By Deb Woolson
Samuel was born and baptized in 1797, the youngest of the five children of Esther (née Mann) and James Washington. The Washington family were tenants in a home owned by Ann’s grandfather William Walker, which would have then passed on to Ann’s uncle, and James was the bookkeeper for the Walker business per his death notice in 1839. Sam’s mother, Esther, died in 1842.
In 1822, prior to his marriage, Sam was mentioned in the History, Directory & Gazetteer of County of York with his occupation being listed as schoolmaster & land surveyor.1 Where he was schoolmaster is unknown to date.
Sam married Hannah (née Cordingley) on 29th January 1824 at St. John’s Church, Halifax which is now Halifax Minster. In Gentleman Jack series 1, the Washingtons are portrayed as having six daughters; however, in reality, Sam and Hannah had eight daughters and one son, Edward, who died in infancy. Over the course of their marriage, they moved to Helliwell Syke, Lightcliffe, Fenny Royd, Crow Nest and finally to Lidgate as the children grew up. The 1841 Census shows Samuel’s occupation as Land Agent and the Washington family living at Crow Nest. The 1851 Census shows them living at Lidgate.2
In the course of their marriage, it appears that Sam was a surveyor, church warden and land agent/ steward. Here’s just one newspaper article showing him as a surveyor prior to working for Ann Walker.
In 1825, Sam wrote the following letter to John Sunderland of Coley Hall on behalf of the Vestry (meeting of parishoners) at St. Matthews (old) Church, often referred to – and will be in this blog – as Lightcliffe Chapel. It shows the Vestry’s concerns regarding the Hipperholme School. As of now, we don’t know exactly what role Sam played at the Chapel during his early years (see below for his Churchwarden role).
We don’t yet know the exact date that Sam became Ann Walker’s steward, however it could possibly have been when she inherited half of her family’s estate in 1830. She certainly would have known Sam, as his father worked for the family business for years, and the family were tenants.
A land agent/steward was a very important and prestigious position. Duties included negotiating and collecting rents, checking properties for maintenance, and dealing with the tenants in every respect. If a tenant was evicted, or left for any reason, it was up to the steward to find a new renter. Supervising the farming of all the properties, planning, negotiating coal contracts and equipment were all his responsibility.
Anne Lister hired Sam in 1826 to measure several plots of land as well as to measure and plan a lane going to Hipperholme Fields (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/AC/10). There are multiple mentions of Sam’s work in her records prior to his becoming her steward.
In 1832, after the death of Anne Lister’s steward, James Briggs, Sam assumed the role for her.
While Ann Walker was recuperating in Scotland with her sister Elizabeth and her husband George Sutherland, after struggling with her mental health in Halifax, Sam continued communicating with Anne Lister about her estate business while she was traveling abroad. On 22nd July 1833, he included one line to his letter to her in Paris. “I am glad to inform you Miss Walker continues better.”
In 1834, with Ann Walker now living at Shibden Hall, Sam was steward for both the Crow Nest and Shibden Estates. Still a surveyor, Sam drew this Stump Cross map, the estate that Anne Lister would purchase that same year.
In 1835, there was a mock marriage announcement printed in the Leeds Mercury newspaper, no doubt meant to upset Anne Lister and Ann Walker. It was Sam who presented the article to the women.
Anne Lister’s Diary, 10th January 1835
"-W- took coffee with us, and with some humming and ahing, pulled out of his pocket today’s Leeds Mercury containing among the marriages of Wednesday last ‘Same day at the Parish Church Halifax Captain Tom Lister of Shibden Hall to Miss Ann Walker late of Lidget near the same place’ - I smiled and said it was very good – read it aloud to A- who also smiled and then took up the paper and read the skit to my aunt, and on returning the paper to W- begged him to give it to us when he had done with it - he said he would and seemed agreeably surprised to find what was probably meant to annoy, taken so quietly and with such mere amusement – said not a word of it to my father and Marian, with them ½ hour till 8 ¼ - then came upstairs A- did not like the joke suspects the Briggs so does my aunt" 3 (West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/17/0142)
There was one occasion, noted in Ann Walker’s journal when she was not pleased with Sam’s work in respect to her estate.
