The early registers of Brooms Church at Leadgate, the first Catholic Church in the Consett area, contain a lot on information of interest to the family or local historian. As my Monaghan and McGerity/Gerrety ancestors came from the village of Dunamore, in Kildress Parish, between Cookstown and Omagh in County Tyrone, I was interested to see the marriages of several people from Dunamore in the Brooms Parish Register. Below are details of Dunnamore marriages at Brooms, and details from subsequent censuses about the families in question.
In August 1846 John Murphy, son of James Murphy and Ellis Conway of Pomroy Co. Tyrone, married Ann Lockeran, daughter of Patrick Lockeran of Pomeroy. The witnesses were William McNamee and Mary Larkin, both of Puddlers Row, near Berry Edge. Puddlers Row, along with one or two rows in the rear of what became Front Street was identified as one of the first streets in Consett to be built by 1844. The entry in the register by the Rev. A N Dunmock does not specify Pomeroy Parish, the names are found in Kildress, which is in the locality of Pomeroy, so either bride or groom could have come from Kildress but there is no proof that they did.
William McNamee of Berry Edge, married Mary Anne McGurk, also of Berry Edge at Brooms on 11 February, 1847. William was the son of Patrick McNamee and Bridget (Keeney), and Mary Ann the daughter of P McGurk and Catherine (Donley), both families of Kildress. The witnesses were John McGurk and Helen Fox both of Berry Edge. The Kildress baptismal register records Donley and Fox families related by marriage in Kildress. Bridget McNany (sic) was baptised at brooms on 23 February 1848, the daughter of William and Mary, the sponsors were John McNany and Mary Darcy. Even allowing for variations in spelling, none of the parties to these two marriages can be found in the Consett area, or elsewhere in Durham on subsequent censuses. As described above a William McNamee, of Puddler’s Row nr Berry Edge was the witness at the Murphy-Locheran wedding
James Corr, son of John and Bridget (Hughes) of Pomroy parish, married Mary O’Brien, daughter of James and Susan (McClean) of Kildress on 5 August 1847. Both bride and groom lived in Blackhill. The witnesses were Nancy Smith of Ushaw College and Jane Stealford of Brooms. The couple appear on the 1851 census at 228 Berry Edge as James and Mary Carr [which is how someone with a Tyrone accent would pronounce the name Corr]. The presence of John (17) and Margaret (19) O’Brien in the household (relations) confirms that this was the couple who were married on 5 August; Michael Kelly (visitor) completed the household.
On 9th January 1848 William Parks*, son of John and Margaret (Johnson) of Louth Parish in Co. Louth, married Susan Grimes, daughter of Thomas Grimes and Hannah McGurk of Kildress. The witnesses were Peter Fitzgerald and Margaret Newton. At the time of the 1851 census William and Margaret Parks, and their two children were lodgers with Patrick and Margaret McUllah [sic] at Tow Law Huts, Tow Law. Census and church records show several of the Consett Irish spent some time in Tow Law, where coal and iron were the main industries, just as in Consett.
As described in ‘Weardale, Clearing the Forest” ’housing the new labour [for the pits and iron works of Tow Law] was a pressing problem, often resulting in temporary accommodation of sods and wooden roofs covering hovels of one room and a toilet. Their occupants were described as rude, uncouth drinkers and gamblers thriving on whisky and cards. Many of them were Irish’**. While this description of the inhabitants of the huts follows the easy option of the stereotype, it gives some insight into conditions of life in Tow Law in those years. Another description of the Tow Law Huts is given by Newrick Grant *** ‘There existed also at Tow Law an old street of huts now demolished, on the site where the aged miners homes now stand. They were crudely built of stones, mud and sods and the foundations rested on peat. There was a trench cut through the kitchen floor and the people were so poor that the children used each side of the trench for a seat and their feet used to dangle over’. William and his host Patrick were coal miners.
*In the register John’s surname name looks like Packy and his father’s like Parkes. The online index and later census returns record a Parks Grimes wedding.
