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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, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

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Nurse-children in our research study area

Our member Catherine Sotheran has been investigating nurse-children in our area, to find out what happened to them later in life.

The 1861 and 1881 censuses reveal seven nurse-children in Dale Street, Dove Street and Swann Street in St Mary's Bishophill Junior Parish, York.


MARGARET BUTTERFIELD  a possible adoption?

Baptised on 25 Mar 1860 at Christ Church, Doncaster, the daughter of David & Elizabeth (nee Cooper?)

1861 she was age 1, born in Doncaster and living with James (a slater, born in Leeds ) and Elizabeth (nee Mollett) Hopton in Dale Street, and listed as a nurse-child. Her parents were in Doncaster (David Butterfield (31), maltster & Elizabeth (36). This raises a question as to why Margaret was fostered in York and the circumstances of her parents.

1871  9 Bexley Sq., Gate Fulford - Margaret HOPTON (11), born YORK is listed as the daughter of James and Elizabeth Hopton.

David Butterfield 41, & Elizabeth 46, are living in Newington, Misson, Doncaster.

1881 11 Haymount Place, Leeds - Margaret HOPTON  (21), born DONCASTER, daughter of James & Elizabeth, so the match in name, ages and birth place suggests possible adoption. Margaret is a woollen mill fuller.


Sep 1883 Margaret BUTTERFIELD married Richard Burnan reg. in Leeds

1891 Coleridge St., Leeds – Richard Burnan (29), brickmaker, Margaret (31) born Doncaster, Margaret A. (6), Harry (4), Charlotte (3), George (1). James HOPTON (76), father-in-law. widower retired slater, born Leeds.

1901 118 Beckett St., Leeds – Richard Burnan (39), Foreman railway carriage cleaner, Margaret (41), Margaret Ann (15), Harry (14 ) butcher's shop assistant, Charlotte (12), George (11), Alfred (4).

1911 91 Morritt Drive, Halton, Leeds - Richard Burnan (49) married cleaner foreman Railway Co., Margaret (25) daughter laundress Leeds Union, Harry (24) carriage cleaner railway, George (21) plaster model maker - pottery, Albert (9). Charlotte died in 1903 age 14.

Margaret is visiting Isaac Greenshaw at Tadcaster (indexed as Burnham)

1915 Margaret dies regd Jun qtr in Hunslet

1926 Richard Burnan dies Mar qtr regd in Leeds



Herbert was born 13 Apr 1860 (1939 Register) and baptised 22 May 1860 in Fulford, son of Robert (no surname) and Emma.

1861 age 11 months he is living with John and Mary A Harper in Dale Street.

His parents Robert 50, an innkeeper, & Emma 43 are at the Victoria Tavern, Gate Fulford, with children Robert (8), B E (6), Florence A (5) , Edith I (3), Reginald (2). (Reginald William was baptised 1 Feb 1859, Fulfords Ambo).

Was Herbert's arrival more than they could cope with ?

Emma died in 1867, age 49.

1871 the family are at Brunswick Houses, Pocklington. Father Robert (wid.), is a retired innkeeper, children Robert Seymour (18), railway clerk, Blanche E (16), Florence A (15), Edith Isabel (13,) Reginald  (12), Herbert J (10)

Robert snr. died in 1880 age 69.

1881 Four of the siblings are living in Nunthorpe Crescent, Bishophill. Blanche 25 is head of the household. Florence (24), (Reginald) William (22), an unemployed ironmonger, Herbert (20) is a corn merchant's office clerk.

On 27 Sep 1884 Herbert married Annie Davis Kerr in Pocklington.

1891 Herbert and Annie are at 22 Richardson St. Bishophill, with children Herbert (4), Douglas (2), Robert (1) month. He is an NER railway clerk

Herbert William W was born Jun. qtr. 1886, registered in Hull. Douglass Quarton Ramsdale was born Jun qtr. 1888 regd. in York. Robert Seymour C born Jun qtr. 1891 regd. in York

1901 Herbert and Annie are at 182 Burton Lane, York. He is still a railway clerk. Children Herbert W (1), Douglas T (12), Robert S (10).

1911 Herbert & Annie are at Brayton Road, Selby. Robert (50) is now an NER Inspector and they have 2 more children, Margaret (9) (born 19 Apr 1901, 1939 register ) and John Jeoffrey (5) (born 28 Jul 1905, death registration). The older children are not with them. Herbert William had died in 1902, aged 16. There is a Robert Ramsdale, (20) single, Post Office clerk, boarding in Doncaster. Douglas is a Third Officer on the vessel Manchester, at Manchester Exchange, Salford (Merchant Navy?)

There was a Margaret Primrose born Jun qtr 1901 regd in York and married Henry S Middleton (born 21 Feb 1900) in Dec qtr 1927 regd in Selby.

John Geoffrey born Sep qtr 1905 regd in York, married Annie B Middleton Sep qtr. 1931 regd in Selby.

