The name Alderson can be seen in several places in Tickhill
from road names (Alderson Drive and Alderson Close), to the War
Memorial, the plaque on the Buttercross and memorials in St
Mary's Church. So, who were the Aldersons? There were several
different Alderson families in Tickhill; the focus here is on
the Revd Christopher Alderson (1737-1814) and his descendants.
He was born in Brough, Westmorland, and, unlike his brothers who
were shepherds and miners, was educated at Sedbergh School then
Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was nominally the Vicar of
Tickhill from 1774 to 1784, although he was involved in other
activities in these years including being curate at Aston. He
officiated at no marriage services at St Mary's from 1774-84 but
he did officiate at a few weddings here after 1784 when he was
still described as Vicar.
He built the Buttercross in 1777 based on a design by
William Mason, Rector at Aston, but called by David Hey 'a
futile attempt to revive the weekly trading market'.
He married Elizabeth Ball of Aston in 1767. (She was the
daughter of the Steward of the Holderness estate at Aston.)
Three of their children were born in Aston before they moved to
Tickhill: Elizabeth, Jonathan and William, the two boys later
being ordained. A fourth child, Mary, was born in Tickhill in
1781 and a fifth child, Christopher, was born in Eckington,
Derbyshire, in 1788. The Revd Christopher Alderson was given the
living at Eckington in 1784 (the living was in the gift of the
Crown) and this made him financially secure.
Alderson achieved prominence as a garden designer often
working in partnership with fellow clergyman William Mason.
Alderson not only improved the garden at Eckington vicarage but
also worked on various commissions including the gardens at
Nuneham Courtenay and Renishaw Hall. Royal patronage followed
when he was recommended to Queen Charlotte by Lady Holderness.
The Queen was well known for her love of gardening, botany and
botanical illustrations and after acquiring the Frogmore
estates, later incorporated into Windsor Home Park, set about
creating a delightful garden there. Alderson, described by one
of the Queen's daughters as having 'infinite taste in laying out
places', began work at Frogmore on 7 February 1791. The Queen
subsequently lavished an average £1000 a year on this garden.
After Mason died in 1797 Alderson took over the living at Aston
whose church has a memorial to him and his wife who died in
Christopher Alderson's eldest son the Revd Jonathan Alderson
(1769-1848) married Anna Maria Hodgson in Sheffield Parish
Church in 1798. They had eight children the youngest being Anna
Maria Alderson who was born in Harthill but who died in Tickhill
in 1906 aged 92.
Anna Maria Alderson and her older sister Augusta were most
generous benefactors funding improvements in St Mary's Church,
Anna Maria also part funded the buying of St Leonard's Hospital
to be the Parish Room, as well as restoring the Buttercross in
1898 and awarding Coronation medals to local children in 1902,
for example. Jonathan's great grandson was Augustus Dixwell
Alderson (1868-1944), Vicar of Tickhill 1899-1911. As the
granddaughter of one Tickhill Vicar and great aunt of another
one, Anna Maria's generosity to the Church and the local
community here can perhaps be better understood.
According to the 1901 Census the Revd Augustus Dixwell
Alderson's household at the vicarage (now Darfield House)
consisted of his family: wife Wilhelmina Mary, son Augustus and
recently born daughter Eileen; the servants were a cook,
housemaid, 'horseboy', nurse and nursemaid. The Revd Augustus
Dixwell Alderson had a nephew Dixwell Ian Alderson (son of his
elder brother Marmaduke Jonathan George Alderson) who was
accidentally killed aged 17 on board
HMS Conqueror in 1917
when he fell from the ship's mast. Dixwell is the youngest
person commemorated on Tickhill's War Memorial (see John Cowie's
work on the War Memorial on the Society's website).
Christopher Alderson's second son the Revd William Alderson
(1773-1852) became the Rector of Aston in 1811 and married
Harriet Walker in 1813. The Revd William Alderson was a friend
of Henry Gally Knight Jnr, who
inherited Firbeck Hall from his father in 1808, and Sir Henry
Fitzherbert. Christopher's daughter Mary
Alderson (1781-1865) lived for a while
at Firbeck Hall - she opened an account at Hoares Bank in 1818
when she was living at the Hall. Mary would be known to the
Gally Knights through her brother’s friendship with Henry Gally
Knight Jnr. Mary spent the last years of her life at Barlborough,
Derbyshire, being recorded there in the 1851 and 1861 Censuses;
there is a memorial to her in the East window of
Thanks to Valerie Oxley and Donald Thorpe for help with various aspects
of this item. See also Marmaduke Alderson's book
From the High Pennines, Hayloft, 2003 and Jane Roberts' book
Royal Landscape: The
gardens and parks of Windsor, Yale University Press, 1997.