To Chapel Street

William Tarlton, butcher.

Adeline introduces us to another Ilkeston family: … “The shop at the corner of New Street was empty for a considerable time. Its first tenant was Mr. Tarlton, butcher”.

William Tarlton was born at Cossall in 1831, the son of spinster Mary, and spent his early years there, living with his grandfather David after his mother married agricultural labourer Robert Wheatley in October 1835.
Trading as a butcher, he married Sarah Hillen, daughter of James and Mary (nee Knighton) in December 1860.
Then he moved into Ilkeston with his wife to live initially with his mother-in-law in Bath Street, close to Lee’s Yard (Albion Place).The latter had married again in February 1854 after her first husband died in 1852; her second husband was James Smith, joiner, cabinet maker, builder and contractor, from Hampshire.
The family stayed together in Bath Street although moving further down – northwards — to where Adeline locates them, in the 1860’s – at 84 Bath Street.

In the later 1880’s William returned to Cossall, while still trading as a butcher in Ilkeston. Towards the end of the century he held a butcher’s shop at 159A Bath Street (at the southern, west side). Opposite the Town Railway Station, it was part of the Marple’s (or Commercial) Temperance Hotel (No 159) as was a shop and dwelling premises occupied by tobacconist Mary Kirkland (No 161).
In 1896 the whole was put up for sale by owner John Bailey (health reasons !!) … at which time the gross annual rental value of William’s leasehold shop was £26. The hotel had been built in 1888.

The son William Taylor Tarlton also traded for a time as a butcher in Bath Street and Station Road.

William senior died in 1905 and his widow Sarah with her daughter Mary Elizabeth (then married to John Fritchley) and her son William Taylor, continued to farm at Church Farm, Cossall. But not for long !!
By 1907 the farm had suffered several set-backs — wet weather had ruined crop output, and disease had taken many cows and horses — the estate was put into the hands of the Official Receiver to wind up.
On the 1911 census Sarah is alone at the Almshouses in Cossall. She died in 1913, aged 74.


“Next were three or four new cottages level with the street, and quite new.


Adeline remembers “Sam Aldred, (in another article referred to as J. Aldred) a machinist at Carrier’s lived in one. His daughter Emily died early in life through heart trouble”.

It was lacemaker James Aldred whose family lived in this part of Bath Street – at number 87. (1871 Census).

Son of cordwainer Samuel and Lucy (nee Scattergood), James married Eliza Thompson, daughter of framework knitter John and Fanny (nee Chambers), in October 1848 and Emily was their second child, born in 1853.

Emily married lacemaker and later coalminer Frederick Henshaw in April 1876 and the couple were still living in this area of Ilkeston at the end of the century.
She died in 1935, aged 81 – not ‘in early life’. Adeline is probably recalling Emily’s elder sister Mary who died at the Bath Street home in June 1868, aged 17.

Baker, another tenant …. 

Gap alert!! Mystery tenants Baker?

…. and Tilson

Several Tilson brothers were scattered throughout Ilkeston, sons of Cotmanhay couple, framework knitter John and Hannah (nee Bamford).

John Tilson (c1784-1841) and Hannah Bamford (1784-1859)

Father John had been a local Wesleyan preacher for 27 years, and an excellent musician, a composer of ‘tunes’ and ‘anthems’.
The Derby Mercury of 1841 – the year of his death — records that John composed 99 congregational tunes and chants including ’The Prodigal Son’, ’The Nativity of Christ’ and ’The Captivity of Zion’. This seems to have been confirmed by another letter, nearly 50 years later, written to the Long Eaton Advertiser in 1890, by John’s grandson, Charles Tilson. The letter states that ‘The Prodigal Son’ and ‘The Captivity of Zion’ were written by “Mr. John Tilson, late of Cotmanhay,  near Ilkeston (who) composed 99 other tunes, also a great variety of chants. He composed ‘The Captivity of Zion’ specially for Cotmanhay Sunday school sermons, but died on August 31st*, 1841, a few days before that piece was performed by the children of that school”.
*John’s recorded date of death was September 3rd, 1841.