**Peter Bowes 1990.
***Memoirs of Tow Law Tow Law Local History Society
A school inspector who visited Tow Law in 1853 commented on the low number of children in school, and went on to explain that boys under 13 were earning seven shillings and six pence, to fifteen shillings a week at the pit. These high rates of remunerations” said the Inspector “are attended with very serious evils: they are in fact, the one great hindrance to the elementary education for the children of the working classes. Employment is so plentiful and wages so high, that the education of a child is set aside for the weekly return of his labour.”
Ten years later in 1861 William Parkes was the head of the house at Leadgate, no fuller address was given. By 1871, William (48) and Susan (42) were at 216 School Sq Leadgate. There were five children in the family, the eldest two boys, working at the pit; Patrick (13) was already underground as a pony driver. His younger brother William (10) was too young to work underground, the Coal Mines Act of 1842 had prohibited such work for boys under 10, so William was ‘working at screens’. This means he would have spent his day separating coal from stone, and perhaps grading different sizes of coal. So as in Tow Law families could not afford to keep boys in school, rather than at work. Other members of the Parks household were Patrick and John, William’s brother and nephew, both miners. Margaret (22) and Mary (5 months) Farrell completed the family, Margaret, William and Susan’s daughter had married Owen Farrell early in 1869, and Mary was their granddaughter. This census confirms that the William Parks came from Louth, and the Susan Grimes from Tyrone.
Patrick Lockeran, son of Thomas Locheran and Mary McCready of Donomow (sic) Co Tyrone married Ann Newman, the daughter of William and Ann (Thompson) of Leitrim Parish, Co Leitrim. The marriage took place on 12 March 1848, both bride and groom lived in Blackhill, the witnesses were Ralph and Elizabeth Hall of Brooms.
On the 20 June 1848 Charles Kelly married Sarah Broadley. The priest, R Smith seems to have made a mistake in the register, as Charles Kelly’s patents are listed as Patrick McAvoy and Sarah (Kelly). I assume they were in fact Patrick Kelly and Sarah (McAvoy). Sarah was the daughter of Felix Broadley and Sarah (Mucklehatton sic – McElhatton), both of Kildress Parish. The witnesses at the wedding were Henry Knowles of Ushaw College, the Catholic seminary and Jane Stratford of Brooms. Unusually Henry was English, a cordwainer, or cobbler born in Yorkshire, he was also old for a witness at a wedding, - forty nine. His wife Margaret had been born at Stonyhust, Lancashire, the location of another Catholic College. The bride and groom both lived in Blackhill at the time of their wedding, but as with many of these families they do not appear on subsequent censuses; perhaps they emigrated.
Philip Mohun and Jane Hacky were married on 5 October 1848; Philip’s parents were Patrick Mohan and Helen (Mackleroy) of Aughivar (sic) Parish Co Fermanagh, presumably Aghavea Parish. Jane’s parents were Michael Hacky and Ann (McClosky) of Kildress Parish. Both bride and groom lived in Blackhill. The witnesses were Philip Mohan of Blackhill and Mary Lawson of Berry Edge. There is some confusion about the spelling of the groom’s and particularly the bride’s surname. The online marriage index lists the bride and groom as Philip Moon and Jane Haggy.
The wedding was conducted by Fr Smith, a Lancastrian from the village of Woodplumpton, just north of Fleetwood. The village was a stronghold of old English Catholicism or ‘papist recusancy’. It seems clear that Fr Smith was not conversant with Irish surnames, or the names and spellings of Irish parishes, however it is due to the detail in the registers he completed, and those of his Irish successor, Fr Francis Kearney that it is possible to pinpoint the origins of many of the Consett Irish. By the time of the 1851 census Fr Smith was the priest at Penrith.
By 1851 Philip and Jane had had a baby girl, Ellen (2). They were lodging with Patrick Donley, Philip and Jane’s surname is recorded as Mohan, this is a recognised spelling of an Irish name. Also in the household was Anne Haughley (60), an Irish widow, and surely Jane’s mother, the last member of the household was Patrick Haughey (21) and like the other two men in the house an Irish labourer.
