Children of John and Mary Kay
It has always been
assumed that John Kay was the first known child of John and Mary Kay but this
may not be the case. If we rely on the 1841 and 1851 census returns referred to
above, we have John aged 25 (give or take 5 years rounding) in 1841 and then
from the latter census, where we have a Mary and John Kay residing at 14 Albert
Street, Buslingthorpe, Leeds, the son’s is given as 37, giving an estimated year
of birth of 1814.
Mary Kay (W)
70 No Occupation Leeds
37 Gardener Leeds
The year 1814 does
not tie in with any of the IGI records I have found for the baptism of a John
Kay, son of John Kay, all for Saint Peter’s Church, Leeds - 30 Jan 1787; 15 May 1791; 20 Oct 1793; 8 Nov 1794. These records can be
discounted if John’s father was born/baptised in 1877. Further support for
discarding the IGI records is that we know that John’s sisters Elizabeth and
Sarah were born respectively about 1808 and 1811, making 1814, if not correct,
at least nearer the mark. Really, the only
‘firm’ records we have for John are found in his great-uncle’s Will. John was
still alive in December 1848 when his great uncle decided to include him as one
of the estate beneficiaries.
nephew John Kay, child(ren) of my said late nephew John Kay, £19…
To the children
of my late niece Ann Mayking one fourth of the remaining fourth part therof
another fourth to the children of my niece Eliza Hollings and the other 2
parts to the children of my said late nephew John Kay.
The second provision
refers to the proceeds of the Talbot Capital Account, the income of which was to
be distributed on the death of the last surviving annuitant, who turned out to
be Eliza Hollings (née Wright), who died in October 1890. The document
allocating the division of funds was drawn up on 28th August 1890. Each of the
children of John and Mary Kay was to receive £405-1-6. However the document also
shows that by August 1890 John Kay was deceased and that the money was to be
given to his Executor.
As with John, we have
no documentation to confirm Ann’s date of birth and any other rites of passage
that may have punctuated her life. A search of the IGI records for likely
birth/baptism dates results in only two - 13 Oct 1782 –
Leeds, Yorkshire; 20 May 1793 –
Hunslet, Yorkshire - both being too early
given the estimated date of her father’s birth and the mooted birth years, where
known, of her siblings.
We know that at some
stage Ann married, but when she became Mrs. Leadbeater is not known, but we know
that was her married name from the Talbot Capital Account referred to above. As
with the other Kay siblings, Ann was due to receive £19 as a direct bequest from
her great uncle and also a share of the Talbot Estate income. And as with her
brother, she did not live to benefit, with the proceeds being taken care of by
While John Fretwell
referred to his married great nieces by their married names he referred to Ann
as Ann Kay which suggests that if she did marry it would have been after 1848,
but I have found no marriage record to substantiate this. Alternatively, John
may have lost touch with Ann, and not been aware that she had married.
And again, this
raised the question as to whether Ann, was not born in Yorkshire, and perhaps
also their father John did marry a Lancashire girl – e.g. the Mary Ashworth
referred to previously – and spent his early married life in Lancashire before
relocating to Leeds where the younger children were born..
Now if this is the
case, it does not tally with the information for the 1841 census cited above.
We also have no real
clue as to what Ann’s husband’s first name was, and a notation by WEF regarding
a John Leadbeater, joiner, living in Woodhouse Carr in 1800 has, I think,
hoodwinked me into assuming that Ann’s husband was also named John.
have on file some census documentation relating to a John and Ann Leadbeater,
both born in Manchester. This John was born about 1799 and he earned his living
as a bookkeeper. The Ann in question was born about 1802. This couple had at
least three children, Mary, Jane and William. A death registration indicates
that this John Leadbeater died in 1862 and his wife Ann survived him by nearly
four years and died 1866 aged 49.
However, as with much
of the information for her brother John, what I have managed to find is very
speculative, and without some firm basis to continue, I will leave Ann Kay at
this point and proceed to the much more rewarding research on the other Kay
Elizabeth Kay, born
about 1808 in Leeds, was the second known daughter born to John and Mary Kay.
She married John Dixon, who had been born about 1812 Morley, on 6th November
1833 at St Peter’s Leeds. We know from Elizabeth’s great uncle’s will that John
Dixon was in the wool trade as they are both referred to as follows.
