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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Mary Flint from Middleton, and the sad story of a fatal accident

Ari’s 6x great-grandmother, Mary Flint, was born on 23 August 1791 in Middleton By Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Her parents were William Flint and Hannah Godbehere, and she was baptised in Wirksworth on 14 September.

On 16 September 1813, Mary married a leadminer called William Brelsford:

Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1932. Original data Derbyshire Church of England Parish Registers, Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock, Derbyshire, England.

The 1841 census shows Mary living at Hillside, Middleton.

Also in the house with Mary and her husband William are six of their nine children: William (15), a leadminer like his father; Ruth (15; Ari’s ancestor – see her story); Celia (14); Hannah (12); John (8); and Edmund (6). All of their neighbours are also leadminers.

Mary died a week before her fifty-fifth birthday. The cause of death was “inflammation of the bowels, certified”, and her husband William was present at the death. She was buried on 19 August 1846 at the churchyard in Wirksworth.

Three years after Mary’s death, her daughter Celia married Ralph Hallows, a driver of railway wagons on the Cromford and High Peak railway.

In 1854, a fatal accident occurred on the Middleton incline, as the train was going to Whaley Bridge.

Ralph was killed and a passenger was seriously injured. Afterwards, an investigation took place at the Miners’ Standard in Middleton, reported in the Derbyshire Courier on 14 October. Henry Roper gave evidence that Ralph “was a sober man, but [I] cannot say if he had liquor on the day he was killed … The carriage carried passengers and parcels and would weigh about 1 ton 16 cwt. … Deceased had time to keep, and generally kept it, and was a careful man and capable.”

The witness then observed that the carriage “had gone down the plane without having being attached by a tackling chain to the main chain, by which means the carriage descended with too much velocity, and struck on some stone trucks which were standing on the line. These trucks were commonly there, and had the passenger carriage been under the control of the deceased, by having been attached to the main chain, it would have turned off at the siding ... but this precaution not having been taken ... his carriage ran into the trucks.”

Another witness, Joseph Killer, described how Ralph was thrown violently to the ground, and was then carried on a board, injured and unable to speak, to a relation in Middleton, where he died fourteen hours later.

(Celia seems to have then married her father-in-law, Samuel Hallows.)

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary:

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