by Janice Binley
My interest in our three combined families started some years ago when Robert Binley, the great, great grandson of Charles Robert, contacted my mother for information for his Binley family tree. Charles Robert Binley was Jeffrey's brother. Robert had traced our branch back to 1600 to William Binley from Monks Kirby, Warwickshire where we believe our ancestors originate from. It is also possible that prior to then some of the Binleys may have come from Hampshire, but records are difficult to trace.
In the late 1980s I began a Binley tree of my own, but as I obtained more information I realised that we were very much entwined with both the Tansleys and the Jacksons and our old family photograph album suddenly became alive when some of the names I had discovered were featured in there. From that point on, it was a natural progression to include all three families in my tree in the hope that I could more accurately document and illustrate some of our past for future generations. Our ancestors still have descendants living in both villages and many other parts of England and it may help any who are interested to understand their roots and a little of how life in Cottingham and Middleton was in the 19th century.
Tansley, (Tansye, Tanslee and Tansey variations of the name) is an English surname thought to have originated from the village of Tansley in Derbyshire. Tansley is a pre 7th century word of 'tan' meaning branch off a main valley or dale and leah which is a fenced enclosure. The name of the village was first recorded in the 1086 Doomsday Book as Taneslege and although the village was remote it was badly affected by Bubonic Plague in the 1660s when it is thought that many people fled, taking the name of Tansley with them. The first recorded spelling of the family name was in 1591 in Greater London where it is thought that many of the earlier inhabitants of the village moved to.
Our Tansleys have been traced back over six generations to Edward who was born in Cottingham in 1669. His great great great grandson, David, who was born in the village in 1813, was my great great grandfather. His parents were John Tansley and Elizabeth Bull. David spent his life at work on the land. He married Elizabeth Peach in 1831.
David had eight known siblings. One of his older brothers, James, married Elizabeth Munton, from Thorpe by Water in Rutland, in 1820. They were to have seven children of their own, but Elizabeth had had an illegitimate daughter, Ann Bellamy Munton, in 1815 who, with blackmith, John Claypole, was to spawn a dynasty which occupies many of the pages in this section of the magazine. David's sister, Comfort, married James Craxford in 1826.
David's brother, William, was to marry Amy, the second daughter of Edward Jackson, the family from Middleton we shall meet again in the next section. Amy became the village midwife. Amongst their children, they had twins, Thomas and Amy, born in 1839. The story of their descendents is told in Brothers in arms: The Moores amd Walpoles of Geddington.
David and Elizabeth were to have eleven children: four sons and seven daughters. It is at the level (and the next) of the tree that intermarriage between the families becomes widespread and confusing. This is probably a reflection of the large number of offspring each family had and the relatively isolated village community in which they grew up. Illegitimacy was commonplace and we know of at least three of the daughters who had children before they were married.
We have not traced first-born, Stephen, beyond the 1841 census. Next in line, Benjamin, followed his father onto the land and lived out his life in Cottingham. David and Elizabeth's fourth daughter, Caroline, married Jeffrey Binley and one of their sons, also called Jeffrey, became my grandfather. He and Nan were first cousins - Jeffrey's aunt, Elizabeth Jackson, became his mother-in-law and Nan, Amy's mother-in-law, was also her Aunt Caroline. Matilda Tansley married Lewis Binley who was Caroline's husband's brother: two Tansley sisters married two Binley brothers.
Third and fourth sons, David Peach Tansley and Alfred Tansley, shared a common experience for the majority of their adult lives. They were both married in 1876 (David to local girl, Elizabeth Davis; Alfred to Liverpudlian, Eliza Dunmore). They both became jobbing slaters and roofing contractors, working away from home for periods of time. By 1890, both men had moved their families to Leicester. Alfred was to marry three times. Eliza died in 1889. His second wife, Charlotte Freer (nee Adams) who he married in 1890, died in 1905. He married a third time, to widow Eliza Smith, just a few weeks after his own daughter, Martha, married William Brookes in 1906. As both men approached retirement age, they were living just a few doors away from each other in Rolleston Street in the Evington district of the town. David died in 1928; Alfred the following year.
At the age of 14 years, Emily Tansley went to work for widower, Benjamin Mitten, at the Woolpack Inn in the Horse Market, Kettering. She continued in this employ until 1872 when she and Benjamin were married. She was 27 years of age; he was 61. They had one daughter, also named Emily. By the time Benjamin retired, they had moved to the Bowling Green Beerhouse in London Road. Emily kept on the business after his death in 1897. She died in 1923.
