The Benton Family

Christopher Thomas HOWE

John William BENTON was born 24 October 1857 in Richmond, Victoria. He married Mary Agnes HOWE in 1886 in Richmond, Melbourne. This page covers the life of Mary's great-great-grandfather Christopher Thomas HOWE, born in Threlkeld, Cumberland in 1765 and who was the vicar of Glossop in the Peak District for 56 years. Christopher Howe married Sarah GREENHOW at Threlkeld in 1788. They had five children. The two older boys married and had extensive families - one in Manchester the other in Australia. The three younger girls did not marry, but lived together in Glossop all of their lives. Christopher, his wife Mary and their three daughters are buried in the churchyard at Glossop.

           |                    |
         Robert=====v=====Sarah COCKBAINE  Thomas GREENHOW==v==Sarah NELSON
       1706-1798  m:1759    1733-1806                       |
                    |                                       |
            Christopher Thomas=====v==================Sarah GREENHOW
                1765-1849        m:1788                 1761-1824 
                                 Robert                 Thomas Christopher   Sarah      Ann      Jane
                               1790-1867                    1793-1867      1796-1872 1798-1877 1801-1881
                                   |                            |              |         |         |
                                 m:1813                       m:1819
                              Esther WRIGHT               Hannah WILLIAMS
                               1787-1863                    1798-1864
     |------=--|---------|---------|---------|--------|         |---------|----------|----------|----------|-----------|------------|----------|------------|
  Edward     John      Sarah     Hannah   William   Joseph    Joseph Christopher  Rowland     Joseph     Henry      William      Matilda     Eliza        Edward 
1814-1889  1816-1886 1818-1855 1823-1824 1824-1896   1826-  1820-1821 1821-1860  1822-1897  1824-1851  1826-1899   1828-1900    1830-1874  1834-1905    1840-1900
    |          |         |         |         |        ?         |         |          |          |          |           |            |          |            |
    |          |                             |                       (Australia) (England) (Australia) (England) (New Zealand) (Australia) (England) (born Australia)
  m:1839     m:1847                        m:1858                       m:1849       |        m:1851 
  Hannah    Elizabeth                      Sarah                       Eleanor                 Mary  
  BROWN      BRADLEY                       LEES                        EMERSON                ROWAND
1817-1887  1823-1886                     1823-1865                    1820-1857             1823-1896
    |          |                             |                   |--------|           |---------|---------|--------|--------|-------|
                                                               Hannah  Thomas       Joseph    Agnes  Mary Agnes Charles   Fran   Theodore 
                                                                1850-  1855-      1852-1889 1853-1853 1854-1916  1857-  1859-1859  1861-
                                                                  |       |           |         |         |        |        |       |
                                                                                                     John William 
                                              John      Reginald James     Cecile   Dorothy Agnes  Cyril Frederick
                                            1888-1888     1889-1970       1891-1987  1893-1929        1896-1972
                                                |             |              |          |                |
                                                            m:1915         m:1918                      m:1926
                                                         Elizabeth Iris    George                       Alma
                                                            KEITH          PEARCE                      SPENCE
                                                              |              |                           |

Christopher Thomas HOWE

The transcribed parish records tell us that Christopher HOWE was baptised at the parish church at Threlkeld, Cumberland, on 19 August 1765. His parents were Robert HOWE and Sarah (COCKBAINE), farmers at High Row Farm, Threlkeld. We know nothing more about Christopher's early life until he married Sarah GREENHOW at Threlkeld Church on 24 August 1788. Christopher was just 23 and Sarah was 27. Sarah had been baptised in Greystoke, near Threlkeld on 18 April 1761, her parents were Thomas GREENHOW and Sarah NELSON.

