (b1802) in 1822. Died and buried Bradfield 1869. Woodman.

Joseph Sanderson father of George, born Bradfield 1758, married Sarah Helliwell (c1777) in 1797, died and buried Bradfield and Jonathan Sanderson father of Thomas, born Bradfield 1754, married Elizabeth Barnes 1778, died and buried Bradfield 1836. Brothers and both Cutlers.

Jonathan Sanderson probably born 1720, Stannington, married Mary Bramall (1731) in 1750, died Bradfield 1759. Cutler. Father to both Jonathan 1754, and Joseph 1758.

Joshua Sanderson born c1684, married Dorothy Hawkesworth, 1705. Death date unknown. Cutler

Joseph Sanderson (presumed ancestor)

Sanderson ancestors before him were living in Bradfield by the time parish records began in 1559, but as yet we have been unable to link up to them.

With a long history in the village, certain homes featured in Sanderson history. We are still trying to piece together our links with them. These are the three main homes we know of so far.
Mill Lea


Nether House

Paternal Surnames in my direct ancestry includes place of birth or habitation. Names and date of each direct ancestor with the surname.

As humans, we spend most of our time at work. In past times, the hours were longer, we started work at an earlier age, and with no pensions, worked as long as possible. It is no surprise then, that our occupations shaped our lives. Different areas of the country have different indiginous occupations. In Bradfield, it began as farming, then the cutlery and edge tool trade was a major employer, later mining joined the list. Often many of these trades were combined, and as the local population moved into Sheffield, the occupations became more industrialised.

Occupations of my ancestors This link leads to a list of the occupations of my ancestors and information about them.

Bradfield Parish Registers exist from 1559, and Sandersons have been mentioned in them, almost from the beginning.

Bradfield St Nicholas, from a water colour.

Having spent many hours trying to build Sanderson family groups from Parish record entries, it would appear, that the Bradfield Sanderson’s are all descended from one family. I have been able to roughly piece together the Sanderson story in Bradfield from 1559, to early 1600’s, but so far have been unable to make a link between them and our furthest definite link, back in 1750.

Bradfield is one of the largest parishes in the country, encompassing many thousands of acres of land (mainly moorland). There are two main centres of population, High Bradfield (Church c1400), and Low Bradfield connected by the very steep Woodfall Lane. Other hamlets have built up over the centuries, several of which are now part of Sheffield. One of these is Stannington, which also features greatly in the lives of my ancestors.

It is a beautiful and dramatic area in the High Peak area of the Peak District, but just a few miles from Sheffield. It attracts visitors from far and wide to enjoy the scenery. Four local reservoirs – Agden, Dale Dike, Damflask and Strines, are great attractions, and provide drinking water to the local area.

For more information read A brief guide to Bradfield
Extracts taken from the booklet produced by Bradfield Parish Council “A Guide to Bradfield Parish”

Enjoying a winters walk in Bradfield.

The Sheffield Flood. On the night of 11th March 1864, a terrible tragedy occurred when Dale Dike Reservoir breached the dam wall, releasing its contents into the Loxley Valley and on into Sheffield, causing terrible destruction and loss of life. A number of my ancestors and family members were affected by this, both in Bradfield, and in Sheffield.

Various articles and books have been written about the disaster, online or to purchase. Read more about the Sheffield Flood here

Flood Memorial at Dale Dyke

Although I, have never lived in the area, we spent many a holiday locally as children, visiting Grandparents, enjoying a picnic or picking bilberries on the moors. In recent years the family has taken holidays to the area at New Year, to enjoy the scenery, walking and the local hospitality.

It appears that this village has been attracting, and catering to visitors for many years. My father and grandparents often mentioned days out to watch the cricket at Bradfield. On a recent visit, I discovered that during early 20th century, there was a tea room, and visitor centre at Fairhouse.

‘Sunday Cricket’

My grandparents, father and members of the extended family, would make the three mile trip on a Sunday from their home at Malin Bridge to watch the Sunday Cricket at the cricket ground at Low Bradfield, walking along the Loxley Road. They had their regular spot to sit. When they got bored, Dad and his cousin, would go off exploring, which included, climbing on an old tractor at the garage.

They bought sandwiches with them, and could rent a tray with cups, saucers and jug of hot water, to make tea, from the Post Office. The tray and crockery to be returned afterwards. At the end of the day, the walk home (luckily down hill), was made.

Following his death, Grandad wished to have his ashes scattered near Bradfield cricket ground where he had spent many happy times with his family. When Grandma moved away from Sheffield in 1999 to be closer to our immediate family, the family’s direct link with the area was broken after more than four hundred years. (Grandma died in 2008, and we also scattered her ashes, with Grandad’s).

