|Lucy Walters married John Salthouse at St Mary’s Church, Nether Alderley on 13 March 1842. Lucy was over the age of 21 and a spinster, her father was William Walters, a labourer, and one of the witnesses was Elizabeth Walters, her sister.In Nether Alderley there is a gravestone inscription which records the Walters family:
In Memory of Ann daughter of William and Ann Walters of Nether Alderley Who died August 14th 1838 Age 22 years Also the said William Walters who died December 4th 1851 Age 67years Also the above said Ann Walters who died May 17th 1864 Age 75 years) Also Joseph their son who died May 22nd 1872 Age 39 years
This gravestone is next to that of Lucy and John Salthouse’s children.
Walters Family History
William and Ann Walters
One of my great, great, great grandfathers was William Walters. I don’t know where he was born, where he met and married my great, great, great grandmother Ann, and I do not know Ann’s maiden name. All that can be said with any certainty is that Ann came from Chorley (the original name of Alderley Edge, but this could have been another Chorley), the eldest son, William, seems to have been born in Winnington in 1814, and the family was living in Nether Alderley in Cheshire in 1831. At that time William, an agricultural labourer, was 47 and his wife, Ann, a laundress and later a nurse, was 42; their children – at least those who were living at home and unmarried – were William (17), Ann (15), Elizabeth (12), Lucy (9) and John, who was 2. Shortly after the 1831 census was taken, they had another son, Joseph.
The Walters Family in Nether Alderley
Nether Alderley was a small, rural village dominated by the estate of the Stanleys of Alderley and, a little nearer to Wilmslow, land owned by the De Traffords. The village, with its old church and endowed school, seemed to draw tradesmen from nearby towns perhaps (who knows for sure) because of work associated with the Alderley Estate and the good village school.
Daughter, Ann, aged 22
William Walters was employed as an agricultural labourer – a common occupation in the early 19th century – and his wife was a laundress; both types of work were readily available in the village. It is likely that they always lived in the village cottages, between the church and the mill and they would probably have been living at there in 1838 when their eldest daughter, Ann, died at the age of 22. Ann is buried in St Mary’s churchyard amongst the older graves at the far side of the churchyard. As far as I know, she was the first of the Walters family to be buried at Nether Alderley.
The First Wedding
So far as I can tell, William and Ann’s daughter, Lucy, was the first of the children to marry; she chose as her husband John Salthouse, a master shoe and bootmaker from Didsbury. Banns were called and John and Lucy married on Thursday, 31st March 1842 at St Mary’s Church in the village; the curate, Thomas C Howes, officiated and Lucy’s sister, Elizabeth, was one of the witnesses. (Lucy and John Salthouse are my great, great grandparents). As Lucy and her family lived just at the top of Church Lane, I imagine that the wedding must have been a nice social occasion, watched by most of the villagers as the bride walked the short distance to the church – unless, of course, it was a cold blustery March day with snow in the air! As their first child, Sophia, was born in Didsbury, they probably stayed near John’s parents after they married (his mother was a nurse), but soon afterwards they were settled into a small farmhouse in Soss Moss Lane; John followed his trade as a master shoe and bootmaker but also did some agricultural work whilst Lucy found work as a laundress. Their first child, William and Ann’s first grandchild, Sophia, was born in 1843, closely followed by Ann, William, John, Alfred and James.
With five grandchildren born between 1843 and 1851, William and Ann Walters (who was a nurse) must have been helpful to Lucy as she coped with the smallholding, five babies and occasional work as a laundress, especially when little Alfred died as a result of croup when he was only a year old. Alfred was buried in a new grave side-by-side with Lucy’s older sister, Ann Walters.
I don’t know what happened to William and Ann’s daughter, Elizabeth, after Lucy and John’s wedding. She is not buried in the family grave so there is a chance that she married and moved away. At that time it was common for people from as far as Alderley and Didsbury to marry at Manchester Cathedral, either because many churches were only chapels of ease and were not licensed for marriages or simply because of personal preference (perhaps the families might have objected?). Alternatively, Elizabeth may have gone into service and, given the variety of spellings in the census records, she might just be hard to find.
