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 2013

Programme: 2014

Wednesday 8th January

Note we are meeting on the 2nd Wednesday.

This will be a research and library evening in the smaller room.

Wednesday 5th February

Members' 10 minute talks.

This will be a themed evening. Your subject should be someone who has inspired you, e.g. a teacher but not a family member.

Wednesday 5th March

To Be Advised

Wednesday April 3rd

Branch A.G.M followed by a sort talk by Rita Hirst entitled “The Hoyle Family and the Peruvian Connection.

Beginners Welcome. Haslingden Library every Monday 5.30 – 8.30 pm
Note: the doors to Haslingden Library close at 7.30 pm.

and at Rawtenstall Library every Tuesday 1.30 – 3.30 pm

We may be able to do simple look-ups for distant members. When contacting us with an enquiry, please include your membership number

The LFHHS Resource Centre.

The Society’s Resource and Research Centre at 2 Straits, Oswaldtwistle, BB5 3LU is open every Thursday from 1.00pm – 5.00pm and 1st Saturday of each month 1.00pm..

New on Ancestry.co.uk

WWI Civilian War Deaths.
“These volumes contain the Roll of Honour of those civilians, citizens of the Commonwealth and Empire, who were killed in the United Kingdom by enemy action during the 1939–1945 War, while engaged in household or in business activities, or at their posts as members of the Civil Defence Services. Their graves are scattered throughout the country.” New from findmypast.co.uk Records of WWI ships lost at sea, providing the following information: Name of the ship, date it was destroyed, number of officers killed or wounded, type of vessel.... etc.

New from findmypast.co.uk

Records of WWI ships lost at sea, providing the following information: Name of the ship, date it was destroyed, number of officers killed or wounded, type of vessel.... etc.

Rossendale News, Notes and Queries

Please note that this will be my last newsletter. I have been compiling the newsletter since 1998. For the most part it has been very pleasurable but now I am finding it very tiring and all things must end. If anyone would like to take over, please let me know. I shall continue as Secretary for the time being.

Well Bank Haslingden (Continued from last month)

The first two houses built on the Well Meadow in 1863, were built opposite the well, which was on an open space, later described in the deeds of No. 19 as being on “Victoria Square”. There was a stipulation in the deeds that the area should remain open. These two houses originally had three bedrooms. This was to change later.


According to the 1871 census only 12 houses had been built on Well Bank. There were no numbers given. The bottom house (now No.19) was occupied by William Rothwell aged 41, his wife Mary Ann and her son Marsden William Hargreave aged 10. William Rothwell was a stone mason from Grane. He had built the house which he named Westcliffe. He had married, Mary Ann Hargreave widow of Marsden Hargreave (senior) of Carr Hall Villas in 1869. Marsden had died the previous year, aged, 76. He was a cotton sheet manufacturer with only one surviving child. He had left £6,000.in his will However, William Rothwell did not survive until the 1881 census. His gravestone in St. James churchyard states: “In loving memory of William Rothwell of Westcliffe, Haslingden who died 14th January 1880 aged 50 years. Also of Mary Ann, his wife who died 31st January 1880 aged 56”.

Thus in 1881, young Marsden, then aged 20 was living alone with a servant and a visiting friend, Abraham Hindle. He was described as a “bank clerk”. In 1885, he married Mary McDonough, by licence, in Blackpool. Her father was John McDonough, a merchant. By 1891 they had two children, Irene Mary Winifred aged 4 and Oliver aged 3. Also two servants. Before 1901 they moved to Blackpool, at which time Marsden was described as a “stock and share broker”.

 Westcliffe in the 1901 census was now occupied by John Lawrence Whitaker aged 36, a solicitor, his wife Rachel, his daughter Rose and his son Lawrence. Also two of John's unmarried sisters Rose Allen aged 38 and Dora Alice aged 35. Rachel was a widow in 1911. She stated that none of the family had an occupation and that the house had 11 rooms.

 11 rooms? In what had once been a three bedroomed house. In the same census, my house number 17 was listed as having 9 rooms. Sometime during the late 1880s both households had had a building spree. Westcliffe had knocked out the end wall and built a “Lounge” with a bedroom above it. There were already two bedrooms at the front and one at the back. They built another at the back over a kitchen extension and having no space for a bathroom, they built one out on stilts, with a corner resting on the wall overlooking Heys Street.

Tower House

No. 17 was to become known as “Tower House”. The residents had a huge stone porch built with a room above it (later divided to provide a bathroom) and above this again another large bedroom and stairs leading to the roof. They also built out an extra kitchen, with a bedroom above, and an attic above this. Access was from some back stairs and a side entrance. Earlier a cottage had been built on land at the back, supposedly for a coachman. This became number 21.

Number 17, like its neighbour had also been built by William Rothwell on land leased from John Hoyle. His brother Thomas Rothwell is also mentioned on the under lease dated 1873 when the house passed to Robinson Hindle Esq.

Robinson Hindle is an enigma. He is shown as living at the house in 1871 and 1881 listed in both as a “boarder”. A retired wool merchant, born 1820, with Peter Prout, a Baptist minister as “Head of Household”. Yet my abstract of deeds gives Robinson as having acquired the under lease in 1873. In 1861 he was living with his father at Albert Terrace, Manchester Road. He is given as aged 40 a “retired wool stapler”. At 30 he was simply a “wool stapler’s son”. Robinson's father James Hindle left his son £4,000 when he died in 1861. Yet when Robinson died in Cheshire in 1884. he left £23,551-13s-9d. How did he manage that, I wonder?

The Prouts had retired to Ulverston. It was in 1891 that the census first described the property as “Tower House, Wellbank” and by now like next door Whitakers have moved in. I have little doubt that both families can be traced back to John Whitaker 1813 – 1860, cotton spinner and wool stapler of Waterfoot, Haslingden and his wife Jane (Riley) who lived until 1882. Their son John born 1840, a woollen manufacturer, had married Mary Smith from Hawes in Yorkshire. By 1891 she was a widow and it was she, who decided to extend the house and use the back part as a school for young ladies. Alderman Gertrude Warburton (nee Haworth) who lived at no. 15 told me that her mother came to school here. She entered by the side entrance and went up to the back stairs. Certainly, there is still a row of hooks on the wall of the half landing.

The Whitaker family living at Tower House in 1891 consisted of Mary Whitaker aged 50, living off her own means. Her son James S. aged 25, a medical student, born Haslingden, and Hannah Edith aged 23, a kindergarten teacher, Lilian Mary aged 17, Edgar Allen 12, Catherine Margaret, 17 and Mary's mother Hannah Smith all born in Hawes, Yorkshire. They had one servant. The family eventually returned to Yorkshire. James Smith Whitaker died in 1938. He had been knighted for his services to medicine.

Another strange tale – my neighbour at Westcliffe, Edith Watson told me that on her deeds, there was a twenty year arrangement for an elderly relative to live in one house and sleep in the other! The bricked up doorway can still be seen in one of the bedrooms. Where is the well now? When Mrs. Watson died, it was decided to split up the garden between the houses opposite, nos. 18 and 22. So if we ever have a drought it will need a water diviner to find it.

Rita Hirst.

Well, that’s that.

I hope you all have a very enjoyable Christmas and a Merry New Year.