A member of The Federation of Family History Societies
St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall


Rossendale Branch Newsletter April 2010

Programme: 2010

Wednesday 7th April


Followed by a talk from Michael Hiluta

Wednesday 5th May

Life in the Middle Ages

Stephen Moorhouse

Wednesday 2nd June

A letter for Alice.

A talk by Mary Davison

Wednesday 7th July

Commemorating the Ancestors

An archaeologist’s view. Ben Edwards

Coming Events

Sunday 11th April

The Stockport Fair Wellington Road South, Stockport. SK1 3XE 10.00am – 4.00pm

Saturday 10th April

The LFHHS will be represented at the Pudsey Family History Fair, which will take place at the Pudsey Civic Hall. The opening times are 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

Saturday 22nd May

LFHHS One Day Conference in conjunction with the North West Group of Family History Societies and LFHHS Annual General Meeting

10.00am to 5.00 pm

at St. Cuthbert’s Church Centre, Lytham Road, Preston, Lancashire. PR2 3AR Programme:

09.15 – 10.00am Registration and Coffee/Tea

10.15 – 11.25am Peter Higginbotham speaks to the title "The Workhouse".

11.30 – 12.40pm Hannah Barker will talk to: "Small business families in the N.W. of England 1760 – 1830."

1.00pm Lunch

2.15 – 3.15pm Peter Park speaks on: "Wanted Widows and Large Families" Poor Law Commission Migration Scheme 1835 – 1837.

3.30 pm LFHHS Annual General Meeting.

Costs: Conference & Buffet Lunch £12.00. Without Lunch £6.00. Application Forms are in your "Lancashire" journal for February 2010

Saturday 26th June, the LFHHS will be represented at the York Family History Fair, which will take place at the Knavesmire Stand, York Racecourse. The opening times are 10.00 am to 4.30 pm

Sunday 4th July

2010 LFHHS Annual Dinner

Lancaster & Morecambe Branch are hosting the Annual Dinner this year. It will take place at The Midland Hotel, Morecambe. The hotel is situated on the front, facing the Lake District.

Arrive for 12.30, Luncheon will served at 1.00 and there will a talk afterwards.

This will give you an opportunity to visit a well known Art Deco hotel which has recently been refurbished. You will be able to see the famous Eric Gill Mural, with its interesting history of being stolen, recovered, in secret hiding and finally restored to its place of honour. Also there are fabulous views across Morecambe Bay and a Promenade to walk on.

Further details will appear in your "Lancashire" May Journal.

Sheila Court Secretary Lancaster & Morecambe Branch

Research and Advice Sessions:

at Rawtenstall library every Tuesday 1.30 – 3.30

Rossendale Branch has a group of members who are on hand very Tuesday, to assist members of the public with their Family History enquiries. You will find us upstairs at the library adjacent to the new Community History facilities. When contacting us with an enquiry, please include your membership number.

The LFHHS Resource Centre, We are pleased to announce that the Society’s Resource and Research Centre at 2 Straits Oswaldtwistle, BB5 3LU is open every Thursday from 1pm – 5pm. A catalogue of the resources available can be viewed or downloaded from www.lfhhs.org/download/index.htm

Civil Registration Certificates - Price Changes

The General Registry Office has announced new prices effective from 6th April 2010 for issuing BMD certificates and other services.

From that date the ordinary service price increases from £7.00 to £9.25 from the GRO at Southport or to £9.00 where obtained from the local authority.

One plus - the price will still be the same if you are unable to quote them the reference number.

Full details can be founds on - http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/rde/xchg/ips_live/hs.xsl/1569.htm

Rossendale: News Notes and Queries

We finally managed to have a full branch meeting last month. Tony Foster, President of the LFHHS gave us a very interesting presentation on the history of Civil Registration in England and Wales. I am sure we will have an equally interesting talk this month when Michael Hiluta and Annette Whittaker tell us about their researches into a Haslingden murder.

The Townsend Family of Holme and Townsend Fold

I had some difficulty in deciding on a topic for this month’s article. Michael Hiluta typically said "Do a gravestone inscription". Then I had an enquiry about the Townsend Family coat of arms. I remembered the Townsend gravestone from way back in the 1970s, when we transcribed the monumental inscriptions at St. James’ Church, Haslingden, It lies just to the south of the church, surrounded by railings. The stone measures 14 feet in length and 5 feet in width it is probably the largest single stone in an English graveyard. It stands on 10 legs. The middle leg on each side is engraved with the Townsend arms.