William Walter’s Will
On the 1st December 1851 William Walters wrote his last will and testament; he did not have much to leave as his assets were later valued as being under £200 in value, but he seemed to be particularly concerned that his wife, Ann, should be properly provided for and that on her death, any personal possessions whatsoever should pass to his youngest son, Joseph. Ann was to be the executrix with provision for the second youngest son, John, who lived in Chorley, to be executor if required. The will was witnessed by Charles Baguley, the schoolteacher who lived in the schoolhouse by the church (who was also the local Registrar for births, marriages and deaths), and by John Davies, who kept the Eagle and Child Inn, next to the village cottages. Apart from the reasonable desires of providing for his wife and his youngest son, I wonder if William named Joseph in his will because Joseph was not as strong and as capable as the other children? Three days later William Walters died, at the age of 67, on the 4th December 1851 and was buried with his daughter Ann in the churchyard at St Mary’s in Nether Alderley. For some reason it was three years almost to the day before the will was proved and probate granted at a cost to Ann of £2. The probate document was signed by Wm Cruttenden, (recorded in 1861 as the Rector of Alderley) signing as Surrogate on the document.
Ann’s First Grandchildren
Ann Walters continued to live at village cottages (as they are called on some census returns) and probably earned her own living as a nurse for a few more years. Joseph lived with her; he never married but he found employment as an agricultural labourer. Being in the centre of the village, between the church, the school, the mill, the inn and the shop, Ann’s house must have been a popular calling place for all the family whenever they walked into the village, I wonder if Lucy’s children called there after school until the oldest ones were responsible enough to walk the younger children across the fields to Soss Moss Lane? Lucy bore three more children between 1851 and 1855: Samuel, Albert and a daughter who died shortly after birth. By now Ann Walter’s children – William, Elizabeth, John and Joseph, all in their twenties – were aunts and uncles several times over, but in 1857 they lost another little nephew when Lucy’s youngest son, Albert, was found drowned. Lucy’s last two children, Lucy and Herbert, were born in 1859 and 1860.
Two more weddings
Between 1856 and 1860 two of William and Ann Walter’s sons married; the details still need to be checked, but it looks as though William married Harriet Bickerton of Siddington (who was probably a widow as she brought her 6 year old son, James Bickerton, to live with them), and JohnWalters probably married Alice Leather in Manchester. William and Harriet found accommodation in Nether Alderley where William worked as an agricultural labourer and as the church sexton; John, meanwhile, was living in Pendleton, Salford, where he found work as a domestic gardener, there being many middle-class and merchant’s houses not too far from where he and Alice lived in Turners Buildings, Pendleton, in 1861.
By 1860 Ann was 70 years old, her state of health was not known but, as a nurse, she must have worried over her daughter, Lucy. Lucy provided Ann with eleven grandchildren, three of whom (Alfred, the baby girl and Albert) had already died and, as her Ann’s sons did not marry until they were in their thirties of forties, Ann must have despaired at times of having more grandchildren to carry on the family name. However in 1862 John’s wife, Alice, gave birth to a son, William R Walters, in Upholland (where John now worked as a farm bailiff) and in 1863 William’s wife, Harriet, gave birth to a daughter, Mary Walters, in Nether Alderley.
Ann Walters was 75 years old when she died in Nether Alderley on the 17th May 1864. She was buried at St Mary’s, Nether Alderley, with her husband, William, and her daughter, Ann. So far as we know, Ann and her husband William had a family of six children, their daughter Ann had died at 22, whilst three of their children, Lucy, William and John married and provided between them a grand total of seventeen grandchildren (more were born after Ann died). Their daughter Elizabeth has not been traced yet, hopefully she married, and the youngest son, Joseph, was still living at home, possibly keeping his mother from his earnings as an agricultural labourer. When Ann died, Joseph would have inherited her personal effects, furniture and bedding, under the terms of his father’s will.
