The Spring Cottage beerhouse and the Beardsleys

After the Bath Street Wesleyan Church, Adeline leads us on to ….. a high bank with a garden on it. (You can see this at the bottom of the map below with part of the north side of the high bank shown on Spring Lane.)
And further down this lane, past the Primitive Methodist Sunday School, on its right-hand side, was the Spring Cottage beerhouse.

The beerhouse was owned by Mark Beardsley and about 1861 he had rented it to his oldest son Mark junior (1826-1899). However, by 1871, the landlord was George Wright (1824-1895) who was married to Sarah Ann Bell, the daughter of William and Phoebe Bell, the proprietors of the Travellers’ Rest Inn at the White Lion Square — see how it “runs in the family” !? When Sarah Ann died on November 30th 1871, her widower soon returned to concentrate on his main occupation of coalmining.


Mark Beardsley senior was baptised at St. Mary’s Church on May 31st 1805, the third of fours sons of coalminer Solomon and Mary (nee Gregory). Most of his life he earned a living as a stone-miner.
On August 28th 1826, Mark married Sarah Trueman (1808-1884), the eldest child of collier James and Sarah (nee Bostock). The Beardsleys had four children …

1  Mark junior, born on December 5th 1826 and, like the rest of his siblings, was baptised at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, then situated in Chapel Street. He was also a stone-miner, interspersed later with coal-mining and beerhouse-keeping.
On November 13th 1849 he married Catherine Phillips, second daughter of coalminer John and Mary (nee Hutchinson), and the couple had at least nine children.

Like his father before him, Mark junior worked for the Butterley Coal and Iron Company as an ironstone miner, a job he started in 1853. Later he became the head of a stall, which meant that he supplied ore as a contractor to the Company at so much per ton, according to the price of the day; he was one of about 30 or 40 “ironstone getter” contractors similarly employed by the Company. In 1872 Mark had formed a partnership with Samuel Straw (a cousin ?) and they employed, on average, about 30 men, paying them weekly wages out of the money paid to the partners by the Company. Both Samuel and Mark assumed that the Company was using the  ‘standard ton’ as the payment measurement — that is, 2240 lbs to the ton. However it turned out that the Company was actually using the so-called and customary “long-weight” of 3000 lbs to the ton. Of course this meant that, when their output was being weighed by the lb, the contractors would end up having supplied fewer tons than they thought they had !! It was only in 1879 that the two partners discovered that they might have been ‘fleeced’ but when they tried to recover the ‘underpayment’ via the Nisi Prius court at Derby they discovered that the jury and the judge (nor the Mines Regulation Act of 1872) did not agree with them. Unfortunately for Mark junior, his father Mark senior had also worked for the Company as a contractor, being paid by the “long-weight” ton, and this had also counted against him.

2  James Beardsley was born on November 26th 1828 and married on Christmas Day 1848 to Ruth Sisson (1827-1890), daughter of coalminer Robert and Fanny (nee Trueman). Over the next 23 years, they had at least 15 children, not all of them surviving beyond infancy.

3  Maria Beardsley was born on May 22nd 1831. Her association with John Wombell, beginning before he was proprietor of the Ilkeston Pioneer, is described elsewhere.
Maria’s illegitimate son, George Wake Beardsley (1853-1901) was born on October 3rd 1853. On September 7th 1858, she married ironstone miner Lewis Russell (1837-1890), son of journeyman brickmaker James and Sarah (nee Hayes). They had three children.

4  Solomon Beardsley was born on November 7th 1833. His first wife, whom he married on October 16th 1855, was Hannah Bostock, the daughter of ironstone miner John and Hannah (nee Straw). They had nine children before Hannah died at 14 Mundy Street on July 22nd, 1871, aged 35.
On September 2nd, 1872 Solomon married his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Booth, whose family at that time was living close by, at 17 Mundy Street. She was the daughter of tailor Thomas Henry and Elizabeth (nee Crich). Solomon and Mary Elizabeth had at least six children together (although Mary Elizabeth had an illegitimate son, Alexander Booth, nearly five years before her marriage).


The Will of Mark Beardsley senior

On November 6th 1874, Mark drew up his last will in which all his children are mentioned. Below is the Probate of the Will, dated May 30th 1877, just over a month after Mark died, on April 29th. This is in the personal collection of Jim Beardsley who has kindly offered this copy to the site.

I think it is clear enough to be easily read but I will point out a few features.

Mark named two executors of the will … Samuel Richards and John Truman (sic). Samuel (1828-1901) was a grocer trading at 63 Cotmanhay Road, while John (1831-1909) was then the landlord at the Durham Ox Inn. Although both several years younger than Mark, they are described as ‘friends’ and perhaps illustrate how many residents of the town formed bonds and were drawn together by trade associations as well as politics, religion, proximity and family relationships.

As in many wills at that time, all Mark’s personal estate and effects were left to his wife Sarah to ‘enjoy’ during the rest of her life. She was also to benefit from the rents and profits of her husband’s property real estate.

