William & Rebecca Swann of Bradford, Yorkshire
William & Rebecca Swann of Bradford, Yorkshire
WILLIAM SWANN, son of William Swann and Sarah Blake, was born in 1803. He was baptized in St George Colegate, Norwich on 10 December 1803.
William Swann was admitted as a freeman of Norwich on 11 December 1824 as a linen draper. He was a witness as the wedding of his half sister, Hannah in 1825. His occupation at Kings Lynn was given as a grocer.
He married twice. His first wife was FRANCES COE. They married in St Lawrence Church, Norwich on 15 June 1826. Frances was born in 1803 and died on 18 October 1840 in Bradford, at 37 years of age. William and Frances had 3 daughters and 3 sons:
FRANCES CARSON, known as ‘Fanny’ was born at Bungay, Suffolk on 15 March 1827. She was baptized in Bungay, Suffolk on 30 April 1827. In 1843 she took a position in a Quaker drapery establishment at Hertford. Rebecca Swann described her as, "...a particularly fine handsome girl and with a generous disposition. She had a great talent for drawing". In the 1851 census she was 24 years old and living with her father at 13, St James Square, Bradford. Fanny married CHARLES FLINT in The Register Office, Liverpool on 29 March 1860. He was a 32 year old cabinet maker living at 36, Moon St. Later they moved to London then immigrated to Australia and settled in Brisbane.
Fanny and Charles Flint had two boys: Charles Flint and Edmund Flint
Fanny died on 9 April 1898 at 71 years of age.
JOSHUA WILLIAM was born in St Martin at Palace, Norwich on 20 February 1829. Joshua died 11 January 1890 in Leeds, at 60 years of age. He married twice. He married MARY ANN RUSSELL in the Register Office, Hunslet, Leeds on 22 August 1850. Mary was born in Norwich. In the 1851 census for Bramley, Leeds she was a dressmaker, aged 23, born at Norwich. He was a millwright, aged 22, born at Norwich. (HO 107/2315/99). When he married Mary Ann he is described as Manager of a Gypsum works living at Armley Ridge, Armley. He later became Head Gaoler at Leeds and they had no children.
His first wife Mary Ann must have died. He married EMMA NABBS (nee COOPER) in Leeds Church on 13 May 1855. A widow, she married Joshua when she was 36. He was then a widower living at Spenceby St and an Assembly Rooms Keeper.
EDWARD was born at Gaywood on 29 November 1832. He died on 23 April 1834 at 15 Friars St, South Lynn, at 1 year of age.
HENRY was born at 15 Friars St, South Lynn on 17 April 1836. Henry died on 16 March 1838 at 15 Friars St, South Lynn, at 1 year of age.
RACHEL was born at 15 Friars St, South Lynn on 2 April 1838. She married JAMES WATSON in the Register office, Bradford, 22 August 1865. Originally from Dumfries. He was an architect at Caledonian St, Leeds. Ruth Swann remembers that he was associated with the theatrical business in Leeds. He was the proprietor of a theatre. He and Rachel had 4 children. He must haved died between 1890 and 1898.
In the 1851 census for Bradford she was living with her father at 13, St James Square. Around 1851 she was at a school run by Quakers at Rawdon (N.E. of Bradford). In Rebecca Swann's journal she states, "She was then sent to Mr Hunton's in Darley St, Bradford in 1855 to learn something of business. Her half brother, William Swann from Parramatta, NSW, Australia visited her on his trip to England in 1900.
EMMA was born in Bradford on 22 September 1840. Emma died on 28 February 1841 at Manor Row, Bradford, at less than one year of age. She was buried on 1 March 1841 at Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford, Quaker Burial Ground.
It is clear from the birthplaces of their children that they moved frequently around the East Anglian countryside, from Bungay to Norwich, to Kings Lynn. Many families moved from Norwich to Bradford at this time because of the rise of the textile trade in Bradford and the decline of Norwich as a pre-eminent manufacturing centre.
In 1840 William Swann moved to Willett and Co, fabric manufacturers in Bradford. His brother Joshua was employed by the same company in Norwich. When his first wife, Frances died in 1840 the family was living at Manor Row, Bradford West End, Bradford. William was described as a writer (probably an alternative name for a clerk). He was living at the same address in the 1841 census with his three children and a servant, Sarah Walter aged 20.
