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Mary Richardson [r.]

Mary Richardson was the fourth child of Thomas Powell Richardson & Mary Wilson, born 1853 at Warden Law, Co Durham & christened November 6th, 1853.

In 1861 Mary was living at home at Warden Law Hill House, where her father was a farmer of 8 acres.

By 1871 she had moved with the family to Sun Inn, Houghton-le-Spring.

On November 26th, 1877 Mary married Robert Place*, a stone mason, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.   Robert was christened June 10th, 1849 at Houghton-le-Spring, the son of Catherine Harrison & Robert Place, a tailor. 

At the time of the 1881 census Mary was at her parents home in Houghton, the Sun Inn. With her were daughters Edith (2) & Elizabeth (recorded as Lilly in the census), aged 5 weeks. Two 5 year old girls (Mary & Annie Richardson) were also recorded living there – they were listed as daughters of Thomas but the following census in 1891 suggests that Mary was the daughter of Mary Place & that Annie was the daughter of Ellen Richardson, Mary's sister. There is a record of Mary Richardson being christened on January 5th, 1876, the daughter of Robert & Mary Richardson of Market Place, Houghton. Robert Place at the time of the 1881 census was visiting his brothers, sisters & parents, who also lived in the Market Place, Houghton.

In 1891 Mary & Robert, still a mason, were living at Mount Pleasant, Houghton-le-Spring with children Edith, Elisabeth (recorded as Eliza), Thomas (6), Ernest (3) & K(C)atherine (2). Also living with them was Mary Place (aged 15), now noted in the census as Mary’s daughter, who was working at a knitting shop.

In 1901 Robert, now a brick layer, & Mary were living in Ironside St, Houghton with children Thomas, Ernest & Kate (Katherine). Thomas was a bricklayers apprentice & Ernest was a grocers apprentice. Daughter Edith was living with her cousin Elizabeth Earnshaw (e.1.6.1) now married to Henry Wright at Stockton Terr, Ryhope. She was working as a housemaid.

In 1901 daughters Elizabeth (20) & Mary (25) were both living at ‘Lawns’, Wadhurst, Sussex where they were working as housemaid/parlour maid. There was no head of household listed on the 1901 census but there was a governess & 2 young children – Edward Fenwick Boyd, aged 10 & Ann Matthews Boyd, aged 12. These 2 children had been born at Houghton-le-Spring where they were living with their parents Robert Fenwick Boyd (a mining engineer) & his wife Annie in 1891. Robert Boyd died in 1892 (aged 40) in Romford, Essex so the family had moved south. Robert Boyd's widow Annie was at the home of her father Thomas Matthews, at Chigwell, Essex, at the time of the 1901 census. Presumably the Place girls had met the Boyd family while both were living as near neighbours in Houghton.

Interestingly close neighbours of Elizabeth & Mary at the time of the 1901 census at Wadhurst were the Newington family, which included Harry Newington, a 25 year old watch maker. Four years later on September 18th, 1905, Harry & Mary Richardson Place were to marry in Houghton! Mary’s father on the marriage certificate was given as Robert Place. Witnesses at their wedding included Mary’s brother Ernest & sister Katie. Elizabeth also found a husband-to-be in Wadhurst Charles William Smith, who she married in Houghton in 1902.

Marriage certificate of daughter Mary Place & Harry Newington

Son Thomas married Elizabeth Hall in September 1909 & they were to have 3 sons, James Robert, Thomas & Ernest.  Thomas was a bricklayer at Hetton Engine Works,  Hetton & Lambton Collieries.  Sadly Thomas was killed in action during WW1 on March 27th, 1918 while serving with the Durham Light Infantry in France. 

Robert & Mary were still at 12 Ironside St, Houghton in 1911 & Robert continued to be a bricklayer. At home were son Ernest, now a grocer's assistant & daughter Catherine. It was noted on the census that Mary & Robert had had 8 children, only 6 of whom were still alive. Son Thomas, his wife Elizabeth & son James Robert Place were living at 8 Ironside St, Houghton in 1911 & Thomas was a bricklayer.

Daughter Mary & husband Harry Newington had returned to Sussex by 1911 & were living in the High St, Wadhurst with their 3 year old daughter, Doris Isabel,& were to have 2 more daughters, Evelyn Mary & Gladys May.

Daughter Edith had married Thomas Henry Tough, a paper maker, in 1903 at Houghton & in 1911 they were living at 7 Grange Terrace, Grangetown, Sunderland with their 3 children Thomas Henry (6), Edith (3) & Mabel (7 months).

Daughter Elizabeth & husband Charles Smith were living at 15 Elizabeth St, Houghton-le-Spring in 1911. Charles was a sugar boiler in the confectionery trade & he & Elizabeth had 2 daughters Mary (5) & Elsie (2).

Robert died in July-September 1924, aged 75, his death being registered at Houghton.

Mary died on December 27th, 1926 at 12 Ironside St, Houghton.  Probate was granted in Durham on March 28th, 1927 to son-in-law Charles William Smith (husband of daughter Elizabeth),  retired confectioner.  Her effects were £347.10s.

Daughter Catherine, unmarried, was still living at 12 Ironside St at the time of the 1939 register. She continued to live there until her death in 1966.

The children of Mary Richardson & Robert Place were:

r. Mary Richardson (Place) born November 24th, 1875, christened January 5th, 1876 at Houghton; died Oct-December 1941 at Uckfield, Sussex
r. Edith Place born January 14th, 1879 & christened February 19th, 1879 at Houghton-le-Spring; died July-September 1943 at Sunderland
r. Elisabeth Place born February 25th, 1881, christened March 23rd, 1881 at Houghton-le-Spring
r. Thomas Richardson Place christened November 26th, 1884 at Houghton-le-Spring; died March 27th, 1918 in France
r. Ernest Place christened May 3rd, 1887 at Houghton-le-Spring; died Oct-December 1925 in Easington
r. (K)Catherine Place born December 16th, 1888 & christened January 15th, 1889 at Houghton-le-Spring; died March 6th, 1966 at Leehome Hospital, Easington

r. Eleanor Place christened September 8th, 1891 at Houghton-le-Spring; buried December 15th, 1892 at Houghton-le-Spring

r. Robert Place christened September 8th, 1891 at Houghton-le-Spring; buried January 28th, 1893 at Houghton-le-Spring

*Two nephews of Robert & Mary were casualties of the WW1 & are buried at Houghton Hillside Cemetery. James Place, son of Robert’s younger brother Joseph, was wounded in France during WW1 & died October 12th, 1916 at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. James, who was a Private in 6th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, was only 19 years of age. Frederick Henry Place, son of Robert’s younger brother Thomas, was a member of the Royal Garrison Artillery & died on February 4th, 1919, aged 28. Their deaths & those of 2 other local WW1 casualties buried at Houghton are a focus of commemoration each Remembrance Day at the Cemetery.


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