William Sargeson (1806-1886) – head gardener at Trafford Park

A while ago I was involved in a project researching gardeners. I came across William in a tree I’d developed for those descended from a group of Serjeantson families I’ve traced back to Kirkby Malhamdale in the West Riding of Yorkshire. I was intrigued to see that he had been a gardener at Trafford Park, Greater Manchester.

William was baptised on 13 April 1806 in Hawkshead, Lancashire to father James. In later records he provided his birthplace as either Hawkshead or nearby Coniston. A definitive 1841 census record has not yet been found for him. However, in 1851, he was recorded as a gardener working at Trafford Park. Trafford Park Hall had been built in 1762 and, with the adjoining area, was owned by the de Trafford family who can trace their origins back to the 13th century. The following OS map shows the hall (marked in blue) and the extent of the estate in 1848. Barton is circled in purple.

OS Lancashire CIII dated 1848

William continued to work at Trafford Park, although in both the 1861 and 1871, he had moved into the nearby village of Barton upon Irwell. In 1861 his address was Canal Side and his sisters Margaret (1815-1874) and Jane (1808-1879) and two nieces lived with him. In 1871 just Margaret and Jane were with him at 11 Canal Bank. The following outline descendant chart shows William in blue, his sisters in red, nieces in pink and nephews in green.

Outline Descendant Chart for James and Family

When the 1881 census was taken William was 75, and back living at Trafford Park, where he was head gardener. While I was unable to find a newspaper report of William’s death, I did come across a report of the death of the owner of Trafford Park in the Manchester Evening News (4 May 1886). Sir Humphrey de Trafford, a prominent Catholic, died “after a lingering and painful disease”. His funeral was held at All Saints Catholic church which he had had built in Barton about 20 years before his death.

William died on 24 June 1886 and was described as being “late of Trafford Park”, suggesting that he was still there when he died at the age of 80. He was buried in St Catherine’s churchyard on 29 June 1886 and his headstone has the following engraving:

“In loving remembrance of


During 42 years

Head Gardener at Trafford Park

Died June 24th 1886, aged 80 years”

Inscription from Headstone for William Sargeson

The inscription helpfully includes a reference to his work at Trafford Park and that he worked there for 42 years; probably from about 1844. Sadly, his headstone is broken with the cross having come away from the plinth. Probate was granted to two of his nephews, Thomas and William, who are marked on the above outline descendant chart.

Trafford Park Hall – about ten years after William’s death, the Hall and its surrounding land had been sold to E. T. Hookey, who registered Trafford Park Estates Limited in 1896. The area around the hall was gradually developed for industrial purposes, facilitated by the building of the Manchester Ship canal in the late 19th century. The hall (circled in blue) can still be seen in the following 1927 OS map of the area; however, it had been demolished by 1939.

OS Lancashire CIII.12 dated 1927

Finally – I am interested in knowing more about William and his family. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the maps used in this blog have been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.


Barton on Irwell. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/BartononIrwell : accessed January 2022.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Coniston. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Coniston : accessed January 2022.

Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. eds. (1911) A History of the County of Lancaster. London: Victoria County History. Vol 4, pp. 329-335. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol4/pp329-335 : accessed January 2022.

Kirkby Malhamdale. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/KirkbyMalhamdale : accessed January 2022.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england : accessed January 2022.

Manchester Evening News. https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed January 2022.

Probate records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Trafford Hall, Trafford Park. https://historicengland.org.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

UK and Ireland, Find a Grave Index, 1300s to Current. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

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