Christopher must have obtained a good education as he first became a teacher but soon took to the ministry and was ordained at Rose Castle (near Carlisle) by the Lord Bishop of Carlisle . His first position in the church was the vicar at the small village of St-John's-in-the-Vale in Cumberland, the village his parents had come from and where his father had left a legacy of £20. From there he went to Newlands from where he officiated at Crosthwaite, another family seat. In 1793 he received his appointment through the Duke of Norfolk to the village of Glossop in the Peak District of Derbyshire, where he stayed for the next 56 years.

Threkeld Church where Christopher HOWE married Sarah GREENHOW on 18 April 1788.

High Row Farm in Threkeld.

Christopher and Sarah had five children:

NameBaptismDate of Death
Robert 5 July 1790: Threlkeld 27 March 1867: Stockport, Cheshire
Thomas Christopher 29 August 1793: Threlkeld 7 August 1867: Australia
Sarah 30 Dec 1796: Glossop Bur 21 December 1872; Glossop
Ann 28 July 1798: Glossop Bur 21 February 1877: Glossop
Jane born 3 August 1801: Glossop Bur 31 August 1881: Glossop

Christopher HOWE had a long association with Glossop and features in the parish records for many years. He was also attached to the parishes of Woodhead and Mottram, each a few miles out of Glossop.

All Saints Church, Glossop circa 1836 when Christopher HOWE was vicar. From Glossop Heritage site

All Saints Church, Glossop in 2023

All Saints Church, Glossop.

All Saints Church, Glossop.

Inside All Saints Church, Glossop showing Christopher HOWE was the vicar from 1793 to 1849.

All Saints Church, Glossop and Old Cross circa 1912.

All Saints Church, Glossop and Old Cross today.

In 1848 Rev Howe was a petitioner to the House of Commons on behalf of the Parish of Glossop for permission to establish a charity based on a donation by John Hague for the "benefit of the poor of the eight townships of Glossop". The "John Hague Charity" was valued at £248/8/10 which when invested was to provide £7/9 annually.

Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Volume 38, 1852, p225

The following newspaper story (from the English Lakes Visitor 14 January 1882) illustrates his history in Glossop, although it is not accurate in all aspects - Rowland was his grandson, not son:

1882 Newspaper story regarding Christopher HOWE at Glossop
Newspaper story regarding Christopher HOWE at Glossop - part 2

Sarah HOWE (née GREENHOW) died 17 November 1824 at the Vicarage in Glossop, and was buried at All Saints Church on 21 November 1824, aged 63.

Christopher HOWE died on 1 September 1849 at Glossop and was buried there on 7 September 1849. He had outlived his wife Sarah by 25 years. He did not leave a Will, so his daughter Sarah applied for probate from the Perogative Court of Lichfield, this being granted on 6 December 1849. He was survived by his three daughters (who all remained unmarried) and his two sons Robert and Thomas. Robert moved to Stockport whereas Thomas emigrated to Australia in about 1838.

Newspaper notice
Probate for Christopher HOWE to his daughter Sarah in December 1849
The Memorial

The story of Rev Christopher HOWE does not end here, it continues on in the local newspapers for many years. Soon after his death there were moves to solicit donations for the erection of a memorial to the vicar in the church at Glossop. Money was donated, Rowland HOWE (grandson) appointed himself treasurer and money trickled in.

Newspaper notice soliciting donations for a memorial

But... in 1861 (12 years later) a letter appeared in the local Glossop Record on 2 November 1861. It brought an astonishing response from Rowland HOWE:

Letter to the Glossop Record enquiring about the funds for the memorial.
(You can click on any image to get a large version.)

Rowland HOWE's reply

But the following week brought more letters....

Rowland HOWE's second reply

Letter to the Glossop Record from "another Meddler"

And there the matter rested, with Rowland HOWE grandson of the exalted vicar holding upwards of £20 (plus interest!) and no sign of the memorial. But Rowland did eventually succeed as this snippet from the Illustrated London News of 19 April 1873 tells. (And yes, that is 24 years after the Rev Howe's death...)

The memorial was finally delivered - 24 years later.
And the memorial itself...

