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Generation 6.2 James Severn 1857-1924 & Martha Burkinshaw Hill 1859-1952

James' Family.jpg

circa 1905 at 14 Crossgate Mexborough, Yorkshire

Back Row: James; Martha; Ada; Mem; Panny; Myra; Joe Seated: James; Martha
Middle: Emily
Front: Victoria May; Sarah Lily
Donated by Hilda Longley

Until my recent trip to England in 1998 I was unaware that another entire extended family, springing from the same root as Joseph Severn, lived in and around the Mexborough area. Not until an intensive search of all Severns in the Mexborough Cemetary led me to James, and ultimately to everyone in this section of the book. I must thank the following members of this family for their help in supplying information, photographs and proofreading the final draft:

  • Mrs Alma Webster

  • Gerald “Sandi” & Ann Cawkell

  • Jack & Elsie Rhodes

  • Hilda Longley

  • Dorrie Bill

  • Barbara Matthews (James grand-daughter)


James Severn was born 29 March 1857 in Cotmanhay, near Ilkeston, Derbyshire, the son of James Severn - a miner and Mary Sanders (the records also give the name Sanderson).  At some time prior to 1883 he moved to Darfield in South Yorkshire and lived at Low Valley where he met Martha Burkinshaw Hill, the daughter of Joseph and Emma Hill (her maiden name was Burkenshaw). For the story about the Hill family click here. James and Martha were married at Darfield 19 August 1878. Martha Burkinshaw was baptised in Darfield on 2 Oct 1859. James and Martha moved from Darfield to Conisbrough (before 1891) to 75 Clifton Street but two years later they were in Mexborough at 5 Cross Hall Gate. Later still they moved to number 24 Crosshallgate, now Crossgate.

James and Martha had ten children - most of their histories continue on this page:

James was a miner and was well-known at the Barnsley Miners Union. He had to retire after getting sick with bladder cancer and had two surgeries for this disease.  The reason he committed suicide was because the bladder cancer was terminal and he was in severe pain. He also contracted nystagmus, a nasty disease that gives the sufferer a continual flickering or rolling of the eyes - quite common amongst miners. He committed suicide in 1924. Reproduced below is the newspaper report of the coroner’s report - and Barbara explained that as usually, the newspapers got the story wrong, as they so often do. he comitted suicide because the bladder cancer was terminal and he was in severe pain


South Yorkshire Times May 1924

SAD SUICIDE AT MEXBOROUGH Miner ends Life of Disease and Pain

“I have gone mad. Goodbye, God Bless you all. I have gone mad” was a note written by James Severn aged 66 living at 24 Crossgate who was found dead, from inhaling coal gas at his home on Monday morning. He had been in the employ of the Denaby and Cadeby Colliery Company for more than half a century but had to leave on account of nystagmus and physical disability. For three years he had been a sufferer and the pain was often excruciating. He had received devoted attention from his wife. He had been treated at the Sheffield Infirmary and Fullerton Hospital but he was found to be incurable.

Mr Frank Allen, Coroner, held an inquest on Monday. The widow Martha Severn said her husband was found dead between one and two o’clock that morning. She had heard him go downstairs. She went down but she could not open the door. She shouted for help.

As the witness was in much distress the coroner said he would not trouble her any further and she was taken home. Joseph Severn of 9 Doncaster Road, an insurance agent and brother of the deceased was then called.

Coroner: “Do you live far from the house of the deceased?”

Joseph: “About one hundred yards.”

Coroner: “Has your brother been depressed of late?”

Joseph: “Yes, he had had a lot of pain.”

Coroner: “And trouble with his eyes?”

Joseph: Yes, he had nystagmus some time ago and has recently had internal trouble.”

Coroner: “Bladder trouble?”

Joseph: “Yes.”

Coroner: “He has had an operation?

Joseph: “Yes, two.”

Coroner: “When did you last see him alive?”

Joseph: “Last Thursday.”

Coroner: “Was he depressed then?” “No Sir.

Coroner: “You were called there this morning?”
Joseph: “I got there about 10 minutes past 8.”