With Patrick Haughey I think we have arrived at a spelling which reflects the actual sound of the surname. The church register of St Mary’s Dunamore, Kildress shows that a Nigel Donley was the husband of a Janet Haughey in the townland of Tulnacross, the next townland to Dunamore. This may explain why the Mohan family were lodging with Patrick Donley; it’s likely that Patrick was a relative of Philip Mohan’s wife and mother in law. Even in the St Mary’s Dunamore parish register Donley and Haughey are spelt in two or three different ways; this is explained by the fact that the Kildress was in transition from being a Gaelic speaking to an English speaking society, and from an illiterate society to one where the skills of reading and writing were becoming more common. There were Haugheys in Kildress in 1827, at the time of the TAB* land survey, but by the 1860 GVI** survey they had gone, driven out it seems by the famine..
The Mohans appear on the 1861 census in Middlesbrough at Green’s Yard, Commercial St, their surname spelled phonetically as Moan. The birthplaces of the Mohan children suggest the family moved from Consett to Middlesbrough between 1851 and 1855.
*The Composition Act of 1823 specified Tithes to the establish (Anglican) church should be paid in money, rather than in kind (i.e. in goods, potatoes, flax etc). Tithe Applotment Books survey was undertaken to establish how much each landholder would pay. The tithes were resented by Catholics and Dissenters. Kildress was surveyed in 1827; the names, addresses and land holdings of all tenants and owners were recorded. The books survive and in the absence of the census returns from 1821 to 1891, they offer the only record of the Irish population in the 1820’s.
**Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, a similar exercise to the Tithe Applotment Survey, was undertaken between 1848 and 1864. It offers a snapshot of those holding land, in the case of Kildress in 1860. The purpose of this survey was to fix the level of local taxes to be paid by those on the land.
William Killen was the son of James and Ann (McGuire) of Drumaroad Parish Co Down. He married Anne Meloy, daughter of John and Sarah (Small) of Kildress on 26 June 1849. Both bride and groom lived in Blackhill and the witnesses were Richard McGiven and Margaret Conway of Blackhill. Two years later William (25) and Ann (21) were at 97 Berry Edge in 1851. They had had a daughter, Sarah who was 11 months old. William was an iron works labourer. Their lodger, John Garling (16) was a coal miner. A 20 year old Margaret Conway, presumably the witness at the wedding was the eldest of the eight children of Francis and Mary Conway of Blackhill at the time of the 1851 census, lodging in the Conway household was Peter McGeraghty a labourer. The entire household was Irish born.
On 26 November 1850 Fr Francis Kearney officiated at the marriage of Thomas McKew, son of Lawrence and Mary McKew of Berry Edge, to Margaret Malone, daughter of Hugh and Anna Malone of Dunamore. The bride and groom lived in Berry Edge. A Thomas (28) McCue and his wife * Margaret (30) were at Stobbs Wood Head, in Ebchester Parish with mother, Margaret (60) a widow and brother Patrick (23). In fact the 1st Ordinance Survey Map of Conside/Consett, shows Stobbs Head Wood was in the middle of the modern Consett at the corner of Delves Lane and Sherburn Terrace. Thomas and Thomas Hines (23) his lodger, were both Iron stone labourers. These occupations are interesting as though iron making in the Consett area began on the basis of local coal and ironstone it was soon realised that better quality ore could be bought at a lower price from workings in the Cleveland Hills. At first ore was brought across the dry ravine at Hownes Gill by an inclined plane system, designed by Robert Stephenson, powered by a stationary engine. The bridge at Hownes Gill was designed by Sir Thomas Bouch, the designer of the ill-fated Tay Bridge. Unlike Sir Thomas’ infamous Scottish project, the 750 ft long 12 arched viaduct has stood the test of time, perhaps because of amendments to the original design suggested by Robert Stevenson!
