Sixth Generation

Home Up

Top of Page

Sixth Generation

It is with the Sixth Generation that the 'horizons' of the Fretwells are seen to expand not merely geographically, but also on the 'social' front. We have already noted the move from Tadcaster to Leeds by John Fretwell, and his commercial ventures. Tadcaster, with its market and parish town economy, was 15 miles from Leeds. Not far geographically, but, even in the late 1700s, offering a distinctly different lifestyle than the big city. Not only had the Fretwells opted to take on the challenge of testing their commercial capabilities in a more competitive milieu, but the children were now able to meet, get to know, and choose to marry people whose various occupations added a new dimension to the family makeup.

John and Isabella Fretwell, produced ten children - seven sons and three daughters. Through circumstances (refer to Fifth Generation) the main Fretwell line was continued through William Fretwell, the ninth child.

There is also some further, though sparse, information on the Hoylandswaine branch of the Fretwells, provided mainly by the late Chris Bradley, whose help was much appreciated.

Referring back to the offspring of John and Isabella Fretwell, I have a particular interest in what happened to the three daughters who survived to adulthood, married and had families of their own. These women - Mary, Isabella and Ann Fretwell - have been briefly mentioned in the Fifth Generation, but they, and more particularly, their descendants are dealt with more fully in a separate section of this website - Fretwell Offshoots.

6th Generation Spouses


Given Name

Spouse of

Robinson John Mary Fretwell



William Fretwell
Jackson Ann(e) William Fretwell
Silverwood Joseph Hannah Walshaw

Children of Mary Fretwell
Isabella Fretwell
Ann Fretwell

For accounts of the children born to Mary, Isabella and Ann Fretwell, Refer to Fretwell Offshoots.

Children of Peter Fretwell

John Fretwell

John was born on 21 October 1788 in North Barr, Leeds, and baptised nearly one month later on 16 November 1788 at St Peter's Church. As noted previously, he may have died in infancy, but on reflection, taking account of the recording on the family tomb of the other family members, it may be that John survived to adulthood, left home, and lost touch with his family.

Mary Fretwell

Mary was born about 18 months after her brother John, on 11 March 1790, when her parents were living in St James's Street, Leeds. She was baptised at St Peter's Church on 11 April of the same year. Although the date and place are not known at this stage, Mary married a John Robinson, a weaver, who came from Deighton or Sheep(b)ridge, near Huddersfield. There is no record of any children born to the marriage. In fact Mary died relatively young, at the age of 41 on 7 November 1831 and was buried at St John's Church, Leeds three days later. From the burial certificate (which incidentally records her age as 40) we learn that Mary and John lived in Huddersfield, and that she was brought 'home' for her burial.

Ann Fretwell

Almost two years after the birth of Mary, the younger daughter of Peter and Elizabeth, Ann, was born on 5 February 1792. As were her siblings, Ann was baptised at St Peter's. The christening took place on 26 February 1792. Ann never married, and from the address given on the burial certificate, lived at the family home at St James's Street. From the inscription on her mother's and grandmother's tomb, Ann died in her 30 year on 25 August 1823 and was buried on 28 August at St John's Church Leeds.

Children of William Fretwell

Mary Fretwell

Mary was the first child of William Fretwell and Mary Vause, born on 24 September 1797, two years after her parents' wedding. They waited nearly another two years before having Mary baptised on 10 July, 1799, at St John's Parish Church Leeds, on the same day as her brother William. Mary died a spinster, aged 32, on 28 July 1830 and was buried in the Mill Hill Chapel Yard, Leeds, on 1 August, the service conducted by Joseph Hutton. An inscription on a stone slab in the Chapel Yard shows that she was laid to rest in the same grave as her niece Rhoda, and her younger sister Sabina.

