Movement of People
Like many rural communities during the Victorian period, Great Ellingham saw movement in the population. In 1836, several families left the village for a new life ‘on the other side of the world’. A few were ‘forced’ to embark on a journey to Van Diemen’s Land (later Tasmania) following a criminal conviction. Some individuals came into the village for work, or to take up a business, and then moved on. Others would spend their entire life in the village.
However, the 1880s was a time of the Great Depression of British Agriculture, and with the move from agriculture to industry, many more individuals and families left the village.
Was this the reason for the Lincoln family’s move to Yorkshire?
Believed to be Robert Lincoln (1825-1901) and is wife Ellen (Eleanor) née Jessup and their children. Courtesy of Bryan Dye
The Lincoln Family
The family captured in the above photograph is believed to be Robert and Ellen (Eleanor) Lincoln and their eight children.
The photograph is thought to date from the 1880s. Robert and Ellen Lincoln were then in their mid-fifties (Ellen being a couple of years younger than Robert). In 1885, their eldest child Robert was 34 and their youngest, Emmeline, 14.
By 1881, four of Robert and Ellen’s children had moved out of Great Ellingham. Ten years later, the remainder of the family (including Robert and Ellen) had also left Great Ellingham.
Robert Lincoln’s Early Life
Postcard of Damgate Street Wymondham. Possibly early 1900s. Courtesy of Liz Barrett
Robert Lincoln was probably born in Damgate Street, Wymondham. His parents, Robert and Esther Lincoln (née Reeder) were living there when Robert was baptised in the Parish Church of Wymondham on the 3rd April, 1825. Robert Lincoln senior was working as a brewer.
Parents – Robert & Esther Lincoln nee Reeder
Robert married Esther Reeder in St James’s Church, Great Ellingham on the 24th February, 1823. Their first child, a daughter named Susan (Susannah), was born later that year.
Following the couple’s brief spell in Wymondham around the time of Robert’s birth in 1825, Robert and Esther Lincoln returned to Great Ellingham where their third child (Edmund) was baptised in St James’s Church on the 24th June 1827. Six further children were born in Great Ellingham, including Robert and Ellen’s youngest son, John.
The 1841 census captures Robert and Esther Lincoln with seven of their eight surviving children, including 15 year old Robert, in Great Ellingham. Like many of his contemporaries, Robert Lincoln senior is working as an agricultural labourer. The Lincoln family’s home was probably a ‘tied’ cottage owned (or rented) by Robert’s employer.
St James’s Church, Great Ellingham. Postcard courtesy of Attleborough Heritage Group
On the 27th November, 1849, Robert Lincoln married Hockham born Eleanor Jessup in St James’s Church, Great Ellingham.
A daughter of James and Ellen Jessup (née Jacob), Eleanor was baptised as ‘Ellen Phillis’ in Hockham Parish Church on the 1st August, 1830.
Robert and Ellen Lincoln had 8 children: Robert Edward born in 1851, Alvina (Elvina) Harriet 1855, Eleanor in 1857, George Walter 1859, Jonathan (John) James 1862, Charlotte 1865, Walter Edward in 1868 and lastly, Emmeline (Emeline/Emelene) Esther in 1871. All the children were born in Great Ellingham. I found baptisms for the three elder children (Robert, Elvina and Eleanor) in the Baptism Register for St James’s Church.
In a time when many childhood diseases were life-threatening, Robert and Ellen were fortunate that all their children survived to adulthood.
The census of 1851 captures 25 year old farm labourer, Robert Lincoln, with his 22 year old wife Ellen and their one year old daughter Eleanor living in the ‘Wylands’ area of Great Ellingham. An 1802 map of Great Ellingham indicates that the area known as ‘Wylands’ was to the southern end of Long Street.
Ten years later, the family is living in Long Street. However, I cannot say whether or not the family is living in the same dwelling as they were ten years earlier.
Nonetheless, Robert and Ellen now have four children (Robert 9, Levina 6, Eleanor 4 and George 1). Robert’s widowed father, 62 year old Robert Lincoln, is with the family as is Robert’s 21 year old brother John.
Robert, his father Robert and brother John, are all working as agricultural labourers. Nine year old Robert and his sister Levina are attending school – quite possibly the newly erected ‘British School‘ in Long Street.
The census of 1871 finds the Lincoln family still living in Great Ellingham. Now into their forties, Robert and Ellen have five of their children at home – George 11, John 7, Charlotte 6, Walter 3 and one month old Emoline. Robert’s 74 year old father, Robert, is still with the family.
Robert and Ellen’s eldest son, Robert Edward, appears to be the 19 year old Edward Lincoln with the household of George Hubbard in High Street, Downham Market. George Hubbard is a chemist, dentist, wine & spirit merchant and also a merchant of ale and porter. Edward is an assistant to George Hubbard.
