The Little Listers

Marlene OliveiraPublished on 7 December, 2022  · Last updated on 7 December, 2022
Cover image: Drawing Cover by William James Muller (1812-1845), "Study of a Group of Children"

In Anne Lister’s generation, there are three siblings who died in infancy. They’re often mentioned in passing when researchers refer to Anne’s immediate family, but often without much detail beyond the dates of their birth and death. This collective profile aims at aggregating in one place what is known about these little Listers.

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John Lister (1789 - 1789) 

John Lister was the first child of Captain Jeremy Lister and Rebecca Lister (née Battle). The boy was born in Welton on the 22nd of July 1789. John's birth is mentioned by Jeremy in a letter to his brother James:

"I take the liberty to inform you Mrs Lister got her Bed of a son the 22nd July she recovered very well the first ten days, but I am sorry to say she has not been so well since, indeed she is now very far from being out of danger, I cannot think of leaving her in her present situation" 

7 August 1789, SH:7/JL/88

In a previous letter, Jeremy had reported to James:

"I was happy to find Mrs Lister doing very well and still continues to recover as well as can be expected the little gentleman is a fine fatt lad always hungary which is thought a good sign -" 

30 July 1789, SH:7/JL/87

During a visit to Welton in the summer of 1789, Martha Lister of Shibden Hall wrote back to her brother James and said John is "like Nancy" (Anne Lister senior, SH:3/LL/273). Jeremy would then also give his brother an update about the state of John's health:

"Mrs Lister is at present pretty well but has been under the necessity of weaning the child, which business was commenced last Wednesday therefore wish to stay here till I know what affects her milk may have when turned. The little lad has been very ill owing it is supposed to its mother's milk not agreeing with it which is the cause of its now being a weanling. It has been since better tho not so well as we could wish"

22 August 1789, SH:7/JL/91

In a letter to her brother James from the 10th of September 1789, Aunt Anne mentions that she and Martha were "very sorry to hear so Indifferent an account of our little Nephew, but hope with care he may yet do well" (SH:7/LL/275). Unfortunately, John died in Ovenden, on the 11th of September 1789, whilst under the care of his wet nurse. He was buried in the Halifax Parish Church the next day.

Basic information about John Lister

Birth: 22 July 1789, Welton

Baptism: 1789 (private baptism, SH:7/ML/B/30)

Death: 11 September 1789, Ovenden 

Burial: 12 September 1789, Halifax Parish Chuch, Halifax

Physical Attributes

Eye color: Unknown

Hair color: Unknown

Height: Unknown

Also known as: the little gentleman (SH:7/LL/274)

Jeremy Lister (1801 - 1802) 

Jeremy Lister was Anne Lister's youngest brother. He was born at Market Weighton on the 27th of September 1801 and baptized there two days later. Little Jeremy died in Beverley, in February of 1802, when he was under the care of his nurse. He was also buried at Beverley.

Basic information about Jeremy Lister

Birth: 27 September 1801, Market Weighton

Baptism: 29 September 1801, Market Weighton

Death: 7 February 1802, Beverley

Burial: 10 February 1802, Beverley

Physical Attributes

Eye color: Unknown

Hair color: Unknown

Height: Unknown

Infant Lister (1806 - 1806) 

In 1806, Rebecca Lister gave birth to a stillborn child. Had she lived, the girl would've been Anne Lister's younger sister. James Lister made a note about her whilst building the pedigree of the family:

“[Jeremy Lister's] wife was brought to bed of a Daughter (stillborn) on Sunday April 6th 1806, about seven o'clock in the morning”(SH:7/ML/B/30)

Almost nothing is known about her, but a burial record proves that she was indeed buried at the Halifax Parish Church.

Basic information about Infant Lister

Birth: 6 April 1806, Halifax

Death: 6 April 1806, Halifax

Burial place: 7 April 1806, Halifax Parish Church

Physical Attributes

Eye color: Unknown

Hair color: Unknown

Height: Unknown

The little Listers and their family

The little Listers belong to the Shibden Hall branch of the Lister family. Their father was Jeremy Lister of Shibden Hall, an army captain who fought in the American War of Independence. As a third son, Jeremy didn't stand to inherit the family estate. He married Rebecca Battle of Welton in August of 1788 and the two had seven children, among whom we count John, Jeremy, and Infant Lister. Of the Lister siblings of this generation, only Anne Lister (1791-1840) and Marian Lister (1797-1882) survived to adulthood. Brothers John (1795-1810) and Samuel (1793-1813) died before their twenty-first birthday, thus leaving this branch of the family in need of an heir. This succession issue was sparked in part due to the fact that James Lister of Shibden Hall never married or produced an heir. With the children of his brother Joseph of Northgate also deceased, Jeremy Lister's offspring retained the best chance to inherit the estate. Anne Lister ultimately inherited the Shibden Hall estate in 1826, after the death of her uncle James. She was the mistress of Shibden Hall until her death, during a tour of Russia and the Caucasus, in 1840. The estate then passed to the Listers of Wales and it stayed in their hands until the death of John Lister, MA, in 1933.

Notable family members, friends, and acquaintances

The Lister coat of arms painted on a ceiling panel of Halifax Minster
The Lister coat of arms, as seen on the ceiling of the Halifax Parish Church. Photo by Steph Gallaway.
a photo of Shibden Hall, showing the front of the building in a mildly cloudy day from the perspective of the paisley garden

Shibden Hall. Photo by Marlene Oliveira.

Research about the little Listers

The funerals of these little Listers are mentioned in the article that studies the location of Anne Lister's grave (Where is Anne Lister?).

The little Listers in the archives

There are several archival references that mention the little Listers:


How to cite this profile

If you'd like to cite this article in your works, please do so in a manner similar to this:

Oliveira, Marlene. 2022. “The Little Listers” Packed with Potential. (accessed MONTH DAY, YEAR).

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