Coroner: “You forced your way into the kitchen?”
Joseph: "Yes sir.”
Coroner: “Was the door locked?”

Joseph: “The little sneck was on the door.”

Coroner: “And what did you find?”

Joseph: “He had a pillow over his head and gas had passed through a pipe which had been fixed to the gas in the kitchen. He was lying on his back on the sofa.”

Coroner: “A rubber pipe?”
Joseph: "Yes, a pipe inserted into the pillow.”
Coroner: “Was the room full of gas?”

Joseph: “There was a smell of gas but it was stopped.”

Coroner: “Was the tap turned on?”
Joseph: "Yes. I turned it off as soon as I got there.”
Coroner: “It was a penny in the slot and it had run out?”
Joseph: “Yes”
Coroner: Was he dead?”
Joseph: “Quite.”
Coroner: “What did you do?”
Joseph: I called in the police and sent for Dr Hamlton.”
Coroner: “They could do nothing of course?”
Joseph: "No nothing. The doctor thought my brother had been dead three or four hours."

PC Meadwell said he was called to the house about 8:20 that morning. He found everything had been left just as the last witness had found them. In the trouser pocket of the deceased he found a note, the words being “Goodbye, God Bless you all. I have gone mad.”

A verdict of suicide while insane was returned.

Martha continued living at the house after James died and lived on for another 30 years to the grand age of 92. Ann, her grand-daughter remembers visiting the house and her recollections are of a tall, silver haired stately old lady, dressed in black trimmed with lace trimmings. Ann recalls being petrified of the fox fur that Martha wore, and she used to hate sitting in the front parlour because the horsehair sofa and chairs used to prickle her chubby legs. She recalls as if it were yesterday scenes from a bygone age:    “ .... the roaring fire..... the black leaded cooking range ... the shallow stone sink with just the cold water tap ... the chenille tablecover ... the organ in the front room .... the lav in the middle of the yard ... grownups having a conversation and then going off into whispers so that her innocence was preserved


South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times - Friday 17 February 1939 story When Martha was approaching 80, a great party was planned, but in the weeks leading up to it, her brother,  John Hill of Wombwell and her sister, Mary Tomlin of South Emsall, died within 24 hours of eacj other. . Martha told the newspaper the spell had been broken and the party would not be the happy event that she hoped for. She also said that she was in fine health.  The story goes on to tell us that Mrs Severns is the daughter of the late Mr Joseph Hill, erstwhile foreman at the Darfield quarry, and for many years proprietor of the Rising Sun Inn at Darfield. In such good health is she, that although her daughters who live near her repeatedly offered to help, she insists on doing all her own housework. Mrs Seversns home is as spotless as one would expect from such a fine old lady; she still does her weekly wash and can regularly be seen in a precarious position on the windowsill cleaning the upstairs windows.


If this family party had taken place, it would have been a tremendous affair, for Mrs Severns has 8 surviving children, over 30 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, the eldest of whom is 13. Mrs Severns told a Times reporter that she had had a hard, but exceedingly happy life. She was never able to attend school at all regularly, for most of her school years were spent in looking after her younger brothers and sisters. She came to Mexborough over 50 years ago. She has lived in the same house in Cross Hall gate for 48 years.


Incidentally her son, Mr Joseph Severns, has been given a child to school book belonging to Mr. John Hill of 13 Station Road, Wombwell, who died last week. The book, the like of which is rarely seen nowadays, was apparently issued to all schoolchildren by the “School Attendance Committee of the Union of Barnsley in the County of York.” On the first page is the name and address of the pupil, signed by the the headmaster at the Darfield school, Mr George Hoyle. On the succeeding pages is a complete record of the pupils attendances at school.

However 10 years later, Martha was still going strong and the newspaper ran another story about her:

The United Methodist Chapel Room, Mexborough was, on Saturday, the scene of probably the biggest reunion party ever held in the town for many years. The occasion was the 90th birthday party of Mrs Martha Severns of 24 Crossgate, Mexborough. Nearly 70 relatives came from Bristol, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Redditch, to wish the grand old lady “Many Happy Returns.” Mrs Severns who has 8 children, 30 grandchildren and 33 great- grandchildren, has lived in Mexborough for the last 70 years.

