Article by Craig Mollekin.

David Stephen Watts and Bowbroom, Swinton, South Yorkshire


In February 2009, David Watts from America contacted me via my website and informed me that one of the photos in my Swinton People Tree project, pertained to his family tree. I then proceeded to do further genealogical research on Davids behalf which uncovered many remarkable finds.One of the first amazing discoveries in Davids tree was that he descends from the Barron and Hartley glass making families that moved to Mexborough from Hunslet (near Leeds) in the first half of the 19th Century.David is also connected by marriage to the Kilner glass makers of Conisbrough.


 Bowbroom (also known as Baw Broom and Bow Broom) is a very small area in Swinton, South Yorkshire and probably few people have heard of the location other than the people that live there.On the 1855 map of Swinton, Bowbroom doesnt appear to be inhabited by humans whereas by 1892, there is plenty of activity.Davids second great grandparents were called William Stevenson and Catherine. William, originally from Ilkston in Derbyshire moved to Denaby in South Yorkshire sometime in the 1860s. By the 1881 Census and on the 1891 Census, William is a Grocer and Provisions Dealer at 95 Queen Street, Swinton. By 1901 he is living in the Mexborough end of Swinton on Frederick Street and is recorded as being a retired Publican. William and his descendants had a strong presence in the Bowbroom/Queen Street areas of Swinton and in surrounding neighbourhoods:- William s daughter, Harriet (born circa 1863), married Jonah Jones iand together issued at least ten children. Harriet and Jonah are David Watts great grandparents. On the 1891 Census, Jonah is a Licensed Victualler at the Cresswell Arms, 5 Thomas Street (Bowbroom). Presumably, Jonah must have passed on the licence of the Cresswell Arms to his brother in law, Fred Walker (see below) who was the Inn Keeper of the Cresswell Arms on the 1901 Census.

On the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, Jonah is a Publican/Beerhouse Keeper of the Butchers Arms (Station Street, Swinton). – Williams daughter, Lily (born circa 1865), married John William Firth who on the 1901 Census was a Grocer at 90 Dolcliffe Road in Mexborough and then a Grocer at 1 Manvers Road in Mexborough (now converted into a residential dwelling). – Williams daughter, Hephzibah (born circa 1867), was firstly married to Joe Worby who was a Grocer and Provisions Dealer at 48 Queen Street on the 1891 Census. By the 1901 Census, Joe had died and Hephzibah was married to Fred Walker who was an Inn Keeper at the Cresswell Arms, 5 Thomas Street (Bowbroom). By the 1911 Census, Hephzibah was once again widowed and now a Grocer at 33 Queen Street.- Williams daughter, Alice (born circa 1873), married Tom Lupton who was a Grocer at 80 Queen Street on the 1901 Census and then a Shopkeeper at 215 Queen Street on the 1911 Census. On Queen Street near to the Bowbroom area, there are a row of terraced houses known as Lupton Buildings. Nearby to these houses was a shop which I remember well and which closed circa 1998.


Hephzibah Jones (1881 1951) was the daughter of the above Jonah Jones and Harriet Stevenson. Hephzibah married Samuel Young. Hephzibah and Samuel issued at least six children, one of which was called Hephzibah Young. Hephzibah was born in 1912 in 245 Queen Street (Bowbroom). Hephzibah is the mother of David Watts. Included in this entry are photos of Hephzibah Young (nee Jones) standing outside of 245 Queen Street (Bowbroom).

Davids mother visited her birth place in 1984. I believe that the green car in the 1984 photo is my sisters Ford Cortina MkIII when she lived in the end terrace briefly in the 1980s. The broken up paving and cobbles of Stephenson Place are visible in the 1984 photo and were visible for many years after well into the 1990s and possibly even into the 2000s. 245 Queen Street (where Davids mother was born) was a Grocery shop. I visited this shop many times and it was known locally as Sams(the name of the owner in the 1970s/1980s) or the Beer Offas it was an Off Licence. I was in fact the last customer of this shop circa May 1997. Id always previously believed that the road (now a dead end) to the left of the shop was formerly Albert Street before Albert Street was rebuilt in the 1970s and further extended in the 1980s. However, after studying maps of the area, I realised that the location of Albert Street has never changed (except for the 1980s extension). The road next to the shop was in fact known as, Stephenson Place. Although Stephenson Place is visible on maps from the late 19th century onwards, it is not until 1930 that it is given an actual name on a map. I believe that Stephenson Place may have been named as such due to Davids Stevenson ancestors living in the vicinity (I appreciate the difference in spelling although on the 1901 Census it is called Stevenson Street).


Noticeable changes in the Bowbroom area since when the Stevenson families lived in the area are:-

– Demolition of the the old housing. I remember as a child there being waste ground where what is now the new extension to Albert Street/back of Stephenson Place. There where piles of old bricks and I seem to remember Bonfires taking place on this land.

– The Chapel was rebuilt in the 1970s in a slightly different location. Originally it appears to be set behind housing on Queen Street and accessible from Stephenson Place. It is now located on the corner of Queen Street and Stephenson Place, opposite to the Grocery shop (245 Queen Street).

– The Cresswell Arms pub was rebuilt in the 1940s. I seem to remember once being told that the original building was accessed by climbing steep wooden steps. Running alongside the modern day Cresswell Arms appears to be the remains of an old access road. I believe that the now redundant road running in front of the Cresswell Arms was perhaps a section of the original Thomas Street.

Although the majority of the original buildings in the Bowbroom area have been demolished and rebuilt, Im sure that Bowbrooms past inhabitants would still recognise the area.

FINALLY Special thanks are owed to David Watts for the supply of the old photos featured in this entry. Any comments, photos or memories of Bowbroom which people may have, would be appreciated.




(F) 1862 (Stevenson) - 15.07.08 (2)

(Gravestone dated 1862 (Stevenson)


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Possible access to Thomas Street.

Queen Street shop, Swinton (Copyright Dave Watts) (1)

Queen Street shop, Swinton (Copyright Dave Watts)


Queen Street shop, Swinton (Copyright Dave Watts) (2)

Queen Street shop, Swinton (Copyright Dave Watts


Queen Street shop, Swinton (Copyright Dave Watts) (3)

Queen Street shop, Swinton (Copyright Dave Watts


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Bowbroom Chapel is on the left of Stephenson Place.


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Stephenson Place.





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