The Dacre Ancestors

The Dacres

This page tells the story of the Dacre line of the family. If you want to see a detailed diagram of the Dacre ancestors, then click Dacre Tree. This will open in a new tab so that you can flip between this page and the diagram.

These are the ancestors on the paternal line of Grandma Alice Dacre. The surname Dacre possibly originates from a place called Dacre. There is still a small village called Dacre north west of Harrogate, which may have been its origin. In some records, this surname has also been spelt Daker or Dacres. The Daker version of the name also means ‘dweller by a plot of arable land’. The main concentration of all versions of the name is in Yorkshire, suggesting the Dacres are definitely of Yorkshire origin. In fact, all the Dacres that I have found were born in Yorkshire.

The Dacres in our family lived initially in Otley. They later moved south and finally finished in Leeds. The earliest refence I have found to the Dacre ancestors was in 1702, so the story starts from there.

John Dacres and Elizabeth Stead

The earliest details that I have found was the marriage of John Dacres and Elizabeth Stead on the 25th May 1702 in Otley. This was just a few years before the famous cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale was born in Otley in 1718.

I have managed to trace Elizabeth’s family back a bit further. Her father, Henry Stead was born in Otley in 1657, which makes him the oldest of the Spencer Yorkshire ancestors that I have been able to trace. This was just after the end of the Civil War when Oliver Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector.

The name Otley is derived from Otto, a Saxon personal name and leah, a woodland clearing. During the 18th and 19th century, the woollen industry was the main employment of the town.

John Dacres and Alice Limbert

John was a son of John and Elizabeth and was born in 1702 in Otley. He married Alice Limbert in 1726 in Goldsborough Yorkshire. Alice was born in Spofforth in Yorkshire in 1699. Spofforth is a village south-east of Harrogate and about 12 miles east of Otley. They later moved to Stainburn which is about 5 miles north-east of Otley. John died in1783 in Stainburn.

William Daker and Jane Holliday

William was a son of John and Alice and was born in 1741 in Stainburn Yorkshire. He married Jane Holliday in 1765 in Kirkby Overblow which is six miles east of Stainburn. They had 7 children. I have not been able to trace Jane’s birth. There were two Jane Hallidays born in Otley so she could be one of those.

Peter Daker and Sarah Whittaker

Peter was a son of William and Jane and was born in 1783 in Stainburn Yorkshire. He married Sarah Whittaker in 1806. They had 4 children. Jane was born in 1786 in Ripley, which is about nine miles north of Stainburn.

They moved to Adel north of Leeds and by 1841 they were living in Buslingthorpe, north Leeds. Buslingthorpe’s main claim to fame seems to be that the name has exactly half the letters of the alphabet with none of them repeated.

Both Peter and his wife Sarah worked as farm labourers suggesting that she had to work because Peter’s wage was insufficient to support them. Life in the 1840s was very difficult for the poor. It was later called ‘The Hungry 40s’. In 1839 there was a serious slump in trade followed by an economic depression. This coincided with a number of bad harvests. They were both still working at the time of the 1851 census when they were in their sixties and they both died two years later in 1853.

Christopher Daker and Ann Daker

Christopher was a son of Peter and Sarah and was born in 1828 in Adel Yorkshire. He married Ann Daker. They had 8 children. Although they had the same surname, there is no indication that they were closely related. Ann was born in 1834 in Seacroft Yorkshire and her family lived on the east side of Leeds whereas Christopher’s family had come from north of Leeds..

Christopher’s occupation is shown as working in a stone quarry. With the requirement for stone for building and dry-stone walling, there were a number of stone quarries around Leeds providing Yorkshire sandstone.

In the 1871 census he was still shown as a quarryman, but this time he was a patient in the Cookridge Convalescent Hospital. It doesn’t say why he was in there.

The hospital was built at a cost of £10,000 to provide care and to promote recovery for patients who had been treated at Leeds General Infirmary. Cookridge is about six miles north of central Leeds. Its location was chosen because then it was remote from Leeds and according to its publicity, ‘patients could be cheered up among the bracken and pure air’.

As it was built in the days before the NHS, the patients had to pay for their own care. It cost approximately eight shillings a week. For those unable to afford it, sometimes benefactors provided free beds for the needy.

Cookridge hospital
Cookridge Hospital

This was not an easy stay for the patients, they had to abide by a list of rules which remained the same until 1934. One of the rules was to ‘obey the Matron and to perform all services in the house and grounds as she may appoint’. Unfortunately, Christopher didn’t recover and died at home in December that year at the age of 43.

Joseph Dacre and Ann Coates

Joseph was a son of Christopher and Ann and was born in 1854 in Halton Leeds. He married Ann Coates in 1873. They had 5 children. Ann was born in 1852 in Leeds. Ann’s father was a ‘letter carrier’ which is what they used to call postmen.

On their marriage certificate, Joseph’s occupation is given as a Flesher in a Tan Yard. I found the following description of a Flesher’s job.
‘He’s the poor soul with the job of scraping every last trace of flesh and fat from the hides. He used a thing called a Currying Blade. This is a sort of slightly bowed knife with a handle at either end. He’d throw the hide over a plank, which would be supported at one end by a trestle. Then he’d stand over it and start drawing the knife toward himself, across the underside of the hide. It was quite a skilled job. You needed to remove every last trace of stuff, without slitting that hide.’

He obviously wasn’t too thrilled with the job as later, he had a different and interesting job title in the census records. In the 1891 and 1901 census, he is shown as a ‘scavenger’. This was not what we understand as a scavenger, but was a job description that had a specific meaning then. It was used to describe council workers who were employed as street cleaners or garbage collectors. In the 1911 census, he had described his occupation with a better sounding title of Carter for the Leeds City Council Department of Cleaning.

Joseph died in 1914 and Ann died in 1909.

Joseph and Ann Dacre
Joseph and Ann Dacre

Walter Dacre and Mary Hannah Moorby

Walter was a son of Joseph and Ann and was born in 1875 in Leeds. He married Mary Hannah Moorby in 1900 in Bramley. They had 3 children. Mary was born in 1876 in Leeds and details of her family are on the Moorby page.

Walter worked for the council. He was a tar boiler, which involved tarmacking the roads in Leeds. He died in 1954 and Mary died in 1933.

Walter Dacre tar boiler
Walter working as a tar boiler
Walter and Mary Dacre
Walter and Mary Dacre

These are the parents of grandma Alice Dacre so I have come to the end of the Dacre ancestors.