The Pattinson Family

Eagle House & The Elms

In the second decade of the 18th Century Joseph and Elizabeth Pattinson, with some of their 9 children, moved from nearby Anwick to live in Ruskington.

From humble beginnings labouring in the building trade, the Pattinsons became one of the foremost families in the village, rapidly becoming a major force in house building, stone work and masonry.

In particular, it seems that in the latter part of the 19th Century the family had branched out into the railway contracting firm of Messrs. Pattinson and Son, headed by Robert Pattinson. Robert’s brother, William, headed up Messrs Pattinson and Co, Ltd.

Another aspect of the family’s stonework was in funerary masonry, and a number of the headstones in both the Churchyard and the Cemetery carry the name “Pattinson” on their reverse.

The 1901 Census show the family of William and Ann Pattinson living in ‘Eagle House’ on Sleaford Road. William’s older brother, Samuel and his wife, Jane (née Cock), were living in the attached property next door, ‘The Elms’. (picture above right)

By the sixth generation after their move the family was able to boast at least three local politicians, sons of William and Ann, two of whom served as Members of Parliament (see below). Their sister, Annie Lucy, was married to another M.P., Sir Richard Winfrey. (Photo – right – shows Lucy when presented to Court on 6 March 1914)

In the 1920s and ’30s the Pattinsons had their offices, workshop and yard on Station Road. Since then the building has been converted and rebuilt – see photo left.

However, the bell, which was mounted on top of the offices and used for calling the workers to an from work, has been preserved and can still be seen on top of the house opposite Silver Street.

N.B. In the interests of privacy this analysis will not look into family details beyond the First World War, where several members served with distinction, including making the Supreme Sacrifice.

 Pattinson Genealogy:

All Saints’ Church, Beckingham

The Pattinson genealogy can (so far) be traced back to the early 16th Century and to the village of Beckingham, Lincolnshire, about 16 miles (26 kms.) west of Ruskington in the direction of Newark, although more than likely familial links would have gone back several more generations.

Almost certainly baptisms, marriages and funerals for the family would have been carried out in the Parish Church of All Saints, pictured right, after restorations in 1857 and 1888 – 90.

This view of church and graveyard is surprisingly similar to All Saints’ Church, Ruskington.

The earliest Pattinson we have found is Richard, born in Beckingham c. 1520, and with his wife, Alice, had two sons, John (born c. 1540) and Robert (born 1545, died 1604).

Robert and his wife, Maude, married in 1564, had 5 children, the fourth of which was John,  born 29 June 1572.

John married Elizabeth Matlock in about 1600, when the family were still all living in Beckingham where they had two children, Robert and Elizabeth.

St Edith’s Church, Anwick

Robert Pattinson, son of John and Elizabeth, was born in Beckingham on 24 November 1604 and he married Katherine Lane on 26 November 1638.

Their son, Joseph, born 1 April 1652 in Beckingham, moved his branch of the family to Anwick when he married Elizabeth Jessop in July 1684. [Anwick is only 3 miles [5 kms.] East of Ruskington.]

The couple had 9 children, 5 boys and 4 girls, between 1685 and 1704. At some point, after their children were born, ( i.e. between 1704 and 1720) Joseph and Elizabeth must have moved to Ruskington as they both died in the village – Elizabeth on 23 October 1720 and Joseph on 28 December 1727. However, there are no remains of their burial site still in evidence.

Their eighth child, John, was born in Anwick on 25 February 1700, and married Elizabeth Holmes in Ruskington 20 February 1736.

He died here on 4 January 1776. Elizabeth had pre-deceased him nearly 30 years, dying on 25 March 1747. About a year later, 2 February 1748, John re-married Elizabeth Garratt. As with the previous generations their graves can no longer be identified.

John and his first wife, Elizabeth Holmes, had had one son, also John, born 31 May 1739. He married a local woman, Mary Creas(e)y, at All Saints Church, Ruskington, on 7 May 1771. They lived in the village until John died on 4 May 1807.

Samuel, son of John and Mary, was born in the village on 30 April 1776. (He married Lettice Moor, from Nocton, Lincolnshire), on 19 June 1795 at All Saints’ Church, Ruskington.

All Saints’ Church – Before Restoration

It would be confidently expected that all of the Pattinson family who died in Ruskington would be buried in All Saints Churchyard, and the Parish Register shows the dates of their funeral services and, presumably, the dates they were buried.

The photograph (left) of the churchyard in the late 19th Century probably shows many of those graves, most of which have now disappeared.

