Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Margaret Alice Townley 1863

To put the limits on this research, I have not done any primary document searching other than census. The ideas expressed here could very well be wrong. I would welcome other researchers opinions or suggestions. 

The search for this lady's life and connection to the Remington tree began with the 1881 census. My GGG grandparents John and Isabella Remington had a farm Castle O'Trim in Over Wyresdale and alongside their own children were two nieces, one of whom was Margaret Alice Townley age 18 Dairymaid and born in Ingleton. 

I searched back and forward on the census, then used Lancashire parishes online to find the details of Margaret's marriage, and used Free BMD to build up an hypothosis for Margaret's family.

In 1871 Margaret J Townley age 8 born Ingleton was a nurse to Francis and Margaret Whalley.

Using the BMD index I would suggest that Margaret belongs with this family :
marriage June quarter 1860 Settle 
Richard Parr Townley + Jane Remington
birth June quarter 1861 Settle 
William Remington Townley
birth June quarter 1863 Settle 
Margaret Alice Townley
death September quarter 1863 Settle
Jane Townley

so Margaret's mother died when she was a baby. Her father appears to have remarried
marriage September quarter 1864 Liverpool
Richard Parr Townley + Margaret Davies

The problem is that when Margaret Alice married 23 Sep 1884 (St. James, Stalmine, details online) to William Cross her father is named as Peter. It does not look like Margaret was illegitimate. Could it be possible that Margaret did not know who her father was? As it seems she lived with family members that would not seem probable, although they were families connected to her mother. Could it be that she did not want to acknowledge her real father? There is on the 1851 census a Peter Townley age 20 born Higher Wyersdale living in Barnacre? (Garstang Stalmine) . But I have been unable to follow this family any further in the census. Margaret Alice Cross's age matches and birthplace given as Ingleton. Perhaps it was just a mistake, Margaret signed her marriage with a X, and she was not local to the area so her family was not known to whoever married them. 

In 1861 Richard P Townley 28, his wife Jane 29 and son William R. 1m were living at Scar End, Ingleton with Jane's family parents William Remington 54 and Agnes 59 and brother John 26.

Between 1861 and 1871, Jane died, Agnes (Jane's mother) died, and Richard remarried. As in another branch of my family after the death of a mother the young children were split up sons going to the fathers side and daughters to the mothers. Perhaps Richard's new wife did not want to fetch up her step children.

Anyway in 1865 William Remington (Margaret Alice's grandfather) married Jane Danson widow of Robert Danson who had been schoolmaster and postmaster in Ingleton. Her daughter also married in 1865 Margaret Danson to Francis Whaley - with whom Margaret Alice was living in 1871 helping with the young children.

In 1871 grandfather William Remington and Uncle John were still living up at Scar End.

Margaret's brother William Townley age 10 born Ingleton was living in Cockerham with his other grandparents Richard Townley 70 (born Higher Wyersdale) and Alice 81, and uncle James 31 born Caton.

Their father was living in Liverpool with his new in-laws.
Richard P Townley 36 born Garstang, with wife Margaret 30 and children Winifred, Ada and Richard.

In later census Richard's birthplace is given as Caton, and he has further children Thomas, John and Margaret Ann. He died before 1901.

And what of Margaret Alice's brother, could this be him? Did he change his middle name from Remington to Parr?
1891 William P Townley 27 groom born Ingelton married to Elizabeth living in Ramsbottom.
(September quarter 1890 William Parr Townley + Elizabeth Smith)

and in 1901
William Townley 38 carter on sewage works born Ingleton, with wife Elizabeth 31 and children Richard 9, Thomas 4 and William 10m.
(September quarter 1891 birth Richard Parr Townley).

