Gleanings from the Census: West meets East

My g-grandfather Rennie Hartley was born in Lancashire, England (the West).  My g-grandmother Harriet Kime was born in Lincolnshire (the East).  How did they meet?  And what did coming from different sides of the country mean for their families and ancestors?  This post has a look at the comparative fortunes of these two branches back through the Industrial Revolution to the early 19th century, using the English census, Wikipedia and Google Maps/Streetview.

Rennie and Harriet

Photo of Rennie & Harriet's Wedding 1806
Rennie & Harriet’s Wedding 1806 taken by Rennie’s brother Herbert in 1906

I always knew Rennie travelled for his work.  His brother Herbert Hartley owned one of England’s first cinema chains and Rennie managed them.  My great-aunt told me her father spoke French and Spanish – she always made it sound like that was a strange thing for a boy from (near) Manchester to be able to do.  It probably was.

My great-aunt wasn’t very forthcoming on the family history.  She did tell me once that they didn’t see much of her mother’s family – Lincolnshire wasn’t very accessible unless you had a car, which they didn’t.  So I always assumed that Rennie and Harriet had met while he was travelling for work.

The census has proved me wrong.

In 1901 (the census before they married), Harriet is living in Crawford St, Nelson, LANCASHIRE.  I can’t find Rennie in this census – he may have been overseas.  But in both 1881 and 1891, he was living in Barkerhouse Rd, Nelson (different numbers but same street!) – just around the corner from Harriet.

So how did Harriet get there?  The birth locations of her siblings provide some clues. The 1881 census lists 5 of Robert and Sarah Ann (nee Wright)’s children.  Sabina, the oldest, was born in Lincolnshire.  John and Jane were born in Yorkshire.  Harriet herself was born in back in Lincolnshire but her younger sister Eunice was born in Grimsby, Yorkshire where the family were living in 1881 and 1891.

Harriet may have been an anomaly – born while her mother was visiting family in Lincolnshire.  It looks unlikely she ever lived in Lincolnshire.

Robert Kime (1839-aft 1911) – Harriet’s Dad

Robert started out in a trade many would like to be in.  In 1871 he was a ‘maltster’s labourer’ – he worked for a brewery!  Given many of his neighbours had the same trade, it’s possibly they all worked for the Wath Brewery, later Whitworth, Son & Nephew.  They lived on Station Road, Wath-upon-Dearne.  Unfortunately with the demise of the railways in Wath, the houses seem to have gone too.  Station Road is now mainly light industrial and farmland.

In 1881, Robert and family were in Grimsby, Yorkshire.  He was listed as an agricultural labourer.  He was still there and labouring in 1891.  Their house in Lord Street looks like a typical working class terrace.  At the front there is a front door and one window on each of the two floors.  The ‘satellite’ shot shows that each house had a sizable garden.

In 1901 he’s a widower and a road labourer.  He’s 63 years old and living in Nelson, Lancashire.  In 1911 he’s retired and living with his son Wright Kime.  Wright is a maltster’s labourer back in Wath upon Dearne, Yorkshire.  The family are back near the station.  Their household numbers 6 and includes 2 boarders from the railway.  The house had 8 rooms excluding the bathroom, so was quite sizable – mine only had 6 in the last Kiwi census!

James Hartley (1840-aft 1891) – Rennie’s Dad

James has the distinction of being my first ‘illegitimate’ ancestor.  He has no father on his birth certificate, but he obviously knew who he was as a John Widdup is listed as his father on his marriage certificate.  When James was about 7, his mother married John Inman and James got 3 half-sisters over the next 10 years.

James seems to have been that cliche of the child worker.  In 1851, aged only 11, he was a bobbin winder in one of the dozens of mills in Colne, Lancashire.

But he seems to have worked his way up the ladder.  In 1861, aged 21, he’s a moulder in an iron foundry (which doesn’t sound like much fun).  But by the time he’s 51 in 1891, he’s the foreman of the iron foundry in Nelson, next town over from Colne.  His house in Barkerhouse Road was not dissimilar to Robert Kime’s house in Grimsby, although made of stone not brick and with only a small garden.

Going back another generation?

So it would seem that both of my gg grandfathers were part of the Industrial Revolution.  But if we go back another generation, to Rennie and Harriet’s grandparents, what will we find?  I should note here that it was a rare occasion where the wife had an occupation.  Widows usually did.

Interestingly, all my 3x great grandparents were born between 1805 and 1818.  But their longevity varied quite a lot.  And I can’t honestly say it was work related…

Thomas Kime (1805-1881) – Harriet’s paternal grandfather

Thomas seems to have spent his entire life in Thornton, Lincolnshire where he was an agricultural labourer.  Like his son Robert he does a stint as a road labourer but ends up at the age of 74 in 1881 as a general labourer.

Like most the other residents of Thornton, Thomas lives at “cottage”, having no particular address.  Thornton is a hamlet and certainly hasn’t increased much from the 19 households mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.  It looks like one of those places people from the city pay a lot of money to live in.