Well, we visited All Saints Church Glossop in May 2023 to find the "family vault" and the "elaborate memorial stone of strictly ecclesiastical design". There are several elaborate family vaults in the churchyard but none for the HOWE family. After some searching (the parish is committed to "No Mow May" thus allowing the grass to grow tall) we found a diminutive stone with the name of Jane HOWE on it. It has an unusual cross on the top, which we considered might be "ecclesiastical" - more so as we had seen an almost identical stone on the grave of the late Minister at Crosthwaite Church, Keswick (where some of the HOWE family had been baptised and married and where Christopher had briefly officiated).

The stone at Glossop is badly weathered on one side (the side presumably commemorating Rev HOWE). The text on the reverse is also weathered but refers to "the said Rev C. HOWE" implying the weathered side indeed was for Rev C. HOWE. Rev Howe died in 1849 and the stone was erected in 1873. His youngest daughter Jane died in 1881, so her inscription was added eight years later. By that time only Rowland, the wayward "treasurer" was still alive, so maybe he arranged for the inscription for his aunt. Maybe there was a small sum left over from the public subscription...?

The memorial of "strictly ecclesiastical design" in the western corner of the churchyard.

The memorial for Jane HOWE, died 26 August 1881. (Click on any image for a larger version.)

The memorial showing the badly weathered side commemorating Rev. C. HOWE. In part it once read:
"In affectionate remembrance
of the late
Revd Christopher HOWE
for 56 years ? [vicar] of this parish
died ? [Sept 1 1849]
??? "

Close-up of the text for Jane HOWE.
Daughter of the said
who departed Aug 26 1881
80 years."

Return to top

The Children of Christopher HOWE and Sarah GREENHOW

Robert HOWE

Robert,the oldest child of Christopher and Sarah was baptised at Threlkeld on 5 July 1790. Robert became a draper and cloth merchant in Glossop but later moved to Stockport, near Manchester where he became a thread manufacturer. He married Esther WRIGHT at Stockport on 26 August 1813. Robert and Esther had six children:

NameBaptismDate of Death
Edward Wright b: 24 July 1814, Stockport
bap 26 Sept 1814: Glossop
7 Nov 1889, Campbeltown, Scotland
John b 23 Feb 1816, Stockport
bap 19 April 1818, Glossop
Dec 1886, Stockport
Sarah Ann b 2 March 1818 Stockport
bap 19 April 1818, Glossop
20 June 1855, Marple
Hannah Maria bap 25 May 1824
bap 29 Nov 1824, Glossop
bur: 8 Jan 1824; Stockport
William b 14 OCt 1824, Stockport: Glossop Jun 1896; Hayfield
Joseph bap 5 May 1826 St Mary. Stockport

Robert and Esther do not appear to be in the 1841 census. In 1851 and 1861 they were living in Queen St, Marple, Stockport.

1851 census for Robert HOWE at Queen St, Marple, Stockport

1861 census for Robert and Esther, still at Queen St, Marple.

Most of the children of Robert and Esther are difficult to track with certainty. Edward Wright HOWE became a tax inspector, married Hannah BROWN in 1839 in Stockport and had six children. They lived in many different towns before moving to Campbeltown in Scotland where Edward was the head tax inspector. They remained in Campbeltown, Hannah dying there in 1887 and Edward in 1889.
It appears that sons John and William became doctors, returning to Stockport to practice there. John married Elizabeth BRADLEY and they had seven children. John died in 1886. William married Sarah LEES in 1858 and they had two daughters before Sarah died, probably in 1865. William continued as a surgeon but by 1881 was in the Union Workhouse where he remained until his death, after 1891.

Esther HOWE (née WRIGHT) died at Marple on 16 January 1863 and was buried on 21 January at All Saints Church, Marple.

Burial for Esther HOWE.

Robert outlived Esther by four years, dying at Marple on 27 March 1867. He was buried at All Saints Church, Marple together with his wife Esther and their daughter Sarah Ann (who had died in 1855).