Ann Walker’s Diary 17th January 1835
Anne Lister’s Diary, 17th January 1835
“A- had Washington sometime this morning and gave him a good jobation on her own account”5 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/17/0147)
On 6th August 1838, Sam wrote again to Anne Lister about estate business and added a line regarding the well-being of Ann’s aunt, Mrs. Walker at Cliff Hill.
"..there is still about 12 day work of hay to get in at Shibden Hall. The ponies will shortly want a fresh pasture if they continue to run out. Mrs. Walker at Cliff Hill continues as well as usual. I am Madam Yours very Obediently, Sam Washington”
There are multiple entries in Anne Lister’s diary starting in late 1838 expressing her own and Ann Walker’s dissatisfaction with Sam’s work for their estates. The following entries show the escalation of the situation.
Anne Lister’s Diary, 20th March 1839
“It seems A- did not get much that was very satisfactory this morning out of SW. but hinted to him that perhaps she should not give him much trouble”6
(West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/22/0141)
Anne Lister’s Diary, 31st March 1839
“A- had letter from her sister tonight she not surprised at our turning off SW” 7 (SH:7/ML/E/23/0010 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale)
In early May 1839, Sam was dismissed from his duties with Anne Lister and Ann Walker.
Anne Lister’s Diary, 1st May 1839
“Mr. S. Washington came at 1 ¼ today wanting to speak to A- to ask what rent Hartley of Lane ends had to pay – A- civilly said she had been wanting to see SW. had made a new arrangement, and would not want him to receive her rents – to bring in his account some day next week, and she would settle with him – I then went down to him and said that I too had made a new arrangement – Mr. Parker would receive my rents – he said there would be the quarry measuring I desired him to bring in his bill – saying perhaps he might as well measure forwards to the close of Mr. Freemans’ agreement – but I would speak about this to Mr. P- and hear what he said – SW. had brought A- the plan of the township of Hipperholme cum Brighouse and the valuation price nine guineas – the township of Southowram would be the same – said I would consider about it – He had said to A- he hoped she would always find him the same – to me no observation of that kind had place – both A- and I glad this matter is over”8
(West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/23/0033)
By the end of May 1839, a month prior to leaving for what would be her and Ann Walker’s last trip together, Anne Lister appointed David Booth to do the work of steward, with Robert Parker collecting the rents for Shibden in her absence.
Anne Lister’s Diary, 23rd May 1839
“..the tenants should pay them to me at the rent day i.e. to Mr. Parker in future to receive my rents and he should pay them to the respective Lords of the manors – Booth appointed to do the work of steward whether called clerk of the works (agent) or what not ”9
(West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/23/0048)
In June 1839, David Booth was also hired to look after Ann Walker’s estate.
Anne Lister’s Diary, 15th June 1839
“..off to the bank (down the o.b.) at 4 for had stood talking to Robert Mann and then John Booth and then D. Booth in the Lodge road and at the Lodge above an hour – A- rode off to Cliff hill about 2 ½ and returned about 5 ½ - settle that DB. is to be paid 2 guineas per week from 1 January to 1 July and then to begin with after the rate of per annum £20 from A- and the same from me for looking after the estate and £20 for the colliery = £60 per annum – values his time at 2 guineas per week or 7/. per day..10
(West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/23/0065)
It’s important to note that we only know about this from Anne Lister’s perspective in her diary entries. We do not know Sam’s account of any of these events.
We know from Sam’s letter to Mr. Sunderland on behalf of the Vestry in 1825, and this news article, that Lightcliffe Chapel was an important part of his life.
Sam was a churchwarden at Lightcliffe Chapel during 1843 and 1856 and most likely other years as well.11 Churchwarden was a very important position, and considering Sam’s attention to detail this would seem a natural position for him to assume with his talents and apparent faith.
