Tag Archives: Frank Renwick

Wardsend Cemetery: Harry and Jessie Renwick (née Jessie Ashforth) and Dion Williamson

Published: January 12, 2017    Last modified: January 15, 2017

Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield

While searching for a plan of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield (which I have now obtained) I came across links to Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield.

Wardsend Cemetery is a place I have visited in the past (see the Related Posts at the end of this article) since this is where some of my ancestors were laid to rest. In this post I described finding the headstone of Albert ASHFORTH, Harry RENWICK and Frank RENWICK.

Well to cut a long story short, several years ago I attended a Family and Local History Day, at Bradfield Village Hall, Sheffield and purchased several CDs, of which one is an index of burials with some inscriptions from Wardsend Cemetery, courtesy the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery.

Looking at my notes regarding the RENWICK and ASHFORTH ancestors who are buried at Wardsend, I came across the following inscription which I had found on the aforementioned CD:

In loving memory of a dearly loved wife and mother Jessie RENWICK who
fell asleep 14th May 1954 aged 67 years
Also Harry the beloved husband of the above who died 10th October 1959
aged 74 years
Also Dion son of Harry and Jessie WILLIAMSON of New Zealand and
grandson of the above who died 30th December 1963 aged 23 years
“Till we meet again”

Dion (Douglas Roy) WILLIAMSON 1940-1963 of New Zealand, who died as a result of a sad and tragic accident during a visit to Sheffield, was also laid to rest at Wardsend Cemetery, alongside Jessie RENWICK (née Jessie ASHFORTH 1887-1954) and Harry RENWICK 1885-1959.

In previous visits I have not been able to find this headstone, but since I plan to visit Crookes and Burngreave cemeteries in the not too distant future I thought it may be worth while exploring Wardsend Cemetery before the vegetation, once again, begins to obscure the headstones. Anyone who has visited Wardsend Cemetery in the last 20 years will understand what a formidable task this is!

The last time I visited Wardsend Cemetery it was in a terrible state; I doubt this has changed. To view more photographs of Wardsend Cemetery, please click here.

Wardsend Cemetery: Photographs

Published: February 28, 2012    Last modified: January 12, 2017

Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Headstone left: Albert Ashforth, Harry Renwick, Frank Renwick
Headstone right: Harry, Emily and George Waller

In October 2010 I participated in a tour of Wardsend Cemetery, Livesey Street, Owlerton, Sheffield. The tour was organised by the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery and later I published an article 'Wardsend Cemetery - The guiding spirit of George Waller' about what I found.

Over the last 14 months I never did seem to find time to process and upload the photographs, so I set aside this evening, processed the images and uploaded them to this Album in the Gallery.

Since this was a tour of the cemetery, the gallery of photographs depicts the overall state of the cemetery, rather than pictures of individual headstones. Anyone not familiar with Wardsend Cemetery is more than likely to be quite shocked and will no doubt wonder why it has been allowed to fall into such a level of irretrievable decay.

Learn more at the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery.

Wardsend Cemetery: The guiding spirit of George Waller

Published: October 30, 2010    Last modified: January 21, 2017

Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Headstone left - Albert Ashforth, Harry Renwick, Frank Renwick
Headstone right - Harry, Emily and George Waller

Last Sunday, during my visit to the Family and Local History Day at Bradfield, I chatted with a couple of representatives from Friends of Wardsend Cemetery. I was already aware of their forthcoming tour of Wardsend Cemetery and confirming this would probably be the final tour of the year, I promised myself to try and make time to attend.

After a few days of rather poor weather I woke early Saturday to find a gloriously sunny morning. Grabbing my camera and walking boots I set off to Sheffield, travelling via Bradfield in order to admire the outstanding autumnal colours of Langsett, Midhope and Broomhead moors.

I arrived in Sheffield a little early so with time to spare I decided to take a walk through Hillsborough Park, something I have not done for well over 20 years.

The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery website advises to travel by way of Livesey Street. Not being sure which was Livesey Street I cast my mind back nearly 50 years and took the only route I know of from Owlerton to the cemetery, this is the route we took when we would cycle down to what we called 'the meadows'. Here we would play at 'dirt tracking' i.e. cycling at high speed over waste land near the river, then jamming on the brakes, including our feet, and sliding to a halt. This created huge clouds of dust and of course a great loss of rubber tread and leather sole, not that we cared! Of course the one with the longest skid trail went off with a greatly inflated ego and more often that not, a few cuts and bruises.

This was in fact Livesey Street. The old stone arched bridge that had been washed away in the floods of 2007 has been replaced with a much inferior modern bridge, totally out of keeping with the character of the Victorian cemetery. Still at least now we can cross the river.

I could see a group of people standing the other side of the river, a couple of whom I recognised from the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery stand at the Family and Local History Day the previous week. So along with about 15 others, I set off through the mud to a place I had not visited in over 50 years.

