The tombstones at St Paul’s Parish Church, Shipley have been re-sited against the perimeter wall. In this position they are very easy to examine and on several occasions I have been struck by the unique design which I have illustrated. It seems to be a geometrical proof of Pythagoras’s theorem. As a logo it would be highly appropriate for a mathematics teacher and, carelessly, I have always assumed that the grave marker was dedicated to Joseph Lee, a famous nineteenth century Heaton schoolmaster. This was completely wrong since the dates don’t fit at all. It seemed timely to establish exactly who was commemorated here. I believe I have now extracted most of the facts. In my story there are two men named Joseph Lee (father and son) and I shall label them sen. and jun. Joseph Lee sen. was variously a worsted manufacturer, a farmer, a woolstapler in Bradford and finally, after retirement perhaps, he became a farmer once more. It appears that the stone was principally intended to record two men:
In affectionate remembrance of Joseph Lee of Bradford who died Jan 10 1865 Aged 54 Years. Also of EA Barrett, Solicitor, Bradford who died April 6 1867 in the 53 year of his age
It seemed best to begin with EA Barrett since I had a profession which aids identification enormously. In the Lunds 1856 trade directory there was:
Edward Alexander Barratt, solicitor. Agent to Phoenix Fire Office etc. 3 Bridge St, r. Westfield House, Scholes, Cleckheaton
An earlier directory, Ibbetson 1850, also lists attorneys who include: ‘Barret, Edward Alexander; Charles Street’. Edward Alexander was born at Morton Banks, Bingley. He was mentioned in the Bradford Observer on several occasions in a purely professional capacity. In 1849 he was appointed Master Extraordinary of High Court of Chancery (whatever that means) and later, in connection with a case, his chambers are said to be at Hustler’s Buildings. He was admitted as a Freemason to Bradford’s Lodge of Hope in 1853, and he was certainly buried at St Paul’s, Shipley. The only slight puzzle was that his death took place in Newton le Willows and was registered in Warrington, Lancs. In his will he left an estate worth less than £450 to his wife.
It is Edward Alexander’s wife who provides some explanation of the tombstone dedication. She had been born Mary Matilda Lee and had been baptised at Holy Trinity, Low Moor in 1815, the daughter of Joseph Lee sen. & Judith Lee. Joseph gives his occupation as farmer. This is the record of her marriage in 1844 at St Peter’s Parish Church, Bradford.
Edward Alexander Barrett 30 Bachelor Father: John Barrett, solicitor
Mary Matilda Lee 29 Spinster. Father: Joseph Lee, woolstapler
The Joseph Lee on the tombstone cannot be Edward Alexander’s father in law but could easily have been a younger relative. Following their marriage Edward Alexander and Mary Matilda feature in the 1851 and 1861 censuses:
In 1851, Summerseat Place, Horton
Edward Alexander Barrett 36, Attorney & Solicitor b Bingley. Mary Matilda Barrett 35 b. North Bierley
In 1861, 95 Little Horton Lane.
Edward Alexander Barrett 46 b. Bingley. Mary M Barrett 46 b. Wibsey
The couple don’t seem to have had any children of their own but in 1861 a niece and a nephew are living with them. The niece is called Juliana and is 13 years of age. Edward Alexander died in 1867. By 1881 his widow is living, like me, in Heaton. Her address was 8 Heaton Grove, a very pleasant place. With her are a variety of nephews and nieces with the surname Smith including Juliana (32), and an unmarried 30 year old niece called Emma Lee. Both these two young ladies were born in America, possibly ‘Mass’. This is perfectly plausible since Bradford had strong links with Lawrence, Massachusetts, another textile town. Our last sight of her is at age 76 in the 1891 census when she is living with her sister Juliana Fairbanks in Manningham.