And after Sarah’s death, the Public House, which Mark named as the Springfield Cottage, with all its outhouses etc. was left to his eldest son Mark junior. At that time it was tenanted by Griffin Wagstaff who had been granted the license in May 1872, previously held by George Wright (above).
Born in Swanwick, Derbyshire in 1834, Griffen was a married engine-smith who seems to have spent only a few years living in Ilkeston in the early 1870’s. (In 1872 Griffin had just left the Glass House Inn in Codnor, the latter inn then being taken over by William Ratcliffe, who had just left the Poplar Inn in Bath Street, which was then taken over by Patrick Derbyshire !! Another example of ‘musical chairs’ played by Victorian beerhouse landlords of the Erewash District, and probably elsehwere.)

 Specifically excluded from this arrangement was what the will described as Cottage No. 3 which adjoined the inn. You see it on the map above — I suspect it is the one adjoining the beerhouse on its upper side — with two further cottages adjacent. This cottage was left to second son James.

The two other adjacent cottages — Nos 4 and 5 — were left to daughter Maria. 

The house — presumably attached to the other side of the beerhouse — was willed to grandson George Wake Beardsley, illegitimate son of Maria (and John Wombell). He was still living with the Beardsley grandparents, though a couple of months after this document was drawn up, he married Mary Columbine — on Christmas Day.  (The bride was a cousin of Elizabeth Adeline Wells nee Columbine). At that time the house was rented by Henry and Matilda Straw.

Mark also owned two properties in North Street which, at that time, were numbered 32 and 33, then occupied by the families of Frederick Knighton and Jacob Longdon. These were left to the youngest child Solomon who, by 1881, had moved into both properties and established a trade as grocer/beerseller. He died there on February 15th 1897, aged 63 — by that time the houses had been renumbered, and combined into No. 65.

At the time his will was drawn up, Mark senior and his wife Sarah were living at No. 2 Granby Street, with daughter Maria Russell and her family, next door at 2A — both standing on the north side of that street. Owned by Mark, both were bequeathed to son James.
On Mark’s western side was neighbour and lace manufacturer William Hewitt, at Granby House, while on his east flank was butcher William Mellor and family.

As usual, Mark set out his wishes should any of his children die, and what should happen to his estate after the death of his widow Sarah.

Mark senior died at his Granby Street home on April 29th 1877, aged 72. His wife Sarah died at the same premises on November 22nd 1884, aged 76. Son James continued to live in the Granby Street family home until his death on May 18th 1900.


The Spring Cottage beerhouse had several subsequent ‘landlords’.

In 1883 it was in the hands of John Gregory and by 1885 John Moore was in charge.
In September of 1885 it was once more transferred, back into the care of Mark Beardsley junior.

When Mark junior died at the Inn on December 23rd 1899 the premises had already passed to his eldest son Mark the Third, who kept the Inn for 17 years. When King George V and Queen Mary made their visit to Ilkeston on June 25th 1914, Mark was out in the town to catch a glimpse of the couple, though he was not feeling well. He returned home early, went to bed and never got up again. He died a couple of weeks later, on July 7th 1914. And the license then passed, temporarily, to another Beardsley … this time, Mark’s widow.

Can you read Mark’s name above the door ?  …. but which Mark is it ?


And here’s a teaser for you … sent in by a member of the Beardsley clan …

My great great granddad was Mark Beardsley who was the licencee of the Spring Cottage. It seems everybody from Ilkeston was related to a Beardsley!  I have picked up this newspaper cutting from the Derby Mercury of 30 May 1894 where it refers to Ruth Beardsley, Mark’s stepdaughter. I cannot find who or how Ruth is related to Mark. 

I can’t work it out either !! Mark junior doesn’t appear to have a step-sister, sister, half-sister, sister-in-law, or any other type of sister with the name of Ruth Beardsley in 1894. Have you any idea ?


The Mark Beardsleys of Victorian Ilkeston

When we were earlier visiting Solomon Beardsley, the baker who lived further up Bath Street, towards the Market Place, we paused to consider all the other ‘Solomon Beardsleys‘ who lived in Victorian Ilkeston. Apart from the usual male name choice of John, Joseph, James, Samuel, William, Solomon was a popular chice amongst Ilkeston’s Beardsley clan — and so too was Mark. Let’s consider how many we can discover…. in chronological order. The first two have been described above but I will summarise them.

1  We start with the Mark Beardsley, born in 1805, who survived well into Victoria’s reign, dying on April 29th 1877, at 2 Granby Street, aged 72.
He was the son of coalminer Solomon and Mary (nee Gregory) and so, the younger brother of John Beardsley, the grocer who traded at London House in Bath Street. Like his father, Mark was initially a coalminer and then a stone miner. After his marriage to Sarah Trueman on August 28th 1826 the couple lived on the Common for the rest of their lives, where their four children were born. His wife was the first child of coalminer James Trueman and Sarah (nee Bostock) and one of her brothers was John who later became the landlord of the Durham Ox.
Mark was an elder of the Ebenezer Chapel in Awsworth Road. In 1872 the fast-growing population of the town dictated that this chapel should be altered and enlarged — in fact the old one was pulled down ! On September 24th 1872 the foundation stone of the new chapel was laid on the same site, by Mark and his fellow elder, Samuel Richards senior, grocer of Cotmahay Road. Under it were placed a short history of the church, a circuit plan, a list of the trustees, and ‘some other interesting items‘. As was often the case, local benefactor Richard Evans of Ilkeston Pottery stepped in lend a helping hand — he opened his gardens to visitors and provided a large room at his pottery works where a group of some hundred persons sat down to enjoy a celebratory public tea.
Both elders Mark and Samuel attended, but thereafter had only a few years more to enjoy their new religious home … they both died a few years later. Mark’s fine grave memorial (below) can still be found in the graveyard extension of St. Mary’s Church; you can see that his wife Sarah also gets a mention.