As a result we have to move on to the next generation – Samuel and Lettice’s son, also Samuel, and his wife, Jane (née Headland) for any visual evidence in the form of surviving gravestones etc.

In addition to Samuel Jnr., Samuel and Lettice had two more children, Lettice, was baptised on 6 December 1801 and her brother, Robert Moore Pattinson, on 29 December 1805.

Although the Christian name ‘Lettice‘, in various spellings (e.g. “Letitia“) re-appeared in the family on a number of occasions, no record has been found of what became of Samuel and Lettice, Snr.’s daughter after her christening in All Saint’s Church.

The youngest surviving child, Robert Moor Pattinson, did not remain in the village. He married Ann Parker, in Bourne, Lincolnshire, on 29 October 1832. Ann must have died shortly afterwards as on 4 July 1838 Robert married again to Elizabeth Watson in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Between then and 1856 the couple had eight children, at least two of whom died in infancy. The 1841 Census (HO 107/615/21) shows Robert employed as a “Stone Mason” living at 93 Star Lane, Bourne. The family later moved to Woolwich, Kent (e.g. 1861 Census RG 9/406).

Churchyard Burials:

At least 25 members of the Pattinson family have been identified from surviving grave markers buried in Ruskington Churchyard, buried between 1822 and 1874. Of these 25 identified burials 17 are of babies or infants born to the family – surely making it one of the most tragic families in this, or any other, village.

In addition there are other, mostly female ‘Pattinsons‘ who were buried under their married names. For example, Anne Adlard (née Pattinson) was born in the September quarter 1847, the daughter of Samuel  and Elizabeth Pattinson.

In the June quarter 1868, Anne married John Adlard (‘National Schoolmaster’). She was only 34 when she died on 9 November 1881, and is buried in Grave 80, a most ornate above ground tomb – pictured above.

Samuel Pattinson is the oldest member of the family who has an identifiable memorial, having been born c. February 1799 (baptised at All Saints’ Church, Ruskington, on 24 February). He was the eldest child of Samuel and Lettice (née Moore) Pattinson (see above).

Samuel married Jane Headland in All Saints’ Church, Ruskington, on 9 July 1819. Jane was born around the same time as Samuel, i.e. baptised 10 February 1799, and was the eldest child of William and Elizabeth (née Reast) Headland.

[N.B. As we shall see the ‘Reasts‘ and the ‘Headlands‘ are two more long established families in the village. Marriages between these families occur often in village history.]

Samuel & Jane Pattinson’s Grave (photographed 1980)

Samuel died 2 December 1856, aged 57 years, and Jane, his wife, died 20  July 1874, aged  75 years. Together. they occupy an ornate above-ground sandstone casket grave, probably the most imposing such grave in the whole Churchyard.

Their memorial dedications are inscribed on slate panels on the long sides of the tomb.

[N.B. This is classified as Grave 81, found in Section 5, in the analysis of Graves in the Churchyard.]

The 1841 Census (HO 107/621/18) reveals the start of the Pattinson family business in Ruskington. Samuel, his wife, Jane, and their three children, Samuel (born 22 February 1824), John (born 27 July 1827) and William (born 4 May 1833) were living on Broad Street where Samuel was described as a “Bricklayer“. They also had a daughter, Anne, born in 1847 (see below).

By 1851 (Census HO 107/2100) Samuel was designated as “Master Bricklayer, employing 2 men, 1 Apprentice“. Youngest son, William, was living with them and he was the “Apprentice“. Oldest son, Samuel, now married to Elizabeth (née Cock) with three children, was one of the employees, as was middle son, John.

Middle (surviving) son, John, however, died, aged 22, on 4 June 1850. His headstone on Grave 91, Section 5, (Pictured right) just behind the tomb of his parents, reveals that in addition to the children named above, they also gave birth to: “Two sons and six daughters who died in their infancy”.

[These were: Letitia Pattinson who was christened 8 July 1821 and died a year later on 15 July 1822. Another infant, William, died as a baby in the year of his birth, 1822. Elizabeth was baptised 2 February 1823 but died six days later on the 8th. Another son, Henry, was baptised in May 1830 and daughter, Elizabeth, was baptised in August 1830.]

Samuel and Jane’s youngest son, William, married Ann Cowlishaw in 1857 and they had at least 18 children between 1861 and 1880, including a set of triplets. Of these children eight are buried in the Churchyard, in Graves 70 and 71.

