Robert Satterfield


A tribute to the life of Robert Satterfield,
Manchester Merchant & Bugsworth Lime Burner

The village of Bugsworth lies at the terminus of the Peak Forest Canal in Derbyshire and in the summer of 1976, while the Middle Basin Arm of Bugsworth Canal Basin was being restored, a large cast-iron notice was discovered lying against the wharf wall on the east side of the arm.

Notice from the Middle Basin Arm at Bugsworth Canal Basin.

This notice had either fallen from the wall of the lime shed that once spanned the head of this arm or it had been dropped there when the shed was demolished. The conclusion that could be immediately inferred from this was that a merchant called Robert Satterfield, based in Manchester, once used the lime shed to transfer lime under cover from the New Road kilns and that inter alia he was also leasing these kilns in order to burn lime.

The lime shed spanning the head of the Middle Basin Arm at Bugsworth Basin, 1920s.

The Middle Basin Arm was known as Mr Satterfield's Branch and the lime shed that spanned its head was associated with the New Road (or Top) kilns in Bugsworth, which were managed by the Satterfield family for many years. The shed could accommodate two boats, which could then be loaded with lime under cover.

The small building to the right of the shed, with a single-pitch roof and chimney, was a workmen's bothy. The enclosed area to the left of the shed was a livestock pen.

In the background, on the far side of the Middle Basin, stand the four Gnat Hole (west) kilns with two more lime sheds by the canal.

An examination of the Minute Book of the Peak Forest Canal Company showed that the name Satterfield was mentioned in connection with kilns and lime burning at Bugsworth. Cursory research suggested that Robert Satterfield may have lived in Ardwick, Manchester, and that he had premises and a wharf somewhere in the Ducie Street area. The most likely location for this was either in, or adjacent to, a rectangle of land bounded by Ducie Street, Piccadilly/London Road, Store Street and Junction Street, where the principal facilities of the Ashton, Peak Forest and Rochdale Canal Companies were located. The residential area of Ardwick was only a short distance away and it was likely that his residence was situated on the south side of Ardwick Green in the township of Chorlton-on-Medlock.

Further work showed that in 1815 a Messrs Hassall & Satterfield were working the then extant New Road kilns at Bugsworth and that by 1824 the name of the firm had changed to Messrs Satterfield & Cresswell. The partners were trading as lime burners and brick makers as well as coal and slate dealers. Subsequently, another name change occurred, this time to Satterfield & Company. It was found that one of the earliest references to the name Satterfield referred to Joseph Satterfield, a Manchester merchant, and from this it was concluded that Robert was his son. It was also noted that Joseph Satterfield was purchasing lime, burned at the Marple lime works, from Samuel Oldknow before the latter leased his works to Messrs Wright and Brown in 1811. At this juncture research work ceased and the matter lay in abeyance for many years. Eventually, it became easier to search census returns and an obvious place to recommence research was by studying the 1881 and 1901 censuses.

The 1881 census produced three names and these were Mary M Satterfield, William Satterfield and Robert Satterfield and all three were at once eliminated. The 1901 census produced four names and these were Henry Satterfield, Jane Satterfield, John Satterfield and Maria Satterfield and, similarly, all four were at once eliminated.

It was clear that the name Satterfield was very uncommon and before proceeding further it was decided to determine the origin of this surname. It was discovered that the name had its origin at Satterthwaite, Hawkshead, Lancashire. The surname Satterthwaite occurred much more frequently and other variations included Satterfitt, Sattersfield and Setterfield. A register of Freemen of York lists a William Setterfield in 1614, a Charles Satterthwait in 1625 and a Thomas Satturwaite in 1653.

With a certain amount of cynicism it was decided to search the International Genealogical Index but this initial cynicism was quickly dispelled. The name Joseph Satterfield occurred twice. The first infant was born at Manchester in circa 1767 and the second was born at Ardwick, Manchester, in circa 1770. However, there was some confusion and it seemed possible that the birthplace could have been somewhere in Derbyshire and not Manchester. The pedigree of both infants was not recorded and after more searches and due consideration it was reasoned that these two must have been one and the same infant and that he was more than likely to have been born in 1768. On the 30th April 1795, Joseph Satterfield married Mary Cock at Wirksworth, Derbyshire. It was stated that Mary Cock was born at Manchester in circa 1771 but no explanation was offered as to why the couple were married at Wirksworth. The only pedigree known for Mary was that her father was called Hyrum Cock. The first fruit of this union was the birth of a male child at Manchester on the 8 February 1796 and on the 26 April 1796 he was christened as Robert, again at Manchester. It was concluded that while the dates were probably correct the places where these events were supposed to have occurred were suspect and that it was quite likely that they actually occurred somewhere in Derbyshire.