*Thomas’ McCue wife was Mary, and his mother Margaret. Were they the Stobs Wood family?
Peter Duffy was the son of James and Anna Duffy of Killarney; on 25 January 1851 he married Bridget Grimes, the daughter of John and Hannah of Kildress. The couple lived in Blackhill at the time of their marriage. The witnesses were Michael Small and Margaret Conway of Blackhill. Michael (17) and John (50) Small were lodgers at the home of Terrance and Mary McCardle in Blackhill; all the men in the household were Irish. The other witness Mary Conway was likely the woman who was a witness at the William Killen - Ann Maloy wedding detailed above. Peter and Bridget appear on the 1851 census at Blackhill. Peter (27) was a labourer and Bridget was (24) another Peter Duffy and (22) Thomas Duffy (18) were lodgers, Matthew Byrne (26) – the third lodger completed the household.
John Brady married Frances Delaney, on 23 August 1851. John was the son of John and Anne Brady; the family may have come from Dunamore, Fr Francis Kearney’s entry in the Brooms register is hard to read. John may well be the John Brady (30) who was lodging with his brother, Patrick at 93 Berry Edge in 1851; there were several other lodgers in the house several with names common in Kildress*. The bride was Francis Delaney, the daughter of William and Ann Delaney of G…. Lifford? Ireland. The witnesses at the wedding were Marianne Hughes of Crookhall. So far the couple do not seem to figure on later censuses.
*Brady, Mallon, McElhatton, McGee
A wedding, on 11 February 1851, which likely had Kildress connections, was that of Patrick McGeratty, son of Thomas and Mary McGerratty of Tyrone, to Sarah Ann Conway, daughter of Francis and Mary Conway of Blackhill. Sarah’s sister Margaret was a witness two weddings of Kildress people at Brooms, and family is likely to have come from Kildress, where there were Conways listed in the surveys of 1827 and 1860. There were also several families of McGerrattys in Kildress (including that of my gt gt grandmother) and a Peter McGerraty was a lodger with the Conways in 1851. Patrick Geraghty (20) and his wife Sarah (20) appear in their own household at Blackhill on the 1851 census. A witness at the wedding was Peter Brady of Blackhill, such a man, aged 26, was a lodger in the household of Francis and Fanny Walker at Blackhill in 1851; the entire household was Irish. The other witness was Catherine Clifford, also of Blackhill, likely the 20 year old daughter of William and Ann Clifford who appears on the 1851 census. So far Patrick and Sarah McGerraty/Geraghty have not come to light after 1851.
James Steele does not appear on the 1851 census, but Isobel Logan does appear as a visitor at 151 Berry Edge, the home of Joseph and Mary McGoghey (McHaughey?) and family. There was also a house servant Jane Wilson (15) [servants in working class houses were often nieces or other relatives]. With Isobel were Barnard [Bernard with an Ulster accent?] (25) and Joseph Logan (42) [an uncle?]. The entry in the Brooms marriage register of 9 July 1852 records that James Steel’s parents were Robert and Sarah Steel of Donamore[?] and Isabella was the daughter of Neill and Margaret Logan of Kildress. The witnesses were Joseph McGahan of Berry Edge and Margaret O’Brien of Lanchester.
Nine years later, at the time of the 1861 census James and Isobel (Logan) Steel were one of several Kildress/Consett families living in Port Clarence, a small industrial village centred around a newly opened iron works on the north bank of the Tees. James (29) blast furnace labourer (BFL) and Isobel (29) Steele’s first three children John (7) Barnard (6) and Patrick (2) were born in Consett. Their youngest Joseph had been born around Christmas 1860 in Port Clarence; four Irish BFLs completed the household. By 1871 Isobel (45) was a widow, and living at Long Row, Thornaby. Isobel’s four sons were still living with her, and John (15) and Bernard (14) were puddlers at the iron works. Perhaps just coincidently next door to Isobel (Logan) were Bernard (47) and Ellen (45) Logan, born in Scotland.
