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 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 baptism 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

More surprisingly there are no Needham's eligible for the Hearth Tax in 1677 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 greatness comes. Between 1550 and 1699 only six baptisms of Needham's were registered in Sheffield.

Table 1 Births and deaths ; Sheffield

Date baptism burials

Date baptism burials
1550/1600
2
5
1601/1650
0
0
1651/1700
4
1
1701/1750
33
16
1751/1800
145
115
1801/1850
316
212

But in the first half of the 18th century the number of baptism rose dramatically to 33 children born and then increased by over 100% in each subsequent 50 year block. Not surprisingly the profile of burial dates reflects the baptism profile, although as you would expect the burial numbers are lower than the baptism in the same time period.

The 33 children born between 1700 & 1749 came from 12 families with only two fathers of these 12 families being born in Sheffield. So where did the remainder 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 and how trades developed

The earliest recorded family is that of Zephemia Needham, whose birth is unknown, but who married Ann Crawshaw from Sheffield in 1701. 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) but nothing is known about his ancestry or where he was born, although we know he wasn't born in Sheffield. He married Sarah Gervas in 1715 and they had three children between 1715 and 1721. His two sons George and William became apprentice cutlers. Usually they were apprentices for 7 years living and working with a master. 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 himself became a Freeman and master, being able to ply his trade in the city. The 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 himself was an apprentice scissorsmith to Joseph Swinden of Attercliffe and gained his Freedom in 1731. Benjamin was the son of Robert Needham from Sheffield, but I can find a record of his baptism in Sheffield so can only conclude that he was born out of the city and came into it as a child. Ellen was Ellen Shemeld another 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 Woodland of 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 from Buxton, the other two being Thomas & Joseph who were both apprenticed. Edward was baptised in 1718. Edward like his father George was a mason; 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 and gained his Freedom in 1757. I believe he married Jane Wood in 1745 and they had 7 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

The heads of the next two families, Thomas and Hugh were both basketmakers, although Hugh was also a filesmith. Thomas married and had 4 children between1743 &1747. His second son, Henry, was apprenticed to Joseph Makin , a cutler. I can't prove where Thomas came from or who his parents were! Failed

Hugh, however, 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 I'm certain he wasn't born in Sheffield but am unclear where he was born. He married Mary Creswick in 1744 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 before his death.

Of the 11 fathers 6 were apprentices of which 5 came from Derbyshire. As might be expected, 4 of the apprenticeships were scissorsmiths, and two were cutlers. 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 all the occupations are 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 of the Needham's. From 1841 to 1911 the number of Needham's grew in line with the growth in the national population.

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 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. 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 working population centred on agriculture fell and people moved into industrial towns and cities, such as Sheffield, looking for work and a better standard in life

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 12 families were the eldest child was born in this time period. 10 of these families have a father born outside Sheffield; only two were born in Sheffield. In the next 50 years things changed:

Table 5 Fathers birth place for Needham families

fathers birth place
families Shef Other Unknown
1700/1750
12
2
10
0
1751/1800
50
14
10
26
1801/1850
97
28
25
44

50 Needham families have been identified between 1751 & 1800. Of these families 14 fathers were born in Sheffield and 10 were definitely not born in Sheffield BUT it has not been possible to identify the fathers birth place with any certainty the remaining 26 fathers.

In the next 50 years (1801/1850) the number of families doubles and of these families 28 fathers were definitely born in Sheffield and 25 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 UKIP were not in power). So although the Needham's in Sheffield initially arrived by migration from nearby parishes looking for skilled jobs, they were still migrating into Sheffield a 100 years later and although the numbers were lower they were still at last 25% of the fathers of Needham families

 

Between 1700 and 1850 there are 159 Needham families whose first born was baptised in Sheffield between these dates. Of these the origin of 69 fathers is unclear. Of those where the origins are known 70% were born in Yorkshire and 28% in Derbyshire, the others were born in Durham, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire. Looking at the places where the fathers were born, then not surprisingly 54% were born in Sheffield and 8% in the adjacent town of Rotherham. The third highest place of birth is Buxton in Derbyshire at 7% followed by Eckington at 5%. 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 1700/1750 period the highest proportion of fathers came from Buxton (38%), with 13% coming from Rotherham and 25% from Sheffield. So 75% of the fathers came from outside the city boundary

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

1700/50 1751/00 1801/50
Sheffield
25
56
51.8
Rotherham
12.5
8
7.1
Buxton
37.5
12
5.4
Eckington
8
3.6
Ecclesfield
3.6
Others
25
16
28.6

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, 12% from Buxton, 8% from Rotherham, 8% from Eckington 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 up 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, approx. 50% of births had fathers who were born in Sheffield (up from25%). This natural growth was supplemented by further migration of fathers from parishes outside Sheffield who again found work, married and had children. Just over 50 % of the families in Sheffield in the period ending 1850 had a father born outside Sheffield. The most popular places the migrating Needham came from was: Rotherham, Buxton, Eckington and Ecclesfield.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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