Sunday, 17 June 2012

Samuel Shirtcliffe/Shetliffe

Well, I did go to Eastrington show yesterday but as the field was so wet the horse and cattle classes had been cancelled. It was not actually raining when I was there and there was a good entry in the handicraft section in the village hall but it must have been disappointing for the organisers who had put so much work in.

On a completely different topic I have been contacted by David Shetliffe from Australia whose ancestors came from Goole. He is hoping to visit Goole later this year and would be delighted to meet any relatives. He has sent me details of his ancestor Samuel Shirtcliffe/ Shetliffe which have been passed down through the family and is happy for them to appear on my blog in the hope that he can find some Yorkshire relatives!

Samuel was born on 29th September 1816, one of five children of Thomas Shirtcliffe (the 'e' on the end of the name comes and goes) and Grace Clayton. Thomas was originally from Deptford in Kent and Grace was from Cowick.

Samuel married Ellen Rimmington at Snaith on July 14th 1838. Samuel was a seaman and  on one occasion brought his wife Ellen a silk shawl home from China in 1840 after a voyage on the Alexander Baring. He afterwards captained local vessels Bessie and Margaret and Sarah. 

Samuel and Ellen's first son, another Samuel, was born in 1846. In 1848 Samuel and the Margaret and Sarah were caught in a terrible storm in the North Sea and afterwards Samuel decided to stay nearer home and worked as a river pilot.

Their second son Joseph was born on December 1848 at Selby. The following year in September 25th 1849 the family sailed on the barque the Douglas for Australia and arrived at Port Adelaide on January 11th 1850. They then travelled by bullock dray to Burra Burra where Samuel worked in the copper mines. In February 1852 they moved to Goolwa where Samuel had heard news of shipping developments. Initially they lived in a tent.

Samuel worked for a time building the horse drawn railway between Goolwa and Port Elliott. Around this time the Shirtcliffe name began to be written as Shetliff[e] as this was in line with the way that it was pronounced by Samuel's workmates.

On March 6th 1854 Samuel and Ellen's daughter Amelia was born, the first white girl born in Goolwa.

Samuel put his shipping background to good use and went into business building ships, particularly paddle steamers which sailed along the River Murray. One wonders if he ever returned to Goole to get a few ideas!

If you can trace your ancestry back to the Shirtcliffes and Rimmingtons David would like to know. We do know that there is a connection with the Goole Hopley family. Robert Hopley married Mary Rimmington in 1827 at Hook.

Ellen Shirtcliffe

Samuel Shirtcliffe

Samuel [jnr] and Joseph Shirtcliffe/Shetliffe


  1. My great grandfather's sister Martha Batty was married to a Samuel Pepper and is buried in Swinefleet Graveyard

  2. Have just recently got hold of a 19th century photograph of two views of a house, and on the back of both views is a stamp saying: "W J Shirtcliffe, Photographer, Artists' colourman, picture beamer, framer, gilder, etc. 4 Aire Street, Goole." My email: