(c.1837  -  6th March 1892)





Great Grandfather  of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson


Matthew was born around 1837 in Allenheads, Allendale, Northumberland, the son of Matthew Lee and his wife Mary Thirza (Theresa) (nee Robson). He was baptised at St Peter's Chapel, Allenheads on 28th May 1837 and his baptism record says the family lived at Coalpit Houses.

The 1841 census recorded Matthew aged 4, living with his family at Allendale, Northumberland. His father was a Lead Ore Miner.

By the time of the 1851 census Matthew was 13. The family had moved to Crook and Billy Row, Co. Durham and were living in Peases West Cottages. His father was still a miner, but now mined coal rather than lead ore.

The 1861 census recorded that the family were still living in Peases West Cottages, Matthew was 23 and, like his Dad, working as a coal miner.

On the 21st September 1861 Matthew married Catherine Walton, who was originally from Darlington. He was 24 and she was 23. The marriage took place at the Register Office in Bishop Auckland. Their witnesses were William Turner (Matthew's brother in law) and Ann Walton (Catherine's younger sister).

When the 1871 census was taken Matthew and his wife Catherine were living at Sunniside, Crook and Billy Row, Co. Durham. Matthew was 33 and still working as a coal miner and Catherine was 32. This census recorded that they had four children, Mary aged 9, John aged 7, Thomas aged 4 and Matthew aged 2.
Recorded elsewhere was another daughter, Annie aged 5, who was staying with her Grandparents on the night of the census.

The next census was taken in 1881. The family had moved to number 38, Gladstone Terrace, Sunniside. Matthew was 43 and still working in the pit, Catherine was 42. Their eldest daughter, Mary, was no longer living in the family home but in addition to John now 17 and Thomas now 14 who were both working at the pit like their Dad and Matthew who was 12, the family had grown and they had two more daughters. Sarah was 8 and Ada Isabel was 2.

The last census that Matthew appeared on was in 1891. He was 53 and his wife, Catherine, was 52. He still worked at the pit. The only children still at home were Thomas who was 24 and working as a coal miner, Sarah who was 18 and Ada Isabel who was 12. They still lived in Gladstone Terrace and the family next door was called Gilliland. In years to come Matthew's daughter Ada Isabel was to marry John Gilliland and they were to be the Grandparents of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson.

Matthew Lee died on 6th March 1892, he had been suffering from depression and sadly committed suicide in the reservoir at Thornley Pit Coke Ovens, Wolsingham. He was 54 years old.