In trying to piece together the life of John Spooner III I have had an inordinate amount of difficulty trying to trace Hannah Bramhall, his wife. There were three candidates: for the first, I found a more plausible marriage in Penistone, where she was born. The second hopeful was from Beighton, where I found birth records of all her siblings, but not one for her.
And the third was a widow who had married a Mr Bramhall, but the whole story seemed a bit far-fetched and strained. Hannah Bramhall gave her age on her marriage licence as 20. She could have been lying about her age, or she could well have been a widow at the age of twenty. Somehow it just doesn’t ring true.
Sadly, then, a dead end on that side of the family.
The Spooners, though, were well-established in Sheffield. We’ve traced them back to 1668, when one Thomas Spooner’s daughter Sara was baptised. A relative, George Spooner, was a churchwarden. Perhaps their surname was a reflection of their trade. Did they make spoons as well as knives?
So John III was born into a family of skilled workers. He was the third-generation John Spooner to be a cutler. Sheffield was, of course, famous for cutlery right back to the days when Robert the Cutler was assessed for tax in 1297. It is still available today, made in Sheffield for the luxury market.
At the time when John III was working, the cutlery business would still probably have been carried on at home with a workshop attached to the house. Changes were coming with the development of the steel industry and the introduction of plating technology. The silver Assay Office was founded in Sheffield during John’s working life. He may have worked with these new silver-plating processes.
His son, our ancestor Thomas, branched out into a different area of cutlery making, but that’s another story ….
Father of Thomas Spooner and son of Lydia and John Spooner II
Baptised John Spooner on 21 October 1731 at Sheffield, Yorkshire
Married Hannah Bramhall on 11 May 1753
Buried 8 May 1791