The Kidger families

There are at least two Kidger families who have counted Coleorton as home:

The Kidgers who ran the abattoir, butchers and shop from Yew Tree House (previously The White House?) in School Lane and were part owners of Peggs Green mine until it went into liquidation in 1859. They also built the row of cottages which became Froggarts Cottage in the 1970s.

Another Kidger family were miners who came to Coleorton via mines in South Derbyshire. They lived and worked in Coleorton for many years before the mines started to close and then they moved northwards, always to the next up-and-coming mining area.

From John Kidger January 2020
"Following the Work"

Thomas Kiddyer* arrived in Repton, south Derbyshire in the early 1730s. In 1735 he married a widow Anne Eaton at nearby Twyford. The marriage was the subject of a Marriage Bond held at the Diocese of Lichfield because, in this case, Anne was 37 and Thomas only 25. Anne already had 3 children and went on to have 3 more with Thomas, 2 of whom survived.

Seeking employment for Thomas the new family tried their hand in Burton-upon-Trent around 1745. That didn't seem to work out and by 1747 possibly after being removed under Poor Law. They appear in Thringstone and then Coleorton where father Thomas and sons Thomas and Richard worked in the coalmines. At this time young Thomas was aged 10 and Richard started in the pit when he was 7 years old.

Both brothers married and raised families in Coleorton and worked in the local pits. It appears that during the 1770s production at collieries like Paddock at Coleorton was decreasing and employment prospects were getting precarious.

I have spoken to local historian Denis Baker about this situation and it appears likely that Thomas and Richard were aware of the situation in Coleorton and were looking elsewhere. In 1772 Richard sought formal settlement in Repton and his elder brother tried in 1775 but neither succeeded.

The brothers decided that their future lay elsewhere and it is likely that mine owners in Chesterfield, directly or indirectly, convinced them to relocate to Chesterfield in north Derbyshire. It may have been that the brothers were seen as good workers and some inducement (or possibly hollow promises!) persuaded them.

Whatever the circumstances, the two Kidger (the name had changed by now) families now started to appear in the parish registers of St Mary, Chesterfield - the "twisted spire" church. Sadly Thomas' wife Ellen died in Chesterfield in 1780, not long after they had moved north.

The Kidgers settled in Chesterfield and worked in the mines and there are many of my ancestors in that area to this day.

However - and this is where I come in - some Kidger miners looked to move again, this time to Lancashire. The earliest migrant was Thomas Kidger who appeared in Hollinwood, a mining area of Oldham, where his fifth child George was baptised. It seems a temporary move because by 1794 Thomas' family were back in Chesterfield.

However there seemed to be discussion amongst the extended mining family in Chesterfield about work opportunities in Lancashire and in 1797 my namesake John Kidger is in Hollinwood working in the mine and marries a miner's daughter Nancy Iles.

Around the same time my direct ancestor (my GGGG grandfather) Joshua Kidger moves to Alt, a hamlet situated between Oldham and my birthplace, Ashton-Under-Lyne. He is joined in Alt a few years later by his older brother and his sister Anne with her husband and family. All the working males were, it goes without saying, coalminers.

* Kiddyer, Kiddier, Kyddier, Kidiar are all the same surname depending on how the name was recorded in parish registers and other formal documents. The name changed to Kidger around 1800.

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