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 July 2003


Wednesday 2nd July - Preserving the Past for the Future.

Out Visit - North West Sound Archive, Clitheroe Castle. The North West Sound Archive was established in 1979 to "record, collect and preserve sound recordings of the life, character, history and traditions of the north west of England".

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 - 1865) Fred Holroyd.

Coming Events

Saturday 13th September

The Great North Fair Gateshead Stadium, Neilson Road, Gateshead
10.00 am - 4.30pm. adults £2.50, children free.
The new national event for Family Historians, supported by the History Channel and the 2003 Genealogy Project.

Saturday 8th November

The North West Family History Fair will be held this year at Manchester Velodrome.

Lancashire BMD

Births Marriages and Deaths on the Internet

Work has now commenced on Phase One of this project. The indexes to all the marriages which took place in the old Haslingden Registration area, are being typed onto spreadsheets for the years 1837 - 1899. This includes all the Church of England Churches and the Registrars’ Marriage Books (Non Conformist and Roman Catholic Marriages had to take place in front of a registrar), there is a total of 176 index books.

As each index is completed, it will be checked against the original certificates at the Hyndburn Register Office. As the information is checked and approved it will appear on our Lancashire BMD site.

Volunteers are still required for typing and checking.

Jackie Ramsbottom is the project co-ordinator for the Hyndburn and Rossendale area.

If you would like to participate contact Jackie - Email: jax@grane92.freeserve.co.uk

Book Review

A History of Edenfield and District by John Simpson.

Published by Edenfield Local History Society, 2003.

If your ancestors came from Edenfield (or the old Township of Tottington Higher End) then this hard- back book is a must. John Simpson has described the changing landscape of a largely rural area from 1770. The book covers all aspects of life in Edenfield and its neighbouring hamlets; the building of roads and railways, new houses, farms, shops, churches, education, sports and games, public houses, textile mills, quarries and coal mines.

In particular we meet the people, the clergy, the doctors, the police, the industrialists who built up the mills and the people who worked in them. The author tells of poverty and child labour, we learn of fortunes made and lost. This is a well researched book, with many photographs and an extensive bibliography.

It is available from the author,
Mr. J. Simpson,
The Cottage, Tor View Farm, Helmshore BB4 4AB
£20.00 including P & P (UK residents only)

Rossendale Ancestry

I was very surprised when I received an email from Laverne Granbois in Canada enquiring about a Bible mentioned in our June 1998 newsletter.


A success story

Submitted by John Dalton - Branch Chairman

At our last branch meeting I happened to hear of a family bible in the possession of John and Joan Lord, for which they have been trying to find a home since they found it in a car boot sale several years ago. They had found someone in Canada who was a related to the people listed in it, but posting such a heavy book would have cost about £60.

By chance, a friend of mine was visiting from Utah last week, so I contacted him and he agreed to take it home with him and post it from Salt Lake City. He emailed me yesterday to say this was now done, and it cost $22.

While he was here, we visited the Arndale Centre in Accrington, and by an amazing coincidence we met Mr & Mrs Lord there, so he took a photo of them to email to the lady in Canada.

BRAMILL/ Childhood Memories

Will Bramhill’s father (William Frank Bramhill) was born in Liverpool in January 1913, he came that same year to live in the Valley, probably at Touch and Take but possibly at Hardsough, Irwell Vale. His sister Doris was born two years later,

Touch and Take, Cockerels and Zeppelins.

Submitted by Will Bramhill

Today's adults worry about the children of broken marriages ... well, my father's parents' marriage broke up as he started school, at the time of the First World War.

The main cause for the split appears to have been a difference in class. Grandma came from a middle class accountant's family while Granddad's family was from the poverty of Liverpool's Pier Head.

My Dad went on to escape his background, becoming a ship's captain by 1958, and retiring as commodore- captain of the then Sealink ferry fleet at Harwich in 1977.

So what interest is this to you in the Rossendale Valley? Dad died in 1997 but left behind a large blue book of his early memories, spent in Touch and Take, a group of cottages south of Haslingden; in fact his very first memory is of being pecked on the eye by a fearsome cockerel as he made the way up the farm path with his mother. He carried the scar for life.

The year was probably 1916. Dad writes that Granddad, unfit for war service through ill health, worked in a little red brick building close by Edenfield railway station. He recalls that his father would take him there regularly, and he would stare out of the window "at a steam engine pulling three rickety coaches into the station beyond the factory".

He says his main memory of this spell in the Valley was of a low bridge near the rail line where empty paint drums were stored. One Sunday Dad and his sister made a thorough investigation of those drums, and ended up with their Sunday best "well and truly covered". This, says Dad, resulted in his first tanned behind, and his father could wield a belt, too. Dad also experimented with smoking at this early age, but was caught. His father's punishment? A cigarette end stubbed out on the palm of the hand.

Dad recalls leaving the Valley for Liverpool, he thinks on a holiday. The family were happy, but he doesn't believe his mother (maiden name Prossor) returned with his father. He recalls making his way back to Rawtenstall with his father some time later. They couldn't afford the rail fare from Liverpool, so father and son walked from town to town, catching trams when possible. He writes: "I can recall the misery of sore feet and of Dad coaxing me, sometimes carrying me, then showing impatience and dragging me. Somewhere between Bury and Bacup we got caught in an air raid by Zeppelin. We had to run along a road, then Dad carried me and we went into a hedge and lay in wet grass. I can recall the noise of the Zeppelin and thousands of bits of paper fluttering down".

Note. The Zeppelin attack took place on the 24th September 1916. It is described in great detail in John Simpson’s book on Edenfield. The Bramhills must have been in the vicinity of their own home at the time of the attack. Will has a letter which states that a piece of shrapnel had gone through the window of his grandmother’s house at 5 Chapel Terrace, Hardsough.

Shortly after this following the break up of his parents’ marriage William Frank, his father and sister went to live with relatives at Reedsholme, Crawshawbooth...

to be continued.......