James Eccles (26), a labourer, the son of John and Ellen Eccles of Kildress, married Mary Clarke (19)*, the daughter of John and Sarah Clarke of Berry Edge, on 23 January 1854. Both bride and groom were living at Berry Edge at the time of the wedding.
At the time of the 1851 census there was a Sarah Clark (50), a widow, living at Conside Fell Hutts, she had a daughter Mary aged 17, about the right age to be the Mary Clark in question. Sarah was an agricultural labourer and she had sons John (25) and Andrew (19). There were two lodgers in the household, Francis McQuin and Mary Anne Woods (both names which are found in Kildress. The witnesses at the wedding were Mark O’Brien and Margaret Coglin of Brooms. The fact that Marianne Wood was a sponsor at the baptism of James and Mary Eccles’ son James in 1858 suggests Mary (Clarke) Eccles was the girl living at Conside Fell Hutts [sic] in 1851.
Seven years later James (28) and Mary (26) appeared on the 1861 census at Consett. They were recorded as Accles, due no doubt to James’ Tyrone accent. They had had five children. In addition to James’ brother Robert Accles (18) there were four Irish lodgers, all iron workers; Michael Hand (26), Philip Kelly (26) Thomas Murphy (21) and Patrick Rafferty (28).
James (40) and Mary (34) Eccles appear at 77 Iron Company Cottages, Consett on the 1871 census. The census reveals that Mary, as well her husband came from Tyrone, the couple had four children, all born in Consett James McElhone (40) a shearsman at the works and William Eccles (32), like James, who was likely his brother, a labourer at the iron company.
*I know the ages of bride and groom, because I obtained a copy of the marriage certificate in the mistaken belief that Mary was a relative on my Co Louth Clark ancestors.
Sarah Clarke of Conside Fell Hutts
Sarah must have had a hard life, and died of bronchitus asphyxia aged 60 in December 1859. Sarah was the widow of John Clark a labourer. Her death was reported by her daughter Mary Eccles, whose name was recorded as Arkless. Such mistranscriptions remind us how strange and incomprehensible the broad northern Irish accent must have sounded to the Durham ear in those days.
By 1881 James Eccles had been widowed, and his eldest son James (20), a puddler, was lodging in Escomb, near Bishop Auckland at 8 Viaduct Terrace, boarding in the house of Margaret J Morgan (25) formerly the wife of a blast furnace man, born Middlebrough*. Another lodger in the household was Steven Boyle (21) iron worker, born Consett (possibly the boy of the same name (13) at 11 Harvey St Consett in 1871). James (60) senior and his daughter Mary (16) were at 41 Princes St Consett; their lodgers were Patrick O’Neill (40) and Mary (20) [his wife?] born Consett .
Michael Loughran married Ann Graham at Brooms on 30 January 1854. Michael was the son of Charles and Mary Loughran of Kildress, Ann was the daughter of Henry and Sarah Graham of? In the Brooms marriage register there is a line rather than a location for the birthplace of the parents, perhaps unknown. Both Michael and Ann lived in Leadgate at the time of their marriage. There was a John Locheran, 25, a furnace keeper, lodging with John and Ann McGurk at 39 Berry Edge in 1851, perhaps this was Ann Graham’s groom. James Lochran, one of the witnesses at the wedding, presumably a relative of John, may have been the James (24) colliery labourer who was lodging in an Irish household at Dan’s Castle Tow Law in 1851. The other witness was Margaret Monaghan of Berry Edge, likely the girl of that name (17 – ‘working at bricks’) living with her mother and siblings at 167 Berry Edge in 1851, this family which subsequently moved to Port Clarence were from Kildress. I have been unable to find Michael or Ann so far in any census after 1851, raising the possibility that they emigrated.
*Also lodging with Margaret Morgan was Michael Monaghan (19) puddler born Middlesbrough; not a Kildress Monaghan, but the son of Dennis (30), an ironworker and Julia (30) who appears on the 1871 census at Linthorpe Middlesbrough, Denis came from Kerry, and his wife from Tipperary.
