a Cramond and Pearce Families

The Cramond Family in the mid-1860s click for larger image
The link with the Cramond family is through Pat's great-grandfather, William Edward Molesdale, who married Annie Maria Cramond at St Mary's Church, Stockport, on Tuesday, 13 August 1878. Strictly speaking there isn't a link to the Cramonds at all as Annie was the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Pearce, though whether she knew this to be the case is debatable. In any event, she took the surname of her mother's future husband, James Cramond, named him as her father when she married William and James in turn acknowledged her sons as his grandchildren in his will.

The story begins with Sarah Pearce who was born around 1824 in the village of Askham, Nottinghamshire, which is about ten miles north north west of Newark-on-Trent.

There is no guaranteed trace of Sarah on the 1841 census, but by 1851 she was in service at White Houses, Ordsall, Notts as a house servant for Henry Townby Daniel, Rector of Treswell. It was while there that she presumably became pregnant a year or so later. She then went to Tuxford, where she gave birth to Annie on 29 December 1852.

Why she chose that place isn't immediately clear, but at her later marriage, she refers to her father as Richard Pearce, a farmer. Living in Tuxford in 1851 was William Pearce, also born in Askham around 1826. In the 1861 census, Richard Pearce and his wife Elizabeth were living in Tuxford with William's wife Esther who referred to them as her in-laws, so it is safe to assume that they were also Sarah's parents and that she had gone to Tuxford to be with them or her brother when she gave birth to Annie.

Tuxford Windmill
Tuxford Windmill – from About Britain.com

Richard and Elizabeth Fareham married in 1825 at Tuxford. They went on to live into their 80s and appeared on the 1871 census at Eldon Street, Tuxford by which time Richard was 'blind from age'. Richard was born in 1791 at Askham and more information is given below. Elizabeth was born a year earlier in Bothamsall, the daughter of John Fareham and Elizabeth Bacon.

Returning to Annie, no father was declared on her birth certificate and before she was two years old Sarah had married James Allon Cramond in Sheffield. In the 1861 census the initial P is included in Annie's entry, presumably a reference to her birth name, but it does not appear again as she was assimilated into James' family. According to John Unsworth, a family member has a sampler embroidered with the birth dates of the Cramond children, but Annie's is one year out, 29 December 1853. Whether this was a genuine mistake or a diplomatic attempt to move her into the family we shall never know.

James Allon Cramond was born in Coldstream around 1825 and was apprenticed as a tailor in Norham in Durham. He was very proud of his Scottish background and would often be seen around his later home town of Bradwell wearing a tam-o-shanter, although it is more likely that his family hailed from Berwick which is in England, at least for now! He later became one of the six parish councillors in Bradwell according to the 1895 Bulmer's History, Topography and Directory.

But in 1851 he was at Sheaf Bank in Sheffield with his first wife, Elizabeth Wasterney, having married her there in 1847. She had been born in Todwick, Yorkshire around 1824 and bore James two children, John Wasterney and Jane.

John died in Floriana, Malta in May 1870. John Unsworth has a very sparse certificate from Malta which states that he died on 24 May 1870. He was said to be a sailor (which could be a misreading of tailor) aged 22 and stating his mother was Sarah Cramond nee Wasteneys (deceased). This last seems to be a complete muddle, perhaps derived from some information given to a companion and then garbled because he obviously regarded Sarah as his mother but his birth mother was indeed deceased.

Aske Hall
Aske Hall circa 1880

Jane went into service and in 1871 was a still room maid at Aske Hall, home of Thomas Dundas, 2nd Earl of Zetland, Whig MP for Richmond and York, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England and Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum for the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was to be made a Knight of the Garter the following year and died the year after that at Aske Hall. Among the many staff also working there was under butler, Henry Woodruff and he married Jane in 1874. Henry had been born at Walton on Thames, Surrey, around 1838 and continued to work as a butler in the Wakefield area. The couple had two children, Elizabeth and Henry.

James marries Sarah Pearce
Elizabeth Wasteney died in 1853 and James married Sarah just over a year later. It must have been a marriage of mutual convenience, for Sarah to give Annie a father and for James to give his young children a mother, but that may be a harsh judgment as there is nothing to suggest that they were anything other than a happily married couple. James set up his tailoring business in Bradwell, in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire, and he and Sarah had a further four children.

Joseph had a tailoring business in Sheffield employing eight men. He married Fanny Jeffery in 1874 and they had three children, Jeffery, Jessie and Maggie. He left his wife and daughters, taking his son to South Africa, changed his name and started a new life. According to John Unsworth, Fanny mistakenly believed that he had gone to North America in search of gold and she went to Canada in search of her son and did not return for 30 years!

Isabella married grocer, Thomas Middleton, and remained in Bradwell where they had five children.

Bradwell welldressing
Bradwell welldressing

James Henry Cramond married Sarah Annie Allen in 1885 and had a tailoring business on Attercliffe Road in Sheffield. The couple had two children, Marian and Colin, both with the middle name Allen. Marian married printer and stationer John Frank Hartley in 1908 and they had three children, Jean, Christine and Alan. Colin married Sabina Hockley in 1915 and they had a son, Donald, in 1922 after had served with the York and Lancaster Regiment in WW!.

Margaret Ellen Cramond died in 1887 aged 19. James and Sarah continued to live in Bradwell until they died in 1903 and 1899 respectively.

Sarah Pearce died on 9 November 1899 at her home in Bradwell. The cause of death was congestion of the lungs as a result of injuries sustained by falling downstairs on 13 October and the certificate was issued by the coroner, Charles Davis, following an inquest held on 11 November 1899.

Which brings things back to where they started and Annie Maria Cramond. In 1871 she was in service with Benjamin Eyre, a merchant and manufacturer still in the Hope Valley. How she found her way to Hyde is unclear, but in 1878 she married William Edward Molesdale, his second wife, at Stockport St Mary's. The rest, as they say, is history.

Earlier Pearce History
The Pearce surname has gone through several variations, including Pearse and Peirse. For the sake of simplicity, I shall use the variation that finally established itself.

The earliest recorded Pearce is Richard born 1716 in Askham, Nottinghamshire. He married Elizabeth Meekly of Tuxford in 1753 at Stokeham. They had two sons, John who died in infancy and Richard in 1759. He married Sarah Woolfit and they had nine children, including Richard, the father of Sarah described above. This was a farming family and Richard continued that tradition. His brother John left the area and became a trooper with the 1st Life Guards.

I'm grateful to Pauline Young for this early information and there is much more on her website.

Thank you to John Unsworth for providing much of the information above and the photograph of the Cramond family.

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (© 1999-2018) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://rhodesfamily.org.uk.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.