Rosalind Davies' Family History
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

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William & Sarah Anne RIDING c. 1853- 1914

my great grandparents










William RIDING
Born: 4 Jul 1856 Ware Farm, Cockerham , Lancashire UK iChristened: 31 Aug 1856 at St. Michael's Parish Church, Cockerham ii

Death: 27 Jun 1907 at 25 Charles St, Lancaster iii
Buried: Scotforth Cemetery 1 Jul 1907 ar 3 pm; section C #221 at a cost of £2.3.6

Occupation: Qualified stonemason /Journeyman (working for someone else)
Religion: Church of England i
Father: John RIDING (1828-1916)Click here for his 2 generation Family Tree

Mother: Alice SINGLETON (1830-1902)

married 26 Jan 1882 by banns at St. Mary's Church of England,Lancaster
and his wife
Birth: 26 Jun 1853 at 30 Aqueduct St, Preston, Lancashire UK iDeath: 13 Apr 1914  at home, 25 Charles St, Lancaster UK iii

Death: 13 Apr 1914 at 25 Charles St, Lancaster iii
Buried: Scotforth Cemetery 16 Apr 1914 at 3pm; section C #221 at a cost of 17 shillings

Occupation:Cotton weaver then home duties

Religion: Church of England iFather: John ROBINSON (1828-1899)Click here for John's father Richard's ancestors Family Tree from 1757

John ROBINSON (1828-1899)
 Margaret PARKINSON (1828-1859)

Their children:          
Margaret Annie (Maggie) (1882-1968)
  John (Jack) William (1884-1957)
  Alice (1885-1972)
  Sarah Jane (1886-1953)
  Gordon (1887-1936)
  Janet (Jenny) (1889-1915)- my grandmother
  Lilian (1891-1953) my step grandmother     
Edison (Ted) (1892-c. 1937)
  Wilfred (1894-1971)
  Phyllis (?1895-)
  Ethel (1896-1937)

  William Riding was born at Ware farm , Cockerham and lived there during his early years. His birth was registered by his mother, Alice who was unable to sign her name and just left an X.
By 1863 he had moved with his family to Thurnham, a small village west of Cockerham. By the age of 12 he was working as a  farm servant  on a large farm of 100 acres owned by Henry Thornton called ' Thurnham Moss'.
vBy 1881,vi  William was living in Scotforth, just south of Lancaster, with his uncle, William Singleton and family. As a child, William had lived next door to this family in Cockerham  vii.
William Singleton had been living and working in Scotforth since before 1870 
viii and William followed him there and became  apprenticed to him as a stonemason.


Map showing Charles Street, Scotforth

Map of Scotforth, south of Lancaster

Charles Street is off Greaves Road (arrows used) near the bottom of the map. I have highlighted other family addresses. Scotforth is now just a suburb of Lancaster

William married Sarah Ann Robinson, who was born in the large town of Preston, several miles to the south east but whose family had moved to Glasson Docks,just south of Lancaster. At that stage in 1882 he was living in Grasmere St,Lancaster. xvii They produced fourteen children.  Their first child Margaret Annie was born in 1882 whilst they were living in West Road, Lancaster.i (near Lancaster Castle) By 1891 William and Sarah and their first seven children were living at 25 Charles Street, Scotforth, Lancashire and William was  still working as a stonemason.  xv

He was described by his daughter Lilian as a very strict father. He had a large family with many daughters who apparently giggled a lot at the dinner table. This would make him cross and he would send them out into the yard but later he would call them back in to finish their dinner.ix  He was a great student of the Bible and was described as very tall for an Englishman of his time.x  His son, Wilfred, also described him as being a strict father, who sang in the church choir.xi

William died in Scotforth aged 50 having had been ill for three years with progressive
wasting of the arteries between the heart and lungs. (His grandmother Sarah Riding had also died of this). He also had the stonemason's complaint of silicosis.
xii   His death was registered by his eldest daughter Margaret, who was still living at home.iii See a photo of his grave in Scorforth Cemetery at the bottom of this page.
25 Charles Street, Scotforth is the house on the left. This row of terraces was
demolished c. 1980
Sarah Ann Riding (nee Robinson) was born at 30 Aqueduct Street, Preston in  1853.i Her father, John, was a brickmaker and her mother, Margaret, worked at a machine in the cotton mill.xiii.
Sadly Margaret died of a miscarriage and lung infection when Sarah was just 6 years old. iii

