I’ve written before about my great-great-great grandparents William and Lydia Holdsworth and their family. Their daughter Eliza married Biggleswade shoemaker Daniel Roe, and their son, another shoemaker named Daniel, married Mary Ann Blanch of Bethnal Green. Daniel and Mary’s youngest son, Joseph Priestley Roe, married Eliza Bailey of Barking, and their daughter Minnie Louisa Roe was my ‘Nan’ – my maternal grandmother.

A shoemaker and his wife in their workshop

What do we know for certain about William? From the work of other family historians, notably my distant relative Adrian Holdsworth, I know that William was the sixth of the seven children of Joseph Holdsworth (1735 – 1795) and Elizabeth Gibson (1732 – 1809) and that he was born on 21 August 1771. We also know that William married Lydia Evins or Evans, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth, at the church of St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate on 26 November 1792, when he was about 21 years old. (I’ve speculated elsewhere about a possible connection with the Baptist Evans family of Biggleswade.) William and Lydia had six children: Isaac (1794), Samuel (1795), Phoebe (1796), Eliza (1801), Edward Porter (1803) and Sarah Ann (1806).

Thanks once again to the diligent research of others, and particularly my distant relative Ron Roe, we know that William and Lydia were members of Little Alie Street Baptist Chapel in Whitechapel. The births of Phoebe and Eliza are recorded in the register of births at Dr. Williams Library, the main repository of Nonconformist records.

I’ve written extensively about Phoebe and Eliza in other posts (for the latter: there are too many links to mention, so it’s probably best to use the ‘search’ function), but I’ve recently come across new information about their brothers Isaac and Samuel – and also about the deaths of their parents, William and Lydia.

Section of Horwood's 1792 map with Marmaduke Street at top right

Isaac Holdsworth was christened at the church of St. George-in-the-East on 2 February 1794. He was 28 days old. His father William’s occupation is given as cordwainer and the family are living in nearby Marmaduke Street. To date, this is the only definite record we have for Isaac.

Samuel Holdsworth was baptised at the same church on 12 July 1795, and the register notes that he had been born on 10 April. The other details are the same as for Isaac. Samuel married Lucy Roberts at the church of St George-the-Martyr, Southwark, on 26 May 1817, when he was about 23 years old. In 1841 Samuel, 48, and Lucy, 50, were living in Jane Street, with Sarah Roberts, 25, presumably a relative of Lucy’s. Lucy Holdsworth died at the same address five years later and was buried on 27 December 1846 at St. George in the East. She was said to be 58 years old, which means she was born in about 1788. I have no definite information about the date of Samuel’s death.

Perhaps the most interesting new find has been the burial records for William and Lydia Holdsworth, both from 1830. They were buried at Wycliffe Independent Chapel: Lydia on 2 April and William on 19 December. They would both have been about sixty years old when they died.

Coincidentally, I mentioned Wycliffe Chapel in a recent post about the Bowmans, from my father’s side of the family. Charlotte Bowman, sister of my great-great-grandfather John Bowman, was buried there when she died in 1854, at the age of 16. By that date, the chapel had moved to Philpot Street, between Commercial Road and Whitechapel Road. The move took place in 1831, the year after the deaths of William and Lydia Holdsworth. Before then, it was located in Cannon Street Road, formerly known as New Road, not far from Marmaduke Street.

The excellent website of St. George-in-the-East includes the following information about Wycliffe Chapel:

This chapel traced its roots to one of the early Independent congregations which met from 1642 at Haydon’s Yard, Minories, and then in Smithfield. The chapel in New Road (the original name of part of Cannon Street Road) was built in 1780, with a schoolroom added in 1785 and a Sunday School in 1790. It was long and narrow, seating up to 800 people, and lit by brass chandeliers holding candles (which had to be trimmed mid-service). It had a large burial ground (…)

Its minister from 1811 was the noted philanthropist Rev Andrew Reed (1787-1862). In 1831 it moved to larger premises in a new building named Wycliffe Chapel, in Philpot Street; here the congregation grew from 100 to 2,000. The parish church acquired the New Road premises in 1831 and they became Trinity Episcopal Chapel.

Without access to Wycliffe’s records, there is no way of knowing if the Holdsworths had transferred their allegiance there from Little Alie Street, or whether they were buried there simply because it was the nearest burial ground for Dissenters.

Section of Horwood's 1792 map showing church of St. George in the East. Wycliffe Chapel may be shaded building at 'Terrace' above Cannon Street