Chapter Ten – The Eighteenth Century – not “Merry England” for many
The change from Saunderson to Lumley made little difference to the social and economic condition of Maltby. The parish Registers indicate that waves of poverty passed over the village from time to time. Many of the deaths recorded were of “poor persons”. There was no “Merry England” for such unfortunate victims. In 1721 two years before Sir Thomas Lumley gained his rich inheritance at Sandbeck of eight people buried three are described as “poor men”. By the middle of the Eighteenth century the registers show that 60% of the population were poor.
1783 was a year of great tragedy. In a total population of 600 the deaths are recorded of thirteen children, all but one victims of the dreaded smallpox. These deaths happened between March 30th and June 23rd. The Clerk was so moved that he wrote in the margins: “The above thirteen children died of smallpox except, Frances Roberts”. Entries for other years show the same grim picture. There are records of poor widows, poor bachelors, poor labourers and even a poor farmer, George Woodcock, who was buried February 9th, 1772. An analysis has been made of the registers from 1780 to 1813. In that period 71 died in the first year. 27 died aged 2 to 3; 18 from 6 to 9 years; 18 from 10 to 19 years; 30 from 20 to 29 years; 21 from 30 to 39; 18 f rom 40 to 49; 28 from 50 to 59; 30 from 60 to 69; 55 from 70 to 79; 25 from 80 to 89. In such a stricken and unhealthy society the first ten years of childhood were the area of greatest risk.
an some cases the Registers do not give the cause of death. Probably it was not understood. Where the cause of death is given it is usually “child-birth”, “consumption”, “fever”, “fits”. There are some dreadfully sad entries. An entry in 1781 records the death of “William Iles, chimney sweep, aged about nine years buried November 1st”. It is beyond belief that the affluent, apparently benign families in Maltby at that time could have countenanced the employment little, poor boy to sweep their chimneys. Other tragedies are recorded. In 1796 Francis Ford aged 46 and his son, Francis aged 20, were buried. They were killed in an accident.
The Registers also give a picture of the trades at that time – a husbandman, a miller, a yeoman, a smith, a plumber, a glover, a milliner, a stay maker – this last obviously for the adornment of the affluent ladies in the big houses! A more sophisticated society for the rich and fortunate is indicated. The laudable Endowed School project inspired by Viscount Castleton and other village worthies obviously had only partial success so far as reading and writing were concerned. The Marriage Registers reveal that between 1754 and 1854 only 60% of the brides were literate – an indication perhaps of the subordinate place of the women 200 years ago. Most of the men seem to have sighed the register instead of “making their mark”. The population in mid-century remained constant at about 700. The average age of death from 1781 to 1813 was 38. The year 1783 gave the lowest average age of death – 8; and 1809 the highest – 63.
Comparatively there was much movement of people. A burial entry in 1813 describes “a stranger who would not give his name, aged about 48; buried June 30th”. From 1700 to 1813 20 people from other parishes were buried in Maltby. One is described as a visitor from Manchester. There is a sad entry August 9th, 1780 – the death of Thomas, son of William Brown of Everton (Notts). His parents were travelling through Maltby and the Child was born at Needless Inn Maitby-Blyth Road. The pathetic little family must have been “on the road”. Seven people are listed as “strangers” and other entries relate to “tramps”. The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century grave stones given interesting family information. The family of Hartshorn had connections with Maitby and Roche for over 200 years. Their “family tree” has been traced for that long period through their family grave stones. In fair recent times a Mrs. Hartshorn kept Maltby’s white swan public house.
Even at this time industry came to Maltby in a small way. At the Yews, an outlying part of the parish, there was a paper mill. The earliest reference to the Maltby papermakers is in the Parish Registers. A James Spurr gave his address as the Yews, and his occupation as “paper maker”. He married Elizabeth Foster on April 7th, 1757. The final mention of the Maltby paper makers is in white’s Rotherham Directory for 1852, where White records William Winter as “miller and paper maker at The Yews”. Between 1757 and 1852, covering 95 years, the Registers show six different families living at The Yews. Listed as paper makers, they were also married at the Pariah Church in Maltby. The first requirement for a paper mill was a plentiful supply of water to wash the rags and other materials for making of paper. And the Maltby Beck would power the hammer for the pounding of the mixture of rags, netting and other materials.
The flow of the local economy was affected by the scientific discoveries being made in agriculture. At thee end of the Eighteenth Century Rotherham Market was said to be “second to none in the country”. As an agricultural community Maltby would be involved in these developments.
According to a survey of 1724 there was an iron forge at Roche. The ancient Abbey fish ponds, later turned into an artificial lake by Capability Brown, came to be known as the Hammer Ponds. The ponds were obviously used at this time to power the forge drop hammer. In 1725 the amount had risen to 60 tons.
There were many small lettings on the Sandbeck Estate. Sheep tallow, bullocks, wool and Roche limestone are listed as sales in the Estate accounts. Timber was one of the chief sources of income. A new farm house on the Sandbeck Estate was built at Folds Farm on the Eastern boundary. Stones from the ruins of the Abbey Church at Roche were used. Inevitably after its closure Roche became a source for building stone in the district, and beyond. Eventually an order was made to stop this pillaging of an ancient monument. Thus it is that sufficient of the great building remains to show its strength and beauty.
While at least 60% of Maltby’s population remained in poverty through the Eighteenth Century, the men of property flourished. The most powerful was, of course, the Lumley family of Sandbeck Park. The present House is almost certainly the third to be built at Sandbeck. It is an enlargement of the smaller house built about 1626 for Sir Nicholas Saunderson. That house was an enlargement or a reconstruction of a Manor House dating from the time when Sandbeck was, by the gift of Idonea di Vipont, a part of the possessions of the Monastery of Roche. All trace of the first house has gone except for a reference in the building instructions relating to the second house of 1626. The representation of this second house remains in an Estate map of 1724. Viscount Castleton and his descendants lived in the second Sandbeck House until the family line died out in 1723.