William Wright (1817-bet 1861-71) – Harriet’s maternal grandfather

William also worked on a farm, but he was a tenant farmer – working 144 acres in North Hykeham, Lincolnshire in 1851 aged 35.  He had two farm workers and a “house servant”.  By 1861 he was moved to West Ashby where he has 180 acres and a dairymaid!

North Hykeham now looks like a suburb of Lincoln.  There are no signs of its agricultural past from the air.  West Ashby, like Thornton, is still part of the Lincolnshire farmlands.

Unfortunately he dies before the 1871 census – in his late 40s or early 50s.  His widow Judith is listed as a ‘retired farmer’.  He obviously left her comfortably off.

Eli Titherington (1807-1850) and Sarah Hartley (1808-1870) – Rennie’s maternal grandparents

Eli lived in the town of Colne, Lancashire where he died aged only 42, leaving 5 children, the youngest only a few months old.  He was also an agricultural labourer.

His widow Sarah worked on as a housekeeper and charwoman to support her family until she died 1870.  All her children of working age worked.  Rennie’s mother Ann, aged 8 in 1851, is listed as a ‘nurse’ possibly to her 11 month old brother Ely.  Her older siblings were power loom weavers and 13 year old Joseph was a bobbin winder.

Colne has a long history in the woollen trade.  The industrial revolution added cotton.  It would have been the ‘big smoke’ for centuries.  I can’t quite make out their addresses on the census to find their homes, but they’re likely to have been working class terrace houses.

John Inman (c1813-aft 1881) and Elizabeth Hartley (1815-1880) – Rennie’s paternal grandmother and step-grandfather

John married Rennie’s grandmother Elizabeth Hartley in 1847.  They also lived in Colne.  In 1851, he’s a 38 year old labourer.  She’s 36 and a handloom weaver ‘de laine’ (ie wool).  By 1861, Elizabeth appears to have no occupation and John is a warehouseman.  Interestingly their eldest daughter Sarah is a ‘nurse girl’ so has left school.

John is a labourer for an ironmonger in 1871.  Elizabeth is still keeping house.  Their 3 daughters, aged 14-21, are all cotton weavers.

Widowed in 1880, John is back being a warehouseman.  His eldest and youngest daughters are now power loom cotton weavers and unmarried.

Interestingly, John and Elizabeth spend their entire married life in the same street, possibly even the same house.  There don’t appear to be any houses in Buck Street from that era still standing.  However, the 1871 census has the iron foundry on the same page.  There are still some light industrial buildings across the road.

Another generation back?

If we go back to my 4x g-grandparents, we’re now back in the 18th century.  They were born between 1760 and 1799.  Needless to say, many of them don’t live until the first census in 1841.  But the ones that do started their working lives before the Industrial Revolution.

Benjamin Titherington (1767-1851) – Rennie’s maternal g-grandfather

By 1851, Benjamin had been a widower for over 40 years.  Aged 84 he’s living with his daughter Betty Mrs Foulds in Great Marsden, Lancashire.  He’s listed as a ‘pauper, formerly labourer’.  I’m glad to see that his family could support him, and that he wasn’t in a workhouse.

Joshua Kime (1780-1861) – Harriet’s paternal g-grandfather

Joshua spent his life as a farmer.  He lived in Scremby, Lincolnshire where he farmed 80 acres.  Widowed in 1848 at 69, he married his 25 year old housekeeper Betsy Elvin in 1851.  They added another son to the 9 children he had with his first wife Elizabeth Blakey.  He doesn’t seem to have retired before he died in 1861.  Scremby is still a village in the middle of farmland.

Richard Wright (1786-bef 1871) – Harriet’s maternal g-grandfather

Richard farmed for many years in Martin, near Timberland in Lincolnshire.  Some time after 1841 he moved to West Ashby with his wife.  There he farmed 140 acres and employed 3 men.

By 1861, now in his 70s, Richard and his wife Sarah Rench move up the road to the big smoke of Horncastle.  There he is a ‘proprietor of houses’ having obviously invested well through his long working life.  The Wong, where they lived, now has a mixture of old and new houses.  Some the older ones look quite spacious, so they may have lived in quite a large house compared to the terrace houses seen in other places.

Margaret Cawdron Mrs William Goose (1799-1883) – Harriet’s maternal g-grandmother

Margaret was widowed in 1838 leaving her with as many as 12 surviving children to support.  In 1851, aged 55, she is living in Martin farming 123 acres and employing 2 men.  Ten years later, like her in-laws the Wrights, she is living in Horncastle on ‘independent means’.  These means keep her going until she died in 1883 leaving an estate of £38 and change (now £3-44k)..

I’ll also note that her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Spencer Mrs John Goose (c1771-1851) was living happily in Martin on ‘independent means’ in 1841.


There is something to be said for running a farm.  If you live that long.

It is apparent that the Industrial Revolution took my farming ancestors off the land.  Whether this was due to family size or the industrialisation of agriculture, I don’t know.  But in the end, their descendents ended up in the same place as those that had started out in town.

I’ve added a quick tree so you can see where everyone fits in.


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