John Cartwright writes in a letter to the Pioneer of 1893 that Tilson, the composer “died early in the forties of throat disease, brought on partly by the excessive use of his voice both as a preacher and choir master”.

John Tilson married Hannah Bamford on August 6th, 1804. Hannah was the oldest child of John and Hannah (nee Hufton/Hofton). The Tilsons had at least nine children

The Tilson children

All four of the Tilson sons, employed in the lace trade, could play musical instruments and sing well.

1]  Eldest son John was born on March 24th, 1805 at Cotmanhay and lived in later life at Club Row. He married Ann Clower, the daughter of butcher John and Sarah (nee Knighton) on May 24th, 1828. After fathering eight children, John died at Cotmanhay on August 11th, 1848, at the age of 44.
His wife died in 1877 at Castleford, West Yorkshire, where she was living with her youngest son Herbert and  his family.

2]  Second son James was born on January 8th, 1814 at Cotmanhay, lived for a time in Bath Street close to Chapel Street, before moving to Crichley Street in Pigsty Park, working as a lacemaker. He then moved on to Yorkshire, where he converted to coal-mining. He had married Sarah Smith of Shipley, Derbyshire, on August 13th, 1839 and they had ten children together. Sarah was the daughter of Cotmanhay agricultural labourer William and Lydia (nee Limb), and had an illegitimate son — Joseph, born on January 16th, 1835 — before her marriage. Joseph later adopted the surname of Tilson.
Both died in Swinton, West Yorkshire; Sarah in February 1887, and James in March 1894,

3]  Son Thomas, born on September 29th, 1817, also spent some time in Bath Street, moving to Queen Street and then Pimlico, where he died on February 19th, 1875, aged 59.
He was an excellent violoncello (small bass) player and at his death had been a member of the Wesleyan Chapel choir for 30 years.
He had married Mabel Stanley, daughter of Cotmanhay engineer James and Ann (nee Slack), on March 25th, 1839, and had three children. Mabel died in Queen Street on April 15th, 1861. In 1866 Thomas remarried to Sarah (nee Turton), the daughter of Pimlico lacemaker John and Hannah (nee Cordon). Previously Sarah had given birth to her illegitimate son, Alexander Turton, born on January 31st, 1854, and had then married coalminer Robert White of Shipley Wood on September 1st, 1856. After two children, Robert died in March, 1862, aged 26. With Thomas Tilson, Sarah had three more children
Sarah Tilson (formerly White, nee Turton) died on November 16th, 1901, in Anchor Row, aged 69.

4]  Youngest son Joseph was born on September 17th, 1822 at Cotmanhay.
Also a lacemaker by trade, Joseph played both violin and double bass with great accomplishment, hence his sobriquet ‘Fiddler Joe’. And he was never reluctant to share his musical talents with others …  as on one occasion in July 1863.
Unfortunately for his fellow townsfolk Joseph chose the middle of Bath Street as his stage, in the early hours of the morning.
And unfortunately for Joseph, Police Inspector Edward Brady was on his beat at the time.
Joseph had just left a private party at the Sir John Warren and was walking home, violin tucked under his arm, with a couple of pals, both good singers. The group thought that a tune on the way home would enliven the night and chose ’Rule Britannia’, with Joseph on fiddle accompaniment. They were in tune, as was the fiddle, and they thought that the nearby inhabitants would appreciate this ‘treat’. Inspector Brady however was not entertained nor amused, and requested that the trio return home in silence.
Perhaps it was Joseph’s reluctance to comply with this request which led to his appearance before the magistrates a few weeks later. One of his friends appeared in Joseph’s defence, swearing that the fiddler was not drunk, nor was he, and nor was the fiddle. Inspector Brady gave very opposing evidence, suggesting that drunk in charge of a musical instrument’ or ‘fiddling whilst under the influence’ at unreasonable hours was far too common in the town — such practices needed to be checked.
The Bench agreed but decided to treat Joseph with leniency — he was discharged on paying the expenses of 7s.
‘Fiddler Joe’ lived at many locations in Ilkeston, including High Street, Extension Street, Springfield Terrace and East Street.
On April 11th, 1842 he had married Ann Longdon, daughter of collier Charles and Alice, and born in 1842 was their oldest child Charles Tilson. About November 1875 the latter joined the Excelsior Lodge of the noble order of the Good Templars and ‘signed the pledge’, eventually managing to persuade his father Joseph and his brother Joseph junior to follow his example. So committed was Charles to his new cause that two months later he was attending a Band of Hope meeting held at the Primitive Methodist school-room where he addressed the children:

“You have all heard speak of Fiddler Joss have you not?”

