Beeley Family by Brian Beeley

See also: Beeley Family by Lauraine Palmeri

GEORGE BEELEY (I) (c.1780-1840s)


George Beeley (I), (1) married Frances(Fanny) Bagnall on 14 May, 1799, (2) in Rotherham, when both of them were aged about twenty. (3)    One single page of the 1841 census shows the couple, in their early 60s (4), living on Masbrough Common, Kimberworth (Rotherham, Yorkshire) a couple of doors away from their son  George (II) and his family, including his son William Henry. (5)  The death certificate for Frances, dated 9 February, 1851, shows her to be a widow by that time. (6)  Clearly George (I) was a farmer while his son and grandson were very much workers in industry. Perhaps this reflects the transition from rural to industrial Rotherham in the early decades of the nineteenth century… perhaps the Beeley’s  had previous links with the village of Beeley (south of Sheffield and near Chatsworth – the Dukes of Devonshire retain property and other links in Beeley) but that is to speculate and this narrative now returns to facts as far as they can be ascertained.



1, The line of male  Beeley’s  from about 1800 (down to BWB!) goes:  George (I) - George (II) - William Henry -  Joseph Henry -  Clifford/ Eric -  John/Brian/Gareth.  This may (with apologies to female Beeley’s) provide a framework for the ‘plot’ of this narrative!

2,  Witnesses were James Bagnall and John Bagnall

3,  George(I) and Frances were great, great, great, great, great grandparents to Cameron and Jackson Napier.

4,  The 1841 Census rounds down many ages to multiples of five years.

5,  Three generations of Beeley forebears on one page!

6,  The certificate shows that Elizabeth Bagnall was present at the death


GEORGE BEELEY(II) (born 1809)


George was  born on January 11th, 1809 and baptised on February 2nd.  In 1841 he was a wheelwright, (7)  living at Masbrough Common (8) with his wife Ann (aged c.29). George and Ann (née Cavill) were married on December 26th, 1831. (9)  The 1841 census lists their children as  the already mentioned William Henry(8) (and see below), George (III) (6, who became a stove-grate fitter and later a steel roller: he was buried, 28 Aug.1876, at St.Thomas, Kimberworth), Frances (2, born 17 April, 1839, at Masbrough Common), and Charles (3 months). The 1851 Census shows the family at College Road, Kimberworth, with two additional children Sarah (5), and Frederick (2, buried 9 May,1865, at Kimberworth). This 1891 Census describes George (II)) as joiner/carpenter, William as a stove-fitter, and George (III) as an iron roller’s assistant. George(II) is again described as a wheelwright in the Census for 1861 when he was living at 15 Blackmoors Row, Rotherham, with his daughter Frances (now known as Fanny) and her husband John Deakin, a 24-year old furnaceman. (10) Three other of George’s children are also at that address in 1861: Charles (now 20 and a labourer in a timber yard), Sarah (now 16), and Emily (aged 9, born 17 Feb.1852, College Road, Masbrough) but Frederick, who would have been about 12, is missing. Also missing from the family was Ann who, presumably, died some time between the birth of Emily and 1861. The 1891 census shows George II alone, aged  82.




7,  A letter to the Telegraph and Star newspaper (about 1930 or earlier ?) signed by an E.Beeley  (EWB?) refers to a long-case clock given to, and inscribed on its face with the name of, George Beeley (II) who is described in the letter as a joiner/wheelwright. The letter notes that George left the clock with Alfred Bagnall  (a relative on his mother’s side?) who was landlord of the Star Inn (opened 1853?), Union Street, Masbrough, as security for a loan of £1. The letter also notes that this George Beeley lived at Hilltop, Kimberworth, and was buried in Kimberworth, while his wife was buried in the graveyard at the Baptist Chapel, Canklow Road.  The 1901 census shows an Alfred Bagnall (aged 45) with his wife Georgina (40) running the Star Inn.

8,  Between 1801 and 1851 the population of Rotherham doubled to nearly 8,000 as heavy industry developed here and in  Masbrough which was absorbed by its larger neighbour in 1874.  Kimberworth at that time was still a separate entity immediately to the west – and there were still some two miles of open country between Rotherham (including Masbrough/Kimberworth) and Sheffield to the south-west.

9,  James, C.S & Goodall, J.W. (eds) Rotherham Parish Register, Marriages 1540-1837, 2 vols (1914-15), p.482.

10,  He might be a John Deakin  born in Sheffield (North) on 15 Feb,1838, son of William, a grinder, and Ann (nee Milner).




William Henry Beeley (11)  was born in Masbrough  (Rotherham,Yorkshire) on September 4th, 1832 and baptised in nearby Wath upon Dearne on October 7th.  His wife, Mary, daughter of Thomas Sprintall, a fitter/labourer, was, like her father, born in Brampton, Chesterfield – he about 1797. (12).  Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth (born in Calow near Chesterfield about 1800), had three children. Harriet (born c.1821) (13), Mary (born Nov.11, 1829 at Brampton near Chesterfield), Sarah, christened on 28 May, 1834,at St Mary and All Saints Church, Chesterfield (Brampton?), and Thomas, christened on March 20th, 1840 in Rotherham, where he was buried at St.Thomas. Kimberworth, 6 July, 1855, aged 15.  Elizabeth died in Masbrough on July 25th, 1868.


Mary married William Henry in Sheffield parish church on December 31st, 1854  when she was  25.  At this stage of his life, William Henry is again reported to have been a stove grate fitter and his father, George (II), a wheelwright. 


