Stoney Middleton and the wider world

Despite the somewhat self-enclosed life of early Stoney Middleton, Stoney denizens have also gone on to have interactions with the much wider world. As early as the 1600s, a number of Stoney families sent sons to apprentice in Sheffield as cutlers (records of which are summarised by Mr. Eric Youle on his website).  Occasionally, some Stoney men would also serve as soldiers, and beginning in the late 1700s and especially in the 1800s, Stoney Middleton saw a large exodus of parts of its families to the cities of Sheffield and Manchester (and Manchester’s surrounding communities in Lancashire and Cheshire), and occasionally to Birmingham or London for jobs in industry, often in the textile fields.

When one is searching for “missing” Stoney children in the 1800s, one should first look, after a review of neighbouring villages, to Sheffield and/or to Manchester to find the locals now labouring in the cotton mills or in affiliated businesses.  The late 1800s, especially, saw Stoney Middleton scions venturing even further afield, as locals (including this writer’s own ancestors) either left Stoney directly for overseas ports or did so after sojourning one or two generations in Sheffield or Manchester.  Stoney Middleton descendants departed for the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and occasionally to India (one adventurous Mr. Furness of Stoney Middleton heritage even survived the Boxer Rebellion in China).

I personally don’t think of Stoney Middleton as “forgotten” as much as “misplaced”. For instance, we were told when I was growing up in the USA that my maternal grandfather’s family, the Hallams, were from Sheffield, and most immediately before immigration to America that was true, but for 300 years before that (and through the 20th century, too) the Hallams  were in Stoney Middleton.  Many families with names like Cocker, Froggatt , Furness, Goddard, Hallam, Hancock, Heginbotham, Mason, Moseley, Sellers, Siddall, and Walker, who are now far-flung across the globe, probably no longer realize that all originated in the Stoney Middleton area.

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