Bashforths in York

Since I live in York (as a recent incomer, over fifteen years ago), I thought it would be interesting to see whether Bashforths had been here before me. The earliest seems to have been a John Bashforth who arrived in York in the early part of the nineteenth century.

There is an inscription in York Cemetery (well worth a visit when you are in town) that was originally made for his wife Elizabeth ,who died 3 April 1838 aged 44 years. John himself died 8 February 1846 aged 62 years. One of his daughters, Margaret Ann died as an infant 17 April 1838, shortly after her mother. Another daughter, Elizabeth, died 13 June 1847 aged 24 years. On the same stone the inscription also includes Isabel Jennings aged 27, who died 15 April 1838.

The local parish registers tell us a little more about this family. John Bashforth married Elizabeth Kendall on 9 October 1819 in the outlying parish of Fulford, to the south of the city. Elizabeth would have then been about 25 years old and John would have been somewhat older at 43. Their daughter Elizabeth was born 15 December 1822 and baptised at the parish church of St Crux. There is not much of this church left in York now, very near the centre of the city and often used for coffee mornings and charity stalls. There was also a son, John, baptised at the same place 15 August 1826. Margaret Ann was baptised 21 March 1838 at the parish church of St Denys in Walmgate, which is still there. You can see how much of an infant she was, dying along with her mother before she was one month old.

The parish of St Denys, along with most of the city centre parishes, was among the poorest. In 1832 there was a cholera epidemic. The Walmgate area of York was a hive of trade and industry, mostly noxious: tanneries and foundries especially. It was close enough to the city centre to attract plenty of trade, though nowadays it struggles to keep up. There were also, allegedly, a plenitude of public houses, most of which no longer exist. The Red Lion is one of several that is still worth a visit. During the 1840s there was the beginnings of an influx of Irish people.

In 1841, John Bashforth aged 55 was listed in the annual census as an Ironmonger and with him were his daughter Elizabeth aged 18 and his son John aged 14. The connection to Isabel Jennings on the memorial inscription is explained, as they shared the building with Hugh Jennings, 27, a draper, and his wife Isabel aged 20, their infant daughter Elizabeth and a live-in servant, Hannah Morrell aged 20. It would seem that Isabel was another of John’s daughters, though we need proof from parish registers to confirm it.

 Apart from the deaths noted on the monumental inscriptions above, the remnants of this family of Bashforths had disappeared from York by the time of the 1851 census. There could only have been the son John, but I have not traced him in the two subsequent censuses nor in the death records. Does anybody out there know what happened to John Bashforth, born York 1826?

Where did John Bashforth senior come from? So far that remains a mystery. I have discovered three by the name John Bashforth baptised on or around 1784: John, the son of a filesmith in Sheffield in May 1783; John the son of a wheelwright in Darton in April 1783 and John born in Beeston, near Leeds in August 1786. Does anybody out there have any clues from tracing their own family tree?


One thought on “Bashforths in York

  1. Hello,
    I stumpled upon your blog while searchingmy family name. I couldn’t find a date on it so I apologise in advance if this is exceptionally outdated. As a fellow Bashforth, I am exceptionally aware that we seem to be few and far between and I am intruiged by the history of the family and name. I just thought I would write to let you know that my family is from Barnsley near Sheffield so was wondering if there could be a connection between the two. I am most interest.

    I hope this sheds a little light on the Yorkshire Bashforths for you.

    All the best,

    Helen Bashforth

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