Wednesday, 20 June 2012


ANNIE HANNAN was the second child of Michael and Margaret Hannan. 

The baptism record states that Annie was born on 12th August 1882, which fell on a Saturday.  By now  the Hannan family were living at Church Alley, which was situated in the shadow of the Crooked Spire Church.  The alley led from Church Lane up to the graveyard area of the church.

Map showing Church Alley on the left, Church Lane runs along the bottom
and St Marys Gate along the right hand of the picture

Annie's birth however, was not registered until the first quarter (January, February or March) of 1883.  In those days Michael and Margaret were required by law to register the births of any children within 42 days of the birth or pay a fine of £2 to register after 42 days had passed, but up to 6 months later.  So would Michael and Margaret have told the true date of birth to the registrar when they eventually registered little Annie or does the birth certificate contain a slightly amended date of birth to avoid the payment of the £2 fine?

Annie was baptised on Sunday 10th September 1882 at the Roman Catholic Church on Spencer Street, Chesterfield.  Her Godparents were Patrick and Anna Hannan - most likely her Aunt and Uncle. 

A few years later on the 1891 census and Annie is 8 years old and attends school.  She now has two more sisters; five year old Margaret and toddler Winnie aged just 2 years old.  Their elder sister Ellen is residing with their Grandmother Ann and her Aunt and Uncles just a few streets away on Corporation Street. Their father Michael is a coal miner and the family are living at number 6 Church Alley.

Now Annie must have enjoyed school as she is the first of the family to have made a step up the ladder into professional employment.  In 1901 aged just 18 years old Annie is working away from home as an assistant teacher at the Convent School in Ratcliffe Gate, Mansfield.  How the family must have been so proud of her! 

On Tuesday 1st May 1906 Annie married John Morley at the Roman Catholic Church, Spencer Street.  They had two witnesses; Sylvester Morley (John's younger brother) and Margaret Hannan (Annie's younger sister). 

John was the son of John and Catherine Morley.  The family lived in Brampton, Chesterfield at 44 Alma Street in 1901.  John Jnr was working as a bricklayers labourer at this time.  His father was a potter along with his brother Sylvester.  By 1911 John's father; John Snr was landlord of the Anchor Inn at 4 Factory Street, Brampton and later he ran the Furnace Inn also in Brampton.  The Hannan and Morley family must have been quite close as in 1911 Annie's younger sister, 22 year old Winifred Hannan is working as a general servant for John Snr at the Anchor Inn.

1911 census for Annie & John Morley at 20 Spencer Street, Chesterfield
On the 1911 census Annie and John are living at number 20 Spencer Street, only a stones throw away from Annie's parents at number 21 Spencer Street.  The couple have been married 3 years and now have two young children ~

Mary Ann aged 4 years old
Lawrence Michael aged 1 year old

John is working as insurance agent and Annie is taking a break from her teaching to bring up her family, her occupation is recorded as "housework". 

In 1914 John, the couples last child was born, named after his father.   The same year saw the outbreak of World War 1.  John joined the 2nd / 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters Regiment, which was formed at Chesterfield on 14th September 1914 as a second line unit, meaning it was for home service.  John would have been 32 years old and due to his age he was at the upper limits for the required recruitment age ~ in the first instance Kitchener set the ages limits between 19 and 30 years old, three weeks later however and the upper limit was raised to 35 years old. 

As the war took hold and the need for more men increased the battalion was required to take up a more active roll.  In April of 1916 they were sent to Ireland to quell the tensions and troubles there.  The Easter Rising took place between the 23rd April and 30th April 1916, so it is highly possible John was present to witness the violence and riots that took place.  It must have been all the more difficult for him being Roman Catholic and having married into an Irish family.  The Sherwood Foresters suffered heavy losses during the Battle of Mount Street in Dublin on 26th April 1916.  After the uprising, 15 men who had been identified as the leaders of the uprising were executed at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.  Twelve members of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment were to have the gruesome task of performing these execution's, which took place between the 3rd and 12th May 1916.  The 12 men fired 11 bullets, giving a little hope to the executioner's that they had fired the unloaded rifle.  It is not known which battalion actually took part in the executions. 