William Fretwell

William, the elder son of William and Mary, was born when his parents were living at Head Row, Leeds, on 13 April, 1799. He was baptised in a double ceremony with his older sister Mary, on 10 July 1799 at St John's Parish Church. We have no information as to his education, or the training he would have undertaken to befit him for future role as head of the family business. He probably served his apprenticeship under the tutelage of his mother and uncle. William was twice married, for the first time when he was 27 years old. This wife was Elizabeth Smith. We know that she was one year younger than her husband, as she was born on 10 April 1801. But we have not established where she was born. They married by licence in York, the wedding being held on 15 March 1827 at Christ Church and conducted by Isaac Grayson. This marriage entry may help with more of Elizabeth's background. There were three witnesses - Thomas Smith, Thomas Smith Jnr, and Anne Smith. The first Thomas was likely her father and the second Thomas probably a brother. We know, from her memorial inscription, that she had a sister called Ann(e). Within a space of just over five years, at intervals of eighteen months, Elizabeth produced four children - three daughters and one son - of whom only one child, Elizabeth, survived beyond infancy. Rhoda, January-April 1828, Elizabeth born 4 April 1829, William Henry November 1830 to January 1836, and an unnamed daughter who died at birth 1832. This was no mean feat for the mother Elizabeth, who was known to be frail and consumptive. Like her, all four children were sickly, and even the surviving daughter died young. Elizabeth Fretwell died on May 19 1834, and was buried on 22 May at the Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds, by Joseph Hutton. Her memory is enshrined on a stone slab in the Mill Hill Chapel Yard. The inscription is witness to what must have been a very sad household, although Elizabeth was at least spared the ordeal of burying her last born, son William Henry. Her sister Ann also died young, although the date is illegible.


This stone Protects the Remains of Rhoda
the Daughter of Wm and Elizabeth Fretwell of this Town, who died the 30th of April 1828,
aged 15 weeks.

Also Sabina, Sister to the above Wm. Fretwell
who died on the 22nd of May 1828,
aged 23 years.

Also the Body of Mary, Sister of the above mentioned Sabina Fretwell, who died July 28th 1830,
Aged 33 years.

Sacred to the Memory of Elizabeth the Wife of William Fretwell of this Town who was born April 10th 1801,
and died May 19th 1834

Also of an infant Daughter who was born and died on the 13th Day of June 1832

Also Ann Smith, Sister of the above Elizabeth Fretwell who died August 3rd 18?? Aged 29 Years

Also Wm Henry, Son of the above named Wm. and Elizth. Fretwell who died Jany 31st 1836, Aged 5 years.

Memorial Inscriptions - Mill Hill Chapel Yard

In just under two years after the death of Elizabeth, William remarried. His new bride was Ann Jackson, who was to prove to be far more robust than stuff than her predecessor. Ann's family had originally come from Ackworth, which is just south of Pontefract. Both her father and grandfather were tanners. Her parents were Richard Jackson, described as Yeoman, and Mary Cole (who had been born in Grantham, Lincolnshire) who had married in Ackworth on 29 June 1813. They had seven children, of whom Ann was the third, and second daughter. At some point the family moved to Selby, and from the family notes, this would have been after Ann was born in 1816. The notes do not give the birth place of her younger siblings - three sisters and another brother. As they grew up the children of Richard and Mary dispersed. John, the oldest, went to America and died there at Uttica in 1785 at the age of 44. Ann's elder sister Elizabeth married Leeds manufacturer George Davison and they went to live in Edinburgh. Mary, born just over two years after Ann, died a widow in 1906 in Grantham, and the next born, Richard, emigrated to Australia. Sarah, who was born in 1822 lived to age 71. She married Robert Manners Mann, a surgeon of St. John's Manchester. The youngest child, Emma, was the only one to remain in the immediate Selby area. She married Thomas Standering who was a ship-owner at Selby. She died six months before sister Sarah, at Cawood near Selby at the age of 69. Not only do we know the date of Ann's birth, we also know, from her meticulous notes the precise time she came into the world. She was born at Ackworth at 'quarter past two at night' on 21 July 1816, and baptised in the same year on 8th September. But Richard Jackson would not have given his daughter's hand in marriage as he had died on 3rd August 1833. However her mother was alive to celebrate the day, and in fact lived for a further 33 years, dying on 9th December 1869.

At the respective ages of just short of 35, and 20, William Fretwell and Ann Jackson were married, by Licence, at the Abbey Church, Selby, on 21 April 1836, before the Reverend John L Watson, and witnessed by Jno Wilson and Ann's sister, Elizabeth Jackson. As noted in Ann's diary

I was married to Mr. Fretwell on April 21st 1836, being then exactly 19 years and three quarters on that day.

