The Birchall Brothers


wantingcaution !! this is an initial draft ... these notes are on my server for safe keeping !!




Foursome at Port Erin 1930The Birchall brothers Bill (1905-1973) & George (1907-1985) weren't daft they had a good eye for the girls and it came to pass that the Hindley genes were well worth some time and effort.

But of course the Brothers soon realised that it was always the girls who did the choosing; they had a bigger investment at stake! Cousins Wyn & Eda Hindley discovered Bill & George playing cricket in Northwich around 1930.

After all the pulling at the Saturday night hops at 'The Rec', one of the first gambits in the courting routine was to take the girls overseas for a holiday in Port Erin, Isle of Man in the summer of 1930. Something must have worked ... George & Eda married in 1934 at the Baptist Chapel, Shutley and Bill & Wyn married three years later in 1937 at Christ Church, Barnton.

Bill & George were sportsmen and reliable, straight down the middle, and they came from a solid lineage of Cheshire craftsmen from the Congleton, Sandbach, Middlewich, Northwich area.

But what were the Birchalls doing in East Cheshire?

No doubt they had followed a well trodden path from the fields to workshops to the factories ... that's where the jobs were ... and generations of Birchalls found lucrative niches for their crafts in woodwork, in the silk throwing mills & in the chemical manufactories ... much was known of the Birchall name around Lancashire and East Cheshire ... and a wonderful tale has been suggested by John Barker ... a fascinating Birchall urban trek from the farms North Shropshire to Congleton Mills ... but who knows? ... many Birchalls also lingered around Winwick and south Lancashire en route to Cheshire?

George & EdaGeorge 3 yearsGeorge Birchall (1907-85)

Young George was born in Middlewich in 1907 at The Crown Hotel, Lewin Street and he was the apple of his dad's eye. At 3 he was the apple of his dad's eye ... pity about the frock.

When the family moved to Water Street, Northwich around 1910 father George W had given up selling beer for a 'proper' job as a joiner with Brunner Mond, the family was getting bigger and bills had to be paid. Water Street was a stone's throw from St Helen's, Witton and George W was a pious fellow, rather gentle like his dad Edward, and he immediately became embroiled big time at the church as a lay helper. With some prodding from his dad young George's first claim to fame was as a chorister at Witton with his brother Bill. The photo was from March 19th 1921, Bill was 16 and Gorge 13.

GB was taught in the fine musical arts by Joseph Patterson Shaw (1858-1939), choirmaster extraordinaire and Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. A composer of remark who, in 1900 wrote 'Britons, One and All!', a Patriotic Song, with words by E Oxenford. No doubt young George sang this with gusto and also other hymns from another published work by Joseph Patterson; hymn tunes etc, 1906. At the outbreak of war in 1914 the great man was keeping morale high with organ recitals in Northwich. We can image that the young Birchall brothers were present at the dedication in 1917 of the Lych Gate at Witton in memory of Cannon Binney.

Obituary - Joseph Patterson-Shaw (1858-1939) - 'Mr Shaw had a long association with the Northwich Philharmonic Society of which he became the conductor in 1888 and from then onwards until 1916 he wielded the baton as well as coached the Society's members for the performance of many of the major works. The society went out of existence solely on account of the difficulty in finding halls suitable for public performances, but indicative of Mr Shaw's enthusiasm for music is the fact that in the closing years of his active life he made brave efforts to revive the Society and staged several first-class concerts in the Baths Hall. His wife Ida Deakin (1871-1932) was also concerned in the musical profession of her husband, and in a variety of ways seconded his efforts in this connection. She took a practical part in the business affairs of the Northwich Philharmonic Society, and for some years acted as Treasurer to this one-time successful organisation'.

George 'starred' in the choir from 1915 to 1924 and was rewarded for his efforts with the Works of Shakespeare ... he was a little reticent about his musical exploits which ceased abruptly when his voice broke! He was much happier and proud to talk of his exploits on the cricket & hockey fields ... in 1929 WPRC Hockey Section sported the Birchall brothers and by 1938 Northwich Cricket Club were a good bet. 

Although George junior came from a distinguished line of wood workers, joiners & cabinet makers, like almost all of the Northwich boys at the time it was 'the family firm' of Brunner Mond & Co that offered the most lucrative employment and prospects in the early 1900s. The whole town, directly or indirectly, was employed by BM&Co. The hand made output of the traditional Cheshire craftsman had been usurped by the machines and contrivances of mass production in the factories. Brunner Mond were magnificent they mass produced soda ash from Northwich salt & Buxton limestone on a global scale.

George senior was somewhat chagrined but accepted the inevitable and wished both of his boys well as they entered into the comfortable embrace of the Northwich 'family firm' ... indeed he himself had become a craft supervisor at the Winnington Works ... to secure the family.

George Birchall was like his granddad Edward; hard working and conscientious, rather shy even timid but a craftsman ... although George worked with folk rather than wood. Honest as the day is long, he worked unobtrusively throughout his life to secure those elusive cooperative synergies involved in team work ... proud, but he went about his job and got results by keeping others sweet. George W would have wanted more ambition but granddad Edward understood, George was a chip off the old block!

George junior first moved through office jobs at local solicitors and then Parks Steelworks before inevitably he joined Brunner Mond & later ICI at Winnington and Walascote. During the war his work moved to the 'J M Plant' Northwich Works, manufacturing lead fuel additives, essential to the war effort and Spitfire performance. This job kept George from active service but encouraged a herculean effort in the 'Home Guard' and digging for Britain. George transferred to Associated Ethyl when the new company took over operations from ICI in 1947. George 'officially' transferred to Associated Ethyl Co Jan 1st 1948. 

Hard work and meticulous attention to detail ensured George progressed smoothly from Safety Officer to Labour, Safety & Welfare Officer to Personnel Manager (1950) to Labour Manager and then a prized place on, what was then the Octel 'Coordination Committee' (executive board) ... policy coordination for the six company locations; Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Halye, Amlwch, Bletchley and Berkley Square.

In 1934 George married blossoming Eda Hindley from Shutley and they purchase a brand new build house, just a mile down the road from Eda's home but actually 'next door' ... Burnside, Runcorn Road, Little Leigh where they settled down and produced four children ... Gillian Hindley (1936), John Peter (1939), George Richard (1943) and Kathryn Ann (1946). Money was tight but ICI was a 1st class employer and funds were supplemented by lecturing in office business, shorthand & typing at the local Technical College. The Littlewood's 'pools' Easier Six was also a source of much needed finance ... a 'win' provided the wherewithal to purchase a grand oak dining table on July 28th 1934 from J Hunter & Co Ltd, Manchester, solid 5ftx3ft @ £4-10-0. This superb sturdy construction was an important part of the action supporting our studies throughout 'O' and 'A' levels at school and September exams at University ... a remarkable cultural artifact which was still in fine shape as we laboured over our 'Autobiography of Beer Drinking' around 2010 ... rescued when The Briars was sold.

Perhaps George Birchall's greatest achievement was the meticulous education of his family ... but we would say that wouldn't we!

It was not luck! It was not easy! It was the accumulation of aeons of evolved culture; hard work, honesty and thrift.

We watched, listened and noted the peak of serious endeavour at The Associated Octel Company which came in 1972; George negotiated Productivity Agreements with Hugh Scanlon and the Union Barons. As we played cricket and drank beer, unwittingly we absorbed serious happenings. We learned about cricket, productivity and economic science early on when it seemed all around us were concerned with petty party politics or, at best, nominal wages. But it was the cooperative synergies of everyone ... suppliers, management and workers which delivered the increased in productivity which increased output, jobs and real wages for all. Companies like Octel survived, not luck, whatever they did it was 'working' otherwise bankruptcy loomed. The company helped to keep Spitfires in the air & Liberal Democracy on track during the Battle of Britain and later became a specialised chemical company when lethal lead was removed from petrol as technology solved problems. The company's expertise in the production of sodium metal and the extraction of bromine from sea water were valuable technologies. George was rewarded well for his hard work, honesty & thrift and he enthusiastically organised his 'Top Hat Scheme', a rainy day fund for the family ... he always toasted the family at every opportunity ... and we learned about productivity and compound interest.