The Battalion returned to England and were stationed in Fovant, Wiltshire in January 1917.  Sadly their reprieve was short lived and on 26th February 1917 they landed at Le Harve.  On the 23rd September the Battalion marched from Forge in France just over the border to Vlamertinge in Belgium, to relieve the 2nd/5th South Staffordshire Battalion at 22.oohrs.  They were now stationed in the area running from the Grafenstafel Road to the Downing Trench.  They remained in their positions and on 25th September the Battalion was "fairly heavily shelled" and two men were wounded.  At 5.50am on 26th September, after heavy artillery barrage the battalion left their positions and set off to gain their objective to take Grafenstafel Road inclusive, which they had achieved by 7.30am.  They took a number of prisoners also.  The enemy continued to shell their position throughout the rest of the day and on into the next day, the 27th September.  Eventually at 8pm that evening they were relieved from duty by the 2nd/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  Sadly it seems by this time John had already lost his life in the line of duty.  The war diaries record; casualties 11 Officers and 220 Other Ranks.  On 29th September the British were relieved by the Anzacs at the British front line just behind Wieltje.

John was killed on 27th September 1917, his obituary in the Derbyshire Times on 13th October 1917, page 5 gives the following short biography of John and his wife Annie ~

Pte. John Morley
Derbyshire Times, 13th October 1917, p5

One of the Sherwood Forester Territorial Battalions has lost a well
known and popular figure in Private John Morley, whose wife
and 3 children live in Spencer Street, Chesterfield.  Writing to Mrs
Morley, her husband's platoon officer states :- "it is with deep regret
I have to inform you of the death in action of Pte. J. Morley, who died
a hero's death while gallantly advancing in the front line against the
Boche position.  We took our all our objectives, and it is through
the noble dash and fearless advance of such as your husband that we
won a glorious victory for our dear old country.  Your husband
was a good comrade and one of the best men.  He always inspired
confidence and success among his comrades.  I knew him personally
as a right good fellow and one of the best, always ready to do
his duty.  His Captain died with him in the advance"

Pte. Morley , who was 35 years of age, was a native of Brampton, and
for many years his father was the landlord of the Furnace Inn.  He
was the head chef to the officers of his battalion, and was quite a favourite
with them judging by the number of gifts he received from them from
time to time.  In private life he was employed successively by
Messrs. Swan, Sheffield Road, the Prudential Assurance Company
and Holmewood Colliery.  He was a well known figure at the
Chesterfield Roman Catholic Church.  Mrs Morley is a teacher
at Whittington Moor Boys School.

John; Pte. Morley 241329 was awarded the Victory and British medals for his sacrifice and service.  He is buried at the Wieltje Farm Cemetery in Belgium.  John left a wife and three young children  ~ 1o year old Mary Ann, 8 year old Lawrence and toddler 3 year old John.

Life in post War England must have been tough on Annie and her children.  She was lucky in that she was employed in a reputable and professional job as a teacher.  Times were hard and for Annie life had to go on, she would have had no other choice.  A few years later we can hope that she was again happy, as she married John Anderson at Spencer Street Roman Catholic Church on Saturday 26th June 1920.

I don't know much about Annie and John Anderson's married life, so if there is anyone one who is reading this blog and does know I would love to be able to fill the gaps in. 

Entry in probate register for Annie Anderson

Annie died on 21st November 1952.  She was living at 5 Crown Road, which is a street off of  Sheffield Road.  The street does still exist today.  In her will Annie left her effects of £1868 12s 7d to her son Lawrence Michael Morley, her married daughter Mary Ann Langenus and an unknown beneficiary was John Alfred Healey an optician.  I have not been able to find a definite death for her husband John Anderson.  Her youngest son John was not mentioned in the probate entry.

Annie is buried in Spital Cemetery in the "old ground, Roman Catholic area".  She is buried in grave plot 11054 which is just three plots behind her parents Michael and Margaret Hannan.  Neither Annie, nor her parents have a gravestone but it is easy to use the grave plot maps to locate the position of the graves.  They are both marked on the picture below, a double click on the picture will bring the image into a larger screen to enable better views.