“Well, Fiddler Joss was a teetotaller, he signed the pledge”.


“Well, I am very glad to tell you that last night Fiddler Joe signed the pledge”.

(And thereupon Joe was formally initiated into the lodge, with appropriate passages of scripture and tears shed).

At that time the Lodge had upwards of 100 members. (For more on ‘Fiddler Joss’ see ‘Sunday School Rooms‘ in South Street.)

In total, Joseph and Ann Tilson had ten children before Fiddler Joe eventually moved to Cossall to live with his daughter Alice and her family. There he died on April 15th, 1891, aged 69. His wife Ann had died on July 11th, 1878, at Queen Street, aged 59.

5]  There were also at least five Tilson daughters … Mary, Ann, Hannah, Martha and Dianna.

Mary married coalminer John Richards on December 6th, 1829; he was the oldest child of Cotmanhay coalminer Samuel and Sarah (nee Bramley).Mary dided on June 15th, 1857 at Cotmanhay.
Ann was born and died in March 1807.
Hannah was born on February 20th 1811 at Cotmanhay, and married Isaiah Beecroft on October 9th, 1831. Ten years later Isaiah had ‘disappeared’ and Hannah was living in Club Row with her brother John and his family. By that time, from 1834 to 1840, she had given birth to four illegitimate children, two of whom had survived.
On September 4th, 1842, under the name ‘Hannah Bacroft’, she married widower William Smith of Cotmanhay (who had been married to the late Lydia Limb).
Martha was born on April 10th, 1819, at Cotmanhay and married collier John Sisson on March 25th, 1839. He was a son of coalminer Thomas Sisson (also known as Giant Sisson or the Ilkeston Giant) and Sarah (nee Smith). I believe she died in August 1886.
Dianna or Ana was the youngest child, born on October 25th, 1828, at Cotmanhay. Although, as yet, I have found no record of her marriage, she lived with John Bowley as his recorded wife and had at least ten children with him.

This Tilson family was also responsible for providing Ilkeston, and especially the Rutland Cricket Club, with several sportsmen of significant talent and repute.
For example, Fiddler Joe’s son, John alias Bellows, played cricket for Derbyshire on three occasions in the early 1870’s and then was engaged in April 1876 to bowl for the Derbyshire County Cricket Club.
In November 1877 P.C.199 found John lying drunk at the side of the road at two o’clock in the morning, having been ‘completely overpowered‘ by a good dose of beer and brandy after a cricket match… fined, with costs.
And in  March 1879 John was appearing at Ripley Petty Sessions where he was fined for drunkenness – his seventh such case.
At the time of the annual Ilkeston Wakes in 1887 John led out his own cricket eleven at the Rutland Recreation Ground to play against the team of Mark Wheatley Harrison…. the occasion was a charity match in aid of Nottingham Road ‘pensioner’ Frank Cowlishaw, and an occasion which was to have a poignant reflection a few years later. (p.s. John’s team scored 11 runs in total, over 100 runs less than their opponents).
On Friday afternoon, November 1st 1895, William Baker, groundsman for the Ilkeston Rutland Cricket Club, was at the Recreation Ground when he saw a man lying under the pavilion. He shouted to the man who raised his head slightly, and William decided to leave him there — thinking he was a tramp.
Three days later William got another look at the ‘tramp’, still in the same place, but this time quite dead .. and he recognised him as ‘Bellows’ Tilson whom he had known for 40 years.
At the subsequent inquest John’s brother Charles painted a bleak picture of the deceased man’s recent history …. he had parted from his wife, his lack of home life and work leaving him depressed; he had spent three months as an outpatient at Nottingham Hospital, being treated for dropsy and boils, and for some time had used laudanum to rub into his boils, although he had taken to drinking this medicine; and he had been resident at the Workhouse for a few weeks.
However six weeks before his death a benefit cricket match had been played for John at which £6 had been raised to help support him.
And brother Moses Tilson added that until a fortnight before his death John had been taken in by a sister living at Radford, Nottingham. (Was this sister Alice who had married lacemaker Samuel Rigley in 1874 and spent some years in the 1890’s in Nottingham?)
When he was found there were two empty laudanum bottles and £3 16s in his pockets.
Surgeon Robert Wood considered that John had died from exposure and want of food, coupled with an overdose of laudanum.

