James Skelly 

Died 1st October 1849 

Luke Skelly, the well-known Hole Stopper  (see below)

James was the son of another James Skelly  who was born in 1780  and Mary Middlemas. James Jnr. was born in 1810 and baptised a month later.

He was their third child, having sisters, Phillis,-Ann, Sarah- Eleanor and Joanna, and one brother Luke. Their father, James was a mason and his sons James and Luke became masons too. Both of these brothers died young, leaving wives and children behind them to struggle on.

On his death certificate  James is said to have died of TB on 30th Sept 1849 but he is listed on the official cholera death list according to the Rawlinson Report, so one might infer that he had both!

James Skelly Snr was one of the sons of Luke Skelly who was born in 1747 and his wife Ann Venus. Luke’s son Luke Jnr, brother to  James Snr was immortalised in the book about old Alnwick “How they Really Were”, as he was a “hole stopper” to the duke’s hunt by trade. This involved knowing where all the bolt-holes of hunted animals were and sealing them up, so as to prevent them escaping. Not a profession so likely to provoke admiration nowadays.. 

The Skellys were a large family, even by the standards of those days.  Luke was named after his father, and his younger brothers all called one of their sons Luke, which shows a shocking lack of consideration for future family history researchers. Recently we met some descendants of the Skellys from South Africa who came to Alnwick especially to trace their roots. 

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