This blog is produced to assist all genealogy researchers of BANCROFT families originating from the county of YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND.
For more information go to the "Bancrofts from Yorkshire" website on:
Rediscoving a hidden grave
It had been a long
time since I visited the family grave where my Great-Grandparents are buried,
so with a few hours to spare, I decided to go to Mount Zion Chapel at
Ovenden, near Halifax and tidy it up. The sight that met me nearly made me turn
round and go home! First of all, although the graveyard paths are well
maintained and regularly trimmed, the areas around the graves are left to grown,
and I could not even find our grave! I lost my bearings as well, because last
time I was there, there was a tree growing next to the grave, but this had now been
cut down, and the site that greeted me can be seen in the picture on the left.
Anyway, after a few
hours of sweat and toil I managed to get rid of all the growth hiding
everything, and left the grave in a condition my Great-Grandparents would have
The grave contains my ancestors
Timothy and Jane Bancroft [nee Greenwood], together with their eldest son Greenwood,
and it was originally discovered by our family about 25 years ago after the
death of my Grandmother, when we went through some old paperwork she had left.
Amongst her collection of papers and photos was a memorial card to commemorate
the life of her husband, John’s father, Timothy Bancroft, who died in 1900 and
was buried here at Mount Zion Baptist Chapel.
Up until then I had
never really thought much about my ancestors because as a family this was
something that we never really talked about much.
It was this one item,
the memorial card, that started me on my quest for family research and from the
details we soon was able to find the long forgotten family grave at Mount Zion,
which was found after several searches in a very overgrown corner of this very
Timothy's Memorial Card
Timothy was born 5th March 1841
at Warley, near Halifax and baptised at Haworth Parish Church on 13th
November 1842 by the famous local minister Reverend Patrick Bronte. His
parents, Timothy and Sarah seem to have not bothered registering the birth,
even though this was a legal requirement after 1837.
It is not clear why Timothy was born in
Warley, or Luddenden Foot as listed on some census records, and yet baptised in
Haworth twelve months later, but it seems likely that his father, was moving around with work, and moved back to the Haworth/ Keighley
area shortly after Timothy’s birth.
Timothy's Baptism Record
Timothy, who was known as Timmy, was not
the quiet unassuming farmer’s son you would expect, because on 8th May 1856,
when he was just 15 years of age, he was in front of the local Magistrates on a
charge of drunkenness in the village of Cullingworth near where he lived and
was fined five shillings plus costs….or the alternative to this fine would have
been to spend six hours in the stocks at Haworth!...the full story can be read here.http://bancroftsfromyorkshire.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/timmy-bancrofts-narrow-escape-from.html
His first listing in the local census records
as head of household was in 1871 at Dole Farm, Back Denholme, and is listed as
a Farmer with wife Jane, his widowed mother Sarah, and unmarried brother
Previously he had been described as a
“Delver” [Stone Quarry worker] when listed in the 1861 census, working for his
father, together with his four other brothers.
It is not known when the family moved into
Dole Farm which consisted of about 21 acres, but it must have been between
1861, when the farm was listed as uninhabited on the census, and 1869 when
Timothy’s father died at the farm.
He had married Jane Greenwood at Bradford
Parish Church on 25th July 1870.
The Marriage certificate shows Jane, as
having to put a mark where the signature would normally be, which points to the
fact that she must have been unable to read or write. Timothy was able to sign
Timothy & Jane's marriage certificate
seems clear that Timothy never strayed far in his early life because his future
wife, Jane, was the daughter of John and Hannah Greenwood who lived at the
adjoining farm at Bradshaw Head, between Far Oxenhope and Denholme.
Shortly after the marriage Jane had their
first child, Fred, but he died in infancy and was buried at Horkinstone Baptist
Chapel, Far Oxenhope on 14th November 1971, in a grave next to
Jane’s parents grave.
By 1881 Timothy had moved with his wife and
three children. Greenwood b1875, Sarah Hannah b 1878 and John b 1880 to Intake Farm,
Manywells, Cullingworth. It must have been very difficult to sustain a living
for him and his family at Intake Farm as it consisted of only thirteen and a
half acres which is probably why the family moved again before 1891 to take on
the tenancy at Nettle Hall Farm, Thornton, a larger farm of 30 acres.
Timothy continued to live at Nettle Hall
until his death on 5th May 1900, the cause of death was listed on his death certificate as heart
Timothy's Death Certificate
It is unclear as to why he was buried at
the Mount Zion Baptist Chapel at Ovenden, as this is some distance from the
home and it is highly unlikely that Timothy was a follower of the Baptist
faith. It is known that the undertaker they used, resided in a village half way
between Nettle Hall Farm and the Chapel, so this is the most likely reason why
he ended his days there.
His wife Jane, and later son Greenwood were
also buried in the same family grave at Ovenden.
As was common practice in those days, their
son Greenwood had been given his mother’s maiden name. He led a quiet life
running the farm with his brother John, after their parents deaths. He died in
1922 at the young age of 47 years from acute appendicitis because the condition
went undetected, as it later came to light that his appendix were on the wrong
side of his body to normal, thus causing the condition to go undiagnosed until
it was too late.
The only picture of Jane which I have is
the following one, showing her in later life with her son John, probably taken
around 1900, around the time of Timothy’s death. no pictures of Timothy exist.