Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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John Etty

Tom Etty has contacted us about his family. His great-great grandfather, John Etty, and his wife Rebecca lived in Nunnery Lane for more than thirty years in the later part of the 19th century.

ScanJohn Etty, who was born in 1806, started his adult life as a gingerbread baker and a grocer, in line with the trades of his father and grandfather who were millers and bakers. He became a York Freeman in 1827. He had a shop in the Shambles and later in Walmgate.

John Etty  

By the late 1830s however he was growing tired of baking and took up a new job in Ulleskelf, as a railway policeman (gatekeeper) at the newly opened station on the York and North Midland Railway. He worked there for about ten years before retiring, at a relatively young age, probably thanks to some financial help given by his children. Four of them had emigrated in the 1840s and 50s to Java in the (then) Dutch East Indies, where their great-uncle Charles Etty owned sugar factories.

Scan0004Rebecca Etty

His wife Rebecca, a few years older than John, was the daughter of a single mother from Aysgarth, where she was born in 1802. She was living in York (parish of St Michael-le-Belfry) when they married in 1830, and possibly was a servant there at the time. The couple went on to have seven children, but the eldest two (twins) died shortly after birth.

In 1871 they were living at New York Terrace, which is the row of houses on the north east side of Nunnery Lane, later moving to Clementhorpe Terrace, further along towards the eastern end. Rebecca died in 1879 and John died in 1883, at 16 Clementhorpe Terrace, in the third house opposite Spencer Street, and subsequently renumbered as 70 Nunnery Lane.

Nunnery Lane view

16 Clementhorpe Terrace, subsequently renumbered as 70 Nunnery Lane, would have been on the right here, probably in the far background.

Their daughter Catherine (Kitty) later moved across the road to 99 Nunnery Lane. She died in 1908 and is buried alongside them at York Cemetery.Scan0002


John’s only claim to fame was that the painter William Etty was his uncle (a younger brother of his father John).