‘Village Cottages’ on the census returns
As far as can be discerned from the census returns, Ann and William Walters always lived in the village cottages in Nether Alderley and it is possible that their son and daughter-in-law, William and Harriet, moved back into Ann’s house after she died or before that, if she needed to be cared for. Assuming, from the census returns, that William and Harriet and their baby, Mary, took over the cottage, it continued to be a focal point for the family; Joseph lived with William and Harriet until he died in 1872 and in the ten years to 1874 the couple had four more children: Harriet, William, Sarah Ellen and Edith Alice. John Walters and his wife Alice, who were living in Upholland, had at least one more child, Annie Elizabeth Walters. No doubt they returned to Nether Alderley to visit William and Harriet and Joseph at village cottages and Lucy at Soss Moss.
Christenings, Weddings and Funerals
Apart from the christenings, which might bring the family together, there were some important weddings and funerals to attend. A few months after Ann Walters died, her four-year-old grandson, Herbert Salthouse, died of bronchitis, from which he had suffered for three weeks. On 28thDecember 1865, Ann’s eldest grand daughter, Sophia Salthouse, married Francis Worth at Manchester Cathedral, Mary Bickerton (presumably connected with Harriet in some way) was one of the witnesses. Sophia and Francis Worth’s family grew quickly with three sons, John, Isaac and James, born before 1871; for a while they lived in neighbouring villages but returned to Nether Alderley after a few years and lived in one of the Park Lodges, on the Congleton/Wilmslow road beyond The Eagle and Child. Sophia was a laundress and her husband was a gardener, they had eleven children, all of whom survived childhood.
By this time Lucy and John’s other children were earning their own livings. Annie, the eldest unmarried daughter, was a laundress but later became a dressmaker, William had moved to the Wirral to work as a gardener and when he came of age he joined the police force at Preston; posted to Kirkdale in Liverpool, he received a sum of money from grateful residents for his ‘courageous and meritorious conduct on 22 June 1870’. I have yet to discover the event which earned William high praise from the Superintendent. James had taken advantage of new opportunities following the opening of the railway which crossed Soss Moss Lane and found lodgings with Wilmslow people in Salford, where he worked as a railway engine fireman, eventually working his way up to railway engine driver.
Mysterious demise of Ann’s son-in-law, John Salthouse
Sometime, possibly in 1871 but it might have been much earlier, Ann’s daughter, Lucy, was widowed. There is no trace of John Salthouse’s death, he left no will and, strangely, he is not buried in either of the family graves in the churchyard. In March 1871 some or all of Lucy’s family travelled to Everton, Liverpool, for the marriage of her eldest son, William, to Janet Braidwood. The oldest unmarried daughter, Annie, was one of the witnesses. On the wedding certificate William’s father is simply described as “John Salthouse, labourer” but no significance can be inferred from this as the bride’s father is similarly described as “John Braidwood, butcher” with no mention of “deceased” even though he died a few years earlier.
Later that year Lucy lost another of her sons; John was 23 when he succumbed to TB, he had been an invalid for some time but worked, when he could, as a gardener. The following year, 1872, Lucy’s youngest brother, Joseph Walters, died at the age of 39.
Ann’s daughter, Lucy, dies in Southport
In the summer of 1875 Lucy died in Southport at 54 Kensington Road. She died of TB so it looks as though Annie had gone with her to Southport in the hope that the sea air might help her. Annie informed the Registrar of her mother’s death and, presumably, she arranged for her mother’s body to be returned to Nether Alderley for burial in the second of the family’s graves. Lucy was only 53, she had borne eleven children and buried five of them; had she lived another two years she would have seen her son Samuel, with a promising career as a policeman, contract TB and die at the age of 24. The task of looking after Samuel fell, again, to Annie.
Ann’s son, William, dies in Nether Alderley
William Walters who, with his wife Harriet and the children, had probably moved into the village cottages, also died in the June quarter of 1875. He was about 61 years old and had worked as an agricultural labourer. It will be interesting to discover the cause of his death as so many of his sister Lucy’s children – and Lucy herself – died of respiratory diseases, especially TB. Was it likely that the small farmhouse on Soss Moss Lane, where Lucy lived, was cold and damp and generally less habitable and sanitary than the modern brick cottages in the village?
Changing Places, Changing Generations
I haven’t researched the occupancy of the village cottages between 1871 and 1881, but by 1881 Harriet Walters, now widowed, has moved out to Davenport Lane at Pownall Fee and Lucy’s daughter, Annie, is living in one of the cottages as “shop keeper grocer and provisions”, her youngest sister Lucy is living with her and is recorded as “assistant grocer”.
