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Friday, 4 September 2015

Surname Saturday-Seeking Sarah Haydon Lounds

Annie Danson, c.1908

Early death of a mother, an orphaned child (left) , bankruptcy,  suicide, plus a black sheep of the family,  mark the tale of Sarah Haydon Lounds.

Searching for Sarah was the challenge, when a cousin asked me to help trace information on  his maternal grandmother Sarah Haydon Lounds who married my great uncle John Danson (below) of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire


I used the standard online resources, to view original records, but found particularly valuable,   in giving a    rounded picture of an ancestor, press reports in The London Gazette and British Newspapers Online. 

  • Sarah's family were known to have links with Lincolnshire  in East Anglia and there was some  kind of scandal with  a "black sheep" of the family who had been a servant in a large house.

  • Sarah and John's  daughter Annie Maria was born 14th January 1905, but  sadly a year later  Sarah died of TB on 12th February 1906, aged just 21, buried in Moorland Road Cemetery, Poulton - so born c.1884.

  • John and Annie  went to live with his  widowed mother Maria Danson, his  many brothers and only sister Jennie who was only eight years older than Annie. 
  • John, a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery  died in army camp at Tidworth, Hampshire  17th May 1917.  

  • Annie went onto marry and have two children, who knew little about their maternal grandmother's background.

  1. What was Sarah's family background?
  2. What was the origin of her unusual middle name "Haydon"?
  3. How had  a young girl from Lincolnshire come to marry a Lancashire man?


A search on www.ancestry.co.uk  quickly revealed  that the surname Lounds was very popular in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. I soon traced an entry for a Sarah Haydon Lounds born Jan-March 1884 at Worksop, Nottinghamshire.   She was baptised at St. John's Church, Worksop, daughter of  George Haydon Lounds and Charlotte Ann Short, who had married in 1873. 

George Haydon Lounds was the eldest son of Haydon Lounds and Jane Beaver, born December 1853 at Bourne, Lincolnshire. He was consistently described in census returns as a coach painter.  He and Charlotte had six children Haydon (1873),  Jane (1875),  Emma (1877),  Willie (1879), Sarah (1884)  and Harold (1889).

On census night 1891,  7 year old  Sarah was at Spitallgate, Lincolnshire  with her grandparents Haydon (a coach builder)  and Jane Lounds.  Also in the household were uncles, aunt and another granddaughter Julia E. aged 3 who was later confirmed as  Sarah's  cousin.

A brick wall arose in trying to find 17 year old Sarah  in the 1901 census on  Ancestry and almost  as a last resort  I tried googling "Haydon Lounds" to find the  reference below  which answered my  key question: 

Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project featured the following entry  for 1898: 
13 Aug 1898 St Paul, Marton, Lancashire, England

Edward Jolly - 23 Joiner Bachelor of Bank Street, Poulton-le-Fylde
Jane Lounds - 22 Spinster of Blenheim Lodge, Whitegate Lane, Blackpool
Groom's Father: John Jolly, Joiner
Bride's Father: George Haydon Lounds, Coach-painter
Witness: John Rivers Jolly; Annie Jolly
Married by Licence by: J. Edwards, Offic. Min.
Register: Marriages 1897 - 1900, Page 17, Entry 33

This was intriguing, for the groom was a joiner from Poulton, as was  my great uncle John Danson and his father James, and there were photographs in the Danson family collection of an Annie Jolly. Moreover  the bride, Jane, was Sarah's sister.  Did Sarah meet her future husband at this wedding?    


I turned to the 1901 census to look for Edward and Jane Jolly  and found them at Queen Square, Poulton  - and there was Sarah, sister-in-law and a domestic servant.  On Ancestry her name had been wrongly transcribed as "Sounds"  not "Lounds" which was why I could not find it in my initial search.  


So I now knew Sarah's parents and grandparents, that her middle name came from her grandfather and how she came to be in Poulton to meet John Danson.   Though the question still remains -  what had prompted  sister Jane to move  160 miles north from her Lincolnshire home to Lancashire? 



i was still keen to find out the background to the  unusual Christian name of Haydon.  My first thought was that it  probably stemmed from a mother's maiden name - but we all know as family historians, not to make assumptions.  


I had Sarah's grandfather's likely birth year as c.1832 so looked up the 1841 census to trace a young Haydon Lounds aged around 9.   He was found with his family at Bourne, Lincolnshire with parents Thomas, a cottager, born, c 1791,  mother Sarah,  and 4 sisters,  Esther, Sarah, Eliza and Julia, and brother Thomas.  Father Thomas obviously prospered over the years, as in 1851 he was a farmer of 29 acres, and ten years later of 40 acres.  


A search for the marriage of Thomas and his wife Sarah was the next stage of research - and there was my answer -  on 24th October 1814 the marriage of Thomas Lounds and Sarah Haydon with the banns read at Corby, Lincolnshire and   Holywell, Lincolnshire.