From the time of her wedding in 1836, Ann, as with so many wives of the time, was constantly in a 'delicate' state - not necessarily so, but perhaps a testament to her robust constitution. Here is Ann's account, in her somewhat dispassionate and ever precise style, of the births (and miscarriages).

Our little boy was born on Sunday June 11th 1837 at 10 minutes before 6 in the morning. He was named John after his Father's Uncle.

Vause our second son was born 1/4 before 8 o'clock morning Monday Dec 10th 1838. Mary was born April 20th 1840 at 5 o'clock in the morning.

Monday Saturday May 22nd 1841 had a miscarriage. Sept 19th 1841 had a second miscarriage.

Sunday November 13th 1842 my Alice was born about 1 o'clock morning. October 12th 1845 at 8 o'clock morning Edith Marion was born. Sunday Sept 10th 1847 at 1/4 past 5 o'clock in the morning Fanny Emmeline was born - Friday.

Dec 5th 1849 had a miscarriage.

William was born on the 6th November 1850 at 8 o'clock on Friday morning. Died Thursday Dec 26th about 1 o'clock. Buried on the 28th at Brayton Church. Oct 28th 1851 at 1/2 past 3 o'clock pm was delivered after a dangerous labour of a dead baby - a fine boy - Tuesday.

Monday August 15th 1853 Florence was born at 3 o'clock pm.

Whether from choice, or from duty, William, as the eldest son, was destined to work in the family business, which as soon as he was able after the death of his father in 1809, he joined with his mother in partnership with his Uncle John, until the latter's retirement. Thus for the first years of their married life William and Ann were in Leeds, living at Upperhead Row in relative comfort and in the security of a flourishing family business, and within the accepted terms of standards of middle class living.

However, it would seem the time in which William and Anne would have been able to maintain their level of comforts was short-lived. The business, which by 1839 was operating from Colonial Wharf, Knostrop, is not listed in the White’s 1854 Directory. Reading between the lines it is clear that some major set-back must have befallen the business that had been built up over two generations before being handed over to William. There is no mention in his Uncle John’s Will of any bequest to his nephew William, such as the assets of the family business. Was he out of favour? Perhaps so, but no-one else was to receive anything from the business either. The answer, I believe, is to be found in the Will. John, in bequeathing to his great nephew, John, his watch and seal and two silver spoons, refers to John’s father as :

William Fretwell, late of Leeds Grocer but now a commercial Traveller

Further hints of a catastrophe can be discerned from some notes in Anne’s diary. Interspersed with accounts of family comings and goings is a reference to William’s business troubles.

Monday April 19th 1841
Mother and I returned from paying a visit to Aunt and Uncle at Grantham. Mr. F. met us at the coach. Thought he looked ill and unhappy.

Tuesday 20th
My Mary’s birthday. In the afternoon Mother left us for Selby. After her departure Mr. F. told me of his failure. Spent a miserable evening. Resolved to make the best of it.

Wednesday 21st
The fifth anniversary of our marriage Mr. F. went to London to make some arrangements with his creditors.

Thursday 22nd
Bessy came from Selby and brought my sweet little Mary to comfort me. She did not know me again.

On Saturday morning Mr. F. returned from London. I never remember having spent so miserable a week.

The June 1841 census shows that when Anne made the above diary entries, the business had not yet collapsed entirely. William is listed as a grocer, and the rest of the family - wife Anne, her step-daughter Elizabeth, and daughter Mary, together with domestic servant, Ellen Sharp, were living at Knostrop. But by September 1841, as recorded in the London Gazette, William was declared a bankrupt.

Whereas a Fiat in Bankruptcy is awarded and issued forth against William Fretwell, of Leeds, in the country of York, Colonial Merchant, Dealer and Chapman, and he being declared a bankrupt, is hereby required to surrender himself to the Commissioners in the said First named, or three of them, on the 28th day of September instant, an nine o'clock in the forenoon, and on the 22d day of October next, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, at the Commissioners'-rooms, Commercial-buildings, in Leeds aforesaid, and make a full discovery and disclosure of his estate and effects; when and where the creditors are to come prepared to prove their debts, and at the first sitting to choose assignees, and at the last sitting the said bankrupt is required to finish his examination, and the creditors are to assent to or dissent from the allowance of his certificate.