How did they manage to have such a huge stone cut (presumably from a local quarry), transported and erected? How did the stonemason manage to add extra names? What must it have all cost?

The stone has two separate inscriptions:

~ In memory of Richard Townsend of the Holme, Born Novr. 28th 1790. Died Jany 20th 1860. Also of Mary his wife Born April 4th 1810. Died Jany. 6th 1869. Also Isabella Hannah daughter of the above Born Novr. 4th 1846. Died April 25th 1858. Also Alice Annie, wife of Joshua Townsend their son, Born March 7th 1836 died July 3rd 1863. Also the said Joshua Townsend Born August 17th 1837. Died June 12th 1909.

~ In Memory of John Townsend of Townsend Fold Born Septr. 1st 1781. Died August 28th 1876. Also of Molly his wife. Born Octr. 29th 1797. Died Jany. 4th 1862. Also of James Frederick their grandson and son of John Townsend of Brookfield. Born March 11th 1859. Died Octr. 3rd 1861. Also of Paley their son. Born Novr. 9th 1835. Died June 6th 1865. Also of Elizabeth their daughter. Born Octr. 15th 1830. Died April 15th 1895. Also of John Townsend of Brookfield, Born July 18th 1832. Died December 27th 1907. Also of Arthur, son of John Townsend of Brookfield. Born April 15th 1865.. Died April 13th 1914. Also Mary Ann widow of the late John Townsend of Brookfield. Born September 18th 1834. Died May 9th 1930. Also Harold youngest son of the late Thomas Townsend. Died December 4th 1916 aged 42 years. Also of George Haworth second son of John Townsend. Born Feby. 4th 1863. Died October 19th 1936. Also Florence May beloved wife of the above Harold Townsend. Died Nov. 27th 1938 aged 69 years. Also Florence Emily wife of George H. Townsend. Died December 28th 1947.

There is another inscription near the entrance to the vault of Richard and John Townsend

~ Ethel Blanche Townsend, youngest daughter of John Townsend of Brookfield. Died July 11th 1958 aged 85 years.

There is also a memorial inside the church.

Clearly they were a very wealthy family, who went to great pains to document their family details, which incidentally can’t be read unless you are prepared to climb over the railings surrounding the vault, which I did in 1979 but certainly couldn’t do now.

There is surprisingly little information on the family in local history books. Old maps of the 1840s show a convergence of boundaries just to the south of Rawtenstall. Holme lies on the west bank of the river Irwell, it is situated partly in the Township of Haslingden and partly in Oakenhead Wood. Both in Haslingden Parish. Townsend Fold is situated partly in the Township of New Hall Hey and partly in Tottington Higher End (Edenfield). Both in the parish of Bury. Which means that prior to 1837, a bride form Holme would be married at Haslingden and one from Townsend Fold would be married in Bury. Baptisms and burials could take place wherever the family found convenient. There is a bleaching mill shown on the 1840s map and a fulling mill mentioned in 1828. There is a Townsend Street in Haslingden and another in Waterfoot.

Joshua Townsend of the Holme was buried at Newchurch, St. Nicholas in 1894. He was born in November 1831, the eldest son of John and Molly Townsend who were recorded on the Haslingden stone. He had married Ann Ashworth of Mytholme House, Waterfoot. Joshua’s memorial is in the style of a cenotaph. His obituary states that he was the 6th generation of Townsends to live at the Holme. There are some deeds and wills at the Lancashire Record Office and a pedigree drawn by John B. Taylor can be found in the files at Rawtenstall library. The library also has some interesting photographs of the area. Unfortunately the A682 to Rawtenstall has sliced off the western half of the hamlet.

Derrick Walkden and Joe Barrett from the Society’s Heraldry Group were able to answer my enquiry regarding the Townsend Arms and provide the Heraldic descriptions.

  Townsend Coat of Arms   Townsend Vault   Townsend Crest  
  Townsend Coat of Arms   Townsend vault at St James Church   Townsend Coat of Arms on vault  

Azure a chevron Ermine between three escallops Argent.
(a blue shield, a chevron (inverted v shape) silver/white with black tails, between two shells at the top and one shell at the base, all silver/white)

A buck's head erased attired Or gorged with a collar Azure.
(a buck's (deer's) head, as if torn off at the neck, with antlers all gold, and a blue collar round its neck).

Veritas (Truth)