The Knappers

wantingcaution !! this is an initial draft ... these notes are on my server for safe keeping !!





The Knappers

Congleton MillsLyndon Murgatroyd, in his wonderful book about the mills of Congleton, records that Nathaniel Barton built Salford Mill, a silk mill at the bottom of Rood Hill around 1848. From 1890 to 1893 Salford Mill was used for fustian cutting by Edward Knapper ... and Edward & George Knapper occupied Bridge Mill, Royal Street from 1896 to 1906 as fustian cutters.

Who was Edward Knapper?

Phil Walton's superb website details an abundance about the Knappers! Phil has traced an epic migration of Knappers to Congleton ... a story of large, very large, families and a search for lucrative work in collieries and in the silk & fustian mills.

William Knapper (1735-97) was born in Talke, Staffordshire around 1735.

He married two girls from Audley, Jane Hancock in 1757 and Mary Adjett in 1761, and he managed extraordinary issues, 2 from Jane and 11 from Mary, 13 kids, what a man!

William died exhausted, in Audley in 1797.

Jane HancockJane Hancock's 2 children were - 

Edward Knapper (1757-1847) married Elizabeth Thursfield (1754-1816) from Barthomley in 1781.

Great grandfather Edward (1757-1847) was one to note, he was the g-grandfather of the fustian cutter brothers Edward (1853-1902) & George (1856-1921) of Congleton.  

Edward born in 1757 and married Elizabeth Thursfield in St Bertolines, Barthomley, Cheshire on 1 January 1781. Elizabeth was the daughter of William and Mary Thursfield of Haslington. Edward was a Husbandman when he married. It is not known when Edward moved to Barthomley, however he had 6 children and they were all christened at St Bertolines. The births were at Barthomley, Englands Brook and Ingleshaw of Englands Brook. Englands Brook in now known as Englesea Brook and is in Barthomley.

John KnapperJohn Knapper  (1786-1870) was Edward & Elizabeth's third born son was and he was christened at St Bertolines on 3 April 1786 he was the grandfather of the fustian cutter brothers Edward (1853-1902) & George (1856-1921) of Congleton.

John Knapper (1786-1870) married a local girl Hannah Oaks (1783-1850) on 31 December 1810 at St Bertolines. John was born in Barthomley in 1786 but he moved to Buglawton (Congleton) some time before 1841. John was living in Mill Street Buglawton in 1841 and 1851, he did not appear there in the 1861 census. John, Farm Labourer, died aged 84 on the 21 April 1870 in Havannah Street, Buglawton.
He was buried at St John's Buglawton two days later.

John & Hannah had 7 children, most were born in Wheelock Cheshire - William (1811-), Joseph (1813-), Sarah (1817-), Elizabeth (1821-), Charles (1822-), John (1825-), Hannah (1827-)

- Charles Knapper (1822-89) John & Hannah's fifth born was baptised in 1822 married Mary Pace (1822-74) in 1849 and was the father of the fustian cutting brothers -  

* Edward Knapper (1853-1902) &

* George Knapper (1856-1921) of Congleton.

 - John Knapper (1824-) the sixth born was baptised in Sandbach close to Wheelock.

In 1841 census the family were at Mill Street Buglawton - John (1786-) 55, Hannah (1783-) 58, Sarah (1817-) 24, Elizabeth (1821-) 20, Charles (1822-) 18, John (1824-) 16, Hannah (1826-) 14 ... John was labouring but the family were in silk & cotton.

Most of the Congleton Knappers were descended from John & Hannah.

Edward was buried at St Bertolines at the age of 90 in 1847.  

John Knapper (1759-61) was Jane Hancock's second child, died aged two. Jane died in 1861.

Mary AdjettMary Adjett's  11 children were -

Sarah (1763-) baptised 23 Jan 1763 in Audley, Daughter od William & Mary.

John Knapper (1765-) baptised 1765 in Audley, Son of William & Mary, married Martha Stephonson (1765-1804) on 28 May 1787 in Audley. Alternative spelling Stevenson?

John & Martha's children were -

 Fanny (Frances) Knapper (-) married Benjamin Hancock on 8 April 1811 at St James Audley. Benjamin & Fanny had a daughter Ann Hancock who married William Henry Condliffe, son of John Condliffe & Mary Poole. 

