John Farmer Dakin (1784-1857)

John Farmer Dakin was the 3rd surviving child born to William and Elizabeth (Betty) Daykin (nee Sellars) and was christened on the 7th March 1784 in Castleton. John married 17 year old Hannah Jackson on the 8th September 1806 in Castleton. His first son John Farmer Dakin was born on the 2nd of September 1808 but did not survive the year. At least two other children also died in infancy and are listed on John’s headstone; Elizabeth and a further John Farmer. What I believe to be his youngest daughter, Eliza, is also listed on his headstone; christened 22.01.1826, died aged 17 on 24.07.1843.

A detailed search of the parish records, however, threw up a number of other children which at the moment I presume to have survived John;

  • Ann Dakin – chr.30.09.1810 Castleton
  • William Dakin – chr.14.02.1814 Castleton
  • Robert Dakin – chr.10.09.1815 Castleton
  • Mary Dakin – chr.10.05.1818 Castleton
  • Hannah Dakin – chr.24.06.1821 Castleton

The original parish records for Castleton also show that John was witness to his brother William’s marriage to Ann Needham in 1816 and witness to his sister’s marriage to George Hall in 1812.

Tragically his wife Hannah died on 20th July 1827 in Castleton, aged 38. Cause of death is currently unknown.

The earliest adult record we have for what John did was the 1851 census where he was a rope maker living on the premises of his employer John Willcock at Chapel En Le Frith. Derbyshire had a rope making industry and it seems that  John Farmer Dakin’s occupation was Rope Spinner. The British Pathe website has a clip of rope making in Castleton and shows an example of the life John Farmer Dakin may have led.

Video Clip – Rope Making in Castleton, Derbyshire

From what we can determine from the death records of his family it’s clear that Johns hard life was haunted by tragedy.  He outlived many of his family, had at least three children that failed to live beyond infancy, and then died in 1857 at the age of 74 in Chapel En Le Frith Workhouse, effectively being destitute.

Chapel En Le Frith Workhouse

John is buried at St Edmunds Church, Castleton, Derbyshire. His headstone is made of a metal compound hence its good condition and appears to have been erected by the Masons. Note its Masonic imagery.

“In Memory of John Farmer Dakin who died 16th December 1857, aged 74 years. Hannah, wife of John Farmer Dakin, who died 20th July 1827, aged 38 years. Also John Farmer, Elizabeth, and John Farmer, their children who died in their infancy. Also, Eliza, their daughter who died 24th July 1843 aged 17 years”.

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  1. Garnet Burrows

     /  August 10, 2011

    Mathew Dakin,
    Thank you for your very interesting web page. I have wondered for many years about the six Masonic gravestones in Castleton churchyard – an unusually dense gathering (6) for such a small village, so remote from any Lodge existing today.
    One inhabitant of the graveyard, a non-Mason as far as I know just now, had fled the smoke of Sheffield owing to ill health.
    Can you tell us, please, to what Lodge John Farmer Dakin belonged To? That information would be of great interest tp Freemasons in the area today. Thank you.
    Garnet Burrows,

  2. Thank you for sharing.

    Some may be interested to know that the cipher along the top arc reads: TRUST IN GOD FOR YOUR SALVATION


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