Around about 1987, my father bought his first computer and Grandad became interested in family history. This was surprising, as Grandad had never before expressed any interest in the subject and rarely, if ever spoke of his family. He began copying Sanderson extracts from the Bradfield Parish Records at Sheffield Archive Office, and spending day trips visiting the local cemeteries! My father then began to database the information. Since then we have gradually added to this with the help of census extracts, poor law records, and information from the National Birth, Marriage and Death indexes. I bought a computer in 1998, and continued databasing all the information we had collected and building family groups in a Family History Program. Since then, research has become much easier due to the wealth of genealogical material available online. Particularly Ancestry.co.uk

Voice Recordings c1988

In family history, it is always said, the first and most important thing to do, is interview the older generation. Our family history research began mid 1980’s when Grandad began visiting the local archives, passing information on to Dad. Well, Dad has just discovered a couple of recorded phone calls made at the time, of him interviewing Grandad. The information found, gave us a start, and now, almost 40 years later, it has been greatly added to, and mistakes rectified, but it is a lovely bit of our family history, and great to hear the voices of my grandparents again. Grandad 1913-1996 and Grandma 1920-2008.

NB in mid 1980’s we didn’t have Internet or mobile phones, so these recordings were made using landlines on the weekly Sunday phone call!

They have been included in their entirety, although at times, Grandads voice is faint (he was never keen on using the phone so this recording is quite unusual). At the time we were all novices in family history research. They display typical NW Sheffield accents and turns of phrase. Over the years, Dad lost his Sheffield accent, although, by the end of the call, I can hear it vaguely returning!

Grandad ‘Bill’ Sanderson talking c1988
Grandma ‘Esme’ Sanderson talking c1988

Bradfield (Sanderson) Parish Records

Also includes a number of related surnames.
SOURCES: Sheffield Record Office,
(Bradfield/ Bolsterstone)….TI 11/19 (1559-1722) ,PR(M)44 fiche  (Ecclesfield)…PR(M)54 fiche, 
Stannington Presbyterian Chapel Nonconformist Registers (1718-1837)
Wesleyan Chapel, Brightholmlee, Registers (1838-1914),
Bolsterstone Parish Registers PR(M)53 fiche
Stannington Parish Registers PR(M)84 fiche
Birtin Cemetery Burial Register Transcriptions taken from Sheffield Archive Office (1/30)
Various extracts- mainly Sanderson but also quite a few for the other branches of my family. Also unrelated people who were in their homes on census night.

These extracts were transcribed on visits from the Archives. These days, whole census’ have been digitised or are available online, making these references a little obsolete, I have decided to include them here however.

Hallamshire Cutlers Records An almost essential resource for anyone researching their roots in the Sheffield area.

Links to Other Sites – Useful Books and Publications

NOTE: Until 1752, and the introduction of ‘New Time’, the year ran from March 25th to March 24th, hence, there may be discrepancies in dates and ages.

My take on the

Sanderson – Bradfield family tree.

(in progress).

The first Sanderson entry in Bradfield Parish records, was the baptism of John Sanderson to William on 12th January 1559. Sadly the burial register records he died in 1564. There are a number of other baptism and burial entries, but the first useful entry, is the marriage of Raphe Sanderson to Ellen Bray, 20th February 1586. In the same year on 27th August, Henry Sanderson married Margret Ward. Raphe and Henry were brothers, their father, also Raphe, died 1607, mother unknown. They seem to be the two main progenitors of Bradfield Sandersons.

There were over the years other Sanderson individuals who came in from other parishes, and many others who moved out.

Raphe (referred to here, as Raphe of Penistone). That reference was given to him in some of the records when he baptised his children. His son George went to Midhope. Both of these places were part of the Parish of Bradfield, although they are some way distant. This family were Yeomen farmers, probably reasonably wealthy, and left a number of wills between them, which help us with identification.

Some of the family later became Quakers, and left Bradfield, although some of them returned to the church records later. Originally it seemed this branch of the Sanderson family, do not belong to my line, but in recent months I have been reevaluating this.

Raphe had nine children, baptised at Bradfield, perhaps more, with two wives, Ellen Bray and Johanna (unknown). These are the Penistone/ Midhope Sandersons.

Neither Raphe nor Henry Sanderson are recorded as being baptised in Bradfield, but their sister Elizabeth was in 1569. Henry married Margret Ward, on 27 August 1586, their son, William was baptised 28 July 1587. Henry is only recorded as having one child in the baptism records and according to his will.

Henry was buried 11th August 1596. I believe my ancestors and the ‘Bradfield’ Sandersons, are descended from Henry. William had at least six children. It is the children (of Raphe of Penistone), and (William of Bradfield), who create the web of Sandersons, to be worked through to prove ancestry. There were also descendants of other family members who seem to appear and disappear from church records. Females, would marry out of the Sanderson surname, and tracking them, becomes more complicated.

