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Mary Richardson [r.]

Mary Richardson was the fourth child of Thomas Powell Richardson & Mary Wilson, born 1853 at Warden Law, Co Durham & christened November 6th, 1853.

In 1861 Mary was living at home at Warden Law Hill House, where her father was a farmer of 8 acres.

By 1871 she had moved with the family to Sun Inn, Houghton-le-Spring.

By 1881 Mary had married Robert Place* who was a stone mason, born April-June 1849 at Houghton-le-Spring. At the time of the census Mary was at her parents home in Houghton, the Sun Inn. With her were daughters Edith (2) & Elizabeth (recorded as Lilly in the census), aged 5 weeks. Two 5 year old girls (Mary & Annie Richardson) were also recorded living there – they were listed as daughters of Thomas but the following census in 1891 suggests that Mary was the daughter of Mary Place & that Annie was the daughter of Ellen Richardson, Mary's sister. There is a record of Mary Richardson being christened on January 5th, 1876, the daughter of Robert & Mary Richardson of Market Place, Houghton. Robert at the time of the 1881 census was visiting his brothers, sisters & parents, Robert (a tailor) & Catherine Place, who also lived in the Market Place, Houghton.

In 1891 Mary & Robert, still a mason, were living at Mount Pleasant, Houghton-le-Spring with children Edith, Elisabeth (recorded as Eliza), Thomas (6), Ernest (3) & K(C)atherine (2). Also living with them was Mary Place (aged 15), now noted in the census as Mary’s daughter, who was working at a knitting shop.

In 1901 Robert, now a brick layer, & Mary were living in Ironside St, Houghton with children Thomas, Ernest & Kate (Katherine). Thomas was a bricklayers apprentice & Ernest was a grocers apprentice. Daughter Edith was living with her cousin Elizabeth Earnshaw (e.1.6.1) now married to Henry Wright at Stockton Terr, Ryhope. She was working as a housemaid.

In 1901 daughters Elizabeth (20) & Mary (25) were both living at ‘Lawns’, Wadhurst, Sussex where they were working as housemaid/parlour maid. There was no head of household listed on the 1901 census but there was a governess & 2 young children – Edward Fenwick Boyd, aged 10 & Ann Matthews Boyd, aged 12. These 2 children had been born at Houghton-le-Spring where they were living with their parents Robert Fenwick Boyd (a mining engineer) & his wife Annie in 1891. Robert Boyd died in 1892 (aged 40) in Romford, Essex so the family had moved south. Robert Boyd's widow Annie was at the home of her father Thomas Matthews, at Chigwell, Essex, at the time of the 1901 census. Presumably the Place girls had met the Boyd family while both were living as near neighbours in Houghton.

Interestingly close neighbours of Elizabeth & Mary at the time of the 1901 census at Wadhurst were the Newington family, which included Harry Newington, a 25 year old watch maker. Four years later on September 18th, 1905, Harry & Mary Richardson Place were to marry in Houghton! Mary’s father on the marriage certificate was given as Robert Place. Witnesses at their wedding included Mary’s brother Ernest & sister Katie. Elizabeth also found a husband-to-be in Wadhurst Charles William Smith, who she married in Houghton in 1902.

Marriage certificate of daughter Mary Place & Harry Newington

Robert & Mary were still at 12 Ironside St, Houghton in 1911 & Robert continued to be a bricklayer. At home were son Ernest, now a grocer's assistant & daughter Catherine. It was noted on the census that Mary & Robert had had 8 children, only 6 of whom were still alive. Son Thomas, his wife Elizabeth & son James Robert Place were living at 8 Ironside St, Houghton in 1911 & Thomas was a bricklayer.

Daughter Mary & husband Harry Newington had returned to Sussex by 1911 & were living in the High St, Wadhurst with their 3 year old daughter, Doris Isabel. Daughter Edith had married Thomas Henry Tough, a paper maker, in 1903 at Houghton & in 1911 they were living at 7 Grange Terrace, Grangetown, Sunderland with their 3 children Thomas Henry (6), Edith (3) & Mabel (7 months). Daughter Elizabeth & husband Charles Smith were living at 15 Elizabeth St, Houghton-le-Spring in 1911. Charles was a sugar boiler in the confectionery trade & he & Elizabeth had 2 daughters Mary (5) & Elsie (2).

The children of Mary Richardson & Robert Place were:

r. Mary Richardson Place born 1875, christened January 5th, 1876 at Houghton
r. Edith Place born January 14th, 1879 & christened February 19th, 1879 at Houghton-le-Spring
r. Elisabeth Place born February 25th, 1881, christened March 23rd, 1881 at Houghton-le-Spring
r. Thomas Richardson Place born Oct-December 1884 at Houghton-le-Spring
r. Ernest Place born April-June 1887 at Houghton-le-Spring
r. (K)Catherine Place born December 16th, 1888 & christened January 15th, 1889 at Houghton-le-Spring

*Two nephews of Robert & Mary were casualties of the WW1 & are buried at Houghton Hillside Cemetery. James Place, son of Robert’s younger brother Joseph, was wounded in France during WW1 & died October 12th, 1916 at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. James, who was a Private in 6th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, was only 19 years of age. Frederick Henry Place, son of Robert’s younger brother Thomas, was a member of the Royal Garrison Artillery & died on February 4th, 1919, aged 28. Their deaths & those of 2 other local WW1 casualties buried at Houghton are a focus of commemoration each Remembrance Day at the Cemetery.


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