Tag Archives: Rothwell

West Yorkshire research trip – Part 4

I posted a photo last week of Rothwell’s market cross – a replica of the medieval one, which originally was close to the current site.  I have several census returns where the address is simply “Near Crop” or “New Cross”, or maybe they are the same?   In the following instances, they look quite distinct:

1861 England census, Rothwell - detail

1861 England census, Rothwell - detail

1871 England census, Rothwell - detail

1871 England census, Rothwell - detail

In fact, the second one may even be “Near Cross”.

Samuel Nunns and his wife Sarah, my Elsie‘s great grandparents, were living at “Near Crop”, Rothwell at the time of the 1861 census.1  Their children were Henry 9, William 8, Thomas 6, Joseph 5, and Sarah 1.  Ten years later, the family are at “New Cross”, Rothwell, and with two more children: John 7 and Charles 6.  Sarah is not listed this time.  The four older boys are now working in the coal mine along with their father.2

By 1881, Sarah is widowed and living at 12 Cross Street with sons William, Joseph, John and Charles.3  Meanwhile, her eldest son Henry has married Tamar Dickinson and is living at 21 Cross Street along with children Sam 7, Elizabeth 5, John 4 and Joseph 1.4

At Rothwell Library, a helpful staff member pointed out the “new cross” on an old map, and mentioned how her family had lived near there.  Perhaps this is the area of “New Cross”?  I was looking for Cross Street which is still there, though most (if not all) of the old houses seem to have gone.  Cross Terrace is also there – did the old houses on Cross Street look similar to these?

Cross Terrace, looking down Cross Street, Rothwell - August 2011

Cross Terrace, looking down Cross Street, Rothwell - August 2011

By 1891, both households had moved from Cross Street, to other streets in Rothwell that I failed to locate during the summer.

This week I discovered a fascinating document – Rothwell Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan – which details the town’s historic areas, one of which is Cross Terrace.  Apparently all round that area is the “historic core” of Rothwell.  There’s a whole heap of information about the history of the town and its architecture.  On the Leeds City Council website, there are similar Conservation Area appraisals for other towns, including Oulton.  The references at the end of each document are definitely worth a look, if you’re interested in the local history.

  1. “1861 England Census, Samuel Nunns (35) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 30 Dec 2010, digital image, citing PRO RG9/3359, folio 6, page 5, GSU roll: 543120, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub-registration district, household 22, 07 April 1861.
  2. “1871 England Census, Samuel Nunns (44) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 30 Dec 2006, digital image, citing PRO RG10/4517, folio 6, page 5, household 26, GSU roll: 848472, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub-registration district, 02 Apr 1871.
  3. “1881 England Census, Sarah Nunns (56) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 05 Aug 2011, digital image, citing PRO RG11/4494, folio 5, page 3, GSU roll: 1342076, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub registration district, ED 1, 03 Apr 1881.
  4. “1881 England Census, Henry Nunns (29) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 30 Dec 2006, digital image, citing PRO RG11/4494, folio 5, pp 4-5, GSU roll: 1342076, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub-registration district, ED 1, household 21, 03 Apr 1881.

Market Cross, Rothwell, West Yorkshire ~ Wordless Wednesday

Replica of Rothwell's market cross, thought to be close to the site of the original medieval cross, August 2011

Replica of Rothwell's market cross, thought to be close to the site of the original medieval cross, August 2011

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

West Yorkshire research trip Part 2

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Rothwell’s parish church was built around 1130AD, though it’s thought to be the third such building on the site.  It was in this church that my great grandmother, Elsie Nunns, was baptised on December 27th, 1896, exactly one month after she was born.  Many of her family were baptised and married in the church, and buried in the churchyard.

The main ‘front’ of the church that faces Church Street and centre of Rothwell is well kept, but around the back, many of the gravestones are covered over with weeds and surrounded by stinging nettles.  I didn’t know if any of my ancestors had gravestones here, so it was really a case of having a look around and seeing what we could find.   (There is currently a project underway to map all the gravestones in the graveyard.)  We managed to find a couple of Nunns and a Hirst, but I’ll need to do a little more investigation to see if they’re family or not. The graveyard is huge, and many of the stones are illegible, if not unaccessible.  You can see further exterior photos in a previous post.

The church appeared closed, but my son had noticed someone entering by a back door, so we wandered up and knocked.  A young curate opened the door and allowed us to have a look around inside, warning that there was a funeral commencing in 40 minutes.  The interior was beautiful, and my hurried photos could not do it justice.

Holy Trinity, Rothwell - interior, August 2011

Holy Trinity, Rothwell - interior, August 2011

I was excited to see the baptismal font, imagining my Elsie being baptised there. (You may be able to glimpse it in this rubbish photo!)

Holy Trinity, Rothwell - baptismal font, August 2011

Holy Trinity, Rothwell - baptismal font, August 2011

You might like to read West Yorkshire research trip Part 1.

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire ~ Wordless Wednesday

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Graveyard, Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Graveyard, Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Graveyard, Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Graveyard, Holy Trinity Church, Rothwell, Yorkshire, August 2011

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

West Yorkshire research trip Part 1

I have spent the last four days in West Yorkshire, visiting places that are connected with my great grandmother, Elsie Nunns. She was born in 1896, in Rothwell, which is where I began my search.