Click here for the
PDF notes on Elizabeth Kay
As far as is known,
Sarah was the third child of John and Mary Kay. It was through the will of John
Fretwell, drawn up on 2nd December 1848, that a little more was discovered about
Sarah and her family, and it was the brief reference to Sarah that gave the
impetus to try and find out more.
To my great
niece Sarah Dark daughter of my said late nephew John Kay deceased £40 and to
each of her children £10.
So, by 1848 Sarah Kay
had married – but who – and how many children were there in 1848 to benefit from
their great-grand uncle’s bequests?
Click here for the
PDF notes on Sarah Kay
Children of Edward and Mary Kay
James Robert Kay
James Kay married
twice. His first wife was Ellen Hodgson. His second wife was his first cousin,
Clara Fretwell Todd. This section will cover the first marriage. The second
marriage, and a more extensive account of James Robert, is covered under the
section dealing with Isabella (née Fretwell) Todd and her family, Clara being
the youngest child born to Isabella and her husband Charles Todd.
James was born about
1828 in Leeds. He and Ellen Hodgson were married in 1849 at St Mary the Virgin,
Hunslet. It was likely that they spend their first months of marriage at Silver
Street, Hunslet, which was the address given by James as the informant on his
father’s death certificate. Their only child, John Henry was born in Hunslet
and, very shortly after this, the family relocated to Brighton where they are
found for the 1851 census at 74 Elder Street.
Kay 24 Engineer Leeds
Kay 24 Middleton,
Kay 1 Hunslet
Theirs’ was a very
short marriage as there is a death registration in Brighton for the December
Quarter in 1851 of an Ellen Kay.
John Henry Kay
The IGI Family Group
Record of George Newton being born on 14th July 1804, and another IGI record of
one George Newton, son of John Newton, being christened at St. Peter’s, Leeds,
on 20th August 1804 have been taken as the first documented records of this boy,
the first surviving of 5 sons. George married twice - first to Mary Ann Furness
by whom he had three children, and then to widow Elizabeth Hopward.
Click here for the PDF
notes on George Newton
Of all the female relatives of John
Fretwell, Gentleman, whose will has enabled me to unravel the accounts of his
nieces and their families, his great-niece Ann Newton can be said to have been
the one to have really landed on her feet – both in social standing and wealth.
An IGI reference records Ann, the second
daughter of Ann and John Newton, as being born on 25th September 1806 in Leeds.
On 13th September 1828, just before her 22nd birthday, she married James Kitson
at St. Peter’s Leeds.
James, having been born in Leeds on 27th October 1807 had just reached his
majority on their wedding day.
Click here for the PDF
notes on Ann Newton (and for James Kitson and his second wife Elizabeth
John was born on 8th June 1809, at
Leeds. John Jnr, like his father, was a Letter Carrier and, until his father’s
death, they would have been working together at the Leeds Post Office. We have a
listing for him and his wife for the 1841 census in which he is listed as having
been born in Yorkshire, but not his wife. Both are listed as age 30. It is not
known at this stage if they had any children as none are listed as being at home
with them in Leighton Place on census night.
Newton 30 Letter Carrier
A possible record of their marriage, and
a lead as to Elizabeth’s maiden name, is an IGI Family Group Record of a
marriage at St. Peter’s, Leeds, on 2nd April 1832, between John Newton and
Elizabeth Fowler, but this would need to be checked out.
In 1851 he was aged 41, still living in
at 4 Upper Leighton Place with his wife Elizabeth, who we now learn was born in
London. Again, no children are listed.
Newton 41 Letter Carrier Post Office Leeds
39 Dress Maker London
Ten years later all we learn from the
1861 census is that John and Elizabeth are still living at the same house.
Elizabeth is no longer listed as a dressmaker, but we have the additional
information that she was born in Westminster.
Newton 51 Letter Carrier Post Office Leeds
This couple is also found in the 1871
and 1881 Census returns, now living at 44 Caledonian Road, West Leeds. By 1881
John has retired.[vi]
Newton 61 Superannuated Postman Leeds
Newton 71 Superannuated Letter Carrier Leeds
Elizabeth is found again in the 1891
census, still living at 44 Caledonian Road, but she is now a widow. Again, her
place of birth is different - over the Census returns it is variously given as
London, Westminster, Middlesex, and Piccadilly.