Burial record for Robert HOWE at Marple.

Memorial Inscription for Robert and Esther HOWE and their daughter Sarah Ann.

Return to top

Thomas Christopher HOWE

Thomas Christopher was baptised at Threlkeld on 20 August 1793. He married Hannah WILLIAMS at East Retford, Nottingham on 1 July 1819 but appears to have lived mostly in Derbyshire, near Glossop and was a draper. Thomas and Hannah had a large family of 10 children, but after Martha Ann was born in 1836 Thomas took some of his family off to Australia. He left behind Rowland and Eliza Ann to live with their grandfather, Rev Christopher HOWE and their three spinster aunts. Matilda lived with the WILLIAMS grandparents in Nottingham. Henry appears to have spent several years in California before returning to Glossop.

There is more about Thomas HOWE his emigration and life in Australia here.

Return to top

The three spinster daughters - Sarah, Ann and Jane HOWE

The three youngest children of Christopher and Sarah were born close together and lived all of their lives together. None married. All were baptised at Glossop by their father: Sarah (born 17 April, baptised 30 December 1796); Ann )born 27 July and baptised 28 July 1798) and Jane (born 3 August 1801 and baptised 5 September 1801).

1796 baptism record for Sarah HOWE at Glossop.

1798 baptism record for Ann HOWE at Glossop.

1801 baptism record for Jane HOWE at Glossop.

By the time of the 1841 census, Rev HOWE and his daughters had been joined by Rowland and Eliza Ann HOWE. These two were Christopher's grandchildren and had been left in Glossop when their parents, Thomas and Hannah had emigrated to Melbourne, Australia with their other nine children in about 1838. We do not know why Rowland and Eliza were left behind, but they lived the rest of their lives with their aunts, suggesting they may have had some incapacity.

1841 census for Rev Christopher HOWE at the Vicarage, Glossop

1851 census for the HOWE Sisters, together with Rowland and Eliza Howe. Hall St in Old Glossop has been renamed Manor Park Rd

1861 census for the HOWE Sisters, together with Rowland and Eliza Howe.

1871 census for the HOWE Sisters, together with Rowland and Eliza Howe.

Death of Sarah HOWE Sarah, the oldest sister died in mid December 1872 and was buried at Glossop Church on 21 December. Her sister Ann followed, dying in February 1877 and buried at Glossop on 21 February.

Burial for Sarah HOWE at Glossop.

Burial for Ann HOWE at Glossop.

Now Jane, the youngest of the three sisters was the Head of the household, NOT Rowland:

1881 census for Jane, the remaining HOWE sister, together with Rowland and Eliza Howe.

Death of Jane Jane HOWE, the last remainiing sister, died at Glossop on 26 August 1881 and was buried at Glossop on 31 August.

Burial for Jane HOWE at Glossop.

After Jane's death, Rowland and his sister Eliza were alone. At some point they moved out of the Old Manse at Glossop and to a property at Watson St, Gorton, Manchester. This area of Manchester appears to have undergone extensive redevelopment with Watson and many of the other streets on the 1891 census disappearing.

1891 census for Rowland and Eliza Howe, nowing living at Gorton, Manchester.

To complete the story, Rowland died in 1897 in Manchester and was buried in a public grave at Peel Green Cemetery, Salford, grave number AA/CE/4246. It is difficult to be sure what happened to his sister Eliza. There is an entry in the 1901 census for Eliza M HOWE that may be her and there is a death for an Eliza HOWE at CHORLTON in March 1905, aged 71 and a burial at Southern Cemetery, Manchester on 28 March 1905. This is likely to be Eliza Mary but we cannot be certain.

1901 census for an Eliza M Howe, living with the Howarth family at 1 Siddall St, South Manchester.

Siddall St, South Manchester today. No 1 has been demolished on the end of the row.

Return to top

Return to Robert HOWE page

Return to John Laybank Benton page

Last updated: 15 September 2023