William Knapper (1802-) baptised on 24 April 1802 in Audley, Son of John & Martha.
In 1825 William married Eliza Rhead in Audley. (too young to be married to Hannah Hall in 1817)
William & Eliza's children were - ??

Thomas (1768-) baptised 1 May 1768 in Audley, Son of William & Mary, married Hannah Lilley

Isaac (1770-) baptised 30 Sept 1770 in Audley, married Elizabeth Pickerill

Mary (1773-) baptised 25 Dec 1773 in Audley, Son of William & Mary

Charles Knapper (1774-1841) no baptism in Audley? Why? ... ... baptised on 13 Feb 1774 in Newchapel, Son of William & Mary, married Mary Napper (1775-) 6 April 1795 in Wolstanton.
Charles & Mary had 7 children all from Talke, Newchapel, Wolstanton, Kidsgrove & Goldenhill in Staffordshire ... but this production was hardly surprising, it ran in the family! -

Charles (1797-) baptised on 17 Sept 1797 in Audley, Son of Charles & Mary, married Mary Walton in 1817, witnesses Joseph Knapper & John Halsall 

William (1801-) ?

George Knapper (1802-) baptised on 20 Aug 1802 in Audley, Son of Charles & Mary, married Hannah Taylor in 1823, witnesses ? Steele & John Halsall

Barbara (1805-) baptised 28 April 1805 in Audley, Daughter of Charles & Mary, married Nathan Ball in 1829, witnesses Thomas Cookson, Elijah ? & Hannah Ball.

Mary (1807-) baptised 21 June 1807 in Audley. Twin Daughter of Charles & Mary.

Sarah (1807-) baptised 21 June 1807 in Audley. Twin Daughter of Charles & Mary.

Levi (1810-) baptised, 12 Aug 1810 in Newchapel, Son of Charles & Mary, married Harriet Hancock, widow, in 1828 witnesses James ? & George Bier. Who was widow Harriet Hancock? In 1818 Harriet Baker (1801-1870) married Joseph Hancock! 

Levi & Harriet Baker had a son Samuel Knapper (1832-) who was baptised 13 April 1832 at Wolstanton, Wesleyan non conformist, Son of Levi, Collier, & Harriet Baker, Daughter of John & Sarah Baker. Samuel was with the family in the 1841 census

So who was Samuel Knapper (1833-) who was with Aunt Maria in 1841 census

Maria (1813-) baptised 25 April 1813 in Newchapel, Daughter of Charles & Mary, married Isaac Hall 19 Sept 1835, witnesses were elder brother Levi Knapper & cousin Barbara Handcock, Daughter of Aunt Barbara (1786-1858).

Samuel (1777-90) baptised 23 March 1777 in Audley, Son of William & Mary. Samuel died 1790 in Audley.

James (1780-1844) baptised 7 Feb 1780 in Audley, Son of William & Mary, married Jane Nixon (1783-) in 1803. Children - William (1804-), Elizabeth (1806-), Mary (1808-), Ellen (1810-), Hannah (1815-), Ann (1817-), James (1818-1900), Joseph (1821-), John (1823 & 27-)?

Joseph (1821-) baptised Son of James & Jane?

George (1782-1844) baptised 17 March 1782 in Audley, Son of William & Mary, married Sarah Gater (1786-1854) in 1805. And the Banns on the same page as younger sister Barbara!
Children - William (1807-), Mary (1809-), Babara (1811-), George (1815-78), Sarah (1822-58), Samuel (1825-1904), William (1828-90), Charles (1929-)
Joseph Son of George? married Maria Brundick ... ??? Daniels elder brother!!??
Joseph (1817-) baptised, Son of Joseph & Sarah, who was this one?

Harvey (1784-1810) no children? Harvey died 2 Nov 1810 in Audley, Son of William & Mary ... aged 26.

Barbara (1786-1858) baptised 27 Aug 1786 in Audley, Son of William & Mary, married Joshua Hancock (-) 5 May 1805 in Audley ... aged 19. And the Banns. Barbara Handcock (1816-55) was a witness at Maria's wedding. Barbara Handcock (1816-55) baptised 15 Sept 1816 in Church Lawton, Daughter of Joshua & Barbara.
(or married William Hancock (1786-1854) 14 March 1831 in Audley ... aged 45 no ??)

