The Knighton family

Attached is a photo that would date to the mid 1890s and shows my great great grandparents, Isaac Knighton and his wife Sarah (formerly Robinson, daughter of John Robinson the Butterley Company’s mine agent) and all of their children, including my great grandfather.

The reason I’ve attached it is because the images of the Primitive Methodist mottos from the 1860s I sent a few days ago belonged to Sarah, my great great grandmother, in the centre.

The photograph is in superb condition, pristine, with no surface marks or fading and great care taken to look after it over the last circa 125 years – it even has the original envelope and also the tissue paper attached to the photo for protection.

Back row, left to right:
Emma – married Harry Beacroft, lived near to Shipley School on Hassock Lane, died in the 1950s
John – married Esther Brazier of Brierley Hill, lived at 20a Rutland Street, died 7th February 1928, killed on Bath Street as his dray was hit pulling out of the LMS goods yard, near to where Tesco now stands.
Sarah Jane – married William Bramley of Cotmanhay and lived on Milton Road, died in the 1920s.
Enoch – married Mary Ann Hallam of Ilkeston, lived on North Street, opposite Erewash Brewery, died 10th December 1903.
Elizabeth – married Benjamin Walters of Brierley Hill, lived Little Hallam Lane, died 2nd December 1898.
Isaac – married Sarah Wilson, lived either 33 or 34 Byron Street, died 22nd March 1899.
Middle row, left to right:
Harry – married Martha Henshaw of Cotmanhay, lived c.134 Station Road, died 1950s.
Isaac (father) – died 5th February 1922
Lilian – died unmarried from a serious illness, 7th November 1907 (see below)
Sarah (mother) – died 27th November 1916.
Frederick (my great grandfather) – married Ada Henson of Cotmanhay, lived Portland Road, then Flamstead Road, then 28 Byron Street, died 28th June 1924.
Front row, left to right:
Florrie (illegitimate daughter of Sarah Jane) – married Edward Bradshaw of Hackthorne, Lincolnshire and lived at Hackthorne.
Maria – married Joseph Brown of Cotmanhay, lived Milton Road, died 1950s.
William – died unmarried, killed at West Hallam Colliery in November 1902.

Eliza Ann – married Arthur William Henshaw of Cotmanhay, lived on Milton Road.

 I thought I’d have a look to see what is mentioned on the Primitive Methodists in Ilkeston as on my father’s side of the family — they seem to have been devout Methodists; certainly from around 1850 to the early years of the twentieth century. I do have quite a lot of ephemera, paperwork and photographs relating to this period, including the minute book from the early 1840s to the early 1850s, covering the time up to moving to the new Primitive Methodist Chapel in Bath Street (it includes the case of John Wombell and Maria Beardsley).
John Robinson was born in 1813 at Birchwood, a hamlet adjacent to Somercotes (still a tiny hamlet today) and was an ironstone miner all of his life as far as I’m aware. In the 1841 census he was living with his wife, daughter and his in-laws at Somercotes, but by the 1851 census he was living in Bath Street, Ilkeston and his occupation is given as ‘ironstone miner’s agent’. He probably came to Ilkeston as a promotion to agent for the Butterley Company, some time in the late 1840s.

I have several of his day books from that period listing miners by name and how much they had been paid, along with other notes such as compensation paid to local landowners for workings, train fare expenses to London re. building St. Pancras Station etc. etc.
His youngest of three daughters was Sarah Robinson, my great, great grandmother who married Isaac Knighton, my great, great grandfather in 1864.

Here are some mottos dating from 1861 (when she was 16) to 1868 that would have been issued to members of the Primitive Methodist members a few years after their move to Bath Street. They were all issued to my great great grandmother as they are personally named, but in different hands, and appear to have been given out on a quarterly basis. I guess a member of the chapel wrote members’ names on these mottos and they were perhaps given out personally to ensure nobody was missed.

John  appears to have moved in with his son-in-law/daughter, Isaac Knighton/Sarah Robinson (centre of the attached image) to 28 New Street after his wife died in 1862. My old relative believed 28 New Street was next door to “Grandpa Shaw’s”  (of Shaw the building/construction family), which was either the corner shop where Starr the pawnbroker’s shop stood, or next door, opposite the Erewash Hotel. All of the shops on this side of the road were houses at that time.

An early memorial card and surround for Maria Knighton (my great great great grandmother), dated 1869. This was in a dilapidated picture frame when I acquired it.

The death of Lilian is announced (above photo, middle row)

Lilian was always ill so I was told, and died in 1907 at the age of 20. The funeral director was D. Johnson – only just around the corner from where the family lived, on Byron Street near the Burr Lane end.

P.S. Sadly, looking at the 1911 census when Isaac and Sarah Knighton (my great great grandparents and centre of the family photograph) were living at 28 Byron Street (site of the southbound carriageway of the relief road), they were living alone except for bringing up three of their grandchildren, all sons of their daughter Elizabeth who had died of the cholera outbreak of 1898, a few days before her husband died of cholera too. The census states that of 13 children, only 8 were still alive, a sad sign of the times with disease such as cholera and typhoid.

Temperance pledge – I have several of these for my ancestors, all probably dating from the 1890s. Despite the pledge to abstain from intoxicating drink, they never did. The men all played musical instruments for the Primitive Methodists and always finished up in the pub after they had finished playing.

The two items are school leaving certificates for Fred Knighton (my great grandfather) and his brother, Harry Knighton. (photo above, middle row) They both attended the British School on Bath Street, which used to stand opposite Albion Place, later the site of the Globe Picture House/billiard hall and latterly before demolition, John Collier’s and Gunn’s card shop. There is a distant view, showing the steps up into the school room in the view of the top end of Bath Street, looking down, in Cox and Mason’s Views of Ilkeston, published c.1900.

When my great great grandfather, Isaac Knighton (father of Fred Knighton), attended the British School in the very early 1850s his teacher used to combine teaching with cobbling shoes at the same time. The school was opened in 1845  and cost £780 to build (including land) of which £200 came from a government grant and the rest by voluntary subscription. White’s directory of 1852 states it to be a large brick building with projecting wings, the school being divided by folding doors, the room being 60 feet long, 25 feet wide and 15 feet high, lighted by 8 large windows.

An attendance record for a distant relative of mine when he was at Gladstone Infants School just after 1900.

Horse/mule licence for 1871 issued to Isaac Knighton (my great great grandfather) who lived on ‘Station Street’ at the time – but I’m sure this address should be 28 New Street per the 1871 census. Not sure when New Street became Station Road and was extended but think it was around this time.


Invoice from H Trueman, draper and smallware dealer, Pimlico, dating from the 1890s (to Isaac Knighton, my great great grandfather).


Invoice from Albert Johnson of North Street and Lincoln Street, Ilkeston, dated 1915.