Needham Family

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Origins

Needham's of Sheffield

This section looks at the arrival of the Needham's in Sheffield. It identifies where they came from and hopefully answers why they came. In addition, a case study is made of the administrators family background detailing specifically where his paternal grandparents, the Needham's and Clapham's, originated from and where they lived in Sheffield.

Earliest Records

The oldest record that I've found to date of a Needham in Sheffield is the baptism of Elizabeth Needham to father Johus Needham in 1568. In addition, there was a second Needham birth in the 16th century of Hellena Needham whose father is recorded as Rici Needham. So not many Needham's in Sheffield which begs the question where were Johis and Rici born and how come Sheffield now has the largest incidence of Needham's worldwide.

By the17th century the number of baptisms had doubled to four with recorded parents of Thomas and Jane (children George and Sarah Jane), Joh'is (Rebecca) and Ann (Cottrel). So, it would appear that the first illegitimate Needham was Cottrel, baptised in 1697 

In the Hearth Tax returns of 1677 there are no Needham's eligible to pay the tax in Sheffield, although based on the previous comments this is probably not surprising, but there are only four Needham's eligible for the Hearth Tax in the whole of South Yorkshire! So, when and where did they come from? 

Arrival 

From slow begins things started to pick up in the 18 th century. Looking at baptism's in the parish register for Sheffield then we have seen that between 1550 and 1699 only six baptisms of Needham's were registered in Sheffield, Table 1

Table 1 Births and deaths ; Sheffield 

baptism 

burials 

1550/1600 

1601/1650 

1651/1700 

1701/1750 

33 

16 

1751/1800 

145 

115 

1801/1850 

316 

212 

But in the first half of the 18th century the number of baptisms rose dramatically to 33 children born and then increased by over 100% in each subsequent 50 year block, Table 1. Not surprisingly the profile of burial dates reflects the baptism profile, although the burial numbers are offset from the baptisms by life expectancy.

The 33 children born between 1700 & 1749 came from 11 families with no fathers from these 11 families being born in Sheffield. So where did they come from and why did they move to Sheffield?

It's worth looking at the early families in a little detail as they tell you something about how Sheffield grew, how trades developed and how the Needhams' came to Sheffield

The earliest recorded family is that of Zephemia Needham. Surprisingly, with such an unusual Christian name I haven't yet found his birth place or parents but in 1701 he married Ann Crawshaw from Sheffield. Zephemia was a blacksmith who lived at Deeds Cottage in Darnell. He and Ann had three children between 1701 and 1706. Zephemia died in 1723 and left his estate to his wife, son John and daughter Ann. Little is known about the children of Zephemia except that John married Ann Fox in 1731 and Ann married John Deakin in 1724. But the same cannot be said of the second family whose head was William Needham 

William is variously described as a labourer (on his children's baptism records) or husbandman (on his son's apprenticeship records). We know William wasn't born in Sheffield and it's probable he was basptised in 1697 in Rotherham being the son of William and Sarah. He married Sarah Gervas in 1715 and they had three children between 1715 and 1721. His two sons George and John became apprentice cutlers. Usually children became apprentices at the age of 12 to 14 and lived and worked with a master for 7 years. The master taught the apprentice his trade and clothed and fed him; the apprentice could not marry while undertaking the apprenticeship. After 7 years and having attained the necessary skills, the apprentice graduated and became a Freeman and master, being able to ply his trade in the city. William and Sarah's youngest son George was born in 1719 and was apprenticed to John Fox a master cutler in 1733. In 1749 George married Sarah Copeland and, in the marriage, record he is described as a cutler. Between 1750 and 1763 they have 10 children of whom the youngest, John, is apprenticed to be a cutler. William's second son, John, was born in 1721 and it is thought he became an apprentice to a cutler, Edward Hoyland in 1748 and gained his Freedom in 1749. It is not clear what happened to John after he gained his Freedom.