The “Three Daughters Who Died In Infancy” (Grave 70 headstone, left) were two unnamed children, one who was born and died in the December quarter 1858 and the other in the September quarter 1859. The third was probably Jane, born in the April quarter 1861 and died a few weeks later, registered in the next quarter.

After these sad losses the couple had at least 14 more children between 1861 and 1880, but saw four more die as babies – triplets lie in an adjacent grave (left) and 3 year old Frederick a few graves to the left. (Grave 78 – above)

By the time the parents died the Churchyard had been closed to further burials so they could not be buried alongside so many of their children. William died in June 1906 and is buried in Grave 29, Old South Border, of Ruskington Cemetery. Ann died 10 years later and is buried in Grave 30, alongside him.

N.B. Their son, Samuel Pattinson (17 December 1870 – 15 November 1942), was a businessman and Liberal politician. After several failed attempts Samuel was eventually elected to the House of Commons at the 1922 general election, beating the Conservative candidate by 1,639. However, he lost his seat the following year. [see below under: ‘Political Life’.]

There are many other children’s graves with very poignant verses. One of the most moving inscriptions is on the grave of Anne Adlard (née Pattinson) who died in 1881 aged 34.

She was a surviving daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Pattinson, sister of Samuel, John and William.

Ruskington School House (L. of School)

Anne married John Adlard who came to be master of the new school in 1868; they lived in the new school house. They had two sons and both were baptized in the Church.

However, 10 months old Francis Bennett Adlard was subsequently buried in the Churchyard. [see Graves 79 & 80]

Lattisha” Pattinson – elsewhere ‘Letitia’ – was baptised on 6 December 18o1 another daughter of Samuel and Lettice (née Moore) Pattinson (See above). She was the wife of William Headland, buried with her.

They had two children, Elizabeth, born in 1821 and died in 1877 and was buried alongside William, and William, who died as a baby in the year of his birth, 1822.

Her Grave inscription is on the reverse of William’s headstone and was recorded in 1980. Sadly, now [2017] the headstone is on the ground and Letitia’s inscription cannot be read.

Cemetery Burials:

The last Churchyard burial was on 25 April 1883, after which all burials ceased and it was formally closed for further interments.

Instead a new Communal Cemetery was opened on Sleaford Road and 4 year old Lizzie Arabella Robinson became the first burial on 15 May 1883. [See: “History and Location“]

There are 26 members of the Pattinson family buried in the ‘Old Plot’ of Ruskington Cemetery, three of whom died as infants. As with the Churchyard there are undoubtedly many female members of the family buried under their married name and as the Cemetery is still in use, no doubt there are many others from successive generations up to the present day.

Most of the family are found in the ‘Old Plot, South Border’ and when 78 year Samuel Pattinson was buried on 6 November 1902 it seems the family bought a large section of the South Border for future burials of family members.

These grave plots are nominally numbered in the Parish Register from 25 to 48 (although there are 1 or 2 pre-existing burials in the centre. They encompass the families of the two surviving brothers of Samuel and Jane Pattinson, who are buried in the Churchyard (Grave 81, Section 5), namely their eldest son, Samuel, and his younger brother, William.

Samuel Pattinson’s grave site is marked by a tall red marble obelisk, erected after his death on 1 November 1902. He was 78 years old when died, born in the village 24 February 1824.

His wife, Elizabeth (née Cock), who he married in the June quarter 1845,  joined him after her death on 27 May 1903. She was also born in Ruskington in 1826.

Samuel and Elizabeth had three children, Betsy, born in 1845, Ann, born in 1847, and Samuel Francis, born in 1850.

Ann, married John Adlard and after her death, aged 34, was buried in All Saints’ Churchyard, in Grave 80, Section 5 – see above. Betsy married Jesse Clare and with their family of 9 children moved away from the village.

Youngest son, Samuel Francis, married Frances Harmston in the September quarter 1871 and they had 5 children: Annie Elizabeth in 1872, Nellie, the following year and Lilian in 1875. Only son, Samuel Harmston, was born in 1878 and finally Irene in 1881.

After Frances died in 1882 Samuel married Elizabeth Ann Garratt in the September quarter 1886. They had three children, Ethel in 1887, Marian in 1890 and Frank in 1895.

