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The Weatherhog Family of Laceby

THE WEATHERHOG FAMILY OF LACEBY
Written by Jenny Chambers

Thomas (born c 1775), a Shoemaker, and Sarah Weatherhog (born c 1777) are the earliest members of the family that I have come across. Whilst I do not know where they were born or married, the baptisms of their two children, John (1801) and Mary (1802), are recorded in the Laceby Parish Register. They lived in and owned the house/shop that is now “Kabuki” on Caistor Road, Laceby, and the property remained in the family for many years.

Their daughter Mary married Tobias Kirman and moved away to Market Rasen producing nine children, while John, her elder brother, stayed in Laceby, marrying a Laceby girl, Rachel Amor, in 1824. We know from the Census Returns that John was a Cordwainer (Shoemaker) with five children, and was living in Grimsby Road in 1851. He also appeared to have an interest in farming since on the 1841 Tithe Map, he is shown as occupying 11 acres of land in Castle Hill (now Butt Lane), between “Cloverdale” and Little Becks, and 6 acres at “Overlands”.

The land at “Overlands” was situated between the Barton Street and the Laceby to Aylesby footpath. There is still a field known as “Weatherhog’s Goss” and Brenda Anderson referred to “it in a Laceby Chronicle article on “Laceby Ponds”:

“Weatherhog’s Goss (Gorse?) was the site of a ninth pond. It was in a field belonging in early years to Traffords. It was deep and was claimed to be bottomless and it too was the scene of drama when Fred Parker was pulled out of it in a successful rescue attempt.”

John and Rachel’s eldest son, Tom (born c 1825), carried on the family trade and was, in 1851, a “Shoemaker Journeyman”. Fanny (born 1826), the eldest daughter, died at only 1 year old. Maria (born 1828) had itchy feet since, some years after her marriage in 1846 to Charles Scarborough of Caistor, she emigrated to Australia - more on the Australian connection later. Tobias (born 1835), married an Attercliffe girl, Eliza, and lived in the Sheffield area, producing three children. I wonder what the trigger was that took him away from Laceby? The whole family disappears totally after the 1881 Census. Perhaps they too caught the emigration bug or maybe some illness carried off the whole family? Finally the youngest daughter, Rachel (born 1844), was in service in Grimsby to a clothier and his wife at the age of 17, and I suspect may have never married.

So we return to Thomas Weatherhog (born c 1825) who married Mary. We now start to come into living memory. Thomas and Mary started out their married life in the first house/shop in High Street (presumably that now occupied by Miss Joan Tyas), with Thomas still practising his trade as a Shoemaker and his wife as a Dressmaker. By 1871 they had moved to the family home on Caistor Road. They had had six children, but two died very young at 5 years and 2 years.

Their eldest child was Hannah Maria (born 1858), but just to confuse matters she seems to have been known by a selection of names: Hannah Maria – 1861 Census, Sarah Ann – 1871 Census, Hannah Maria – 1901 Census, and Annie Maria in the 1939 will of her brother. However she was universally known in the village as “Maria Weatherhog”. Her mother was widowed in 1880, but Maria did not appear to return to live in Laceby until after 1891. I think that I may have found her in service at Barton in 1881. By 1901 Maria was re-installed in the family home at Caistor Road living with her mother, a “Grocer and Shopkeeper”, and her bachelor brother, John Robert, a Joiner and Carpenter. Her mother, Mary, died in 1914 and according to Kelly’s Directory 1920 her brother, John, must have taken over the shop. John Robert, as the eldest son, would have inherited the Caistor Road property upon his father’s death in 1880, and he in turn bequeathed it upon his death in 1921 to his sister, Maria.

The story of Maria is a sad one. By all accounts she was “a little strange,” and on her brother’s death took over the family shop. She apparently used to speak of seeing people/spirits in the upstairs of the house, but this was put down to her being rather odd. It is ironic that a subsequent resident of the house insists that she experienced this quite frequently. Perhaps Maria wasn’t as odd as everyone thought at the time.

According to Fred Partner’s account of Laceby in the 1930’s: “Next to the fish shop was Maria Weatherhog’s sweet shop. I’m sorry to say we children pinched more sweets than she ever sold”.

The village lads apparently used to tease Maria, and she is fondly remembered for throwing water at passers by, particularly if anyone tried to go down the passageway between the shop and the butcher’s. Ted Pawson recalls being scared to walk past her as a small lad.