Mrs Severns was accorded musical honours and replied in a firm clear voice thanking everyone present for their good wishes and acceptable presents. One of the most cherished possessions which was handed to her on Saturday is an inscribed autograph album containing the signatures of all her descendants.

Mrs Severn lives alone, does her own housework and is still a very active old lady. Born at Darfield, Mrs Severns came to Mexborough when she was married in 1879, Her husband, Mr James Severns, who died 25 years ago. was an official of the Barnsley Branch of the Miners Union, and worked at Denaby Colliery for several years. Mr and Mrs Joseph Hill, Mrs Severn’s parents, were licencees of the Rising Sun at Darfield for many years. There will probably be no SYT (South Yorkshire tTmes) reader who remembers it, but Mrs Severn’s grandparents were the owners of the quarries up Adwick Road and built the first houses up there over 100 years ago. These have since been demolished. All Mrs Severn’s relatives are of the opinion that she will live to be 100 and we look forward to recording that momentous occasion.


So the community was expecting Martha to make 100, but sadly this was not to be, because this article appeared 23 May 1952


One of Mexborough’s oldest inhabitants and head of 5 generations, Mrs Martha B Severn (92) of 24 Crossgate, Mexborough, died at her home on Saturday. Mrs Severn attended Doncaster Road Methodist Chapel and a service was held there before the internment at Mexborough cemetary on Tuesday. Mrs Severn had lived in Crossgate for 60 years and despite her age she baked every Tuesday and cooked her Sunday dinner and she enjoyed doing a little shopping. “No-one was allowed to help her with Sunday dinner”, said one of Mrs Severns daughters this week. She came to Mexborough from Darfield as an 18 years old bride. Her father, Mr Joseph Hill built the Rising Sun Hotel, Snape Hill, Darfield and her grandfather the Sportsman Inn Hotel on Adwick Road, Mexborough and the first houses on that road. Though Mrs Severn had been ill for 13 months, she had enjoyed good health for most of her life and 3 weeks ago cooked the Sunday dinner.

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Martha and son Joe.HEIC

Em, Ada, Martha and Mem

Donated by Hilda Longley

Jo and his mum Martha during WW2

Donated by Hilda Longley

She leaves 30 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren, the eldest of whom is 3 years old. She lost a son in the First World War, and another son, Joseph served 4 years in the Second World War despite being injured in 1917 while serving in the Army. Her husband, who died in 1924 was a miner at Denaby Main Colliery and a union official. Of their 10 children they had 7 living - one son (living with his mother) and daughters in Mexborough, Harlington, Redditch, Rossington and Huddersfield. Mourners: Mrs E A Hughes; Mr Joseph Severn; Mr & Mrs TC Roebuck Mr & Mrs J E Holcroft; Mr & Mrs J Rhodes' Mr & Mrs S Johnson; Mr & Mrs J Holt.

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Mary Emma (Mem) Severn was born 19 November 1879 and married Charles Tomlin and moved to 8 Ivy Cottages, South Emsall. Charles was was from Nottingham but had moved to the area for work. He was a shaftsman and had helped sink the shaft at Frickley. He was an all round sportsman and on the committees of Frickley Colliery football and athletic clubs. They had a daughter, Doris  Mem died 2 February 1938 after a long illness. Child:

  • Doris Tomlin married William Mellors and I believe she had three children:

    • Mary Mellors

    • Arthur Mellors

    • a daughter Mellors


Elizabeth Anne “Panny” Severn born 10 February 1881. Panny married a man called Hughes who, it is believed, owned a needle factory as well as a brickworks. They had 5 children:

  • Douglas Hughes - might have been Lord Mayor of Birmingham? Basil Hughes - might have been Lord Mayor of Birmingham?