It was not until almost three years later when, as again recorded in the London Gazette, that the matter was finalised, with William Fretwell's creditors receiving 4s 3d in the pound.

What were the causes of this disaster? Was it due to the severe economic downturn when, in 1836 the good harvests and trade boom came to an end and, from 1837, following the previous boom years the country was plunged into a prolonged depression which lasted until 1842? Another possibility is that William speculated away the fortunes. Did the ‘failure’ mentioned by Anne in her diary refer to a commercial failing of her husband which, in turn, had brought about the failure of his business? Was he in financial difficulties earlier than 1841, and was his parlous financial situation the reason why he was disqualified from voting in the 1835 election? WEF confided to one family member that one of his antecedents, a William, had been a gambler, and brought his family to ruin. Whatever the cause, the effect on William must have been devastating. He would have been 42 in 1841, and no doubt planning for and contemplating a comfortable retirement. Instead, he now had to find some other way of supporting his family and, furthermore, providing for their futures. At this stage he had two sons to educate and one daughter. In time, and despite the straitened circumstances, he was to have four more daughters to marry off.

Sometime before 1851 the family moved from Leeds as the census of that year finds Anne living in Gowthorpe Street, Selby, and described as Wife of a Commercial Traveller in the Seed Business. Son John was boarding at a Yeoman's School in York, but at home with their mother were children Vause, Mary, Alice, Edith and Fanny. We know from Anne’s diary that in December 1850 she had lost her infant son William, who had lived only 6 weeks, and that at the time of the census she was again pregnant. She would have been grateful for the assistance of Esther Greensdon, who was listed with the household as a House Servant, and her mother, Mary Jackson, was also living close by. For the same census William was recorded as being a Visitor at an Inn in Birdgate, Pickering, and listed as a Commercial Traveller for a Hops and Seed Merchant. From Principal of a flourishing grocery business to Travelling Salesman for a London Hop Merchant, to which he was reduced, was a humiliating come-down. Furthermore, he had made no provision for such an eventuality. Writing in his diary in 1859, son John, who was offered the opportunity of theological study, commented

Besides this, he [John’s father] was 60 years old…; he had lost all his money; he had not even a life-insurance; my brother Vause, in entering the army, had terribly disappointed him, and if I entered the ministry, who was to provide for his younger daughters in case of his death?

Sometime after 1851 the family had relocated back to Leeds where they lived in Beech Grove. William’s income as a travelling salesmen was evidently insufficient to support his by now large family because, when at Beech Grove, Anne, with the encouragement and support of her son John, had started a small kindergarten which she ran with the assistance of her daughter Mary. In order to attract further custom, John organised for an exhibition in 1858 at the Leeds Town Hall to show off the talents of the children.

The children trained by my sister went through their little performances and that gave our kindergarten a good send off, and for many years later it kept the home together…

From a notice in the Leeds Times of 30 July 1859 the the school had it had expanded to cater for young ladies.

The Kinder Garten and Ladies' School will be opened on Thursday, the 28th July, under the Direction of Mrs and Miss Fretwell. Prospectuses may be had on application at the School, Beechgrove, Woodhouse-lane, Leeds.

William Fretwell has not been located for the 1861 census but by the time this census was conducted Anne had moved to Manchester where she was residing at The Villas in York Terrace, Whalley Range, Moss Side. With her were her daughters Mary, Alice, Fanny and Florence. Mary was listed as being a Teacher, and the other girls were still Scholars. In fact, Anne had again opened a kindergarten which she had purchased from her son John’s mother-in-law Frau Ronge (formerly Traun). This was not a happy arrangement, and, as John noted in his diary, his mother would have been far better to remain in Beech Grove, where she and her daughters were well-known and honoured. It was at Moss Side that Anne and her daughters were found for the 1871 census - Mary as schoolmistress and Mary, Edith Marion, Fanny Emmeline and Florence as teachers. For the same census the 'itinerant' husband and father, William, was a lodger at the Temperance Hotel, Horse Market, Barnard Castle, Durham. His transient existence must have been both taxing and lonely. And it was 'on the job' the he suddenly died in a hotel in Lancaster, on 1 February 1872, in his 73rd year. The Lancaster Gazette of 3 February reported on the inquest into his death.