Spital Cemetery, grave of Michael & Margaret in the forefront
Annie Anderson nee Hannan directly behind

The children of Annie & John -

the details below are taken from Internet sources only and so I would be most grateful if anyone can confirm or correct my information ~

Mary Ann ~ born 11th October 1906, married William Langenus 1937 Chesterfield,
died 1979 Chesterfield
Lawrence Michael Morley ~ born 5th August 1909, married ?Mary Storer 1941 Liverpool, died 1994 Chesterfield
John ~ born ?27th April 1914, married ?, died possibly 1989 Basford district

So the story of Annie comes to an end. If anyone has any further information to add to this blog or can fill in the gap between her children's births and her death in 1952, then please let me know so that I can complete the story. 


The Rood-Beam in Chesterfield Crooked Spire, crafted by Francis Langenus
picture by kind permission of John Ward, Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire

A little extra note - Mary Ann Morley married William Langenus.  The Langenus family were Belgium refugees who came to Chesterfield. 
A man named Francis Langenus carved the wooden Rood-Beam which still stands in the Chesterfield Crooked Spire Church. 

I do not know the exact connection of Francis and William, whether they are father and son or brothers, but a Frans Langenus of 3 The Bungalows, Littlemoor, Chesterfield died on 17th May 1954 and administration was granted to William Langenus, schoolmaster.

For more information on the Easter Risings and the Sherwood Foresters involvement see -

*1916, The Rising by National Library of Ireland click here
*excellent blog on the Kilmainham Executions click here
*MOD Sherwood Foresters Regiment click here

The dates and details in this blog are taken from various sources including ~

*Spencer Street Roman Catholic Church Registers - Sheffield Archives
*Spital burial registers, Chesterfield Local Studies Library
*WW1, Sherwood Foresters Regiment -
*War Diaries, 2nd/6th Battaion Sherwood Foresters

NEXT TO COME ~ MARGARET HANNAN....................

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Our family will be celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a garden party (weather permitting!).  We will be eating copious amounts of traditional British food; sandwiches, coronation chicken, trifle and lots of cup cakes!  Washed down with beer, wine and of course cups of tea! There will be games for the children and buntings and flags flying, but how did our ancestors in Chesterfield celebrate previous Jubilee's?

Queen Victoria reigned to celebrate two Jubilee's; her 50 year Golden Jubilee on 20th June 1887 and her 60 years  reign, Diamond Jubilee in 1897.  Chesterfield certainly marked both occasions with joyous royal spirit and patriotism which left a lasting memorial in the market town of Chesterfield ~

Golden Jubilee ~

The town of Chesterfield was undecided on how to mark the Golden Jubilee, Victoria being a much loved and adored Queen the town wished to honour her appropriately.  There were three proposals put forward as suggested memorials ~

*purchase of a public park
*clearing of the debt owed on the Stephenson's Memorial Hall
*opening of new medical wards at the towns Royal Hospital

After great consideration by the council and Mayor Alderman Wood it was decided that the need for provision of a public recreation ground was of paramount importance to the well being of the inhabitants of Chesterfield and so a public park was to be the memorial of the Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.   The park was named Queens Park and is little changed to this day.

Three sites were under consideration for the placement of the park, but the 22 acre plot south of the town centre was settled upon. Being placed between the River Hipper and Boythorpe on land known as Maynards Meadows.

Much fund raising was undertaken by the residents of Chesterfield, including the Chesterfield Amateur Dramatic Societies "Grand Jubilee Performance" held at the Stephenson Memorial Hall on Tuesday 19th April 1887.  Entertainers included Miss Marie Rhodes, Miss Eva Lillian and Mr G F Bywater.  Tickets could be reserved prior to the performance for 3s or 10s for a family ticket to admit four persons.

Jubilee fever hit Chesterfield, souvenir tea sets, mugs and other paraphernalia were advertised for sale. A letter written to the Board Of Guardians at Chesterfield Workhouse from the members of the Chesterfield Jubilee Recreation Ground Committee, stated that "a special treat should be given on the occasion, of the celebration of the Queen's Jubilee to the inmates of the workhouse and the children at the Industrial Schools" an applause of "hear hear" was heard at the meeting.

