Isabella Burn 

Died 26th September 1849 

Above : Alfred’s will leaving a substantial sum 

Isabella was unmarried at the age of 28 and living with her parents and siblings in Clayport Street when she died on 26th September 1849, in the Cholera outbreak.

Her parents were Thomas Burn and Martha
Archbold, who were married in St. Michael’s Church on 6th August 1820. One of the witnesses was James Archbold, (Martha‘s brother), but Martha was the only one present to sign with a cross.

Thomas’s parents were possibly William and Ann Burn, who had a ‘Thomas” on 8th November 1789, but there were lots of other boys named Thomas Burn around this time. Martha’s parents were James (a joiner) and Ann Archbold. The Archbolds seemed to have a baby every other year, all baptised in the Pottergate Chapel. Martha was baptised on 24th June 1793 when they were living in Narrowgate, then: Mary b 1796: John b 1798 in Canongate: Ann b 1802, but died age 8, on 14/6/1810: Isabella b 1804 but died 3 days later: James b 1806 and Jean who was baptised 2 months after her sister, Ann died in 1810.

Isabella was baptised on 1st July 1821, when her parents settled in Clayport Street and lived there for the rest of their married life. Isabella was their first child of nine, followed by Ann, baptised 6/11/1822: Thomas 20/2/1824: Jane 27/1/1826: Eleanor 6/2/1828: Stephen James 1/3/1833: Martha Archbold 1/7/1835: Mary,  and Emma 15/7/1840, when their mother was 47 years old! They were all on the 1841 census for Clayport where their father, Thomas was a shoemaker. He was a successful businessman and employed several cloggers and shoemakers including  the father of another cholera victim, William Howey (See later in this book). Thomas died the following year, in June 1842, age 53.

When the cholera outbreak hit Alnwick almost every house or tenement in Clayport was affected and the Burn family was no exception. Isabella died in the first week of the outbreak, on 26th September 1849. On the following  1851 census, Martha was a widow running the shoe making business. Son Thomas was 27 and also a shoemaker, Jane 23 was house keeping, Eleanor 21 was a boot binder, Stephen 18 was a currier’s apprentice, learning to cure leather, and the three younger sisters were still at school.


other Martha died in December 1857, leaving her children to help each other.

In 1861 Stephen was still living in Clayport, next to Burn’s Yard and working as a currier and leather merchant while his sisters, Ellen, (baptised Eleanor) Mary and Emma were keeping house or working as house servants. Ann and Martha were living in Percy St ‘on their own means’. They were still both single.

Meanwhile Thomas had married Ann Grey and was continuing with his boot and shoe making business, calling himself a ‘master boot maker ‘and employing one man and two boys. They were living with Ann’s father, Thomas Grey, 83 and their son, yet another Thomas born in 1860. They were living next door to Robert Grey, in a cottage in Denwick, the father of another Cholera victim. ( See later in this book). Were they related?

By 1871 Thomas and Ann Burrell Burn had moved back to 28, Clayport Street where he expanded his shoe making to become “boot, shoe and upper dealer” as people were moving towards buying ready made shoes. He was employing eleven men and one boy.

By 1881, their two sons were also working: Thomas Frederick was 21 and a general clerk in a solicitor’s office. He later became a newspaper man, journalist and editor and moved away to Gosforth. Alfred Ernest 17 was working with his father in the boot and shoe trade. The entire Burn family appear on the 1889 voters list as they were property owners, in Clayport and on Alnwick Moor, so they must have been Freemen.

In 1891 Thomas and Ann were both 67 and son Alfred was still working with his father as a ‘leather and shoe salesman”. Thomas Burn died in 1898 age 74 , having worked all his life in the boot business.

On the censuses in 1901 and in 1911 Alfred Ernest Grey Burn was still living with his mother who was then (by 1911) 88 years old. He was 47, still unmarried and still in Clayport. Ann died in 1917, age 93, but her son Alfred remained unmarried till 1922 when he married Christiana Isabella Lumley in April. They were married ten years when he died in 1932. In his will (see above) he left his money to his widow Christiana and to his nephew Ralph- a son of his brother Thomas Frederick. The sum of £28,978 is worth about 2 million in today’s money (2020). He certainly worked hard in his lifetime!

Meanwhile Thomas Burn’s brother, Stephen the currier, was still unmarried and still looking after two of his sisters. In 1881 Emma was now Mrs Holmes, a widow with three children who had been born in Newcastle and London. They must have returned to Alnwick after her husband, John Williams Holmes’ death. Mary was also married and was Mrs Hunter. She and her daughter Florence age 6, were visiting Stephen, who was now “unemployed”, or did it mean retired?

By 1891 Stephen was lodging in Alnwick, in Tower Lane, with other single men. He died on 1/11/1897 the year before his brother Thomas, but left Thomas (a leather merchant) his money (£137 10s 1d) in his will. Their youngest sister Mrs. Emma Holmes was living at 21, Howick St with two of her three children. John was now a solicitor’s clerk at 16. Emma’s sister Martha
Archbold Burn kept a boarding house in the next Street, Percy Street.

It was only Isabella who died young, because of cholera, her brothers and sisters did rather better than their parents, all ending their days in Alnwick.

1849 Cholera Outbreak
Ann Allison George, Susan and Isabella Anderson Ann Appleby John Douglas Arnott John Balmer Ann Bamburgh Isabella Bell Jane Berkley Sarah, Robert, Sarah Black Dorothy and Jane Brankston Ann Brown Isabella Burn Elizabeth Burnett Sarah Burnett Mary Carr Thomas Carr John Cavenah Julia Dixon, Appalina Cooper Harvey and Catherine Cross Edward Davis George and Jane Davison William Dick John and Sarah Dickman Isabella Dixon Adam Dixon Rebecca Dobbs John Douglas Jane Douglas Jane Duncan Robert Duncan Ann Egdell Ralph Emmerson Ann Fawdon, Ann Fawdon Mary Ann Featherstone Henry and Ellen Mary Ferguson Isabella Flannaghan George and Eleanor Forster Robert Gardner Elizabeth Gray Dorothy Grey Robert Grey Thomasine Grey Mary and Henry Hedley Mary Henderson James and Ann Hindmarsh William Howey Ann Hudson, Ann Hudson George Hume, Alice Hume John Hunter Dorothy Jameson, Jane Jackson Joseph Jamison Thomas Jeffrey Elizabeth Jobson Mary Joicey James Keen, Margery Keen Frances Laing George Lindsay, John Lindsay Catherine Lockey James Lockey Ann Lough Patrick Macone Margaret Marshall Mary Maule Latitia McLaughlin James McMillan Thomas McMillan Neil McNab Elizabeth Mennim Catherine Metcalf Ann Middlemas Margaret Millar Mary Mills Margaret Moffit Jane Morrison Ann Nesbitt Ann Newton John Newton James Paxton Ann Pearson Mary and Isabella Pickard George Pike Rebecca Quin Mary and William Ramsay George Reed Thomas and Ann Robarts Michael Sanderson James Skelly George Slight Elizabeth Smails John Smith Sarah Smith John Snowdon Jane Snowdon Robert Stansfield John Stocker Robert Tate Dinah and Charlotte Tate George Taylor Grace and Jane Taylor Mary Thew Thomas Thompson Jane Thompson Henry Tinson John Walker Robert Wallace Alice Wardhaugh John and Robert Wardle Thomas Wilkinson James Williams Mary Wilson Elizabeth Wood Appendix-James Wood