  • Mary Hughes

  • Blanche Hughes

  • Ted Hughes believed to be a solicitor in Birmingham.a

35 Blanche pg 35.jpg
35 Martha & 2 dts copy.jpg

Believed to be Blanch

Donated by Hilda Longley

Grandma (Martha) Severn with daughters Panny holding her arm and Ada. Ted Hughes at the front

Donated by Dorrie Bill

Ted hughes.HEIC

Ted Hughes

Donated by Hilda Longley

Wedding Douglas Highes to mary.HEIC

Wedding of Douglas Hughes to Mary date unknown
L-R: Panny; Percy; Mary Hughes; Douglas Hughes; Mary Hughes (bride); Blanche and the rest must be the family of the bride
Donated by Hilda Longley

Mira Severn was born 30 December 1882 baptised 28 January 1883 at Doncaster Road United Methodist Chapel, Mexborough and moved away to Huddersfield where she found work “in service” at the “Armitage Arms” - kept by Mrs Calvert.  Mira met and married John Styring (who apparently “........ drove about in a flash carriage”). John was killed in the First World War, leaving Mira with four young children.

  • Hilda Styring

  • Nora Styring who married Henry Dearnley .

  • Sally Styring

  • James “Jim” Styring who was in the Navy (WW2)


Mira later married Thomas Roebuck and had three more children:

  • Margaret (Peggy) Roebuck

  • Clement Roebuck

  • Brian Roebuck

36 Jim Styring pg 36.jpg

Jim Styring - Myra’s son

Donated by Hilda Longley

Ada Severn born 23 July 1884. Ada married John Edgar Holcroft and they lived at Rossington.

They had:

  • Muriel Holcroft never married 1910

  • Irene Holcroft - married Wilf Fielding (at Rossington)

  • John Holcroft

  • Phyllis Holcroft

  • Vera Holcroft married a doctor and lived at Filey for a bit

37 Rene Holcroft pg 37.jpg
Anchor 2

Irene/Rene Holcroft

Donated by Hilda Longley

This story has been written by Barbara Severn, the grand-daughter of Jim and Ethel who now lives in New South Wales.










James was born 2 November 1886.  By the time James was 4. in 1891, the family had moved to 75 Clifton Street, Denaby Main just across the River Don from Mexborough. Denaby Main was a colliery village built by the Denaby Main Colliery Company to house its workers. Clifton Street, like most other streets in the village, looked down on Denaby Main pithead, which is probably where James senior worked.


Clifton Street was built in two stages in 1890 and 1892, so number 75 must have been built in the first stage and will have been brand new when James and Martha and their family moved in. The houses were two-up-two-down with a small yard with an outside toilet and coal shed. Gas was supplied from the colliery company's gasworks, but there was no running water or electricity. Running water came in 1902 after James and his  family had moved on. Later occupants had to wait until 1951 for electricity, though.


The photograph of Clifton Street below shows the east side of the street shortly before it was demolished in 1975. Number 75 is probably the third house down in the second block of 10 houses. The hill at the bottom of the street is Denaby Main Colliery tip.  It probably wasn't nearly as large when James was playing in Clifton Street in the early 1890s, though, as Denaby Main Colliery did not close until 1967.


A short way west from the bottom of Clifton Street along the main Doncaster Road towards the pithead was the Denaby Main Primitive Methodist Chapel. Young James and his elder sisters would have probably had to go to Sunday school there, as Martha Severn was a staunch Primitive Methodist. One block further to the west on the south side of Doncaster Road was the Rossington Street infants school, which it is very likely that James attended.



Clifton Street Denaby Main from Wadworth Street - 1975 -

(Wadworth Street had not been extended across the top of Clifton Street in 1891)


By 1901 James and his family had moved back to Mexborough, to number 5 Crosshallgate. This street, which was later renamed Crossgate, runs parallel to Church Street on the opposite side of Mexborough's main thoroughfare, another Doncaster Road. By this stage James was 14 and had five younger siblings, Martha 12, Joseph 10, Lilian 7, May 3 and Emily 1. His elder sisters, Mary Emma 22, Elizabeth Ann 20, Mira 18, and Ada 16, had either left home or were living elsewhere. It may have been that the size of the family had prompted the move to a larger house sometime in the 1890s. It appears that James senior was still working for the Denaby Main Colliery Company, though, as the South Yorkshire Times noted in the report of his death in 1924 that he had worked for the then Denaby and Cadeby Colliery Company for more than 50 years.