Penultimate daughter, Mary Ann Tansley, also married into the Claypole family. The story of her offspring is told in The Sorrows of Mary Atkins. Youngest daughter, Clara Rosina, entered domestic service with the family of farmer George Chapman in the neighbouring village of Ashley in the early 1870s. She married Frederick Goodliffe, a shoe rivetter from Kettering in 1875 and moved with him to his home town. She was widowed in 1897, lived for a while with her married daughter and finally died, aged 88 years, in 1945.
Benjamin Tansley married Louisa (Crane) Sculthorpe on May 4th 1865. Their happiness was tragically shortlived, for Louisa died in childbirth just three months later. Benjamin remarried the following year, to Caroline Dalby. Over the next 21 years had seven sons and a daughter. We are aware that at least four sons had periods of enlistment in the Army. First-born Benjamin saw service in India with the Northamptonshire Regiment. David and his younger brother, Lovell, both signed up with the Leicestershire Regiment within a few months of each other. Lovell, too, saw service in India. Brother John had a shorter, unhappier attachment with the Army Service Corps as a driver but was cashiered in 1904.
Harriet, fourth born and only daughter, entered domestic service in Leicester in her mid teens. At the turn of the century, she spent some time as a resident barmaid at the Leicester Volunteer, a beer retailer in Watling Street in the town. She returned to Cottingham where she died on October 6th 1902, aged 26 years.
Third son, Alfred, married one of his relatives, Alice Tansley, who was the granddaughter of his great uncle James Tansley. David eventually married his cousin Laura-Emily Binley and they lived together in the Binley family home at the corner of Blind Lane until they both died within a few weeks of each other in 1950. Young Ben married Harriet Vickers and they also settled in Cottingham with their family. Lovell who was named after his first cousin, Lovell Binley, never married. He died from injuries sustained in a fall, aged 29, in 1914. Youngest son, James, died in 1893 at the age of five years.
The meaning of the name Jackson is self-explanatory. It is thought to be an English surname (although occasionally Scottish) which is patronymic and formed from the names Jacques or John from the Hebrew Yochanan (Jehovah has favoured me with a son). The name was first thought to have been introduced by returning Crusaders from the Holy Land in the 12th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name was that of Adam Jackessone in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327 during the reign of Edward III of England.
I can trace our Jackson family back four generations in Middleton to Edward in 1775 who was my great, great, great grandfather. Edward had three sons and four daughters that I know of. My line comes through his oldest son, Thomas. I have already mentioned his second daughter Amy, who married William Jackson. At this point I should mention his second oldest son, John. He married Elizabeth Crane, the aunt of the three Crane brothers whose story is told in The Crane Family of Cottingham: Victim or villain?. That line did not progress as they had no children.
When I was a child my grandmother, Amy Ann Jackson (Nan), would often tell me about her own childhood in Townsend in Middleton. There were only a few houses in Ashley Road in those days and I suppose the area was called Townsend locally because it branched off the main street of Middleton and apart from the main hub of the village.
I learned during my childhood and early teens that the Jacksons had 9 living children and Nan still seemed saddened that another brother "poor little Eddie" had died in infancy. Even now, I am still not sure whether it was the way Nan explained Edward's death, or if it was the way my child's mind interpreted what she said, but for some time afterwards I thought 'infancy' was some terrible disease that children died of.
John Jackson and Elizabeth Tansley, Nan's parents, were married in 1859 when he was 20 and she was 19. John followed in his father's footsteps and became a farm labourer, working for Berry's Farm for over 50 years. Elizabeth worked from her home in Cottingham as a lace maker before their marriage, along with one of her sisters, Matilda.
In the 1800s, after the cereal crops had been harvested, the village women were allowed to 'go gleaning'. They would gather the remnants of the crop to be ground into flour or for food for their chickens or pigs. Once, whilst out gleaning, Elizabeth found a puppy crying for its mother. She assumed it had been abandoned and took it home to show the family. John wasn't very pleased and made her take it back to where she found it. The 'puppy' was a fox cub and he was afraid the vixen would break a window, if necessary, to retrieve it.
John and Elizabeth had little or no schooling and Nan and Ezra, having learned the "3 R's" at Middleton school, taught their parents how to read and write during winter evenings. (After the school closed, Horace Jackson, eldest son of the eight children of David and Harriet Jackson and a grandson of John and Elizabeth, bought the buliding and his family still live there.)