George loved his cricket and his beer and will always be remembered for passing on the passion of the spirit of cricket ... and beer! ...  to both his sons; John P, a batsman and beer drinker & George Richard who also loved both sports ... and grandson Jonathan was an improvement on his dad with cricket at Ellesmere and beer at Mouldsworth ... George also, alas, smoked cigarettes; Capstan Navy Cut was his puff ... but he had the nous to stop in the 1950s when the clouds gathered as he wrestled with stress at work and 'anxiety neurosis' diagnosed by Dr E Gleave, Manchester in 1956. Was this the stress of promotion to the high flying Coordination Committee after being appointed Labour Manager on Jan 1st 1956? George was also awarded a new Ford Consul WMA 988 on Jan 12th which should have relieved the pain. This was at the time of the 'British Disease' and naive focus on 'something for nothing', 'them and us', 'restrictive practices', 'demarcation disputes' and violent emotional confrontations over fair shares of nominal income hand outs. The militant unions of Merseyside had already destroyed the great port of Liverpool and were intent on further scalps. The fraught industrial relations at five factory sites had taken its toll. Monday April 9th George cried off 'sick' on Dr Booth's orders ... and didn't go back to work until June 11th ... and then mornings only. Six months specialist treatment on BUPA with Dr Gleave finished on October 26th 1956.

George worked hard but also had his fun as Chairman of the Hockey Section of The Winnington Park Recreation Club for over 50 years, a contribution which was rewarded with life membership in 1980 ... he always encouraged the youngsters as The Northwich Chronicle reported ... the hockey club and the golf club at Walton and Sandiway were the foundation of a rewarding, although relatively short retirement from 65 to 78 ... 13 years.

Three ChildrenFrom 1934 when he married Eda, George kept a record of his life in his dairies ... a meticulous record ... if you can read his hand writing ... and some of it in 'shorthand'!

Jill had a go at transcribing and amongst the domestic accounts and cricket and hockey scores were some telling entries -

1934 - 5 April paid £1 for dinner service Albert Turner - 7 April another 2ft of land wanted for the wash house at Burnside - 9 April ICI shares 37/7p - 11 April electric lights etc estimate £13 - 13 April roof woodwork started - 26 April sent land conveyance back to Stelfox, asked for £100 from ICI Bank - chose grates to value of £27 at Moore & Brocks - 10 May paid out £86-5 for land - 11 May first coat of plaster on, good drying weather - 30 May completion due - 15 June red cement paths - 16 June 170 odd kiln blocks for terracing - 18 June painters in - 21 June started putting up fences - 29 June mangle £5 Mr Hindley paid this (changed his mind) - 20 June got the ring - 6 July furniture arrived - 11 June the day - 17 Oct night school 6.45-8.15 - Mr Storey informed me I was stopping at Wallescote & my maximum that had been fixed would be increased (£360) - 1936 - 20 June George V died - 8 Feb 8 points on Littlewoods won £102-1-0 - 13 March went for nurse at 10 o'clock - 14 March baby born 7 o'clock Dr Bennet attending - 30 March baby's food not suiting her - 7 April tried baby on Cow & Gate - 10 April Mrs Hindley went home been here since March 14th - 15 April packed up on Cow & Gate started on nurse Mckay's diet - 19 April Gillian weighed 7lbs 12oz - 21 April registered Gillian Hindley Birchall ... set some more peas - 31 May Gillian gained 3oz - 17 May Gillian dedicated (Baptist) - 21 June Gillian gained 10 oz best yet - 6 Aug Gillian's first tooth - 3 Sept Bill transferred to Glasgow - 16 Oct Hunter's for furniture £60 - 1 Nov Gillian crawled - 27 Dec Gillian 19lbs 3 ozs Hurrah! ...

... wot a wonderful record of ordinariness and respect ...       

... and at the end wot a life full of family, friends, fun and sport & beer ...

George died, with Eda at his side, on November 15th 1985. Frank Smith, his great mate from Octel, remembered. George's death certificate 1985, noted 'myocardial infarction'.

Bill Birchall (1905-73) in addition to playing sports and chasing girls, Bill was a robust & amiable Uncle, without children of his own he happily spent a lot of time with his young brother and family. He joined the embrace of the local firm Brunner Mond when he was 15 in 1920 and had a long & successful career in the ICI Distribution Department. He was based in Scotland for a time and in 1951 was in Mexico; W Birchall, c/o ICI (export) Ltd, 195 Xochicalo, Mexico City. Jobs in Northwich at Brunner Mond were not only available they were also rewarding, there was no pressure on Bill for further education nor a trade nevertheless the demands of ICI were high and everybody was required to be diligent, reliable, honest and professional; they had the high standards of a good employer. William Birchall did well and retired to fine life on the golf course at Alderley Edge and a home with Wyn at 101 Knutsford Road, Wilmslow. George & Ada

George William Birchall (1875-1960), my granddad and a craftsman extraordinaire.

George W was born in Wheelock in 1875 and Christened in Christ Church, Wheelock on December 24th 1876 at the same time as elder sister Eliza Ann (1874-) and younger brother John (1876-).

George William married lovely Ada Smallwood (1878-1939) in Northwich in 1898. Ada died at a young age of 51 in 1939. They had three children Winifred (1900-), Bill (1905-73) and youngest George (1907-85) ... and Annie born in 1901 died in 1902 and was buried in Middlewich ... we never knew.

The 1901 census confirmed the family at the Newton Brewery Inn, 68 Webbs Lane, Middlewich. My granddad was a publican ... as well as a joiner! No wonder the Birchalls enjoyed beer! And with them was a 14 year old servant girl Mary Ollier (1887-) daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth from Macclesfield see 1891 census in Macclesfield. George's brother Harry remarried to Elizabeth Ollier (1883-) in 1905 ... was Mary related? In the 1891 census Charles Ollier (-), Elizabeth's dad, was living at 141 Webbs Lane, Middlewich with the family; Henrietta 14 years, Ethel 13 years, Elizabeth 8 years, Blanche 3 years and 1 year old Thomas but no sign of a 4 year old Mary? 

In 1906 Kelly's Directory of Middlewich recorded George William Birchall at The Crown Inn, 22 Lewin Street, Middlewich and © Dave Roberts 2013 described the environs that infant George met on arrival and the developments during his life -

