Saturday 8 December 2012

Barnsley Brettoners, spellings and scandals

When I first came across this unusual name in the OH’s tree it was at such a distant stretch that I noted it and carried on – after all marrying a second cousin five times removed hardly makes the top ten of family relationships!  However in my recent meandering around Nelson Street looking for a pub I noticed the Brettoner family had turned up again.  And when I was charging around the British Newspaper Archive last weekend I entered Brettoner as a search term as it is a very ‘good’ name – getting a nice sudden death to add to my tree (father in law to that second cousin 5x removed).   

Yesterday I tried to add all the information I had collected about the Brettoner family to my tree – and, as usual, ended up with far more Brettoners than I had bargained on.  Also Brittoners, Buttoners, Brettinners and almost every combination of vowels you could possibly imagine.  I soon worked out that the best way to search for them was Br*t*r and sometimes leave the rs out as well if I was really desperate to find a missing family member. Double t seemed standard though, well it was about time something was!  Transcribers seem to have particular trouble with Uriah, it often appears as Wriah – never a name surely? 

Looking at the families various marriage certificates it was a little hard to see why there were so many variations – the patriarch of the Barnsley branch, Uriah, who married in 1813 in High Hoyland could write his name although his wife signed the register with a cross. 
Marriage certificate of Uriah Brettoner and Ruth Johnson 1813, High Hoyland (from Ancestry)
High Hoyland is about 6 miles north west of Barnsley, the nearest village is Clayton West (which seems to be in the High Hoyland parish) and this Brettoner family appear to originate from these two villages.  I can’t find any Brettoners (or any other spelling prior to 1779, the baptism of John and Elizabeth Brettoner’s eldest son Giles.  There are hits on the web for an earlier Joel Brettoner (which does appear to be a family name) but I can only find the promulgation of one comment and not the original source.  It’s that Wiki feature – if enough people make the same comment then it must be true! Ha! 

Note that Uriah says he's from Darfield parish in the above marriage certificate - maybe he was apprenticed there before he married, but returns to High Hoyland to marry his sweetheart from back home.

Judging by the places he has his children baptised, Uriah, who works as a Tailor, arrives in Barnsley by 1815, with a detour to Darton in 1818, and back to Barnsley by 1822.  He dies in 1836 (the burial was not on Ancestry, but it was in the Barnsley FHS burial transcripts for St Mary’s Barnsley) leaving his wife Ruth and three remaining sons (two die young) to run the family tailoring business.  Ruth recruits a nephew, Uriah’s sister’s son, Richard Hey, and he is living with her in the 1841 and 1851 census returns.
New Street Barnsley in 1841 and 1851: Ruth Brettoner and the lodger, Richard Hey, her nephew (from Ancestry)
By 1841 her eldest son John has married, had five children and died in the space of six years, leaving his wife Ann with a very young family, living near to Ruth on New Street, Barnsley.  Youngest surviving son Uriah jnr, born 1822, is lodging with a family nearby on Park Row and is working as a journeyman linen weaver, and with the unique hindsight available to we family historians have it is easy to see that living nearby is the family of Joseph Chappell, whose daughter Hannah Uriah jnr marries in 1849.  Not before a bit of scandal though …

I don’t know why Uriah and Hannah don’t marry when she becomes pregnant with their daughter in 1845.  There seems no doubt Uriah is the father as on Emma’s baptism record Britton is recorded as her middle name.  (When she marries she uses Brettoner as her full middle name and this is the girl who marries the OH's second cousin 5x removed.)
Baptism of Emma Britton(er) Chapel 22 Nov 1846 at St Mary's, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
Meanwhile down the road on New Street, more scandal, the widow Ann Brettoner has mysteriously managed to have several more children since her husband John died in 1840.  William is baptised in 1844 as the son of Ann as a single woman, but Ann, baptised 2 years later is credited with a father, Richard Brettoner who does not exist, however this does give us a clue as to what is going on.  Meanwhile little William has died aged about 18 months.  On the 1851 census there is also Eliza aged 10 months, but I can’t find a baptism of any kind for her.  Later a Harriet, b.1847 also crops up. (Someone on Ancestry thinks this is the same person as Ann, b. 1846, but I’m not so sure as I can see entries for both on FreeBMD.)

1851 census Ann Brettoner on New Street, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
In 1853 Richard Hey, the lodger from Ruth Brettoner’s tailor’s shop, makes an honest woman of Ann Brettoner, the widow of his landlady’s eldest son.  Now you understand the significance of little Ann's father being the mythical Richard Brettoner!  They have a son, William (again!) in 1855 but unfortunately for Ann, just when life seems to be going well, Richard himself is taken from her the following year.  She is left without a husband again.  There are still two Brettoner sons, Uriah (b.1838) and John (b.1840) to carry on the name,  (Don’t get confused, the family names do tend to repeat – I’ll try to keep it clear which one I am talking about!) plus William their Hey half-brother.

