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Home page Introduction to a book about the
Blaymires family of Bradford
Family tree
The book "When they got there the Cupboard was Bare"
was written by Annette Kerr and was published in 1976
in Greymouth, New Zealand.
The book gives histories of the families of three sons of George and
Sarah Blamires - John, Joseph and Robert who settled in New Zealand.
These are the first few paragrphs of Part One.

The Bradford Schoolmaster

During the latter half of the eighteenth century in a Yorkshire village called Eccleshill lived one John Blaymires.   He was the village school teacher, a man of some education but probably few means, loved by his friends but not followed by his family.   In that far-off time, livelihoods for the moderately educated were few unless they were members of the Established Church, and he was a dissenter.   The rural scene as he looked upon it from Ecclesfield, near Bradford, was deceptively tranquil.   The lives of many rural people were undermined by enclosures and the rights of the commoners were threatened by the interests of the landowners, while the State gazed on unconcerned.   People such as John, who had some education and few vested interests, cannot have remained ignorant of or unmoved by the trends of the times, and the more thoughtful such as he were fertile ground for travelling messengers of dissension.

When John Blaymires was in his late teens, a young Yorkshireman, Captain James Cook, returned from the South Seas a national hero.   When he was a young man, revolutions in America and France shook the foundations of political thought, while at home the success of the earliest steam engines and mechanical gadgets (some of which were invented by dissenters) were ready to revolionise society.   By the time the bells bravely rang out the new century, John and his wife Mary had produced two young daughters and a son, George.   Just before he would have completed his alloted span, John died, and was carried to the Indepenent Chapel Yard and laid under a slab inscribed as follows:

  "Sacred to the memory of John Blaymires
  More than forty years schoolmaster in this town
  Who departed this life on the 16th day of September 1823
  In the 66th year of his age.
  He was a Man distinguised by his Industrious Habits,
  Affability of Manners, and Integrity of Conduct,
  And was much respected by a numerous circle of acquaintances."

A Glimpse of George and Sarah

Of George's life we know little. He may have been a stonemason. The only personal recollections are bitter ones from a daughter-in-law who inferred that their family "could have had all that," meaning Manningham, "if they had behaved themselves." George and his wife came and went from this life in a span of fifty years, but in that time the Blaymires saw further changes in English life that were to crumble the already weak foundations of the family.

The prosperity of the Blaymires was inversely related to the growth and prosperity of Bradford.

Then follows descriptions of the rapid development of Bradford during the industrial revolution from "Encyclopedia Britannica" and by Wordsworth.

George and Sarah had at least been able to educate their family themselves or keep them at home long enough to get some schooling at a time when the children of the less fortunate worked in coal mines and woollen mills.   When they finally joined John and Mary under the slab, they left behind nine offspring, including two married sons and three lads between 15 and 11.