Around the same time as Thomas and Sarah above married, there was also a marriage in Lincolnshire of a Thomas Lounds and a Mary Lamb and many people cite them as Haydon's parents on the online trees in Ancestry.  However I have discounted this as the correct record,  as none of the  female descendants were called Mary, and the Sarah Haydon link is so powerful, given the way her maiden name and the Christian names of her children were continued down the generations and branches of the family.

Given that coach builder Haydon was a local tradesman, I sought to find more about his own life and work and searched The London Gazette and   British Newspapers Online   to trace a number of entries on Haydon.  It proved to be a tragic tale.  

The London Gazette:  22nd February 1855
"A petition for bankruptcy - hearing date 14th February 1855 has been filed against Haydon Lounds of Bourne in the county of Lincoln, coach builder and wheelwright......"  

Haydon could only have been about 23 years old at the  time of this bankruptcy and had married only two years previously,with  eldest son George Haydon (Sarah's father) born the same year.    However Haydon continued working in his trade, as indicated in the census returns 1861-1891 where he was described as "employed". Three daughters and six sons were born over  the next twenty years. Newspaper reports gave an insight into  Haydon as a respected member of the community, with  frequent reference to Haydon being among a company of bell ringers, who performed in church and at various social occasions, plus an award made to him by a Friendly Society. 

The Stamford Mercury:  12th July 1870"
"The Managers of the Hearts of Oak  Friendly Society, of London, have this week presented a handsome silver medal, bearing a suitable inscription, to Mr. Haydon Lounds, workman in the employ of Mr. Anderson, coach builder, of this town, for valuable assistance he has rendered for some time in inducing persons to become members of that institution".  

The Friendly Society was set up in 1842 with the aim of giving its members protection against distress through sickness.   It grew rapidly and a major collection of its records is now held at the National Archives

 The Stamford Mercury:  9th December 1870
  "A company of hand-bell ringers, under the direction of Mr. Haydon, Lounds, gave a very pleasing diversion"

The Grantham Journal:  27th November 1875
An effusive  report  on a Saturday evening concert at the Temperance Hall noted among the entertainers were 
"Mr. Haydon Lounds and his sons who gave immense satisfaction by their excellent manipulation at the hand bells; the various pieces played by them being received with enthusiastic manifestations of delight". 

However tragedy befell the family as reported below.  

Lincolnshire Chronicle Friday 27 March 1896

GRANTHAM - SUICIDE.  Mr Aubrey H. Malin, coroner, held an inquest into  the death of Haydon Lounds aged 65, a coach-body maker, who died on the previous day.  Arthur..... Lounds, son of the deceased, identified the body. Deceased had been suffering from white-lead colic for six weeks but had not stayed off work until the previous Wednesday.  Deceased of late had appeared in a rather depressed state.  He seemed to trouble about the idea of having to live upon his children.   William Deed, engine driver,  said he had known the deceased for about 20 years.  On Saturday at lunchtime, the witness was called to the deceased house.  In his bedroom, he found the deceased lying on his side, with his throat cut and a razor in his hand.  He had noticed that the deceased had been rather absent minded.  Dr. Paterson, attributed death to shock and exhaustion, due to loss of blood.  Verdict - Suicide whilst in a state of unsound mind."

So work for  40 years as a coach-body builder, resulted in Haydon suffering from lead poisoning and ended the life of this family man and supportive member of his community,  He was buried at Grantham Parish Church, Lincolnshire. 

This is a classic "Downton Abbey" story  with a secret marriage and false census information. For it came to light that butler Haydon Lounds (Sarah's brother)  had secretly married heiress Miss Maud Ward Fox - the daughter of his employer, a wealthy widow.    Read all about it HERE in an earlier post. 


Annie grew up with  her paternal grandmother's family   and on 4 October 1928 married Harry Ditchfield on 4 October 1928.  The local press report provided a colourful description of the wedding fashions of the day - Read   HERE in an earlier post "Gowned in Delphinium Blue" ,

Postscript:  "Searching for Sarah" was a  fascinating piece of research,  all conducted online.   It illustrates why family history is so compulsive a hobby. It  is just one example of  the stories that can be found in every family, both in happy and sad periods of their lives  and can lead us in so many diverse directions.

Adapted from a  post which was first  published in March 2014 
 on the website   Worldwide Genealogy Collaboration 

Surname Saturday is one of many daily prompts from Geneabloggers encouraging   bloggers to write about aspects of their family history.  


  1. Such a sad tale out of a fascinating piece of research.

  2. Dear Sue - Lots of intriguing stories here and some great research. For some reason Haydon Lounds Sarah's grandfather's story reminded me of the father in Lark Rise to Candleford. And following up on my Spring Cleaning prompt...all I can say is....white space ;)


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