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....................


  1. Your photos are wonderful and add to the story you tell. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you Kathy. Glad you enjoyed reading my blog. Your comments are very much appreciated. Thanks again Louise

  3. Enjoyed reading your work, really interesting, hope you are well

    1. Hi Janet,
      Nice to hear from you, hope you are keeping well. Glad to hear my blog is being read!! I will move on to the Booths at some point, been looking at other side of family lately.
      Have you found any new Booth findings lately?
      Bye for now,

  4. My mother is the daughter of Mary Anne and William and may be able to help. I have emailed you on Facebook and left an email address for you to contact her. X

    1. Hi, thank you for contacting me. Lovely to hear from you! I have just found your email also, I will email you back after tea and look forward to comparing Hannan stories x