The guides were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and considering the state of the cemetery fairly essential. Since the lower cemetery is now woodland, with ivy, rhododendron and Japanese knotweed attempting to cover everything in sight, it is not easy to find one's way around the various sections.

Eventually we made our way over the railway to the newer section of the cemetery. Here bracken replaces trees, and the gloom of the lower cemetery lifts a little.

One of our guides drew our attention to a couple of graves with history attached. One of these graves is that of George Waller, a local gentleman killed in the Balby railway disaster of 1947. Below is a British Pathé newsreel showing the aftermath of the disaster:

18 Die, 70 Hurt In Doncaster Train Crash

Since we were about to return to our starting point I decided to take a few photographs of George Waller's headstone. As I did so, I scanned some of the surrounding headstones. Imagine my surprise when my eyes settled on a headstone just a couple of metres away and I saw the name 'RENWICK'. Closer inspection also revealed the name of 'ALBERT ASHFORTH'. Both these are family names, indeed I have mentioned them several times on this website.

Wardsend Cemetery, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Albert Ashforth, Harry Renwick, Frank Renwick

Well to say I was staggered by my good fortune is very much an understatement. Early in our tour I had come to the conclusion that trying to find a family grave in these conditions and in the time available was going to be nigh on impossible, but here was one of them.

The full inscription reads:

In Loving Memory Of
Albert Ashforth,
Died March 13th 1912, Aged 34 Years.
Also Harry Renwick,
Died March 25th 1934, Aged 24 Years.
Also Frank Renwick,
Died Jan. 15th 1949, Aged 33 Years.

Not wanting to lose the group I took some photographs, memorised the location and moved on. Later as the tour came to an end and the group dispersed, I re-traced my steps, back up the hill and over the railway in order to get a GPS fix on the location of the grave.

Being on my own now, I really thought it too dangerous to explore very far off the paths. I heeded the warnings of the guides about suddenly plunging into collapsed graves and decided it would be better to wait and explore at a later date, possibly in mid winter when all the vegetation has died back.

So this day turned out to be very profitable indeed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery for organising these tours and express my appreciation of their determination in keeping the years of neglect at Wardsend Cemetery in the public spotlight.

Strolling back under the beautiful autumnal sun I could not resist walking along Owlerton Green, then past my place of birth on Hawksley Road before once again entering Hillsborough Park. How the park has changed, except perhaps for the horse chestnut trees. These magnificent specimens are still standing and still producing fine 'conkers', long may they do so.

I am not sure if re-visiting places from one's childhood is good for the soul. Most of the changes are terribly depressing, a total lack of purpose other than financial in planning decisions together with the destruction of community makes one wonder what all this will be like after another 50 years. Witness the complete obliteration of Owlerton Green by Swann-Morton Ltd.

I took numerous photographs at Wardsend Cemetery though I have not had the time to sort through and process them. Over the next couple of weeks I will endeavour to accomplish this task and add them to my Gallery.

2012-02-27 After many months I finally found the time to upload the photographs of Wardsend Cemetery to the Gallery. To view the photographs please click here.

2015-03-04 I came across a link to the Railways Archive and this Accident at Doncaster on 9th August 1947 article about the train crash mentioned above.

Clara Renwick, Jessie Renwick, Robert Renwick, Ernest Renwick and Frank Renwick

Published: September 14, 2007    Last modified: November 8, 2016

Clara Renwick, Jessie Renwick, Robert Renwick, Ernest Renwick and Frank Renwick
<a href="http://familyhistoryjournal.com/?s=Renwick">Read more...</a>

Back row, left to right: Jessie Renwick, Robert (Bob) Renwick
Front row, left to right: Clara Renwick, Frank Renwick, Ernest Renwick

Another photograph of the RENWICK children from our family collection:

Jessie RENWICK 1908-1982
Robert RENWICK Deceased
Clara RENWICK 1912-Deceased
Frank RENWICK 1915-1949
Ernest RENWICK 1918-Deceased

This photograph does not have a date stamp but was probably taken about 1918 at the rear of 41 Burton Street, Hillsborough, Sheffield 6.

Harry Renwick and Jessie Renwick (née Jessie Ashforth)

Published: February 4, 2007    Last modified: February 15, 2017

Family Group: Ashforth ~ Renwick
Front row l-r: Frank Renwick, Harry Renwick, Ethel Ashforth, Ellen Ashforth (née Ellen Tomlinson), Ernest Renwick
Back row l-r: Clara Renwick, Robert Renwick, Jessie Renwick
<a href="http://familyhistoryjournal.com/?s=Ashforth+Renwick">Read more...<a>

Front row l-r: Frank Renwick, Harry Renwick, Ethel Ashforth, Ellen Ashforth (née Ellen Tomlinson), Ernest Renwick
Back row l-r: Clara Renwick, Robert Renwick, Jessie Renwick

Like most families we have 'shoe boxes' and 'biscuit tins' stuffed full of old photographs. Sadly most of these photographs have never been catalogued and so the subject or place can no longer be identified. My mother is custodian of our family's collection, so borrowing a few at a time I am hoping to digitally scan as many as possible. Beginning with those which we can readily identify I hope to archive these to both digital and paper based media.