Maria became gradually more “strange” and Pat Anderson can recall the traumatic day when his father, the village butcher, was asked by the village policeman to assist in taking Maria out of her house to transport her to the Lunatic Asylum at Bracebridge near Lincoln. Mr Anderson had no wish to be a part of this action, but he was forced into helping them. Maria resisted with all her might, displaying quite amazing strength in clasping her hands round the bedstead and refusing to be dislodged. The anguish caused to Maria by this action played on the mind of Pat’s father for a long time after the event. I am not aware who authorised Maria’s removal to Bracebridge, possibly her younger brother or sister or maybe the village doctor, Dr Ward. I am told that in fact Maria was taken to Bracebridge on two occasions, but managed to convince the authorities that she was sane the first time. Maria died at Bracebridge in May 1943 aged 84 years, and her body was brought back to Laceby by Charles Pawson & Sons, the village joiner and undertaker, for burial.

Maria’s younger sister, Rachael Weatherhog (born 1864), married Fred Watson (no relation to Horace as far as I know), a Printer/Compositor. He was in fact the son of Daniel Watson, a butcher in Laceby, and Eliza. Fred and Rachael lived in Cooper Lane and had two children Edwin and Rachel Maud.

The younger brother, Joseph Tobias Weatherhog (born 1866), was a Farm Labourer, Carrier, and then a Market Gardener/Farmer, and lived in Cemetery Road, in one of the 2 cottages next to the Temperance Hall, now “Rose Cottage”. He married Bridgett Cordock in 1891, but it appears to have been a childless marriage. In 1910 Joseph was renting his house from the Executors of Mrs Porter, but then must have purchased it. He also owned land and property in Austin Garth, Laceby, where the Stockwell Bungalows are now, and a small religious group called “The Brethren” used to meet there in one of the cottages in an upstairs room up some stone steps. Upon his death in 1939 he left the following instructions in his will:

“I devise my land and hereditaments situate at Stockwell Lane, Laceby aforesaid to James Rushton Jameson of Kingston-upon-Hull on condition that he shall within one month after my death execute a Deed of Trust permitting the religious people who now congregate there from time to time to occupy and use the same for so long as they shall elect subject to the payment of the sum of one shilling per annum and subject also to them keeping the building in repair and paying all rates and other outgoings payable in respect of the same but if the said James Rushton Jameson shall predecease me or shall neglect or refuse within such period as aforesaid to execute such Deed of Trust then I devise such land and hereditaments to my Trustees subject to the same condition as the devise thereof to the said James Rushton Jameson hereinbefore contained and if they shall neglect or refuse to perform such condition as aforesaid and on the religious people hereinbefore mentioned at any time refusing or ceasing to occupy and use the said land and hereditaments then I devise such land and hereditaments unto the Grimsby and District Hospital for the purposes of the said Hospital.”

The Deed of Trust was executed and the Brethren meet there to this day. We know that the Brethren existed as far back as 1884 since a note of a “Christians’ Meeting” at the home of 2 ladies has been found. It would appear that the current “Meeting Room” was built around the 1930’s on the site of Joseph Tobias Weatherhog’s stables.

Joseph’s two cottages and premises in Cemetery Road were bequeathed to his niece, Annie Hollingworth of Cemetery Road, Laceby, who was possibly a niece on his wife’s side of the family. His other real and personal estate was bequeathed to (Rachel) Maud Watson, his sister’s daughter.

I said that I would return to the Australia connection. In the last two years, the History Group has received two requests for information about the Weatherhog family of Laceby which was what prompted me to look further into the family. The most recent enquiry is from an Australian descendant of Maria Weatherhog (born Laceby in 1828) and Charles Scarborough, who settled in Ipswich, Queensland in about 1847. Their son, another Charles Scarborough, and his wife, Henrietta Ellen Buck, produced nine grandchildren for the emigrés. During the First World War the fourth grandson, William John Scarborough came back to fight for the Mother Country and was tragically killed on September 1st, 1918 aged 29 in France. He was a Private in the Australian Machine Gun Corps, 2nd Batallion, Service No 645, and is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Somme, France.

Thus, although the Weatherhogs left Laceby long ago, hopefully this article will help to keep their memory alive for future generations and jog a few memories.