One other piece of information from the International Genealogical Index, which was particularly pertinent to the working of the New Road kilns at Bugsworth, was that Joseph Satterfield died on the 23 March 1832 when he was aged about 64 years. Similarly, this date appeared to be accurate. As far as working the New Road kilns at Bugsworth was concerned, the probable course of events was that Joseph made Robert a partner in his business and that this could have occurred as early as 1817 when Robert attained his majority at the age of 21 years.

The name Messrs Hassall & Satterfield was in use by 1815 and the name Messrs Satterfield & Cresswell was in use by 1824. When the former partnership was established it is possible that Hassall was the senior partner and that when he either died or moved on, Joseph Satterfield became the senior partner and that he took on Cresswell as a junior partner. The third name of Satterfield & Company could have been established between 1824 and 1832, the year that Joseph died but, as we shall see, it was not the last change.

It is now known that the business partnership of Robert Satterfield and Robert Cresswell, lime and coal dealers, and brick makers, in their capacity as executors of the late Joseph Satterfield, was dissolved on the 26 March 1836. The new partners in the business were Robert Satterfield and Mary Satterfield and this partnership was dissolved on the 25 March 1843.

Another mystery that remained to be solved was whether or not the merchant, William Pitt Dixon, immediately took over working the New Road kilns from Robert Satterfield or whether there was someone else between the two. Evidence was now mounting to suggest that their management passed directly from one to the other.

The next step was to search the National Index of deaths for Robert Satterfield. After some consideration it was decided to commence the search at 1860 when he would have been 64-years old. The search was suspended at 1876 when he would have been 80-years old. This work produced the following names:

None of these names was of immediate interest and it should be noted that West Derby refers to Liverpool. Accordingly, a second search was commenced at 1847, when he would have been 51-years old, and this was terminated at the end of 1859 when it linked with the initial search. This produced two names:

The first name was of no immediate interest but the second one was. Chorlton refers to Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, and this Mary Satterfield was likely to be Joseph's widow and the mother of Robert. Her death certificate confirmed this to be the case and everything began to fall into place.

Manchester and Salford Directory

Robert Satterfield & Company, lime burners, brick makers, and coal and slate merchants, 1 Ducie Street, Piccadilly.

This address precisely located where Robert had his premises and office. It was, in fact, adjacent to the rectangle of land mentioned above in what was a prime site. His office was on the corner of Ducie Street and Piccadilly/London Road. Adjoining the office, fronting Ducie Street, there was a warehouse of some kind and a short arm of the Rochdale Canal entered this building at the end. A wooden footbridge crossed the canal arm alongside the warehouse. To the rear of these buildings there was an almost square yard and on the opposite side of this there was a second short arm of the Rochdale Canal with a building spanning the head of the arm. Possibly this was a lime shed. In the yard there was a 'Coal and Lime Machine', as weighing machines for this purpose were known in those days.

The area concerned was known as 'London Road Wharfs - Lime, Coal, &c'. This was the 'Manchester No 10' on the cast-iron notice found at Bugsworth Canal Basin.

Manchester and Salford Directory

Robert Satterfield, lime burner, brick maker, and coal and slate merchant. Wharf: 1 London Road. House: 5 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock.

Note that '& Company' has been dropped and all plural words have been made singular.

This is the final name for the business and it could mean that his partner (Cresswell?) had now left. The cast-iron notice recovered from the canal at Bugsworth must date from this period. 'Wharf 1 London Road' was exactly the same address as for 1841 but it sounded more prestigious.

Manchester and Salford Directory

Robert Satterfield, lime burner and dealer, brick maker, dealer in Roman cement, and plaster of Paris, and coal and slate merchant. Wharf: 1 London Road. House: 49 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock.

This entry suggests that his business had increased and that he had moved into a larger residence in Nelson Street.

Manchester and Salford Directory

No entry.

By 1871 the 75-year old Robert had either gone out of business and it is known with certainty that William Pitt Dixon was working the New Road kilns by this time. The word 'retirement' was not in common use in those days.

Having established where he lived it was then possible to search the census returns for 1841, 1851 and 1861.