This is one such photograph. It depicts Harry RENWICK 1885-1959, his children, sister-in-law and mother-in-law. Since his wife Jessie RENWICK (née Jessie ASHFORTH 1887-1954), my great grand aunt, was alive and well is not in the photograph we can only assume she was probably behind the camera. This photograph was taken in the backyard of one of the hundreds of terraced houses on and around Burton Street, Sheffield. Harry RENWICK 1885-1959 and Jessie RENWICK (née Jessie ASHFORTH 1887-1954) and family lived at 41 Burton Street just above Burton Street School which I believe is now a community centre.

Fortunately my mother is blessed with a superb memory and can identify all those in the above photograph. After further research here is some additional information:

Frank RENWICK 1915-1949 - died of TB, aged about 23 years.
Harry RENWICK 1885-1959 - married Jessie ASHFORTH 1887-1954
Ethel ASHFORTH 1889-Deceased - suffered from epilepsy and was eventually admitted to Middlewood Hospital, Sheffield where she remained until her death.
Ellen ASHFORTH (née Ellen TOMLINSON 1855-1943) - my great grandmother, lived into her nineties.
Ernest RENWICK 1918-Deceased
Clara RENWICK 1912-Deceased - married John BARBER Deceased.
Robert RENWICK Deceased - died of Tuberculosis, aged about 23 years.
Jessie RENWICK 1908-1982 - emigrated to New Zealand and married Henry James WILLIAMSON 1894-1965.

2007-08-02 Thanks must go to SH for leaving the comments re: RENWICKS / ASHFORTHS.

"The pictures you have of the wedding party are my great grand parents Harry RENWICK 1885-1959 and Jessie RENWICK (née Jessie ASHFORTH 1887-1954). I was born at 41 Burton Street, we have photos of Clara (my grandmother) and she did not emigrate to New Zealand but her sister Jessie did." - SH

"Harry RENWICK 1885-1959 is my great grandfather, Clara RENWICK 1912- is my grand mother who married John BARBER, my mothers name was Joan BARBER and she had a sister called Rene and a brother called Jack. Ernest RENWICK 1918- was my uncle, my sister and I visit the ASHFORTH and RENWICK graves at Wardsend Cemetery. We have several family photos of all these people and also Frank and Bob. I was born at 41 Burton Street where we used to live with my great grandparents, sadly my grandparents and my own parents are deceased, I would love to hear from anyone who knows of our family." - SH

I have amended some of the details and hope this time to have correctly identified everyone.

2007-09-09 I am still rather confused over the boys' names in this photograph. Subsequent research leads me to question my previous research. To read a later post outlining this issue click here.

2008-12-30 Further research shows Ellen ASHFORTH's maiden name to be TOMLINSON not PASLEY so I have amended this article.

2010-11-02 To read about my visit to Wardsend Cemetery and the location of a RENWICK / ASHFORTH grave please click here.

Old Comments:

These are my great great
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 2016-06-23 11:32
These are my great great grandparents. This is amazing.

Ashforth and Renwicks
Submitted by susan horsfield on Sat, 2007-07-14 21:34

The pictures you have of the wedding party are my great grand parents Harry and Jessie Renwick. I was born at 41 Burton Street, we have photos of Clara (my grandmother) and she did not emigrate to New Zealand but her sister Jessie did. If you would like any further information please contact me.

Edit: Email address removed to thwart spammers.

Wardsend Cemetery, Owlerton, Sheffield

Published: May 11, 2005    Last modified: February 4, 2017
Wardsend Cemetery

Headstone right - Harry, Emily and George Waller
Headstone left - Albert Ashforth, Harry Renwick, Frank Renwick

I came across the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery site a few years ago, though it would appear not to have had any major updates since. Unfortunately the site uses flash, java applets and music arrrrgh... and I had to open it with Internet Explorer rather than my usual Firefox. It really needs a re-design to be more user friendly. Nevertheless it provides some interesting information, though I don't know how active this group is. The site advertises tours of the cemetery and also gives a contact phone number.

I am aware some of my ancestors are buried at Wardsend Cemetery, Owlerton, Sheffield so maybe I will try the contact number and see if tours are still available.

2007-01-20 This site is still operational and now works with Firefox.


Recently I received an email from the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery advising me of a change of web address.
The 'Friends of Wardsend Cemetery' now have a new website at:-
which replaces the old one. The new site will be updated on a regular basis, unlike the old site.

The website is much improved and I have updated my links to point to the new address.

The group is still very much active and I recently met with them at a Family and Local History Day at Bradfield Village Hall. To read my article 'Family and Local History Day, Bradfield Village Hall' please click here.

I also attended one of the tours of Wardsend Cemetery organised by The Friends of Wardsend Cemetery, highly recommended, but take some stout footwear! To read my article 'Wardsend Cemetery - The guiding spirit of George Waller' please click here.