GPS Accuracy (Feet): 3
Rev Jabez Tunnicliff
There are three people buried in this grave, according to the records for Beckett Street Cemetery:-
Mary Ann Tunnicliff (nee Fieldhouse) (first wife of Jabez)
Elizabeth Fitter – no details of her life can be found
Four of their children – Samuel, Matthew Henry, Matilda, Alfred - are mentioned on the Memorial Inscription but they are not buried in this cemetery.
Ann Tunnicliff (nee Smith) (second wife of Jabez) is mentioned here but is not on the records for Beckett Street Cemetery.
Mary Ann Fieldhouse was born in 1806, married Jabez Tunnicliff in 1828 in Staffordshire. Jabez was the founder of the Band of Hope movement and Chaplain of the unconsecrated section of the Cemetery.
When they came to Leeds, he was very poor and had to sell some of the best books from his library to buy bread for his children. She followed her husband from one church to another sometimes in great hardship. His meetings always began and ended with prayers.
They were married at St Mary's Church Bushbury – although married by banns there should have been parental consent at least for Jabez aged 19. (See two Marriage Certificates below)
Mary Ann in later census documents appears to be the same age as Jabez but one baptismal record of a Mary Ann Fieldhouse is that of a daughter born to George and Ann (George was a locksmith in Wolverhampton) in December 1813 which would make her 15 at the time of the marriage! There is another, which matches the dates on her headstone, and reference is that of a Mary Ann born to George and Elizabeth Fieldhouse in Wolverhampton in 1807 which would make her 2 years older than Jabez which seems more likely. She would then have been of age, 21.
Mary Ann bore eight children over a period of 18 years and buried four of them:-
Harriot (13/8/1829-) born Exhall, Warwickshire
Samuel born 1832 died 1834, 2y 9m – no records found
Matthew Henry, born 1834, died 1835 1y 9m – no records found
Matilda, born 29/1/1837, died 2y 11m
William Henry (1838-1896) born Longford Warwickshire
Alfred (1840-1843) born Birmingham, died 2y 9m
Elizabeth (1844-) born Leeds,
Matilda (1846-1917) born Leeds
Mary Ann died Dec 22nd 1850 aged 44 (according to the monumental inscription).
Her husband Jabez married his second wife Ann Smith.
13th Nov 1897 Leeds Times Newspaper – this excerpt is reminiscent about Jabez Tunnicliff in the early days of the Band of Hope – times were very hard. Jabez was also part of a group of clerics who were protestors against State regulation of religion. This was not a popular movement with the Established Church of England and must have made his progress as a cleric rather tricky. I can’t help feeling that Mary Ann might have been a bit miffed about the amount he spent on tobacco when the children were going hungry.
Marriage Certificates of Jabez Tunnicliff and Mary Ann Fieldhouse, 4th May 1828, St Mary, Bushbury, Staffordshire
Researcher, Lesley Newnham