1596 Will of Henry Sanderson of Bradfield:

SAUNDERSON Henry of Bradfeild, written 20 Jul 1596, son William SANDERSON*, wife Margaret SANDERSON*, brother George SANDERSON, nephews Francis SANDERSON, John SANDERSON, Christopher SANDERSON & George SANDERSON sons of brother Raphe SANDERSON, sister Agnes [SANDERSON], godchildren (not named), Anthonie WARDE, servant John BOLTON. Supervisors/Witnesses: John SHAWE, William SHAWE, John WILSON & Richard HIDE?. [Proved 5 Dec 1596, York].

Following Henry Sanderson’s death, it appears that Margaret remarried, Ryc (Richard) Waterhouse on 7th February 1596. This is interesting (see Sanderson connection to Hill House below).

The known children of William Sanderson c1587. William married Ellen (either Morehouse or Waterhouse), date unknown. see reference to Hillhouse below. Ellen’s mother – also Ellen (Morily), married Thomas Morehouse, and following his death, remarried Thomas Waterhouse. It is unclear which of these men was Ellen’s father. Ellen (Sanderson), was buried in Bradfield Churchyard 10th October 1643. William Sanderson, buried in Bradfield 25th September 1643.

NB: A Thomas Waterhouse, was baptised to Richard, 21st February 1560 at Bradfield.

Thomas Waterhouse married Ellen Morily 28 July 1591 at Bradfield.

Henry (c1608) married Betrise Creswick 9th February 1629, and she was buried, 28 December 1630. Henry then married An Hawkesworth 1st March 1635 at Bradfield. Henry was buried 28 October 1649.

  • Thomas, bapt.1st July 1630 (no further mention of him in Bradfield registers).
  • Marye, (bapt. 5th February/buried 13 February 1636)
  • An, bapt 6 February 1637
  • Henry, bapt 26 May 1645 (no further mention of him in Bradfield registers).
  • John, bapt 1st December 1647 (there are several marriages of John Sanderson in the registers, and it is impossible to conclude which is this John, (a possibility is the marriage to Diones Beaumont 16/02/1672, she was buried 08/08/1697 as ‘wife of John of Bradfield’. He may have remarried Sarah Drabble 16/08/1699, who was buried 24/01/1711, and John buried 10/01/1712).

Thomas c1611-1612

Christopher c1613 (no record of marriage or children in Bradfield/ buried in Bradfield 11th July 1693).

Robert c1617 (between 1636, and 1668, 13 children were baptised to Robert Sanderson, but it is difficult to see if these are all to the same Robert. Another Robert bapt.1601 to Raphe was in the area. Robert (son of Raphe), seems too old to start a family in 1636 and Robert (son of William), seems too young. Whichever it was, it would seem his wife was Elizabeth Whodhead, and they were married 06 November 1635.

Wife of ‘Robert of Middop’ (presumably son of Raphe), buried 13 May 1668./ Robert Sanderson buried 26/04/1673. /Robert ‘of Worrall,’ buried 02/07/1685. /Margret Sanderson wife of Robert buried 06/05/1686 – no record of this marriage

Sara c1621

From the Catalogue of Sheffield Manorial Records, second volume. (HILL HOUSE).

1615 : To that court came Thomas Waterhouse and Ellen his wife and surrendered a moiety of one messuage called HillHouse and of one oxgang in Onesacre in Westnall Byerlowe within the soke of Bradfield to the use of William Sanderson and Ellen his wife for the life of the aforesaid Ellen Waterhouse mother of the aforesaid Ellen Sanderson.

(Other members of the Waterhouse family also came to court to receive other parts of the land).

Previous references to the property

1500: Tenement and oxgang of hastler lying in Westnall

1580: Messuage called HillHouse and an oxgang in Onesacre within soke of Bradfield to Thomas Morehouse and Ellen.

It reverted back to the Morehouse family in 1632.

This is a substantial property, and of great age. It was offered for sale in 2018

References to Hillhouse have been used in an attempt to understand family relationships.

References to John Sanderson 1635 –

This date has been chosen, as the baptism date of the first ‘John Sanderson’ to be baptised at Bradfield, of the right time frame to be part of this list.


4 October 1635 to Rodger (there are only 2 references to Rodger Sanderson, in Bradfield registers, the other being baptism of daughter Katherine 16../ I wonder if this is actually Robert, miswritten/ transcribed by the vicar).

8 October 1636 to Robert

6 July 1645 to John

1 December 1647 to William

? October 1655 to Raphe

Marriages of John Sanderson

15 September 1655 to Ellen Womersley (at Bradfield)

2 February 1664 to Sarah Chalsworth (at Bradfield)

7 October 1666 to Elizabeth Croffts (at Bradfield)

16 June 1672 to Diones Beaumont (at Bradfield)

30 May 1678 Anne Hawkeworth (at Bradfield)

16 August 1699 Sarah Drable (at Bradfield)

This list does not include the ‘Jonathan’s, who may also have been known as John.

May 2021