Mayor Alderman Wood played his part in fund raising by holding a Jubilee Garden Party at his home at Hady.  On Wednesday 5th July at 5pm he opened his greenhouses and grounds for viewing and there was a concert performed by the Chesterfield Harmonic Society, Chesterfield Volunteer Brass Band and the Chesterfield Hand Bell Ringers.  Tickets were for sale at the Derbyshire Times and Derbyshire Courier newspaper offices, but for those who could not afford the ticket price I am sure the music rang out all around Chesterfield and filled the townspeople with glad tidings.

Eventually in August the Mayor Wood announced that £3114 16s had been raised so far, which was enough to purchase 17 acres of the land at West Bars from Mr Maynard.  The town marked the Golden Jubilee at the dedication of the park on 21st September 1887.  There was a long procession of subscriber's, public bodies, representatives of Chesterfield's trade and industry, Sunday Schools and the local Yeomanry who all marched through the main streets of Chesterfield to the land at Maynards Meadows.   Mayor Alderman Wood was presented with a silver spade with an ebony handle in order to plant a commemorative tree to mark the dedication.

Spade used by Mayor Wood
Taken from Modern Chesterfield, Pendleton & Jacques, 1908

Later that day the Mayor entertained the subscribers to lunch at the Upper Corn Exchange.  The volunteers were also given dinner, the elderly of Chesterfield lunched in the park and the Sunday School children returned to their respective schools and were treated to tea. 

The Queen was not the only reason for a Jubilee celebration in Chesterfield that year; the Holy Trinity Church celebrated the Jubilee of the laying of the foundation stone for the Church in 1837.  The Church wrote to Her Majesty telling her of the connection and how the Church was the burial place of the "genius" George Stevenson.  The Church received a telegraph in reply dated 19th May, from Windsor Castle at 09.10, stating that "the Queen thanks you and your parishioners for your kind and loyal congratulations".

And what was the weather like in June 1887? a question all English men would ask!  Well according to an article in the Derbyshire Times, dated 2nd July 1887 the Derbyshire Volunteers spent their Jubilee camping at Blackpool and celebrated the event with a big bonfire.  The men are said to have returned "looking as bronzed and sunburnt as men well can".  So it looks like the weather was good on the East coast at least, or was it the big bonfire that caused the bronzed look?!

Brampton held their Jubilee celebrations on the August bank holiday.  It began with a luncheon for ticket holders and a free lunch for the elderly.  The Chesterfield Volunteer Band then assembled at Brampton post office and led a procession to Walton Dam, where all types of games were held including "Cranky Horses" (any offers on what this game is??), shooting galleries and coconut throwing.  Local breweries; Brampton and Scarsdale gave 30 gallons of beer each to the festivities.  The Derbyshire Times recorded that there was 600lb beef, 350lb's of ham, 840lb's of bread, 50lb's of tea and 20 gallons of milk consumed that afternoon.

In November of 1887 the now ex-Mayor Alderman Wood was made a freeman of the town of Chesterfield, in honour of the contributions he had made to the town and its townsfolk.  Money was raised for the purchase of a silver casket to be presented to him but instead he asked for the money to be put to the erecting of a bandstand in the Queens Park.

On Tuesday 9th October 1888 the Chesterfield Jubilee Committee met for a final time and all agreed that their work was done in raising money to purchase a public park to commemorate Her Majesty Queen Victoria.  There was £32 left in the kitty, which after discussion was decided best to be put into another fund to raise the money to purchase the final 5 acres.   The price of the bandstand was also discussed at the meeting; £130 for an open band stand and £160 for one with shutters. Over the next year further fund raising was undertaken by the ladies bazaar committee and the final amount to secure the purchase of the further 5 acres of land was raised in October 1889.