Although poor, the family never went hungry, seemed happy and the children were close. The older girls, Lizzie, Ellen and Emma eventually went into service in London, but Nan started work at Cottingham Factory when she was 11. John, the oldest boy became a guard on the railways and lived in London with his family of eight children. David, Tom and Arthur became regular soldiers, serving their country for 60 years between them. Ezra emigrated to Australia after serving an apprenticeship, in Northampton under his brother-in-law, William Hodges, to learn last and boot making.
Elizabeth, in addition to raising her own 9 children, also raised her grandson, Fred, who was the son of her daughter Ellen Jackson. Whilst in her late 70's in 1919/20 she looked after 2 of her great grandchildren. The little girls (Gwen and Midge, aged about 5 and 6) played tricks on her sometimes. They would drop blobs of porridge on her head through a hole in the bedroom floorboards. She also acted as a midwife in the village and washed and dressed the dead (laid people out) before they were buried.
John and Elizabeth were married for over 60 years. The write-up acknowledging their Diamond Wedding in the local newspaper, (dated 7 November 1919) reports that they had 60 descendants, 10 children, 42 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. John Jackson's aunt, also called Amy, married into the Tansley family in 1836.
The intermingling of these family lines has continued to the present day. Ann Elizabeth Tansley, born to Matilda Tansley before she married Lewis Binley, subsequently married John Bradshaw. Their youngest son, James, married Beatrice Benford in 1914. Beatrice gave birth to twins (Sylvia and Doris) four years later. Sylvia later married Arthur, the son of Horace Jackson. Sylvia's granddaughter married the grandson of Robert Binley.
Descendants of our branch of the Tansley family can also be traced in Europe, America, Canada, Tasmania and Australia.
Page added: December 16th 2011
Last modified: February 28th 2012
There are two interpretations of the Binley surname. There is a village called Binley in the parish of St Mary Bourne in Hampshire which is mentioned in the tax-roll of Edward III of 1327 as Bynleigh. This spelling is thought to have been from the Saxon meaning a country which is tilled or inhabited 'Byn', tilled, or 'Bynland', inhabited country. In the reign of Edward I, however, the word is written 'Bylygh' which seems to refer to its proximity to a place bearing the name of Lye or Lygh. The tax-roll of Edward also contains names such as Cecilia de Bynleigh (2) which are evidently Norman-French 'de' implying that they held their land in villenage or at the will of the lord and paid rent in cash instead of commodities.
Before William the Conqueror the personal name Bill or Billa was popular in Olde English. The name was a form of bel meaning fire and it may originally have been given as a descriptive nickname to one who cleared their land by burning. In the Doomsday Book the hamlet of Bilnei (translates as "the place of Bill") is recorded in Warwickshire. In the Curia Regis Rolls of 1189 - the 1st year of Richard the Lionheart, a transposition took place and the spelling was recorded as Binlea - a form which has been maintained ever since. The surname is much later and probably resulted from the clearance of the village in the 16th century when the inhabitants were dispossessed of their common lands under the Elizabethan Closure Acts and forced to take to the road. Having no other surname they adopted that of their former village. In 1612 there are recordings of Robert Binley of Mancetta in Warwickshire marrying Lettis Remington. The first recording spelling was of Margaret Benley in 1548 in London during the reign of Edward VII.
The Binleys in Cottingham
Our branch of Binleys can be traced back to John Binley born in 1674 in Great Bowden. He was my great, great, great, great, great grandfather. With his wife, Sarah, he had six children. It was from their son, Thomas, that our family descends. From Great Bowden, the line migrated to Braybrook and Corby in Northamptonshire. The Binleys didn't arrive in Cottingham until Thomas (who had been born in Corby) married Mary Reynolds in 1822. They had 12 living children including Jeffrey, Charles Robert and Lewis.
Great grandfather, Jeffrey, was a wheelwright and carpenter and conducted his business mainly from the premises he and Caroline bought on the corner of Blind Lane and Rockingham Road in Cottingham and where they lived with their 7 children, Clara, John, Lovell, Ellen, Charlotte Grace, Jeffrey (my grandfather) and Laura-Emily . They also ran a small shop from the premises and sold ale, by the jug, to be consumed at home. The carpentry work wasn't always undertaken in the immediate locality. The 1881 Census shows Jeffrey, Lewis and 2 of their sons working in Beckenham, Kent.
We have already noted that Lewis Binley married Matilda Tansley (in 1862). Prior to that they had a son - Matilda's second child - that they named John Lewis Binley (although his birth was registered as a Tansley). John married Ada Bamford in Leicester in 1880. They had a daughter who died in the first year. Subsequently the marriage faltered, John was charged with assault and, it is believed, served a term in Bedford Prison. Ada left the village. Upon his return, John obtained a cottage in Barrack Yard, taking Carrie Townsin as his housekeeper. They never married (John was never divorced) but lived together until her death in 1914. They had five children. John died in the village in 1922.
