Rope Makers of Warsop, Chesterfield & Southwell

Valentine & Hannah WILKINSON lived in Warsop, Nottinghamshire from around 1730 until their deaths in the 1780s. They had at least 13 children, five of whom died aged 5 or under. There were Wilkinsons in Warsop before this time but no connection has been found to Valentine & Hannah, there is a possibility that Valentine originated in the Sheffield, Yorkshire area, as there are incidents of the name in Ecclesfield near Sheffield around 1700, and we know that both the Wilkinsons of Sheffield and Warsop had links to Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

The following is an extract from the book of Warsop Parish Records

By Richard J. King, Curate of Warsop & Diocesan Inspector

Published in 1884 by William Goul, 3 Westgate, Mansfield


For many generations this family has carried on business in Warsop as rope-makers. A Valentine Wilkinson, about the middle of the last century, was a rope-maker, and lived at The Dog and Rabbit Inn, in Butt Lane. His son William, who succeeded him in business, did all the rope work for Clumber, Sandbeck, Thoresby and Welbeck.  William had a family of eight sons and one daughter, and it was quite a little joke of his to tell people that he had eight sons and that every one of them had a sister. Thomas, his eldest son, settled at Southwell as a Rope Maker; Richard followed the same business at Chesterfield; whilst George was manufacturer of Women's Stays at Retford. The other sons all settled in Warsop, and with the exception of John who was a Hatter, helped their father in his business. Two of them were inveterate poachers. Joseph, the youngest, organized a regular band of men with whom he used to go out at night with dogs and guns and scour the country far and wide.



The direct line to the author of this site is through William (1741 – 1842) who, as mentioned in the article above, succeeded Valentine in the ropemaking business

in Warsop. He married Pilgrim HARDSTAFF of Newstead, daughter of Richard HARDSTAFF & Pilgrim BROWN, at Warsop in 1766.

William & Pilgrim had 9 children, all appear to have lived to a good age, although so far it has been very difficult to find anything out about George, who according

to the aforementioned article lived at Retford, a maker of Women’s Stays.


Thomas the eldest son of Valentine & Hannah settled in Southwell around 1804 where he started his rope making business, he was succeeded by his eldest

surviving son Valentine, in 1825 who in turn passed the family business in Southwell on to his son Richard in 1894. Richard had been an apprentice to his father, the records at Nottingham Archives, Reference DD 455/1/3 Show that on 23rd April 1855 Richard Wilkinson son of Valentine Wilkinson, Rope and Twine Manufacturer of Southwell was indentured to serve a seven year apprenticeship to his father.


A photograph of the Southwell Ropemakers can be seen on the site dedicated to Alfred John Loughton the great Southwell photographer 1865-1953.


Wilkinson Newspaper Items


"Mansfield & North Notts Advertiser - 11th December 1908

Death of Mr. W. Wilkinson. - The death of Mr. W. Wilkinson ropemaker, which took place on Saturday last, removed the head of an old Warsop family. Prior to 1871 Mr. Wilkinson's ancestors had held the licence of "The Dog and Rabbit Inn" and all that time the business of ropemaking had been carried on as well as similar business founded by various members of the family at Southwell and Chesterfield. It is the proud boast of the family that in best work they have never been beaten. Mr. Wilkinson was well known in the Dukeries, and, indeed in the neighbourhood generally."


William was the son of William & Ann & grandson of Valentine & Sarah (LINECAR), he married Sarah Ann DUTTON of Pleasley Hill in St John's Mansfield 16th July 1866, they had 12 children.


"Mansfield & North Notts Advertiser - 24th October 1913 - Warsop Items

The death of Mr. W. Wilkinson, which took place on Tuesday last after a brief but severe illness, in his 54th year of age, removes one of the best known personalities from the Parish. A few weeks ago septic poisoning of the lungs set in, and although all that was possible, including vaccine treatment, was done, all efforts proved abortive, and death took place as stated. Mr. Wilkinson was the youngest son of the late Mr. S. Wilkinson, a member of the well-known Warsop Wilkinson family, and married to Annie, the eldest daughter of the late Charles Taylor, butcher of Sherwood Street. In 1900, on the death of Mr. R. Hind, he succeeded to the business of joiner and undertaker, so long in the hands of the late Mr. John Webster. The deceased leaves a family of five - four daughters and one son. The news of his death, after struggling for some time with the disease with apparent success, caused very widespread feelings of regret. The interment took place at the Parish Churchyard yesterday, a number of brother Oddfellows attending."


 This William was the son of Samuel & Sophia (BRUMMITT) and grandson of Samuel & Ann (PARKIN), he first married Sarah Ann RADFORD in April 1887 (she died the following month), he then married Annie TAYLOR at Warsop on 16th June 1890, the above article states that they had five children although so far records have only been found of four. 


WILKINSON names in my family tree


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Last updated by Brian F. Johnson 20th October 2004