4a. William’s sister’s wedding to John Campion in 1854


William was nearly fourteen years old, apprenticed to the Stokesley Printer, William Braithwaite and still living in Stokesley when his sister, Elizabeth married John Campion, a farm hand from Castleton. The wedding took place on Tuesday, 19th September 1854 in St Hilda’s Church in Danby Dale. The service was officiated by John Christopher Atkinson[1] who had been curate at Scarborough from 1834 until 1847 when he became domestic Chaplain to William Henry Dawnay, the seventh Viscount Downe who presented him to the vicarage of Danby in the same year. By the time of Elizabeth’s wedding he had been at Danby for some seven years and in the 1851 Census[2] he described himself as the ‘Perpetual Curate of Danby’ which turned out to be a very apt designation as he remained in the parish until he died on the 31st March 1900 at the Parsonage with his third wife, Helen at his side.  He was 85 years old and the cause of death was given as heart failure and was considered to have senile decay[3]. This most likely only affected his later years as he was a prolific author and antiquary whose most famous work was ‘Forty Years in a Moorland Parish’[4] published in 1891, only nine years before he died.  It provides among many other things an amusing insight into the practices at local Danby weddings at the time of Elizabeth’s marriage.

Memorial to Canon John Christopher Atkinson – St Hilda’s Danby (June 2016)

‘The almost invariable practice on the part of the newly married man has been, and still is, after the registration in the vestry has been duly attended to, and when the party are just on the point of leaving the church, to hand to the officiating minister, nominally in payment of the fees, a handful, sometimes a very large handful, of money, taken without the slightest pretence of counting it from his trousers pocket, from which the said minister is expected to take the usual fees for parson and clerk; and, that done, to hand over the surplus to the bride. Twice within my incumbency a deviation from this ritual—and a very pretty deviation—has occurred. The bridegroom, together with the ring, at the proper point in the service, has laid upon the book the aforesaid handful of money, so that, besides the direct pertinency of the next following part of the service, viz. ” With this ring I thee wed,” ensued a typification of the further sentence, ” With all my worldly goods I thee endow.”’

Danby Church stands in an isolated position and Canon Atkinson thought that a Danish village existed in the fields called the Tofts and the Wandales, north of the church implying that it was not originally so isolated as it appears today. Whatever its history, as my wife, Hilary and I discovered in a visit in June 2016, it is a beautiful church in a beautiful setting.

But to continue the story; Elizabeth was married eight days after her twenty-third birthday and John was two years her senior.  It is not known whether her brother William or Elizabeth’s mother attended the wedding but there are many other pieces of information that speak to Elizabeth having had a close relationship to her brother in spite of a difference of ten years in their ages; not least that William was a visitor at John and Elizabeth’s home in Boulby Hamlet, Easington at the time of the 1861 Census[5] and that they called their first child, born thirteen years after their marriage, on 21st May 1868 – John William Burnett Campion.

John and Elizabeth’s marriage certificate[6] gives the groom’s father as John Campion, shopkeeper (we will call him John Campion Snr. from now on). Elizabeth gave her father’s name and occupation as John Burnett, Labourer, but this may have been a gesture to respectability as nothing is known of her father. Of the two witnesses, one has proved impossible to identify save that the signature looks like ‘Joseph Shadwell’ but interestingly the second witness was Elizabeth Barthram (Bartrom).  Interesting because in spite of Elizabeth and William’s mother Hannah being born out of wedlock they still had contact with at least one of their (half) cousins, Elizabeth Bartrom. The relationship between Elizabeth Bartrom and the bride is described below (see also the genealogical chart in post (4. Two weddings and two funerals…an introduction).

The story starts with William’s maternal grandmother Elizabeth who at the age of 26 had an illegitimate child Hannah; born like her mother in Egton and baptized on the 9th September 1798 in Goathland. Hannah (as we have seen in earlier posts) was William and Elizabeth’s mother.  Some eight years later Elizabeth married a farmer, Joseph Baylieff in Danby on the 26th August 1807; by whom she had five children, John, Mary, Elizabeth, Esther and Lucy. Her husband, Joseph died in 1846 and Elizabeth, William and Elizabeth’s grandmother, died four years later when William was nine years old. She left a will dated 2nd October 1850, proved in the Prerogative Court of York on 30th April 1851 by her then unmarried daughter, Esther Baylieff, the sole executrix and main beneficiary.  The will also names Elizabeth’s son John and married daughters Mary Bartrom, Elizabeth Wood and Lucy Robson as beneficiaries but makes no mention of her illegitimate daughter, Hannah.  Elizabeth Bartrom the witness to the wedding was one of the eight known children of John Bartrom and his wife Mary (nee Baylief) and half-cousin to Elizabeth and to her brother, William.

