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The Grundey and Pearson Families of New Mills.
The Grundey and Pearson Families of New Mills.
By John Boardwell

My mother was born on the 21st of July 1907, at 48 Church Road, New Mills. The eldest child of Arthur Ernest Grundey and Mary Annie Pearson. The Pearson’s were an old established New Mills family, but the Grundey’s had only arrived in the town sometime in the late 1860’s when Abel and his wife Ann set up a drapers and hosiery shop at premises called Manchester House on Market Street. From this beginning, as Abel’s obituary shows, the family appears to have developed a significant presence in the community over the next 50 years up until the time Abel left New Mills, probably in July 1914.

Abel himself was born on the 25th of August 1837, at Bramhall in Cheshire. Therefore being one of the first people to have birth certificates, first introduced in that year. His parents were a Joseph Grundey and an Ellen Webb. Joseph started his working life as a flour dealer’s clerk but progressed through the role of commercial traveller and book keeper to accountant and hosier. He was probably not an accountant as we would think of one today.

By the age of 14, Abel was apprenticed to a silk merchant and undertaker in Stockport called William Priestnall and it is probably here that he learnt the skills required to set up on his own as a draper. He married Ann Lee on the 2nd March 1864 at Cheadle St Mary’s Stockport. Ann was the daughter of Henry Lee of Stockport, a shopkeeper, who described himself in his, will as a “smallware dealer”
Abel and Anne’s first children both girls, Maria and Maggie, were born at Heaton Norris in Stockport, but the remainder, all boys, were born at New Mills. The eldest, my grandfather, was Arthur Ernest Grundey born 12th September 1869. The photograph below, probably taken sometime in the 1880’s, shows the Grundey family in a typical Victorian pose.

The two young women at the back are their daughters Maria and Maggie. Maria is on the left as you look at the photograph and Maggie on the right. Maria married a man called John (Jack) Vaughan who was much younger than herself and he went on to be a schoolmaster at Burnley Grammar School. They retired to Southport and on his death Maria (for some reason known to us as Auntie Molly) returned to New Mills and lived there to a grand old age. I have no information on Jack Vaughan’s family. They may have been from New Mills but if so I have not been able to find them.

The Grundey family in typical Victorian poseThe two boys at the back are, on the right as you look at the picture, Arthur Ernest Grundey and, to his left, Frederick Roscoe Grundey who went on to be the Director of Education for the Isle of Man. I am a little less certain of the other boys but I think they are as follows. The boy standing in front of Fred and Arthur is Percy Lee Grundey (born 7th Jan 1875) and on the front at the left is Charles Edward Grundey (1877) and Harold Joseph Grundey (1879-1897). If I am correct in naming the younger boys then Charles Edward would be the father of the Harold Croft Grundey mentioned on this website in the roll of honour, recipient of the DFM in WW2 and killed in enemy action in Egypt in January 1945. Abel and Ann also lost two sons at the ages of one and eighteen. They were christened Herbert Edmund and Harold Joseph.

The citation for the award of the DFM to Harold Croft Grundey reads as follows.
"Grundey, Harold Croft. 1375065 Flight Sergeant, No 70 Sqn

L.G. 25/1/1994. Sorties 34, Flying Hours 221.05. Pilot.

This NCO has carried out a most successful tour of operations comprising 34 night sorties amounting to 221.05 hours flying during which time he has continually displayed determination, courage and devotion to duty no matter what opposition was encountered from the enemy defences. He has carried out numerous attacks against heavily defended docks and marshalling yards at Naples, Messina and Catania with marked success and on several occasions fires were started which must have caused damage and confusion. His attacks during the hammering of the Italian Railway system and aerodromes were carefully and accurately carried out with great determination and his bombing on more than one occasion caused a number of fires and explosions, which, from their description, would certainly have dispersed enemy aircraft and fuel installations. This young NCO's tour has been characteristic of his keenness to get to grips with the enemy and he has always been a credit to his flight and squadron. I recommend that his courage, determination and devotion to duty be recognised by the award of the D.F.M. on 22nd October 1944.

One of the operations he was involved with was described in a colleague’s log as follows
"1/08/1943 Wellington III HF742 “W”


2nd pilot. 1st pilot F/Sgt Grundy. Coned in searchlights but evasive action successful. Several fires started in yards. Raid a success. Reception-warm."

