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John Sanderson, cutler of Sheffield (died 1733) - includes the surnames Dodworth, Bray & Price


Richard Axe
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The will of John Sanderson, cutler of Sheffield, is short, intriguing and frustrating. His wife was Alice; his mother was still alive at the time of writing (1733) but is unnamed, and a brother-in-law is given as John Dodworth. The latter was probably mentioned in the will of Edward Saunderson of Sheffield (1719-20): a John Dodworth is listed there as one of three witnesses. The other two, Twigg and Jolley, are likely to be associated with non-conformism, which might offer some thoughts on John’s own background.

John Dodworth was married to one Sarah Sanderson at Sheffield on 30th March 1719. There are two possible marriages between a John and an Alice in this period. Firstly, a John Sanderson married Alice Bray at Bradfield on 12th December 1714. If so, one might expect him to have gained his freedom as a cutler around or shortly before his marriage, but no such record is given by Leader[1]. Secondly, there was a marriage between John Sanderson of Sheffield and Alice Price of Sutton in Ashfield at the latter place on 19th September 1728. That date might accord better with a completed apprenticeship.

Currently, John’s parentage cannot be determined but there are three attractive possibilities.

1.     John, son of Francis of Worrall – gained his freedom in 1722

2.     John, son of Joseph, tanner of Sheffield – probably gained his freedom in 1723

3.     John, son of John – gained his freedom in 1728

This might be the time to be reminded of John Dodson, the testator’s brother-in-law, as a source of evidence for John’s parentage. His potential links to nonconformism might point towards John, the son of Joseph, as a likely candidate. Against that, a John Sanderson who was certainly a nonconformist (Presbyterian) had children before 1728 and after 1733. The matter awaits the production of better evidence.

If John and Alice had any children one might assume that they died early as there is no mention of any in the will. John died in 1733 and was buried at Sheffield on 19th July. One of the Alices is probably the person buried in the same place on 12th May 1751.

 

[1] A number of Sanderson men named John gained their freedom in the cutlery records from the first quarter of the eighteenth century – not all can be identified

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