Sudden Death of a Commercial Traveller in Lancaster
An inquest was held at the County Hotel, on Thursday evening, before Mr. L. Holden, touching the death of Mr. William Fretwell traveller for Messrs. R.T. Collins, hop merchants, London, aged 72, who was found dead in bed at the County Hotel on Thursday morning last. He had only arrived in Lancaster the previous evening, and feeling unwell had gone into the town and purchased a bottle of pain killer. He had only taken a tea-spoonful, and as he was found dead the next morning it was assumed that the medicine had accelerated his death. An inquest was held accordingly, when the following evidence was adduced:-
Mr. Samuel Ducksbury. - I knew the deceased quite well. He arrived at my house last evening at nine o'clock. He said he would have a little brandy and some hot flannel. He said he had got a little medicine which he was going to take with a little warm water. He then went into the commercial room. He went to bed about half an hour after he came into the house. About ten minutes to nine o'clock this morning the housemaid came to tell me he was lying on the floor and they thought he was dead. I went immediately to the room and found him lying on his face. The bed had been slept on. A bottle which had contained pain killer and a tumbler were by the bedside. I sent a cab for Mr. Johnson, surgeon.
Agnes Ashwell, housemaid, said - Deceased asked to be called at eight o'clock, and Mary Ann Waterhouse went to call him. They then went together, and not getting any answer they went for the boots. The boots and witness went into the room and found deceased lying at the foot of the bed, apparently lifeless. They then called Mr. Ducksbury.
Thomas Nield Fletcher, boots, said - Deceased arrived by the 6-40 train from Yorkshire. He said he did not feel well, and asked if the druggists would be open. Witness when with him to Mr. Hall's, druggist, and got some medicine. About five minutes past eight o'clock this morning witness was informed that deceased was dead, and went up to the room, when he found the deceased lying at the foot of the bed quite dead.
Sydney Huggett, assistant with Mr. Hall, spoke to the deceased's purchasing a bottle of pain killer. He complained of a pain in the chest, and said he had heard that the medicine was a good thing, and thought he would try it. Witness did not know the nature of the medicine. It was a patent medicine.
Ann Fretwell, widow of the deceased, 4, York-Terrace, Whalley Range, Manchester, said deceased left home on Monday morning. He was 72 years of age, and had been unwell for some time. He suffered from disease of the kidneys, and had been attended by Sir John Fife, of Newcastle.
Christopher Johnson, surgeon, said he was called shortly after eight o'clock that morning to the deceased. He found him on the floor, lying at the foot of the bed. He had been dead some hours. Witness asked that the police might be sent for. No marks of violence were upon the body. The bottle of pain killer was in the room, and about a table-spoonful had been taken. From the taste witness thought that it contained a preparation of opium, capsicum, and camphor. Children and old people were very susceptible of the effects of morphia. He did not think that the deceased had died from the effects of opiate poisoning, as he would in all probability have died in bed from the opiate producing sleep. He could not say positively that the dose taken had accelerated death, but he did not hink it had.
The Coroner, having summed up commenting on the feeble health of the deceased, and the possibility of the medicine had had taken being somewhat strong for him, told the jury that if they were not satisfied the deceased had died from natural causes he would order a post-mortem examination to be made. The jury returned a verdict of died from "Natural Causes".

William's body was brought 'home' and he was laid to rest Woodhouse Cemetery. From WEF’s assessment of William (and backed up by William's son John) we see, if indeed he was a gambler or spendthrift, a very different side to the man, which leads to the conclusion that William may have been temperamentally just not suited to the cut and thrust of the competitive business world. Rather, he was a deeply religious, scholarly and contemplative man, more comfortable in his library and with his books.

By the time of the 1881 census Anne was back in Leeds, living at 7 Glebe Terrace, Headingley. With her in 1881 were her daughter Edith Marion Fretwell and Edith’s future husband Franklin Winser. It is comforting to note that Anne was recorded as living off income from property. She was still at Glebe Terrace for the 1891 census, living on her own means, but this time sharing the house with 50 year old spinster daughter Mary, who was by now a retired governess.

