The Thorpe family is linked to my grandmother's Harrops through my great-grandfather's marriage to Hannah Thorpe in 1876. The first observation is that, as a family, they got about a bit, tracking hither and thither, east and west, from Yorkshire to Liverpool and then to Runcorn in Cheshire before landing up in Mottram. Oh, and a few went north to Colne in Lancashire.

I should say at the start that there are two spellings of the surname – Thorp in the earlier generations and Thorpe in the later. I have standardised the spelling as Thorpe with an E.

The earliest Thorpe I can trace is Joseph and his wife Hannah Garside. They would have been born in the early 1700s but Information is inavriably sketchy in these early records. Their son Jonathan married Lydia Collier in 1774 in Almondbury, Yorkshire, which leads us to their son Abel.

Abel married Elizabeth Roebuck in 1795 at All Hallows, Kirkburton. They had five children, the second eldest, my ggg-grandfather, Ebenezer Thorpe. He was probably a stonemason, but had died before the 1841 census when his widow, Hannah Wilkinson, was living in the workshouse in Holmfirth with nine of their children. Conditions there were poor, described in the Huddersfield Workhouse Abomination as "in cruelty and disgrace surpass even the facts that earned for Andover such an unenviable notoriety" by the overseers, Joshua Hobson and William Moore.

The family was still in the workhouse ten years later including Hannah's second youngest son and my gg-grandfather, Ben Thorpe, born in 1832 in Cartworth, Holmfirth, Huddersfield. By that time he was a stone mason, as were his brothers William, Samuel and John.


Sude Hill, Holmfirth – View Larger Map 

By 1861, Ben was living at Regent Street in Runcorn and by then had married Sarah Turner, daughter of John Turner and Jane Barrowclough. She was some five years younger than Ben and had been born at Sude Hill in Holmfirth. She had married Ben in 1856 at West Derby in Liverpool and this was also where their eldest child, Hannah, had been born at Everton View, Bootle Cum Linacre, Walton on the Hill close to the docks.

Ben died of consumption in February 1871 at the age of 38 in Mottram. Interestingly, the informant was one Peter Thorpe who was living in Hadfield, Glossop. I can only assume he was related to Ben in some way. There was a Peter Thorpe in the 1871 census born in Penistone, but I have yet to work out the relationship.

His widow, Hannah was living with her mother, Jane, in 1871 at Station Road in Glossop, along with their six children, the youngest being one year old Harry who was born in Runcorn, so their move to Mottram was relatively recent. Perhaps this had been prompted by Ben's illness and Sarah's desire to be closer to her mother.

By 1871 Sarah was living in Tintwistle and in 1891 at St Mary's Road in Glossop. Skeleton in the cupboard time -- according to these censuses, she had borne three other sons after Ben's death, Hobson in 1876, Henry in 1879 and Fred Bray Thorpe in 1878, although he died in infancy. She eventually died in 1900 at Green Road, Colne, where presumably she had moved to be near her daughter, Zilpah, and her family.

Of the two surviving illegitimate sons, Henry went on to marry Mary Embley, but the interesting one is Hobson who led quite a life.

As mentioned at the beginning, Ben and Sarah's daugther Hannah married my great-grandfather, George Henry Booth Harrop in 1856 and the Harrop story continues here.

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