William’s second wife was REBECCA SHARP. They married in Darlington Register Office on 26 June 1843. Rebecca was born in Brighton on 4 September 1815. Rebecca was the daughter of Isaac Sharp and Mary Likeman. Rebecca died on 25 August 1898 at 300 Lordship Lane, Dulwich, at 82 years of age. She is buried with her husband William at Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford.
William appears to have met his second wife, Rebecca Sharp, around 1841 while she was staying at Bradford visiting friends, the Thistlethwaite family. Subsequently he visited her more than once at Darlington. He was living at Bowling, Bradford when he married Rebecca, He is described as a warehouseman. Broomfield Terrace was their first house where their first three children were born.
William and Rebecca had 5 daughters and 3 sons: “Lillie, Willie, Priscie, Polly, Bema, Alfred, Fred and Edie”:
Elizabeth Swann was born at Broomfields, Bowling, Bradford on 17 April 1844;
William Swann at Broomfields, Bowling, Bradford on 10 December 1845;
Priscilla Swann at Broomfields Terrace, Bowling, Bradford on 28 April 1847;
Mary Hannah Swann at 8 Horton Rd, Horton, Bradford on 31 December 1848;
Sarah Marina Swann at 13, St James Square, Horton, Bradford on 8 May 1852;
Alfred Swann at St James Square, Horton, Bradford, 16 May 1854;
Frederic Swann at 40 Salem St, Bradford, 27 May 1860;
Edith Swann at 40 Salem St, Bradford, 26 January 1862.
William Swann set up a shop selling gentleman's boots and shoes in Bank St. However this proved a failure and in 1849 he obtained a position at Leeds and the family moved there. Rebecca's brother, Isaac Sharp, had entered into a partnership in a machine business at Kirkstall. As he was not able to look after all of the business himself, he asked William to assist him. This only lasted a couple of years and then around 1851 he obtained a position back at Bradford working for Mr Richard Fawcett, son-in-law to Mr Thomas Willett and also a wool stapler. He was young in the business and William was an efficient bookkeeper. A few months elapsed before the family could move back, as obtaining suitable accommodation was very difficult. The business grew apace and Mr Fawcett became one of the foremost woolstaplers in Bradford. It was located at the top of Cheapside, Bradford.
Lillie, his eldest daughter by Rebecca said he was very strict about table manners and used to keep a "little switch", which he used on any stray hands on the table! He, it seemed, was often between jobs and not very inclined to work. He used to say "God will provide".
In the 1851 census the family were living at 13 St James Square. William is described as a merchant in the wool trade, aged 47. By the time of the 1861 census they had moved to 40 Salem St and William is recorded as a clerk and traveller in oils (presumably a salesman).
William worked in the employment of Mr Fawcett for 17 years until 1868 when his services were no longer required. Again the family was under severe financial pressure. William went to stay with his brother, Joshua in Norwich, then obtained an agency at 120 pounds a year. But even with the income from the school (where his daughters taught) life was difficult.
In the 1871 census it shows the family at 3 Park Place, Bradford. William is recorded as a Commission Agent (salesman) in olive oil, aged 67.
At the close of 1876 William visited his brother Joshua Swann in Norwich for the last time. Joshua Swann died in December 1876, and Rebecca inherited 500 pounds and the income from half his considerable estate during her lifetime.
In the 1881 census the family was living at 37 Athol Rd, Manningham, Bradford. Living with Rebecca and William were Mary Hannah aged 32; Alfred aged 26, a doctor; and a servant. They moved down the road to 49 Athol Rd. William died there on 16 February 1889 at 86 years of age. He is buried with his second wife Rebecca and their son Alfred in the Friends' section of Undercliffe Cemetery Bradford, Yorkshire, UK. Rebecca moved to Dulwich in London and was living at Townley Park Villas. She was still living at the same address in the 1891 census with Mary Hannah and two other people.
Rebecca has left a journal written in 1888 which describes her life, ‘Recollections etc of My Life’, which she subtitled, “Short sketches of some of the main incidents of my life thinking my dear children might be interested in their perusal”. She had a small pamphlet published titled, 'A Few Lines of Thought on Some Momentous Subjects by an Aged Christian', published by Kegan Paul, London, January 1890 (copy in Friends' House, Euston, London).
