A Historical Miscellany of Stocksbridge & District
I am an amateur historian and keen genealogist. I have created this website to share my findings with a wider audience.
Here you will find a wide cross-section of things I have come across in my research, which I invite you to explore and enjoy. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to share.
This website is in its early days - more to follow!
Last Updated: 28th June 2021
** This site is best viewed on a computer. The pages have been "optimised" for viewing on a mobile phone but it's still better on a large screen if you have one **
Welcome to Stocksbridge Times Past
….Or the reason I became interested in family history…..
Winter days in my childhood were the time for tales and mysteries. Sitting besides the coal fire, listening to the wind rattling the window panes and the rain driving hard on the glass, my grandma would sit in her favourite chair and tell me stories of times past. As I sat in grandad's big old armchair, snug as a bug, staring into the flames at a fantasy world of dragons and wizards, the coal burning bright in the hearth, a silence would descend, and a spell fall on that dark room. And as the shadows played on the walls and ceiling, and the outside world darkened beyond the windows, grandma would begin spinning her magic.
Ah, the family legend…..just who was the mysterious ancestor, a ‘Lady in her own right’, owning her own crested linen and silver? There was talk of a romantic elopement, the "lady" running away with one of the servants - the family's coachman - and the inevitable consequence - being disowned, never to be referred to again, all references to her destroyed, gone as if she never existed for bringing shame on the family. But where did she go, and who was she? More tales emerged over time - a young girl stolen away by white slave traders and never heard of again, and another who was a “Queen’s nurse.”
Sadly, almost half a century later, I am no closer to finding out who this "titled lady" was, or even if she existed at all. Perhaps it is best left as a fireside tale, full of mystery and romance. I did my best to find out for my grandma who she was, as she truly believed the legend, but I am no closer now than I was then, although I have certainly unearthed some secrets along the way.
Family legends and fabulous stories …. It's easy to forget why I became interested in family history, in an age when everything seems to have been computerised and available at the click of a mouse, when the days of travelling the country and trawling through the original registers under the eagle eye of an archivist are long gone, and there is no need to scroll through a whole microfilm of the census return to find what you are looking for. Technology is a wonderful thing, but I have written this to remind myself of how it all began…….