This astonishing aerial view of our town has been supplied by Dave Thompson of Middlewich Town Council with the information that it was taken in 1968.
So the first thing we have to do is correct the date, on the grounds that, as can be seen, Seddon's Salt Works in Pepper Street was still in operation at the time of the photograph, so the very latest the picture can be dated is 1967, which was the year that the Pepper Street works, along with the Brooks Lane and Wych House Lane works, closed.
This is just one of the aerial views which the council has let us borrow, and we'll be considering earlier and later ones in future Diary entries.
But, for now, let's concentrate on this one.
Of all the birds-eye views of Middlewich I've seen, this one is by far my favourite because it shows the town at the very end of what I like to call our Salt Town Days, just before the open-pan works closed and production was concentrated at the new British Salt Works in Booth Lane, built in 1969 and still going strong.
(In truth, our Salt Town Days, aren't really over, but the time when the works were a part of the fabric of the town are long gone.)
This is the town I and my contemporaries grew up in.
A dirty, grimy, workaday town with no pretensions to be anything else.
It was in 1967 that the terminally snooty Cheshire Life magazine published a very patronising and sneery article about Middlewich, wondering where all the up-market antique shops, bistros and posh clothes shops their readers would expect in a Cheshire town were, for all the world as if we'd been offered these things and turned them down in favour of dirty, smoky factories.
It didn't go down well.
In the 1980s, in my capacity of editor of the Heritage Society's Newsletter I took a look back at this notorious article and marveled at the writer's apparent inability to grasp the concept of a town which worked for its living.
Middlewich has featured in the Cheshire Life a few more times since the 1960s, and our progress from slatternly working class manufacturing town to bustling, lively 'town of festivals' can be charted by reading some of those articles.
The Church of St Michael & All Angels, dominates the sixties scene, as it has always done and still does today.
At this time the Churchyard had not been tidied up and the gravestones which now form pathways around the building are still in their original places.
To the right of the Church is the old Town Hall which, along with adjacent buildings, was demolished in the early 1970s to make way for first the nightmarish 'piazza' and then the much more stylish and attractive 'amphitheatre'.
To the right of the church, and just across Lower Street (now absorbed into St Michael's Way) sprawls Seddon's Pepper Street works. Clouds of white steam from the salt pans show that the works is still in operation.
There has long been speculation as to why the salt works should be in Pepper Street. The general consensus is that when the Council came to name the road they were in 'playful mood', which is as good an explanation as any.
'The Moorings' now occupies most of this site.
Across the Trent & Mersey canal is Middlewich gas works. The two round structures are the main and subsidiary gas-holders, still containing coal gas in those pre-North Sea Gas days.
The pipe bridge taking the gas supply into Middlewich can be seen crossing the canal.
Below the Church in the photograph is Middlewich Town Wharf, still awaiting its rebirth as 'the Gateway to Middlewich', but in those days witnessing the last days of commercial canal traffic and the first glimmerings of the tourist trade which, among other things, has helped put Middlewich back on the map.
To the left of the wharf are those huge buildings in Lewin Street, the Church of England Infants School and the Wesleyan Chapel.
Across Lewin Street from the Chapel is a building we haven't looked at yet - the Centenary Sunday School, by this time in use as the local Valuation Office. Middlewich Library now occupies the site.
Below the vast bulk of the Wesleyan Chapel can be seen part of Seddon's Wych House Lane Salt Works and, to its left the old Seddon's wagon repair shop, with its ramshackle collection of sheds and workshops incorporating Middlewich's first Catholic Church and School.
Moving upwards, just above the Sunday School is the Victorian police-station in Queen Street, now replaced by a small box-like brick building.
Above this, on the extreme left of the picture we can just see part of the bowling green at Fountain Fields.
Above that is the present site of Tesco's main Middlewich store, and above that the wooded area is the land between Southway and Darlington Street which Tesco bought up as part of their now-abandoned expansion plans.
Also notable is the Town Bridge which looks in this picture like some kind of motorway flyover, flung across the Trent & Mersey on a huge concrete raft.
It must have looked very strange indeed in 1931 when it was first built, replacing the original little bridge which had been there since the late 18th Century.
To make the picture easier to understand, here it is again with a key and explanatory notes:
1: St Michael & All Angels Church
2: The Churchyard before alteration. Part of the Churchyard was removed in 1931 to widen Lower Street when the new Town Bridge was built.
3: Middlewich Town Hall. In the same way, one end of the Town Hall was demolished to make room for a wider Lower Street.
4: Seddon's Salt Works in Pepper Street
5: Middlewich Gas Works. Originally built by the Middlewich Gas Light and Coke Company. Most of the original works had gone by this time, but the two gas-holders were still in use.
6: The gas-pipe bridge which carried gas from the works into Middlewich. The offices of the North-Western Gas Board were in Lower Street close to the salt works yard.
7: The Town Wharf with its large warehouse building, wharfinger's cottage and wash-house for the boaties. Fronting onto Leadsmithy Street above are the public conveniences, built on stilts to bring them up to road level, which Cheshire East are currently (May 2013) trying to close.
UPDATE: This Middlewich Guardian item sheds more light on the Town Wharf and Public Conveniences issue
8: The Talbot Hotel in Kinderton Street. Behind the pub, and running at right angles to the main road, is a small terrace of cottages called Flag Alley.
9: The Town Bridge. Built by Cheshire County Council in 1931.
10: The CofE Infants School. The land occupied by this building, the Wesleyan Chapel (11) and Seddon's Salt Works and workshops (13,14) are now the site of the Salinae Centre and associated lawns and gardens.
11: The Wesleyan Chapel.
12: The Centenary Sunday School (Valuation Office). The library stands on this site now. To the left of this enormous building is a long, low building. This was the Conservative Club. The access road to the car park behind the library now occupies the site.
13: Seddon's Wych House Lane Salt Works.
14: The first Catholic Church and School, incorporated into Seddon's Workshops.
15: The Police Station in Queen Street.
16: Fountain Fields bowling green
17: Site of Tesco store in Southway.
18: Land between Southway and Darlington Street, home to several beautiful houses, including Barclay House. Now gone to rack and ruin. The future of this site is uncertain.
19: Webb's Lane - a continuation then, as now, of Pepper Street.
20: St Ann's Road.
21: The White Bear in Wheelock Street.
22: Pepper Street. Now just a short row of houses (where our '22' is) but once linking Webb's Lane with the town centre. The large building at the end of the terrace is Seddon's offices.
23: Seabank car park.
So that was Middlewich in the 1960s.
As those days recede further and further in time, it gets harder and harder to believe that our town once looked like this.
It's fascinating to look back on the way Middlewich used to be, but this is the grim reality of that 'lovely little town' which everyone thinks they can remember.
Once the works were closed and demolition started in earnest, poor old Middlewich was a sorry sight indeed to behold.
Truly the past is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.

In 1972 down the street towards the church we see The Crown, part of Greenall Whitley Land.
In 2012 Dave Roberts remembered that in 1987 the shop was still a chemist, one of two Rowlands Pharmacy branches in the town, and also the Middlewich Post Office. Next comes the pub originally known as The Crown and now named The Narrowboat. At the time of our photograph it was called The Danes as can be seen from the sign over the door. The Danes boasted a specially made carpet woven with representations of the real Great Danes which were on the premises. The pub at this time was very long and thin, making full use of the former outbuildings and well-known as a 'disco pub' with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. For Sale sign can be seen underneath the pub sign. Was this the beginning of the end for The Danes? Certainly The Narrowboat was in existence in the early years of the Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival which started in 1990.

So George was sired in the heart of salt country by a publican from a family of woodworkers & mill workers. Middlewich was steeped in salt & canals and interesting history. The Crown Hotel was just opposite to Whych House Lane and Seddon's Salt Works on the canal ... we remember as four year olds that Reg Seddon played hockey with George at Winnington Park ... we remember Reg carefully 'looked' after us one Saturday after noon when we were dispatched from Burnside to give Mama space for the birth of George Richard ... or was it as a seven year old for the birth of Kathryn Ann?    

Henry Seddon (1853-) born in Penistone, Yorkshire. In 1891 census Henry was married to Emmie (1854-), Salt Manufacturer, living at Chadwick Fields, Boot Lane, Newton with children Nellie (1882-), Roland (1884-) and Frank (1887-).

In 1901 census Henry was a Salt Proprietor, Ship Owner and Brick Manufacturer living at Chadwick Fields, Warmington Lane, Middlewich with Emmie and children Nellie (1882-), Roland (1884-), Overlooker (Salt Works), and Nora (1896-) plus servant.

In 1910 when young George was 3 years 3 months they had just left a newsagents business  at 438 Gorton Road, Reddish. The reverse of a photograph of young George told a story of a sojourn in Stockport? Was this part of a search for more lucrative employment? ... mother-in-law Isabella Smallwood had remarried to William Jones 'mein host' at the Old King's Head, Lower Bridge Street, Chester.

The 1911 census saw the family at 36 Water Street, Northwich ... down by the Dane, just before the Weaver confluence, and just opposite the ancient brine pit which was probably worked by the Romans. George W, was a joiner with Brunner Mond, born in Wheelock and Ada & the three children born in Middlewich .. at the pub. By 1911 George W was under pressure he had three children to support and his well paid craftsman job at Brunner Mond had many advantages over the less reliable income from the pub in Middlewich ... not to mention the unsocial hours and drunken loafs ... no place to bring up kids ... and the Newsagents in Reddish was not the answer?

Practicing a trade at BM&Co was the tops and the family later moved to palatial surroundings at 19 Manora Road and then 'Sherlowe' in Witton Park, Northwich.

Ada SmallwoodEnter the Halls and Ostlers & Stone Masons        

When George William Birchall (1875-1960) married gorgeous Ada Smallwood (1878-1939) in 1898 some potent genes were introduced into our clan.

Ada's dad, my great granddad was Henry Smallwood (1853-94) was born 31 March 1853, son of Joseph & Elizabeth, and baptised 19 March 1856 Middlewich at the age of 3. In 1877 Henry Smallwood married Isabella Hall (1856-) in Northwich. 

