The second of the Holdsworth siblings to marry was Joseph. On 20th February 1792 he married Margaret Miller at Christ Church, Spitalfields. Margaret Miller had been born in 1768 in Fashion Street, Spitalfieds, the daughter of Andrew Miller, a dyer, and his wife Beatrice.


Marmaduke Street is just visible in the top right-hand corner of this section of Richard Horwood’s 1792 map of London

We know that Joseph had been living in London for at least two years by the time he married, since there are records of him paying land tax on a house in Marmaduke Street in 1790 and 1791. As we can see from Richard Horwood’s Plan of London (above), first published in the year of Joseph Holdsworth’s marriage, Marmaduke Street was a short road consisting of a dozen or so houses, to the north of Wellclose Square and what is now Cable Street, and to the east of today’s Cannon Street Road. It extended northwards into the fields towards Mile End Old Town, where Joseph’s widowed mother Elizabeth would soon be living with his sister Sarah and her husband Edward Porter, a plumber. The street was part of a recent building development: when John Rocque published his map of London half a century earlier, the whole area was still open countryside.

When Joseph and Margaret Holdsworth’s first child, Sarah, was born towards the end of 1792, the couple were living in St George’s Terrace, was close to the grand Hawsksmoor church of St George-in-the-East, where Sarah was christened on 13th January 1793. The parish register gives Joseph’s occupation as ‘cordwainer’, or shoemaker, which was also the occupation of his brother, my 4 x great grandfather William. Indeed, I suspect that the two brothers were in business together.


The church of St George-in-the-East, Stepney, in 1815

By the time Joseph and Margaret’s second child, John Clark Holdsworth, was baptised at St George-in-the-East, on 10th May 1795, they were back in Marmaduke Street. By this time, Joseph’s brother William was also living in the same street. Both men were paying 16s 6d in land tax on separate properties there in 1795, with the amounts varying for the years that followed. I’ve found no further records for John Clark Holdsworth, suggesting that he probably died in infancy.

When a third child, Elizabeth, was born in the following year and christened at St George’s on 5th June 1796, the family were still at Marmaduke Street and Joseph was still working as a cordwainer. We know from later census records that a fourth child, Godfrey, was born in about 1799, though I haven’t managed to find a record of his baptism.

Joseph and Margaret’s youngest child, Joseph Edward, was baptised at St George’s on 11th April 1802. By this time, the Holdsworths had moved from Marmaduke Street to nearby William Street, perhaps in search of a larger house to accommodate a growing family. An alternative explanation is that they moved into premises associated with Joseph’s new occupation, which is given in the parish register as ‘chandler’. Chandlers were dealers or traders, particularly in candles, wax and soap.

Joseph Holdsworth senior was still living in William Street when his mother Elizabeth Holdsworth, my 5 x great grandmother, made her will in February 1809, in which she decreed as follows:

I desire to have a good plain elm coffin and the expenses of my funeral to be conducted with as little expense as is necessary, my son Joseph Holdsworth of William Street St Georges East in the County of Middlesex having forty pounds in money of mine in his hands and that my funeral expenses and all other expenses during my illness be paid out of that said forty pounds that my son Joseph Holdsworth has in his hands.

Little is known of Joseph Holdsworth’s later life. At the time of the 1841 census, his wife Margaret, then aged seventy or thereabouts, was living with their daughter Elizabeth and her family, so she may have been a widow by that time. The fact that she was no longer with them in 1851 suggests that she had probably died by then.