Sarah Hellawell (1844-1852)
Sarah Hellawell was one of the victims of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.
The 1851 Census recorded the Hellawell family living at Scar Fold, Holmfirth, with Joseph and Mary working as woollen cloth weavers.
According to several reports, the entire family slept downstairs in their house at Scar Fold. Joseph was woken by the flood and called for his family to follow him as he rushed upstairs (or was carried up the stairs by the rising waters), but unfortunately they were drowned in their beds. Alone, Joseph clambered onto his loom and cried out for help — his calls were heard by those in the house above and they ripped up their floorboards to allow him climb out of the water.
After the waters subsided, a neighbour named William Moorhouse went into the Hellawells' house and saw the bodies of Mary and her children "lying dead in bed." The bodies were removed to the George Inn at Upper Bridge.
At the inquest, Joseph Hellawell's absence was explained by Thomas Taylor of Holmfirth, with whom Joseph was staying whilst he recovered:
The water hurried the father up stairs to an upper room by which he was saved, but the others were drowned in bed. The father was very much injured by being knocked about by the water, and had not been able to leave his bed since.
Mary and her five children were buried on Sunday 8 February at St. John's, Upperthong.
Notes and References
- Leeds Intelligencer (14/Feb/1852).