Isabella was baptised 9 Nov 1856 Parochial Chapelry of Macclesfield, daughter of John Hall (1818-) & Mary Jones (1830-91) father John was a painter? Elder brother William Stanley Hall (1855-) was baptised 15 April 1855,  Parochial Chapelry of Macclesfield, son of John & Mary, father John was a Servant?

So who was John Hall Isabella's dad?

John Hall (1818-) baptised 11 Oct 1818 Macclesfield, son of Stanley & Hannah married 'under age' Elizabeth Brown (1824-) 17 August 1841 Bakewell Derbyshire. John was a Painter, both Bride & groom were living in Baslow, Derbyshire at the bottom of the Hope Valley. Elizabeth's dad John Brown (1801-) was a Blacksmith. Father Stanley Hall was a Postillion.

Elizabeth Brown (1824-) baptised 9 May 1824 Baslow, daughter of John & Jane. In 1841 census Elizabeth Brown (1826?-) aged 15 was in Baslow with a birth estimate of 1822-6. Father John Brown (1801-) aged 40 with Jane Brown (1791-) aged 50 ?? and Thomas Brown (1831-) aged 10 and Mary Brown (1833-) aged 8. All born in Derbyshire except John. In 1851 census John Brown (1801-) aged 54, Gardener, born in Pendleton, Lancs, with wife Jane Brown (1791-) aged 61 from Hope, Derbyshire and Thomas (1831-) aged 20 were still in Baslow at no 76. Blacksmith John Brown was AWOL? Jane died in Baslow aged 79 in 1870.

   In the 1851 census John Hall (1818-) aged 33 Painter, John was living at 1 Brunswick Street, Parocial Chapelry of Macclesfield, with wife Elizabeth Brown (1820-) aged 31 born in Curbar, Derbyshire, at the bottom of the Hope Valley?
With them were daughters Mary Ann Hall (1846-) aged 5 born 1847 Macclesfield, Jane Hall (1849-) named after her maternal grandma, aged 2 baptised 17 Sept 1848 Parochial Chapel of Macclesfield, canfirmed father John was a Painter married to Elizabeth. Elizabeth Hall (1820-51) died 18 December 1851, Macclesfield, aged 32.

Stanley Hall (1785-1867) baptised 12 June 1785 Castleton, son of John & Mary, married Hannah Burgess (1796-) 23 Dec 1817 in Castleton, Derbyshire, at the top of the Hope Valley? Witness Stanley's elder brother James Hall (1797-) baptised 19 March 1797 Castleton, son of John & Mary. The other witness was John Macneilson????
Hannah Burgess (1796-) was baptised 27 Oct 1796 Alton, Staffordshire, daughter of John & Mary

In 1841 census the Stanley Hall family had moved to Macclesfield. Stanley (1794-) aged 47. Hannah (1801-) aged 40. No sign of 23 year old John?

In 1851 census Stanley was grandly titled Ostler!

In 1861 census father Stanley Hall (1787-1867) aged 74 Coachman born in Castleton. Wife Hannah (1802-) aged 59 born in Farley, Staffordshire. Son Stanley (1826-) aged 35 also a Coachman and daughter Mary Ellen (1831-) aged 30 Silk Weaver were both born in Macclesfield. Mary Ellen married Henry Wheeldon (1825-72) 21 Dec 1852 Prestbury.

John Hall (1818-59) baptised 11 Oct 1818 Macclesfield, son of Stanley & Hannah.

John Hall (1818-59) died 10 Oct 1859 Macclesfield aged 41.

Good John Hall (1818-59) seems good, everything fits.  ... but Isabella's mum was Mary?

So who was Mary Jones Isabella's mum?

Recap ... seems like 32 year old Elizabeth Hall (née Brown) (1820-51) died between 1851 census when John Hall the Painter was with Elizabeth and 1852 when John Hall (1818-59) married Mary Jones (1830-91)? Seems like John Hall (1818-59) died between 1851 census when John the Painter was with Elizabeth and 1856 when Isabella was born and 1861 census when 34 year old Mary Hall (née Jones) (1830-91) was a widow living with son William Stanley and daughter Isaballa (and step daughters Mary Ann and Jane)?
Mary was Isabella's mum, my g-g-grandma. Mary tragically lost her husband John Hall (1818-59) in 1859 ... married to John for only 7 years, Isabella was a very young 3 yer old. Mary Hall coped well with this tragedy ... resilient and resourceful.   

So who was Mary Jones Isabella's mum?

John Hall (1818-59) married Mary Jones (1830-91) 28 Dec 1852 Prestbury, widower John aged 32 Coachman his dad Stanley an Ostler.
 Mary Jones (1830-91), aged 25 spinster living in Macclesfield, her father William Jones (-) was a Stone Mason. Witnesses were Mary Ellen Wheeldon and John's younger brother James Hall (1822-) baptised 29 December 1822 Parochial Chapelry of Macclesfield, son of Stanley, a Postillion, & Hannah.

The 1861 census identified widowed Mary Hall (1830-91) 34 years old Seamstress from Ruyton, Shropshire and family living at 111 Brook Street, Macclesfield - Mary Ann Hall (1847-) aged 14, Jane Hall (1849-) aged 12 (looks like Mary Ann and Jane were step daughters of John & Elizabeth) and son William Stanley (1855-) aged 6, named 'Stanley' after his granddad & daughter Isabella (1856-) aged 4 named after her grandma ... all born in Macclesfield.  

Ruyton - XI - Towns, formally Ruyton of the Eleven Towns or simply Ruyton, a large village and civil parish next to the River Perry in Shropshire. The village acquired its unusual name in the twelfth century when a castle was built, and it became the major manor of eleven local townships. The Roman numeral for eleven is included in its name.

Mary Jones (1830-91) baptised 18 April 1830 Ruyton - XI Towns, Oswestry, Shropshire, daughter of William Jones (-) & Isabella (-) ... looks like Mary often had trouble remembering her age ... ?

Wot of Mary's dad William? When Mary Jones married in 1852 in Prestbury, Macclesfield dod William Jones was a Stone Mason ... but was he alive or dead?  

William Jones (1789-1834) baptised 1 Feb 1789 Ruyton-XI-Towns, son of John Jones (-) and Mary (-). William married Isabella Braddock (-) 1 Feb 1819 Ruyton-XI-Towns, Oswestry, spinster of this parish. Witnesses were James Benyett? and Elizabeth Braddock & Henry Braddock Clark. Henry Braddocks (1805-) was baptised 26 December 1805 Ruyton-XI-Towns son of Henry & Elizabeth. In the 1851 census Henry was identified as an ordinary Ag Lab from Ruyton ... who married Mary Edwards in 1829 and married late in life as a Widower in 1864 ... good for him ... Henry died in Ruyton in 1875 aged 70 ... Isabella's young brother?
(William & Jones were very very common names, William Jones son of William & Mary was baptised 11 March 1787 in Ruyton !! Confusing!!) 

1841 census Mary Jones (1830-91) was 10 years old with mum Isabel (1800-) aged 40 and sister Jane (1833-) aged 7 living at Ruyton.
Important for our research Isabella Jones (née Braddock) was a Widow in 1841.
Mary's sister Jane Jones (1833-) baptised 5 June 1833, daughter of William and Isabella ... William a Labourer.
William Jones died between 1833-41 ...yes burial 29 December 1834 Ruyton aged only 38 ... making a birth date 1796? ... poor Mary lost her dad when she was only 4 yearas old.     

1851 census Mary Jones was 22 born 1832 in Ruyton ... still unmarried ... but on a mission on the West Side of the Perochial Chaplery of Macclesfield ... 49 Jordangate Street at The Hotel Jordangate or Hotel Comberbach ... mein host was Robert Comberbach (1812-) 39 years old Hotel Keeper from Ruyton of 11 Towns ... and wife Elizabeth (1812-) 39 years old from Warwickshire.

The guests at the hotel confirm how the silk industry an the mills of East Cheshire and Macclesfield acted as a magnet for the new Middle Class ,,, the world and the wife were at Hotel Comberbach - 
In 1861 Robert Comberbach was thriving in the hotel business now at 196 Jordangate; The Macclesfield Arms with guests as Commercial Travellers in Spirits, Wine and Cutlery ... younger brother 43 year old Thomas Comerbach (1818-) Hotel Keeper had joined the business.

Elder brother Francis Jones (1822-)  baptised 12 Sept 1822 Ruyton, son of Wiliam and Isabella ... William was a Labourer. Froncis aged 20 married Elizabeth Harper (1821-) 16 Feb 1843 Kinnerley aged 21. Elizabeth was born in Kinnerley, Oswestry. Father William Jones was a Stone Mason. Father John Harper was a Labourer.
In 1851 census identified Francis Jones aged 27. Francis followed his dad as a Journeyman Stone Mason. In 1851 Elizabeth was aged 27 And son William (1845-) aged 6 born in Ruyton, named after granddad. 

1861 census Francis Jones (1822-) 38 year old Stone Mason at 44 Ruyton with Elizabeth also 38 with son George (1851-) aged 10 and daughter Jane (1856-) aged 5.

Looks like William Jones was a Stone Mason only in his imagination? But son Francis fulfilled his potential.

There was another William Jones who was a Stone Mason around Ruyton ... who perhaps fired ambitions ...  The Story of Llanymynech was a good read and there was interesting work around Oswestry in the 1800s ... 1851 census named a William Jones (1804-) 47 years old Rock Labourer, Widower, born in Kinnerly, living alone at 29 Cottage, Llwyntidman, Oswestry. Kinnerley was 4.5 miles from Ruyton. Llwyntidman on River Vernwy between Llanymynech & Maesbrook.
We wonder if our Mary Jones was descended from this august family?

Wotever Mary stuck at it and made a bean or two taking in washing and sending her two eldest daughters out to work in the silk mills, as Silk End Minders. But she also found an exceptional man to help with the family.    

In 1868 Mary Hall (née Jones) married again 6 May 1868 Macclesfield, this time to James Fletcher (1832-1908), a local man born in Runcorn, who hit the big time cutting fustian.

In the 1871 census the new family continued to live in Brook Street, Macclesfield at No 108 -  James Fletcher (1832-) 39, Fustian Cutter born in Runcorn, Mary (1827-91) his wife 39 (born 1832, did Mary change her age to match er new young husband?) born in Ryton Shropshire, William Hall (1855-) 16, Isabella Hall (1857-) 14. Ann (1869-) 1 year and Ellen (1870-) 7 months. All the children born in Macclesfield.

1881 census was revealing. James Fletcher (1832-1908) 49 years old, born in Runcorn, Master Fustian Cutter employing 32 hands, Mary Hall (née Jones) (1827-91) his wife, 49 years old (born 1832?) born in Ruyton (Runton), Shropshire. With young William Stanley (-) stepson 25 years old, born in Macclesfield, as his Fustian Cutter Manager. Duaghters Anne (1869-) 11 years old and Ellen (1870-) 10 years old, both born in Macclesfield, were at school.

The 1881 census showed younger brother John Fletcher (-) and wife Sarah also residing on Lewin Street, Middlewich, Cheshire, next door to James Fletcher’s family who were all in the fustian cutting business, John, as James, was listed as Master Fustian Cutter.

John Fletcher (1836-1901) was living next door at 112 Lewin Street. John, son of James Fletcher (1796-1852) 44 years old, born in Thornham, Lancashire. Wife 31 year old Sarah Dewhurst (1848-) born in Cltheroe, Yorkshire, married 25 September 1870 at St Mary's Oldham, the daughter of David a wheelwright. John was James' younger brother & partner.

Next door but one at 114 Lewin Street was 28 year old Henry Smallwood (-) Master Bricklayer employing 3 men from Middlewich and 23 year old wife wife Isabella Hall (-) born in Macclesfield with 2 year old daughter Ada Smallwood (-) ... my gran!

And to complete the picture next door at 115 Lewin Street were more Smallwoods - Elizabeth Smallwood (-) 58 year old widow with sons William (-) aged 22 and Richard (-) aged 21 both were Bricklayers all born in Middlewich.

And at 116 Lewin Street was James Smallwood (-) Bricklayer living with his 77 year old mother in law Ann Sweatman (-) with her 22 yeard old granddaughter Lydia Smallwood (1859-) and 1 year old grandson Christopher Thomas Smallwood (1880-)                      

The Fletchers thrived as James became a 'Master Fustian Cutter' in Lewin Street, Middlewich and installed his step son William Stanley as his manager.

In 1991 census Mary Fletcher née Jones (1827-91) (this time born Ryton in 1831) with husband James Fletcher (1832-1908) were at 131 Lewin Street with them was step son William and unmarried Ann and Ellen. Next door was Isabella with Builder Henry Smallwood.  

In 1901 census William Stanley Hall (1855-) Foreman Fustian Cutter, was living with 70 year old James Fletcher (1832-) employer Fustian Cutter and 28 year old Ellen (1870-) Housekeeper.

In 1911 census William Stanley Hall (1855-) 54 was still single living in Sutton Lane, Middlewich with unmarried step sisters Ann (1869-) 41 and Ellen (1870-) 40.

Mary Fletcher née Hall née Jones (1827-91) died in Northwich in 1891.

Meanwhile 21 year old Isabella left home and married Henry Smallwood (1853-94) in 1877 at a civil marriage in Northwich.

The SmallwoodsEnter the Smallwoods  

In 1877 Henry Smallwood married Isabella Hall (1856-) in Northwich. 

Henry Smallwood (1853-94) born 1853 in Middlewich, son of Joseph Smallwood (1821-75) and Elizabeth Proudman (1822-94).

In 1881 the Henry & Isabella were at Lewin Street, Middlewich with 2 year old Ada. Henry was a bricklayer employing 3 men.

In 1891 census they were at 132 Lewin Street, Henry 38 years old and Isabella 32 but by this time 12 year old Ada had a 7 year old brother, Stanley, and dad was now impressively described as a builder ... Henry born in Middlewich, Isabella, Ada & Stanley born in Macclesfield.

Interestingly they were living next door at 131 Lewin Street, Middlewich to James Fletcher (1832-), 60 year old Fustian Cutter born in Runcorn and Isabella's mum Mary (1832-), 60 year old born in Ruyton, Shropshire. With them were William Hall (1855-) 36 year old stepson, Journeyman Fustian Cutter, and daughters Ann (1870-) 21 also a Fustian Cutter and Ellen (1871-) 20 Domestic Serrvant, all born in Macclesfield.   

Stanley Smallwood (1884-), Ada's brother, born 13 June 1884 in Middlewich,       married Edith Goodwin (-)     

... at 15 years of age abandoned home & country and sailed from Liverpool on the SS Laurentian on the 22nd of June 1899 bound for Montreal, Canada ... we didn't hear much about 'Uncle Stanley' ... until we heard from VSS.
Stanley joined the Royal Navy 1902 and left on 13/06/08 as ‘service no longer required’ naval record states ‘for bad record keeping having been given a chance of reform in Sept 07’. Record has an amendment on it that reads ‘Re-entered (RN) 19th June 1940’, This is corroborated by a family picture which shows Stanley Smallwood seated in a Naval uniform with HMS Vernon on the band. Vernon was and is a training centre.

Together with him in the photograph are -
Edith Goodwin 25/09/09
eldest son Victor Stanley Smallwood (my father)
Youngest son Raymond Smallwood, who died at the age of 7 in July -August 1940.
Myra Smallwood - for whom I cannot get any information !!
Kathleen Smallwood 14/4/1934 - 2/1991.
The people missing from the picture but who where also children of Stanley and Edith were -
Barbara Smallwood DOB 1923. Married Michael Smith in 1948
Bridie, believed the second oldest, no record of yet.
Stanley Smallwood served in WW1 and in the Navy in WWII. He was a Prisoner of war for a time, having failed to get out of Singapore fast enough!
Kind regards Victor S Smallwood.

Henry died in Middlewich in 1894 at a young 41, Isabella was a widow at 35 or so, a repeat of her mother's experience of losing a loving husband early in life, leaving her alone with children to support ... and resourcefully, just like mum, she remarried.

Grandfather ClockIn 1899 Isabella married William Jones (-1910) at St Oswald's, Chester, the publican at The Old King's Head, Lower Bridge Street. And as The Old King's Head was in the 1860s. Isabella did well, The Old King's Head enjoyed an ancient reputation for hospitality and good ale and when William died in 1910, still relatively young at 55, resourceful Isabella took over the running of the business ... we heard a lot about 'grandma Jones' ...

Isabella died in 19?? and is always remembered for her old grandfather clock which was bequeathed to the eldest son of the eldest son of future Birchalls. There was also a mantle clock which always resided in the hall at Sherlowe and was rescued and professionally restored at vast expense by 'Uncle Bill'. Must find out more about this clock - Serial No. 829 - inscribed J R 5/04 and w j a 17-9-97 ... ?? -

Gardiner Houlgate - The Specialist Auctioneers - Lot 1332 - say $1,800 - English mahogany triple fusee boardroom bracket clock, the substantial movement playing on a nest of eight bells, chiming on four gongs and striking on another, the 7.5" brass arched dial with silvered chapter ring enclosing a matted centre and with strike/silent, fast/slow and chime on eight bells/Westminster chime subsidiary dials to the arch, within a stepped case with applied gilt metal mounts, surmounted by a caddy top and five pineapple finials, 28.5" high (pendulum and winding keys)'

Bill, without children of his own, generously ensured this family trinket ended up in safe hands by giving it to me!? The history and value of this trinket was still an outstanding research task ... but nobody was holding their breath.

... also the Harvesters - 'Hi Houdebrine Bronzier - Jean Jules Bernard Salmson (1822-1902) - Sculp 1862' Say $1,000 ... which we used for years as a door stop? 

... and also four magnificent pocket watches yet to be investigated ... especially a real beauty ... ?

On the face 'Hargreaves & Co, Liverpool Makers to the Queen & HRH The Prince of Wales' - inside 'J M & Co' and hall marked '18' 'A' 'three sheaves' 'crown' - with key for 'set hands' and 'winding' - inside inside 'J M & Co' and hall marked '18' 'A' 'crown' '48630' - on the mechanism 'J Hargreaves & Co, Liverpool No 48630 - Makers to the Queen & HRH The Prince of Wales'

See 12 Jan 2020 Lot 425, £1,000 ... 18 ct 1884 with key & original box sold by J W Benson Ltd Watmakers & Jewellers, 25 Old Bond St, London W1, Original Firm  Estd 1749 ... just sayin'

Eda always said there was an old 'priests chair' around somewhere that was originally at The Old King's Head ...

George W made his presence felt at The Briars and at The Meister long after his mortal coils had expired ... his craftsmanship lived on with robust and elegant wooden furniture ... a small stool ... an elegant side table ... & a fine piano stool ... treasures! 

Mystery TelescopeThere was also a mystery ... an ancient telescope? ... 'A franks, Optician, Southport & Manchester' ... being researched by Daniel Whelan?

A. Franks Ltd was an Optician and Instrument Maker (1879 - 1950). Founded in the latter part of the 19th century by Louis Aubrey Franks (b.1854), they traded originally as 'L A Franks' from 95 Deansgate and later 2-4 King Street, Manchester. Listed as a manufacturer of photographic apparatus, optician and scientific instrument maker. Following a bankruptcy in 1879, a new firm was formed soon after, an optician trading as A Franks. Another partnership between Aubrey and Benjamin Franks was also dissolved in 1897. A Franks would continue to trade until 1950 from various addresses including 2 King Street, 44 Market Street and branches in the 1920s at 73 Oxford Street, 44 Market Street, 12 Victoria Street, 3 South King Street and 20 Bradshaw Gate.
Aubrey Franks set up his business as an optician and fine art dealer in King Street in about 1878. For several years, the specialty of the business was spectacles, but Aubrey soon began to make and sell other optical instruments, such as microscopes, telescopes and magic lanterns. In about 1881, the company acquired additional premises which gave it a commanding position at the corner of King Street and Deansgate. Seven years later, Aubrey took over his father Joseph's business on Market Street. Aubrey's business prospered and, by the 1890s, sold all kinds of optical and mathematical instruments, photographic and electrical equipment. One of his products, the Presto camera, was a very simple, fairly cheap camera, which was quite successful: Aubrey had sold more than 28,000 in 10 years, some of which were sold in Europe. In 1897, the firm gave the first demonstration of Edison's cinematograph in the north of England. In about 1917, the business was taken over by Aubrey's son-in-law, Maurice Saffer, who kept the company's name, A Franks Ltd He was an astute and enterprising businessman who expanded the business considerably. Under his management, Franks Ltd became the first firm to bring radio and television to the Manchester area. During the 1920s, the firm's main premises remained at King Street/Deansgate, but there were also branches on Oxford Street, Victoria Street and Market Street, a wholesale department on South King Street and a branch at Bradshaw Gate in Bolton. The Victoria Street branch had been taken over from the optician Aaron Aronsberg.
In 1927, Manchester's first television picture was received ‘by wireless’ at the Market Street shop. Three years later, televisions were being offered for sale at Market Street and Deansgate. At the time, a television set cost twenty-five guineas. The firm continued to prosper and was managed by Maurice Saffer until his death in 1947. As he had no children, his secretary managed the business for three years and then sold it to the opticians Dollond & Aitchison in 1950.

Winifred BirchallWinifred Birchall (1899-), our aunt and George W's eldest born April 30th 1899 was admitted to Danebridge Church of England Primary School on March 20th 1911 after the family had moved to 36 Water Street ... previously at School in Chester? Winifred was a Needlework star at school in Middlewich Council School in 1910? Perhaps Winnie stayed in Chester with grandma Isabella during the move from Middlewich to Northwich in 1910?

Winifred married John William 'Bill' Peacock at St Helen's, Witton, Northwich in 1926. Winifred, Shorthand Typist, was living at 36 Water Street, Northwich when she married Bill who was a chemical Tester before hard work and diligence secured his job as a Laboratory Manager at ICI Winnington. We remembered him well as a grand old Witton Albion supporter ... the opposition ... we were all for Northwich Victoria FC at The Drill Field ... but we had fun with Uncle Bill.

1939 register identified the family at 62 East Avenue, Rudheath ... Bill 'Laboratory Assistant (skilled) Chemical Works' with Winifred and cousin Jean still at school.

Winifred & Bill went on to live with George W & Ada at 'Sherlowe', 79 Carlton Road, Witton Park. Clearly seen in the photo was the hut which George W used as his carpenters workshop. We remember the delicious aroma of freshly sawn wood and the happy hours 'Pops' spent there fabricating solid wooden furniture which were still around the Birchall house two generations later ... stools, tables & desks ... and one exquisite construction, the Byron Cabinet ... always called  the 'Byron Cabinet' because it housed two Birchall treasures -

Works of Byron, an award to George William for proficiency in wood working from The Middlewich Technical College and

wood carving, framed by the cabinet door, this craftsmanship was George William's 'test piece' during his cabinet making apprenticeship. 

Winifred & Bill Peacock had a daughter, our one and only cousin; Jean.

David BirchAt SherloweJean Peacock (1926-2006), was our one and only cousin, born in 1926.  As our 'one and only' perhaps Jean deserves a special page of her own?

David Birch Brandon (1948-2018), Jean's first born, and his wife Lynda, have sketched out the eventful and happy life of our cousin Jean ... thanks!

Jean first married Herbert Richard 'Ricky' Birch (1923-51), an RAF fighter pilot who was tragically killed in a 'Mosquito' accident, they had the one son David Birch (1948-2018).

Jean second married Squadron Leader Lewis Brandon (1911-2002) DSO, DFC & bar, an RAF navigator who wrote about his exploits in his book 'Night Flyer'.

Jean & Lew had a daughter Felicity Ann Brandon (1954-).

We remember Jean with locks & locks of auburn hair and always smiling. 

We remember David as an enthusiastic youngster who regularly visited Great Aunt Eda at The Briars and loved to play with our Hornby Dublo model railway. Much more exciting than listening to 'the wrinklies' indulging themselves with boring family gossip.   


In 1939 George William and Ada were living at 79 Carlton Road, Northwich. 'Pops' was an ARP Warden and working on school maintenance.

