Tracing Nancy Sutton

Nancy Sutton

Identifying Nancy, wife of John Sutton is somewhat difficult.   Information on the Internet and previous research by others polarises ideas and can prove confusing.

Primary Data

Starting with Census data where John and Nancy are shown together we can gather the following :

1841 :Address:     Park Road, Preston
SUTTON, John          M     45     1796     Spindle maker
SUTTON, Nancy          F     45     1796*
All Bn :    Lancashire
1851:Address:     22, Park Road, Preston
SUTTON, John     Head     Married      M     59     1792     Spindle Turner    Wyresdale
SUTTON, Nancy     Wife     Married      F     58 *    1793     Wife    Wyresdale
1861 : Address:    Lindale Village, Allithwaite Upper; County:    Lancashire
HOLMES, James    Head     Married     M    44    1817    Police Constable    Preston,
HOLMES, Margaret    Wife     Married     F    42    1819    Dunsop Bridge, Yorkshire
SUTTON, Nancy    Mother In Law     Widow     F    68    1793    Retired        Dolphinholme, Lancashire
* The 1841 census had ages rounded to 5 years so is not inconsistent with a date of birth ~1793.

The picture is emerging of Nancy and John both being born in Wyresdale about 1793, with Nancy, in later life being more specific in showing Dolphinholme (a settlement in Wyresdale) as her place of birth.

Now by examining the places of birth of the children to John and Nancy as shown in various censuses and matching them with extant baptism records a pattern emerges.

John and Nancy had four children between ~1818 and ~1823 all baptised at Slaidburn.   The first of these, Margaret is more specific in the 1861 census showing Dunsop Bridge as her place of birth, other children mainly use the generic "Bowland", although William mentions Preston and Kirkham (and also reports his name as John at some point) but shows Bolton-by-Bowland in 1871, Nancy (bn ~1823) shows her place of birth in 1881 as Newton-in Bowland.

Following those four, four more were baptised between 1825 and 1831 at Freckleton Wesleyan Methodist Church (to the West of Preston).

So although both John and Nancy were born in Wyresdale their first (known) children were born in Bowland; it is therefor uncertain if they married in Wyresdale or Bowland.

If we just examine all baptisms at Over Wyresdale where the child was named Nancy in the timeframe 1791-1794 there are six :

Baptism: 9 Sep 1792 Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, Lancashire, England
Nancy Swindlehurst - dau of Jno Swindlehurst & Ann
    Register: Baptisms 1723 - 1813, Page 93, Entry 10
    Source: LDS Film 1278739 (PR2955/1)

Baptism: 17 Mar 1793 Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, Lancashire, England
Nancy Parkinson - dau of Jas Parkinson
    Register: Baptisms 1723 - 1813, Page 93, Entry 25
    Source: LDS Film 1278739 (PR2955/1)

Baptism: 25 Aug 1793 Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, Lancashire, England
Nancy Drinkel - dau of Jno Drinkel & Betty
    Register: Baptisms 1723 - 1813, Page 95, Entry 5
    Source: LDS Film 1278739 (PR2955/1)

Baptism: 3 Aug 1794 Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, Lancashire, England
Nancy Bibby - dau of Jas Bibby & Margaret
    Register: Baptisms 1723 - 1813, Page 95, Entry 30
    Source: LDS Film 1278739 (PR2955/1)

Baptism: 14 Sep 1794 Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, Lancashire, England
Nancy France - dau of Jas France & Eliza
    Register: Baptisms 1723 - 1813, Page 97, Entry 3
    Source: LDS Film 1278739 (PR2955/1)

Baptism: 20 Oct 1794 Christ Church, Over Wyresdale, Lancashire, England
Nancy Gardner - dau of Betty Gardner
    Notes: spurious
    Register: Baptisms 1723 - 1813, Page 97, Entry 7
    Source: LDS Film 1278739 (PR2955/1)

Eliminating these by references to burials proved imposssible as there are no readily available burial records for Over Wyresdale in the relevant time frame.

John Sutton (bn 1817)

Consistent with the children mentioned above, all except one (Richard bn ~1827 and who died in 1830) can be associated with John and Nancy by census correlation,  there was also a John Sutton, baptised at Whitewell in  February 1817 to a John and Nancy Sutton.   This John may well be one noted in later family records submitted by a LDS member indicating his emigration to Michigan.    This, however is an extract from the Bishops Transcript for the church.

Baptism: 23 Feb 1817 St Michael, Whitewell, Lancashire, England
John Sutton - Son of John Sutton & Nancy
Abode: Dunslop Bridge within Slaidburn
Occupation: Labourer
Baptised by: Andrew Mayor Curate
Register: Baptisms 1844 - 1854 from the Bishop's Transcripts, Entry 69
Source: LDS Film 1469070

It is significant that this John was born at Dunsop Bridge, the same location claimed by Margaret baptised at Slaidburn the following year, his father at this stage was a labourer though he may have become a spindle maker if he was the one later to be found in Preston.   In 1851 his census entry shows his occupation as a Spindle Turner and he was born in Bowland.   Spindle turning was an occupation common in John and Nancy’s children and was also associated with the Wyresdale area.

