Sarah Cheshire Hartill

Sarah Cheshire Showell (nee Hartill) was baptized 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 July 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 Sarah Downing, 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)

Sarah Cheshire Showell with great grandson Jack Grazebrook in July 1908

Sarah Cheshire Showell with great grandson Jack Grazebrook in July 1908

Sarah Showell had three sons and ten daughters. Whilst the eldest sons took over the brewing business and oversaw its over expansion and sale, her daughters remained in close contact. Sarah seems to have been relatively close to Hannah 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 September 1901 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 July 1910.


Last updated on 24 September 2017 by JJ Morgan