Before her marriage, Clara was in service in Leicester, but returned to Cottingham in the early 1900s to run the Three Horseshoes Pub with her husband John Coles. Ellen and Grace were in service in Yorkshire where Ellen met and married the Gamekeeper and Grace (who was the cook) married the gardener (Sidney Penny) of the estate where they all worked. Ellen and her husband, Martin Philpotts kept a pub for a time in Nottinghamshire, but eventually returned to Cottingham where they ran a bakery and shop in Corby Road.
During the 20's and 30's before the second World War Grace became cook for Lord Furness at Burrough Court, Melton Mowbray where Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson spent many weekends. When Edward abdicated the throne there was much controversy about it but Aunt Grace wouldn't have a bad word said against him or Wallis.
Laura Emily never went out to work. John was a blacksmith in Kettering, Lovell was a slater/tiler and Jeffrey a plasterer who helped with the plaster work when the Odeon cinema in Corby was built.
Our ancestor has numerous descendants which have been collected into an 83 page pdf format document The Descendants of John Binley (3). Many of our cousins are now scattered in many states in America, Canada and the Antipodes.
Perhaps I shouldn't end this saga without mentioning the tragic murder at Foxton, Leicestershire which is connected to us. One of John and Sarah Binley's other sons, Benjamin, was born in 1699 and generated his own dynasty. He was the great grandfather of Hannah Packwood.
Hannah, born in Foxton in 1789, married James Read and had 4 children. Unfortunately she fell in love with 19 year old Jonathan Waterfield, and had a child by him. Before their marriage in 1816, James had been away from home fighting for his country in the Nepoleonic war in Spain and, for a short time in the American War, where he was discharged in May 1815 due to wounds received in battle. In civilian life he became a fellmonger and his job sometimes took him away from home. On returning home in 1825 he found out about Hannah and Jonathan and went to see Hannah to try to win her back. On 25 April she said she would go back to him if he would walk along Foxton Locks with her. At Stains Bridge she pushed him in and proceeded to keep him in there with a stick until he drowned.
Hannah had acted as a midwife and it was rumoured that she had smothered Jonathan's wife and her newborn child. She was charged with Petty Treason** for the murder of James and tried at the Leicester Assizes. The jury took just a quarter of an hour to find her guilty. She was sentenced to be hanged and anatomised. She was transferred to the County Bridewell on the morning of 5 August, 1825. After death her body was removed to the Infirmary to be dissected by the surgeons. (5, 6) Jonathan Waterfield eventually married Hannah's eldest daughter and they had several children.
** Petty Treason: (7) This is an aggravated form of murder defined by the Treason Act of 1351 as the killing of a master by a servant, a husband by his wife, or an ecclesiastical superior by his inferior. Because such crimes subverted normal hierarchies, the punishment was more severe: women convicted of this crime were (until 1790) sentenced to be burned at the stake, while men were to be drawn on a hurdle, hanged, and quartered. Petty treason was abolished in 1828 when it ceased to be an offence distinct from murder.
1. Family tree graphic: Freeware Graphics: Vintage Kin Design Studio Australia
2. Stevens, Joseph: "A parochial history of St Mary Bourne: with an account of the manor of Hurstbourne Prior, Hants": pp 374; Whiting & Co., 1888 Digitised: New York Public Library March 3rd 2009
3. The Descendants of John Binley at The James Edgar and Jodie (Evans) Edgar Genealogy Homepages. NOTE: This is a pdf file: A free version of the Adobe Pdf Reader can be downloaded here:
4. "The Old Borough Gaol" Lithograph by John Flowers (1830)from: The High Cross in The Leicester Chronicler Stephen Butt; reproduced with permission
5. Read, Hannah. Particulars of the trial, execution, and confession of Hannah Read, who suffered at Leicester, on Friday last, for the wilful murder of her husband. [London] : Birt, printer, no 10, Great St. Andrew-Street, Seven Dials, London. [1828-1829]. Harvard School Library Harvard University
6. Report on the trial and execution of Hannah Read. Cambridge Chronicle and Journal; Friday August 12th 1825: The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
7. Petty Treason: Explanations of Types and Categories of Indictable Offences: Proceedings of the OLD BAILEY London's Central Criminal Court, 1674 to 1913