The mysterious Bessie Bagot

Bessie Bagot, aged 21

For the past few days I’ve been trying to find out more about Bessie Bagot and her relatives.

In the 1861 Census of Chorlton-upon-Medlock in Lancashire, England, she is shown, aged 5, staying with her cousins John and Mary Worrall.

That means she was born about 1856.

Mary Worrall’s maiden name was Cottam, and her mother was Margaret Bagot, born in 1811. So Margaret Bagot must have been Bessie’s aunt, and since Bessie was a lot younger than her married cousin Mary Worrall, her father must have been one of Margaret’s younger brothers. None of the census records, however, give a clue to Bessie’s parentage. She was brought up by other relatives — uncles, aunts and cousins.

The 1881 Census is no more helpful. Bessie was then about 25, and it was a couple of years after the photo was taken.

Dwelling: 20 Gloucester Rd
Census Place: Birkdale, Lancashire, England
Source: FHL Film 1341896     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 3746    Folio 40    Page 46
Household:
Marr Age   Sex    Birthplace
Robert RICHMOND
U    55    Male   Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Rel: Head
Occ: Annuitant
Margaret RICHMOND
U    58    Female Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Rel: Sister
Occ: Annuitant
Betty A. BAGOT
U    62    Female Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Rel: Cousin
Occ: Annuitant
Bessie BAGOT
U    25    Female Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Rel: Niece
Occ: Annuitant
Elizabeth MASON
U    20    Female Carlisle
Rel: Serv
Occ: Gen Serv.”

The “Betty A. Bagot” is probably Betsey Alice Bagot, a younger sister of Margaret Cottam (nee Bagot). So that would make Bessie Betsy’s niece in the strict sense of the word, as the daughter of a sibling. But which sibling?

There is a Robert Bagot born in 1814, and a Thomas born in 1821. Neither of them appears in the 1881 Census. Thomas appears in 1861, as a widower, a painter, living in Chorlton, not far from the Worralls, where Bessie is staying. That makes sense. He can’t look after an infant daughter while he’s out working all day, so let his niece, Mary Worrall, married with no kids, look after her.

And then the Worralls start having children of their own and move to London, which would be too far away for Thomas to see her regularly, so he asks his unmarried sister Betsy to look after young Bessie.

Betsy is living with unmarried cousins Robert and Margaret Richmond, and that seems to be a long-term arrangement, at least as far as Robert was concerned, and young Bessie seems to have been brought up by them after the Worralls moved to London.

This was confirmed by Robert Jordan, a descendant of Bessie, who had a copy of her baptism entry at St Peter’s Church, Liverpool, where she was baptised on 15 September 1864, and her parents are recorded as Thomas and Ann Bagot.

But that raises some more questions: Bessie was in fact born in Liverpool, but she never grew up there. In 1861 she was living at Chorlton, in 1881 she was at Birkdale, near Southport, both quite some distance from Liverpool. So why did someone, presumably her aunt Betsy Alice Bagot, take her all the way to Liverpool to be baptised at the age of 8?

Anyway, Betsy was married in 1890, at the age of 33, to James Smith Breeze, and they had two children, James Hedley Breeze and Robert Bagot Breeze. The Breeze brothers married two Taylor sisters. James Hedley Breeze’s only child died young, but Robert Bagot Breeze has several descendants, among them Robert Jordan, who helped unravel some of the mystery, but also to deepen some of it. Among other information he sent a transcription of a gravestone, which confirms a lot of the above:

In Loving Memory of Robert Richmond who died 29 October 1895 aged 70 years. “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” Isaiah XXXIII 17. Also of Betsy Alice Bagot who fell asleep at Birkdale 6th July 1905 in her 88th year. “In my father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you.” St. John XIV 2. Also of James Smith Breeze born 15th of June 1858. Fell asleep 25th of August 1916. [Biblical quotation is illegible].

Betsy Bagot and Robert Richmond were related, but how?

Robert Richmond was born about 1825, and there was a Robert born around then who had a sister Margaret, children of Thomas and Alice Richmond. In 1851 Robert was staying with an uncle Henry Richmond. But which one of Robert’s uncles or aunts married a Bagot, or, possibly, a Mashiter? Or was his mother Alice possibly a Mashiter or a Bagot?

Just to confuse things still further, there is another Robert Richmond, born about 1833.  His sister Betsy Richmond married John Cottam in 1852, and that John Cottam was the brother of Richard Cottam who married Margaret Bagot, the sister of Betsy Alice Bagot who lived with her cousin Robert Richmond. And there is the possibility that one or both of the Roberts’ middle name was Casson.

If anyone can help us to find our way through tat tangled web, please join us on the Bagot Forum!

 

Lancaster families

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in the LDS family history library in Parktown, Johannesburg, looking at bishops transcripts of parish records from Lanacaster, Lancashire, England.The families i was looking for were Cottam, Bagot (or Bagott) and Mashiter.

Some of the pages were damaged, so I wasn’t able to read the full record, and none of the people I found in the records appeared to be related — yet. But in some ways the Bishops Transcripts were more useful than the original registers, as they showed separately the baptisms, marriages and burials that took place in  the different chapelries in the parish.

The main family I’m looking for is:

Family Group Report
For: Richard Cottam  (ID=  225)
Date Prepared: 19 Sep 2008

NAME: COTTAM, Richard, Born ??? 1812 in Heaton with Oxcliffe, Died ???

MARRIED, to BAGOT, Margaret, Born 22 Jan 1811 in Lancaster, LAN, ENG,
Died ???; FATHER: BAGOT, John; MOTHER: MASHITER, Dorothy

CHILDREN:
1. M  COTTAM, John Bagot, born 30 Jul 1836 in Manchester, died
3 Jun 1911 in Durban; Married 8 Jul 1858 to HERBERT,
Adelaide; 8 children
2. F  COTTAM, Mary, born Oct 1838 in Manchester, died ???;
Married 27 Jan 1859 to WORRALL, John Stringer; 6 children
3. F  COTTAM, Betsey Jane, born May 1839 in Manchester, died
???; Married 15 Jun 1863 to BENNETT, Stanley Cracroft; 1
child
4. M  COTTAM, James, born Jul 1841 in Manchester, died ???
5. M  COTTAM, William Henry, born 15 Jun 1843 in Manchester,
England, died 15 May 1914 in Natal; Married ??? 1878 to
JACKSON, Harriet Mary; 1 child
6. F  COTTAM, Lucy, born Oct 1845 in Manchester, died ???;
Married May 1874 to TRAVERSE, Thomas; 1 child
7. F  COTTAM, Sarah Ellen, born ??? 1850? in Manchester, died
???
=====================================
Residence Information
From ??? 1843 Until ??? 1858
Address: 6 London Road, Manchester, Lancs, England UK
=====================================
Occupation Information
Worked as Ironmonger from ??? 1843 until ??? 1858
=====================================

I’m especially interested in finding Richard Cottam’s parents, as that might link him to a lot of other Cottams that lived in the area.

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