The Curious Case of Grave 811

Grave 811 in the graveyard of Bowdon, St Mary contains the bodies of Mary, wife of Samuel of Timperley who died on April 24th 1797, aged 32 and the said Samuel who died on September 14th 1800, aged 40. Samuel is mentioned in his father Thomas’s will. As Samuel and his wife are already dead Thomas makes provision for their children. Samuel and Mary are thus firmly fixed as part of the Warburton Village clan.

However grave 811 also contains Samuel Warburton of Altrincham who died on July 14th 1865, aged 59, plus 2 of his sons, one daughter-in-law, and a grandson. Samuel’s wife is also referred to as Abigail. The curiosity is I can’t find any link between the two Samuels.

I referred to this problem when constructing the Bowdon Families spreadsheet. Samuel of Altrincham fits reasonably with the son of Thomas and Sarah nee Davenport who was born on October 16th 1806. Admittedly this makes him 58 not 59, but he also adds a year to his age in the 1851 and 1861 censuses, the abode of Altrincham is consistent and there is no other Samuel baptised locally at that time.

Now Samuel of Timperley did have a son Thomas born in 1785 who could be the Thomas who married Sarah Davenport in 1805. However Sarah appears in the 1851 census living with her son John and his family. She is a widow and her age makes her birth around 1778-9. This ties in with the burial record of Sarah of Altrincham, widow of Thomas, aged 76, on July 7th 1854. Thomas of Altrincham died on February 5th 1848, aged 78. Is this indeed Sarah’s husband? It feels right. His age would be a little older that Sarah, whereas the son of Samuel and Mary of Timperley would be six years younger than her.

Unfortunately neither Thomas nor Sarah can be found in the 1841 census so it can’t be shown Thomas was alive in 1841, or if his age matched the 1848 burial. On the other hand I have found no burial, or census record for the Thomas born in 1785 to Samuel and Mary of Timperley.

The best fit for the Thomas who died in 1848 is the son of Josiah and Martha nee Henshaw, who was baptised on April 29th 1770. This how came across this conundrum. In between other distractions I have been following up on the connection of a family from Morley with an earlier Josiah and Martha. I wrote a post on this way back last September. The link relies to some extent on the name Josiah, and Josiah seems to link a number of families. So I am working on the Ashley and Morley clan. Its many branches could keep me occupied forever but I want to publish what I have as soon as possible.

However I do want to include various links from the Bowdon Families spreadsheet (or remove the links) so I need to get my head around why Samuel of Altrincham, husband of Abigail, is buried with a namesake he seems to have no connection to. Was it simply a case of taking over a grave whose ownership had lapsed, or does it mean, despite evidence to the contrary, that a family link does exist.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

2 thoughts

  1. Ray,

    This grave sounds extremely crowded !
    Is it a family vault , as I believe that generally standard graves only cater for 3 burials ?

    If it is a family vault then the connection between each individual maybe less close and perhaps the owners of this grave allowed a namesake the facility of using the vault.

    Question – how may burials can usually be allocated to a vault ?

    1. That isn’t the half of it. Bowden burial records have another 5 infant burials in the 1878-85 period that don’t get a mention on the headstone. They seem to be the children of the Joseph from the grave and his second wife, whose burial place, or even her death registration is unknown. Maybe she remarried.

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