You might be interested in where Margaret Alice Townley was born. Assuming the family were still at Scar End at that time, there are many photos online of the area about as it forms part of the famous Ingleton Waterfall walk. I was luck enough to do this walk a few years ago - and it was wonderful. The walk goes right past Scar End farm and you really do feel as though you are on top of the world. I cannot copy and paste with this computer unfortunately but if you do a google search for Scar End Ingleton -the site "The waterfalls walk from Ingleton village." has a map as well as photos and the Scar End - Wikipedia has a lovely photo of the panoramic view.
One question that has niggled and niggled and is still unanswered, is how John Remington came to move to Over Wyresdale perhaps the link might have been through Richard Parr Townley's family. We only have the smallest glimpse of our ancestors lives, one day in ten years so many questions unanswered. Was Margaret Alice shown love as a child, or was she a painful reminder of her mother, or was she viewed as a nuisance. How long did she work as a dairy maid for uncle John? Did she get on with her cousins? The other niece that was visiting in 1881 Dorothy Ann was the same age, were they friends? After her marriage did she keep in touch with her family in Over Wyresdale?

So do you think I have it right about Margaret Alice? Or do you think I am assuming too much.
I have received a lovely reply through Genes from Gregory. Thank you for your thoughts on this and you raised two important points that I had missed. 
Gregory pointed out that "There is no evidence of two different Margaret Alice Townleys both born in Ingleton around 1863" 
and "In the marriage record, Margaret Alice Townley is described as "spinster of Shirehead," which is a place in Wyresdale."

Thank you also to Clive, also replying through Genes - he agrees it is probably the same lady.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Letter from A. Borrow.

Well, first an apology for not posting on here for such a long time, real life has got in the way of my obsession. But that does not mean I have been idle, just not had the time to compose any new postings. I have had a busy summer but not totally with the Remington branch. I managed two trips over the summer, one to London to the British Library to look at a book and one to Ingleton to find Scar End farm. I shall post later about the Ingleton trip.

Margaret told me about this book : Valley of the Wild Stream: A History of Wildboarclough by Antony Borrow. It is where the information so kindly passed on by Sheila came from. I tried to borrow this book from Manchester library and was advised by them that there was a copy of the book available for reference at the British Library in London. Well, not one to be daunted I had to contrived to get there. Joseph could be persuaded with the prospect of a train trip and Cariad very kindly provided an extra reason by flying back from the USA after a choir trip and wanted to be 'met'. We stayed at the youth hostel, which was very convenient - opposite the British Library and close to three London main stations. However as usual things did not go smoothly. I had planned to spend a full day in the Library looking at this book but when we got there, and we were there for opening time, I was told under 18s could not go in the reading rooms. Disaster!!!! I had to rethink and re plan. You have to have a readers card to use the library so decided to get that and order the book for the following day - I must say I was not impressed with the British Library - I thought they were most unfriendly. I know they must get fed up with people who do not know the routine but it is quite overwhelming and different to other libraries. Firstly they appeared quite indignant that I was unaware of the rule about under 18s, then you have to go through a quite rigorous procedure to get your readers card- providing not just identification and proof of your address but also the reason you want to use the library, luckily I had the letter from Manchester Library. They then very 'kindly' issue you with a card with your photo on valid for a month. So if you go again you have to go through this all over again. Part way through this procedure their computers 'went down'......this was a good thing for me, people were turned away with the helpful advise that they did not know when they could register and the room emptied. As we were at a loose end this did not matter and the room became nice and quiet. You have to fill in your details on a computer and order books by computer. Not being very good on computers I found this difficult to do. Again I think the library could have made this easier. The actual building itself I did not like - big empty modern and soulless. A huge entrance hall, impressive but cold and empty and useless. I think it would have made more sense to have larger reading rooms. Mind you, I was probably being all negative because I was disappointed. Anyway we ended up spending the day walking about London and getting absolutely drenched. Joseph saw Waterloo, Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations so he was happy. The following day, I managed two hours in the library and Joseph stayed with Cariad.

