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 December 2002

4th December

A Happy Christmas to everyone and welcome to our



Programme 2003

8th January - Research Evening

Please note that we will not be meeting on January 1st - New Year’s Day.

Did you miss....

On board HMS George V

A WW2 talk by Norma Cowpe.

Norma Cowpe has vivid memories of the battleship HMS George V. Her father Ernest Jones was serving in the ship’s sickbay in 1941, when at the age of 6, she was permitted to visit him on board. HMS George V was launched in 1939 and served on the Home Front 1939 - 1943. She does not know whether her father was involved in the pursuit of the Bismarck in May 1941 but she has very impressed by "this enormous ship and its great guns."

The battleship had a displacement of 36.730 tons. Its dimensions were 745ft x 103ft x 29ft. Its main guns were 10 x 14ins. There was a crew of 1706 men.


I have now received an email from Janet Leeds telling me that the closure of the Rawtenstall centre is due to refurbishment. She tells me:

"You and your members may be pleased to learn that we have now transferred the films and machines etc to our LDS Chapel on Belvedere Rd, Burnley (between the football ground and the fire station) and we are now open to the public again, although we are unable to run as many sessions due to staffing at the moment. We envisage that the library will be at Burnley for at least the next 6-8 months. Our facilities are somewhat smaller than at Rawtenstall, but we still have all the films etc available.

It is essential that people make an appointment to come and use the facilities, rather than just turning up, in order that we can accommodate everyone. The chapel Tel no. is 01282 412748, but patrons are recommended to ring during our current opening times, which are weekday mornings 10.00am to 12noon (except Thursday), and Thursday or Friday evening.

At the moment the library is very quiet as not many people know we have re-opened, so it may be that if no-one has actually booked in for a session, the library will be closed. Therefore, if patrons have difficulty getting through initially on the chapel number, they can contact me on my home number 01282 864296, and I can then arrange the appointment for them.

Records available to search free of charge at the centre are: General Register Indexes of Births, Deaths & Marriages from 1837 up to approx. 1980. Scottish Indexes of Births, Deaths & Marriages (shorter period) Irish Indexes of Births, Deaths & Marriages (shorter period) 1881 Census for England, Wales & Scotland on microfiche and CD, 1891 Census on microfiche for England and Wales. British Vital Records (Second Edition) on CD IGI on CD.

Mormon Immigration Index on CD Patrons can also order for a nominal charge, parish register films and many other records, including 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 census. Films for the British Isles from our central distribution in Birmingham, on a short-term loan arrangement for viewing at our Family History Centre in Burnley".


Richard Rostron was born in Bury in 1777. He was a weaver when he married Ann Lord, at Bury in 1800. He signed the register with a X, suggesting that he was illiterate. He was at other times described as a Spinner and a Chapman but he had reverted to weaving before his last child was born in 1808, yet he had made enough money to retire by the time he was 60 or so, He had a very large house, Acres House, in Edenfield, two of his sons were in business and his daughter Margaret had married a wealthy cotton spinner, John Rostron.

By 1841, his sons George and John had taken over his woollen manufacturing business. At George’s second marriage in 1850, he stated that his father was a "farmer", this suggests that Richard had bought a farm after he retired, but in the 1851 census he was listed as "Retired Woollen Manufacturer" and in 1861, at the age of 83, he was again listed as a "Manufacturer". He died in 1861 and is buried at Edenfield.

Richard and Ann’s first child Margaret - they had three children - was born in Haslingden but baptised at Edenfield as was their second child John. George was christened at the Bethlehem Unitarian Chapel at Newchurch after the family had moved to Sisclough about 1807.

Curiously there is not a single Rostron listed as a woollen or cotton manufacturer, or merchant, in Manchester or Rossendale in Pigot’s 1828/29 Directory. Pigot’s 1841 directory lists George and John Rostron as being in partnership. In 1834, George had married Ann Lyons at St. Mary’s Manchester.

John married Mary Stott, at Manchester Cathedral, in 1837 but was back in Rossendale by 1839 and living at Acres House, Edenfield by 1841. He then moved to Sydney, Australia for a time before returning to Edenfield about 1847. He became a cotton manufacturer.

George and John had been manufacturing woollens at Hollin Mill, Newchurch but parted company before the 1851 census. George carried on the business alone until his death in 1857, at the age of 49. George’s wife had predeceased him, leaving him with four daughters aged 15 - 7 to bring up. Understandably, he quickly married again to a farmer’s daughter Mary Nuttall. He is buried at St. Nicholas Church, Newchurch.

Acres House was a very substantial property, next to the Rostron Arms in Edenfield. It was demolished in 1974 with the front garden becoming the car park for the public house. Richard Rostron outlived his wife Ann, who died at Acres House in 1849. His daughter Margaret, a widow with three young children came to keep house for him. His son John’s family had separate accommodation within the house.

By 1881, Richard’s son John, now aged 74 and very deaf, was living at Horncliffe Mount with his youngest surviving daughter Rachel. He was listed on this census as "Gentleman Farmer of 24 acres". He died in 1883, there is a memorial in Edenfield Church.

John’s son John Haworth died in Spain in 1882. His son Richard, born in Sydney, was in Greater London in 1881. He was an "Unemployed Commercial Clerk" living in Islington. He had married a Liverpool girl, their first child was born in Cheshire, the next in Liverpool, twins elsewhere in Lancs. A one year old child had been born in South America, the youngest aged 4 months was born in Middlesex.

George had four girls, the youngest, Amelia was listed as a domestic servant in 1861. Her employer was Lawrence Whittaker, a woollen Mill manager who had married her stepmother.

submitted by Chris Pickup email: c.pickup@ntlworld.com Chris also asks "Was Richard Rostron a self made man starting off as an illiterate weaver or was he the son of a manufacturer, albeit illiterate when married. Why was there no entry for Rostrum’s manufacturers in the early trade directories? Did he perhaps marry into money?"

Richard Rostron is not Chris’ direct ancestor. He researched him in the hope of getting a line on James Rostron born Rossendale 1785/86 (possibly Richard’s brother). James Rostron was also involved in the woollen industry. Neither he nor Richard seem to have been christened and they have lots more in common.


Since our talk on the Quakers of Crawshawbooth earlier this year, I have received a great deal of correspondence on this subject.

Margaret Page, Secretary of the Quaker FHS has written to tell me about the Society. She says they are quite small and scattered group, only about half of them are Quakers. "We hold a one day conference every year, the next will be in March 2003, at Old Jordans in Buckinghamshire, where William Penn is buried".

Margaret is working on the Quaker Binns Family of Crawshawbooth with Sue Christou. She is also in contact with a member of the Pilkington Family. email: pagekidder@hotmail.com