Despite the hardships of child bearing, the failure of her husband’s business, and her own work in the kindergarten movement, Anne lived to a ripe old age. She died just a few days after the census on 12 April 1891 at Headingley, Leeds, of old age and congestion of the lungs, and was buried at Woodhouse Cemetery. The death certificate records that daughter Mary Fretwell was the informant. Anne's passing was marked by a notice placed in the newspaper in April 1892 :

FRETWELL - On the 12th inst., at Headingley, Leeds, Anne, widow of the late Wm. Fretwell, aged 74 years. No cards.

and also noted in a Unitarian publication:

In Memoriam
On Sunday morning, the 12th April, died at her home at Headingley, Mrs Fretwell in her 75th year. For a long time she had been an invalid, helpless but not useless, for her patient cheerfulness was an example and encouragement to all who saw her. She was widow of the late William Fretwell, in his day a well-known and earnest Yorkshire Unitarian, whose name yet abides with us in the son and daughters who have inherited his faith. It was on an April Sunday, fifty-five years ago, that he brought his bride to Mill Hill Chapel for the first time, and she remained through life constant to the simpler faith which she then adopted, and so brought up her children in that they might be worthy of their father’s church.

The Memoriam, printed as a mark of respect for the widow of a staunch Unitarian, tends to confirm her son John’s view that while he and his siblings were brought up as Unitarians his mother never embraced their faith.

Though my Father was a Unitarian in Faith…I never heard a bitter word from him against the religion of my mother and aunts…


IN MEMORY OF MARY relict of the late
Mr. Wm FRETWELL, of this town, Grocer,
She died September 21st 1851, Aged 86 years.

Also of FREDERIC, Son of the above
who died May 8th 1848, Aged 48 Years.

Also of WILLIAM FRETWELL son of the above
who died Feby 1st 1872, Aged 72 Years.

Also of ANNE, widow of the last named
Wm FRETWELL, who died April 12th 1891 Aged 74 years.

They rest in peace.

Also of JOHN, eldest son of the above
Wm and ANNE FRETWELL, who died in America
July 2nd 1909, Aged 72 Years

Monumental Headstone, Woodhouse Cemetery


Frederick(h) Fretwell

Frederick, third child and second son of William Fretwell and Mary Vause, is something of an enigma, and a person whom I suspect, if we knew more about him, would have had some interesting tales to recount. He was born on 7 April 1800 at Head Row, Leeds and baptised nearly 6 months later on 3 August at St John's Church. He was the last child of William and Mary to be baptised at an Anglican Church. Henceforth, the parents took their children to be baptised at the Mill Hill Chapel.

The 1841 census locates Frederick, aged 40, living with his elderly mother Mary at Knostrop. Under the occupation column Frederick is listed as a Shopkeeper, so it would be reasonable to suppose that he had joined the family business. But shopkeeping was not Frederick's chosen career. Evidence of a sea-faring career is provided by a battered and creased Mariner's Register Ticket Number 26,458 issued on 24 May 1845 in the name of Frederick Fretwell. The Ticket gives us the following description of Frederick. He was 5 foot 5 inches tall, with dark brown hair, fresh complexion, and hazel eyes. He carried no distinguishing marks. One intriguing matter is that the date of birth on the Ticket is 1802 - two years later than Frederick's actual date of birth. I wondered if, in fact, Frederick had been to sea before, and spent periods of leave assisting in the family business.  On enquiring as to whether a sailor was issued with a new ticket each time he was engaged by a ship's master, I was informed that a number was issued to a seaman at the start of his career, and he kept the number until he left the sea. However, my supposition seem to have been proved correct because a separate record of Merchant Navy Seamen 1835-1836 lists Frederick Fretwell, aged 33 and of Leeds, as a steward on the ship Isabel of Liverpool.

There is nothing in the family papers to indicate that Frederick married, and no mention of him in his Uncle John’s Will, which might have made a reference to a wife and children. The only family member to mention Frederick was his nephew, John Fretwell, who, when he was getting ready for a trip to Hamburg in 1858, bemoaned the fact that he had " trunk but an old sea chest, the legacy of my sailor uncle Fred". But, unlike his elder brother Peter, Frederick seems to have maintained some contact with the family.

His niece Elizabeth Fretwell was with him when he died, on 8 May 1848 at the age of 48, of Hepatitis and Ansarca at 5 Back Pleasant Dairy Leeds. At the time of his death he was recorded as ‘Out of Business’. He was buried at the Woodhouse Cemetery, Leeds, where his name is commemorated on the family memorial stone, along with his mother, brother William, sister-in-law Anne, and nephew John.