Thomas Woods and Bridget Grimes married at Brooms on 24 April 1854. Thomas was the son of John and Ellen Woods of Crookhall. There were several Irish Woods in the area in 1851, but there was not a Woods family that matches the details given at the marriage. The groom may have been the Thomas Woods (20) ironworks labourer from Monaghan who was one of many lodgers at a house in Tow Law in 1851. The household consisted of Robert Stackley, a stone mason born in Tow Law, his family and five Irish lodgers. Unusually the counties of origin of the lodgers was recorded, one from Dublin, three from Monaghan, and two from Armagh. Bridget was the daughter of Thomas and Hannah Grimes of Kildress, I assume the Susan Grimes who married William Parks in 1848 (see page 2) was Bridget’s sister. If so Hannah Grimes of Kildress was formerly Hannah McGurk. Bridget does not seem to have been in the Consett area in 1851. A Thomas and Bridget Woods appear on the 1871 census at Hill Top, Tanfield, I need to check the baptism records to check if this is the family in question. The witnesses to this wedding were Michael Tumilty and Catherine Welsh, both of Berry Edge.
On 24 July 1854 John Maley of Leadgate, son of William and Susan Mally of Leadgate married Mary Conway of Blackhill, daughter of Francis and Mary Conway of Charnon [?] Tyrone. In fact it seems that whilst Francis and Mary Conway had been in Ireland up to C1845, the time of their son Francis’ birth, they were in Blackhill by 11 February 1851 when, as described on page 8, their daughter Sarah Ann married Patrick McGeratty. I assume the Conways came from Kildress because of the Conway girls’ involvement as witnesses at Kildress weddings at Brooms, and the appearance of the surname in Kildress parish in 1827 and 1860. So far I have not found this couple or their witnesses Sarah Duighnan and John McCormack on censuses after their wedding.
Patrick Garvan, the son of John and Elizabeth Garvan, married Ellen Foy on 30 July 1854. Ellen was the daughter Michael and Ann Foy, both sets of parents were from Kildress and the bride and groom both lived in Berry Edge at the time of their wedding. One of their witnesses, David Barry may well have been the iron work labourer (25) of that name who was a visitor at 52 Berry Edge in 1851. So far neither the couple nor their witnesses have come to light on censuses after their wedding.
12 February 1855 saw the wedding, at Brooms of Neil McGurk, son of Owen and Bridget McGurk of Kildress to Catherine Mohan, daughter of John and Rose Mohan (the register records McGurk, presumably a slip of the pen, the online marriage index had Moghan) of Blackhill.
On 18 April 1855 John M’Creton (or McCretion, as the wedding is recorded online) son of Patrick and Margaret of Kildress, married Margaret M’Graine (or as above, McGrahan) daughter of Pat and Margaret M’G of Dungannon. The bride and groom lived in Blackhill. Margaret (20) a house servant, appears on the 1851, as one of a household of McGrahans at 121 Berry Edge in 1851. The witnesses were Pat Falkland and Jame McMullen, both of Blackhill, Jane (12) appears in her parents’ household at Blackhill in 1851.
Charles McGinn, son of Francis and Isobel McGinn of Chamont (?) Co Tyrone married Sarah McElhatton, daughter of Bryan and Rose of Kildress. The witnesses were John McGeratty of Blackhill and Catherine McGurk of Berry Edge. I wonder if the male witness was the John McGarity (31) labourer, who was lodging with Patrick (26) and Mary (20) McGarity at Red Row Crookhall in 1861. Mary McGarity’s maiden name was McGurk (her mother was also in the household, as was her uncle Michael McGurk. All the adults in the household were from Tyrone. The couple had just had a son, Patrick, who was baptised at Brooms on 16 March 1861 with witnesses Helen O’Neill and Michael McDonnell (the English born son of Louth couple Owen and Bridget)
No more Kildress weddings were recorded in the Brooms parish register that year, and from the 1st of January 1856 a new register was introduced which recorded much less detail of interest of historical interest.