The search for a marriage

If the couple married in Wyresdale the search would be complicated as according to :
there is a  gap in the marriage records that have survived.   Original records end in 1737 and the Bishops Transcripts don't start again until 1857.    It is possible that they married here and it will be impossible to identify a record of the marriage.   It is further complicated that the name Nancy has been a pet name in England for Ann from the 18th century. and it may be that they married as John and Ann.

Swinglehurst connection

In researching John and Nancy Sutton I came across the following web page :
Some extracts are shown below:

This book was that of John Swindlehurst born 1756 in Slaidburn and who married Ann Clarkson. The book was passed on to their daughter Nancy who, in 1816 married John Sutton. A number of John and Nancy Sutton's children emigrated with their families to Michigan and the book went with them.........
5 children
The rejesters of John Swinglehurst

William Swinglehurst born Sep. 29th 1780
John Swinglehurst born March 26th 1782
Tho. & Mary Swinglehurst both born Jan/Feb.? 29th 1784 (the date here has been altered and looks as if it was altered from 20th to 29th whilst the year looks like 1786)
Mary Swinglehurst born Feb. 20/29th? Feb. 1786
James Swinglehurst born November 2nd 1788
Susannah Swinglehurst born Sep. 21st 1790
(now the handwriting changes though' the list carries on)
Nancey Swinglehurst born Aug. 24th 1791/2?
Robert Swinglehurst son of Nancey Swinglehurst born Feb. 10th 1811

There is one other little scrap of paper with the words as follows:
Nancy Swindlehurst born Augst 24th 1792
64 next birth day

Using the above as a "broad hint" I located a record of a Sutton/Swingelhurst marriage at Slaidburn :

Name:    John Sutton
Spouse's Name:    Nancy Swinglehurst
Event Date:    17 Aug 1816
Event Place:    Slaidburn,York,England
Indexing Project (Batch) Number:    M01215-2
System Origin:    England-ODM
GS Film number:    919158
Reference ID:

Overall this looked promising, however the sentence "A number of John and Nancy Sutton's children emigrated with their families to Michigan and the book went with them." was rather a stumbling-block to equating the two families.   None of the children to John and Nancy identified in the censuses can be shown to have emigrated, on the contrary most can be traced either to their death or to the 1880s.

The reference to an illegitimate son for Nancy proved to be a major turning point.   Robert was baptised at Whitewell in 1811 :

Baptism: 10 Mar 1811 St Michael, Whitewell, Lancashire, England
Robert Swinglehurst - Son of Nancy Swinglehurst
Born: 16 Feb 1811
Abode: Roos?
Baptised by: Revd. John Wilson
Register: Baptisms 1713 - 1812, Page 116, Entry 6
Source: Private Transcription

And died in Preston at the age of 23 :
Name:    Robert Swindlehurst
Gender:    Male
Burial Date:    06 Mar 1836
Burial Place:    Preston, Lancaster, England
Death Date:    1836
Age:    25
Birth Date:    1811
Indexing Project (Batch) Number:    B02934-8
System Origin:    England-EASy
GS Film number:    94011
Reference ID:    DTH Rec in 418 which also gives supplementary information regarding his abode at the time - Patten Street, Preston.

Patten Street also figures in another burial record - that of Richard Sutton, the son of John and Nancy who was baptised at Freckleton in 1827 and died in 1830 :

Burial: 10 Feb 1830 Holy Trinity, Preston, Lancashire, England
Richard Sutton -
Age: 3
Abode: Patton Street
Buried by: Thos Raven
Register: Burials 1816 - 1888, Page 152, Entry 1210
Source: LDS Film 1470818
N.B - the corresponding LDS record shows the spelling as Patten Street.

So here we have the best tangible connection between John and Nancy Sutton and Nancy Swinglehurst. Patten Street is a short street so the possibility of this being a coincidence is low.   The fact that Robert Swinglehurst was baptised at Whitewell, the same place as John Sutton in 1817 also suggests strongly that John was indeed part of John and Nancy's family.


From the above we can conclude :
1)    Nancy Swinglehurst was born ~September 1792 and was baptised at Over Wyresdale.
2)    Nancy had an illegitimate child, Robert in 1811 while living at the family home, Root Farm, Dunsop Bridge.
3)    In 1816 she married John Sutton at Slaidburn.
4)    The couple had five children while living in the Slaidburn area with the last baptised in 1823.
5)    They moved to the Preston area by 1825 and had four more children all of whom were baptised some distance from Preston at Freckleton Wesleyan Methodist church (Note 1).   The second of these children was Richard, born in 1827, and the last one,  Abraham, in 1831.
6)    In 1830 they were living at Patten Street in Preston when Richard died.
7)    In 1836 Nancy's illegitimate son, Robert Swinglehurst died while living at Patten Street.
8)    Although he cannot be directly identified with John and Nancy's family by census data John Sutton, born at Dunsop Bridge in 1817 associative data indicates that he  was, indeed, a son of theirs.  

Supplementary Notes:

1)    It is possible that the children were actually baptised at a closer Wesleyan church which was part of the same "Circuit" as Freckleton and the records  are combined and referenced as Freckleton.

Bob Calvert
March 2014