The Beckett Family

A late 19-century farming family in Normanton

By Neil Fortey

An enquiry by Avis Hand seeking information about the Beckett family who farmed at 5, Normanton Lane, prompted some investigation into census records using The results may strike a chord with someone that can tell us some more about these people. Which are the that they lived in? Is it one of the houses in our Normanton gallery?

1861 Census – no one called Beckett is recorded as living in Bottesford parish in this census.

1871 Census – Sarah A Beckett aged 12, born at Collingham, Notts, was a servant in the farmhouse of John Whitehead in Normanton. Houses in Normanton did not have formal addresses at this time, so we cannot be sure if this was 5, Normanton Lane. No other Becketts were found living in Bottesford parish in 1871.

1881 Census – the Beckett family lived at No.5 Normanton Lane. They are listed as:

Samuel Beckett, 62, farmer of 74 acres, head of household, born in Collingham, Notts
Elizabeth Beckett, 54, wife of Samuel, born Claypole, Lincs
Elizabeth Beckett, 30, daughter, born Apperby Bridge, Yorkshire
Thomas Beckett, 22, son, born in Collingham
Fanny Beckett, 18, daughter, born in Collingham
Dorothy Beckett, 16, daughter, born Collingham
Albert Beckett, 6, grandson, born in Manningham, Yorkshire
Samuel Beckett, 4 grandson, born in Manningham, Yorkshire

The family had evidently moved into Normanton from another parish, but it is not clear where they moved from. I searched the 1871 census on but was unable to find a Samuel Beckett born around 1819. Nevertheless, it appears that Samuel and Elizabeth had lived in Apperby Bridge, Yorkshire and Collingham, Notts, before moving to Normanton. There were two grandchildren born in Manningham, Yorks, but it appears that their parents are not listed, perhaps they had died or become separated from their children by some other event.

No other Becketts are recorded in Bottesford in the 1881 census.

1891 Census – the Beckett family live at No.20 Normanton Road. They are listed as:

Samuel Beckett, 72, head of household, farmer
Elizabeth Beckett, 64, wife
Sarah Beckett, 28, daughter, dressmaker
Dorothy Beckett, 25, daughter, dressmaker
Albert Beckett, 16, grandson, scholar
Samuel Beckett, 14, grandson, scholar

The family had moved to No.20 Normanton Rd and were still farming. Thomas and Fanny had left, but daughter Sarah had come home (Is this the same Sarah as listed in the 1861 census?) Albert is listed as a scholar even though he had passed 14, the age at which many children left school to start work.

1901 Census – two people with the Beckett surname are recorded living at No.20 Normanton Road:

Elizabeth Beckett, 72, farmer and head of household
Dorothy Beckett, 35, daughter of Elizabeth

Also at this address were:

William Catton, 27, farm foreman and son-in-law of Elizabeth Beckett, born in Woolsthorpe by Belvoir.
Fanny M. Catton, 37, daughter of Elizabeth Beckett and wife of William Catton
Cyril B. Catton, 2, son of William and Fanny Catton
Frances M. Catton, less than 1 year old, daughter of William and Fanny Catton
William H Challand, 13, farm boy, from Bottesford

Samuel Beckett has died, but Elizabeth continues to work the farm with the help of her daughter and son-in-law, together with a living-in farm boy, and presumably that of local workers when necessary.

This is as far we can go using the old censuses, because the later ones starting at 1911 are not yet accessible to the public. Births, marriages and deaths information assembled by Guy Etchell from the Bottesford parish registers contain no reference to the Becketts, but this is not surprising since the Etchell database goes up to 1881 only.

This page was added on 30/06/2007.

Comments about this page

  • Thankyou very much for your very considerable research.
    I have discovered that there are two Beckett graves in Bottesford churchyard. Ann who died 1882 and the aforementioned Sam d.1897.
    Do you think the no.20 Normanton Road you mentioned is the building and possible farmhouse that is now numbered 20 in Normanton. It is an old building and well situated to be home to a farmer?
    I think this whole website is fascinating and most informative.