Eldest daughter, 17 year old Elvina, is living much nearer to home. She is a housemaid at the home of magistrate and land owner Arthur Cockell in Deopham Road, Attleborough.
I cannot find Eleanor (now into her early teens) on the 1871 census. Accordingly, I cannot say whether Eleanor was away from home on a temporary or permanent basis.
By 1881, four of the eight children of Robert and Ellen Lincoln had moved away from Norfolk.
Robert Edward Lincoln married Emma Jane Easby in the Bradford District during the latter part of 1876.
The 1881 census finds 28 year old Robert with his 26 year old wife Emma at 2 Dallam Street, Bradford. Robert is working as a grocer’s shopman. The couple have two children – Emmeline 3, Florence 2 and one month old Robert.
On the 27th August, 1876, Eleanor married Edwin Holroyd in Bradford.
The 1881 census finds them living some 3-4 miles away from Robert at 8 Herbert Street, Saltaire, Shipley. Bradford born Edwin Holroyd is working as a wool sorter. The couple have a three year old daughter Ellena.
George and Charlotte
Eleanor’s siblings, George and Charlotte, are captured with Eleanor and Edwin Holroyd at 8 Herbert Street, Saltaire. 21 year old George is boarding with his sister and brother in law and, like his brother in law, George is also working as a wool sorter. Likely Edwin Holroyd and George Lincoln worked at the local Mill in Saltaire.
Charlotte, described as a servant, is stated to be a visitor at the time of the census.
During the last few months of 1877, Elvina married Wignall Hey in the Wayland District. I do not know where the marriage took place but I do know that it did not take place at St James’s Church in Great Ellingham.
The 1881 census finds 26 year old Elvina with her 25 year old husband Wignall and two year old son, James, at St Helen’s Place, Lower Hellesdon, Norwich. Wignall is working as a carpenter. Following their marriage, Wignall and Elvina must have initially settled in Bradford as their son James was born there c.1878.
The Remainder of the Family in Great Ellingham
Long Street, Great Ellingham. Postcard from author’s collection
Now in their fifties, Robert and Ellen (Eleanor) are living in Town Green at the time of the head-count of 1881. Robert’s widowed father is still with Robert and Ellen along with the remainder of Robert and Ellen’s children – John 18, Walter 13 and ten year old Emerleen. Robert and his two sons (which includes 13 year old Walter) are working as labourers. Emmeline is still attending school.
Times of Change
However during the next ten years, the remainder of this Lincoln family would move away from Great Ellingham. Was it an easy decision to make? Notwithstanding being born in the town of Wymondham, Robert Lincoln had spent most of his life in the village.
Who instigated the move? Did one or more of the ‘children’ remaining in Great Ellingham decide to move, and Robert and Ellen followed them?
Death of Robert Lincoln Senior
Robert Lincoln’s father, Robert Lincoln, died in 1883 at the age of 84. He was buried in the churchyard of St James, Great Ellingham on the 6th August, 1883.
Accordingly, it was probably after 1883 that Robert and Ellen Lincoln packed up their belongings and headed for Yorkshire. By this time, there was a good network of railway lines connecting towns and cities. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that Robert and Ellen (now into their sixties) travelled by train to begin their new life in Yorkshire.
Robert and Ellen with children John and Emmeline
The 1891 census captures Robert and Ellen (Ellenor) living at Wood Nook, Gomersal, Birkenshaw, Yorkshire. With the couple is their 28 year old son, John and his wife Clara, their 19 year old daughter Emmeline and five year old granddaughter Lilley Lincoln.
Father and son are working as farm labourers. Emmeline is working as a woollen millhand in one of the local mills.
Three years earlier, John Lincoln married Clara Scholefield in the parish church of Birstall (not far from Gomersal) on June 2nd, 1888.
Did Robert and Ellen make the move to Yorkshire prior to John’s marriage or after?
Also living in Gomersal at this time is Robert and Ellen’s eldest son, Robert. The 1891 census finds 38 year old grocer’s manager Robert Lincoln in Town Street with his wife Emma Jane and children Emmeline 13, Florence 12 and 10 year old son Robert Edward.
Emmeline and Florence are both working as worsted spinners in one of the local mills.
Living in nearby Saltaire is 33 year old Eleanor with her husband Edwin Holroyd and their children Eleanor 13, Lincoln 9 and Charlotte 7. Edwin is still working as a wool sorter in a nearby mill.
Also in Saltaire is 31 year old George with his wife Emma. They are boarding with Samuel and Emma Ridgeway in Titus Street. George is also working as a wool sorter and his wife is a dressmaker.
George and Emma married in 1889. It was George’s second marriage. He married Martha Ann Wood in December 1884. Sadly, Martha Ann died in 1888. George remarried the following year.
