Charles Howcutt Ė from Brixworth to Sheffield


Brixworth workhouse

Before 1837, the two most prominent buildings in Brixworth were the parish church and Brixworth Hall. In that year they were joined by a third when Brixworth workhouse was opened on the south side of Spratton Road, near the Howcutt windmill.


Charles Howcutt was born at Brixworth on 13 March 1841 and 18 days later was baptised at the workhouse by its Chaplain, Charles Frederic Watkins, who was also vicar of Brixworth. The babyís mother was Sarah (Allom) Howcutt (1809-1859) but the father's name was not stated either on the birth certificate or in the baptism record. One person who could not have been the father was Sarah's husband, William, as he had been buried at Brixworth on 28 June 1833. Nevertheless, Charles was biologically related to the other members of the Howcutt family through his mother as she was a second cousin of her late husband - both were great grandchildren of Thomas Allom and Eleanor Poole, who had married at Cold Ashby in 1736 and who were forebears of all the Howcutt and Allom families who lived at Brixworth during the 19th century.


Charles Howcutt

When the census was taken on 6 June 1841, Sarah and her four children were living at Cross Hill, Brixworth. The cottage would have been very crowded as it was also home to Thomas and Ann Elstone and their four children.


In 1851, when Charles was 10, he was already working as an agricultural labourer. He lived in his mother's house, which seems from the sequence of houses in the census schedules to have been near the vicarage in Church Street. The household also included his sisters Julia Ann and Eliza and their mother's aged father Thomas Allom. After Sarah's death in 1859, Charles initially remained at Brixworth where he appears in the 1861 census as a mason, living with his brother Thomas at Silver Street.


Sheffield was one of the areas where industry and the population expanded rapidly during the 19th century. The population of the area now in Sheffield district increased from about 60,000 to over 451,000 during the century after 1801. In the period 1861 to 1871 alone, the number of inhabitants rose from 219,634 to 277,794. Although it was almost 100 miles from Brixworth, Sheffield offered opportunities for a mason and bricklayer on a far greater scale than rural Northamptonshire. [1]


The earliest record of Charles at Sheffield is in January 1866 when his son Tom was born at Sussex Street. No record has been found of Charles' marriage but the census records after their marriage confirm that his wife Mary was born at Broxholme, a small village in Lincolnshire about 44 miles east of Sheffield. Tomís birth certificate states that his motherís maiden name was Norton. [2]


Charles and Mary had eight children:




















Emily Skinner 1915




Harry Street 1904


Charles Herbert


Ellen Clark 1897




Amy Jessop 1904




Sarah Wilson Richardson 1905



St Philip, Shalesmoor

By 8 September 1869, when William and Julia were both baptised at St Philip, Shalesmoor, the family were living at George Street but the funerals of these two children in the following year took place from 39 Gregory Street. [3] The 1871 census includes Charles and Mary Howcutt living at a court at Queen Street; Charles was still working as a mason. The 1881 census records Charles and Mary as living with their children Albert, Florence, Charles H and Alfred, at Grapes Inn Yard, Lock Street.


Harry was baptised at St Philipís on 27 July 1881. Albert, Florence, Charles Herbert and Alfred followed him to the same font on 25 October 1882. [4]


The family remained at Lock Street for over ten years as the 1891 census includes Charles and Mary Howcutt at a three room house, 17 Lock Street, with their children Albert, Charles H, Alfred and Harry. At that time, Charles was a brick maker and the birthplaces for Mary and Charles were both incorrectly noted as Sheffield. Albert was working as a bricklayer's apprentice; Charles Herbert was a labourer in a rolling mill and Alfred a heater at a furnace. In 1901, Charles and Mary were living at the 4th house in 4th court, Creswick Street, along with their four youngest children. Charles, Albert and Harry all worked as bricklayers. Florence was a maker of sweets and "Alf" worked as a general labourer. The six adults were living in a 3-room house.


Charles and Mary remained at Sheffield for the rest of their lives, her death being registered in 1905 and his in 1910.




[1]††† A Vision of Britain Through Time, accessed 17 July 2016.

[2]††† Mary, a daughter of William and Rebecca Norton, was baptised at Broxholme on 5 August 1838.

[3]††† Tom, William and Julia were all buried in grave number 76, section A, general ground, Burngreave Cemetery.

[4]††† Sheffield Indexers, accessed 17 July 2016.