George Foster of Mosborough (1847-1909), “the Mosborough Poet”

George Foster was born in 1847, the son of George Foster (1817-1884) of East Street, Mosborough, Blacksmith, and his wife Eliza (nee Cupit, 1820-1902). By 1861, the family had moved to West Street in Mosborough, where George Foster, senior, was Blacksmith, Post Master and a local preacher. George Foster, junior, (now aged 14) is a Pupil Teacher, probably at the Mosborough Free Endowed School in School Street. ,

By 1870, George had qualified as a school master and, on 31st August of that year, married Sarah Ann Worrall (1848-1874), daughter of Luke Worrall (1806-1864), deceased, Coal Master and Grocer of Mosborough and his wife, Ruth (nee Hodgson, 1807-1885). George took up a teaching post in Langham, Norfolk (probably at Langham Village School, Fig. 1) and a year later, their first child Ephraim was born in October 1871.

langham school, norfolk
Figure 1: Langham Village School, Norfolk

The couple had two further children, born in Reedham, Norfolk – Ruth in around 1873, and Sarah Ann around 1874. Sadly, George’s wife, Sarah Ann, died at Reedham on 4th December 1874, aged 26, and was buried at Eckington churchyard on 8th December. It appears that George returned to Mosborough sometime afterwards and was recorded along with the children in the 1881 Census as a farmer of 57 acres, living at School Lane. He was appointed as Headmaster of St. Philip’s National School in Sheffield. His father, George Foster, snr. died at Mosborough on 16th March 1884.

George was actively involved in local affairs, serving on the County Council and as Secretary of the Mosborough Football Club. He became a prolific writer, describing local scenery and prominent local people. His verses were often found in the “Poets Corners” of local newspapers and a collection of them was published in book form. He became known as “The Mosborough Poet”. In 1886, his book “Reminiscences of Mosborough During the Present Century” was published.

By 1889, George had opened a grocery store at Queen Street, while continuing his farming interests. It was reported in the Derbyshire Courier on 27th April that Swine Fever had been discovered in two of his pigs, recently bought in Sheffield. In 1895, a note in the Quarterly Review of the Folk Lore Society contained his contribution on the life of the local Mosborough character, Nicobore, a servant of Captain Thomas Stones of Mosborough Hall.

In the 1891 Census, he is recorded as living at Cadman Street, Mosborough, with his daughter, Ruth, and her Wood Turner husband, Henry Buxton. He died at 19 Cadman Street on 13th March 1909, aged 62, and was interred at Eckington parish churchyard on 17th March 1909 (Fig. 2).

george foster memorial
Figure 2: Memorial to Sarah Ann and George Foster at Eckington Churchyard (Photo: Courtesy of Sam Brooks @ Mosborough History Group)