Samuel’s first wife, Frances, was aged 32 when she died and was buried in All Saints’ Churchyard, two years before it was closed and rests in Grave 80, Section 5 – with her sister-in-law, Ann Adlard. Second wife, Elizabeth Ann, died, aged 60, in August 1920 and is buried in the large Pattinson Cemetery section. Just three months later Samuel Francis joined her after his death on 7 September 1920. Probate Records show an estate value of £7,264 (around £725,000 today – 2017).

As was seen in the Churchyard burials above, Samuel’s brother William and his wife Anne (née Cowlishaw) saw at least 8 of their 18 children buried there.

When their time came they were buried in an above ground tomb, somewhat similar to that of William’s parents in the Churchyard.

After the tragic losses outlined above in the Churchyard burials, William and Anne had a further 10 children. Four more daughters came first – Jane was born in 1865, Emmeline a year later, then Annie Lucy, in 1866, and Mary Elizabeth in 1867. The first son was John William, in 1870. Another two sons followed, Samuel (1871) and Robert (1872), before it was back to daughters with Fanny Maria (1874), Florence Ellen (1876) and Alice Vicesima (1880).

The 1881 and 1891 Censuses show the family on Sleaford Road, before moving to ‘Eagle  House’ (photo at top of page) by 1901 – although this might have been the same house, gentrified. [William’s older brother, Samuel and his wife, Jane (née Cock) were living in the attached property next door, ‘The Elms’. ]

William died on 9 June 1906 and is buried in Grave 29, Old South Border, of Ruskington Cemetery. Ann died 10 years later, on 29 June 1916,  and is buried in Grave 30, alongside him.

Probate Records show an estate value of £14,100 (around £1,400,000 today – 2017).

Many of the graves around their tomb contain members of their extended family and their spouses.

Jane Pattinson, baptised 28 December 1864, was another child of William and Ann (née Cowlishaw). She married William Garratt, born in 1859, at All Saints’ Church, Ruskington, in the December quarter 1884. William died in February 1928, aged 70. Jane was 83 when she died in October 1946. They were, however, buried together in Grave 31, in the Pattinson plot.

Another daughter of William and Anne buried in this area of the Cemetery was Alice Vicesima Pattinson, born 27 March 1880, their youngest child. She married Robert Moncrieffe Earl, at All Saints, in the September quarter 1906.

The 1939 Return shows them living at ‘Earlsholme’, Grantham Road, Sleaford. Robert is described as a ‘Land Agentand a ‘Retired Major – 27 years Service’. They too are buried together in Grave 27 after they both died in 1948 – Alice in August, Robert in November.

William and Ann’s son, Robert Pattinson, baptised 1 March 1872, and his wife, Catherine Lucy (née Pratt) are buried alongside in Grave 33, with two of their children, Margaret Evelyn, born in 1910, and Catherine Mary (later Richardson), born 1900. Their brother, Henry Pratt Pattinson, lies alongside them in Grave 34.

Another son, Samuel Pattinson, born 19 December 1870, and his wife Betsey Sharpley Bainbridge (born 22 September 1873) are buried in Grave 32 after their deaths within a fortnight of each in October/November 1942.

In 1939 they too were living in Sleaford with three of their children, at ‘Westholme’, Northgate. Samuel was a ‘Company Director‘, presumably of the family firm.

Their son, Samuel Edward Bainbridge Pattinson, was born on 14 June 1910 and is buried with his wife, Margaret Evelyn (née Hand), in Grave 32. Samuel died on 28 February 1963, aged 52; his wife was 86 when she died in September 1896. The 1939 records show them also living at ‘Westholme’ and Samuel’s occupation stated as ‘Slating & Filing Contractor & Builders Merchant‘.


Military Service:

At least four members of the Pattinson family served with distinction in the First World War, with one making the Supreme Sacrifice:

Captain William Frederick PATTINSON, was born in Edmonton, Middlesex, in the on 12 December 1893, the son of John William (Building Contractor) and Lucy Ellen (née Waterhouse) Pattinson.

He served with the 404th (2/2nd Highland) Field Company, Royal Engineers and was 28 years old when he died. William was brought back to his family home village after his death on 21 May 1922, at Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Middlesex, and was buried in Ruskington Cemetery.

……. about Capt. William Pattinson on our sister site

Lieutenant Frank PATTINSON, was born on 9 September 1895, the youngest son of (Samuel) Francis (Builder) and Elizabeth Ann (née Garratt) Pattinson.

He enlisted in the 2nd/4th (Territorial) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, as a Private, on 2 November 1914 and was offered a Commission in the 9th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment on 1 March 1915.