The third family is that of Benjamin and Ellen Needham. Benjamin had been an apprentice scissorsmith to Joseph Swinden of Attercliffe and gained his Freedom in 1731. He was the son of Robert Needham who in 1731 was living in Attercliffe. However, Benjamin was born in Rotherham and baptised in 1709. He was the second son of Robert and Susanna, who had seven children, five of whom were girls. George, the oldest boy died before the age of two. Ellen was Ellen Shemeld, the Shemeld's being a famous Sheffield cutler's family and she and Benjamin married in 1732. Between 1733 and 1748 they had 7 children of whom the youngest son Joseph was apprenticed in 1760 to the knifemaker William Shemeld and in 1762 to John Hinchcliffe a scissorsmith 

The fourth family is that of Adam Needham who was born in Castleton to parents Rowland and Ellen Needham in 1708. He was apprenticed to the scissorsmith Thomas Swann and gained his Freedom in 1731. He married Mary Staniforth in 1732 and they had two sons Edward and John before Adam died young in 1735. 

The fifth family centres on Edmund Needham who was apprentice for 8 years to Josh Whitely a master cutler from Bradfield in1736. The apprentice records say Edmund was the son of Edmund of Woodland, Allestree, Derby. I can't trace him. Anyway, the records show he was the father of one daughter born in 1753. 

The sixth family makes things interesting. Edward Needham was a mason who married Mary Ridge in 1740; they had 7 children, a majority of whom died in infancy. Edward, I believe, is one of three brothers who came to Sheffield having been baptised in Buxton, the other two being Thomas & Joseph who were both apprenticed. Edward was baptised in 1718 and like his father George was a mason and as Sheffield expanded masons would have been in demand. Edward died in 1777 and admin of his will went to his wife Mary. His younger brother Thomas was born in 1724 and in1736 was apprenticed for 8 years to the scissorsmith Nich. Ratcliffee gaining his Freedom in 1757. I believe he married Jane Wood in 1745 and they had severn children of whom three were sons. Two of the sons, Thomas and George were apprenticed, both to scissorsmiths. Similarly, the youngest son of George, Joseph who was born in 1727, was apprenticed to Will Woodcock of Coal Pit Lane in 1739 for 8 years; he gained his Freedom in 1749, married and had two children, Charles in 1750 and Alicia Maria in 1752 

The heads of the next two families, Thomas and Hugh were both basketmakers. Thomas, was the son of Simon and was baptised in 1711 in Rotherham. He married Hannah Masdin and 4 children baptised in Rotherham and 4 children in Sheffield between1743 &1747. His fourth son, Henry, was apprenticed to Joseph Makin, a cutler, the first three having died before they reached 15

Hugh also came from Rotherham and was born in 1713. His father, Hugh was also a basketmaker so could train his son. Hugh married Mary Wood and they had four children, one of whom Henry was apprenticed to be a filesmith. 

The last family is that of James and Mary Needham. James was an excise officer and who was probably born in Harthill and baptised on 3 Aug 1725 with a father George.. He married Mary Creswick in 1744 in Sheffield and they had 6 children between 1745 and 1757. Three of the children were christened James in a four-year period which reflects the issue of infant mortality in the 18th century. James and his family moved from Sheffield to Todwick before his death in 1778 

What does this tell us? Of the 11 Needham families who lived in Sheffield from 1700 to 1750 none of the fathers were born in Sheffield. Of the 10 whose birth place is known, 4 were born in Rotherham, 3 in Buxton, and one each in Castleton, Derby and Harthill. So, five Needham's came from Derbyshire and five from Yorkshire. Of the 11 fathers 5 had been apprentices and as might be expected, 4 of the apprenticeships were scissorsmiths, and one was a cutler. Two of the apprentices were brothers and it would appear that a third brother, a mason, joined them. Of the other five, one was a blacksmith, one a husbandman, two were basket makers, and one an excise officer. So, the occupations of all the fathers were trades or skilled. In addition, around half the families encouraged their sons to become apprentices, thus developing a skill and a maintenance of a standard of living. 