As a lay helper at St Helen's, Witton, George W was asked to apply some of his expert wood carving skills to renovate the choir screen in the church ... a job he was very proud to have completed around 1955 ... we also remember the pride on his face when he surveyed our own construction work on a model aircraft around the same time ... our effort was a balsa wood 2' wing span 0.75cc diesel powered plane named Madcap ... detailed plans purged from our monthly copy of 'Aeromodeler' ... it flew well, in our mind's eye we can still see the maiden flight in the garden at 'Lambay', the home of Michael Clifford ... but we also constructed a more sophisticated piece, a canoe, or kayak from 'Tyne Folding Boats' with ash spars and a rubberised canvas covering ... Granddad was appropriately gruntled ... not only did we wield screw drivers and saws but we also kept meticulous accounts of expenditures! And it was granddad who fabricated the wooden frame for my Hornby 00 model railway ... 'The Duchess of Athol' was a reward for passing the entrance exam to the King's School, Chester in 1951 ... developing the track layout remained a passion for years and it survived, carefully preserved for grandchildren ... only to fail miserably to compete with skiing, iPads and PlayStations.

Ada died in December 1939 and was buried on Jan 1st 1940 ... we had barely opened our eyes ...

George William died in 1960 at Cranford Lodge at a grand old age of 85. He was buried at St Helens, Witton. George William seemed to keep going till the end, but latterly he suffered terribly from arthritis and took time to get his legs going with massage & stamping ... at the end the old legs just 'locked up' completely as he retired bed bound. Wyn told us there were tears towards the end, George William loved life. Probate effects £3,850 5s!

Edward 1854Edward Birchall (1854-1903), our great grandfather, was born in Sandbach, Cheshire. He married Mary Ann Knapper (1852-1928) in 1873 at Christ Church, Wheelock, Sandbach, Congleton, the daughter of Daniel Knapper (1826-92), Forge Man, and Eliza Jenkins (1828-95). The witnesses were Mary Ann's brother George Knapper (1854-1922)? and Sarah Baker? 

1871 census the family were in Wheelock, 18 year old Mary Ann, Silk Winder, born in Kidsgrove in 1853. Father Daniel (1827-92) was 44 also born in Kidsgrove. Mother Eliza Jenkins (1828-95) was 43 and born in Tipton. Brother George (1854-1922) was 17 born in Sedgley and sister Elizabeth (-) was 17 and also born in Sedgley.

Edward died in 1903 ... probate ... only 48 years old.

The Knappers introduced some powerful German genes into the mix and were an interesting family, and like the Fletchers they were into fustian cutting ...

We should know more about the History of Wheelock ... fascinating ...

Edward & Mary Ann had eleven children ... at the last count! 

Eliza Ann (1874-1901) baptised 24 Dec 1876 Wheelock (1656758)  
married Albert Edward Webster (1873-) 7 April 1896 Lancaster ... banns ... 23 year old Albert a Railway Coach Builder. His dad Richard Henry Webster (-) was a House Painter. Edward was there the proud father a Joiner & Cabinet Maker! Witnesses were Frederick Charles Bates and Mary Ward Dounham.
died 1901 Northwich ... a young 27 year old ... just after child birth? 

Children -

-- Phyllis Annie Webster (1897-) born in Lancaster

-- Albert Edward Webster (1898-) born in York

-- Ada B Webster (1900-01) born Acomb & died in Northwich ... looks like mother and baby were lost ...

NB in the records of Baptisms at Christ Church, Wheelock from 1873 on page 14 was a triple event on Christmas Eve 1876 ...  proud parents Edward & Mary Ann did the thing for their first three children at one go!

1881 census Eliza Ann Birchall was staying with grandmother widow Ann Henshaw in Wheelock. After the tragic early loss of her husband, Edward's dad William Birchall (1831-60), Ann Birchall neé Threadgold married Ralph Henshall 31 Dec 1867 Barthomley.

1891 census Eliza Ann was a 17 year old Silk Hand living with mum & dad at 195 Wheelock. Our granddad George was a 16 year old Post Boy!

1901 census the Webster family were living at Acomb, York Albert born in Cardiff & Eliza Ann born in (Washington?) Cheshire aged 27 with Phillis Ann (1897-) aged 4, born Lancaster, Albert E (1898-) aged 3 born York and little Ada B (1900-) only 4 months born Acomb, York

1911 census Eliza died in 1901 but Albert Webster (1873-) remarried 19 year old Gertrude Smith (1884-) in 1903
Albert & Gertrude had 3 children - -- Beartrice May (1905-) aged 5, -- Blanche (1907-) aged 3, and -- William Henry (1910-) aged 1
... 13 year old Albert was still living with his dad ... but Phyllis Annie was living with Gradma Mary Ann in Middlewich.

2 George William Birchall (1875-1960) 'Pops' our granddad ... Edward's 1st son.

Eliza Ann Grave3 John Birchall (1876-1960) baptised 24 Dec 1876 Wheelock (1656758). 'Jack' was the 2nd son
married Eliza Ann Heathcote (1875-1911) daughter of John Heathcote, 29 August 1897 Sandbach ...

MI - St Mary's Sandbach - William Birchall died September 30th 18?? aged 29 years. Also Eliza beloved wife of John Birchall of Sandbach who diedJuly 25th 1911 aged 36 years.  Also Lawrence Birchall son of the above who died February 11th 1911 aged 4years. Also Ada daughter od the above who died JAnuary 20th 1921. Also ...   

John & Eliza's children -

-- Beatrice Birchall (1897-) born 11 Dec 1897
married Harold Stubbs snr (1896-) born 9 Jan 1896 - children - Lilly Stubbs (1922-) born 24 Oct 1922 married Alcock (-) - Harold Stubbs jnr (1925-) born 23 March 1925 - Irene (1929-) born 17 May 1929 married Clarke (-) ...
1901 census - Beatrice living with grand parents John & Mary Ann Heathcote
1939 register Harold snr Painter, Decorator - Lily, Silk Winder - Harold jnr Apprentice Painter  

-- Wilfred Birchall (1900-1975) born 3 Feb 1900
married Florence Beavis (-) Jan 1926 Cambridge
died 1975

-- Doris (1902-)

-- Ada Ella (1904-21)

-- Lawrence (1907-11) died in 1911.

-- Connie (1908-)

1901 census confirmed he was a cooper to with a son Wilfred (1900-) living at Middlewich Road, Sandbach, Congleton.

1911 census living at 65 Middlewich Road, Sandbach and all born in Sandbach ... John a Cooper at Chemical Works ... there were additions to the family ... Doris (1902-), born 14 May 1902, Ada Ellen (1904-21), born 8 Jan 1904 and Connie (1908-), born 5 June 1908

In 1939 they were still at Middlewich Road

John Birchall (1876-1960) served in the Cheshire Regiment for 11 years in India and South Africa and was demobbed on 1/4/19.
John died in 1960 aged 83.

Edward 19314 Edward Birchall (1878-1931), 'Ted' was Edward's 3rd son, a Bricklayer / House Builder
(not the famous Birchall Brothers Builders, Middlewich who hailed from Barthomley me thinks?)  
married Mary Hodkinson (1878-1959) in 1898. Mary was born in Northwich in 1878 and died in Middlewich in 1959 aged 81.

MI - 'in loving memory of Edward Birchall passed away 12 Aug 1931 aged 53 Mary Birchall passed away 23 June 1959 aged 81 Horace Kettle beloved husband dad granddad and great granddad who fell asleep 17 Feb 2007 aged 85 also Evelyn Kettle beloved wife mum grandma and great grandma who fell asleep 11 June 2011 aged 91 together again'

Edward & Mary's children -

-- Harry Birchall (1898-) son of Edward & Mary, baptised 16 Dec 1898 Methodist Chapel Middlewich.

-- Cissie Birchall (1905-) daughter of Edward & Mary ....
married Samuel Hilditch (19??-) 27 April 1927
son Harry Samuel Hilditch (-) who married May Sant (1929-2006) July 1049

-- Annie Birchall (1908-) daughter of Edward & Mary ... wot happened to Annie?

-- Mary Birchall (1910-) daughter of Edward & Mary ...
married James Roland (1910-) 19 August 1933

-- Nellie (1915-70) daughter of Mary Hodkinson born 17 Dec 1915 ... died 22 Aug 1970 Winsford ...
married James Slack (1915-95) April 1940 Northwich ... James born 3 Nov 1915 died Aug 1995 South Cheshire ?? aged 79 ... 