The 1841 census was revealing, Maria Knapper (1815-) married Isaac Hall (1816-) and they were living at Gater's Bank Windmill Row, Tunstall, Wolstanton with their 3 children Mary Hall (1836-), Joseph Hall (1838-) & Eliza (1840-). However also in the family home were Maria's son, 8 year old Samuel Knapper (1833-) born in 1833, two years before Maria's marriage to Isaac Hall. (it doesn't look like this Samuel (1833-) was the Son of elder brother Levi (1810-) & Harriet Hancock (-), this other Samuel (1832-) was elsewhere in the 1841 census with his mum Harriet & dad Levi)?
... and there was another Knapper ... 15 year old Daniel Knapper who had no baptism record?

In search of Daniel Knapper (1826-92)  

Daniel Knapper has proved more difficult to nail. Phil Walton has outlined the position.

Lodging HouseMaria Knapper (1815-) baptised 25 April 1813 in Newchapel, Daughter of Charles & Mary, married Isaac Hall 19 Sept 1835 at St Margaret's Church, Wolstanton. Isaac Hall bachelor, collier & Maria Knapper spinster. Witnesses were Maria's elder brother Levi Knapper & cousin Barbara Handcock.

Samuel Knapper Hall (1833-) has been identified in some detail by Keith Hackney. Samuel Knapper Hall (1833-) aged 8 from the 1841 census was Keith's g-g-grandfather and the son of Isaac Hall & Maria Knapper. The Halls ran Lodging House at Nos 103 to 111 Union Street, Hanley ... Keith has a splendid photo of Samuel Knapper Hall's son & grandson.

Daniel Knapper (1826-92) was a mystery ... we have to work out the relationship between Maria and Daniel ... for sure Daniel was too old to be the Son of Maria, aged 11 when Daniel was born. Nor the son of siblings Joseph aged 5 when Daniel was born ... or Levi aged 15 when Daniel was born ... but twins Sarah aged 19 and Mary aged 19 when Daniel was born ... were both maternal candidates ... as was Barbara aged 21 when Daniel was born?

Or was Daniel a cousin from one of Maria's two eldest brothers, Sons of Charles Knapper (1774-1841) & Mary? Possibilities were -

- Charles Knapper (1797-) was aged 29 when Daniel was born?

- George Knapper (1802-) was aged 24 when Daniel was born?  

Charles KnapperCharles Knapper (1797-) was baptised on 17 Sept 1797 in Audley, Son of Charles & Mary.

In 1817 Charles married Mary Walton witnesses were Joseph Knapper & John Halsall.

Charles & Mary Walton's children were -

Charles (1821-)

William (1826-)

Sara (1826-)

Elizabeth (1832-)

Mary Ann (1835-)

James (1838-)

Joseph (1841-)

Thomas (1850-)

William (1853-) ...

In the 1841 census Charles was in Kidsgrove, Wolstanton with the family - Charles (1797-) 45, Mary (1796-) 45, Charles (1811-) 30, William (1826-) 15, Sarah (1826-) 15, Elizabeth (1832-) 9, Mary Ann (1835-) 6, James (1838-) 3, Joseph (1841-) 0 ... (two doors away in Kidsgrove were more Knappers - Francis (-) 65, Joseph (1801-) 40, George (1826-) 15, William (1829-) 12) ...

Not much room for Daniel in this lot!!

George KnapperGeorge Knapper (1802-) was baptised on 5 Sept 1802 in Audley, Son of Charles & Mary.

In 1823 George married Hannah Taylor (1802-) in Wolstanton. Hannah baptised 2 Feb 1802 Daughter of Jane, in Hanley. 

Witnesses at the wedding were ?? Steele and John Halsall.

(Birth date 20 Aug 1802. Baptism 05 Sep 1802 at Audley, St James. Father's name Charles. Mother's name Mary.
Marriage date 25 Apr 1823 at St Margaret Denomination Anglican Residence Wolstanton. Spouse name Hannah Taylor of Wolstanton, Staffordshire.)

George & Hannah Taylor's children were -

Eady (1827-) baptised 15 July 1827 in Newchapel

Eliza (1827-) baptised 15 July 1827 in Newchapel

Eliza (1829-) baptised 3 May 1829 in Newchapel

In the 1841 census census George, 35, was in Golden Hill with dad, Charles Napper (1771-) aged 70 & mum, Mary Napper (1776-) aged 65, and the family - William Napper (1801-) 40, George Napper (1806-) 35, James Napper (1821-) 20, Joseph Napper (1821-) 20, Eliza Napper (1829-) 12.