In 1890, Walter Edward Lincoln married Kate Goodridge. The census of 1891 finds 23 year old Walter and 20 year old Kate in Harvey Street, Saltaire. Walter too is working as a wool sorter.
Still single, 25 year old Charlotte (or Lottie as she seems to have been known) is a dressmaker’s assistant for draper Leonard Hargreaves and his wife Hannah in Idle (a village around 3 miles from Saltaire).
The only child of Robert and Ellen Lincoln not to be in Yorkshire in 1891 is their eldest daughter Elvina. 35 year old Elvina is with her 34 year old husband Wignall Hey and their two sons James Robert 12 and Archibald aged 3 in Plympton St Mary, Devon. The census describes Wignall Hey as a scripture reader and visitor. Notably, their two year old son Archibald was born in Norwich. Accordingly, we can assume that the Hey family had not long moved from Norwich to Devon.
Death of Robert Lincoln 1825-1901
The death of Robert Lincoln aged 68 years was registered in the Dewsbury District of West Riding of Yorkshire between January and March 1901. Although this suggests that this Robert Lincoln was born c.1832, I do think that this is Robert Lincoln born in 1825 in Wymondham, Norfolk, the husband of Ellen (Eleanor).
It is possible that after all the years, Ellen did not know exactly when her husband was born. She may have assumed that Robert was the same age as herself. It is also possible that it was not Ellen who registered the death of Robert. Perhaps it was one of the children and, again, he or she may not have known when their father was born.
Ellen, Emmeline & Elvina
In 1901, 68 year old widow Ellen Lincoln is the head of a household in the parish of Birkenshaw with Hunsworth St Paul. With Ellen is her 26 year old daughter Emelina and 15 year old (grand)daughter Lillian. Ellen’s eldest daughter Elvina, son-in-law Wignall Hey and their son, Archibald, are visiting. Ellen and her family are occupying a four-roomed dwelling.
Emmeline and Lillian are both working in a nearby mill. Emmeline as a stuff weaver and Lillian as a cotton spinner.
Given that the 1901 census was undertaken on the 31st March and the fact that Elvina and Wignall are visiting, I wonder whether Robert Lincoln died just a few weeks (if not days) before the census. Robert’s death certificate would, of course, confirm the theory. It would also reveal who registered Robert’s death.
Next door and occupying two rooms, is Ellen’s son John and his wife Clara with their three children – Leonard 10, Elsie Elvina 8 and three year old Herbert. John is working as a farm labourer.
Ellen’s eldest son, Robert, is still living nearby in Town Street, Birkenshaw with his wife Emma and their three children, Emmeline 23, Florence 22 and Robert 20.
At 49, Robert Lincoln is now a self-employed grocer. His son, Robert, is a grocer’s assistant. I think it reasonable to assume that Robert junior is working for his father. Emmeline is employed as a dressmaker.
Walter is living around seven miles away in Shipley.
The 1901 census captures 33 year old Walter with his 29 year old wife Kate and their three children William 4, Frank 2 and one month old Edith Ida, at 12 Ferrand Street. Just as he was ten years earlier, Walter is working as a wool sorter in a nearby mill.
‘Lottie’ Lincoln married George Edward Thompson in the Bradford District of Yorkshire between January and March 1899.
Two years later, the 1901 census finds George and Lottie Thompson with their one year old daughter Eleanor at 145 Baird Street, Bowling, Bradford. Yorkshire born George Thompson is working as a wool dyer’s labourer. 23 year old grocer’s assistant Robert Hey is visiting the family.
39 year old George Lincoln is with his wife Emma and sons Ridgway 9 and Lawrance aged 3 living at 13 Queens Road, Shipley. George is still working as a wool sorter.
Given that ten years previously the couple were lodging with Samuel and Emma Ridgeway (Ridgway), it is likely that George and Emma named their son after the couple with whom they were once lodgers.
I cannot find Edwin and Eleanor Holroyd on the England & Wales 1901 census. However, I do know that at some point in time this family emigrated to the United States of America. Accordingly, it is possible that Eleanor and Edwin left for the USA prior to the 1901 census.
Ellen & Emmeline
Widow Ellen Lincoln continued to live in Birkenshaw with her youngest daughter Emmeline. The census of 1911 captures 82 year old Ellen with 40 year old Emmeline in a two roomed property at Mill Lane, Birkenshaw. Emmeline is still working as a stuff weaver for a local worsted manufacturer.
Ellen’s eldest daughter Elvina (then Elvina Hey) died aged 49 years in 1904. Her death was registered in the Bradford District between October and December of that year. Perhaps Elvina and Wignall Hey decided to settle near to Elvina’s mother following the death of Elvina’s father, Robert Lincoln, in 1901.
