Busfield Family

William Busfield  (1817 1898)

William Busfield was my Mother’s grandfather. He was a widower, who had 12 children. He married a young woman after his first wife had died, and he left his estate, mill, capitol and house to her on his death, and a little to one or two of his children, probably a house, but nothing to my grandfather, Benjamin. So the boys had to continue working in the family blanket weaving mill in Guiseley.

There were not 12 living children according to the Census. He had married Mary Pagett in 1838 and she died around 1856. Their five children are listed in the 1851 Census. Perhaps other children had died as babies, or she had had miscarriages. His second wife was called Margaret, born in 1849. They lived at 42 Otley Road, Guiseley.

The 1861 Census states the family was living at Park Row, Guiseley, Yorkshire and headed by William Busfield, born 1818 and a woollen weaver. He was a widower, with five children living at home: James, Martha, Benjamin, Joshua and Reuben. The older ones were woollen weavers, working in the family mill, and the younger ones were scholars. There was also a housekeeper, Sarah Padgett, his widowed mother-in-law.

The family was still living in the same house at the next Census of 1871, but by 1881, the children had mainly left home, and William had moved house, to 42 Otley Road, Guiseley. He had retired and was living with his son James (called ‘dumb, imbecile from birth’) and his last single son, Joshua, who worked in the family woollen weaving mill.

But, between 1881 and 1891 things had improved for William. He had married Margaret, born in 1848, so 31 years his junior, and younger than his son Joshua, still living with him. So, when he died, it was to Margaret that he left his estate, and nothing much to the grown up children, who were apparently poorly educated, and who had to keep working in the mill.

The National Probate Calendar lists ‘William Busfield of Otley Road, Guiseley, Yorkshire, gentleman, died 23rd March 1898. Effects of £802.4s.9d.’

William and Mary’s Children

Benjamin Busfield  (1845 – 1924)

Benjamin Busfield had not been to school and was expected to go into the mill. On his father’s death he stayed in the factory and worked on the looms. He married Emma Sambrooke, born in 1848, a governess, and had three children: Mary, Sarah, or Sissie, and William. He survived his wife, who died in 1921 aged 74, and he retired from working at the mill about the same time. He was left hale, but deaf, and at 80 years old, he was knocked down by a steam engine in a quarry on the Hawkesworth Moors in Yorkshire. He died of pneumonia a day or two later. I think he had lived with his younger daughter and Uncle Frederick, her garage owning husband. (See also Ruth’s early memories)

William’s middle son, Benjamin, a woollen weaver, was living in New Road, Guiseley, by the time of the 1881 Census, with his wife Emma, who had trained as a dressmaker, and whom he had married in 1876, and their children Mary (Ruth’s mother), born in 1877 and William Jr born in 1879.

Mary with her parents Benjamin and Emma Busfield circa 1902 before her marriage to Alfred Lytle.

By 1891 the family had moved next door to old William Busfield, at 40 Otley Road, Guiseley.

Now they had Mary, William and another daughter Sarah, born in 1884.  According to Ruth, the family called William ‘Willie’, and Sarah ‘Sissie’. Mary was training as a dressmaker’s apprentice, at the age of 14, just as her mother Emma had done. By the 1901 Census, they were still living at the same address, but Willie had left home. Mary was still living at home, as was Sarah, who had become a machine minder at a dyeworks. Mary married Alfred Lytle in 1903. Sissie married Mr. Frederick Rollinson, an eccentric garage owner, some time later.

In 1911 Benjamin and Emma had moved to 13 Springfield Place, Guiseley, with Sarah, who was working as a dressmaker. Visiting them was their older daughter, Mary, with her husband Alfred Lytle, and their daughter Ruth, aged 5. Alfred was listed as a commercial traveller in machinery, which was quite right: at the time he was selling soda siphons, and later cash registers.

William and Mary’s Grandchildren

Mary Busfield  (1877  1952)

Mary Lytle with Ruth and Rodney, with her mother Emma Busfield circa1915

Mary was a very skilled dressmaker. She studiously copied the latest Paris fashions and made them up for clients in Liverpool. She had wrecked her sight early on with all the close needlework, and wore glasses from her 20’s. Ruth talked a lot about her Father, but her Mother hardly got a look in. I think that while her Father was a proud and rather vain man – who was constantly having a studio portrait done – her Mother was more modest. There are very few photos of her, by comparison.

Ruth says her parents were very much in love all their married life, and that as a child she was wildly jealous of their affection, because rather than paying attention to her, they were always wandering off arm in arm, or kissing. What is self evident about Mary is that by marrying Alfred, when he was changing his career from being a greengrocer to a salesman, she gave him a huge boost of confidence

Afred Lytle died in 1943 of throat cancer, and even though he had left Mary some life insurance, she had very little cash and needed to sell their large house in West Bridgford. People could not give away large properties in the dark days of the War. Mary found a man who did want to buy it. He offered a few hundred pounds at first, which was less than the original price of the house, and then whittled her down as she became more desperate. They settled on a sum, (I think it was £100) and then, when he had signed the documents, his cheque bounced, and she never received any money for it at all. One of her sons, Rodney, was working in a reserved occupation in Britain during the War, and she asked him to help sort out her financial affairs. He was just married, and not inclined to help her.

Mary Lytle inTorquay 1939
Mary Lytle c. 1951-1952 in Bournemouth

I remember visiting my grandmother in her bedsit near Durley Chine, in about 1950, and it was simply crammed with antiques. She moved to Bournemouth because it was a place with a mild climate, where she and Alfred had spent many happy holidays, and it was near her son, Rodney. When she became senile, she moved in with us, and she and I shared a bed. I do remember that she set fire to it one night.

It was in Bournemouth that Rodney had met and married Rosamund, so his Mother Mary hoped to be near him. Rosamund Plummer’s family had an hotel in the town and were considered well off. The Plummers bought the young couple a substantial house in nearby Wimbourne and set Rodney up in an antiques business in the 1950’s. Rosamund was not keen to pay for the rehousing of her mother-in-law, refused to help with nursing care when Mary became senile, and was very hostile to Ruth coming to Bournemouth in 1947, as she saw her as another ‘leach’. Relations between them were very frosty, which was sad because Rosamund had originally been Ruth’s friend, and she had introduced her to her young brother Rodney, in the first place.

I was too young, at 6 years old, to attend my grandmother’s funeral, but I do remember Ruth coming home and being very upset and tearful, at Rodney’s outburst after the service. Maybe he had been asked to pay the bill. It was the last time that he and Ruth spoke to each other, except for a phone call in the 1960’s.

Sarah (or Sissie) Busfield  (1884 1949)

Sissie married an eccentric garage owner, Frederick Rollinson.

They had two daughters, Mary (1919 – 2008) and Elizabeth (b. 1926).

William Busfield (1884 1915).

Willie had married Hannah when they were about 19 and 18 years. They had a daughter in 1899 called Lavinia, then a son William in 1910. Their address appears in the 1911 Census as 58 Blessington Road, Liverpool, and William Jnr is listed as a boot repairer.

William married Harriet Brown and they had three children. But William died on the Somme when he was 33, and Harriet had to earn for the family. She became a tram conductor during the War, and later a singer.

The 1881 Census would suggest that William was born in 1879, and in 1901 was married to Hannah, not Harriet. The 1911 Census says he had two children by then, Lavinia, born in 1899 and William born in 1910.