Where were Hannah and Eady?

George Knapper died in 18??.  

George & Hannah Taylor were more of a mystery ...

Granddad Charles and g-granddad William were easier to fathom ... 

Charles NapperCharles Knapper (1774-) was baptised 13 Feb 1774 in Newchapel, Son of William & Mary.

Charles married Mary Napper (-) on 6 April 1795 in Woolstanton. Witnesses at the wedding were John Gater and John Halsall. Charles' younger brother George Knapper (1782-) baptised 17 March 1782 in Audley, Son of William & Mary. George married Sarah Gater in 1805.

Charles and Mary Napper's children were -

William (1801-)

George (1806-)

James (1821-)

Joseph (1821-)

James (1821-) 

Eliza (1829-)  

In the 1841 census Charles was in Golden Hill, Oldcott, Tunstall with the family - Charles Napper (1771-) 70, Mary Napper (1776-) 65, William Napper (1801-) 40, George Napper (1806-) 35, James Napper (1821-) 20, Joseph Napper (1821-) 20, Eliza Napper (1829-) 12.

William Knapper (1735-97) the dynasty leader was born in Talke, Staffordshire around 1735.

Daniel Knapper (1826-92) married Eliza Jenkins (1828-95) at Christchurch, Tunstall on the 29 July 1850. Daniel 23, Puddler, from Tunstall, Eliza 22, spinster from Kidsgrove, Brieryhurst, Daughter of Thomas, Miner. Daniel's father's name was not recorded and there was no baptism record. Why?

The witnesses were James Henry (-) and Hannah Henry (-)?

Daniel & Eliza had three children ... registered but with no baptism records? -

Mary Ann Knapper (1852-1928) born in 1852 in Wolstanton, married Edward Birchall (1854-1903) 29 April 1873 at Christ Church, Wheelock, Sandbach, Congleton, the daughter of Daniel Knapper (1826-92), Forge Man, and Eliza Jenkins (1828-95).

The witnesses were Mary Ann's brother George Knapper (1854-1922)? and Sarah Baker?
George Knapper (1854-1922), named after his grand father? A clue perhaps that Daniel's dad was George?

George Knapper (1854-1922) born in 1854 in Wolstantom married Sarah Harriet Davies (-), Daughter of Herbert Davies of Sandbach, in Wheelock 6 August 1876. Witnesses were Edward Birchall and Elizabeth Bailey? George was an 'Engineer' and Daniel a 'Forge Man'.

Elizabeth Knapper (1857-) born in 1857 in Wolstanton married Henry Steele (1857-), Son of George Steel, in Coppenhall, Crewe on 28 Feb 1875. Witnesses were John Thorley and Emily Thorley?


Daniel Knapper (1826-92) records his birth place in the census as Wolstanton & Kidsgrove -

In 1841 Daniel was with Aunt Maria and the Hall family in Wolstanton

1851 census Daniel aged 24, was living with wife Eliza (1828-95) in Wolstanton as lodgers with John & Mary Cullwood. Born in Wedenbury. His occupation was a 'forge man puddler'. This confirms some family gossip from Harry Knapper. Harry wrote that his g-grandfather was Daniel who lived for sometime in Wheelock. Daniel's son George married Sarah Harriot Davies in 1878 the Davies' were an influential Sandbach family owning many Public Houses, one of Harriot's sisters married a Foden and Harry's father was cousin to the 'Foden boys'. Harry had been told by his long deceased relatives that Daniel Knapper was a specialist Forgeman who moved around due to his specialist work. He eventually settled in Wheelock and worked for the railway company earning a large salary of £20 per week and lived in a fine and large house?

1861 Daniel, listed as 'Nappier', was living in Tipton aged 33, Puddler of Iron, as a lodger born Kidsgrove in the Staffordshire Potteries.

1861 census wife Eliza living in Brieryhust, Kidsgrove - Eliza aged 31, born in Tipton with children Mary Ann (1853-) aged 8, born in Kidsgrove, George (1854-) aged 7 and Elizabeth (1857-) aged 6 both born in Sedgeley.