1911 Robert Seymour Ramsdale (57), is a retired railway clerk in Derby with wife Ada (51).

Annie D Ramsdale died in 1933 aged 67, regd. in Selby

1939 Herbert is a widowed retired railway clerk at 39 Doncaster Rd, Selby with Hannah Haigh, housekeeper.

John Ramsdale born 28 Jun 1905, a bank manager's clerk. Annie B born 17 May 1904, at 89 Rustlings Road, Sheffield.

Margaret & Henry S Middleton (bank clerk) at 103 Doncaster Road, Selby.

Herbert dies in 1950, regd. in Selby

Douglas Q dies Mar qtr. 1951 regd. in Hull

Robert S C dies Mar qtr 1954 regd in Middlesborough

John Geoffrey dies Dec qtr 1970 regd in Hull


Herbert is back with his birth father in Pocklington in 1871. He was in Dale Street in 1861 with the Harpers. This may have been a necessary response to the poor health of Herbert's mother who died only six years later in 1867. Yes, a child too many in the circumstances of Emma's poor health. Might Herbert be fostered by kin? If not, how would Emma and Robert know that the Harpers fostered? Were there agencies involved, perhaps advertising their services in the local press? Any evidence of the Harpers adopting/fostering others?  Note Herbert died in Selby in 1950, aged 90 - within living memory!

JAMES LAW – a childbirth death?

James LAW born Mar qtr. 1860 York, baptised 21 Apr 1860 at St. Mary Bishophill Jnr. son of James and Sarah (no marriage found yet) South Terrace, Dale St.

1861 James jnr. lived with Thomas and Elizabeth Coates in Dale Street.

James Law ( transcribed Daw ), South Terrace, Dale Street, Occupier ( not head!), widower (30), clerk (bookkeeper), born Grimesthorpe, Yorkshire. Sarah died Jun qtr. 1860 (in childbirth?)

James Snr. remarried in 1862 to Mary Ann Warneford.

In 1871 they lived in Cole Street, Clifton. James (39), railway clerk, Mary A (32) with three children, John W Warneford born 1865 reg. in York (6), Thomas W (4) (Thomas born 1866, regd. in Bradford, York), Thomas (2). (Thomas Warneford born 1869 regd. in York, indexed in the census as Lowe). Census states they were all born in Sheffield. Grimesthorpe is near Sheffield.

1871 James (11) was admitted to the Blue Coat School on 1 Jul 1870, admission no. 1877. Settlement was St. Thomas, Clifton. Sureties were John Welsh, baker, Colliergate, and Edwin Warneford, draper, Groves. Edwin was Mary Ann's brother. James was a printer when he left Blue Coat in 1874.  Given his residence was Clifton where his father and step-mother lived, did he return to his father? Did the arrival of three more children inform the decision to send James to the Blue Coat School ?

1881 James (21), single, printer, the census recording him as a visitor with Thomas and Elizabeth Coates at 24 Dale Street

In 1882 James married Constance Mary Freeman, 8 Apr Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, New Street

He died Jun qtr. 1890, aged 30, York

1891 Constance M, (30), nurse, widow. Her children: William L (8), Constance E (3), Thomas H (2)  and  Annie J 0 (birth regd. Jun qtr.1890, I wonder if James got to see his daughter before he died?)

1898 Constance Mary married Arthur Yardley.

1901 at 102 Walmgate with Constance E, Thomas & Annie.


ELIZA ANNIE MILBURN –  a young single mother ?

Her birth is registered Sep qtr. 1878 in York. Her mother's maiden name is recorded as Brennan on the transcription, but this is not on the image of the register. Her birth certificate states she was born 25 May at 19 Kyme Street, York. Her father was Joseph Milburn, engine fitter and her mother was Mary Elizabeth Milburn, formerly Brennan, who registered the birth. A Milburn/Brennan marriage or a possible match for Joseph has not been found.

She was baptised 15 Feb 1879 at St. Mary Bishophill Senior, the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Milburn, 9 Swann Street, SPINSTER. Could Mary have 'invented' the father and former surname?

Mary Elizabeth has not been found in any other records.

1881 she is aged 2, living with Henry and Jane Ward at 29 Swann Street, listed as a nurse child.

1891 Eliza Annie Ward aged 12 is living with Henry J Ward in Bright Street, listed as a daughter.

1899 she marries Alfred Pratt , Dec. qtr York

1901 Eliza A (22) & Alfred Pratt (23), chocolate maker, son Alfred H ( Henry ) 1 ( birth regd Mar qtr. 1900, York ), are boarders with Henry J Ward (52), Night watchman NER works.

1911 living 7 Dundas St. Alfred is a fishmonger's assistant, children Fredrick (9), Clara (7), Hilda (5), Edith (3), Louisa (2,) Francis (0)

Alfred may have died 1925, regd Mar qtr in York age 47 and Eliza A Mar qtr 1938 regd in Bulmer age 59.


WALTER HENDERSON – another child too many ?