At this point in the post, I was hoping to wax lyrical about the marvellous folk at the Rothwell Arts and Heritage Centre, of how helpful and friendly they were. In fact, they may well be all those things – I just didnt meet them. I had found the Centres details via Google, carefully noting down the address and opening hours from the website. When I arrived in Rothwell on Monday morning, I tried plugging in the Centres address into my satnav, but it couldnt find it. Well, not in Rothwell, West Yorkshire. But if I fancied a two hour drive, I would find it in Rothwell, Kettering.

Not the best start to my trip! Luckily I found the local library, with some very helpful staff members, and I managed to get photocopies of some old Ordnance Survey maps of the area, which I needed in order to find some of the addresses my ancestors had lived at. With my three research assistants tagging along, I had little time to sit and pore over old maps, so it was a quick copy job and I was out of there. I had enough information to get by with for the next few days.

The Nunns from Yorkshire

Sam Nunns and Alice Cockerham, my great great grandparents, were from the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Sam was born on February 8th, 1874 in Rothwell, to Henry Nunns and Tamar Dickinson.1 Sam became a stone mason.

Alice was born on March 9th, 1878 in Oulton, to Alfred Cockerham and Sarah Ann Kemp.2 She worked as a domestic servant.

Sam and Alice married on January 11th, 1896 in Oulton Church3, and on November 27th that year, their first child, Elsie, was born.4

What prompted them to sail to the other side of the world?  Whatever the reasons, they sailed aboard the Delphic in 1902 and disemarbarked at Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand.  Also travelling with them was Sam’s brother Charles.

The family settled in Lawrence, then Ashburton, and had six more children, before moving to Gisborne on the East Cape of North Island in 1914.  Sam and Alice’s first grandchild, George Alexander Wright (my grandfather) was born just three weeks before their last child, Harry, was born.5 6

  • Elsie NUNNS (1896 – 1985)
    • m. 07 Jun 1917 Alexander WRIGHT7
  • Gordon Eurwin NUNNS (1903 – 1964)
    • m. 1925 Elsie Adelaide SHERWOOD
  • Hector NUNNS (1905 – 1990)
    • m. 1927 Elsie Elizabeth WILLAN
  • Hazel Alberta NUNNS (1906 – 2001)
    • m. 1924 Thomas RHODES
  • Charles Dickinson NUNNS (1907 – 1995)
    • m. 1930 Kathleen Marguerite REILLY
  • Margaret Annie Gwendoline NUNNS (1910 – 1990)
    • m. Robert SHULTZ
    • m. DOWNEY
  • Norman Eric NUNNS (1913 – 1994)
    • m. 1938 Mavis MARSHALL
  • Harry NUNNS (1918 – 1997)
    • m. 1942 Mauville BIRKETT

A lot of the information I have about the family is from research done by a first cousin twice removed and her husband. They are currently working on a book about the family, so I don’t want to steal their thunder by posting some of the stories on here. Can’t wait to read the book!  They also kindly supplied the photo of the family, seen here in a recent Wordless Wednesday post.

  1. England, birth certificate for Sam Nunns; 07 Feb 1874, Rothwell; citing Mar 1874 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 338 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  2. England, birth certificate for Alice Cockerham; 09 Mar 1878, Oulton; citing Jun 1878 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 349 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  3. England, marriage certificate for Sam Nunns and Alice Cockerham; 11 Jan 1896, Oulton; digital image, from original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; citing Mar 1896 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 363 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  4. England, birth certificate for Elsie Nunns; 27 Nov 1896, Rothwell; photocopy, from original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; citing Mar 1897 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 303 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  5. [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], Nunns Family Tree, GEDCOM file supplied 2011.
  6. NZ Dept of Internal Affairs, “Birth Search,” database, Births, Deaths & Marriages Historical Records (https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/ : accessed Jun 2011), entries for Gordon Eurwin Nunns (1903/591), Hector Nunns (1905/12247), Hazel Alberta Nunns (1906/22306), Charles Dickenson Nunns (1908/4031), Margaret Annie Gwendoline Nunns (1910/24707).
  7. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Alexander Wright and Elsie Nunns; 07 Jun 1917, Napier; citing 1917/3264, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

Planning a trip oop North ~ Sorting Saturday

Part of my summer holiday this year will be spent “oop North”, more specifically West Yorkshire.  The Nunns and Cockerhams on the maternal side of my family all come from around the Rothwell area (that I’ve discovered so far in my research), so it makes it easy to base myself in one spot nearby.


View West Riding of Yorkshire in a larger map

I’d done almost no work on this side of the family (my great grandmother’s parents), as there are a few family members already doing research, so I’d left it a bit and concentrated on other lines.  So when I came to actually compiling a list of addresses, churches, graveyards etc, I realised I had very little!  Back to the censuses I went, and it has taken me quite a while to document it all, and I’m still not finished.  I’m also ordering certificates that I haven’t got already, so it’s a slow enough process.

My great grandmother Elsie Nunns is the only great grandparent that I knew – I was in my late teens when she died. She came out as a child with her parents Sam and Alice Nunns from England to New Zealand around 1902.  Sam and Alice went on to have another seven children, and there have been several reunions of their descendents (though I haven’t been able to attend one yet!).


Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.