Captain Henry Pratt PATTINSON was born on 27 November 1896, the eldest son of Robert Knight (Railway Buildings Contractor and J.P.) and Catherine Lucy (née Pratt) Pattinson, J.P. of “Southfields”, Station Road, Ruskington.

Henry obtained a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment in September 1914. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in December 1914.

After their deaths both Henry and Catherine Lucy were buried in the family plot in Ruskington Cemetery. “The Sleaford Gazette” (3 November 1917) gave the following account of Catherine Lucy’ tragic death 2 days earlier:

“We record with deep regret the death of Mrs. Catherine Lucy Pattinson, wife of Alderman Robert Pattinson, J.P., of Southfield, Ruskington. The deceased lady accidentally lost her life by being run over at Ruskington station, on Thursday afternoon.

Whilst crossing from one platform to the other she delayed in order to call her dog that was following her. Upon hearing the whistle of an approaching train she stepped from one four-foot way into the other, and was unfortunately killed by a train going in the opposite direction.

She was the youngest surviving daughter of the late Mr. Henry Pratt, of Lincoln. Not only Ruskington but the whole district, in which the family has so many connections, will mourn with Mr. Pattinson and his children in the irreparable loss they have sustained. An Inquest will be held this (Friday) afternoon.

Private 5368 Samuel Harmston PATTINSON  was born in February 1878, at Manor Farm, Ruskington, the eldest son of (Samuel) Frank (Builder) and Frances (née Harmston) Pattinson.

Harmston joined the Remount Department, Army Service Corps, in Lichfield, on 12 January 1915, having previously seeing action during the Boer War, serving as Private 733, with the 10th (Sherwood Rangers) Company, 3rd Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry.

….. about the War Service of Frank, Henry and Harmston Pattinson


Political Life:

Samuel Pattinson (17 December 1870 – 15 November 1942) was the son of the contractor and businessman, William Pattinson and his wife Anne. His father ran the building company Messrs. Pattinson and Son alongside serving as chairman of Ruskington Urban District Council.

Samuel was an Alderman of Kesteven County Council and later for Lincolnshire County Council, on which he served as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He was also Justice of the Peace for the County.

He first contested a Parliamentary seat at the 1918 general election when he stood as Liberal candidate in Horncastle. He was, however, a supporter of H. H. Asquith so was not given the government coupon which was granted instead to Coalition Unionist William Weigall.

Samuel tried again at Horncastle at the by-election of 1920 which was called when Weigall was appointed Governor of South Australia, but he lost by 1,413 votes to the Coalition Conservative, Stafford Vere Hotchkin.

Samuel was eventually elected to the House of Commons at the 1922 general election, beating the Conservative candidate by 1,639. He held the seat at the 1923 general election with a majority of 1,819, but he could not retain it in 1924 losing to Conservative candidate Henry Cobden Haslam, a science researcher from Cambridge University, by 1,169 votes.

Sir Robert Pattinson, JP, DL (19 February 1872 – 4 December 1954) was also the son of William and Anne, and, therefore, Samuel’s brother.

He joined his family’s railway contracting firm after finishing school and was quickly appointed to senior positions. In 1900, he became chairman of Ruskington Urban District Council and four years later joined Kesteven County Council, eventually becoming an alderman and serving as its chairman for 20 years between 1934 and his death in 1954. He also served as the first chairman of the Lincolnshire Archives Committee,[13] as a Justice of the Peace (for Kesteven from 1900 and Lindsey from 1930), and Deputy Lieutenant for Lincolnshire. He was appointed High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1941.

In 1898, Robert became chairman of the Sleaford Division Liberal Association, serving until 1918. He was first chosen as Liberal candidate for Sleaford division in 1914. At the 1918 general election he unsuccessfully contested the Grantham division for the party. He was elected for Grantham at the 1922 general election, defeating the sitting Conservative MP, Edmund Royds by a majority of 425 votes. However, at the 1923 general election he was defeated by the new Conservative candidate Victor Warrender. He was Knighted in 1934.



  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “International Genealogical Index (IGI).” FamilySearch.
  • ‘Lincs. to the Past’ – Ruskington Parish Registers
  • Ruskington Parish Registers, courtesy of Ruskington Parish Council.
  • ‘Memories of Ruskington in the 1920s and 1930s’ – Henry Brown, Lincolnshire County Council and Cultural Services. Ruskington Library 15 May 2003. (unpublished)
  • The 1939 Register – National Archives
  • “The Sleaford Gazette” – 3 November 1917