Love’s Old Dream

I don’t have the figures to prove it, but I have long thought that farmers and their offspring marry late. Later than around age 23 for women and 25 for men, that is.

In 1851, William SMITH was farming 160 acres just outside Hunmanby. The census declares he employed 4 indoor and 4 outside servants. His household comprised wife Sarah née POOL, three unmarried daughters between the ages of 34 and 38, his only son Robert, 30, his 70-year-old unmarried sister Ann, four farm labourers, a shepherd and one female house servant.

William was 27 when he married Sarah. Robert, their only son, waited until his 46th year before making an honest woman of Zillah Agar SUGGIT and farming in Filey at Church Cliff.

Three of Robert’s five sisters married and the last to tie the knot was Mary when she was 56 years old. Her husband, Matthew STAINTHORPE, was nine years older. The church register indicates that neither had been married before.

Matthew was some sort of gentleman. About six months after the wedding a census enumerator gave his occupation thus: –

STAINTHORPEgent

Ten years earlier, he had been a butler to Grace Trumbull at Hunmanby Hall, a large country house with a live-in staff of eleven, eight of them unmarried women. Male companionship for Matthew was provided by a groom and a page, aged 24 and 16.

In 1861, possibly no more than a five-minute walk from the Hall, Mary, a Farmer’s Assistant, was living at Rose Cottage with her 19-year-old niece, Elizabeth HOOPER.

After the wedding in 1870, Matthew moved into Rose Cottage with Mary, but he had to share the property with sister in law, Sarah SMITH, 61. He didn’t quite make it to the 1881 census when the enumerator found Mary at Howe Farm, just outside Hunmanby, with sister Sarah and a servant, Anna POOL, possibly a relative.

Mary was a wife for just over nine years and a widow for 22. She died aged 89 in the summer of 1902.

Find the old married couple on FamilySearch Tree.

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