Updated 26 Feb 2009

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 528


Memorial card for
William Mee
Died 12 Oct 1926 aged 82
Buried at St Mark's Church, Cromford

William Mee of Cromford, 1844-1926

    The author bought this Memorial card on Ebay, and tried to trace William Mee as far as he could. Anyone with more information, please contact

    William Mee appears in the Census for 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901. He was the son of Abraham Mee and Prudence Atkins from Leicestershire, who married in 1824

    William met his wife-to-be while they were both servants at Willersley Castle around 1871. Willersley was built by Sir Richard Arkwright (see X106, X358 and X152) and there were 14 servants in the wealthy household.

    He married Ellen WALTERS in 1874, and probably at the same date became Innkeeper of The Bell Inn, Cromford Hill (married servants were rare around that date). In 1895 Kelly's he is also described as a farmer. This marriage was the start of the MEE family in Cromford.

    The Bell Inn (formerly The Blue Bell) is on the uphill corner of Cromford Hill and North Street. Opposite is a bay-windowed house, once called the Cock Inn. The Bell was part of Richard Arkwright's development of Cromford around 1780 and is a listed building.

    The Bell Inn

    47 Cromford Hill

    The Bell Inn, Cromford today
    The Bell (pictured) was one of two pubs that stood on either side of North Street at its junction with Cromford Hill (the Cock Inn being the other). Richard Arkwright built the street in 1776-7 to house mill workers although it is not clear if the pubs opened this time. It is said that Arkwright encouraged his workers (and their children) to drink beer rather than the local water supply as the latter suffered from lead contamination. The earliest landlord (1828), James Gell, was also a maltster and it is possible that he brewed beer on the premises. The pub is now part of the Hardys & Hanson estate and is a fine example of a traditional Derbyshire local, with two cask-conditioned beers available.
    from Chesterfield CAMRA magazine

    By 1901, William was still Innkeeper of the Bell Inn, and he and his wife had raised 11 children

    The Memorial card records that William Mee was buried at St Mark's Church at Cromford on October 15th, 1926, aged 82.

MEE family

    1803 Diseworth 1804 Abraham 1824 Prudence Thomas Mary MEE=======v====ATKINS WALTERS====v==== | | | | |------|----|---|--------|-------| | | | | | | | 1840 1842 1844 1847 1853 | Maria Abraham William Thomas Arthur | | Herbert | | | | | 1844 Cromford 1855 Heage William 1874 Ellen MEE=========v=============WALTERS 1926 | 1921 | |--------|-------|-------|------|--|----|------|-------|-----|--------|------| | | | | | | | | | | | 1876 1878 1879 1881 1882 1883 1886 1889 1891 1892 1894 William Arthur Thomas Ellen Bertha Susan Joseph May Abraham Sarah Fred m1876 m ? 1980 1965 Sarah Polly

Family tree sent by Bob Mee of Canberra. An enlargement can be found on the CD of the Wirksworth website.

Emails on the subject

    Tim Wilding writes:
    I came across your webpage today thanks to the wonders of google, and enjoyed having a look around.
    My name is Tim Wilding and I am related to William Pritchard Harwood who married Susan Mary Mee in 1913 in Bakewell. Susan is mentioned on your web pages. Maybe I can add a little information.
    After her marriage Susan moved to her husband's birthplace in Higher Walton Lancashire. Her husband died in 1953 and Susan herself died in 1965. They are buried at All Saints Church in Higher Walton, and I know there is a memorial. As far as I know they only had one child - Doreen Marjorie - who is shown on Bob Mee's tree. She married late in life in 1970, to Lindon Margerison - a widower - at St Saviour's church in Bamber Bridge Lancashire. The couple were both local government employees. One of the witnesses is named as Mary Elizabeth Mee but I don't know who she is - maybe you do?
    Lindon died in 1977, Doreen in 2005. Although I'm a third cousin of Doreen, I sadly didn't know her and have only become aware of her existence since taking up an interest in genealogy about three years ago. I don't know whether Doreen had any children before her marriage - Lindon certainly may have had a family from his first marriage but I haven't researched that at all.
    I do have exact dates for most of the births, marriages and deaths if you are interested.
    Best wishes, Tim Wilding

    Colin Potts writes:
    Further to my last set of notes about William Mee, I can now update you further. I record below the lifetime for William Mee and his wife Ellen Walters, and details of the children - who they married, etc, etc.

