Indenture between Stephen Staniforth and Samuel Heaton

Stephen Staniforth was baptised on May 27th, 1815 at St. Mary’s Beighton. His parents were John Staniforth and Mary Linley. Stephen grew up in the village of Hackenthorpe, and like his father, worked as a Sickle smith for the majority of his life.

On the 10th March 1849, Stephen is mentioned in newspapers in a curious incident:

“Stephen Staniforth, Mark Keeton and John Keeton, all of Hackenthorpe Sicklesmiths were charged by John Day with stealing a fat sheep, his property, at the parish of Beighton.

Complainant said that on the 11th day of February last, he gave a quantity of sheep in care of William Wall, a drover, to convey from the Eckington Railway Station to Rotherham, by way of Sheffield.

William Wall proved that he was driving the sheep between Eckington and Sheffield, when, near to Mr. Jules, one of the sheep became fatigued and knocked up; he procured a man to take care of the sheep which could walk, and went to Mr. Plant’s to procure a horse and cart to convey the sheep which was fatigued to Sheffield. Mr. Plant promised that he would bring the sheep in his own cart; he (Wall) then went forward with the other sheep, and left the fatigued one on the road side. Plant failed to bring the sheep according to promise; the next day he (Wall) returned to look after the tired sheep which he left on the road side, but the sheep had been taken away. He met with Francis Seaman, who told him that the defendants had taken the sheep down the road on a wheelbarrow, about half-past nine that morning. Witness then applied to them about it; they took him to a field off the road side, and showed him the sheep, which was then dead, in a ditch, and a wheelbarrow upon it.

Defendents said they had an intention of stealing the sheep. They had taken it into the field, and intended giving it their dogs to eat.

Ordered to pay 1 pound 10s each.”

Brook Lane, Hackenthorpe

Stephen married widower Ann Heaton in July 1850, the daughter of grinder Samuel Clayton and Sarah Staniforth (Daughter of George Staniforth and Ann Barker). Ann’s first husband was Charles Clayton, who passed away on April 19th 1848. Although it is difficult to read, indentures exist which lead us to believe an agreement was made between Charles Heaton’s father, and Stephen Staniforth in which Stephen was given land if he promised to name their first son after his own deceased son. This was fulfilled, on the 7th February 1852, the couple had a son, Charles Heaton Staniforth. He would be the only child the couple would have.

Using the Census records we get a clear picture of Stephens life, in 1841 he is living with his parents, John and Mary, along with his siblings Elizabeth, Ann, Joseph and Susanna. In 1851, Stephen is living with his new wife Ann, and working as a Sicklesmith, by 1861 and 1871, Charles Heaton Staniforth is living with them. By the time of the 1881 Census, Stephen, now 66, is a widower, as his wife Ann dies in 1875, he is living with his son Charles Heaton Staniforth, who by this time had married Ann Miller. Charles children (Stephen’s grandchildren) are also in the household, they include Ann, Edith, Norah, Eliza, Samuel and Edwin, along with a boarder William Carnall. In 1891, Stephen now in his late 70s is still living with his son at their home at #1 Brook Lane, Walter, Beatrice, Lilley and Alice have since been born to his son Charles, and all bore the middle name Heaton.

Stephen passed away on the 22nd March 1894 at the home of his son at #1 Brook Lane, it seems very likely this home was Stephen’s home in originally and that his son took over as the head of the household. The cause of death is noted simply as ‘old age’. Although he was a Sicklesmith most of his life, Stephen was an amateur gardener towards the end of his life, this is referenced in various newspaper articles where Stephen and his son Charles are growing Gooseberries and flowers in competitions.