Annie Salthouse, shopkeeper and dressmaker
There had always been a shop in one of those cottages, previously the Downes and Twiss family had been shopkeepers. This was, however, a time of great change when small village shops were declining as the local railways attracted housewives to the nearest town on Saturdays, where shopping was as much a social event as an improved shopping opportunity. Also, reading the census returns, I am wondering whether the Downes and Twiss families had their shop at the Mill end of the row and closed their shop when they retired (because of competition from the rapidly developing Alderley Edge); if so, Anne might have moved into her grandparent’s cottage at the Eagle and Child end of the row (when William and Harriet moved to Pownall Fee) and opened a small shop, sufficient together with dressmaking, to provide a home and an income for Ann and her much younger sister, Lucy. This theory is encouraged by the fact that ten years later, in 1891, Annie and Lucy describe themselves as dressmaker and dressmaker’s apprentice only, with no mention of the shop, whereas another ten years later, in 1901, Annie once again describes herself as “grocer, shopkeeper, dressmaker, on own account, at home”.
The Walters’ occupancy of the cottage was continued after Annie’s death in 1906 when Annie’s sister, Lucy Salthouse, and her husband, Edward Potts, moved into the cottage and took over the running of the shop.
Joseph Walters probably continued to live in the village cottage with his mother. When Ann died in 1864 he would have inherited his parent’s possessions. It looks as though his brother, William, took over the cottage and that Joseph continued to live there with William, Harriet and the children until he died in 1872 at the age of 39. Joseph never married.
William Walters and Harriet Bickerton continued to live in Nether Alderley, Harriet’s son, James Bickerton, lived with them. William and Harriet probably took over the cottage in the village after both William and Ann died, thereby allowing the younger brother, Joseph, to continue to live in the same house. William Walters died in 1875, at the age of 61, and some time afterwards his widow Harriet and the children moved to Davenport Lane at Pownall Fee where they are recorded on the 1881 census. William and Harriet had five children: Mary, Harriet, William, Sarah and Edith; they also had a nursechild, Francis George Wood, who stayed with them for over ten years.
John Walters and Alice Leather married in Manchester and settled in Pendleton (Salford) where John had already found work as a domestic gardener. Their first address, at Turners Building, Salford, would have been a far cry from the fresh air and open vistas around Nether Alderley, but by the next census they had moved to the more pleasant area of Upholland, where John was a farm bailiff. In the 1881 census John, now aged 52, is a gardener domestic at Stretford. John and Alice had two children, William and Annie.
The next document always changes the story…….
I have enjoyed writing the story of the Walters family in Nether Alderley, it is firmly based on the available evidence but I know that the next certificate I buy or document that I trace will change part of the story in some way: a “probably” also has a good chance of being completely wrong! I think I know how many children and grandchildren were born, I think I know where they lived and where they worked but there are always huge gaps to account for. So, bearing in mind that everything I write is to the best of my knowledge, this has been my summary of the Walters Dynasty in Nether Alderley. If you would like to add to the story, please let me know.
Lucy Walters lived in Nether Alderley, Cheshire, and married (2) John Salthouse at St Mary’s Church, Nether Alderley, on the 31st March 1842.
Born c 1822, possibly to Ann and William Walters of Nether Alderley (not confirmed), Lucy’s life was not easy. Her husband, John Salthouse, was a master shoemaker, an occupation which possibly brought in enough income to survive as I haven’t found any record of Lucy having to work. Lucy and John had a large family but most of the children died very young. Five children, Sophia, Annie, Lucy, William and James survived and all but Annie married and had children. Annie kept the village shop until 1906.
In common with many people in the 1870’s, Lucy contracted TB. The fact that she died in Southport suggests that Lucy went there for the good of her health: she died in Southport on 1st June 1875 with her daughter Annie recorded as having been present. She was buried in the churchyard of St Mary, Nether Alderley, close to her children. She was 53 years old. The money was found from somewhere for Lucy to be taken back to Nether Alderley, it is not known with whom Lucy and Annie stayed in Southport.