    I have not included anything about William Mee's parents, nor his siblings.

    Here we go for WILLIAM MEE of CROMFORD.

    William Mee was born at Staunton (Staunton Harold), Leicestershire. His birth was registered at Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire in Q1 1844.

    The 1851 Census shows he was living at home with his parents at Heath End. The family consisted of:
    Abraham Mee 38 - Father
    Sarah Mee 31 - Mother
    Maria Mee 10 - Sister
    Abraham Mee 8 - Brother
    William Mee 7
    Thomas Mee 3 - Brother
    I have not yet found William Mee in the 1861 Census, nor his future wife Ellen Walters.

    The 1871 Census shows that both William Mee (27) and Ellen Walters (16) were working as Servants at Willersley Castle, Matlock. Willersley Castle is a 200 year old Grade II listed building and was commissioned by Sir Richard Arkwright. It occupies a magnificent position on the edge of the Peak District overlooking the River Derwent, now within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site. (I'll leave you to look up Sir Richard Arkwright and his business partner Jedediah Strutt). Today, the Castle is the Willersley Castle Hotel, run by the Christian Guild Group, and occupies some 60 acres on the outskirts of Cromford. In 1871 the Castle was still in the hands of the Arkwrights, with the household headed by Mary Anne Arkwright (85); there were 14 servants.

    Clearly, this is where William Mee met Ellen Walters, and they married in 1874. (Marriage registered at Bakewell Q2 1874).

    Ellen Walters was born at Buckland Hollow, and her birth was registered at Bakewell in Q1 1856. Her parents have not yet been identified.

    In the 1881 Census, William and Ellen Mee have left the Castle and are living at the Bell Inn, Cromford Hill, Cromford. The household consists of
    William Mee 37 (Inn Keeper)
    Ellen Mee 26
    William Mee 4
    Arthur Herbert Mee 2
    Thomas Mee 1
    In the 1891 Census William and Ellen Mee are still at the Bell Inn, Cromford. It is listed as in North Street. The household consists of:
    William Mee 47 (Licensed Victualler)
    Ellen Mee 36
    William Mee 14
    Arthur Herbert Mee 12
    Thomas Mee 11
    Ellen M Mee 9
    Susan M Mee 8
    Bertha Mee 6
    Joseph Mee 4
    May Mee 1
    In the 1901 Census William and Ellen Mee are still at the Bell Inn, Cromford. The household consists of:
    William Mee 57 (Inn Keeper and Farmer)
    Ellen Mee 46
    Ellen M Mee 19
    Susan Mee 18
    Bertha Mee 16
    Joseph Mee 14
    May Mee 11
    Abraham Mee 9
    Fred Mee 7
    At this point it is interesting to consider William Mee's new occupation. He's listed as being a farmer as well as an Inn Keeper. Abraham Mee, his father was a farmer at Heath End (Ashby de la Zouch), and died 1894. Can it be surmised that Abraham Mee left the farm to William in his Will? (I've not yet found his Will nor found his father's farm in the 1901 Census - so I don't know who is living there).

