William Moss

Coal miner

Sarah Kyte

By Kevin Knifton
27th May 2021
Updated 11th September 2023

In his diary, Joseph Moss recorded on 23rd November 1856 that ‘at four o’clock in the afternoon, Mary wife of Robert Moss was delivered of a son and they called his name William’. Born in Smalley, Derbyshire, William was the fifth child of Robert and Mary Moss. He was baptised on 6th June 1858 at St John the Baptist’s Church.

William grew up in Smalley where in 1859 he suffered an accident. His grandfather Joseph recorded in his diary on 21st May 1859 ‘a little boy, son of Robert Moss, about 2½ years old, was accidently dreadfully burnt at Smalley, but we are happy to add that he is in a fair way for recovery’. By 1871, like is father, older brother Ira and older sister Louisa, he was working as a framework knitter.

In 1880 William Moss married Sarah Woolley (née Kyte). Sarah was born in September 1853, one of twelve children and the eldest daughter of Thomas and Jane Kyte. When she married William, Sarah was a widow. Her first marriage was to Charley Woolley on 5th October 1874 at St Matthew’s Church, Morley - Sarah and Charlie lived at Smalley Common where they had a son Henry born on 19th February 1875 and a daughter Octavia Jane born on 14th June 1876. However, 14 days later on 28th June, Charley was involved in an accident at Mapperley Colliery.

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In his diary Joseph Moss wrote ‘Charley Woolley, a promising, well conducted young man, aged 23, was accidentally killed in a coal pit at Sion Hill in the Parish of Mapperley. He was a member of No. 34 Lodge of the Albion Order of Odd Fellows and a number of the members attended the Funeral. He was well respected and much lamented by all who knew him and he has left a wife and two small children to mourn his loss.’ Charley was buried in the churchyard of the Baptist Chapel, Smalley, and the inscription on his headstone included ‘Farewell dear Wife I’m gone before, my cares for you can be no more, but mercy show and pity take, and love my children for my sake’.

William and Sarah’s first child, Joseph, was born in February 1881. The family continued to live in Smalley, together with Sarah’s daughter Octavia Jane Woolley, with William working as a coal miner.

Their second child Walter was born July 1884. He was followed by twins John and Robert in November 1885, and Charles William in 1887.

Between 1887 and 1890, the family moved to Bowers Allerton near Great Preston, in Yorkshire, where William and his brother James worked as coal miners. In February 1890, William and Sarah’s sixth child James Arthur was born.

After six sons, William and Sarah’s first and only daughter, Mary Annie, was born in January 1893. Later in the same year, their six year old son Charles William died. In October 1894, their last child, William Thomas, was born.

Between 1894 and 1901, William and Sarah returned to Smalley. At the time of the census, the family were living at Glendon Row, with William working as a coal hewer.

By 1911 the family had moved to Hayes Cottage at Smalley Common, West Hallam, and aged 57, William was still working as a coal miner at Mapperley Colliery.

refresh your browser... Sarah Moss (centre), with daughter Mary Annie Bowmer (top left), and granddaughter Elizabeth Beardsley Bowmer (front) c. 1930

William Moss died on 5th May 1936 aged 79, and Sarah Moss died on 12th February 1941 aged 87. Both William and Sarah were buried in the churchyard at St John the Baptist’s Church, Smalley.

refresh your browser... ‘Loving Memories of William Moss, at Rest May 5th 1936, aged 79 years. Also of his wife Sarah, at rest Feb. 12th 1941, aged 87 years. “Peace perfect peace.”’

William and Sarah Moss were my great-great-grandparents.