“Records from the churchwarden accounts showing the money paid out for a variety of goods and services. The records also note expenditure on a wide range of matters such as road repairs, vermin control and the purchase of communion wine. The accounts will show details of payments to individual named craftsmen such as carpenters, glaziers, carpenters, decorators and stonemasons for the upkeep of the church and its surrounds. The churchwarden was responsible for the overall management of the church, its land and property.”12
Here, Sam is recorded as being one of three churchwardens who purchased the burial ground at Coley. The cemetery is located at St John The Baptist Church Coley in Halifax.
Steward for Ann Walker
We believe that David Booth’s role as steward ended between 1841 and mid-1842. Sam was back as Ann Walker’s steward/land agent in August 1842, as he signed the contract for the purchase of Smith House and Hoyle House from Horncastle. He is once again described as Land Agent in several newspaper articles.
In 1835, Anne Lister had converted Northgate House (part of the Lister estate) into the Northgate Hotel, complete with a casino. On 26th September 1835, Anne and Ann were at the official laying of the foundation under which a time capsule was buried. The Northgate Hotel was part of Anne Lister’s estate, of which Ann Walker, as a Co-Trustee was responsible for tenanting. Her inability to do so was the beginning of her estate troubles leading up to her removal from Shibden Hall in 1843. It was after that event that Parker & Adam, solicitors and Sam proceeded to tenant it.
In November 1843, Ann Walker was declared of unsound mind. Her brother-in-law, George M. Sutherland, became “the committee” for her shortly afterwards, looking after the interests of her estate, and after the death of his wife, her “person”. George M. Sutherland died in 1847, with Sam listed on his death certificate as present at his death. As steward for Ann Walker, Sam produced the extensive accounts of the estate to go to the Chancery for validation.14
Final Home & Family Sadness
According to the West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers,15 Sam and his family moved from Crow Nest into Lidgate in 1845, the home Ann Walker had occupied when Anne Lister began calling on her. In 1835, when Ann Walker moved to Shibden, the property was rented to Lamplugh Wickham Hird until 1844. This is mentioned in Ann Walker’s diary on 18th December 1834 – “Mr & Mrs. L[ampleugh] Hird came to reside at Lidgate.”16 Sam and his family lived at Lidgate until his death in 1857.17
In 1846, Sam and Hannah lost their eldest child, Susannah, at the age of 21. This was the second loss of a child they suffered as their only son, Edward, had died at 22 weeks in 1832. Susannah’s death certificate states the cause of death “Inflammation of the Lungs 3 weeks. Consumption 6 months Certified” Her father is listed as present at death at Lidgate.
The University of Leeds states “Consumption, today more commonly called ‘tuberculosis’, is a bacterial infection which typically affects the lungs of a sufferer, causing a persistent wet cough, difficulty breathing, fever, fatigue and sweating. It also causes significant weight loss, which is the source of its historical name, consumption. Eventually, the lungs of the sufferer become so damaged that respiratory failure occurs”. 18
Susannah was buried with her baby brother at St. Matthews Churchyard.
Sam’s wife Hannah passed away in 1852 from Hepatitis & Atrophy. Sam is listed as present at death.
In the Glossary of Medical Terms Used in the 18th and 19th Centuries, Hepatitis was listed as an “inflammation of the liver” and “Atrophy” as wasting.19
Hannah is buried next to her children at St Matthews Churchyard.
On 20th March 1856, Sam married Elizabeth Sutcliffe (née Bottomley)20, the widow of John Sutcliffe, Inn Keeper, at St. John’s Church, Halifax. The ceremony was performed by Rev Charles Musgrave with Ann Bottomley (sister) and Samuel Firth (brother-in-law) as witnesses. It was the second marriage for both.
Prior to their marriage ceremony, Elizabeth and Sam signed a marriage settlement on March 8th 1856. The settlement acknowledges a “recited Indenture” however that Indenture has not been located, making it very difficult to understand. 21 An Indenture is a legal contract between two parties.