The first of William and Mary’s ten children was also William. He was born in New Saville Street, Brightside, Sheffield, on February 23rd, 1856, and appears to have died in late 1859 in Rotherham. 


Emily Beeley was born on June 1st, 1857, in Greystock Road, Brightside.


Elizabeth Ann/e was born on May 24th, 1858, in Thomas Street, Masbrough (see below). This suggests that the family moved from Sheffield Brightside to Rotherham (Masbrough) in late 1857 or early 1858. (14)


Joseph Henry Beeley was born on July 23rd, 1859, in Chemist Lane, Masbrough (see below).


Mary Beeley was born on October 24th, 1860, in Chemist Lane Masbrough but died at an address  in College Road in that area when she was eleven months old (23.9.1861). The cause of her death was given as marasmus (‘a form of protein-energy malnutrition primarily due to prolonged severe caloric deficit, usually during the first year of life…’).


The 1861 Census shows the family at the Chemist Lane address but little William and Emily are not listed.


George Beeley was born on November 30th, 1861, at the Masbrough address (Risings Yard, College Road).


Samuel Beeley was born at 3 Heaton’s Yard, Poolgreen, Masbrough, on July 10th, 1863 (see below)..


The second daughter to carry the name Mary was born on May 12th, 1865, at Poolgreen, Masbrough.  She died only months later (August 3rd) at Heaton’s Yard, Masbrough, from marasmus and was buried at St Thomas, Kimberworth, on 6 August. 


Thomas Beeley was born on April 6th, 1867, at 33 College Road, Masbrough, where he died  (June 25th) from marasmus (15)  and was buried on 28 June at St.Thomas, Kimberworth.


Frederick Beeley was born  on April 21st, 1868, at the College Road address. He does not appear in the 1871 census. The Kimberworth St.Thomas Burial Records show an infant Frederick Beeley buried on September 3rd, 1868. (16)


The 1871 Census lists William and Mary but only three of their children (Elizabeth Ann, Joseph Henry, and Samuel) at 8 New Orchard Street, Masbrough, Kimberworth (Rotherham), raising the possibility that all the other seven failed to survive to this date.


The 1881 Census shows William (now apparently a grocer) and Mary, with Elizabeth Ann and Samuel, in a house with a shop at 3 Salter Gate, Chesterfield.  However, in 1884 (May 21st ) Mary died suddenly aged 54, from suspected heart disease, at 244 Kimberworth Road, Kimberworth on 21 May, 1884,and was buried at St Thomas, Kimberworth on 24 May.  The 1891 Census shows William as a retired grocer living with his daughter Elizabeth Ann at 18 High Street East, Glossop, Derbyshire.  The 1901 Census shows him at 22 Mill Street, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, with Elizabeth Ann and her thirty-eight-year old husband James Howsley, an ‘engine cylinder borer’ from Derbyshire. (17).  William died (18) on New Year’s Day, 1908, at 15 Mill Street with, apparently, three children still living (as follows).  James was present at William’s death.




11,  In the nineteenth-century documentation the name Beeley (a relatively common name in the Rotherham area)  sometimes appears as  Beely, Bailey or Barley. This may reflect a northern dialect similarity of sound for ‘ai’, ‘ee’,’e,’ etc. – sometimes informants were illiterate. Sometimes clerks spell names differently even on the same document!  William Henry was Barley on his 1854 marriage certificate, Bailey in the 1861 Census and Beeley in the 1881 Census.

12,  Thomas Sr was buried, aged 74, on 26 Nov.1870, in St Thomas Church, Kimberworth. 

13,  Harriet married Henry France, a coal miner from near Sheffield: they had three children – William (born c.1846), Sarah Elizabeth (born c.1847) and Jemima (born c.1850).  Harriet was buried 2 Dec.1857, aged 37, at Rawmarsh and Jemima was buried there on 24 Nov.1876 aged 27 [information from Stuart France].

14,  A quick search for this address in August, 2006, revealed that it, and much of Masbrough (and other parts of Rotherham), had been cleared and replaced by roads, open spaces, and new housing. [Another visit is needed to look more thoroughly at the extent to which the other Masbrough addresses noted have disappeared.]

15,  Thomas was listed, aged 0, at the (now closed) Family Record Centre, London.

16,  The same record shows the burial of an infant Frederick William Beeley on July 23rd, 1868.




This research has made me aware of my male Beeley ancestors, in the early and middle years of the nineteenth century, working in the iron foundries of industrial Rotherham, producing sheet iron, stove grates, wheels, etc.  Not for such hard men was the effete intellectual life of the ‘ologist’ or the ‘ographer’. Several of them were ‘George’, after their Hanoverian rulers of the times.  The downside has been the failure of seven of my paternal grandfather’s nine Rotherham siblings to reach adulthood. They died in infancy from marasmus, which translates as malnutrition plus very bad housing. Yet at least those little children have been remembered by their great-nephew in the twenty-first century.

I plan to develop this ‘history’ where I can. Certainly the Robinsons need attention. And Rotherham requires further visiting, as do Chesterfield and Manchester and… All corrections, amendments, and additions will be most welcome…and just as soon as I can master the technique of scanning I plan to include some illustrations in this account …and then there’s still the question of whether the Beeley’s really did come from Beeley …..perhaps Beeley’s of long ago were serfs and villains on the estates of the Dukes of Devonshire up at Chatsworth.



Back to Families


      Source Records


Marriage Record:


George Beeley & fanny Bagnall


Census: 1841



Death Certificate:


Frances Beeley, died 9 Feb 1851



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