    In total, William and Ellen possibly had 11 children - the ten listed above, and Sarah Alice Mee (1892). Details of the children are given below:
    William Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q2 1876. Unverified is a birthdate of 2/5/1876. He married Elizabeth Clay - marriage registered at Belper in Q4 1900. Unverified is a second marriage to Sarah Xxxxxx.
    Arthur Herbert Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q2 1878. He married Fanny Brown (born c 1873, Cromford), marriage registered at Bakewell Q2 1899. The 1901 Census lists Arthur (22) and Fanny (27) living in Chapel Hill, Cromford. Arthur is listed as a Shoeing Smith (Blacksmith). Unverified information is that they had 2 children - William Mee born c 1903 (married Maud Xxxxxx), and Ellen Mee born c 1908 (married G Hodkinson c1935).
    Thomas Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q4 1879. Unverified is a birthdate of 12/4/1879. He married Polly Roundsfell - marriage registered at Nottingham in Q1 1921.
    Ellen Maria Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q4 1881. Unverified is a birthdate of 17/10/1881. She married Clement Hickman - marriage registered at Bakewell in Q1 1908.
    Susan Mary Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q3 1883. Unverified is a birthdate of 28/7/1883. She married William P Harwood - marriage registered at Bakewell Q3 1913.
    Bertha Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q3 1884. She married Harry Spencer - marriage registered at Bakewell Q4 1908.
    Joseph Walter Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q3 1886. Unverified is a birthdate of 8/8/1886.
    May Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q2 1889. Unverified is a birthdate of 21/5/1889.
    Abraham Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q2 1891.
    Sarah Alice Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q4 1892. She has not been found in the 1901 Census when she would have been aged 8, but I have received (unverified) information that she was born 5/12/1892 to William and Ellen.
    Fred Mee - born Cromford, birth registered at Bakewell Q1 1894. Unverified is a marriage to Alice Maud Emery.
    I have more (unverified) information re the descendants of William Mee (b 1876), Arthur Mee (b 1878) and Fred Mee (b 1894) with some descendants born as late as 1980s. So, there is a chance that one of these will read this note.

    Well, that's all I know about the life of William Mee of Cromford.

    As you are possibly aware, I have a considerable list of Mees on my database. I would be happy to help anybody who needs help.

    On your website you have a message from Bob Mee (in Australia). Please can you forward his email address as the one I have for him is defunct.

    Kind Regards

    Colin Potts 2 Jan 2009
    I've just read your notes on William Mee of Cromford, and might be able to help you with earlier generations of the Mees.

    I have a particular interest in the Mees, but some generations earlier - My interest is Abraham Mee 1740 and Elizabeth Wardle and their offspring. The relationship between William Mee and Abraham Mee is as follows

    Abraham Mee b 1779 married Elizabeth Wardle in 1771 and had 8 or 9 children - Elizabeth, Mary, Abraham, Jane, William, Joseph, Frances Ann, Thomas, and John. Abraham's will only identifies 7 beneficiaries - William and John are not mentioned). (I have a copy of this will). I am not convinced as yet about William and John - I still need absolute proof.

    Son Abraham (b 4 10 1779) married Elizabeth Mason 17 1 1801 and had 6 children - Thomas, Maria, Elizabeth, Abraham, George and William.

    Grandson Abraham b 1811 married Sarah Richards 4 12 1838. They had 5 children - Maria, Abraham, William (i.e. your William), Thomas and Arthur Herbert. You have shown on your Mee Family tree that the parents of these 5 children were Abraham Mee (1803) and Prudence Atkins (1804). The 1851 Census records Abraham Mee (Abram Mee) (aged 38) - Farmer of 14 acres, Sarah Mee (aged 31), Maria Mee (aged 10) - Scholar at home, Abram Mee (aged 8) - Scholar at home, William Mee (aged 7) - Scholar at home, Thomas Mee (aged 3) living in Heath End, Ashby de Zouch. Perhaps we need to correspond on this to reach some conclusion.

    Changing subject slightly, I see on you an extract of the Mee Tree received from Bob Mee of Camberra. I have a copy of the complete page - but it is an earlier version - it has less marks on it. I shall have to contact Bob Mee for more information. Careful study of this has shown that there appears to be several errors.

    Well that's all for now - tell me what you still need and I may be able to help.

