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  May 2003


Wednesday - 7th May Henry Hargreaves Diary. A talk by Mrs. K. Fishwick.

Wednesday 4th June - Family History on the Internet. Places available only by prior arrangement with Kathleen Ashburner or Rita Hirst.

Wednesday 2nd July - Out Visit - North West Sound Archive Clitheroe Castle.

Wednesday 6th August - Research Evening

Wednesday 3rd September - Private William Tomlinson and the Opium Wars. W.J. Taylor

Wednesday 1st October - Members Miscellany. (Short talks by members on a subject of their choice)

Wednesday 5th November - The Lancashire Cotton Famine 1862 - 65 Fred Holcroft.

Wednesday 4th December - Christmas Celebrations.

Smallpox Outbreak in Rawtenstall ?

Submitted by Michael Hiluta. Whilst transcribing the original burial index at Rawtenstall municipal cemetery, I found the following people had died at the Smallpox Hospital (which was situated amongst the hills overlooking Hareholme and Waterfoot.


Travis, Samuel, 42 years 21 April 1893
Scholes, Mary Ellen, 47 years 22 April 1893
Waterson, Patrick, 23 years 22 April 1893
Nuttall, Joseph, 40 years 23 April 1893
McGuire, Patrick, 24 years 26 April 1893
Hughes, William, 44 years 30 April 1893
Brown, Annie, 7 years 13 May 1893
Hartley, William, 43 years 24 Aug. 1893

Did you miss....

The Diary of Richard Kay (1716 - 1751) a Lancashire doctor,

a talk by Rita Hirst Richard Kay commenced his diary in 1736 when he was 20 years old. It tells of the day to day life of a very serious and religious young man, whose job it was to assist his father (a doctor) in his practice, which was based at Baldingstone, near Bury. After several years of apprenticeship, Richard was sent to London, where he spent a year, working at Guys and St. Thomas Hospitals. On his return he settled down to work as a general practitioner. His practice which he shared with his father took him far afield, he traveled on horseback to all the local towns, Bolton, Rochdale, Radcliffe, Darwen, Haslingden and of course Rossendale.

No one who has read this diary will forget the story of Mrs. Jeffrey DRIVER of Crawshawbooth. He had to operate on Mrs. Driver several times over a 14 month period, removing numerous cancers from her breast. Remember there would be no anaesthetic!

Branch AGM The Branch AGM was held on April 2nd.

The following members were elected to the committee

Chairman - John Dalton
Vice Chairman - Ken Simpson
Secretary/ Newsletter - Rita Hirst
Treasurer/ Books Organiser - Maureen Hodgkinson
Programme/ Exec. Rep. - Kathleen Ashburner
Project Organiser - Michael Hiluta
Web Manager - Wilfred Day
Minute Secretary - Jean Harrison

St. Mary’s Chambers - 10th May

If you have chosen to come to the Society’s AGM on the 10th of May, you can not fail to be impressed by the venue.

This grade II listed building was first opened in 1857 as the Haslingden Road United Methodist Church. By the 1930s, congregations had dwindled and soon the building had fallen into decline. After the war it was used as a meeting and social centre for the elderly.

By the 1990s the building had become almost uninhabitable, until it was rescued by local builder and property developer - B & E Boys.

The company (together with English Heritage) were responsible for transforming the building into one of the finest conference and banqueting centres in East Lancashire.

Rossendale Ancestry:


20 Mysterious Rileys.

From: "John Riley" email: rileyjl@attglobal.net "I have come up against a bit of a brick wall with my RILEY ancestors who were living at Meadowhead, opposite Gambleside, in the 1841 census. There were two families living there, which look distinctly like they were headed by father and son, respectively with another family (looking like it was headed by another son) at nearby Swinshaw Barn. These totalled 24 individuals in all, and there were no other RILEY families at all in the vicinity.

The puzzle is that, of these 24, only 4 "late" christenings are recorded in Goodshaw. In 1835, three 6-year old children were christened at All Saints, two of them illegitimate, and the mother of one of these illegitimate children had been christened there aged 16 in 1832. If I exclude the eldest father and his wife, this leaves 18 RILEY's, born between about 1795 and 1835. I do know that some Goodshaw All Saints and Goodshaw Baptist records are now lost, but probability tells me that I should have found at least 1 or 2 of their christenings if they were in Goodshaw during this period. So, I conclude that they came from somewhere else. Those still living in the 1851 census all gave their place of birth as Higher Booths, so perhaps they were christened in whichever church their parents had previously been connected with? All the evidence points to the surname genuinely being RILEY (i.e. they were not Irish). So, can anyone suggest where they might have migrated from - or does anyone have details of up to 20 RILEY's in 3 families who "disappeared" from somewhere else in the early 1800's? Although the only 4 christenings I have found [1832-1835] were Anglican, they were later Baptists, as most are buried at Goodshaw Baptist Church.

The only other possible link I have found is to the WHITEHEAD's (of slipper fame).

The Goodshaw Baptist records show that a Thomas WHITEHEAD was married to one Ann RILEY, and the midwife was another Ann RILEY - probably her mother - and almost certainly the Ann RILEY still living at Meadowhead in the 1841 census. The couple had children as follows:-

James 22/10/1824 at Meadowhead

Sarah 27/04/1825 at Meadowhead

Abraham 14/03/1827 at Meadowhead

Hannah 13/02/1829 at The Banks, Hapton

John 12/04/1831 at The Banks, Hapton

So, presumably, they moved to Hapton in about 1828? The Meadowhead link would point to Thomas being a relation to David WHITEHEAD, who was born at Meadowhead and went on to found the cotton dynasty.

I am becoming quite convinced that the WHITEHEAD's and the RILEY's are connected - through Meadowhead - in about 1825-1830 - which is before David WHITEHEAD was involved with Meadowhead [1835-1837 or so, I recall] - and yet by 1841, there was not a single WHITEHEAD in anywhere in sight at Meadowhead - it was 100% a RILEY commune.

So, can anybody interested in the WHITEHEAD line throw any light on any possible connections?"


Shirley Oldfield: email: TUBBERHALL@aol.com

asks "Can anyone help me find an elusive 'twig' of my ALDERSON tree?"

Thomas Alderson and Jemima nee Peacock were my G.grandparents, and their son Christopher Alderson was my Grandfather.

There were 2 other sons David Thomas and Ralph.

RALPH ALDERSON , born 2nd Qtr.1868, is the elusive member of this family. He married ELIZA WALKER of Crawshawbooth, 16 May 1891 at the Providence Chapel, Loveclough, Higher Booths.

They had 4 children.

Thomas born 1892

David born 1893

Christopher born 1895

Nora born 1899 died aged 8yrs following surgery in Manchester

The last known address I have from a Will in 1934 was:-

Thomas Alderson was living at 299 Bolton Road Edgeworth and Christopher Alderson at 185 Bolton Road Edgeworth, both were bleachwork finishers.

If any one has any information on this family I would be pleased to hear from you.

Shirley Oldfield nee ALDERSON , LFHHS Membership No. 7142


Julie Small, 39 Rothesay Avenue, Tile Hill, Coventry CV4 9FH asks if anyone with a connection or searching for Duckworth in Haslingden, would please contact her to see if their lines cross.