Growth 

Through baptism records we have shown that the number of Needham's began to rise dramatically in the 18th century and this can be carried forward into the 19th century by looking at the census information. This information presents an interesting perspective on the Needham's. From 1841 to 1911 the number of Needham's grew in line with the growth in the national population, Table 2. 

Table 2 Growth in the Needham population in England 

  

Population 

  

Year 

England 

Needham 

1841 

14772291 

3501 

0.024 

1851 

16681328 

3988 

0.024 

1861 

18430142 

4700 

0.026 

1871 

21396005 

5351 

0.025 

1881 

24766987 

6335 

0.026 

1891 

27127825 

6664 

0.025 

1901 

30549773 

7489 

0.025 

1911 

33847363 

8134 

0.024 

The county with the greatest growth in Needham's appears to be Yorkshire, which by 1901 was the county with the highest number of Needham's (thank goodness!) 

Table 3 Growth in Needham population by county

England 

Population 

  

  

County Population Needham's 

  

County 

Year 

Total 

Needham 

Derby. 

York. 

Linc. 

Cheshire 

Lancs. 

Notts. 

Leic. 

Total in 7 counties 

% of Total pop. Of Needham's 

1841 

14772291 

3501 

564 

472 

308 

184 

724 

304 

299 

2855 

81.5 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

1851 

16681328 

3988 

571 

570 

416 

178 

815 

300 

301 

3151 

79.0 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

1881 

24766987 

6335 

812 

1269 

578 

298 

1301 

377 

456 

5091 

80.4 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

1901 

30549773 

7489 

1011 

1538 

601 

353 

1427 

478 

551 

5959 

79.6 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

1911 

33847363 

8134 

970 

1851 

628 

391 

1396 

586 

547 

6369 

78.3 

 

In the 7 counties with the highest number of Needham's, the number of Needham's increased between 1841 and 1911, Table 3, but interestingly over the same period the proportion of Needham's in the Derbyshire and Sheffield population compared to the total number of Needham's fell, Table 4. In Derbyshire there was also a trend where Needham's moved from rural villages into the bigger towns of Derbyshire and Cheshire and the industrial towns of Lancashire and Sheffield. 

These trends are not surprising as the proportion of the working population centred on agriculture fell and people moved into industrial towns and cities, such as Sheffield, attracted by work and better paid occupation

Table 4 Growth in Needham population

Date

Sheffield 

England 

1841 

213 

3501 

6.1 

1851 

179 

3989 

4.5 

1861 

186 

4700 

4.0 

1871 

276 

5352 

5.2 

1881 

141 

6335 

2.2 

1891 

234 

6664 

3.5 

1901 

342 

7490 

4.6 

1911 

270 

8149 

3.3 

 

Origins 

In Sheffield between 1700 and 1750 we have seen there were 11 families. For all these families the father was born outside Sheffield but in the next 50 years things changed: 

Table 5 Fathers birth place for Needham families 

fathers birth place 

families 

Shef 

Other 

Unknown 

1700/1750 

11

11 

1751/1799 

43 

13 

15 

15 

1800/1849 

95 

35 

30 

30 

43 Needham families have been identified between 1751 & 1799. Of these families 13 fathers were born in Sheffield and 15 were definitely not born in Sheffield but it has not been possible to identify the fathers birth place with any certainty the remaining 15 fathers. 