Percy Grundey went on to be a salesman and died on the 14th May 1947. He is buried at Timperley.

My grandparents, Arthur Ernest and Mary Annie Pearson, married in September 1903 at New Mills and lived in a house, 48 Church Road, that had been built by her father Samuel Pearson. Indeed Samuel had built the row of houses of which number 48 was a part.

Arthur Ernest was apprenticed as an engraver and workedMary Annie Pearson first in New Mills and later in Arthur Ernest GrundeyBurnley in the textile industry. He died in 1934 in Burnley and Mary Annie and her daughter Mary moved back to New Mills to live again in the house at 48 Church Road. Mary Annie’s parents were Samuel and Maria Pearson of Beard House New Mills. Arthur was reputed to be a very talented, but wholly self taught, pianist with an exceptional ear who only had to hear a tune once in order to go away and reproduce it exactly. This musical ability seems to have come from his father Abel as Abel’s obituary shows

The following is the obituary for Abel Grundey in the High Peak Reporter for February 28th 1925.

" With regret we have to announce the death of Mr. Abel Grundey, which occurred on Saturday at the residence of his daughter and son in law, Mr and Mrs J.J. Vaughan at Burnley. He had been in failing health for several months past.

Mr. Grundey was born at Hazel Grove in 1837 and was therefore in his 88th year. He came to New Mills over 40 years ago and established himself in business in Market Street. For a long period, he was the leading draper in the town and at one time had also a tailoring business. He took an active part in all matters concerning the trade of the town and did much to make New Mills the shopping centre for a very wide area.

Perhaps it was as a Wesleyan that Mr. Grundey became well known to a much wider area than New Mills. He was a local preacher for many years occupying the pulpit at all the non-conformist places of worship for miles around. He was also a Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent, a class leader, a trustee, treasurer to the trustees and at one time also a circuit steward. In fact, Mr. Grundey held every office open to laymen in the Methodist Church.

Mr. Grundey was a very competent and enthusiastic musician. For over thirty years, he was Choirmaster at New Mills Wesleyan Chapel. He trained his choir in much special work and it acquired a fine reputation for the excellence of its singing. Mr. Grundey was also a member of the old Philharmonic Society and until he left New Mills was always to be found singing in "The Messiah" at the annual performance in the Town Hall.

By Wesleyans throughout the New Mills circuit Mr Grundey was revered and beloved. When he left the town, he was presented with a purse of money and an illuminated address, which well expressed the feelings of his fellow Wesleyans in the following terms.

"We the undersigned, being representative in various capacities of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in New Mills, desire to place on record our most sincere appreciation of your devoted service to our church for nearly 50 years.

In your varied official positions as Circuit Steward, Local Preacher, Choirmaster, Superintendent of the Sunday School and Trustee Treasurer you have devoted the best years of your life to the work of the Master. Your influence for good has been incalculable and eternity alone will fully reveal the results.

We very much regret that you are obliged to leave a circuit where your name is so well known and where your general influence is so highly esteemed. You will be followed into your new sphere with our earnest prayers and best wishes. We hope you may long be spared to continue the work which you love with all your heart and that you may enjoy the tranquillity of the eventide of life which you so well deserve and that when the call comes you may have an abundant entrance into the rest which remaineth for the people of God."

In all that pertained to the welfare of the town Mr. Grundey took the liveliest interest. He was a member of the School Board for a considerable number of years, and at a time when New Mills was making its name and fame as an Educational centre. Day and Evening classes were at that time under the control of the school board and Mr. Grundey often acted as Superintendent at the evening classes examinations. He had the pleasure of seeing his own son, Mr. Fred Grundey, become one of the first of New Mills young men to go forward to Manchester University. Mr Fred Grundey took his degree in Science, became Headmaster of the Secondary School in Douglas, Isle of Man and is now Director of Education in the Isle of Man. Since then, many young men have gone onto the University.
The late Mr. Grundey took a special pride in Educational work and the success it achieved. For some years, Mr. Grundey was a member of the Board of Guardians and rendered useful service in that capacity. Though never a member of the old Local Board or the Urban District Council Mr. Grundey was a strong advocate for the erection of the New Bridge, as it is called, on Union Road, to connect New Mills and Newtown. That was one of the finest things the old Local Board ever did and it was the making of both New Mills and Newtown.

