Friday, 6 September 2013

A lucky find - the rest of Worsborough Common Methodist Baptisms discovered

I've been working on the Cudworth Methodist Baptisms for the past few weeks at Barnsley Archives and yesterday I ordered up the registers as usual to continue the transcription. 

The production of documents at the Archives can vary between five to ten minutes, which is quite quick in comparison to other places I've been - provided they are in the building of course; surprisingly despite the new Discovery Centre and Archives in the Town Hall building they still don't seem to have room for all the documents that have been deposited and it appears that many items remain in the outstore(s).  I suppose it also depends on the number of staff on duty and how easy it is to find and access a particular document request - when my friend GB asked for a collection yesterday she had to separate her request into sections as the whole thing would have been too big to look through at one go - but sometimes it is hard to work that out from the entries in the catalogues.

While I was waiting for the register to come up in the little lift from the storage area downstairs I had a bit of a wander around the Archive search room.  There have been a few changes in the last week, the new electronic microfilm and fiche readers are up and running and this has necessitated a bit of rearrangement of furniture.  Unfortunately the new tech does seem to take up a lot of table space and there are lots and lots of cables connecting them all up which will hopefully be hidden away in future weeks.  The contrast on the images is good though and eminently adjustable so it doesn't matter so much that we can't turn the lights off at just that end of the room.  We are still awaiting the digitised Barnsley Chronicle though ...

The new readers consist of a large flat screen monitor, which can be turned portrait or landscape, a electronic reader portion and a keyboard all wired up to a computer lurking at the back of this picture
A very similar microfilm/fiche reader to the new ones at Barnsley Archives
(from the VereHarmsworth Library blog)
I noticed that one of the fiche cabinet drawers was labelled Non-Conformist Registers and I idly wondered if there were registers for any more of the places that I'm particularly interested in.  At the very back of the section I found the fiche for Worsbrough Common United Free Church - I was aware that the name for the Chapel up at the top of Worsborough Common had changed over time as this topic had cropped up during my earlier hunt for the actual baptism registers, as discussed in one of my earlier blog posts here.  Previously I have seen name noted as the Worsborough Common Primitive Methodist chapel and the Worsborough Common United Methodist Chapel - again note the now removed extra 'o' in Worsborough, it was officially omitted from around about the 1960s.

Looking at the various packets of fiche with that label I saw they ran from 1874 to 1993 which is exactly what the entry on Access to Archives says for the Worsbrough Common Methodist Chapel registers.  So different name, same chapel!
A large group of smartly dressed 1900 ish men and women sat in a formal group with a soldier lying casually at the front.  A small chapel behind with a window on either side of a central porch.
Probably Worsborough Common Chapel or Free Church (Barnsley Archives)

Interestingly the picture found by GB last week that was catalogued as being 'probably' the chapel has the words "Free Church" over the door.  I think that the recumbent soldier in front of the group dates the photo to around the time of the First World War or just before as that cap looks very familiar.

I had just about finished the first volume of Cudworth baptisms - the list of Methodist ministers in Cudworth that I found in the Cudworth History Group's archive has been very useful for deciphering some of the ministers' signatures - so I asked if I could move my laptop to one of the fiche readers to continue with the Worsborough records where I had left off last year.  It was a bit tricky fitting my computer onto the already crowded table but eventually I was slotted in, wrist rest and all!

I had forgotten the poor literacy standard of the Worsborough ministers, if I had found the Cudworth registers difficult (one chap just didn't cross his 't's making Hettie look like Hellie for example) they had been easy compared to the Worsborough ones.  The spellings are phonetic and you can guess what they are meant to be, but of course when doing a transcription you have to copy what is written, not what you think it is ...

Here are a few examples from the register:

11 Oct 1891
Lorance Frederick William
Lorance and Florance
Wosbro Common
9 Nov ?
Thomas Nuttall
1 Oct 1893
John and Ruth
Taylor Row, Worsbro Common
20 Aug 1893
Joseph Cauldwell
8 Oct 1893
Annice Beetres
James and Jane Elizier
Wosbro Common
1 Sep 1893
Ben Moss
19 Nov 1893
Ernest Athuar
Mark and Marthuer
Wosbro Common
21 May 1893
John Ellin

So we have Lorance, for Lawrence I suppose, Burrous is Burrows, Beetres must be Beatrice and Athuar and Marthuer really tell you the way the Barnsley accent stresses the ends of the names Arthur and Martha.

I managed to transcribe just over forty records in an hour which was about half of one fiche from the two in the 1891-1904 packet, so it will take me a few more weeks to complete my new find - but I've already found a couple of names I recognise and GB was thrilled with Hannah Burrous (sic) as she is the daughter of chap in her tree who seems to use the surnames Burrows or Fretwell interchangeably and at least she now knows that he was using Burrows in 1893!

Thanks to the staff in the Archives for their patience - everything is beginning to come together in their new home - and every time I visit someone new comes in with a query and hopefully stays to find out more!


Chris Pampling said...

I had to laugh at the spellings of the names in the registers. Takes me back to my time teaching Basic Literacy at Barnsley College: one of my students was called "Machel". Apparently it was pronounced "Michelle" but her dad couldn't spell...

BarnsleyHistorian said...

From Ian Evans by email:
Pretty certain I can confirm this is Worsborough Common Methodist Chapel where I attended Sunday School in the 1960's. At some point towards the end of the 1960's a new Chapel / extension was built adjacent & to the north of this building; the old Chapel building was still standing in 1971 when me & my Family left Worsborough Common. The view in the picture is taken from south of the building. Inside the altar was on the west side (the left side in the photo). There were tiered pews on the east side (right in the photo) and the faces in the window would have been seated in these elevated pews. I will search out old family photos of the Barman's / Mountain's (my mothers family) & see if anyone one of them is identifiable in the photo.