In the next 50 years (1800/1849) the number of families doubles and of these families 35 fathers were definitely born in Sheffield and 30 were not. These higher numbers clearly reflect the increase in birth rate and also shows that fathers were still migrating into Sheffield (a good job this was before Brexit). So, although the Needham's in Sheffield initially arrived by migration from nearby parishes attracted by skilled jobs, they were still migrating into Sheffield a 100 years later and although the numbers were lower they were still at least 30% of the fathers of Needham families 

  

Looking at the big picture then between 1700 and 1849 there are 149 Needham families. Of these the origin of 55 (21%) fathers is unclear, although most are probably born in Sheffield. Of those where the origins are known 69% were born in Yorkshire and 27% in Derbyshire, the others were born in Durham, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire. Looking at the places where the fathers were born, then not surprisingly 38% were born in Sheffield and 25% in the adjacent town of Rotherham. The third highest place of birth is Buxton in Derbyshire at 4% followed by Eckington at 4%. No other place has more than 2 (2%) fathers born there. The two places furthest from Sheffield a father was born were Sunderland and Birmingham. 

If you look in more detail you find that in 1700/1749 period all the fathers came from outside Sheffield the highest proportion of fathers came from the adjacent town of Rotherham (45%) and 27% from Buxton.

Table 6 Variation with time of birth place of head of Needham family

 

1700/49 

1750/99 

1800/49 

Sheffield 

68 

35 

Rotherham 

45 

27

NE Derbyshire

45 

16 

14 

Chesterfield Area  

0

11 

10 

S. Yorkshire

9

0

Others 

 

But as the families settled in the city, second generation families changed the birth place profile dramatically. In the 50 year period ending in 1800 over 50% of fathers come from Sheffield, 16% from NE Derbyshire, 5% from Rotherham, 11% from the Chesterfield area with the balance coming from other local parishes; a similar pattern occurs in the years between 1801 and 1850. So, after an initial period of high migration of Needham's (or strictly speaking the head of the family) from Derbyshire into the city usually on the back of an apprentice scheme a base was created. The head or future head of a family stayed in the city, trained, got a job, married and had children. By the middle of the 18th century, the Needham's had created a base in Sheffield. These families produced second and subsequent generations of Needham's in Sheffield. From the middle of the 18th century onwards, 60/70% of births had fathers who were born in Sheffield/ Rotherham. This natural growth was supplemented by further migration of fathers from parishes outside Sheffield who again found work, married and had children.

Summary

Where do our ancestors come from? Well it would appear that despite having the greatest number of Needham's in Sheffield they did not arrive here until the first half of the 18 th century and came largely as apprentices in the cutlery trade. They were born in parishes local to and on gaining their Freedom they stayed in the city.

 

Occupation

We have already seen that the first Needham's that arrived in the city were either apprentices in the cutlery trade or had skills needed in a growing town; during the next 100 years these skills of the cutler, filesmith or scissorsmith, the occupations Sheffield is famous for, were the major occupations of Needham's. But other skilled jobs begin to appear such as the silversmith, the Mercer, the surgeon and the broker. Jobs we associate with Yorkshire such as the miner are seen by 1850. More surprising for an industrial city is the husbandman and the farmer but we have to remember that Sheffield was still relatively small and surrounded by moors and farm land. Suffice to say the Needham's were the workers in a rapidly expanding industrial town, not the landowners or factory managers. It's interesting to compare this with the Needham's of Derbyshire.

  Table 7 Occupations of heads of Family

Occupation

1700/50

1751/1800

1801/50

scissorsmith

3

7

1

cutler

3

10

22

mason

1

2

4

labourer

1

4

8

blacksmith

1

0

0

basketmaker

1

2

3

filesmith

1

1

3

spinster

1

4

3

tailor

1

1

butcher

2

1

husbandman

2

0

pit striker

1

0

bricklayer

1

1

broker

1

0

unknown

2

2

horse dealer

1

0

silver smith

1

7

farmer

1

0

miner

7

mercer

 

 

1

haft presser

1

surgeon

1

brushmaker

1

shoemaker

4

moulder

8

innkeeper

1

polishing maker

1

scythe grinder

1

sawyer

1

servant

1

joiner

3

butcher

1

grocer

1

plumber

2

toll collector

1

rail worker

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

web 7 Mar 2019

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