The move may also have been prompted by James senior's need not to be in tied housing due to his involvement with the nascent union movement, as, on occasions, the colliery management took to evicting strikers from their houses in order to pressure them to return to work. In 1903 during a dispute about penalties for excessive dirt in coal the families of evicted strikers were accommodated during the middle of Winter in, amongst other places, the Denaby Main Primitive Methodist school hall. The less fortunate had tents. One would think it very likely that Martha Severn would have been involved in organising this support. 


By 1912 James junior also described himself as a coal miner, so it is likely that he would have started work in the pit in his early teens soon after 1901. Maybe soon enough to be involved in the Denaby Main 'bag-dirt' strike in 1902/3.


In 1912 at 26 years of age James was living with a young lady whom he may have first met in Rossington Street Infants School in Denaby Main, Ethel Smith.  Ethel and her twin brother Joseph were 16 months younger than James, so were probably in the following year in school.   Ethel had been born at number 56 Church Street Mexborough and her family, like James', had shortly after moved to Denaby Main, which at that stage was growing rapidly. Her parents were William Smith, a coal miner hailing from Basford in Nottinghamshire, and Elizabeth (nee Cooper), who was originally from Shefford in Bedfordshire. In 1891 the Smith family were living at 20 Melton View, which was a terrace of houses two blocks west of Rossington Street on Doncaster Road Denaby Main.


The caption to the photograph of Melton View below gives the date it was built as 1898, but this is at odds with the fact that it appears as an address in the 1891 census. While it is possible that there was an earlier building there that was demolished to make way for the buildings shown, it looks more likely that the date quoted is incorrect since the 1891 census lists 20 houses in Melton View, which matches the structure described in the caption. Had the 1901 census shown the same address for Ethel Smith and her family, this would have confirmed that Melton View was built prior to 1891, but it doesn't, it shows their address as 142 Doncaster Road, Denaby Main. This could actually be the same address, though, given that Melton View was a terrace on Doncaster Road, although there is no obvious correlation between the Smith's neighbours in the 1891 and 1901 censuses.


















Melton View

The houses in Melton View had three rooms upstairs, three rooms downstairs, a small backyard with outside toilet and coalplace. They were built in one block of four and two blocks of eight houses in 1898. Water was installed in 1902. Gas supplied by the colliery company was used from 1898 to 1951 when electricity was installed. The houses were demolished in 1968.

The photograph is taken from Lowfield Junction - this photograph shows Melton View which housed the main branch of the Denaby Main Industrial Cooperative Society Limited, which can just be seen over the top of the banking. There is a cooling tower and a little of the Denaby Main colliery surface buildings to be seen on the right

Jim Severn and Ethel Smith were living at 27 Crossland Street Swinton, near Mexborough, when they married at Rotherham Register Office on 24 December 1912.  Witnesses at the wedding were James' younger brother, Joseph, and Gladys Williamson. Perhaps Christmas weddings were a Severn family or mining community tradition, as James' grandparents, James Severn and Mary Sandars, had married in Christ Church, Cotmanhay, on 28 December 1851.  Crossland Street is still there today (2007) with its original houses intact.  The photograph shows number 39, which is probably on the south-east side of the street. Number 27 will be six houses to the left of this towards Station Street.






James and Ethel's first child, whose name was registered as Emily, was born early in 1913. 
















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Church Street looking east c 1910. The church is just visible through the trees on the right. The photograph was taken near the junction with Quarry Street. The houses on the left survive The house in the centre was formerly church property and was pulled down by the Mexborough Urban District Council, bu arrangement with the vicar and churchwardens, in orer to widen the road. The house was once occupied by Jabob Chipp and befoe hom, John Makin, a pioneer of Mexborough industry. The latter was a quarry owner and also a builder.

