William Heath of Dairyhouse Bank Farm, Horton

William HEATH of Dairyhouse Bank Farm, Horton

In May of 2013 at the HEATH Reunion held at Endon, I was approached by Charlie HEATH, a retired Farmer from Longsdon near Gratton. He is distantly related to me & has been very helpful over the last few years in filling in the blanks & unravelling the HEATH tree in relation to the Horton area. (with eleven siblings of his own, I suspect he's had some practice over the years !)

He was holding an old, embossed hymn book; WESLEYS HYMNS published by the Methodist Preacher Rev. John WESLEY (1704-1791) and the hymns were mainly composed by his brother Rev. Charles WESLEY (1707-1788), which Charlie explained to me at one time would have been usually given to any children singing in the choir in local churches or chapels. This example was dated by an ink inscription inside the front cover for May 1871 to a William HEATH.

The book was in good condition, with gold ink on the edge of the pages but smelled wonderfully old, the pages just starting to yellow with age. The preface was written by the Rev. John WESLEY and was dated Oct 20th 1779 in London. The printing is rather small but beautiful with 719 pages. It was printed by: LEVEY & Co. of Great New St, Fetter Lane, E.C. (on the last page inside the back cover; they were based at London but were Bankrupt by May of 1864)

Charlie mentioned that he had been helping David WHEELDON to clean out the loft at Rudyard chapel a couple of years ago, (various items had migrated there from places like Horton church and Gratton chapel when it closed). He was sorting through the clutter when this book fell off a shelf in front of him, almost as if it wanted to be found (Charlie's words). Because his own father was also called William HEATH and the coincidence of the same name being on the inscription; the book wasn't thrown away with the rest but given to him for safekeeping. Mel MYATT had looked at the relevant dates & now wondered if the William HEATH mentioned inside the cover of the hymn book, would have been more likely to have been one of my ancestors rather than Charlies.
When I checked afterwards, there is a likely candidate; christened at Horton on 20 Dec 1860. I found that this William HEATH was the illegitimate brother of my Great Grandfather, Henry HEATH of Tomfields, Horton (1864-1955, he was also illegitimate; neither knew who their father was and there are no clues from the Birth Register or certificates). Their mother was Eliza Ann HEATH b.1844 of Dairyhouse Bank Farm, which is a short walk over the fields from Tomfields Farm at Horton.

Eliza Ann had ten siblings which as you can imagine, form a tree that is too large to list here but can be viewed at http://tomfields2014.tribalpages.com

Looking at the Census for that period in April 1860, an Eliza HEATH is found to be working as a servant at the Parsonage House, Horton for the Curate: William FOSTER and his wife, although she is listed as being from Leek. The Parsonage is situated a few yards opposite the lane leading to Horton church, within walking distance over the fields from Dairyhouse Bank Farm.

Her son William HEATH is listed at Dairyhouse Bank Farm in 1860 aged 4 mths, along with his Grand Parents but not his mother. On the Horton Birth Register, both William and Henry are born with Eliza Ann HEATH being listed as a Spinster; living with her parents at Dairy House Bank, Horton.
In 1869 she married a Charles WHISTON and by 1871 they are living at Red Street, Rudyard with a daughter Elizabeth Ann WHISTON b. 1869. (I'm told that this is near the present day Keeper's Cottage at Harper's Gate, Rudyard). Charles WHISTON dies in 1872.
Getting back to William HEATH, he next appears on the 1871 Census at Coneygreave Farm, Horton working as a servant for the CORBISHLEY Household. As with his mother, the trail goes cold with no trace on the Census or Death register thereafter. I'm informed that Henry HEATH always told people he was an orphan, so it's also possible that both William & his mother Eliza Ann died shortly after 1871, although there is no evidence of this.

Luckily for me, Henry (always known as Harry) HEATH is next listed on the 1881 Census,still living at Dairyhouse Bank Farm, Horton - working as a Wheelwright like his Grandfather George HEATH. (Some of his story is related on the Tomfield's page of this website)
Later on in 2014, I was shown a Wheelwright's compass owned by George HEATH at Dairyhouse Bank Farm and passed down by him to his Grandson Henry then to Henry's son Stephen and then Stephen's son Donald HEATH now of Wetley Rocks near Cheddleton.

I have no way of proving that the William HEATH in the hymn book is of my line, or indeed if I've got the history correct relating to Eliza Ann HEATH. At the moment it all seems to fit but it's surprising how things are not always as they appear and I've made some, (what I thought at the time, based on what was then known), logical conclusions in the past about families that have been proved to be completely and utterly wrong.

By Mark HEATH Jan 2015.