George Henderson married Eliza Almond Jun qtr. 1841 regd in York. 3 May 1841 Holy Trinity, King's Square

1851 Calm Cottage, Huntington – George Henderson (31) confectioner, Eliza (31), Sarah Jane (6), John Henry(2), Thomas Charles (0). Also three servants - farm servant, cook and nurse.

Walter James Henderson born Jun qtr 1858 regd in York, mother's maiden name Almond.

1861 Walter aged 2 is living with Charles and Elizabeth Wand in Dale Street

At 97 Micklegate - George Henderson (41) confectioner shopkeeper, Eliza (41), Sarah Jane (16) confectioner's    assistant, ( bapt, 2 Apr 1845, St. Crux ), John H (12) ( John Henry bapt.. 24 Sep 1848 St. Crux ) , Thomas C (10) (Thomas Charles bapt. 30 Jun 1850, St. Crux), George A (7) (George Alfred bapt. 17 Apr 1853, Huntington), Ann E (5) (Ann Eliza bapt.3 Apr 1856 York).  Also three assistants and a general domestic servant.

Likely had two more children, both baptised at either Monk Bar or New Street Chapel.

Arthur born 19 Aug 1861, bapt. 20 Aug and death regd. Sep qtr. 1861

Edward Ernest born 29 Jan 1863, bapt. 20 Feb and died Mar qtr. 1863

1871 Nunthorpe Crescent – George Henderson (50) confectioner, Eliza (50), Sarah Jane (26,) John Hy (22) student of theology, George Alfred (18 ) confectioner, Annie E (15,) Walter (12) scholar, and two servants.

1879 Walter Henderson marries Mary Ann Watson, regd. Mar qtr 1879 in Barnet, which spans the counties of Hertfordshire and Middlesex.

1881 95 Copenhagen Street, Islington, London – Walter J (30), assistant clerk, Mary Ann (32), Walter G 1 (Granville A birth reg. Mar qtr. 1880 in Marylebone, death Sep qtr. 1883 reg. in Edmonton). Wrong ages in the census?

1891 Stretford Road, Stretford, Barton upon Irwell, Lancashire – Walter J Henderson (33) dentist & local preacher, Mary A (34) born Carlisle, Annie L F (9) born Islington, Mary L (2) born Manchester.

1901 170 Park Road, Hornsey, Edmonton, Middlesex – Walter James Henderson (43 ) shop & gas fitter, Mary Ann (44), Annie Laura Florie (19) born Islington, Mary Lilian (12) born Manchester, Jessie Mabel (7) born Manchester.

On 26 Jun 1906 Walter James made a Freeman claim, by birthright. He was a dentist, baptised in St. John, Micklegate and the son of George Henderson.

1911 North Villa 21 Fulford Road, York – Walter (transcribed William ) James (52) dental manager, Mary Ann (53), Anne Louise Flogwin? (dodgy transcript ) (29 )dentist's assistant, Mary Lillian (22)  bookkeeper to dental firm, Jessie Mabel (17) at home, housework.

Walter J dies Mar qtr 1932, age 76. Probate death index – Henderson, Walter James of 2 Sandringham Street, York died 27 Jan 1932. Administration 18 Mar to Mary Ann Henderson, widow. Effects £1389 0s. 8d.

This family seemed to move around quite a lot.

Comment: Fostering was temporary, with Walter with his birth family in 1871. Given his parents occupational status as business people it is unclear why he is fostered to the Wards. Perhaps a shortage of accommodation at 97 Micklegate?

Query his occupational trajectory:

1891 dentist - and local preacher - are on the census record.

1901 shop and gas fitter

1906 dentist

His fostering appears to have not impacted on his occupational progression, and he left a substantial probate.




Robert (D) Lawrence Wait b. Sep qtr. 1857 Darlington. 1861 aged 4, Whaite

Henry Jenkins b. 1860, bapt. 9 Jun 1861, St. Lawrence, son of Thomas & Louisa. 1861 aged 1

In 1861 both are living with  Robert (45) & Charlotte (51) (nee Sanderson) Bell in Dale Street .

Might Henry be the illegitimate son of Lois (sic) Bell, who later married Thomas and had Henry baptised after marriage?



1841 – 1911 censuses

1939 Register, text copied from website, also available on

The 1939 Register is a genealogical resources for England and Wales. The 1931 census was destroyed by fire. No census was taken in 1941 because of the war. So the 1939 register is the only national census-like resource available for this period. When war became inevitable the British Government issued National Identity cards, and planned mobilisation of the population and introduction of rationing. The most recent census was now almost a decade old, so more up-to-date statistics were needed. Preparations had begun for the 1941 census, so the Government capitalised on this to register the civilian population.  Identity cards were issued, and used until 1952.The Government updated and changed the 1939 Register over time to take account of changes of address or deaths. The 1939 Register can include different names for people at different points in their lives from 1939 to 1991. It was usually annotated when people married, divorced, were adopted or changed their name. – subscription but free access at Explore libraries – subscription but free access at Explore libraries