79 Her own means Piccadilly, London
A registration of the death of a John
Newton, at Leeds, for the Jan-Mar quarter of 1886 has been followed up and a
copy of the certificate obtained. This is our John Newton, Letter Carrier, who
died at the age of 76 on 26th January 1886, at home at 44 Caledonian Road. The
cause of death was heart disease. His wife/widow was present at the death which
she registered the next day.
Following up on a similar reference for
a death registration of an Elizabeth Newton was also successful. She outlived
her late husband by just over 5 years, dying aged 79 on 30th June 1891 at 11
Chapel Street, Headingley of Bronchitis and Syncope Heart. The person who
registered the death on 1st July and who was present at the death was Richard
Taylor, nephew, also of 11 Chapel Street. It is likely that Richard was a child
of one of Elizabeth Newton’s female siblings, and that she went to live with him
and his family after John died.
Ann Hartley has written an account of
one John Read Storman, Letter Carrier, of Leeds.]
He would have been a co-worker with John Newton. The following extract gives
some idea of the Leeds postal system and the conditions of letter sorter at the
Leeds had a very
efficient postal service by the 1830s with the post office situated in Mill
Hill. With the introduction in January 1840 of the uniform postal rate of one
penny per half-ounce for any distance – Rowland Hill’s Penny Post – much
bigger accommodation was required and a large warehouse was taken in
Albion Street. In
1858 there were 25 clerks and 26 letter carriers, ten pillar boxes and another
19 ‘receiving houses’ in different parts of the town. Most impressively there
were three deliveries a day both in the town and suburbs! In 1861 the Court
House in Park Row was converted into the main post office and about 1871
numbers of postal staff had increased to almost 400 and deliveries were made
four times daily. In 1861 the scarlet uniform of the letter carrier had been
replaced by a blue coat with scarlet collar, cuffs and piping. One each side
of the collar the letters GPO were embroidered in white, above the postman’s
number. Winter trousers were blue with a scarlet stripe and summer trousers
were grey. John would have worn a single peak shako hat, which was introduced
in 1862 to replace the tall glazed had and was covered with a dark blue cloth
with red piping around the top and bottom. In April 1865 the pay for a Postman
was 22/- per week, or £1,144 per year (with further increases, after John had
retired, to 25/- and 26/- per week in 1872 and 1882 respectively). A pension
was payable on retirement and, on the superannuant’s death, his widow also
received a pension from the Post Office. At a time when an unskilled labourer
earned about £50 per year in Leeds, John Newton would have been reasonably
well paid as a letter carrier. For comparison, John’s 1865 wage, converted to
2002 values, was £65.5 pw or £68,213.78 pa.
Edward was for some time something of a
mystery as I had not been able to locate any definite record of him. We know
from the Talbot Trust deed that he was dead by 1889. He does not appear in the
family listing for the 1841 census. However, an IGI Family Group record has him
listed as having been born on 3rd December 1811 at Leeds and another IGI
reference records him being baptised at St. Peter’s, Leeds, on 13th January
1812. It was not until I obtained the copy of the death certificate of his
father that some more clues about Edward were found. He was present at the death
of his father John on 28th July 1849, and on the certificate gave his address as
Click here for the PDF
notes on Edward Newton
It is likely that James was born in 1816
as there is an IGI record of him being baptised on 13th September 1816, at St
Peter’s, Leeds. At the time of the 1841 census he would have been about 25, and
he is not listed at home with the family for that census night and, at this
stage has not been located in the census returns. He has been located for the
1851 census by which time he had married. Although we know that his wife
Margaret was born in Bolton, her surname has not yet been established, nor where
and when they were married. By the time of the next census, Margaret has been
replaced by Harriet.
Click here for the
PDF notes on James Newton
Francis, according to an IGI reference,
was baptised on 10th October 1819 at St. Peter’s, Leeds. For the 1841 census
Francis, now about 20 years of age, was living at home at St. Paul’s Street,
Leeds, and employed as a Cloth Warehouseman Journeyman. The 1851 census records
a change of career direction for Francis who is now a school teacher and now
also has a wife and family.
