Sarah Cheshire Hartill

Sarah Cheshire Showell (née Hartill) was baptised on 27 Nov 1835 in Dudley and married the Oldbury brewer Walter Showell on 2 May 1854 in Oldbury. She was the daughter of Joseph Hartill and Sarah Cheshire. Her grandfather was Joseph Hartill.

We have one photograph that is probably of her – dated Jul 1908 and described as ‘four generations’ at Churchill taken by Mary Downing. It shows Nancy and Jack Grazebrook, their parents Willie and Daisy Grazebrook, Daisy’s mother Hannah Pitt Downing and an elderly lady. Although the elderly lady could be Susan Lee, William Edmund Downing’s stepmother, it should on balance be Sarah Showell. Willie Grazebrook’s (b 1865) two grandmothers were either dead or over 100.

Four generations, Churchill, Jul 1908

Four generations, Churchill, Jul 1908

Sarah Showell had three sons and ten daughters. Whilst the eldest sons, Walter and Charles, took over the running of the brewing business and oversaw its over-expansion and sale, Sarah’s daughters remained in close contact. Sarah seems to have been close to Hannah Pitt Downing, her eldest daughter. Hannah Pitt, named after Sarah’s grandmother, Ann Pitt, was already 22 years old when the last of her mother’s thirteen children was born in 1877.

One heirloom, the Cheshire bible, has been passed to our family meaning that Sarah definitely bequeathed it to Hannah and hence to Noel Downing.

After her husband died in Sep1901 she continued to live with her unmarried daughter Louise. The two seem to have moved for some reason to Cowley, near Uxbridge which is the address of both Louise and her mother on the latter’s death certificate giving her date of death as 22 Jul 1910.

Last updated on 31 October 2021 by JJ Morgan