    PS In the above I have quoted birth years and birth/baptism dates - some are as yet unverified) - and therefore care needs to be taken with these.

    Dear John,
    Please find enclosed an article from Chesterfield CAMRA magazine regarding pubs in Cromford. Hope it is still of use & interest to you.

    Still making enquiries regarding William Mee, if I come across anything I will get in touch.

    Philip Benfield
    The Bell Inn

    Hi John,
    As part of my MEE investigations I 'met' a lady on the Internet from Shardlow (Jean Snow) whose maiden name was MEE. When I came to the UK last year for my sisters funeral, my wife and I met up with Jean and we exchanged items of interest. Here is what I have.

    She had had around to see her Don Henderson who is a MEE researcher and of vintage stock (aged) but a real pleasure to talk to. He had several B2 sized sheets with all the Mee's info on. He allowed Jean to copy them and she then copied them and gave them to me, that were relevant to my family. Now as luck would have it I have the Mee information for Cromford 1833-1984 and I have scanned that page for you.

    Now it is all hand written and very very small. I hope you can read it, if not may I respectfully ask you to contact Geoff Mee (geoffDOTmeeATvirginDOTnet) he is a cousin of Don Henderson and he will advise you or even send you a hard copy. Don is getting on in life and doesn't do anything on the computer it is all hand written, he is still in the carbon paper era.

    Jean Snow can be contacted on Derby 01332-xxxxxx or jeansnowATbtinternetDOTcom (contact for this phone)

    I'll tell you how good Jean is, I had heard that there was a book in the Leicester library entitled 'Genealogy of the Mee family'. So I asked Jean if she could go and have a look at it, it might be worth while. She did and found it was a reference book and was not to be taken away. She used her charm and managed to photo-copy, in the library, the whole book, and send it out to me by e-mail. Unfortunately the book doesn't contain any info on the Cromford Mee's.

    In the book (Info gleaned from the Court Rolls of 1552) it relates to one of my ancestors who in 1550, John Mee got fined 2p for allowing his horse manure to pile up and block the Kings highway at Ingelby. In the book it has a copy of his will dated 27 June 1552 and he leaves all his goods and chattels to members of his family, hence we get a record of some of his relations even though there is no actual births recorded at that time.

    Hope this helps in someway.

    Best Wishes

    Bob Mee
    12 Aug 07
    Hi John,
    Just looked thru' my MEE tree and I can find the following info on your William Mee * as follows.

    Born 30 Aug 1844 died 1926 in Cromford.
    Children (I have 11 children)
    William b.2-5-1876 married Sarah 18-5-1920
    Arthur b. 5-5-1878
    Tom b. 12-4-1879 married Polly
    Ellen b. 17-10-1881
    Bertha b. 1882
    Susan b. 28-7-1883
    Joseph b. 8-8-1886
    May b. 21-5-1889
    Abraham b. 1891 died 1980
    Sarah Alice b. 5-12-1892
    Fred b. 1894 died 25-3-1965
    I have William Mee * born 30-8-1844 he had a sister Maria b.1840 brother Abraham b. 11-3-1842 another brother Thomas b. 3-10-1847 and another brother Arthur Herbert born 1853. I think he married a lass called Ellen (Also name of first girl child) she died 28-5-1921 and this marriage William-Ellen was the start of the Mee's in Cromford.
    I can trace this family line to Thomas Le Mey of Breedon born circa 1530 whose father was Matthew Le Mey 1305 born possible in Long Whatton whose family goes back to William Le Mey 1167 also of Long Whatton.

    When you get into the Mee tree boy it is 'busy'
    I have much more info, just ask me and I'll tell you.... 'if I can'.
    I obtained all my info from Geoff Mee of Cheshire (geoffdotmeeATvirgindotnet) he lives at xxxxxxxx (contact for this address). .
    If you communicate with him please say hello from me from downunder.
    Cheers for now
    Bob Mee
    30 July 07

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