(25th December 1804  -  7th August 1878)





Great Great Grandfather  of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson


Born on Christmas Day in 1804 at Allenheads in Northumberland, Matthew was the fourth child of Matthew Lee and his wife Ann (nee Whitfield).  He was baptised on the 27th January 1805 at St. Peter and Allenheads Chapel, in Allendale, Northumberland.

I don't yet have any further information about Matthew's life when he was young other than he had a brother called Thomas (born in 1806) and three sisters. Sarah was born in 1799, Ann was born in 1801, and Rachel was born in 1803.

I have found a record of his marriage when he was almost 28. He married Mary Thirza (or Theresa) Robson on the 25th Aug 1832 at Hexham in Northumberland.

Matthew and Mary were recorded on the 1841 census, living in Allendale at Coalpit Houses. According to the enumerators schedule, Coalpit Houses were east of the East Allen River and north of Byerhope Burn. I did some research and found that they still exist today, though were renamed Fell View in the 1970s.

In 1841 Matthew and Mary had two children, Sarah who was six and Matthew who was four. He was working as a lead ore miner which was the main occupation in the area.  This area in Northumberland was the principal source of lead ore in Britain and mining, extracting the lead (and silver!) and smelting was a boom industry for almost 200 years.

In 1841 Matthew and Mary had another child, Isabella. She was baptised on the 17th January 1844 (though I don't know why there was such a long gap between her birth and her baptism). Sadness for the family when she died in 1845, aged just three. Her burial was recorded in the parish register of St. Peter and Allenheads Chapel on the 11th of October 1845.

In 1846 Matthew and Mary had another son, John. He was baptised at St. Peter and Allenheads Chapel on the 27th September 1846.

Matthew decided to exchange lead mining for coal mining and sometime between 1845 and 1851 he and his family moved to Crook in Durham (about 22 miles from Allenheads).
The 1851 census recorded the family at number 27, Peases West Cottages in Crook and Billy Row, Durham. Matthew was listed as being 46 and a coal miner. His wife, Mary, was 43 and they had three children: Sarah was 16, Matthew was 13 and was listed as being a coal miner like his Dad. John was the youngest at five years old.

By the time of the 1861 census, Matthew was 56 and still working as a coal miner. His wife Mary was 54. Their eldest daughter Sarah had married and was living along the row in Peases Cottages with her husband, William Turner.  Matthew (23) and John (15) were still living at home and they too worked in the pit. The child called Isabella, who was four and was recorded as being the daughter of Mary and Matthew  was actually their daughter Sarah's child who had been born before her marriage.

Ten years later, on the 1871 census, Matthew was 66 and  still working as a coal miner. The family were now living in High Hope Street in Crook. The only one of their children still at home was John, who worked in the mine. Their son, Matthew, had married and his daughter Annie was staying with Matthew and Mary, her grandparents, on the night of the census.

Matthew died on the 7th August 1878 aged 73. His address was given as 37, High Hope Street and his son John (at the same address) registered the death.