Politically Mr. Grundey was a Liberal of the old school and took part in many stirring fights in the High Peak.

No one thing was ever allowed by Mr. Grundey to become his sole interest in life. He was an all round man and sought his pleasure in various ways, as he did his spheres of usefulness. Even when in business he would find time to go to a cricket match on a Saturday afternoon. His many interests and his even temperament gave him a wide and happy outlook on life and he was always an optimist and always seeking means of progress.

Of genial and courtly manners, he had a commanding and pleasant personality, which added much to his influence in the many spheres in which he moved. He was happy in himself in trying to make others happy, a man whom it was a pleasure to meet and to know.

Since leaving, New Mills Mr Grundey has resided at Flixton as well as at Burnley. In both places, he had associated himself with the Wesleyan cause and continued to assist in the work, which was a life long study with him. Wherever he went he made friends and everywhere they will regret his death though he has lived to a ripe old age and been accorded many honours by his fellow men.

Mrs Grundey died some years ago and Mr Grundey is survived by a family of four sons and two daughters.”

Abel Grundey & John Vaughan

The Funeral.

The funeral took place at New Mills Wesleyan burial ground on Wednesday. The obsequies were conducted by Rev. W.J.Winter. two of Mr Grundey's favourite hymns "For all the saints" and " Rock of ages" were sung. Mr Walter Fernley was at the Organ. As the mourners assembled he played "I know that my redeemer liveth" and at the close of the service he gave an impressive rendering of the Dead March.

The mourners were: Mr and Mrs. J.J. Vaughan, Mr and Mrs. G.C. West, Mr. and Mrs. A Grundey, Mr. Fred Grundey BSc, Mr. Percy Grundey, Mr. Charlie Grundey. (Sons and Daughters.) Miss Evelyn Grundey (Grand-daughter).

Flowers were placed on the grave by: Arthur, Annie and family. Molly and Jack, Mag and George, Charlie, Cissie and family, Mona, Fred and Family, Percy, Lizzie and Leighton. Mr and Mrs George Lee and family and Harriet and Eliza (Heaton Chapel).

The following is the gravestone inscription for Abel and family at the graveyard at The Wesleyan Independent Methodist Church on St George's road New Mills. It is part of a manuscript held at New Mills Heritage Library.

"Abel Grundey Of New Mills born August 25 1837 died February 21 1925 also Ann his wife born June 10th 1839 died May 28th 1897 also Herbert Edmund their son, born June 14th 1873 died April 5th 1874 also Harold Joseph their son born March 10th 1897 died October 26th 1897 also John Vaughan husband of Maria Vaughan died August 29th 1946 aged 65 years also the above Maria Vaughan died April 24th 1961 aged 95 years.

Abel’s will is an interesting document in which he meticulously distributes his possessions amongst his surviving children.