The Long Eaton Advertiser (Nov. 9th 1895) printed a reflection on John (Jack) and his death …
Poor old Jack Tilson ! After the pleasurable hours he has spent on the Rutland Recreation Ground, there is almost poetic justice in his going to the old spot to die ! He was a good cricketer in his day and his name figures amongst the notable galaxy of local wielders of the ball and bat, “Ilkeston Cricketers of the Past”, published some 15 years ago by Mr. Trueman. Latterly the poor fellow has been in low circumstances, and besides being ‘fond of his whack’, as one of his old comrades put it at the Coroner ‘s inquest on his body, it would appear that he was addicted to laudanum drinking, a habit doubtless acquired in a period of mental and physical pain, in order to deaden the pangs from which he suffered. Any suspicion of self-destruction was dispelled by the evidence which came before the jury at the inquest, and it is gratifying to be able to free his memory from a taint of that description. With an amplitude of funds in his possession for his present needs, it is absurd to imagine that Tilson woukld purposely destrpy himself. The probability is that having taken an unusualy large dose of laudanum he wended his way to the cricket ground to have a rest under the pavilion round which for him so many pleasant memories were doubtless associated; and that he lay there under the influence of the drug until the exposure to the inclement November weather proved too much for his weakened frame. Like so many of his fellows, Jack Tilson was his own worst enemy, but now that he is gone let us only recall, what was best in him

Another son was lacemaker James, also a leading member of the Rutland cricket club and when in full health ‘was full of life and frolic’.
He lived in Burr Lane and worked at lace manufacturers Joseph Maltby & Sons in Station Road.
James died of meningitis, aged 23, on August 31st, 1882 and “the other members of the family felt his loss keenly. Amid many manifestations of regret, his remains were interred in the Stanton Road cemetery, and anyone visiting his grave there may see a monument emblematic of the sport he loved so well – bat, ball, wicket and mittens’. (Sheddie Kyme)

Other Tilsons

Moving out to the wider Tilson family, a nephew of ‘Fiddler Joss’ was John Tilson.
Born in June 1841 he was the son of Cotmanhay framework knitter John and Ann (nee Clower). A miner living in Pimlico, in December 1863 he married Ellen Lebeter (or Leadbetter), daughter of coal dealer Robert and Mary (nee Straw).
As John A Goulder has pointed out, this relationship was not a happy one ….

Ilkeston Pioneer – Thursday 5th October 1865 (Page 4 Column 5)
at ILKESTON PETTY SESSIONS on Thursday Sept. 28th, (Before W. T Cox and M H M Mundy Esquires)
WIFE NEGLECT- John Tilson, miner, Ilkeston, was charged by William Dean, relieving officer, with leaving his wife chargeable to the parish.
It appeared that defendant, who resides with his mother at Pimlico, has been married for nearly two years, his wife being a daughter of Robert Lebeter, Ilkeston Common. – that a separation took place between them some eight months ago, the agreement being that the husband should allow the wife 2s 6d per week. – and that the payments had been made irregularly and ultimately stopped altogether.
It also appeared from the statement of Mrs Lebeter that Tilson had been in the habit of ill-treating his wife besides neglecting her, and accounted for his not supporting her by his spending his money at wakes and fairs.
In answer to the charge, defendant said he had been short of work, or otherwise the payments would have been regularly made. The magistrates informed defendant that they considered his case to be a very bad one, and that he would have to be imprisoned for one month.
Defendant begged to be allowed to get off by paying a fine, but the magistrates refused to grant his request.

