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Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates
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Author:  Ruth [ Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

It seems I'm still not quite ready to give up on this fascinating strand!

Maurice's recent comment that Field Marsh Yates is thought to have been one of a rapid series of single 'pauper' burials would seem to provide further evidence for an epidemic in Blackburn in 1863.

I think I am right in thinking that a 'pauper burial' means burial 'on the parish' (i.e., without charge to the individual's family). Suarrow, as a Chelsea Pensioner (Army Discharge record, 1849; 1861 census entry) would not have been a pauper in the generally understood sense of the term; as a pensioner he would have been relatively well off. However, if an epidemic was raging there would be good reason for the parish to step in and arrange rapid 'free' burials for Suarrow and the other unfortunate people whose remains are now thought to lie under the cemetery path.


Author:  MauriceFfelan [ Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

We could be wrong about this string of burials but they do seem to be in line with practice for 'pauper' funerals at that time. I wonder if fear of infection might possibly be the reason for those graves getting covered with a path to ensure the graves were not reopened later? Just a guess? I realise in terms of assured income 'Field Marshal' Yates would have been better off than many of his peers but this does not mean that he would necessarily have had any accrued savings to pay for his burial, especially given a possible penchant for drink as indicated by his service record?
I do not know what Higher Eanam where he died might have been like in 1863 but I suspect it was probably already a fairly wretched area of slum dwellings hemmed in by mills and the canal. I t has long since been cleared. Was he not at one time described as a 'lodger' in a census before he died.

We perhaps need to do a bit of research at our end in the local library microfiche copies of the papers (not digitised) to look for any record of his death and the 'epidemic'?


Author:  Gloria [ Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

Could it possibly be that there were so many people dying that the burials were all done in a hurry to try to stop the spread of disease. Maybe they were done on at least a daily basis, and unless they were people of note, they were all in together, quickly. This doesn't however answer why they were classed as paupers graves.

Back to my sideways search in Altham, the census' came up with nothing.

Author:  MauriceFfelan [ Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

It is only our surmisal that these were 'paupers' graves as they seem to have followed the pattern of other such burials at the time. A single burial with no further family members. In the early days after a long gap the grave was clearly sold to as a family as plot. Such graves tended to be in sections which were currently in use for most burials, (like CE K where Mr Yates is buried) Later on there seems to have been a shift in policy on 'pauper' burials which tended to be in more outlying parts of the cemetery with graves quickly being filled up filled up with single unrelated burials.
There is certainly nothing in the records to designate any 'pauper's burial but it becomes apparent which were.
Any epidemic would in any case (then as now) have been likely to have hit hardest poor people who lived in the worst conditions with poorest nutrition and the least access to health care. I have also realised that 1863 was at the height of the 'Cotton Famine' when there was great distress in Blackburn. The area round where Mr Yates was living was especially deemed to be in need of relief.


Author:  Ruth [ Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

I have found this topic so very interesting - thank you Maurice and Gloria - that this morning I have ordered Suarrow Yates' death certificate. (Up until now I have been very strict about only ordering certificates for people who are on my direct lines of descent.) I'll obviously share the news about his cause of death as soon as I know it!


Author:  MauriceFfelan [ Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

Another probably tangential line (and very possibly a red herring to boot!) Gloria mentioned James Yates of Yate Bank. Quite by chance I came across a photograph of the gravestone of a John Yates of Yate Bank who died 9th May 1831 aged 57. The stone lies in the closed churchyard of St Peter in Blackburn, soon to be dug up for a new bypass. Apparently file is too big to add to this thread but I dare say there is some way I can transmit it?


Author:  Gloria [ Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

Can you email it to Mel? She would be able to add it. Mel can do all things technical.

Author:  Mel [ Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

Adding image at the request of Maurice :) (Gloria, you are too kind and possibly a little misguided! :shock: )

YATES_John_St_Peters.jpg [ 131.4 KiB | Viewed 2953 times ]

Author:  Gloria [ Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

Brilliant thanks Maurice.
Mel as far as I am concerned YOU can do all things technical, and in the unlikely event that's wrong, well, you know someone who can. :wink:

Author:  Ruth [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

In impressively quick time (thank you to Blackburn Registrars Office) I have today received the death certificate of Field Marshall Suarrow Yates. I now feel sorry that I originally chose 'Just for Laughs' as a fitting place to post an item about him.

Field Marshall Suarrow Yates senior did indeed come to a sorry end - but not the one we have been speculating about.