2  Born on December 5th 1826, Mark Beardsley was the oldest child of Mark 1 and Sarah (nee Trueman) and married Catherine Phillips on November 13th 1849. From 1885 the cople took over the Spring Cottage Inn, and both died there .. Catherine on September 21st, 1894, and Mark on December 23rd, 1899.

3  The first to be born in Victoria’s reign was Mark Beardsley, the son of coalminer Enoch and Hannah (nee Straw) of Ilkeston Common; he was born and died in 1851.

4  An equally short-lived life was that of Mark Beardsley who was born on May 7th 1856 at Ilkeston Common, son of miner James and Ruth (nee Sisson); he survived for 16 weeks. His paternal grandfather was Mark Beardsley (see number 1)

5  Just before the death of Mark 4, another Mark Beardsley was born … on August 16th 1855. He was the son of Mark 2 and Catherine (nee Phillips), the cousin of soon-to-be-deceased Mark 4, and destined to be the third Mark Beardsley to occupy the Spring Cottage Inn. However, at the time of his marriage to Jane Breffitt on November 27th 1881 he was still working as a coalminer.
Jane was the daughter of Edward Breffitt, a well-established glover and hosier of Basford, and his wife Ellen (nee Sugden). As a young woman she left Basford for Ilkeston and, at the time of her marriage, was boarding with her future sister-in-law Sarah Ann Mather (nee Beardsley, who had married Thomas Mather). However, at the culmination of the ‘Victorian Age’ Jane was with her husband Mark, serving pints at the Spring Cottage. Mark 5 died still pulling pints, on July 7th 1914, aged 59. In the following year his widow married widower Joseph Coxon and remained at the Inn until her death, on February  2nd 1917. And her widower Joseph then continued to live at the Inn until his death on August 26th 1930.

6 Mark Beardsley was born in June 1861 to Grass Lane coalminer Frederick and Charlotte (nee Sisson). He died at the beginning of the following year.

7 Born in 1867, Mark Beardsley was the son of coalminer Solomon and Hannah (nee Bostock). Father Solomon was the son of Mark 1 and the brother of Mark 2, and this Mark was also a coalminer like his father.

8 Mark Beardsley, son of blind (since about 1857?) grocer Isaac and Julia (nee Davis) was born in Grass Lane (later Norman Street) on November 16th, 1870. A couple of weeks before Mark’s fifth birthday, his well-respected father was imprisoned, an act which grieved the inhabitants of Grass Lane greatly — especially as Isaac had never sought parish relief and had always tried to support his family through his trade. With another son, William, Isaac had been found guilty of assaulting a ‘rival’ tradesman, Samuel Hallam, and beating the latter with sticks. When both the Beardsleys refused to pay their fines, they were imprisoned for 14 days, causing an impotent outcry in their local community. (I’m not sure if he was released in time for his son’s birthday — I doubt that the prison authorities would take that into account)
Mark lived the first (and only) eight years of his life in Grass Lane until, on April 23rd, 1879 Dr. Robert Wood was called to the home after the lad had fallen seriously ill. The doctor immediately detected that many of the rooms in the Beardsley house had been recently painted and this coloured his diagnosis — a case of ‘painter’s colic‘; over time the boy had inhaled noxious lead fumes, resulting in fatal blood poisoning. Mark died the next day.

Less than two years after the death of Mark 8, another Mark Beardsley ‘arrived’ in Grass Lane — this was the son of coalminer George Henry Beardsley and his wife Mary (nee Webster), born in January 1881. Like Mark 8, George Henry was also a son of blind grocer Isaac Beardsley; thus Mark 9 would have been nephew to Mark 8.

10  The last (?) Mark Beardsley of Victorian Ilkeston was born on June 7th, 1897, the son of coalminer Philip and Margaret (nee Curley). The father was another son of Mark 2 who was thus the grandfather of Mark 10.

11  We might add to our list Mark Lewis Beardsley, born in 1882 to coalminer George Wake Beardsley and Mary (nee Columbine). We have already come across the father who was the illegitimate son of Maria Beardsley and newspaper proprietor John Wombell. The mother was a cousin of Adeline Wells (nee Columbine). Maria Beardsley is mentioned at the top of this page — she was the daughter of Mark 1 and Sarah (nee Trueman); so Mark Lewis was the great-grandson of Mark 1 (a nice circle to end on ??)

Obviously, if (where ?) I have made mistakes or omitted a Mark or two, I would really appreciate you letting me know.


And now for the rest of the west side of Bath Street.