William and Rebecca had the following eight children who survived:
ELIZABETH, known as Lillie was born in Broomfields, Bowling, Bradford on 17 April 1844. Lillie died 1929 at 85 years of age. She married THOMAS WILLIAM CROSLAND in The Registers Office, Bradford, 8 February 1865. Thomas was born 26 April 1843. Lillie and Thomas had 4 sons and a daughter:
Robert George Crosland;
William Howard Crosland born in Leeds, 1868;
Ernest Crosland born in Leeds, 1870;
George A. Crosland in Bradford, 1873;
Ethel Crosland born in Darlington, 1876.
WILLIAM was born in Broomfields, Bowling, Bradford 10 December 1845.
William died 11 November 1909 at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta, NSW, Australia at 63 years of age. He married ELIZABETH DEVLIN at her parents' farmhouse on 7 October 1870. Elizabeth was born in NSW 15 August 1853. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Devlin and Elizabeth McKay. Elizabeth died 8 December 1940 at 87 years of age. They had 12 children:
Margaret Swann at Grenfell on 7 August 1871;
Rebecca Swann at Grenfell, 7 April 1873;
Priscilla Swann at Grenfell, 8 April 1875;
Mary Marina Swann at Bowning, 3 June 1877;
Elizabeth Swann at Bowning, 17 June 1879;
Isabella Frances Swann at Temora, 1 January 1881;
Edith Rachel Swann at Temora, 7 June 1883;
William Alfred Swann at Temora, 15 August 1885;
John Isaac Swann at Naremburn, 17 November 1887;
Ruth Hannah Swann 3 March 1890;
Frederic Joshua Wadham Swann at Granville, 4 August 1892;
Nona Filia Swann at Granville, 13 January 1898.
William's life is documented in a small book by two of his grand daughters titled, 'A House Re-born - The Story of William Swann of Elizabeth Farm House, Parramatta' by Elizabeth Plimer and Ellen Errey, published by EM Plimer, Lindfield, Australia 1991.
PRISCILLA was born in Broomfields Terrace, Bowling, Bradford 28 April 1847. Priscilla died 1929 at 82 years of age. She married GEORGE CATER . She was a music teacher and in 1876 arranged to travel with friends to Brisbane, Australia. While on board the ship 'Ramsey' sailing to Australia she fell in love with the Captain, George Cater. They were married within a couple of weeks of their arrival in Australia. Later they settled in Brisbane. They had three surviving children and a son who died in childhood.
MARY HANNAH, known as ‘Pollie’, was born in 8 Horton Rd, Horton, Bradford. 31 December 1848. Polly died 15 November 1932 in St Albans, Hertfordshire, at 83 years of age. She made a will 26 March 1926. She was engaged to be married to George William Wright, a stuff manufacturer, but he died of typhus on 24 November 1870, a few days before the wedding. He had willed all his money and goods to Mary. She took a long time to recover from this bereavement and remained at home to help look after her parents. She was living at 21 Townley Park Villas, Dulwich with her mother in the 1891 census. She was living at Carlton Drive, Heaton, Bradford in 1898, when probate of her mother's estate was granted to her. She was living at 18 Brampton Rd, St Albans, Hertfordshire at her death on 15 November 1932, aged 84. She left everything in her will to her niece and executrix, Edith Gwendoline Chettle.
SARAH MARINA, known as ‘Bema’ was born at 13, St James Square, Horton, Bradford. 8 May 1852. Bema died on 30 December 1910 in Southend-on-Sea, at 58 years of age. Her body was interred 3 January 1911 in Winchmore Hill, London, Friends Burial Ground. She married ARTHUR WADHAM in Hallfield Chapel, Manningham, Bradford., 30 May 1876. Arthur was born in Barnstaple, Devon. They had three children:
Mary Wadham, known as ‘May’ at Darlington in 1878;
Robert Wadham at Darlington in 1879;
Millicent Wadham at Darlington in 1882.