In 1871, she was living with her father,younger sister Jane, step-mother, Janet Raby, and their first four children in the brickyards in 1 Sandy Lane, Preston. Sarah was employed as a cotton weaver in a nearby factory . xiv

In 1881, at the age of 28, Sarah Ann was still unmarried and working as a cotton weaver in Lancaster. She was boarding with a Mrs Jane Hesmondhalgh (nee Singleton,a widow of 43 who was born in Cockerham. Mrs Hesmondhalgh had a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old son.(Maggie Riding spoke of a cousin,Fanny Hesmondhalgh who emigrated to America.) xii Also boarding at the house at #2 Brury Street,Lancaster were brothers Edward Robinson and a Robert Warriner (both book-keepers)and a Sarah Riding, aged 23 who was working as a dressmaker. This Sarah was also  born in Cockerham and the daughter of my John & Alice
Above; From Sarah Ann's Prayer Book. There was also a bookmark with a crucifix picture and words in Dutch, sent to her by her son, Wilfred fighting in World War 1 in Holland.
Sarah Ann and Sarah must have socialised together and that's how Sarah Ann Robinson met William Riding,who was living in Scotforth at the time with his uncle William Singleton. The couple were married by banns on 26 Jan 1882 at St.Mary's Church of England . Sarah's address was still Brury Street, Lancaster and she was described as a weaver. The witnesss were Richard Riding (her brother ) & Sarah Riding (William's sister). xvii
Their first child was born in Aug 1882 when they were living in West Road, Lancaster.
i   By 1891 the family were living at 25 Charles Street, Scotforth, Lancaster.xv

Sarah Ann had 14 pregnancies with 3 stillbirths. 
xii Of the remaining 11 children, many  migrated to Australia. Her husband William, was a great student of the Bible and taught her how to read.   xii He was very tall and she was very short.x 

In July 1913, her daughter Jenny wrote a postcard to her sister-in-law, Jeanette Riding in Adelaide and said that  Sarah Ann was feeling slightly better and wished that she would be fully recovered.  "She has to have  eggs whether they are expensive or not and it costs her four and six shillings a week for medicine. She never gets the chance to have a hapenny before her and it makes her get lowspirited at times. I am going to take her to Morecombe on August Monday if the weather is alright and she is fit to go."

Sarah Ann died of cancer of the bladder  aged 60, and her death was registered by her married daughter Sarah Jane Pettit who lived across the road at 22 Charles Street, Scotforth.iii  Her son Ted, on hearing the news of his mother's imminent death,travelled back from Australia, but arrived too late. He never returned to Australia .
xvi Her son, Wilfred was also  said to have been very fond of her.xi
This grave photo in Scotforth Cemetery was kindly sent to me by my second cousin Jackie Olsen.


i. birth certificate

ii. International Genealogy Index

iii. death certificate

iv. 1881 census of  Lancashire

v. 1871 census of Cockerham. Lancashire

vi. 1881 census of Scotforth, Lancashire

vii. 1861 census of Cockerham. Lancashire- in the village

viii. Death certificate of his father

ix. oral- Margery Brown nee Davies

x. Letter- Helen Watters (nee Riding) Jack's daughter.

xi. Letter- Lillian  Wilson (nee Riding) South Australia

xii. Letter- Lena Huntington, daughter of Maggie Huntington(nee Riding,from Murray
Bridge,South Australia.

xiii. marriage certificate

xiv. 1871 census of Preston, Lancashire

xv. 1891 census of Scotforth,

xvi. Letter- Marney Forward,daughter of Helen Riding,daughter of Jack Riding.
xvii- church records- St. Mary's Church of England, Lancaster. On the hill near the Castle


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by Ros Davies