    By Avis Hand (10/07/2007)
  • I was glad to see that you have a link to Guy Etchell’s website. Many years ago, I read some of the Bottesford Parish registers (on microfilm) and a few years ago I was in touch with Guy Etchell’s by email. I’m sure that he has helped many people who are studying their family history. John Hollingworth and Hannah Stokes who were married in Bottesford 28 Nov 1797 were my ancestors. Their son William and his family are in the 1841 census records living on Mill Lane. William and family came to America in 1849 on the British Ship Letland. John and Hannah were born in Grantham; I’ve found her parents’ names and several generations back on John. I’m enjoying your website. Thank you.

    By Georgia Cavanaugh (08/08/2007)
  • I can trace my family tree back eleven generations to Isabell Becket (c1555 – 1609) of Bottesford, second wife of John Cragg, also of Bottesford (c1535 – 1602) – my great (x11) grandparents. I’d be very interested to hear from anyone with more information about the Becket and Cragg families of Bottesford.

    John and Isabell were married in the church at Bottesford (15.01.1574) and had one son, Daniel Cragg who married Lucy Caunt of West Allington, Lincs. Daniel and Lucy lived in Bottesford as did his son, Daniel (01.11.1618) who was a weaver. He married Jone Allison of Bottesford (Bottesford Church, 06.04.1644) and their son Robert left Bottesford following the death of his wife, Lydia, in 1722. He moved to Orston, Notts where the Cragg family became famous as framework knitters and cricketers.

    I am hoping to go back further than 1535 if possible, and wonder if there are any Craggs and Beckets in Bottesford who would maybe be interested in helping me with my research.

    By Veronica Barnes (Cragg) (01/09/2007)
  • I too am researching my family history and have come across the name Becket while looking for Robert Hollingsworth. I do believe he was a farmer at a farm called Redfern Cottage Farm in the late 19th and early 20th century. So far have been unable to trace it. If anybody knows of the farm, I would be please to hear from them. I do intend to spend time in Bottesford to search the church record.

    By Shirley Ann Johnson (17/07/2009)
  • Dear Shirley, Thanks for your enquiry. Hollingsworth is a name associated with Bottesford for centuries. The 1891 and 1901 censuses for Bottesford parish include a Robert Hollingsworth: In 1891 he was 61, a Bottesford-born railway platelayer, married to Harriett, 51, from Churton in Cheshire. They had three children living at home (Maria 24, John 17, Robert 11) and two grand-daughters Sarah 5 and Ann 2. They lived at Bunkers Hill Cottages, Easthorpe. The family were still at this address in 1901, in which their son Robert was recorded as a general labourer. I also checked on the census databases in and found that there were many Robert Hollingsworths in England in these census years, several living in Lincolnshire, but I have not had time to see if any lived at a Redfern Cottage Farm. We will post more information if it becomes available. If you visit the village, you will be frustrated to discover that the parish records are in the Leicestershire Public Records Office, located at Wigston Magna, just south of Leicester itself. They are also available on microfilm in Melton Mowbray Library, but there is no copy here in Bottesford as far as we are aware.

    By Neil Fortey (18/07/2009)
  • Thank you for the reply to my note regarding a Robert Hollingsworth. I do think this is the family I am looking for. The dates seem to match up with the ones I have got so far. I have got Robert as born in 1880, that would make him 11 in 1891. I will now have to look at the record I have and see if a John is named in them and I will get back to you. Once again thank you for your help.

    By Shirley Ann Johnson (22/07/2009)
  • We have been given access to the Bottesford rate book for 1914, and this includes a page which tells us that there were two Hollingsworths paying rates at this time. These were:-
    Jos Hollingsworth, who owned 4 acres and 4 perches of land outright.
    Robert Hollingsworth, who rented 3 acres and 4 perches of land from W. Vincent-Jackson, who was the rector of Bottesford at the time.

    I hope this helps your researches.
    Neil Fortey

    By Neil Fortey (08/08/2009)
  • My grandmother was Elizabeth Cragg, born 1901 Bottesford. She was the daughter of William Cragg and Sarah Elizabeth nee Parnham. Don’t know if this family of Craggs is related to yours? I would love to hear from anyone who knew them

    By Sue Riseborough (30/10/2012)
  • Interested in Sue Riseborough’s comment of 30/10/2012. My uncle’s wife l think was Nellie Cragg prior to marriage. I have her logged as being born around 1898 (don’t know where). She married Percy Glenn in 1922 and for many years they lived in Orston. Any connection here with the Elizabeth Cragg you mention Sue?

    By Yvonne Burbanks (nee Glenn) (19/11/2012)

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