Bell & Richardson

Family tree: Martha Jackson Bell ancestors

The Bells were watermen and knew the Tyne well. Evidently, the watermen on the Tyne thought themselves a cut above other workers and stood aloof in their own trade union (Historical Directory of Trade Unions, vol.6, p.164). It is likely that they transported coal in their wherry-boats from the loading stations (called coal staithes) that lined the Tyne down river to collier brigs, who would then transport coals from Newcastle all down the east coast of England.


Wherry boat

Lancelot Bell (born in 1852) married Jane Elizabeth Richardson in 1890 in Nelson Street Methodist Chapel in Newcastle.

Leafing through a Bible, about 6″ x 4″ with tiny writing, the front and back covers held together with a metal clasp, “Presented to Jane E. Richardson on her [20th] birthday February 27th 1876”, a few passages are marked in different coloured tape or in pencil, perhaps to buoy up her faith… or maybe she entered a verse 18 competition:

Psalm XXXIV v.18. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Isaiah I, v.18: …though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…
St John, III, v.18: He that believeth in him is not condemned.

Lancelot’s first wife Ann née Jackson died in 1887 when his two children were ten and eight. Three years later, another verse marked in Jane’s Bible became appropriate:
Psalm X, v.14: … thou art the helper of the fatherless [or motherless].

Jane Richardson Bible

Jane Richardson’s Bible, dated 1876

Lancelot’s father (b.1810) married Mary Robson from Dunster. As a widowed retired shipwright in 1881, this Lancelot lived with his daughter Jane, her husband Joseph Kendrey (a bottle maker) and their seven children ranging in age from six to 26. Their son Joseph was a photography traveller.

The next generation Lancelot, born to Isaac Bell and Elizabeth née Lambert in 1779 in Stannington near Cramlington, married Jane Mann in 1802 in All Saints Church, Newcastle.