In November 1856, Samuel and Elizabeth entered into an Indenture regarding property that was owned by her late husband, John Sutcliffe who had died 2 years previously. Because he left no Will, this property was inherited by his eldest brother Joseph by law, as the Sutcliffe’s had no children. It appears the land was purchased by Samuel Firth and Richard Gregory (relatives of Elizabeth) who became Trustees, guaranteeing the property to the Washingtons for their lifetimes.22
According to this 1857 Bradford Observer article, Sam was steward for Evan Charles Sutherland Walker, who inherited his aunt’s (Ann Walker) estate. Most likely Sam served in this capacity until his death in November of the same year.
Within two years of his marriage to Elizabeth, Sam died on 4th November 1857, from a diseased heart with congestion of the lungs, apoplexy 3 or 4 days certified.23
Sam left behind his second wife, and seven daughters ranging in age from 13 to 30 years old. Only only one daughter, Eliza, was married. Sam was buried with his first wife, Hannah, at St. Matthews Churchyard.
Shortly after Sam’s death, more sadness would visit the Washington family. On 24th December 1857, Sam & Hannah’s daughter, Anna Maria Washington died, just 1½ months after her father. She was 22 years of age. Unfortunately, her cause of death, is unknown at present, as Anna Maria’s death certificate is not listed with the General Register Office.
Anna Maria was buried at St Matthew’s Churchyard, with her brother, Edward, and her sister, Susannah.
Last Will & Testament
Sam’s Last Will & Testament was updated and signed the 28th day of October 1857, a week prior to his death. His will states “I bequeath unto my wife all the Household Furniture which she has purchased since our marriage and also the Furniture and Effects which she brought with her since our marriage and forasmuchas she is already amply provided for it is not necessary for me to make any further provisions for her.”
He provided well for his seven living daughters, leaving considerable properties to them and their heirs forever. He was undoubtedly sentimental in keeping this particular item within his family.
“And whereas I have been presented by Evan Charles Sutherland Walker, Esquire for whose Family I have acted as Steward for many years with a Chest of Silver Plate consisting of a Tea and Coffee Service and I am wishful that the same should be kept together by someone of my Daughters or Daughter I therefore will and declare that the said Service of Plate shall be taken by such of my Daughters or Daughter as the majority of them may direct Subject nevertheless to the payment by the Daughters or Daughter taking the same of the sum of eighty four pounds – to my Executors to form part of my residuary personal estate and to divided equally between all my said Daughters” 24
This Tea and Coffee service, valued at £84 in 1857, is equivalent in purchasing power to about £9,743.59 today.26
Sam’s surviving daughters were well provided for by their father. Eliza married Thomas Chambers in 1856 and died a widow in 1906. Mary Ann married John Briggs in 1858 and died a widow in 1903. Esther married William John Chambers in 1863 and died a widow in 1922. The other three daughters remained single, with Ellen Jane dying in 1905, Caroline in 1923, and Catherine in 1928.
There’s no way to know when Elizabeth, Sam’s second wife, left Lidgate but according to the 1861 census, per Ancestry, she is listed as the Shareholder in a home in Northowram, Yorkshire with her sister Anne Bottomley. The sisters were still living together in the 1871 census, and Elizabeth died in February 1876 at the age of 70.27 Her estate was valued at under £8,000 in 1876, which is equivalent to £ 946,898.72 today.28 Elizabeth left her considerable estate to her two sisters, Dorothy Firth and Ann Bottomley, and their heirs. How did Elizabeth amass such wealth? We don’t know, but most likely there were assets from her first marriage to John Sutcliffe that she was entitled to, since it was noted in Sam’s will that she was “amply provided for”.
