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THE STORIES OF AMANDA HAIGH AND HER SISTER IN LAW HANNAH HAIGH

 

Amanda Haigh was born Amanda Cooper in Ireland in 1796. She arrived in Manchester in 1829 and it was there she met Edmund Haigh of Todmorden. Edmund was a son of Edmund and Fanny Haigh who lived most of their married lives on Roomfield Lane in Todmorden. He left home at the age of 14 years and worked mainly on the boats on the Rochdale Canal or in the warehouses. He had been twice married when he met Amanda, both his wives having died very young.

Amanda and Edmund married on the 14th February 1830 at Manchester Cathedral, and remained living in Manchester for upwards of 10 years, producing four sons. Soon after 1841 they moved to live in Bacup in the Township of Newchurch. Sadly for Amanda, Edmund died in Bacup in 1845 leaving her with the four small boys. She was forced to claim Parish Relief in order to support her family, and received a total of 18 shillings before the overseers realised she had no legal entitlement to relief from that township.

In 1845, the Magistrates ordered her and her children to be removed from Bacup to Todmorden, which happened to be her late husband's legal place of settlement. This was a dreadful situation for Amanda, who had never lived in Todmorden, had no friends there, and may even never have visited the place. She appealed against the decision of the Magistrates, and the following witness statements are those taken at the time by the local overseers. The first is Amanda's own statement, and the second is a statement by Edmund's sister, Hannah. They are transcriptions of the original documents.

 

Amanda Haigh, widow of Edmund Haigh deceased, at present residing in Bacup in the township of Newchurch in the county of Lancaster.

The said Amanda Haigh upon her oath sayeth as follows:

I am the widow of Edmund Haigh deceased to whom I was married at the Collegiate Church of Manchester fifteen years ago next month. My husband was a widower at the time of our marriage and had been twice married before. I had been living in Manchester 9 months before and up to the time of our marriage. The copy register produced by the said Joseph Clegg of the marriage of Edmund Haigh and Amanda Cooper at the Parish Church of Manchester on the fourteenth day of February 1830 has reference to the marriage of my late husband and myself. My husband was a boatman on the canal from Todmorden to Rochdale. I have 4 children by my said late husband all born in lawful wedlock; namely Reuben aged 13 years, William aged 11 years, George aged 8 years and Thomas aged 5 years, all of whom, together with myself, are residing in and chargeable to the said township of Newchurch. I applied to the said Joseph Clegg for relief in consequence of not being able, by the earnings of myself and children, to support my family, and he has given me money at different times amounting altogether to 18 shillings. My late husband never did any act to gain a settlement in his own right to my knowledge or belief, but I always understood that he belonged to the township of Todmorden and Walsden in right of his father's grandfather. My husband died in Bacup in the township of Newchurch three months ago.

 

signed Amanda Haigh

sworn before us:

William Gray

Wm. Turner

 

Hannah Walton, widow, sister of the late Edmund Haigh deceased.

The said Hannah Walton upon her oath sayeth as follows:

I am 62 years of age. My maiden name was Haigh and I was sister of Edmund Haigh, the late husband of the pauper Amanda Haigh. We are the children of Edmund and Fanny Haigh both of whom are now dead. I recollect my grandfather, John Haigh, who then lived at Gauxholme within the township of Todmorden and Walsden and was in the wood trade.   My father and mother lived at a place called Roomfield, which is situate within the township of Langfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire, which township adjoins the said township of Todmorden and Walsden.

 

We, the children, including my said brother Edmund, were brought up at Roomfield and in Roomfield Lane, which is also situate within the said township of Langfield. My father and mother continued to live in Roomfield Lane up to the time of my mother's death, which is somewhere about 21 years ago.

 

My mother was confined to her bed wholly or in part for 6 years before her death in consequence of a rheumatic complaint. I recollect my father leaving home to go to a town's meeting at Todmorden to ask for relief soon after my mother began to be unwell. From that time she had 6 shillings a month allowed by the Overseer of Todmorden. The money was paid every month at the Royal George public house. My father used to attend at the above place and receive the money. I can speak to his bringing money home when he came back from time to time from the Royal George. I do not recollect who was the Overseer of Todmorden at that time, but Robert Greenwood was afterwards the Overseer of that Township. Shortly after Greenwood came into office I recollect him calling to see my mother. I was present at the time. I heard him say he was the new Overseer of Todmorden. He asked my mother how she was. She let him look at her hands and told him how she was afflicted. He said he thought she should have above 6 shillings a month and that he would allow her 8 shillings a month. That sum was paid during the time that Robert Greenwood remained Overseer. I don't remember how long that was or whether it was more than a year or not.

Shortly afterwards, before he went out of office, he called one day at our house. He said he had been to see another family who was poorly and that it was the day before payday he might as well pay my mother. He paid her 8 shillings for a month's allowance in my presence. My mother was then ill in bed and he paid the money down upon the bed. I took it up and put it into a drawer till my sister came home. I was married at that time but lived at home. Greenwood said he was going out of office. John Shackleton succeeded him as Overseer of Todmorden. He came to visit my mother after he came to office and before he paid anything. I was present. He said he thought 8 shillings a month was too much and that 7 shillings would be enough. 7 shillings a month was paid after that time, which my father received at the Royal George as before.

 

My mother died at Roomfield Lane. My father went to inform the Overseer of Todmorden of her death. He brought 8 shillings back with him, which I saw him give to my sister. Her coffin was made by James Scholfield, who made coffins for the township of Todmorden and Walsden. My father did not pay anything for the coffin or dues.

 

I have often heard my father say he belonged to Todmorden and Walsden through his father where settlement was there. My late brother, Edmund, never did any act to gain a settlement to my knowledge or belief. He left home when he was about 14 years of age and was married to his first wife before he was 19. He never was an apprentice or hired man, but has principally been employed as a boatman or carrier and warehouseman. He never occupied property of the value of £10 a year. He retained his parental settlement in Todmorden and Walsden up to the time of his death.

 

At the time my father and mother were living in Roomfield Lane I had the misfortune to have a chance child. When I was pregnant the Overseer of Langfield came to the house and wished my father and mother to remove me into the township of Todmorden and Walsden in time, so that he might have no trouble with me. I accordingly went to my aunt Susannah Greenwood at Gauxholme within Todmorden and Walsden, where I was delivered. My uncle, James Haigh, was the Overseer of Todmorden and Walsden. He called at our house in Roomfield Lane before I was removed and wished me to be taken to Todmorden and Walsden in time, that there be no unpleasantness. He afterwards knew of my being taken into that township and lying in there.

 

The mark of Hannah Walton

Sworn before us:

William Gray

William Turner.

 
 

Amanda lost her appeal and was removed from Bacup to GAUXHOLME WORKHOUSE in Todmorden. She had a wretched life in Todmorden, dying there in 1874 at the age of 78 years. There is more about Amanda in the Gauxholme workhouse story.

 

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