The Lovekin Family of Sheriffhales

gladstone bag

This lovely old Gladstone bag was recently gifted to me. It was found during a house renovation in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and contains a bundle of family photographs together with numerous paper documents. The bag appears to have lain undiscovered for the past 35 years, with the latest date on any of the documents being 1985.

Some of the photographs have names on the back, from which I have been able to piece together a family tree. The earliest image is a very worn carte de visite, inscribed on the back with ‘Grannie Lovekin 1850 – aged 26 years’:

Grannie Lovekin - small

A close up reveals that Grannie is wearing flowers in her hair and, to me, her stern expression makes her look older than she really is:

grannie lovekin - close up

Records reveal that ‘Grannie’ was Sarah Farmer, born around 1823 in the village of Sheriffhales, Shropshire. She married William Lovekin in 1858 and together they had three children:

Lovekin Tree 1

The eldest child, John, provides our link to this collection of photographs, and happily there are two newspaper cuttings about John Lovekin that provide more information. One cutting is from the Express and Star, dated 24 November 1925, which contains the full length portrait shown below. At this time Mr Lovekin had been a chorister for 60 years, a bell-ringer for 50 years and Parish Clerk for 40 years, which the newspaper claims as a record. To mark the occasion, a ‘bronze tablet’ was placed in the Church tower recording the ‘first peal ever rung on the bells in honour of Mr Lovekin’s long service’.

Perhaps a visiter to this blog will know if the bronze tablet still exists in Sheriffhales Church?

John Lovekin Newspaper Clippings

The second article is undated but presumably comes from 1935, since John Lovekin had by this time been a chorister for 70 years! On this occasion a ‘John Lovekin Testimonial Fund’ was raised. Obviously someone in the family was very proud of John Lovekin’s achievements to keep these precious newspaper cuttings safe all this time.

My next blog post will shed some light on how the Gladstone bag and its contents came to be in Macclesfield, and I am hoping that descendants of this family might stumble across this site!

13 thoughts on “The Lovekin Family of Sheriffhales

  1. The date on the CDV is almost certainly incorrect, as cartes from the 1850s are very rare. It would have to be a later reprint of a daguerreotype from 1850, but it doesn’t look like one. Still, an interesting carte and story. It’s great to see a post from you, and I look forward to hearing more about the Gladstone bag!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] I began to look closely at faces in the photographs, in an effort to make sense of the information I was gathering. The lovely old photograph above has ‘Grannie, Peggy, Jack & Brian’ written on the reverse. Useful, but who exactly are they? Luckily, this particular Grannie appears in several other photographs too, and the man next to her in the image below shares a strong likeness with John Lovekin b1859: […]


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