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 2008

Programme: 2008

Wednesday 7th May

Bacup to Crawshawbooth

A talk by Wendy Watters.

Wednesday 4th June

Hands across the sea.

A talk by Mrs. Rawcliffe.

Wednesday 2nd July

How war can be good for your health.

Denise North.

Wednesday 6th August

Out Visit. Guided tour of Chipping.

Chipping Historical Society.

Coming Events

Saturday 17th May

LFHHS One Day Conference and AGM at the Foster Theatre, University of Central Lancashire There will be three interesting talks. Full details were given in your February "Lancashire". Costs for the full conference with lunch £18.00 per person, without lunch £8.00. For the AGM only, no charge. Please send your application form before 26th April to Derrick Walkden, 2 Butterlands, Preston, Lancs. PR1 5TJ or Tel. 01772 792224

Saturdays 7th June and 14th June

General Register Office – Open Days

We are pleased to announce that Certificate Services Branch will once again be holding Open Days, giving members of the public a chance to find out more about how birth, death and marriage certificates are produced and see inside the wonderful Victorian building which is the home of Civil Registration for England and Wales. The Open Days will take place on Saturday 7th June 2008 and Saturday 14th June.

Visitors to the Open Days will be given the opportunity to:

Take a tour of the General Register Office (GRO) site in Southport and see a demonstration of the certificate production processes View exhibitions from various Family History Organizations including The National Archives.· View and discuss issues with other business areas of GRO. Attend talks on various topics connected with GRO and other organizations.

All places need to be booked well in advance.
please contact: Certificate Services Contact Centre
Tel: 0151 471 4508 or 0151 471 4530
8:00am to 4:00pm - Monday to Friday

The Society’s Resource Centre, 2 The Straits, Oswaldtwistle,

The Society’s Central Resourse Centre is open each Thursday 1pm to 5 pm until further notice.

The centre could open more frequently if more members would volunteer to help. Training given. For  more details please contact Tony Foster. Tel. 0161 764 2821

Haslingden Roots

Due to building work being carried out at Haslingden Library, we will not be able to use the computer room on Monday evenings, until further notice.

However anyone researching Haslingden families is welcome to come along on Monday evenings from 6.30pm onwards to consult Haslingden histories, photographs, maps, newspapers and available registers It is necessary to contact Jackie to ensure that we have material to help you. email Jackie Ramsbottom jax@grane92.freeserve.co.uk Tel. 01254 394794

Following discussions with Rawtenstall library, arrangements are in hand to hold advice sessions on Tuesday afternoons. Further details will be available next month.

Rossendale Miscellany:

News, notes and queries

John Cunliffe – a young Chelsea Pensioner

One of our members, Tony Thompson, who was been researching his Cunliffe family came across an entry in the 1851 census for Blackburn, listing a John Cunliffe aged 26, born in Rawtenstall, who was listed as a "Chelsea Pensioner, Warper". He sent to TNA for his service record and found that he had enlisted in 1843, in Glasgow, aged 18, a draper by trade, and served as a Private in the 50th Regiment of the Horse Guards. He spent 2 years 5 months stationed in the East Indies. He was wounded, loosing 3 fingers, and damage to the thumb and remaining finger, due to a sabre cut, and then was discharged 23 March 1847.

If you can throw more light on this man email apttony@aol.com

Bells of St. James the Great, Waterfoot

I recently received a letter from Roger Franks,

He tells me "A year or so ago, after the church closed, the bells were removed from St James the Great Waterfoot and they are now to be re-hung in St Barnabas, Penny Lane in Liverpool. Each bell has an inscription of the name of the donor or donors and I wonder if, through your society, it would be possible to track down any information about these good folk who were obviously benefactors, or at least had some association with the church or Waterfoot at the time.

The church had been built a few years earlier but the bells were cast and hung in 1873 and the names which appear on them are:

AJ Harrison, who was vicar at the time.  James Taylor and James Fielding were church-wardens.

Mary Lange Barnicot was from Huddersfield but donated a bell. Helen Ashworth of Stag Hills

James Pilling, Rawdon Ashworth and Thomas Mitchell were sidesmen, AM Crabtree of Springfield and Mary Jane Ashworth Coupe. 

Some of these names do appear on your website as established Rossendale names. I do not have any information about the cost of these bells but at today's prices each would have cost between one and three thousand pounds, depending on size. The largest bells were each given by a single donor and so are likely to have been families of some substance.

Our plan is to re-dedicate them to the memory of those who gave them to their original parish, coupled with those who have given or worked to enable them to be re-hung and so any information your society may have about these families would be of interest to us. In due course I will be inviting the contacts whom we had at the church at the time of the removal to the re-dedication.

With very many thanks for any help you may be able to provide and best wishes"

Roger Franks. 9a, Fulwood Park, Liverpool, L17 5AA

Some of these people were fairly simple to identify

Alexander James Harrison, Vicar of Waterfoot, PH D MA was born c1830 in Strabane, Ireland.

James Taylor was probably one of the seven Rossendale men who founded the town of St. Annes near Lytham c1873. In 1871 he was living at Warth, Waterfoot aged 68, he was a woollen manufacturer employing 90 hands

Helen Ashworth of Staghills [House] was wife of Edward Ashworth, Merchant and J.P. She was  born Heptonstall c1832.

Rawdon Ashworth was a Wool and Flax merchant born Hansfield Yorks He was living at Spring Side, Cowpe Lenches.

Mary L. Barnicott In the 1871 census, I found a child aged 1 with this name living in Huddersfield with a brother Richard A. aged 2, Their mother was Elizabeth A. born Lancs. Waterfoot and father John born Cornwall a woollen manufacturer aged 33 Perhaps Mary died and the bell was in her memory. I could’n be sure about any of the others, if you can help you can email Mr. Franks at franks@btopenworld.com

Musbury and Alden: Seven hundred years of life and landscape

More than 700 years of history have been brought to life with the publication of a new book by Helmshore Local History Society. Musbury and Alden by John Simpson tells the story of the deer park built near the present day Helmshore by Henry de Lacy, the Earl of Lincoln in 1305. The park covered most of the Musbury and Alden valleys and provided a place to hunt for the Earl and his entourage.. A ditch and wooden fence four miles in circumference surrounded the park and remains of this old boundary can still be seen on the ground today, more than 700 years after it was made.

After the demise of the deer park in the early 16th century, it was divided up into farms, some of which are still worked today. There are chapters on the development of these farms, and another on how the people of Musbury lived and worked in the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the family names with long connections with Musbury included Barlow, Barnes, Bridge, Cronkshaw, Duckworth, Haworth, Porritt, Rawstron, Rothwell and Taylor.

Industry came to the two valleys at the end of the 19th century, and before long there were several fulling mills on the Musbury and Alden Brooks. They were small affairs compared to the mills built later in the 19th century, which included Sunnybank Mill owned by the Porritt family. By about 1900, the Porritts owned most of land within the boundaries of the old deer park and they had a profound influence on the development of Helmshore in the second half of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century.

The book ends with a ‘Musbury Miscellany’, which includes the story of the man who tried to sell his wife at the White Horse in 1869 and of James Barlow who supplemented his income by distilling illicit whisky at his farm. When he was caught by the excise men, he was much put out to find that the magistrates who fined him had been some of his best customers!

This hardback book consists of 80 pages, it is illustrated with maps and photographs and is limited to five hundred copies. It costs £8.95 plus £2.80 p. and p. and is available from John Simpson, The Cottage, Tor View Farm, Helmshore, Rossendale, BB4 4AB.