There are two volumes to this book. They are hardback and about the size of a large old fashioned bible. I liked the look of them straight away and I think I was so excited I was shaking. Now I really did just glance through the pages and it was just the kind of book that I love. Not only does Mr. Borrow provide all his research details he also gives lots of background detail and tries to explain why things happened. He has an 'easy' (by that I mean enjoyable) to read writing style and the layout of the pages is good. I used the index to quickly look at the references to Remington. I have written to Mr. Borrow to ask him if I could quote from his book and I have received a lovely letter back. He has told me that there are other reference copies of his book at Macclesfield Library and in the library of the Cheshire Family History Society at Alderley Edge. So I am planning on going to Macclesfield at half term to have another more detailed look and check the notes I made in London. I will then posted them on here.

The general impression that I got from Mr. Borrow's book was that when William and Henry moved to Wildboarclough it was a time of investment and improvement in the valley but when the estate was inherited by the son he did not have the same attitude. So the fortunes of farmers not only depended on their own hard work but were subjected to the will of the landowners. Mr Borrow also wrote about agriculture in general and the difficulties faced.

There is a section in the book about Gamekeepers which is very interesting. I wonder how many gamekeepers there were in the valley at one time. There is reference to Henry in his capacity as gamekeeper being involved in the prosecution of a poacher.

Another interesting avenue of thought - both Remington brothers were involved in the Conservatives (? need to double check this, as I was running out of time and my notes by this time were a scribble - you are only allowed to use a pencil in the British Library). I had not thought about political leanings before.

To bring this post to a close a message to Mr. Borrow, if you manage to find your way here. Welcome and thank you once again for publishing such an inspirational book.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Kelly Directory : Macclesfield Forest

MACCLESFIELD FOREST is a township in the parish of Prestbury, 4 1/2 miles east-by-south from Macclesfield, in the Knutsford division of the county, petty sessional division of Prestbury, hundred, union, county court district, rural deanery and archdeaconry of Macclesfield and diocese of Chester. The township, which forms a part of the lofty chain of hills skirting the eastern verge of the county adjoining Derbyshire, is very bleak and mountainous and the land exceedingly unproductive. The Forest of Macclesfield, formerly an extensive demesne, was, like other royal forests, preserved for pleasure and recreation. The chapel, originally built in 1673 and rebuilt in 1834, is a plain edifice of stone consisting of nave and a small western tower containing one bell: there are sittings for about 150 persons. The register dates from the year 1759. The living is a perpetual curacy with Wildboarclough annexed, net yearly value £128, with residence, in the gift of the Earl of Derby, and held since 1901 by the Rev. John Trist Gasking, who resides at the Parsonage, Wildboarclough. Brough's charity of £1 12s. yearly is for distribution in money.

The township contains 3,499 acres, the property of the Earl of Derby K.G, G.C.B., P.C. who is lord of the mannor. The townships of Lyme, Hurdsfield, Kettleshulme. Rainow, Bollington, Pott Shrigley, Upton, Tytherington, Wincle, Macclesfield Forest, Sutton, Wildboarclough and Bosley, formed part of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield. The farms are small and widely scattered. "Shining Tor," 1,834 feet above the sea level and the highest point in Cheshire, is in this township. The population in 1901 was 172; area 3,499 acres; rateable value, £2,158.

Letters through Macclesfield; Wildboarclough, is the nearest post & telegraph office, 2 miles distant. Macclesfield is the nearest money order office.

National School (mixed) for 60 children; average attendance, 30; George Worthington, master.

(There follows a list of 33 names : interestingly Bottom-of-the-oven farm is in this township, it is the neighbouring farm to Broughs Place.)

Kellys Dierectory :Wildboarclough

The following is taken from Kellys Directory of Cheshire 1902 which can be found on the Internet at

WILDBOARCLOUGH is a township in the parish of Prestbury ecclesiastically annexed to Macclesfield Forest, 6 miles south-east from Macclesfield, the nearest railway station, in the Macclesfield division of the county, petty sessional division of Prestbury hundred, union and county court district of Macclesfield, in a bold mountainous district on the verge of the county adjoining Derbyshire and Staffordshire: a great part of the township is uninclosed moorland. There is a Mission room in the Clough, in which divine service is conducted once every Sunday by the vicar of the Forrest. Brough's charity of £1 12s. yearly is for distribution in money. Cragg Hall, the property of the Earl of Derby K.G., P.C., G.C.B. is a mansion of stone, beautifully situated and surrounded with pleasure grounds, but now (1902) unoccupied. "Shutlingslow," a bold peak 1,658 ft. above the sea level, is in this township, which also contains some quarries: in the valley is a fine trout stream. The township contains 5,021 acres of land and 19 of water, all the property of the Earl of Derby K.G., P.C., G.C.B. who is lord of the manor; the soil is sandy; subsoil, rocky. The land is chiefly pasture; the rateable value, £2,561; the population of the township in 1901 was 200.