Click here for the
PDF notes on Francis Newton
Mary, the youngest known child, and
second of three daughters born to Ann Kay and John Newton, was born in Leeds in
1823. Mary was living at home at 23 St. Paul’s Street, Leeds, for both the 1841
and the 1851 census.
The 1851 census was conducted on 30th March and just short of four years
later, somewhat later in life than was customary Mary married and became Mrs.
Beetham. She and John Beetham were married by licence in the parish church of
Leeds (St. Peter’s) on the 26th February 1855.
Click here for the
PDF notes on Mary Newton
Children of Mary
(née Kay) and William May
Rowland, who seems to have been
the first born of William and Mary May, was baptised on 30th June 1823 at
Pickhill with Roxby. While he was with his family for the 1841 census he
was not with them ten years later, and in fact, Rowland has not been
located at all for the 1851 census or any other England census thereafter.
However, we do know that he married, and that his father would still have
been alive to see his oldest son become a husband. On 16th May 1849
Rowland William May and Elizabeth Robinson were married by Licence at the
Bedale parish church. They were both ‘of full age’, and respectively their
addresses prior to the marriage were Hope Nursery and Bedale. Elizabeth’s
father was recorded as George Robinson, Jobber, and the witnesses were
George Anderson, John Thomas Carter, Isabella Waggett and Ann Clarkson.
Elizabeth, who was born about 1826 at Patrick Brompton, Yorkshire, is
listed in the 1841 living at home with her mother and brother at Newton Le
Willows, together with two members of Waggett family, who would have been
related to the Isabella Waggett referred to above.
Waggett 20 Ag Lab
No further record has been found
for Rowland at this stage. However, from the Talbot Estate documents,
Rowland would have died sometime between the drawing up of the document in
October 1889 and the release of funds in August 1890.
Ann Eliza has proved to be
difficult to trace. We have a record of her being baptised on 12th April
1824 at Pickhill with Roxby.]
We know that she was with her family for the 1841 census and in Leeds with
her aunt Ann Newton for the 1851 census. We know she married a person
called Rankin, that she received a bequest of £30 from her great uncle
John Fretwell and, from the Talbot Estate Account, that she had died
before October 1889. But no further documentation has been found for her
after the 1851 census.
Unlike his older siblings, there
is quite a deal of information for Henry May. He is recorded as being
baptised at Pickhill with Roxby on 16th May 1828. He was at home for the
1841 census and again for the 1851 census. He was named as one of the
Executors for the 1848 Will of John Fretwell, as Henry May of the Hope
Nursery, Leeming Lane, Burneston in the Country of York, Nurseryman. And
in 1852 he married local girl Rebecca Hepple, which event was registered
in the Bedale district in the Jan-Mar quarter.
Click here for the
PDF notes on Henry May
Charles was the third son born to
William and Mary May and be was baptised at Pickhill with Roxby on 1st January
1830. We have followed him as a young boy with his family for the 1841 census
and as an Assistant Nurseryman working in the family business for the 1851
census. In the late summer of 1852 Charles married Rosamond (Rose) Ann(e) Wells
on 14th September at the Parish Church, Kirklington. Rosamond, who had been
baptised, probably at the same church, at Kirklington on 17th April 1830, was
the daughter of William and Elizabeth Wells. For the 1841 census the Wells
family was living at Berry Hills, Sutton Howgrave, just south of Kirklington.
All members of the family (including one who was probably William’s brother),
were listed as being born in Yorkshire.
Wells 40 Farmer
Wells 35 Currier
I have not been able to locate Rosamond
in the 1851 census and while the Talbot Account document has him listed as still
being alive in 1889, there are no further English census records for Charles
after 1851. The reason for this is that sometime between their wedding day and
the birth of their first child, Arthur William May on 1st September 1854 at
Heidelberg, Melbourne, Charles and Rosamond emigrated to Australia. Quite
likely, Charles decided that, with three elder brothers, there was no future for
him in the family business and he decided to strike out on his own. Whether the
news of the Victorian gold rush had tempted him to Australia is, of course,
speculation! At this stage no record has been located in the Victorian PRO or
other immigration records.
Another of the ‘disappearing’ Mays!
