Inkersall House, Hackenthorpe, home of William James Le Tall

When it comes to the history of Woodhouse, many local surnames come to mind, Birks, Keeton, Staniforth, Ward, Hibbard, but perhaps the most unique is that of the Le Tall family.

In 1876, local Quaker William James Le Tall published his book ‘Gathered Fragments of the Past and Present History of Woodhouse and its Vicinity’ in which he goes into great detail into some of the local families, trades and places in the village. He even goes into detail into his own lineage.

William states:

‘They are descendants of French Protestant refugees – Huguenots, who left France during the persecutions there and took up their abode for a short time in Holland. Finding persecution was hot in Holland, they again moved, leaving their belongings, setting sail for England, where they landed in 1710, and first settled in a cottage at Thorney, in the Isle of Ely. Emanuel Le Tall told me the following on the 20th and fifth month, 1872. He is about seventy-two years old, he remembered seeing his grandfather, who had lost an arm by the explosion of his gun when shooting wild ducks on Whittlesea-mere. He believes his name was Benjamin. Emanuel was then quite a child, and never saw him but once. He says he was very handy with the arm he had left, and had a false one on the stump. He says he is clear that it was the right arm that was missing. Benjamin died at Yaxley, near Petersbro’. The latter part of his life he kept an inn there. Emanuel also told me that his father frequently told him that their ancestors were poor when they came over and having taken the cottage at Thorney found the chimney very defective, and the smoke very troublesome in the room; so the father of the family acting as sweep examined the lower part, which was wide as the breastwork. To his surprise he found a small cupboard a short distance up. This he opened, and found therein a sum of money; and with this money he bought cows, and maintained his family by the sale of milk and butter. My father Benjamin Le Tall tells me that Benjamin is his family name, and his father gave him this information, and Benjamin he said was the name of the one who settled at Thorney. I give it as I am told. John, my grandfather, whom I never knew, married Amy Unwin, of Carlton-In-Lindrick. The Unwins, curiously, are also a Huguenot family, John’s family were William, Emanuel, John, Susannah, Benjamin, Matilda and Emma.’

When referencing parish records we do indeed find John Le Tall marrying Amy Unwin at Carlton, Nottinghamshire in 1792, and their children are found on the parish register at Laughton-en-le-Morthen. Emanuel, strangely, is missing, however his death is recorded in Rotherham in 1875, with birth given as being 1798. John and Amy’s son Benjamin, born 1811, married Mary Tindall on January 8th 1833, and together they had three sons, Benjamin Le Tall, William James Le Tall and Frederick Tindall Le Tall.

Frederick Tindall Le Tall, born 1846, married Eleanor M Hawson, a Scarborough woman, he passed away on November 20th 1887 and she took the kids to Scarborough, the only son was Frederick William Le Tall born 1872.

William James Le Tall, born 1840, married Mary Staniforth Jubb and the two lived at Inkersall House, Hackenthorpe. William was the local village doctor at that time, and the two were part of the Quaker Church. Mary passed away January 17th 1904 and William followed on September 18th. It was said when they passed and were transported to the Society of Friends Burial Ground at Woodhouse, that the people along the route showed their respect by closing all of their curtains. This clearly showed the couple were well liked.

One interesting snippet comes from the Sheffield Independent dated June 15th 1880

TRIPLE BIRTH AT HACKENTHORPE – On Sunday morning the wife of a pit labourer named Ward, living in Brook Lane, Hackenthorpe, gave birth to three children – two sons and a daughter – all of whom are doing well. One of the children has the peculiarity of an extra finger on one hand. The medical man in attendance was Mr. William James Le Tall.

London Gazette 18th Nov 1904

p>William and Mary passed away without bearing any children.

Going back to John Le Tall and Amy Unwin, another of their sons, John Unwin Le Tall was born in 1799, he married Elizabeth McLagen on July 22nd 1820 at Laughton-En-Le-Morthen, two of their sons were Albert John Le Tall, baptised October 13th 1833, and Henry Le Tall, baptised October 20th 1824, both at Woodhouse. Henry married Helen Linley, before passing away on 22 April 1913 and is buried at Woodhouse Cemetery, showing he did not take after his cousin, staying out of the Quaker religion.

The Two had a son Clement Le Tall who appears to have emigrated to Canada in 1911, appearing on the 1911 Canadian Census as a Lodger. Another son was Horace Le Tall, born 1845. Horace married twice, first to Lucy Birks on October 12th 1884, she passes away in 1866 and he remarries her sister Annie Elizabeth Birks. With this wife he has a daughter Annie Elizabeth Le Tall. Lucy and Annie Eliza Birks were the daughters of Peter Potter Birks and his wife Sarah Staniforth, a descendent of the Hackenthorpe Staniforths. This shows two links through marriage to the Staniforth family.

Although the name is not evident in Woodhouse today, William James Le Tall and his extended family clearly had a great impact on the village of Woodhouse, and the Quaker religion in the region.