Thomas Barnes

Thomas Barnes or Barns was brought up in a cottage owned by the Duke of Norfolk in Gleadless, in the parish of Handsworth near Sheffield. Joseph Barns, Thomas’ father rented the cottage for 1/3 a year (sorry, that’s 1 shilling and 3 pence, the way we used to write it!). This was towards the lower end of the rents in that area but by no means the cheapest.

The reason we know this is because the Duke of Norfolk, being a Catholic, was liable to be fined or worse for his religious beliefs. Catholics had been fined for refusing to attend a Church of England church since the 1559 Act of Uniformity. After The Great Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, all Catholics had to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown. Those who refused (recusants) had to have their names and estates registered by the local Quarter Sessions. The Duke of Norfolk was in fact imprisoned in the Tower of London, but that’s another story …

As far as we’re concerned, the interesting thing about the Duke’s holdings in Handsworth (as well as our ancestor’s home) was that he owned a colliery. Both Thomas Barnes and his brother-in-law were colliers and mining was a major occupation in Gleadless, where they lived. In the eighteenth century it would be open-cast, small scale mining but it was the start of the mighty coal industry that would later power the Industrial Revolution.

Thomas married into a weaving family, but did not take up that business as far as we know. His bride Mary Parker lived with her sister Ann and their mother Alice. She had lost her father ten years previously so the three of them had to make their own way in the world.

Thomas and Mary had eight children over the next eighteen years. In 1776 when their youngest child was six, Mary passed away. No doubt Thomas would have had help with the younger children from his sister-in-law Ann who lived nearby.

Thomas died at the age of 56, four years after his wife.

Father of Alice Barnes and son of Joseph Barns

Baptised on 1 (?) January 1724 at Handsworth, Yorkshire

Married Mary Parker on 16 October 1752

Buried 28 September 1780

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