Ellen Tilson died in January 1866, aged 22 …. and John also points out a rather unusual circumstance about her death.
From 1837, the year when Civil Registration was introduced into England and Wales, ‘nearly all deaths were registered because from 1837 burial was only permitted on the production of a death (or coroner’s) certificate, which confirmed that civil authorities had been informed of the death’. (Mark D Heber in ‘Ancestral Trails’)
It appears however that Ellen’s death was not registered, though her burial appears in the records of St. Mary’s Church, thus…
Page 242 Sch No 1932 Ellen Tilson Ilkeston 21st January 1866 age 22 years.
Widower John moved north to work as a coalminer in the Normanton/Castleford area of Yorkshire and in July 1867 married Charlotte Masterman (written also as Mesterman or Westerman), daughter of potter Thomas and Harriet (nee Walsh?).
I believe that he died there in 1887.

The Tilson tradition continues

In February 1896 the Ilkeston Cooperative Society celebrated its ninth anniversary with a public tea at the South Street schoolrooms, which was attended by 250 members. After tea there was a session of free entertainment which featured Thomas Tilson (son of Jonathan, grandson of Thomas, great grandson of John the Composer, above). Thomas performed several violin solos, his ability being “widely known in Ilkeston”.


In 1877 and almost opposite the New Inn were the premises of clothier George Coupe at 91 Bath Street, alias Nottingham House.


The mystery Henshaws.

“Then below Chapel Street and standing right back on the top of the bank were two whitewashed cottages of James Henshaw, and his son Robert. Father and son were miners”.

Mystery alert !!
There were several Henshaw families sometime living in this area of Bath Street/Chapel Street but as yet I have been unable to pin down ‘father James with his son Robert’. Later in her articles Adeline refers to Ruth Bostock who married miner Bob Henshaw ‘and lived in a small white-washed cottage, built on the bank on the East side of Bath Street. Ruth died after a few years of married life’. Born in 1838 Catherine Bostock was a daughter of wharf labourer Benjamin and Grace (nee Hutchinson) and married Robert Henshaw in April 1866 – though on the 1871 census she is referred to as ‘Ruth’. This ‘Bob’ was the miner son of Bath Street fishmonger Samuel Henshaw and Matilda (nee Barton) and all their eight children were born in Chapel Street before the family moved into Station Road in the 1880’s. Catherine alias Ruth died in Lower Chapel Street in July 1908.

My thanks to Anita who has commented on these Henshaws and has a family line back to Robert and Catherine Henshaw.

Born in January 1874 their fifth child was Robert Henshaw junior who in the late 1890’s developed a relationship with Mary Ann Straw (nee Bell), the second child of  William Bell junior and Elizabeth (nee Jacques), keepers of the Travellers’ Rest beerhouse in White Lion Square.
Mary Ann had married coalminer George Straw in February 1892 but after just a few years — and three Straw children — left to set up home with Robert Henshaw junior.
At least six illegitimate children were born to the couple, all registered as ‘Henshaw Straws’.
And by 1911 the family was still living at Chapel Street. Robert was single, Mary Ann was his married housekeeper, and the household included both ‘Straw’ and Henshaw Straw’ children.

And this throws up a few more mysteries !!

Where was the family on the 1901 Census?
What happened to George Straw?
And what circumstances led to his split with Mary Ann?

P.S. Robert Henshaw married Mary Ann in late 1914?


Argyle’s tin shop.

“The small shop against Chapel Street finally became Argyle’s tin shop”.

Catherine Argyle or Argile (nee Wallis), daughter of William and Mary (nee Lees), came to Ilkeston from Heanor with her children some years after the death of her husband, cordwainer William, in July 1860.
It was son John Wallis Argyle and his mother, who traded as Argyle & Son, general dealers and tinners, in Bath Street
John’s elder sister Fanny was a dressmaker at the same address while elder brother William traded elsewhere in Bath Street as a boot and shoe dealer.
John’s brother Charles left Ilkeston in the 1870’s and died in Brooklyn, New York in December 1878, aged 25.

About 1884 John Wallis Argyle moved into South Street while his mother and sister remained at their Bath Street home.


And now Into Chapel Street                                                                                                                   The Grand Tour