The Queens Park was finally opened to the public on 2nd August 1893.  The laying of a cricket pitch was commenced the same year.  Further years saw the addition of a cricket pavilion in 1898, a boating lake, cycling tracks and even a gymnasium.  In 1901, in dedication of the death of Queen Victoria a further 17 acres of land were purchased and named the Queens Park Annex. 

Queens Park cricket ground today, with the pavilion in the background

In 1909 a statue of a young girl holding a rose was presented to the park by a local sculptor Herbert Lee. 

At the final meeting of the Chesterfield Jubilee Committee, Alderman Wood the chairman commented that "He trusted that in years to come this (the park) would be a great source of pleasure and benefit not only to the inhabitants of Chesterfield but to all those in the surrounding district and that in years to come it would be thought that they commemorated the Queens Jubilee of 1887, in the most common sense and practical way it could be commemorated"   To this speech he received a resounding "hear hear" which I think we can all most certainly agree with.  Each of our generations to have passed since the year 1887 will have had many happy times and tales to tell of our Queens Park and this blog has reminded us that they most certainly did commemorate the Queens Jubilee in a commonsense and practical way ~ luckily for the town of Chesterfield.

Diamond Jubilee ~

Chesterfield Drill Hall ~ drawing in Derbyshire Times 1st October 1898
Image included with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (
To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee the town of Chesterfield decided upon the building of a Drill Hall for the numerous Volunteers who had been previously based at Bakewell, the Headquarters of the 2nd Derbyshire Volunteer Battalion, Sherwood Foresters.  The men had often been required to drill out in all weathers and so a new drill hall would be of immense benefit to the Battalion.

Land was provided by the Corporation, at the top of Goldwell Hill near Ashgate Road.  The hall has now been demolished and is allotments.

Drill Hall, Chesterfield
picture care of

The Hall was opened on Wednesday 28th September 1898 by Lord Roberts V.C, described by the Derbyshire Times as "England's greatest General".   The weather was commented on as having been one or two showers, but nothing to dampen the proceedings as thousands converged onto Chesterfield to see Lord Roberts and the opening of the Drill Hall.  The people of Chesterfield rose to the occasion and hung out buntings and flags.  The Station Hotel on Corporation Street was adorned with flags in the form of shields and the Midland Hotel was decorated with greenery, shields and coloured flags.  Streamers and Union Jacks hung from Freeman's Hotel to the Stevenson Memorial Hall.  The town must have looked a colourful spectacle. 

A luncheon was provided afterwards for the most prominent members of Chesterfield at the Stephenson Memorial Hall.  Sports were held in the afternoon to entertain 5000 people at the Queens Park which included flat races and bicycle races.  The day was round off with around 10,00 people assembling in the Queens Park for a Military Torchlight Tatoo by "A" Company which was followed by a firework display.  The bandstand was illuminated with lights and a tent was erected for dancing. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

So, the Jubilee's of Chesterfield past have held a lasting impression on the town to this day.  If it were not for the foresight of Mayor Alderman Wood we would not have the park that we still use and enjoy today.  The drill hall has vanished from our landscape but now as I pass the allotments on my left as I drive along Saltergate, past the Goldwell Rooms onto Ashgate Road I will remember the excitement and thrill its presence once evoked on the people of Chesterfield.

Did our ancestor's join in with the celebrations of the Jubilee's past?  I hope so and I hope that they all enjoyed themselves!! The children may have delighted at their free Sunday School tea, the elderly the free luncheon's and the military amongst them a chance to have a brand new Drill Hall in the town centre which kept them out of the wind and rain!!  Would they, as did Mayor Alderman Wood think to the future and hope that we would all be happy with the choices they made? probably not, but here we are now remembering their actions over a century later!

I will leave the more recent Jubilee's for another time; our reigning Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has reached the same milestones as Queen Victoria did, the only two of our Monarch's to reach their Diamond Jubilee! 

Notes ~

The information, facts and figures in this blog post have been taken primarily from past copies of the Derbyshire Times Newspaper.

I did want to add a picture of the bandstand at the Queen's Park, but at present the Bank Holiday Fair is situated directly in front of it ~ so the picture will be added when possible.

Sources -
"Modern Chesterfield" by Pendleton and Jacques, 1908