Returning to the marriage certificate, Canon Atkinson records in ‘Forty Years in a Moorland Parish’ that, ‘it was a very common thing when I was preparing to register a newly solemnised marriage, that one or more of the parties -sometimes all four, or the newly wedded pair and the witnesses, were “marksmen”, in other words that they could not write their names’. Only Elizabeth made her mark -but not being confident to write her signature does not imply that she could not read. Elizabeth’s residence at the time of her marriage was the farm of Didderhowe, just south of Castleton in Danby Vale, the summer residence of John Slater Pratt (1807-1867), a prosperous printer from Stokesley.

Didderhowe from St Hilda’s Danby Dale (June 2016)

Whether she was working there or simply staying there is unknown, if the former, it might explain how she might have met her husband who was born in Castleton. During our visit in June 2016 we discovered that you can see the farmhouse of Didderhowe from the graveyard of St Hilda’s and walking up through the meadows we saw a woman working in the front garden.  Connie Watson made us most welcome and invited us in for teas, although her knowledge was not very precise, she had a recollection of a previous owner being associated with brickworks, the development of the railway to Castleton and the addition to old farmhouse. but perhaps more of that later – for now enjoy the photographs and be pleased that Elizabeth and John had such beauty in what otherwise must have been hard lives.

‘Didderhowe’ Danby dale (June 2016)

Documentary evidence regarding the groom’s early life is unclear – we do know that a John Campion of Danby was baptised on the 30th March 1829 and the certificate records his father as John Campion and his mother as Elizabeth Campion (nee Whitton). John Campion Snr. and Elizabeth Whitton were married on the 4th August 1828 and by the time of the 1841 Census they had four of their children living with them, Richard, Hannah, Eliza, and William together with a relative, fifteen-year old John Whitton. Their son, John does not appear to have been living with them at the time of the 1841 or 1851 Censuses but in 1841[7] there is a John Campion, Agricultural Labourer, of exactly the right age (13) living at ‘Waterfall, Guisborough’ with Farmer John Harrison and family. In the 1851 Census[8] there is a John Campion, Farm Labourer (23), living nearer to his family in Castleton in the house of Farmer William Wilson and his brother George who was a Miller. By the time of the 1851 Census, John Campion Snr appears to have moved up in the world from being a labourer to Flour Dealer, perhaps an outlet for the flour produced by George Wilson the Miller. However, at a personal level this success must have been severely tempered by the death of his wife, Elizabeth[9] aged 50 from dropsy[10] on the 21st October 1847.  Four years later John Snr. married Hannah Watson and those Campion children still at home, Richard (19), a mason, and William (12), a scholar, are sharing the house with their stepmother and her children, Joseph and Mary Watson.

At some point after the wedding Elizabeth and John moved to set up home at Easington and after that to Middlesbrough where we will hear more of them – where they were living and what they were doing.

[1] https://doi.org/10.1093/odnb/9780192683120.013.849

[2] ATKINSON, John Christopher 1851 Census: HO107/2375 folio 378 page14

[3] GRO Index of Deaths; ATKINSON, John Christopher, June 1900, Guisboro’, 9a 343 Aged 85.

[4] Atkinson J C ‘Forty Years in a Moorland Parish Reminiscences and Researches in Danby in Cleveland’ (1891) reprint Kessinger Publishing Co. (2006)

[5] CAMPION, John 1861 Census: RG 9/3651 folio 39 page 12 (William Burnett – visitor)

[6] Marriage -Elizabeth BURNETT and John CAMPION 19 Sept 1854 Danby

[7] CAMPION, John 1841 Census: HO107/1255 folio10 page 55

[8] CAMPION, John 1851 Census: HO107/2375 folio 379 page 16

[9] GRO Index of Deaths; CAMPION, Elizabeth, Dec 1847, Guisboro’, 24 187 Age 50.

[10] An old term for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water. In years gone by, a person might have been said to have dropsy. Today one would be more descriptive and specify the cause. Thus, the person might have edema due to congestive heart failure. www.medicinenet.com





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