1841 Census
6/7 June

Chorlton-on-Medlock, Piece HO 107/580/9, Enumeration District 20, Folio 17. Nelson Street.

NameAgeProfession or
Whether born
in County
Robert SATTERFIELD35MerchantY
Maria RALPH25Female ServantN
Margarett Connotty (?)20N
For the 1841 census only, the ages of adults were rounded down to the nearest multiple of five. This census return states that Robert Satterfield was born in Lancashire but the 1861 census return states that he was born in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Mary Satterfield was the mother of Robert and it is possible that she was also the mother of Elizabeth.
1851 Census 30/31 March


Due to poor storage conditions, parts of the 1851 census have been obliterated and much of Chorlton-on-Medlock, including the vital 5 Nelson Street, is one of those parts.

1861 Census
7/8 April

Chorlton-on-Medlock, Piece RG 9/2880, Enumeration District 21, Folio 100. 49 Nelson Street.

NameRelationship to
Head of Household
AgeProfession or
Robert SATTERFIELDHeadM63Coal MerchantWirksworth, Derbys
Mary SATTERFIELDSisterU60Belper, Derbys
Mary HALLServantU31House ServantRusholme, Lancs
Sarah HURSTServantU31House ServantHepworth?, Lincs
Mary WILCOCKServantU42House ServantIrlam, Lancs

By 1861, Elizabeth Satterfield, whatever her relationship, had disappeared and Robert's sister, Mary, had appeared. Robert's marital status of 'M' was quite clear but it is suspected that this is incorrect. His wife, if she ever existed, was not listed and it is likely that Robert was a bachelor.

Death of Robert Satterfield

In order to progress the study, there were now two possible avenues to explore. The first was to continue searching the National Index, just in case he was quite elderly when he died, and the second was to search the Index of Wills to see if he could be found there. It was decided to make one further search of the National Index and this was successful.

His death certificate provided the following information:

Charles Hatton Bellhouse

The fact that a nephew witnessed his death shows that it is likely that Robert had no children and that possibly he was a bachelor. But who was Charles H Bellhouse? His surname suggests that he was a relative on his mother's side of the family. A search of the 1881 census found him, not at Buxton, but at Derby. A possible scenario is that when Charles learned of his uncle's final illness he stayed at Buxton in order to be present at his death.

1881 Census
3/4 April

Hartington Upper Quarter, Derby, Piece RG 11/3455, Folio 30. The Wyelands.

NameRelationship to
Head of Household
AgeProfession or
Charles Hatton BELLHOUSEHeadM36Cotton SpinnerRusholme, Lancs
Frances BELLHOUSEWifeM30Pendleton, Lancs
James Hugh BELLHOUSESonU7Pendleton, Lancs
Mary BELLHOUSEDaur1Paddington, London
Thomas Trevor BARSTOWBro-in-LawM62Police MagistrateSkipton Bridge, Thirsk
Mary BARSTOWSister-in-LawM42Greencastle, London
Rosina DENTONServantU25CookWorkshop, Notts
Ellen SMITHServantU23Lady's MaidBrackley, Northampton
Annie WARDServantU21House MaidArdwick, Manchester
Esther Elizabeth MOWSBERRYServantU17Kitchen MaidBakewell, Derbys
Emma BRADSHAWServantU31NurseStrangeways, Lancs
Harriet Louisa AILLServantU19Nurse MaidWigsthorpe, Northampton

A glance at the Birthplace Column shows a strong Manchester connection, as can be seen from the names Rusholme, Pendleton, Ardwick and Strangeways. Know doubt, Charles Hatton Bellhouse was an employer with his own cotton mill.


Only a small amount of ephemera has survived and some is illustrated below:

An entry in the Manchester and Salford Trade Directory for 1816/17 referring to Messrs Satterfield and Cresswell showing that they were coal and lime dealers.

This Satterfield is Joseph , the father of Robert.

The last entry is Wright, Brown and Clayton. Brown was Thomas Brown, the Surveyor and Resident Engineer for the Peak Forest Canal Company.

This bill for the sale of lime was issued on Friday, 16 May 1862. It is for a nett weight of 21 hundredweights of lime at 12s 6d per ton.

Therefore, 21 hundredweights of lime at 12s 6d per ton costs 13s 1½d, which was rounded up to
13s 2d.

The lime was sold from London Road Wharf, Manchester, to Squire Worsley and the bill was receipted by Robert Satterfield's clerk, S Cock.