Ruth Brettoner, widow of the first Uriah (b.1791) also dies in 1856, the same year as Richard Hey. 

Joseph Brettoner, the middle son of Uriah snr and Ruth, who was still at home in 1841 and who is a Linen Weaver, marries Elizabeth Bond in 1843 at Royston parish church.  They have at least 5 children including 2 sons who carry on the Brettoner name.

Uriah Brettoner (b.1822), the youngest son, marries Hannah Chappel in 1849, who as you may recall is the mother of his illegitimate child.  They have two more daughters and both Uriah and Hannah live relatively long lives for the period, ending with a quick death for Uriah in 1893 (as described in a previous post) and a nice solid gravestone in Barnsley Cemetery.  Uriah has worked to improve himself, moving up from a Linen Weaver’s journeyman to a Book Keeper then a Clerk and finally a long career as a Colliery Check Weighman. 

The story of Ann Brettoner, widow of Uriah and Ruth’s eldest son hasn't finished though.  She married Richard Hey (the lodger nephew), but he died shortly after their marriage leaving her with yet more children, some born out of wedlock.  In the 1871 census she appears for what I think is the last time, living with her widowed daughter Harriet Midgley (b.1847) and granddaughter Sarah Ann Midgley.  When Harriet, her daughter, married William Midgley in 1867 she gaves no father’s name, so maybe she isn’t Richard Hey’s daughter after all.  William dies in 1870, aged only 26.  He was a coal miner so I expect when I can get to the Barnsley Chronicle again (when the Archives reopen in May 2013) that I will find it was some kind of work related death.
1871 census New Street, Barnsley Ann (nee Wagstaff, formerly Brettoner) Hayes (from Ancestry)
I’m not sure when Ann dies, despite signing her name when she married John Brettoner in 1834 she appears to have lost the skill by 1853 when she marries Richard, signing the register on that occasion with a X and in 1871 she allows herself to be enumerated as Hayes instead of Hey. In which case she may be the Ann Hayes who dies in 1875 - the address in the burial record for Barnsley Cemetery does match the 1871 census return. 

William Hey (Hayes) marries in 1877, he doesn't give a father's name either on his marriage certificate.  Could it be that they just don't mention Richard because he's dead or maybe William really doesn't know - he was only one year old when Richard died?  Unfortunately poor William is killed at Monk Bretton colliery in 1884, leaving his wife Mary Ann with at least 3 little children - life repeating itself again.  Mary Ann remarries within 2 years, but in an odd, but happy sort of way, when she dies in 1909 she is buried with William.

Harriet (nee Brettoner or maybe Hey, formerly Midgley) goes on to live with and bear 4 children to a William Legg, but never marries him (that I can find).  She dies with that name in 1890. Oddly her Legg(e) children never seem to marry ...

Bear in mind that Uncle Uriah (b.1822) doesn’t die until 1893 and appears to be a respected member of the community I wonder what he thought of his sister in law and niece’s carryings on? Or bearing in mind his own tardiness in getting married, was it a case of people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!


Noel B said...

I tried to email you via the "Linda" link on the Family History page, but it bounced when trying to send from my yahoo email address.
Could you please email me an email address I can get you on?.
Many thanks,
Noel Brettoner

Noel B said...

Hello & Happy New 2015 to you Linda, from wet soggy Coffs Harbour NSW Australia ;-)

At the beginning of your article you mention:-
" – the patriarch of the Barnsley branch, Uriah, who married in 1813 in High Hoyland could write his name although his wife signed the register with a cross. "

I was wondering how you came to pinpoint Uriah as being the "Barnsley Brettoners" patriarch?.
I too have come to this conclusion, but I'm sure your research & experience in such matters is far superior than mine :)
Is he the earliest Barnsley Brettoner you have been able to identify?. He certainly comes from what appears to be a very early ancestral location for our side of the family (West Riding).
Do you have any further findings regarding 'us mob' ? :)
If so, I would be most gratefully delighted to receive same please. :)
I trust you are well, & enjoying the anticipation of not-too-far-away-now warmer weather.

kind regards,
Noel Brettoner

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Hello Noel,

You have my email address - we exchanged messages in July last year. I am not sure what more I can add to the information we exchanged at that time.

I will email you.

Unknown said...

My name is Eric Brettoner son of Eric I was bone 1952 from barnsley

Unknown said...

I would like to hear from anybody called brettoner

Unknown said...

My grandparents were archie and Alice brettoner