Clifton Street Denaby Main
Melton View
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30 Grenfell Avenue 2007 - donated by Barbara Matthews

Ethel with her children Jennie (Mickie) and James (Jim) - probably just after WWII - donated by Barbara Matthews

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Also living at 30 Grenfell Avenue with Ethel at this time were her youngest son, Harry, and a lodger known to Barbara as 'Len'. Len was blind, which was said to be due to the effects of lime in the cement works where he had worked. He eventually received compensation for his injuries and went to live with his daughter.  Ethel's son Jim died of cancer in October 1951 and Ethel continued to look after Barbara until Mary re-married. Barbara then moved to Manchester with her mother and new step-father and lost touch with Ethel. As Ethel was never mentioned or visited again, Barbara grew up under the impression that Ethel had passed on, like so many other people in her life. At the age of 14, though, a chance remark led her to realise that her Nanna Severn was still alive.  After much agitating on Barbara's part, a Sunday afternoon visit to Grenfell Avenue was made in 1962; it was to be a one-off event, though, followed by a loss of contact again. Barbara's recollection of the visit was that everyone was very formal and her Nanna Severn was still using a black, coal fired kitchen range for cooking and boiling the kettle.

The UK General Records Office Death Certificates Index records the death of an Ethel Severn in the Don Valley Registration District in the July to September quarter of 1972, certificate reference number 2b 1130.  Whether or not this is the right Ethel Severn remains to be seen; it does seem probable that this is the right one, though, as no likely alternatives have been found.  Information from family members in Mexborough indicates that Harry continued to live with his mother until her death.

By the time Jim and Ethel's second child, James Severn, was born on 3 May 1915 Jim was serving with the Grenadier Guards. Ethel was then living at 66 Victoria Road, Mexborough.


Jim joined the Grenadier Guards as a private soldier in the 4th Company of the 4th Battalion (Bn) probably in late 1914. The 4th Battalion was a wartime unit of somewhere between 1000 and 2000 men and around 30 officers which was formed at Marlow near Beaconsfield west of London. While it did not officially come into existence until receiving the Royal Assent on 15 July 1915, recruiting for the unit had started late in 1914 shortly after the outbreak of war. As an elite regiment the Grenadier Guards had its choice of the best recruits, so James, whose civilian occupation as a coal hewer was one of the most physically demanding jobs in the mines, must have impressed the regiment's recruiters with his physique and strength.

In July 1915, immediately following its official formation, 4th Bn Grenadier Guards was moved overseas to France. At some stage between then and his death in July 1917 James was transferred to 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards. This could have happened in August 1915, when major reorganisations of both the regiment and the British Expeditionary Force's (BEF's) divisional structure took place, or it could have resulted from movements of officers and men between battalions made to compensate for particularly heavy losses suffered by the regiment during the Battles of Loos (October 1915) and the Somme (September 1916).


Between August 1915 and July 1917 the Grenadier Guards were in the thick of fighting at Loos, the Somme, Morval, the Hindenberg Line and Ypres. In late July 1917 the 3rd Bn was stationed near Boesinghe to the north of Ypres and involved in preparations for the Battle of Pilkem, which was to be the opening phase of the third Battle of Ypres, planned to commence on 31 July. In the night of 21/22 July the 3rd Bn moved into the front line to relieve the 2nd Bn Irish Guards holding the right of the Boesinghe section. For the next five days this section was subjected to heavy shelling intended to disrupt the preparations for the attack the Germans knew was coming. On 25 July 1917 Private James Severn was killed in this action. In all 27 men of the 3rd Bn were killed during this five day period. This was more than the battalion had lost in the previous 10 months since the Battle of the Somme.    James' body was never found. His sacrifice is commemorated in the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial along with that of 54,000 others who died in the Ypres Salient and whose graves are not known. The names of the Grenadier Guards are listed in panels 9 and 11. James Severn is also honoured on the Mexborough Cenotaph.