This is the last will and testament of me Abel Grundey of 86 Whitelake Avenue Flixton in the county of Lancaster retired draper. I hereby revoke all prior wills and testamentary dispositions made by me and declare this to be last will and testament. I appoint my daughter Maria Vaughan, wife of John Jacob Vaughan and my daughter Margaret West wife of George James West to be the executors of this my will. I bequeath my gold curve Albert chain to my son Arthur Ernest Grundey. I bequeath my two pairs of gold-rimmed spectacles and guinea pendant to my son Frederick Roscoe Grundey. I bequeath my gold watch to my son Percy Lee Grundey. I bequeath my gold chain and seal pendant to my son Charles Edward Grundey. I bequeath all the ornaments pictures, and clocks to my said daughters Maria and Margaret in equal shares as nearly as possible. I bequeath my mahogany chest of drawers to my daughter Maria Vaughan. I bequeath my mahogany card table with claw feet to my daughter Margaret West.
I declare that it shall be lawful for my executors to permit my said daughter Maria Vaughan to take at the prices hereafter mentioned all or any of the following pieces of my furniture or household effects namely my seven piece drawing room suite at the price of £10, my piano at the price of £10, my mahogany mirror at the price of £4, my music box at the price of £1, my mahogany bureau and bookcase at the prices of £10, my black framed mirror at the price of £1, my washstand and dressing table at the price of £10 and my hall stand at the price of £2 and my said daughter shall be permitted to take at a valuation to be made or agreed upon as my executors shall think fit all or any other part of my furniture and household effects not hereby otherwise disposed of.
I devise all my real estate and I bequeath all my personal estate not hereby otherwise disposed of unto my said daughters Maria Vaughan and Margaret West upon trust that they shall call in, sell and convert into money the same or such part thereof as shall not consist of money and shall with and out of the money produced by such sale calling in and conversion and with and out of my ready money pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and shall stand possessed of the residuary trust moneys in trust for and to pay divide and distribute the same amongst my children in the shares and proportions following.
Namely:- As to one-fourth share to my said daughter Maria Vaughan, as to one fourth share to my said daughter Margaret West. As to one eighth share to my said son Arthur Ernest Grundey, as to one eighth share to my said son Frederick Roscoe Grundey, as to one eighth share to my said son Percy Lee Grundey and as to one eighth share to my said son Charles Edward Grundey.
Provided always that in case any one or more of the said legatees shall die in my lifetime leaving issue who shall be living at my decease then the share or shares to which each of any such legatees would have been entitled if living at my decease shall go and belong to his or her children living at my decease and the issue then living of any child or children of such legatees who shall then be dead to be equally divided between them the share or shares only to which their parent would have been entitled if living and provided also that if either of my said daughters Maria Vaughan or Margaret West shall die in my lifetime without issue then the share or shares to which such one or both of my said daughters would have been entitled if living at my decease shall go and belong to her or their husbands if living at my decease.
In witness whereof I the said Abel Grundey have hereunto set my hand this twenty third day of August one thousand nine hundred and twenty - - Abel Grundey -- Signed by the said testator Abel Grundey as m his last will and testament in the presence of us both being present at the same time who at his request and in his presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses Robert Percy Cottrill of 84 Whitelake Avenue Flixton - cashier - Edward Pearson Davey 88 Whitelake Avenue Flixton Stocktaker On the 25th day of March 1925. Probate was granted to Maria Vaughan one of the executrixes.
Samuel Pearson
The Pearson family have long been associated with New Mills and it is difficult to fit all the various lines together. My great great grandfather was a Joseph Pearson born around 1808/9 probably the son of a Stephen and Hannah Pearson. The family profession appears to have been that of blacksmith for on his death certificate Joseph was described as a master blacksmith and at least two of his sons also followed the profession, Joseph junior and my great grandfather Samuel Pearson. Joseph’s death certificate records his death on the 25th February 1894, aged 85 at Birch Vale New Mills. The informant on the certificate was his daughter Hannah Chatterton and he appears to have been living with her at least since 1891. Maria Pearson (Nee Higginbottom)Samuel was born on the 20th November 1843 at Beard. Joseph had married Mary Tomlinson at Glossop on the 23rd June 1834 and Samuel was their sixth child. Samuel in turn married Maria Higginbottom on the 6th April 1875 at Prestbury. Maria was the daughter of Ann Higginbottom and Randle Bennett. Randle was a farmer and publican from Ludworth and was for a time the owner of the Hare and Hounds at Millbrow. The Bennett family was associated with that area for many years and Randle’s father had been a miller at Millbrow. In his will Randle made a generous settlement on all his children including Maria and I suspect that it was this settlement that enabled Samuel and Maria to purchase Beard House in New Mills from where Samuel continued his profession of blacksmith. It also appears to have allowed Samuel to finance the building of a row of houses and a shop on Church Road. They had two daughters Mary Annie, my grandmother, and Katie. Katie married a man called Albert Augustus Aveyard, Albert, or Gus as he was more commonly called was a leather tanner and merchant and he and Katie both lived at Beard House for all their married life. They passed away within months of each other in January and April 1959.

Samuel appears to have been something of a character in New Mills, family legend has it that well into his eighties he would climb the pear tree that grew up the side of Beard House in order to prune it. His obituary also hints at this eccentricity.

The following is the obituary for Samuel Pearson in the High Peak Reporter on Saturday 21st December 1935. It appeared under the heading “Oldest Resident's Death.”

