The Revell Ancestors

The Revells

This page tells the story of the Revell line of the family. If you want to see a detailed diagram of the Revell ancestors, then click Revell 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 Doris Spencer. The surname Revell is derived from the Middle English and Old French word ‘revel’ which meant festivity, tumult or riot and was a nickname for a boisterous person. The name doesn’t appear to have a single area of origin. The three main areas where it is found are the north of England, the east of England, and the south west of England.

The Revels in our family lived most of the time on the south-west side of Leeds around Morley and Guildersome. The earliest reference I have found to the Revell ancestors was in 1752, so the story starts from there.

Isaac Revel and Grace Cliffe

The earliest detail was the marriage of Isaac Revell to Grace Cliffe in 1752 in Batley. I have not been able to find Isaac’s christening, but when he died in 1770, he was said to be 41, which gives a birth in approximately 1729. Grace was christened in 1729 in Batley.

Nathaniel Revell and Hannah Walker

Nathaniel was a son of Isaac and Grace and was christened in 1769 in Morley. He married Hannah Walker in 1790 in Batley. I have been unable to trace her christening.

John Revell and Elizabeth Hobson

John was a son of Nathaniel and Hannah and was christened in 1791 in Guildersome. He married Elizabeth Hobson in Bradford in 1813. They had 10 children. Elizabeth was christened in 1790 in Sheffield. There were a lot of Hobsons in Sheffield at that time, so I have not been able to identify her family. John worked as a coal miner. He died in 1869 and Elizabeth died in 1861.

Joseph Revell and Hannah Fearnley

Joseph was a son of John and Elizabeth and was christened in 1819 in Bowling Bradford. He married Hannah Fearnley in 1841. Hannah was christened in 1826 in Almondbury, Yorkshire, a village just south of Huddersfield. Hannah came from a farming family as both her father and grandfather are shown as farmers in the census records. She died very young at 29 in 1855.

Joseph was also a coal miner. The census returns give no indication in which pits the Revells worked. In one census Joseph is shown as being a deputy at a coal mine.

A deputy is an underground official responsible for the management and safety of their area of the pit, so he would have been a very experienced miner to hold that position.

Joseph Revell
Joseph Revell

I did find one newspaper report than mentions Joseph and an incident he was involved in.
Leeds Mercury 12th October 1877
‘The Shocking Accident in Leeds. Yesterday an inquest was held at the Greyhound Inn, York Road, on the body of John McHugh, tailor, who lodged at Siddal Street Holbeck Leeds. During the whole of Monday, he was in the company of a fellow work man named Stanley, drinking at many public houses. In the evening they were both intoxicated and left a beer house in Shannon Street at half past ten o’clock. Shortly after this they parted and McHugh was not again seen or heard until six o’clock the following morning when he was found dead at the bottom of the Prince of Wales Pit by deputy Joseph Revell. The jury returned a verdict ‘That the deceased had been accidently killed through falling down the pit whilst in a state of drunkenness.’

In later census returns, Joseph is listed as Coal and Ironstone Miners. Seams containing iron ore were often found above the coal seams, so he obviously diversified into doing both jobs.

Joseph married a second time after his first wife died. By the 1871 census their household had grown as there were children from both their first marriages, plus their own children giving a total of eleven children living with them. Fortunately, several of the children were working by then so would have contributed to the household bills. Two of his daughters and one of his step-daughters were Worsted Weavers.

Worsted wool differs from normal wool, in that the natural crimp of the wool fibre is removed in the process of spinning the yarn. It is then woven into a fabric that is typically used in the making of tailored garments such as suits. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Bradford was the world leader in Worsted weaving and textile mills proliferated in West Yorkshire.

Joseph died in 1901.

William Revell and Mary Ann Benn

William was a son of Joseph and Hannah and was born in 1851 in Leeds. He married Mary Ann Benn in 1879. They had 6 children.

Mary was born in Leeds in 1855. Mary’s father Samuel worked for the railways as a wheel turner, but in the 1891 census, his occupation intriguingly changes to missionary. There are no clues as to this sudden change of career.

William is shown in the 1861 census as working down the mine. He was only eleven years old and was working as a Coal Hurrier.

These were boys who were employed to pull the tubs of coal along the pit roadways to the pit-bottom. They had to wear belts attached to a heavy chain. This chain was attached to the coal tub to enable them to pull the tubs.

William Revell
William Revell

In a later census, William is shown as a Coal and Ironstone Miner like his father. William didn’t stay in the coal mines as in the 1901 census, he is shown as working as a labourer at the Sewerage Works. As that doesn’t sound like a wonderful job, he must have been desperate to get out of mining to take that job.

William died in 1910 and Mary died in 1922.

Joseph Wilfred Revell and Laura Rawling

Joseph was a son of William and Mary and was born in 1881 in Leeds. He married Laura Rawling in 1904. They had 8 children. Laura was born in 1882 in Leeds. More details about Laura are on the Rawling Page.

Joseph didn’t follow the family tradition of coal mining, he became a pottery tile maker. He may have worked for The Leeds Fireclay Company which was based in Wortley.

Later he had another change of career when he became the manager of a specialist shop called McConnells in Leeds. It sold special cigars and spirits, single malt whisky, pipes and tobacco etc. He then decided to buy a corner shop on a new estate being built in Middleton. He was still living at the shop at 89, Middleton Park Road when he suddenly died at the age of 59 in 1941. His estate was valued at £1459 2s 6d, which would be the equivalent of about £75,000 in 2021.

Joseph and Laura are the parents of grandma Doris Spencer so I have come to the end of the Revell ancestors.