1863, Deaths in the District of Blackburn in the County of Lancaster

When [and where] died: Thirtieth November 1863, Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Blackburn

Name and Surname: Field Marshall Suwarrow Yates

Male, 56 Years

Rank or Profession: Laborer in a Foundry

Cause of Death: Found drowned. No Evidence to prove how drowned

Signature, Description and Residence of Informant:
Information received from Henry Unsworth Hargreaves, Deputy Coroner for Lancashire.
Inquest held 1st December 1863

When Registered: Seventh December 1863

Signature of Registrar: William Barlow Fairbrother, Registrar


It is perhaps fitting that my duplicate certificate was signed by Julie Aspin (Deputy, Superintendent Registrar) as Aspin was the maiden name of Agnes Yates, the wife of James Yates, Blacksmith, the likely great grandfather of Suarrow (see earlier post).

I feel sure that Suarrow's death would have been reported in the local paper. However, I could find nothing using Findmypast to access the National Newspaper Archive. Very frustratingly, there are editions online of the Blackburn Standard of 2nd, 16th and 23rd December 1863. I have looked through the first two of these without success. The obvious edition for a report or even just a death notice would be that of 9th December - but this one is missing from the online collection!


Author:  Ruth [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

It seems I didn't try hard enough earlier as there is in fact a report on Suwarrow senior's death in the Blackburn Standard of 2nd December 1863, page 2, column 4. Following my previous post, I tried Genes Reunited (for which I don't have a subscription that would let me read newspaper pages, but it did show me that Suarrow's death was reported in both the Blackburn Standard on 2nd December and also, more briefly in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser of 5 December 1863, page 8, column 5, under Blackburn.

Maurice was right to have drawn attention to Suarrow's earlier drinking habits. The Blackburn Standard report reads as follows:

MAN DROWNED IN THE CANAL – a labourer named Suwarrow Yates, aged 56 years, who lived in Eanam, was found in the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Whittaker Bridge on Monday afternoon. It appears that the deceased had been drinking for three or four days, and left his lodgings on Wednesday morning last. He was not seen alive after that date. An inquest was held on the body yesterday, when the jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

I note that his date of death on his death certificate is given as 30th November (which was a Monday in 1863). According to the newspaper report he had not been seen alive after leaving his lodgings on the previous Wednesday (25th November), so his death might actually have occurred any time after that.


Author:  Gloria [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

Well done Ruth. I have found the 9th Dec 1863 paper on britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk but you have found the report elsewhere.
Sad ending to your tale.

Author:  MauriceFfelan [ Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

It has taken someone living in North London to find a report in a Blackburn newspaper! Well done Ruth! I still had not got round to visiting the local history section in our library!
I had suspected poor Mr Yates probably had a fairly inglorious death but had not expected anything quite so sad. Whilst I would have expected his death in those circumstances to get reported locally it does surprise me that it made a Manchester newspaper? I think our Friends group should perhaps attempt to commemorate him somehow in the cemetery though we are by no means certain just where is grave lies as it is not even marked on the grave plans.
Incidentally The Leeds and Liverpool Canal bridge at Eanam Wharf marks the boundary between the Eanam and Higher Eanam where Mr Yates was in lodgings so maybe he drowned very close to home. However, I do not know of a Whittaker Bridge in Blackburn (and Google offers no clue to any such past bridge). Whittaker Street in Blackburn is nowhere near Eanam or the canal.

Maurice Ffelan

Author:  Ruth [ Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Private soldier: Field Marshall Suarrow Yates

A day at the National Archives in Kew has provided me with some additional information about Field Marshall Suarrow Yates.

We already knew that the full name Field Marshall Suarrow Yates appeared on his Army discharge papers in 1849. I can now confirm, as suspected, that this was already his full name at the time of his enlistment in 1828 (even though his baptismal record includes only the first name Souharrow).

At Kew, I was able to access the monthly regimental muster rolls for the first part of his career. (I will track the second part of his career some other time.) Interestingly, Suarrow is always entered as Yates, F.M.S (or FMS Yates) - whereas everyone else is entered using their surname and Christian name. I think we can assume from this that our man was always known as FMS (which must have been a relief all round!).

I have also previously found on Ancestry, SMS [sic, presumably mistranscribed] Yates as a witness at the marriage of Jacobus (James) Power at Enniskillen on 7 Feb 1833. James Power appears with FMS Yates in regimental muster rolls - and interestingly both men are described as blacksmith on their discharge papers.

I also previously identified Suarrow and his family in the 1851 census, living at Cleaver Street in Blackburn. I found Suarrow by searching on his wife and children's names as he was entered as John Yates, married, 43, labourer Foundry, born Sabden. Although the handwriting on the census page clearly gives the name John, it seems very plausible that this was actually a fair copy of the 'name' FMS (approximately the same length and similar in shape).

I will save for a separate post (some time soon) the details of where Suarrow (or FMS) was serving at different points in his career.


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