Hannah Blakeley was born on 29 April 1765 in Batley, Yorkshire, the third of John Blakeley and Sarah Swallow’s nine children. Her eight siblings were: William, Maria, Sarah, Jane, Mary, John, Abraham and Elizabeth, all born between 1761 and 1780. Hannah was baptised just over a week after she was born on 7 May 1765 in Batley Parish Church. In 1765, her father, John, was working as a labourer. He later became a clothier, probably a cloth maker (clothier can also refer to selling clothes); a common occupation in Batley at the time.
It appears that Hannah may not have been educated; she did not sign her marriage certificates. Her sisters also did not sign their marriage certificates, although her oldest brother did.
On 4 December 1786, 21 year old Hannah married Joseph Talbot at Batley Parish church. Hannah and Joseph had five children over the next ten years: Letitia, John, Jane, Stephen and Joseph. Sadly, Hannah lost her husband Joseph in January 1797 and her baby son Joseph only 6 months later, leaving her a 32 year old widow with 4 young children and probably dependent on her extended family for support. The two Joseph’s were buried together and their monumental inscription says they were of Havercroft, Batley.
Meanwhile, on 29 November 1790, Hannah’s younger sister, Jane, married George Newsome, another Batley clothier. Jane and George had four children: Sally, John (died 1798), Mary and Abram, before Jane died on 5 July 1800, at only 30 years old, leaving George a widower with three young children. George seems to have what many men in his position did and immediately looked around for another wife to take care of his children. I have come across this a number of times in my family tree…
On 20 September 1800, just a couple of months after Jane died, Hannah Talbot nee Blakeley and George Newsome applied for a licence to marry in Batley Parish church. In England prior to 1907, a marriage to a deceased wife’s sister (or deceased husband’s brother) was not valid due to the relationship being within a prohibited degree of affinity, so George and Hannah had a problem. It seems that they were not able to marry in Batley, so a couple of days later, on 23 September 1800, having tweaked a few facts, such as their ages, they applied for a licence to marry in nearby Rothwell Parish Church. This time, the wedding went ahead. John Sheard, one of the witnesses, was Maria Blakeley’s husband (Hannah’s older sister), so presumably the Blakeley family were happy enough with the marriage. In any case, Hannah and George must have been determined as a marriage licence would have been a considerable expense. By a quirk of marriage law, their marriage became legally valid in 1835, while they were both still alive.
Hannah and George, already having seven children between them, had three more: William, Hannah (my ancestor) and Jane. Sadly, Hannah’s children John and Jane died in September 1802 – perhaps there was a bug of some sort doing the rounds. In addition, three more of the children died as adults before Hannah and George, including my ancestor, the younger Hannah (who also married a Talbot).
Hannah Newsome (nee Talbot and Blakeley) died on 28 September 1838, age 73. She was buried at Batley Parish Church on 2 October 1838 with memorial stone commemorating her, her sister Jane, nephew John and husband George. George died in 1845.
For some reason unknown to me, many years later in 1862, son William applied for probate for both of his parents. Hannah’s estate was valued at less than £20, as was George’s.
Hannah’s life seems to have been typical of women of her time and station. Even her questionable second marriage was not that unusual and certainly understandable.
Notes on lineage: Me > Dad > Helen Francis Ruth Akeroyd > Percy Tomlinson Akeroyd > Frederick William Akeroyd > Sarah Talbot > Hannah Newsome > Hannah Blakeley