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 2004

Programme: 2004

Wednesday 5th May

D Day - 60th Anniversary.

Clifford Barcroft.

Wednesday 2nd June

Researching the mariner Miles Standish

Rev. Dr. John Cree.

Wednesday 7th July

Research Evening

Wednesday 4th August

A visit to Rossendale Museum.

Whittaker Park,

Rawtenstall Meet 7-00pm at Museum

A chance meeting with a man on a bike

Leo Turner came to our "Heirloom" meeting when he brought a silver dish given as a wedding gift to his grandmother in 1905. She had worked for the Parkers of Browsholme Hall. Leo lives in Rossendale but admits that he has no Rossendale ancestors. I think you will find this story of a chance meeting interesting.

email leoturner@tiscali.co.uk member 4126

Having just spent holiday in France and arriving back at Portsmouth, early afternoon, my wife and I decided to visit Liss in Hampshire were my grandfather was born. Not knowing the village and where the church was, we looked for someone to ask for directions.. Standing by the roadside holding a bike was a gentleman who looked like a local. Stopping the car, I inquired as to the whereabouts of St Mary's Church. 'Go left here and over the river and the church is on your left' was his reply. 'He's looking for his ancestors', said my wife. 'What's the name?' asked the man.

'Turner' said my wife. 'Come to my house after you've looked in the churchyard and have a cup of tea, my neighbour used to be called 'Turner' before she married' he told us. The churchyard visit didn't yield any information so after half an hour we left and accepted the gentleman's offer.

After a bit of small talk about Liss and where we were from he disappeared to find this neighbour, who he introduced as Mrs Eileen Brooker. A bit more small talk about families and such and she said that somewhere she had a family tree from a cousin of hers who had visited the village a few years ago. We thanked the gentleman for his hospitality and left to go to Eileen’s house. to view the family tree.

Hoping that it would divulge something, I opened the folded paper to reveal a tree with about two hundred names on it, and there, in the bottom left hand corner, was a name I knew, Frank Turner, my grandfather. Also five generations of grandparents going back to 1738, many generations sideways and even downwards to present day families. I couldn't believe my good fortune.

Eileen turned out to be my second cousin and she gave me the name and address of the person who had given her the tree, Jim Malcolm, who turned out to be another second cousin, with whom I've corresponded since that fortunate day in 1996. In his research he didn't know what had become of my grandfather and was highly delighted when I contacted him 'out of the blue' with the missing link. He has since sent me about twenty family trees along different branches, histories of our ancestor's skirmishes in the Zulu War and also stories of other campaigns in Egypt and North Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The moral of this story is 'Don't be afraid to tell people what you are looking for ' as you never know what will turn up. All I have to do now is put it into a book.

All this from a chance meeting with a man on a bike!

Rossendale Ancestry


CLOGS? Apparently not!

The response to CLOGS TO CLOGS IN THREE GENERATIONS published in the Rossendale Branch Newsletter of December 2002 suggested that my research was faulty and spurred a further effort in the early months of 2003 to determine the truth concerning Richard Rostron (1777-1861) of Acres House, Edenfield. I was assisted by Rita Hirst who tactfully pointed out that the register for the church at Holcombe had not been abstracted by the IGI. As a consequence I had made links that were based on incomplete data.

My first mistake was in identifying the baptism of Richard Rostron. He was indeed born in the parish of Bury in 1777 but baptised at Holcombe on 12 Jun 1777, the second son of Mary Edge and Lawrence Rostron, landlord of the Pack Horse Inn, Edenfield. Richard Rostron of Acres House was born into a wealthy family.

The second mistake was in identifying Richard Rostron's marriage. The truth is quite romantic: he fell for a teenager Ann Holt, the daughter of John and Margaret Holt of Haslingden. Richard took Ann to Liverpool to be married by licence on 4 July 1798 but sadly their first child Mary was buried at Holcombe on 14 Apr 1799.

The third mistake was to identify George and John Rostron, woollen manufacturers at Hollin Mill in Rossendale, as sons of Richard Rostron of Acres House. The Rostron manufacturers in the Rossendale valley had no connections whatsoever with the Rostrons of Edenfield.

Only the final details in the original story that were derived from the 1841 and subsequent censuses are in fact wholly correct!

As the research progressed in 2003 it soon became clear that Richard Rostron of Acres House was the notorious clothier or chapman who had earned the sobriquet "Pinch Dicky" when "putting out" to hand loom weavers on account of the fact that the rate he paid, with his cohort William Turner, was a third less than the going rate. Further details of Richard Rostron's career as a mill owner became available with the publication in May 2003 of John Simpson's book "A History of Edenfield & District."

After marrying Ann Holt, Richard made his home in the township of Haslingden pursuing his career as chapman. Subsequently he moved his home to Manchester selling the woollens he and William Turner had woven; William Turner was probably responsible for finishing.

Richard started finishing woollens at Holcombe Mill with his eldest son Lawrence (1800 - 1854) in about 1820. He returned to live in Edenfield in 1823, (his father had surrendered his house in Edenfield to him in 1806), and in 1824 took out a 999 year lease on land beside Dearden Brook to build a new mill.

Richard built Bridge Mill for finishing his own woollens and as a cotton spinning and weaving mill for his sons Lawrence and John. James (1808 - 1858), his third son, subsequently joined the partnership. The mill was attacked by loom wreckers and all the looms destroyed but by 1834 there were 517 power looms installed and his sons were employing some 550 people.

Richard built (?) a substantial house, Acres House at Edenfield from where he married off his daughter Margaret in 1831 to her first cousin John Rostron junior, a cotton spinner and manufacturer at Edenwood Mill - the mill built by Richard's father Lawrence Rostron in about 1801.

Richard lived to see the bankruptcy of his sons in 1837/8 and Bridge Mill sold in 1841 by their assignees at a knock down price of £4,500 to William Turner, his former business partner. Despite their problems his sons John and James both make "good" marriages. In 1838 John married his second cousin Mary Haworth, daughter of John Haworth, an Edenfield landowner. The following year James married Sarah Haworth Turner, the daughter of William Turner. The bankruptcy explains John's emigration to Australia for a few years, but John and James both became manufacturers again in a small way.

Richard outlived his wife Ann, and his sons Lawrence and James renting out part of his house in later life. He died in 1861 at the age of 84. He may still have been a bit of an outcast, for he was not buried in the family plots at Holcombe, nor are any of his family except possibly his daughter Margaret who is commemorated on a MI at Holcombe.

A gedcom file with the details of five generations of Rostrons starting with John Rawstron (1715/6 - 1793), is now available. It was a very close-knit family with two marriages of first cousins.

submitted by Chris. Pickup. email c.pickup@ntlworld.com

Coming Events

Saturday 26th Jun

York Family History Fair. York Racecourse.