By Local Government Board Order, ND. 22,378, a part of Wincle township was in 1888 transferred to Wildboarclough.

National School (mixed), erected in 1876, for 55 children; average attendance, 31; Edward Essex, master

Post, Telegraph & Express Delivery Office. - Mrs. EstberSeed, sub-postmistress. Letters through Macclesfield arrive at 10.30 a.m; dispatched at 1 p.m. The nearest money order office is at Wincle.

(30 names follow including Gasking Rev. John Trist (incumbent of Macclesfield Forest), The Parsonage : Remington Wm. Farmer, Dry Knoll: Wheelton Danl. frmr. Lower Nabbs)

Sunday, 29 April 2007


This is just a posting about thoughts - so if you would rather just skip it that's OK with me. This morning Joseph and I went for a walk across to the old racecourse. Its only about 5 min from where we live but you have to negotiate a narrow 'tunnel' hemmed in on the left by an iron fence to keep locals out of the student accommodation, and on the right the River Irwell. Its a well used haunt of dog owners so you have to watch where you are putting your feet, and this morning was like walking through a cloud of midges. But when you emerge at the other end, out into the light you are faced with a great big open green, a precious emerald. I was hit anew with the sense of peace and quiet ( well relative quiet, as you could still hear the traffic droning away like the irritating buzzing of a wasp). I was thinking back to last weekend, wondering what life was like beyond the reach of the motor car. As a kid I spent much time rambling through woods and where we lived was a quiet backwater, car wise, but can't really appreciate just how much our lives are affected by the constant hum. I fear we shall loose this open space when the new student accommodation opens, sold off for housing no doubt. They are building on the other side of the river ugly modern thrown up monstrosities.

This led on to contemplation of another area of fascination for me at the present time. The Quakers. The search for inner silence is quite appealing. At the moment I am reading a book called "Quaker Annals of Preston and the Fylde" by Dilworth Abbatt. It was written in 1931 and is kept in the bowels of Manchester library - you have to fill in a paper slip hand it over to the librarian and then wait for it to come up in a 'dumb waiter' (I think that is the correct name for it). They then stamp the book, so you can see how many times it has been consulted before - there are only about a dozen stamps and the one before mine was in the 1960s, imagine that book has been sitting inside that building waiting 40 odd years for me to call it out into the light of day once more. How many other books are hiding down there in the gloom, forgotten unloved, what secrets do they hold. You are not allowed to borrow it and take it home. You have to sit in this awe inspiring room - round with a domed roof, but completely impractical for studying as every little sound is amplified and one hardly dares to breathe and disturb anyone else. The librarians seem quite immune to this and hardly whisper their conversations ! tut tut. I have spent three hours already on this book and I am still only on page 15.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

The Remingtons at Wildboarclough.

Sometime between 1891 and 1901 William Robert, Isabella, HenryLeech and his wife Esther moved to Wildboarclough.

I would love to know the reason behind the move. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Perhaps William Robert got the offer of the gamekeeper job, I seem to remember reading that they preferred to employ 'non locals' as they would be less likely to turn a blindeye to locals poaching. It seems to me (at the moment) more probable that the area of Wildboarclough was an area in decline and the Earl of Derby wanted to encourage anyone to come into the area. I think the Earl had land in Lancashire, perhaps the offer of a job came through the Abbeystead estate. Perhaps there were no empty farms in Over Wyresdale or perhaps there was a sense of adventure. On the other hand moving about as farmers seemed to be quite common. As William Robert was unmarried perhaps Isabella went along to do the womans work on the farm and Henry Leech and Esther went along to help run the farm. Looking at the 1901 census they are not listed as visitors, I have looked at all the pages in their 'district' and there is one visitor noted so I think if they had just been visiting from Wyresdale that would have been written on the census. There are a few empty properties at that time including a farm. I also wonder how they learned the job of gamekeeping : did they just improvise as they went along? did the head gamekeeper or another gamekeeper show them the ropes? what did the work of a gamekeeper involve?