ALFRED was born at St James Square, Horton, Bradford on 16 May 1854. He married MARIA LOUISA CADMAN in Sheffield on 12 September 1888. She had 2 children by her first husband Arthur Dean. Alfred brought the boys up as his own. In accordance with their mother's wishes one went into the medical profession and the other went into the church (Church of England). The doctor went to France during World War 1 and married a French woman and settled as a farmer in the north of France. Her children had no offspring.
Alfred was a year or two in school at Rawdon. He left to go into an office, and studied at night to improve his position. In the 1871 census he was working for a stuff manufacturer at Bradford, living with his parents. He studied at Birmingham, but thanks to his aunt's generosity he was able to leave business and enter a medical career. He became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS London) and an MD (Brussels). In the 1881 census he is recorded at Bradford living with his parents, as a doctor aged 26. He eventually took a practice at Batley, Yorkshire in 1879 and became Medical Officer of Health to Batley Town Council. Alfred was living at Brunswick St, Batley, when he married Maria Louisa Dean but died on 6 June 1895 at 41 years of age. He is buried with his parents at the Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford.
FREDERIC, known as ‘Fred’ was born in 40 Salem St, Bradford 27 May 1860. He married EDITH MARY ROBSON in Grange Church, Stockton Rd, Sunderland, 15 November 1888. Edith was the daughter of Samuel Sinclair Robson. Edith died 29 September 1950 at Pyrmont Point, NSW, Australia. Fred and Edith had 3 surviving children:
Meredith Blake Robson Swann born on 29 July 1893;
Edith Marjorie Glaholm Swann in Sunderland on 21 June 1895;
Mary Alfreda Sinclair Swann in Sunderland on 17 January 1899.
Fred was never a member of the Society of Friends though both his parents were Quakers. He was a student at the Flounders Institute, Ackworth, and a master at two private schools conducted by Friends. He obtained a BA and a BSc from London University in 1887. He was living at 69 Gloucester St, Newcastle when he married Edith Robson. He was then described as a science teacher. He became science master at the Grammar School, Newcastle. He became Headmaster of Ilkley Grammar School in 1893 for 12 years. He was responsible for the building of the large new science buildings there. In 1904 he was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple and resigned his Headmastership. On coming to London he also joined the staff of the Times newspaper. He was sent by the paper to many places at home and abroad. He was a Past Master of the University of London Masonic Lodge. He did work on the Education Committee of the Beckenham Urban District Council and frequently gave addresses to the Men's Brotherhood and the Women'sCitizenship Association on social and economic questions. In 1917 he was at Beckenham, a barrister and on the board of his father-in-law's firm, Glaholm and Robson, wire rope manufacturers of Sunderland. Said to have manufactured the cables for the Melbourne trams and also for the King St cable tram in Sydney. Fred was the author of 2 books, one of which was titled, 'English Citizenship', the other 'A Primer of London Citizenship'.
Fred died on 14 December 1925 at Milagiriya (St Paul's Church) at 65 years of age. His body was interred in Cambridge, Trumpington Cemetery.
EDITH, known as 'Edie', was born in 40 Salem St, Bradford 26 January 1862. Edith’s uncle, Joshua Swann, helped her financially with her education, first at Fulneck and then at Bradford Grammar School for 3 years. She taught at Sidcot school, Winscombe, Somerset 1880, 1881, piano and other subjects.
She married DAVID WILLIAM CHETTLE, known as Will, in St John's Wesleyan Chapel, Bradford, 3 October 1882. At that time she was living at 37 Athol Rd, Manningham. Edie and Will had two boys and a girl:
Henry Hulbert Chettle in 1883 (They had a son who died in infancy. Recorded in the Bradford Observer death notices, 9 August 1884);
Eric Chettle at Bradford in 1885;
Edith Gwendoline Chettle, known as Gwen, at Bradford in 1889.
Will was from an Irish family. He became a bank cashier. They were living at 65 St Mary's Terrace, Manningham, Bradford in 1889 when he was present at his father-in-law's death. In the 1891 census they were living at 65 St Mary's Rd, Bradford and he was described as a bank manager. In 1909 he was a stock and share broker at 5 Charles St and was living at 18 Clevelan Rd, Bradford.
Edith lived to be about 90 years old. She refused to take shelter from the bombs dropping over London during the war.
I would be very happy to learn any new information about the ancestors or descendents of William and Rebecca Swann of Bradford.