Based on an LDS reference, Sophia May was born on 16th August 1833 and baptised
one year later on 21 August 1834. She was not at home with the rest of her
family for the 1841 census as she was a pupil at a school at Patrick Brompton,
between Bedale and Leyburn. She makes an appearance at home for the 1851 census
but after that nothing further has been found for her in the Ancestry records.
But we do know that she married an Allinson and it may be significant that one
of Sophia’s fellow pupils in 1841 was an Annie Allinson. We also know that the
Talbot Estate document lists one Sophia Maria Allinson as being deceased by
Edwin Fretwell May
Edwin, the baby of the May family, was born in 1840 and
was baptised on 20th March of that year in Burneston.
As an infant he was with his family for the 1841 census.
Masquerading as ‘Edward’ May he was enrolled as a boarding pupil at Red Hill
House, a school under the supervision of John Greaves, School Master. The school
was at Spofforth, south of Knaresborough and quite some distance away from his
home town. Having graduated from Red Hill House, Edwin is next found
living with his mother at Masham, for the 1861 census.
By this time 21 year old Edwin is earning his living as a grocer’s assistant.
What he did with his life after this is a mystery. Did he marry? Did he, like
his older brother Charles, emigrate? We know that he was alive in October 1889
as he is one of the living relatives listed in the Talbot Estate document.
The only other reference found for Edwin Fretwell May is
the registration of his death, aged 65 for the Jan-Mar quarter of 1906 in the
This was followed up and revealed a little bit more about Edwin. He died on 5th
March 1906 at 3 Queens Road, Wheatley, Yorkshire. His occupation was given as
retired Indigo Planter. The cause of death was Angina Pectoris from which he had
been ailing for 22 days. Most interesting is that his widow, Lilian May, also of
3 Queens Road was present at his death.
So we know that at some time after 1861 he married.
However a search of the FreeBMD Marriage Index has failed to find any record of
a marriage between Edwin and the mysterious Lilian. We also now know that he was
an indigo planter, but where is unknown. It is possible that he met and married
Lilian overseas. However, knowing that he was in back in England in 1906,
I did a check of the 1901 census, searching on the name May, in the census
district of Wheatley, and drilling down to the household at 3 Queens Road. This
proved somewhat enlightening. For the 1901 census, the head of household of 3
Queens Road was Caroline Anderson and the full household is listed below.
Caroline Anderson (W) 64
Living on own means Leeds
Maud May (Grand-Daur)
Lily May (Grand-Daur)
Daisy May (Grand-Daug)
I then checked on the same address for the 1891 census,
Caroline Anderson (W) 54
Living on own means Leeds
Maud May (Grand-Daur) 13
Kathleen May (Grand-Daur)) 12
Lilian May (Grand-Daur) 10
It would seem, therefore, that Edwin and Lilian (nee
Anderson?) had at least 4 daughters. Although they were recorded in the census
as being born in England, I have found no FreeBMD records of their possible
birth registrations. Kathleen May was not living with her grandmother in 1901,
but a girl not listed with her in 1891 – Daisy – is.
The circumstances leading to the girls being in the care
of their grandmother have not been established. It is possible, as was the
custom for parents living abroad, that their daughters were sent ‘home’ for
their education. Hopefully the 1911 census will reveal more.
Children of Isabella (née Kay) and
Of the four surviving daughters, it would seem that only
Emma remained unmarried. As noted already, an IGI record has a christening for
an Emma Isabella Todd, daughter of Chas. and Isabella Todd, for 20th
November 1825 at St Peters, Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire, England. However, from
the census returns featuring Emma, it would appear that her she may have been
born a few years later.
she is recorded as being 15 - but, due to rounding, this is an unreliable
reference. The 1851 census
adds to the confusion as she is here recorded as being 22, and again, at home in
she is 30. In 1871 she is found as a 40 year old visitor in the household in
Southampton of her sister Clara and brother-in-law James
and she was present at Clara’s death in 1876. She is again visiting for the 1881
census, this time at her house of sister Mary Amelia and family. According to
this record, she is now 43.
No record has yet been found for Emma after the 1881
census. She may of course have married late in life, in which case she would
have to be searched by her married name. This is a possibility that still needs
to be followed up.