We regret to announce the death of the oldest resident of New Mills, Mr. Samuel Pearson, of Beard House, which occurred on Thursday morning. Mr. Pearson attained his 91st Birthday last month. He was a native of New Mills and spent all his long life here. For many years, he was in business as a Blacksmith first at " the bottom of New Mills" and later at the corner of Hyde Bank Road and Church Road. He was associated with the Methodist Church. Mr. Pearson was never a member of the Local Authorities, but no man in New Mills took a keener interest in their doings. He was also a keen critic and very outspoken in his observations of their doings. He had an intimate personal knowledge of New Mills affairs over a long period of years and could therefore speak with authority. His tall, spare figure was familiar in New Mills for many years and his passing is regretted. Mr. Pearson was a widower and leaves a family. The funeral is on Monday at the Parish Burial ground.

In the following week's High Peak Reporter, the funeral is described as follows.

The internment of Mr. Samuel Pearson, of Beard House, New Mills, whose death at the age of 91, and with the distinction of being the oldest resident, was noted last week, took place on Monday at New Mills Parish Church burial ground.
The Rev M. H. J. Banting, Curate, officiated.

Mourners. Mrs Grundey (Daughter), Mr. and Mrs. G. Aveyard (daughter and Son-in-Law), Mrs Boardwell (Grand-daughter), Misters J. and W. Aveyard (Grandsons), Miss M. Grundey (Grand-daughter).

Mr Pearson had requested that there be no flowers, but floral tributes were sent by: Annie and family, Gus, Kate and Willie. J. P. Aveyard, Mr and Mrs J. J. Vaughan.

The last will and testament of Samuel was probated on the 16th January 1936. Probate had been granted to his two daughters Kate Aveyard and Mary Annie Grundey. The value of the estate was £1719.0.7(£71,520 at today’s values 2008). Much of the will was couched in legal terms that are difficult to understand, but the essential items are reproduced here.
" This is the last will and testament of me Samuel Pearson of Beard House New Mills in the County of Derby Retired Blacksmith.
1) I appoint my two daughters KATE AVEYARD and MARY ANNIE GRUNDEY to be the executors and trustees of this my will.
2) I bequeath to my grand-daughter Evelyn Grundey my mahogany bookcase.
3) I bequeath all other my household goods furniture plate linen china and household effects unto my daughter the said Kate Aveyard absolutely
4) I give my leasehold dwelling house known as Beard House New Mills aforesaid together with the site thereof and the appurtenances thereto which I now hold under a lease from Francis John Sumner dated the first of July one thousand eight hundred and ninety six unto my daughter the said Kate Aveyard absolutely subject to the payment of the rent and performance of the covenants under which the said dwelling house and appurtenances are held.
5) I bequeath all those my leasehold shop and three dwelling houses situate and being numbers 44,46,48 and 50 Church Road New Mills aforesaid together with the site thereof and the appurtenances thereto including the land immediately behind the same and which I now hold under a lease from the said John Francis Sumner dated the 11th June one thousand eight hundred and eighty eight unto my daughter the said Mary Annie Grundey absolutely subject nevertheless to the payment of six pounds two shillings and two pence per annum (being the apportioned part of the yearly rent of eight pounds seventeen shillings and two pence payable thereout and out of the two dwelling houses adjoining next (hereinafter bequeathed) and to the performance of the covenants contained in the said lease so far as they affect the said shop and dwelling houses numbered 44,46,48, and 50 Church Road aforesaid
6) I bequeath all those my two leasehold dwelling houses situate and being numbered 52 and 54 Church Road New Mills.........unto my daughter the said Kate Aveyard"
The rest of the will repeats the arrangements under item five and enacting of the will.

It finishes as follows.
"8) I give all other property whatsoever and wheresoever which I may be entitled to or have power to dispose of by will at the time of my decease unto my said two daughters in equal shares
9) I hereby revoke all former wills In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April one thousand nine hundred and nineteen"

The witnesses were Henry Kirk 84 Bank House New Mills and Ernest N. Davenport Solicitor Stockport.

The following photograph shows Samuel, his son in law Gus Aveyard and his grandson Joseph Aveyard outside the backdoor of Beard House. The photo was probably taken soon after the end of World War 1.
Samuel Pearson, his son in law Gus Aveyard and his grandson Joseph Aveyard outside the backdoor of Beard House.

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