1871 Daniel was living at 16 Wheelock Street, Wheelock, Congleton.  Father Daniel (1827-92) aged 44, Puddler Iron Works, born Kidsgrove. Mother Eliza Jenkins (1828-95) aged 43 was born in Tipton. Mary Ann (1853-1928) aged 18, Silk Winder, was born in Kidsgrove. Brother George (1854-1922) aged 17, Forgeman Iron Works, born in Sedgley and sister Elizabeth (-) aged 17, Silk Winder, was also born in Sedgley.

1881 Daniel was living in High Road, Wheelock with his son in law Henry Steele (1857-) aged 24, and daughter Elizabeth Steele (1855-) aged 26 and three grandchildren Emily 3, Clara 2 & Annie Eliza 1. Also with them was an Aunt to Henry or Elizabeth called Fanny Duurell or Daneil? Age 59. But no Eliza.

Eliza was also in High Road, Wheelock with her other daughter Mary Ann.
Edward Birchall (1854-1903) aged 26, Joiner, Mary Ann (1853-1928) aged 27 wife, children George 6, John 4, Edward 3, Harry 2months, Eliza Knapper (-) aged 49 mother in law. And Nurse Midwife (born Stafford LeaBrook)

In 1881 Daniel was living in High Road, Wheelock with his son in law Henry Steele (24) and daughter Elizabeth Steele (26) and three grandchildren Emily 3, Clara 2 & Annie Eliza 1 also with them was an Aunt (to Henry or Elizabeth) called Fanny Daneill, age 59.

Eliza was also in High Road Wheelock in 1881, with her other daughter. Mary Ann (1853-) married Edward Birchall (1854-1903), age 26, a joiner in 1873. Mary Ann they had 3 children George (1875-1960), age 6, John (1877-), age 4, Edward (1878-), age 3 & Harry (1881-) age 2 months. Eliza Knapper, mother in law, 49, was a nurse/midwife.

1891 Daniel, Forge Labourer, was living in Wheelock age 66 with Eliza 61 .

Daniel Knapper (1826-92) labourer, died on 5 June 1892 in Wheelock age 66. He died from an epileptic fit occurring on 29 May 1892

Eliza (1854-1895) died on 23 March 1895 in Cotton Row, Wheelock age 62. She died from Paralysis Diarrhea. Alice Steel was present at the death probably her granddaughter?



Harry Knapper's cousin, Frank Knapper, confirms his paternal grandfather was called George Knapper (1854-) who was the son of Daniel. Daniel was a metallurgist who came to Crewe to specialise in steels for railway engine tyres. He was comparatively wealthy and lived in a large house in Wheelock. He was married in Wheelock church.

Frank wrote in 2002, 'I think that I may be related to Christopher Knapper. I believe that his father Harold was my cousin. I had better tell you something about myself. I was born in Swansea in 1931, and have a sister Barbara who lives in Epping. My father married my mother Violet Mary Jones in 1926. I am a chartered engineer (retired) having graduated in mechanical engineering from University College, Swansea in 1954. I have spent most of my working life with the chemical company ICI. I was married in 1955 to Nan Day. We live at 37 Oakdale, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 2LW, and have 3 children. Simon Robert Knapper who lives in Croydon, Ceri Jane Walker who lives in Switzerland and Ian Dennis Knapper who also lives in Harrogate. Ian is married to Sarah and has 2 boys Jack aged 6 and Sam aged 3.
Are you aware of the Burkes Peerage World Book of Knappers, which lists Knappers living in 1995 throughout the world. You can obtain a copy from -
c/o Customer Service Centre
Marlborough Rd
SN8 2HP.
We even have a coat of arms'!

Wolstanton St Margaret - Pirehill Hundred, Wolstanton & Burslem Union - chapelry Newchapel - towns - Branscliff,  Brieryhurst, Chatterley, Chesterton, Dales Green, Golden Hill, Great Chell, Greenfield, Harrisea Head, Kidsgrove, Knutton, Little Chell, Oldcott, Ranscliff, Red Street, Sandyford, Stadmoreslow, Thursfield, Tunstall, Wainlee and Wedgwood.
Audley St James - Pirehill Hundred, Newcastle-under-Lyme Union. Another church Talk-o'-th'-Hill - towns - Audley, Bignall End, Halmer End, Knowle End, Park End, Eardley End and Talke.
Adjoining the ancient parishes - Barthomley and Church Lawton in Cheshire, and Wolstanton, Keele, Madeley and Betley in Staffordshire.


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