The earliest Clifford marriage at Breedon was recorded in 1606. Wills made by local Cliffords included a Margaret at Diseworth in 1523 and a William at Staunton Harold in 1728. Another Margaret Clifford was the mistress of the 4th Earl Ferrers of Staunton Harold Hall, who in 1761 was the last peer in England to be hanged for murder.
In 1803 John Clifford married Martha Smith at Worthington St Matthew. Martha's parents had been married in 1781 at Breedon. She was baptised at Worthington in 1783.
All of John and Martha's nine children were baptised at Worthington between 1804 and 1828. The fourth and sixth, Joseph and Elizabeth, both raised their families in Griffydam. Elizabeth married Samuel Haywood at Worthington in 1833. Joseph married Mary Hall at Whitwick in 1839. The 1841 Census show both families living close together, near the Methodist Chapel, on Elder Lane and "Chapple Row". John senior was an illiterate agricultural labourer, and so where Joseph and Samuel.
Both families in Griffydam may have been Methodists. Samuel and Elizabeth Haywood had their first child, David, baptised at the chapel in 1834. The next four or five of their eight children were born in Griffydam.
Joseph and Mary's six children were born either in Worthington or Griffydam. The girls became seamstresses, and Joseph's son, another John, became a colliery labourer. Two of Joseph's daughters were at least attending school in 1851. This was probably the Methodist Providence School of 1847, precursor to the Wesleyan Day School towards Peggs Green, which opened in 1853. Their generation was the first to become literate. By that time, the Haywoods had moved to the Brand. David was now in his late teens and was working in a brick yard - probably Joseph Smart & Sons brick and tile works on Lower Brand. The Haywoods moved to Osgathorpe by 1854, and to Belton around 1861.
Joseph Clifford died that year, aged fifty. He and Mary had been classed as paupers in the 1851 Census. Mary was a lace worker and stocking seamer. To add to her sorrow, only one of their children, Martha, survived into adulthood to create a family of her own. Mary stayed in Griffydam and was again recorded as a pauper in the 1871 Census. Martha and her husband, Thomas Toon, were living with her. Thomas provided household income as a colliery labourer and Martha as a seamstress. The first three of their six children were born in Griffydam. The family moved to Swannington, where Thomas Toon's father gave Mary a second chance of happiness by marrying her in 1875.
In 1865, one of Samuel and Elizabeth Haywood's daughter, another Martha, married James Bowler, a framework knitter from Long Whatton. They had a son in 1866 but, sadly, Martha died in 1867. James's second wife was Hannah Huner née Smallwood. Her parents, Henry and Mary Smallwood, had lived in Griffydam and Hannah had been baptised at the Methodist chapel in 1832.
The lives of these families were typical of those in our area at the time. To find out more about our social history through the lives of these particular Clifford, Haywood and Toon families, click on 'John Clifford (1782-1845) and his family in North-West Leicestershire' on the 'History' page of the Breedon Parish Council website.
Courtesy Of John Clifford
4 x Great Grandson Of John & Martha Clifford