Anyway, sorry for rambling on, to return to the 1901 census the details are as follows :-

Wildboarclough, Dry knowl
Wm Remington Head 31 Gamekeeper Farmer born Yorks. Twislton
Isabel sister 23 born Wiradale
Henry L. brother 25 Farmer born Wiradale
Harriet s-in law 31 born Southport
Frederick Gardiner servant 15 Shep. born Wildboarclough

On ancestry they are mistranscribed as Rimington.
(Ref: RG13 piece 3315 folio 51 page 1 Macclesfield, Sutton District 11)

Rene told me that Esther was called Ettie.

Two marriages took place,
Jun 1904 Isabella Remington and Arthur Wheelton Lancaster 8e 1435

Arthur Wheelton was a local man from Wildboarclough in 1901 he was listed at his fathers farm Lower Nabbs.

Dec 1905 William Robert Remington and Isabella Annie Briscoe Settle 9a 15

The Over Wyresdale Remington family.

I am typing this at 00.15 because I cannot sleep and I did not get time today to sit at the computer. I have been trying to think of the best way to describe the various families on here in a clear fashion. I don't know about you but I easily get confused as to which person goes with which family and which William is which. So I am going to try colour coding and see how that goes.

Isabel sent me, via David the Remington tree which she has worked so hard on (although it arrived on A4 sheets which I am still trying to piece together). A big thank you to Isabel, I am not going to try and replicate it here but the information Isabel supplied has been used.

Get on with it Elizabeth, stop chattering on..............

So I will begin, not with the beginnings of the Remington family but with the family living in Over Wyresdale. I am going to colour this family green - I hope it shows up. I am also going to use capitals, yes I know it is frowned upon and regarded as shouting by some in the cyberworld but I want the names to stand out.


Using information from the census returns John Remington and his family moved to Over Wyresdale sometime between 1871 and 1873.

In the 1891 census the whole family was living at Dowholme farm. The details are:-

John Remington 52 farmer born Ellel
Isabella 49 born Yorks. Clapham
William Robert 24 farmers son born Ingleton
John 22 Estate Labourer Ingleton
Richard Slinger 20 Estate Labourer Ingleton
Ann Agnes 17 Farmers Daughter Over Wyresdale
Henry 15 Farmers Son Over Wyresdale
Isabella 13 scholar Over Wyresdale
Beatrice Mary 11 scholar Over Wyresdale
Thomas 9 scholar Over Wyresdale
Richard Slinger 72 visitor retired Clitheroe
Isabella 77 aunt Yorks. Clapham

(Census ref: RG12 piece 3462 folio 13 page 6, Lancaster, Ellel district 2)

But by the next census in 1901 the family had split up.

Three marriages had taken place :

Sep 1896 Lancaster 8e 1447 John Remington + Hannah Mason
(Lancaster Friends Meeting House, Preston AP49/1/68)

Jun 1899 Lancaster 8e 1441 Ann Agnes Remington + John Taylor

Sep 1899 Lancaster 8e 1537 Henry Leech Remington + Esther Wilcockson Dilworth

References are GRO index taken from the freeBMD site, the month refers to the quarter within which the marriage was registered.

William Robert, Henry and Isabella had moved to Wildboarclough. Along with Henry's wife Esther.

Richard Slinger was living on the Abbeystead estate where he worked.

Ann Agnes was living in Lancaster with her husband.

John and Hannah were living on another farm in Wyresdale with their two little ones ; Ruth and Isabella.

Beatrice Mary and Thomas were still living at home on Dowholme with parents John and Isabella.