Saturday 19 May 2012

#SurnameSaturday: Spencer

The Spencer surname entered our family with my ancestor with the best name Hannah Honorah Audrey Spencer. She was born in Newton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire in 1886. Her parents were Edward and Martha (nee Barnes).

At the time of her birth her father was in the police force (he would later be sacked for embezzlement - a story I haven't explored yet). Initially he had been a woollen cloth weaver in Guiseley, Yorkshire. He married Martha in Stanningley, Yorkshire in 1871. They moved to Lancashire after the birth of their eldest son Albert Edward in 1873 as all their remaining children were born in Lancashire. It must have been a big decision to move so far away from all their family in Yorkshire but a career in the police force must have been a dream job.

Edward was born in Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin in 1850. His father Edward was a private in the 55th (Westmorland) Regiment of Foot and his mother Catherine Dunne was the daughter of a leather worker Timothy Dunne. They were married in 1848 at St Bridget's Church, Dublin.

Edward senior had been born in Guiseley in 1820 and worked as a woollen cloth weaver in the mills after leaving the army. His was the son of Dennis and Hannah (nee Whittam). Dennis was recorded as being a clothier in 1841.

Dennis had been born in Calverley, Yorkshire in 1794. His parents were Joshua and Hannah (nee Hainsworth). Joshua was born in Calverley in 1762 and married Hannah there in 1783. His father Edward had married Elizabeth Yeward in Calverly in 1762. Edward was another clothier and had been born at Tong, Yorkshire in 1731. He was the son of Jeremy and Sarah (nee Maylor). Their marriage took place in Tong in 1721 and he was another clothier.

So my Spencer connection is firmly rooted in Yorkshire for at least 100 years. The family were heavily involved in the woollen cloth trade and it's only the 2 Edwards in the mid 1800s who broke the mould with careers in the army and police force. The addition of Irish ancestry through Catherine Dunne adds an intriguing twist to the family. After the move to Lancashire the next 2 generations of my family were born there and it was my father who moved away in the 1960s.


  1. We have an ancestor called Lizzie, Lydia Delia Whyborn, or sometimes in other accounts Lizzie Delia Lydia Whyborn! I love some of the old family names.
    We also discovered recently that a friend also called Claire is acctually related through another line in the family from 1895 ish! So not only are we best friends we are cousins so many times removed. Small world

  2. Family history is so interesting. My father has drawn up a vast family tree which caused a great deal of discussion in my recent visit to Latvia.

  3. Hi just wanted to say that I like your article very much. Please keep up the good posts Thanks a ton! and Have a good day


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