Samuel Washington was a very talented surveyor as proven by his map work. He was a man of faith, who used his talents as churchwarden at Lightcliffe Chapel. As a family man, his will shows he amassed a considerable amount of property, and provided well for his daughters. He appeared to have been fair to his second wife Elizabeth, who came out of their short marriage with that which she brought in, in addition to what they purchased together, and was otherwise provided for. Though he’d had a falling out with Anne Lister and Ann Walker in 1839, Sam had returned to work on behalf of Ann Walker and her estates by 1842. He continued working for Evan Charles Sutherland Walker after Evan inherited his aunt’s estate.
My research on Sam left me with one impression, that his was a life well lived.
** Research for this blog is ongoing and so the way we tell this story may change depending on what else we find**
1 – History, Directory & Gazetteer of County of York Vol. I – West Riding
Printed and published by Edward Baines, at the Leeds Mercury Office 1822
2- denotes information taken from Ancestry, which is a paid service
3 – SH:7/ML/E/17/0142 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Anne Lister Transcription by Frankie Raia
4 – 1525/7/1/5/1/36 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Ann Walker Transcription by Alexa Tansley, Diane Halford, Leila Straub, Ivana Nika, and Dorjana Širola on behalf of In Search Of Ann Walker
5 – SH:7/ML/E/17/0147 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Anne Lister Transcription by Frankie Raia
6- SH:7/ML/E/22/0141 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Anne Lister Transcription by Frankie Raia
7 – SH:7/ML/E/23/0010 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Anne Lister Transcription by Frankie Raia
8 – SH:7/ML/E/23/0033 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Anne ListerTranscription by Frankie Raia\
9 – SH:7/ML/E/23/0048 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale|
Anne Lister Transcription by Frankie Raia
10 – SH:7/ML/E/23/0065 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale|
Anne Lister Transcription by Frankie Raia
11 – Churchwarden of Lightcliffe Chapel- Thank you to Friends of Lightcliffe Churchyard
12 – Churchwarden definition GenGuide
13 – Northowram: Its History and Antquities with Life of Oliver Heywood By Mark Pearson F. King & Sons, Printers and Publishers, Broad Street 1898
14 – Information regarding GMS final account of records from Friends of St Matthews
15 – West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers – Ancestry.co.uk – is a paid service
16 – 1525/7/1/5/1/35 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale – Ann Walker’s journal
Transcription by Alexa Tansley, Diane Halford, Leila Straub, Ivana Nika, and Dorjana Širola on behalf of In Search Of Ann Walker
17 – Lidgate House history
18 – Susannah’s cause of death – University of Leeds definition of Consumption
19 – Hannah’s cause of death – Glossary of Medical Terms Used in the 18th and 19th Centuries
20- Elizabeth (nee Bottomley) Sutcliffe family history – Friends of St Matthews Churchyard
21 – MAC-42-34-2 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale – Marriage Settlement between Samuel Washington and Elizabeth Sutcliffe.
22 – MAC-42-34-2 West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale – Indenture document signed by Samuel & Elizabeth Washington.
23 – Sam’s cause of death – Apoplexy
24 – Samuel Washington’s Last Will and Testament – Borthwick Institute # BIA20211649
25 – Samuel Washington’s Last Will and Testament- Image re: Silver Plate Tea & Coffee set. Permission from Borthwick Institute for this blog only.
Copyright University of York, not to be reproduced without permission from the Borthwick Institute.
26 – CPI Inflation Calculator used in conversion
27 – Denotes information taken from Ancestry, which is a paid service
28 – CPI Inflation Calculator used in conversion
General Register Office (GRO)
The British Newspaper Archive – a paid service
St John The Baptist Church Coley, Coley Road, Halifax
Friends of St Matthews Churchyard – Ian Philp & Dorothy Barker, who have done an incredible amount of research on the Washington family among so many others buried there. I can’t thank them enough for all their help.
Diane Halford, Admin, In Search of Ann Walker – for providing guidance and information on Ann Walker after her return from Russia.
David Glover, President Halifax Antiquarian Society – for permission to reproduce the Hipperholm Map created by Samuel and reading countless transcriptions.
Martin Walker – for help with legal transcriptions.
Caroline Maillard – Editing
Louise Godley – Editing