Jim Severn d 1917.jpeg

Left to bring up two young children, life can't have been easy for Ethel. It seems she didn't re-marry, as she kept the name Severn to the end of her days, but she had two more children:

  • Jennie Severn, who was always known as Mickie, in 1919. Jennie's birth certificate records her father as James Severn, which clearly was not actually the case.

  • Harry Severn b 1923.

By the start of the Second World War Ethel had moved to 30 Grenfell Avenue, Mexborough, near the Montagu Hospital. 

After the war Ethel was still living at 30 Grenfell Avenue when her son Jim married Mary Hepworth, nee Elliott, a widow with a five year old daughter, Anita Hepworth. In August 1948 Jim and Mary had a daughter Barbara.  In early 1951 Jim was hospitalised with cancer. Mary returned to nursing to support the family and, as this involved shift work, Ethel took in Jim and Mary's two year old daughter Barbara. 

Anchor 1

Ethel and her granddaughter Barbara outside Amberley on Carlyle Streeet, Jim and Mary's house - circa  1950 - donated by Barbara Matthews

Babs - I need info about your generation


Martha Severn was born 18 October 1888 and married William “Bill” Cousins. Children:

Laura Cousins worked for a while at Storthen Hall Hospital in Huddersfield. She married Fred Schuller a farmer at Harlington later moved to St Ives, Cornwall.   Dorrie believes they have 3 sons but we only know of 2 of them:

  • Charles Cousins

  • John Cousins

Joseph Severn was born at 5 Cross Hall Gate, Mexborough on 28 July 1890, baptised 5 March 1893 at Doncaster Road United Methodist Chapel, Mexborough. When his mother died he was still living at home with her (24 Crossgate). Not certain who he married but he lived at 41 Hallgate and died in 1971 aged 81. He had a son:

  • Harry Severn who lived in Conisbrough. Harry was at some time a member of the Military Police - service number 13031004. Joe, his father left him some money and Jack Rhodes remembers tracking him down to give it to him.


Lilian Severn born 21 November 1894. Lilian worked in the powderworks (ICI at Denaby) and married John Rhodes of Swinton, a miner of Barmborough. John was also in the Royal Engineers during World War One and saw active service in France. x

41 Lilian Rhodes pg 41.jpg
41 Lilian & John Rhodes01.jpg

Lilian circa 1917

Donated by Jack Rhodes

Lilian and Jack Rhodes circa 1942 - Donated by Jack Rhodes

Jack and Lilian had 3 children:

  • Kathleen Rhodes married Eric Durrens in 1919, a bus driver who also worked for the Yorkshire Electricity Board. They had 2 children:

    • David Durrens

    • Keith Durrens

  • John "Jack" Rhodes 29 May 1924. Jack attended Pitt Street, Doncaster Road and Adwick Road schools then joined the staff of Maypoles as a shop assistant selling dairy produce. It was here that he met his future wife Elsie, daughter of John and May Denham. She worked across the road at Hunters. Later Jack joined British Rail and worked his way up from a cleaning position to fireman and eventually to train driver. He has a wide experience of driving trains, from steam locomotives to high speed trains. Jack and Elsie have two children:

  • Kenneth John Rhodes born 30 January 1950. Kenneth is a quantity surveyor currently and worked for a time in Saudi Arabia. He is married to Doreen Pickford, who taught at the English school there. They have two children:

    • George Rhodes born circa 1977 attended Nene College Northampton

    • James Rhodes born circa 1983 attended Harrogate Boarding School.

  • Julie Ann Rhodes born 25 May 1955 and married to Stevan Hatfield. Children

    • Johnathan Hatfield

    • Sarah Hatfield

42 Rhodes family pg 42.jpg

Ken’s 18th Birthday 1968

L-R Elsie; Julie Ann; Kenneth John; Jack

Donated by Jack Rhodes

43 Julie's 18th pg 43.jpg

Julie’s 18th Birthday

L-R: John; Alma; Carol;; Lilian; Iris; David D; Trevor; Grant; Julie; Kenneth Elsie; Dorreen; May; Jack; Kathleen; Liz; Eric; Keith D

Donated by Jack Rhodes

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