To explore the Lee family I looked again at the wedding record. As I knew Mary Matilda’s father was called Joseph Lee sen. He is easy to find three years earlier in the 1841 Bradford census:
Joseph Lee 65 woolstapler
Joseph Lee 20
Mary Lee 25
Juliana Lee 15
Charles Lee 15
Something illegible 10
I assume that Mary Lee is Mary Matilda Lee so immediately there is a second man, Joseph Lee jun., who must have been born around 1820. From the tombstone Joseph would be expected to have been born in 1811 but birthdates in the 1841 census are often imprecise. It is quite possible that there is a baptism record for him:
Wibsey Chapel 1810 Joseph son of Joseph Lee, Woodside, manufacturer
If this is correct, which I think it is, an older sister Emma is missing from the census record since she had already married. Wibsey is adjacent to North Bierley and Low Moor. Mary Matilda was to give both Wibsey and North Bierley as her places of birth. We can learn a little more about Joseph jun. from a death notice in the Bradford Observer in January 1865: ‘Joseph Lee, stuff finisher, Spring Row Manningham’. Lee is a common surname: the Lunds Directory of 1856 includes 20 but only one Joseph:
Joseph Lee 13 Infirmary St (no occupation is given)
Infirmary Street is in Manningham and not very far from Spring Row which still exists. Knowing of the importance in Freemasonry of squares and angles I wondered if this might explain Pythagoras. But Joseph Lee jun. wasn’t a freemason at Lodge of Hope although if Edward Alexander designed the gravestone he might have added the right-angled triangle on his own account. The last possible information about our man comes from the 1861 census. Emma born in the USA confirms it is the right family.
Joseph Lee 50 years, 148 Salt St Manningham, Stuff presser b. Yorks
Wife Eleanor 32 b. Ireland
Emma 10 b.USA
Theresa 1 b. Yorks
Salt Street still exists and is close to Infirmary Street and Spring Row. Stuff is worsted cloth, a Bradford speciality. Pressing it seems a bit of a come down for a woolstapler’s son perhaps. Bradford had a large Irish community so having an Irish wife is no problem although they may equally well have met in the US since I cannot find their marriage in the Bradford records. Could Joseph have been travelling in the US on his father’s account when Emma was born? What the relationship between Joseph Lee and Edward Alexander Barrett might have been is pure speculation but ‘in death they were not divided’.
Can we make any progress with the other people commemorated?
In memory of Alfred William Lee, Of Bradford who departed this life Nov 16 1858 aged 27 years. Also of Annette Matilda Pickles The beloved daughter of Joseph & Emma Pickles, niece of the above who departed this life Jan 26 1861 In the 18 year of her age
Also of Annette Matilda Pickles Who died Dec? 1871 aged 18 months
They would all seem to have been related to Mary Matilda Barrett (born Lee), 1815-1898, whose parents (you will remember) were Joseph Lee and Judith Lee. They had a large family and the members important in this search were:
Joseph Lee (1810-65)
Mary Matilda Lee
Juliana Sophia Lee, born Ghent, Belgium
Alfred William Lee, born France
In 1836 Joseph Pickles, cordwainer, married Emma Lee at the Bradford Parish church. Emma was a child of Joseph and Judith Lee born in 1813 and baptised at Cleckheaton although Joseph sen. stated that he was a worsted manufacturer of Woodside Wibsey. Annette Matilda Pickles was the daughter of Emma and Joseph born in 1843 according to the tombstone. In the 1851 census she was living with her grandparents. I’m not sure why this was since her parents reappear in the 1871 census, a decade after her death in 1861.
24 Spring Row, Manningham
Joseph Pickles 57 Cordwainer
Emma Pickles 57 Wife
Emily S 26 unm Book-binder Daut
Herbert C 24 mar Stuff warehouseman Son
Eliza L 23 mar Daut
Annette M Pickles 10/12 Grandd
Mary J Lee 11 Scholar Niece
Sadly the 10 months old baby was to die within a few months and is also buried in Shipley. In 1849 the Bradford Observer recorded that at Halifax Parish Church a Joseph Fairbanks married Juliana Sophia, youngest daughter of Mr Joseph Lee, Wester Croft, Halifax. Despite the change of wife the address confirms this record from the 1851 Census.
7 Wester Croft, Shelf
Joseph Lee 65 Head Farmer of 20 acres b. N.Bierley
Judith Lee 59 Farmer’s wife b. Idle
Alfred William Lee 19 Son b. France (British Subject)
Annett Matilda Pickles 7 Granddaughter b.Manningham
So I think I have identified Alfred William Lee and the elder Annette Matilda Pickles from the tombstone. There is plenty of work left to do if a dedicated family historian were to develop an interest in this family.