The Two John Fretwells

The two Johns born to William and Mary - successively named for their great uncle - both lived for but a short time. They were born, respectively, on 1 July 1802 and 4 August 1807. The first John was baptised three months after his birth, on 12 September at the Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds. The parents did not wait so long to baptise their second named John, as this took place two months after his birth, on 6 September 1807. The first John died just short of his first birthday, on 3 June 1803 and was buried 2 days later in the Mill Hill Chapel Yard. He predeceased his father by some 6 years. His later namesake lived to just past his second birthday, with his death recorded as 20 August 1809, 'from decline', and he too was buried in the Mill Hill Chapel Yard. This child died two months after his father, a double tragedy for his mother and family. Both infants, and their father, were laid to rest together, commemorated by a stone slab in the Mill Hill Chapel.


This stone Protects the Remains of John Fretwell
son of W. and Mary Fretwell of this Town
who departed this Life June 1st 1803, aged 11 months.
Also the Body of Wm. Fretwell, father of the above, who
departed this life June 11th 1809, aged 43
Also John, son of the above Wm. Fretwell, who died
Aug. 21st 1809


Sabina Fretwell

Sabina, the fifth child, and only other daughter, was born to William Fretwell and Mary Vause on 16 October 1804, and baptised on the last day of that same year at the Mill Hill Chapel. She lived to celebrate her coming of age, but died, from causes unknown, in her 24th year, on 22 May 1828, as reported in the Leeds Intelligencer of Thursday 29 May.

Same day [Thursday last], in the 23rd year of her age, Sabina, daughter of the late Mr. Wm. Fretwell of this town.

The Reverend J.P. Malleson conducted the burial 4 days later at the Mill Hill Cemetery. Sabina was buried with her niece Rhoda, who had died only one month earlier. Her elder sister, Mary was to join them two years later.

A treasured heirloom is a sampler worked by Sabina, and signed Sabina Fretwell Leeds 1814. It is a beautiful piece of work for a nine year old. I have replicated the sampler, and signed it Leonie Fretwell Burra 1991. The two now hand side-by-side.


As noted under Generation 5, we are now able to follow through from Joshua, son of Peter Fretwell of Cawthorne, and likely twin brother of Matthew. The first Joshua had, at some time, moved to Hoylandswaine, and it was here that his descendents lived and brought up their families. The mainstay of this branch seems to have been the textile industry. Some account has been given of Joshua and his wife Elizabeth Heeley (see Fourth Generation) and what follows is a brief note on the families of their two children Ann and Joshua.

The progeny of Ann Fretwell and Jonas Walshaw were, according to Chris Bradley, Jonas, born about 1777 and Hannah, whose birth is estimated at 1779. Nothing further is given for Jonas, but Hannah married Joseph Silverwood on 17 April 1797, at Penistone. Joseph was born about 1774, and lived to 1858. Hannah's date of death is not known, but it would have been at least after the birth of her last child who was baptised on 1 June 1827.

In all, between the years 1798 and 1817, Hannah and Joseph produced a brood of ten children, four daughters and six sons. Isaac and Asa were possibly twins. Then, according to Chris Bradley's notes, a 'postscript' joined the family-another son Sidney, baptised on 25 September 1827. His mother and father would have been around 48 and 53 years of age when he made his appearance.

Children of Hannah Walshaw and Joseph Silverwood





c 1798



























c 1817





John Fretwell

Ann Fretwell's brother Joshua was not so prolific. We do not have the name of his wife, who is only given the initial 'L' in Chris's notes. Only one son is recorded, and with him, seemingly, this particular Hoylandswaine Fretwell line came to an end. John was born around 1784 and is believed to have died around his 21st birthday, on 16th May 1805. 'L's' dates are not known. Father Joshua, who lived to 1842, outlived his son by some thirty-seven years.

Return to Top of Page

Parish Registers
First Generation
Second Generation
Third Generation
Fourth Generation
Fifth Generation
Seventh Generation and beyond
Fretwell Offshoots

Return to Table of Contents

This page was last updated on 15 April, 2016