FROM DEVON TO YORKSHIRE – a migration story

South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 30 March 1940 (Transcript adjusted by Helen Shields November 2021, with thanks to British Newspaper Archive)




Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Osborn: A life partnership of forty-odd years founded on the background of a boy and girl courtship in Devon reached a bittersweet ending yesterday when the couple were laid to rest, side by side in Wombwell Cemetery. 

The couple were Mr. Albert Thomas Osborn (66), and his wife Lucy Osborn (67), of 25, John Street, Wombwell. Mr. Osborn died on Saturday and his wife on Monday. Mr. Osborn formerly worked as a deputy at Mitchell Main Colliery where his brother, Mr. William Osborn, of 23, John Street. Wombwell, is also employed in a similar capacity.  In August, 1938, however, he met with an accident In the mine, and had not worked since. 

The inquest was opened at Wombwell on Monday. Mrs. Osborn had made all the arrangements for her husband’s funeral, and had chosen the spot in Wombwell Cemetery where, in the ordinary course of events he would have been interred on Wednesday. Within four or five hours of the opening of the inquest she was dead, and Mr. Osborn’s funeral was deferred a day so that they could be buried side by side in the same plot. 


Mrs. Osborn had been in poor health for some time, but it is said that her husband’s death was a great shock to her. The news was conveyed to her as feelingly as possible by an old friend, Mrs. Williams. Mrs. Ada Osborn, wife of Mr. William Osborn, told a “Times” reporter: “On being told of her husband’s death she was broken-hearted and gradually sank.’ Mr. and Mrs. Tom Osborn were known as a very devoted couple and with their death a shadow of personal bereavement has fallen on the district in which they lived. Mr. Tom Osborn was born in the little Devonshire village of Sticklepath, near Okehampton, and his wife, whose maiden name was Lucy Hill, in the neighbouring hamlet of Thrawley. As a boy, Mr. Osborn was employed in a tin mine, ‘ his father also being a tin miner. 

It chanced that during a period of slack trade a James Friend and his son left the Devonshire village to try their luck in Yorkshire, and worked first at the old Lundhill Colliery and later at Mitchell Main. Apparently Mr. Tom Osborn was impressed by their stories of big money to be earned in the Yorkshire coalfield, because when Mr. Friend’s son was returning north from a holiday in Devon, Tom Osborn was persuaded to come back with him, as also was Tom’s father, who worked at the sinking of Cortonwood Clliery. The Friends ultimately returned to Devon, but Mr. Tom Osborn and his brother, Mr. William Osborn, remained in Yorkshire. 

Mr. Tom Osborn was a deputy for eleven years, but for the greater part of the time prior to that was a contractor in stone. Mr. William Osborn has been a deputy at Mitchell Main for 23 years. 


Mr. William Osborn told our reporter that Mr. Tom Osborn and his wife Lucy had been sweethearts since they were boy and girl and, true to promise, Tom made a home for his bride as soon as possible. On his 22nd birthday, he returned to Devon, married Lucy, and brought her back to Yorkshire. “They have always been lovers,” he said, “and have always lived for each other. As a youth. Tom never wanted anyone else.” Mr. Osborn spoke of many touching evidences of the deep devotion the couple entertained toward each other. 

Mr. and Mrs. Osborn leave nine Children (five sons and four daughters), seven of whom are married. Their youngest son. Albert Osborn, whose photograph was published in the “Times” last week, is at present serving with the B.E.F. in France, and it was stated during the week that if he could be got home in time the whole of the nine children would be present at the funeral yesterday, together with five grand-children. 

For 34 years Mr. and Mrs. Osborn have lived in the same house in John Street, Wombwell, and prior to that they lived in Melville Street, Wombwell, Mr. Osborn has been a member of Wombwell Reform Club for many years, but apart from that association his interests have been centred in his home.  His mother, Mrs. Martha Osborn (84, is still living at Sticklepath, Devon. For a long time she lived with her two sons at Wombwell, but being on holiday in Devon at the outbreak of the war she decided to remain there for the duration. She was too trail to travel to the funeral. 

The family circle of Mr. and Mrs. Osborn was completed in pathetic circumstances at Wombwell Cemetery yesterday, when all their nine children followed them to the grave where they were laid to rest, side by side. The ninth and youngest child, Private Albert Osborn (22), turned up at the last moment after a dramatic dash from France. where he has been serving since January. He had come home to attend the funeral of his father, not knowing that his mother had since died, and that it was to be a double burial. The method of burial was unique for Wombwell, and had been achieved by the reservation of a double grave space near the Summer Lane entrance to the Cemetery. 

Large crowds gathered along Barnsley Road, at the entrance to the Cemetery, and at the graveside. Mr. R. Rowley, of Barnsley Road Methodist Church, Wombwell, conducted the service. The ages of the nine children present at the funeral ranged from 43 to 22. They were Mrs. Minnie Palmer (and Mr. Oswald Palmer), Wombwell; Mr. William Osborn (and Mrs. Osborn), Sticklepath, Devon; Mr. Irving Osborn (and Mrs. Osborn), Wombwell; Mrs. Lydia Read (and Mr. V. Read), Wombwell; Mr. Wilfred Osborn, Wombwell; Mrs. Florence Wolsey (and Mr. Harold Wolsey), Brampton; Mr. Edgar Osborn, Cornwall, whose wife could not attend because of another family bereavement; Mrs. Lucy Utley (and Mr. Herbert Utley), Wombwell; and Private Albert Osborn. 

Other family mourners present were: Mr. and Mrs. William Osborn, Wombwell; Mrs. Thornhill, Miss Joan Osborn, Miss Florence Osborn. Miss Dorothy Read, and Miss Marian Wolsey. Among the numerous wreaths was one from Mr. Osborn’s mother, Mrs. Martha Osborn. of Sticklepath, Devon: and others were from Mrs. Osborn’s twin sister, Mrs. F. Harper, of Bishop’s Taunton, N. Devon, and another sister Mrs. Annie White. South Zeal, Devon. Mr. Osborn’s sister, Mrs. Hilda Endacott, who lives in Toronto. Canada, cabled for a wreath to be sent. There was another from Mr. Willie Endacott. of South Zeal. All the children, and the families of the married ones, sent wreaths. 

Workmen and deputies at Mitchell Main Colliery were bearers for Mr. Osborn, while members of Wombwell Reform Club acted in a similar capacity for Mrs. Osborn. The former were Messrs. A. Mosley and R. Honing, representing the Yorkshire Deputies Association; J. Sykes. W. Bashford and A. Wood (deputies): B. Sherridan, W. Thomas. J. Haywood, W. Chapman and C. Cooper (workmen). 

Mrs. Osborn’a bearers were Messrs. Walter Turner. George Oldfield, Horace Schofield, Charles Cooper. George Martin. Frank Salter, W. Stenton and Harry Moore. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. M. Charlesworth and Son, funeral directors. 3. York Street, Wombwell. (‘Phone. Wombwell 208).

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