Mary Buckle is my great, great grandfather’s second oldest sister.

She was born in 1817 in the village of Sinderby, North Yorkshire which is part of the parish of Pickhill. Mary was baptised in Pickhill parish church on 15th June 1817.

In 1838, Mary gave birth to a son, John who was baptised in the parish church at Pickhill on 25th November 1838.

When the 1841 census was recorded, John lived with his grandmother in Pickhill. Mary was employed as a servant for the Jackson family in the village of Whixley about twenty miles from Pickhill.

By 1851, Mary’s mother had died and her oldest brother, William, had emigrated to Australia. Mary re-located to the village of Thornton-le-Beans near Northallerton where she was employed as a farm labourer and was the head of her own household. She had two daughters, Hannah and Elizabeth.

Hannah Buckle was born in Thirsk in 1842 and Elizabeth Buckle was born in South Otterington in 1846. But unfortunately, both girls died in Thornton le Beans in 1851.

What happened to Mary’s first born child, John Buckle, is a mystery. It’s possible that he lived a long life, was married, had two children and worked as a cow keeper in the village of Snape about eight miles from Pickhill but the records are inconclusive.

In 1852, Mary Buckle was married to Leonard Foster in the town of Thirsk.

Leonard Foster was born in 1816 in South Otterington which is about ten miles north of Pickhill. In 1841 he still lived with his parents in South Otterington and was employed as an agricultural labourer. 1851 finds Leonard still working as an agricultural labourer in South Otterington but residing with the village blacksmith, Thomas Smart, and his family.

The fact that Mary’s third child was born in South Otterington hints at a connection between Mary and Leonard prior to their marriage. But I can’t find anything in the records and by 1861 Mr and Mrs Foster had set up home together in South Otterington. Leonard was now employed as a railway platelayer and they had two children, Robert aged five and William aged three.

Robert Buckle continued to live with his parents in South Otterington where, as a young man, he was employed as a gardener. The 1891 census records him visiting relatives with his wife, Elizabeth. He had changed employment and worked as a railway labourer. The relatives Robert and Elizabeth were visiting were the Armins of Thornton le Moor. Robert’s uncle William had married Jane Armin in 1837.

I’ve been unable to find out anything about William Buckle and speculate that, like Mary’s two daughters, he died in childhood.

Twenty years later, Leonard and Mary still lived in South Otterington and, now aged sixty eight, Leonard was still employed as a railway platelayer. An old map of 1856 shows that the route of the Leeds Northern Railway passed through Pickhill. There’s an interesting account of the history of the line on this webpage about North Eastern Railways. Plenty of work for Leonard and other former agricultural labourers in railway construction and maintenance.

When the 1891 census data was collected, Mary was once again the head of the household as Leonard had died leaving her a widow living on her own means. She shared the house with another son, Thomas, and a grandson John Thomas.

Thomas was born in 1862 and attended school in the neighbouring village of Thornton-le-Moor. He moved to Anston which is only a couple of miles from the villages where two of his uncles lived (Harthill and Aston). He worked as a groom and lived with the Littlemore family. In 1881 Thomas married Annie Littlemore and their son John Thomas was born in 1883. It seems that Annie died which caused Thomas to return to his mother’s home. 1891 Thomas was working as a railway platelayer for the North Eastern Railways which was the same job as his father had. He was a member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants from 1894 to 1897 after which he fell into arrears and was excluded from the union. After that the trail goes cold but Thomas’ son, John Thomas, still lived in South Otterington where, in 1901, he was employed as an agricultural horseman at Moor House Farm.

A Mary Ann Foster died in 1891 and was buried in the cemetery at Kirby Wiske just a couple of miles away from South Otterington. Maybe this was my ancestor, maybe not but I think you’ll agree that Mary Foster nee Buckle and her family had interesting lives.