The eldest of the Lincoln siblings, Robert continued to live in Town Street, Birkenshaw. The 1911 census captures Robert and Emma with their 32 year old daughter Emmeline in Town Street. Robert is still a grocer.
George Lincoln is still living at 13 Queens Road, Shipley with his wife Emma. The couple now have four children Ridgway 20, Lawrance 13, Jack 8 and four year old Florence. George continues to work as a wool sorter.
John Lincoln, now 49, is with his wife Clara of 23 years, and their children (Leonard 19, Elsie 17, Hubert 12 and Laura 9) at 531 Tong Street, Bradford. Although unemployed, John’s three children are working. Leonard as a labourer in a train shed, Elsie as a stuff weaver and Hubert working ‘half time’ in a spinning room. Laura is attending school.
Brother Walter is also in Bradford. The same census finds 43 year old Walter Lincoln with wife Kate and children William 14, Frank 12 and Ida aged 10, at 553 Manchester Road, Bradford. Walter also continues to work as a wool sorter.
‘Lottie’ is living at Manningham, Bradford some six miles from her mother. 44 year old Lottie Thompson with husband George is at 5 Thorncliffe Square, Manningham with their two children Eleanor 11 and William 7. George Thompson is employed as a wool warehouseman.
If the photograph is indeed that of Robert and Ellen Lincoln and their 8 surviving children, it seems likely that the photograph was taken when they were all together in Yorkshire, notwithstanding that Elvina and her husband were still living in Norwich from at least 1881 to c.1888.
Given that the photograph is in the possession of a direct descendant of Robert Lincoln’s youngest brother John, it is more than possible that Robert Lincoln sent the photograph to his brother who was living in Great Ellingham.
1841 census HO107/781/8
1851 census HO107/1823/126
1861 census RG9/1237/78
1871 census RG10/1867/67, RG10/1841/27, RG10/1841/82
1881 census RG11/4448/9, RG11/1938/37, RG11/4474/130, RG11/1974/80
1891 census RG12/3650/102, RG12/3650/76, RG12/3723/120, RG12/3652/138, RG12/1722/14, RG12/3650/79, RG12/3723/108
1901 census RG13/4182/48, RG13/4182/51, RG13/4260/106, RG13/4147/28, RG13/4260/123
1911 census RG14/26695/23, RG14/26641/342, RG14/27253/152, RG14/26582/133, RG14/26806/83, RG14/27252/25
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD 609. Also available via https://www.familysearch.org. Transcription – 1813 to 1880 Baptism Project, Great Ellingham St James. Tinstaafl Transcripts website. http://tinstaafl.co.uk/nbp/Church_Pages/ellingham_gt.htm
Wymondham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD Also available via https://www.familysearch.org
Hockham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD Also available via https://www.familysearch.org
1876 27th August. Marriage. Edwin Holroyd & Ellen Lincoln. Parish Church Bradford. West Yorkshire Archive Service. Ref: 40D90/1/3/100. Viewed via http://www.ancestry.co.uk
1888 2nd June. Marriage. John Lincoln & Clara Scholefield. Parish Church of Birstal. West Yorkshire Archive Service. Ref: D5/59. Viewed via http://www.ancestry.co.uk
GRO Index. https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro
GRO Index via FreeBMD website:
1876 Marriage. Easby, Emma Jane & Lincoln, Robert Edward. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=%2F8ALI7wIbvTxmxPO3pLNXA&scan=1
1877 Marriage. Hey, Wignall and Lincoln, Elvina Harriett. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=3FlCFCAWsIfTTwli6BpO8w&scan=1
1889 Marriage. Lincoln, George and Thornton, Emma Elizabeth. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=J54OAfSuh55TiIMOMID2Lg&scan=1
1884 Marriage. Lincoln, George Walter & Wood, Martha Ann. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=Ug8UuZCU3bQucMb5lP2RPw&scan=1
1888 Death. Lincoln, Martha Ann. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=TwJm7bf%2BCx4wF8Qq7hK14A&scan=1
1890 Marriage. Lincoln, Walter Edward & Goodridge, Kate. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=Mei%2BWxwd7Y4ADEzOwvuA1Q&scan=1
1901 Death. Lincoln, Robert. 68. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=cDdogKs4wm4xs5y7nmtB5w&scan=1
1899 Marriage. Lincoln, Lottie & Thompson, George Edward. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=0%2Fdmdf2Nrr1TIlFGs8%2F5Pg&scan=1
1904 Death. Hey, Elvina Harriet. 49. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=WcCDBd2bUSe7eEE%2B0dZfiQ&scan=1
1802 Russell James Colman Plans. Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref. C/Ca 1/84.
Thanks to Bryan Dye, a Lincoln Family descendant