1939 register James Slack & family Winsford

-- Louise (1918-) daughter of Mary Hodkinson born 1 Dec 1918 ...
married Jack Rathbone (1918-) Jan 1940 Northwich ... Jack born 8 March 1918 mother Weaver ...

-- Evelyn Birchall (1920-2011) daughter of Mary Hodkinson born April 1920 ...
married Horace Kettle (1922-2007) in 1946 ... Mary was 42 crikey.

1901 census Ted, Bricklayer, & Mary were at No 7 Nantwich Road, Middlewich with son Harry (1898-) aged 2 and Uncle James Hodkinson (1858-) aged 43.

1911 census Edward Bricklayer House Builder born in Sandbach & Mary both 32 married for 12 years living at 7 Queen Street, Middlewich ... (where Mary and the kids were born) ... Harry (1898-) aged 12, Cissie (1904-) aged 6, Annie (1907-) aged 3, Mary (1910-) aged 1.

1939 register at 15 Queen Street, Middlewich on the same page as Fred Birchall (1886-) at 3 Queen Street, Middlewich were three Birchall (-) girls Mary, Nellie & Louise ... AND Harry Samuel Hilditch (1927-2000) Cissie's son!

1939 register Jack Rathbone with dad Thomas J Rathbone (1891-) born 30 April 1891 and mum Nellie W Weaver (1896-) born 30 July 1896 who were married 1915

Harry5 Harry Birchall (1881-1944) was Edward's 4th son  27 Jan 1881
married young Harriet Hough (1882-1901) in 1899 at Middlewich. Harriet was the daughter of James Hough, a Salt Boiler from Middlewich. Tragically Harriet died when only 19 years old in 1901 .
Young Harry remarried to Elizabeth Ollier (1883-1943) in 1905 at Newton Heath. Elizabeth Ollier born 20 March 1883 was the daughter of Charles Ollier an Engine Driver at the Alkali Works. Father Edward died in 1903 and missed this happy occasion.
Harry died in 1944 a year after Elizabeth in 1943.
Index of Wills & Administrations indicated Hector, mental home attendant, arranged probate for Elizabeth and again for Harry.  
The happy couple on their wedding day ...  

1901 census Harry, an Apprentice Joiner was at 91 Lewin Street, Middlewich with Harriett.

1939 register - Harry srn 81, Elizabeth 83 Jack 17, Elizabeth Jnr 16, Frank 23, Henrietta 24 ...
- Harry Birchall snr 27 Jan 1881 Carpenter
- Elizabeth Birchall snr (neé Ollier) 20 March 1883 domestic duties
- Jack Birchall 17 June 1917 Labourer
- Harry Birchall jnr 15 Sept 1919 Salt Labourer
- Elizabeth Birchall (Ikin) jnr 5 April 1916 Silk Winder
Frank Birchall 12 May 1923 Labourer
- Hetty Birchall (Henrieta Butler/Carter) 4 Oct 1924 Salt Packer

Harry & Elizabeth's children - 

-- 5.1 Eva Birchall (1906-27) died aged 21   

Hector Birchall 1906-- 5.2 Hector Birchall (1906-70) the eldest was born in Middlewich
married Elizabeth Jennings (1905-86) in 1934

Hector & Elizabeth's children were -

-- -- 5.2.1 Brian Birchall (1934-2019) born September 1934 and died 9 Nov 2019
married Barbara Thompson (-2019) ... died 3 Oct 2019.
Their children -

-- Kevin Birchall (1964-) son of Brian & Barbara, lived in Congleton with family around Northwich, Winsford & Middlewich.

-- Debra Birchall (-) daughter of Brian & Barbara ...
Kevin found a splendid 1969 photo of Hector, Kevin and Debra ... 

Another little story was that Kevin's dad Brian still has a stool made by his granddad when Brian was just 18 months old. He said his granddad used to come around every week to raid my dads money box so he could buy a pint before pay day then come to put it back once he got his pay for week.
When we contacted Hector's family in 2015 Brian Birchall asked for news about other family members ... Lizzie? Frank? & Dolly?, Hetty?, Barbara? & Sheila?   ... who worked on the fairgrounds ... we were fascinated, were they connected to the 'famous' Birchall of the travelling fairs? ... and Jack? ... who moved to Kent many years ago ? Dolly was the only one on the fairground that Kevin remembered, she married someone with the surname Acton & had a son Alan.
* asterisked below ...

-- -- 5.2.2 Brenda Birchall (1946-2010) born 1946 Northwich
married John T Taylor (-) 1966 Northwich

An interesting record survives of Hector's presence at The Middlewich Church of England Infant School in 1910 ... Hector & Elizabeth lived on Chester Road in Middlewich before they moved to New King Street, Middlewich around 1947.
Hector worked as a carer at Cranage Hospital near Middlewich until his death in 1970.

-- 5.3 Charles Edward Birchall (1907-08) son of Harry & Elizabeth, born in Middlewich baptised 6 Nov 1907 who died a year later but died a year later in 1908  

-- 5.4 Blanche Birchall (1910-)
married Alfred Egerton (1911-) ... did Blanche marry a 'Jack' and emigrate to the USA??

-- 5.5 did Doris (1912-) fit in here? yes!
Doris Birchall (1912-) born 14 Aug 1912 daughter of Ollier
married Richard Acton (-) 1935
Richard Acton (1914-84) born 13 April 1914 ... died 20 Oct 1984 Castle, Northwich ... probate ...
Doris & Richard had a son
Alan Acton (1936-) son of Doris Birchall born Northwich Oct 1936
married Thelma Maddock (1936-2013) born 16 Aug 1936 Middlewich died 3 March 2013 aged 77
1939 register - Richard Acton Chemical Works Pipe Fitter & Doris and Charles Birchall Market Gardener
Charles Birchall (1921-) born 14 Nov 1921 brother-in-law

-- 5.6 Elizabeth Birchall jn (1916-85) *Lizzie? 5 April 1916
married William Ikin (1910-) 

Jack -- 5.7 Jack Windsor Birchall (1917-83) born 1917 Northwich
married Violet Alice Miles (1914-83) 1942 Tonbridge, Kent

-- 5.8 Frank Birchall (1923-2006) *Frank? born 12 May 1923.
married Dorothy Smart (-) *Dolly? July 1964 Northumberland  
died Northwich March 2006  

-- 5.9 Charles Birchall (1921-) son of Harry & Elizabeth baptised 14 Nov 1921 in Northwich
married Emma Barnes (-) in East Ham in 1944.  ... Theresa (-)??

They had a daughter -

Maureen (-)   

And granddaughter Rebecca (-)

-- 5.10 Henrietta Birchall (1924-95) *Hetty 
married Ronald Carter (1922-70) July 1947

Hettie & Ron had two daughters -

*Barbara Carter (-) and

*Shelia Carter (-) from the North East who found the family photos ...

1911 census Harry aged 30, a Wood Joiner, Salt Works born in Sandbach was with Elizabeth (1883-1943) aged 28 at Percivals' Yard, Wheelock Road, Middlewich with children, Eva (1906-), Hector (1906-), and new baby Blanche (1910-) named after her aunt, Elizabeth's sister ...

1939 record at 46 Sutton Lane, Middlewich

6 Alfred Birchall (1884-1924) RCA. Alfred died aged 40 and was buried with his dad at Middlewich  


 1911 census mum Mary Ann aged 58 was living with unmarried sons Alfred Birchall (1884-) aged 27 and Harold Birchall (1890-) aged 20 ... and 14 year old Grand daughter Phyllis Anne Webster (1897-) born St Leonard's Gate, Lancaster 'waiting for a situation' ... Phyllis Ann was to school in Winsford in 1909? 

7 Minnie Birchall (1885-)
married 28 year old Arthur Collins (1884-) son of John Collins 28 Dec 1912.   

1911 census Minnie was living with her younger sister Mary Ellen, about half a mile from another sister Gertrude. Minnie was to marry Arthur Collins a year later.

8 Fred Birchall (1886-) baptised 11 March 1886
married Elizabeth Ann Charlesworth (1889-) 1908 Northwich
Ivy (1908-)
Wilfred Birchall (1910-69) died 1969 Sandbach 

1911 census 24 year old Fred was a coal merchant married to Elizabeth Charlesworth (1888-) with children Ivy (1909-) and new born Wilfred (1910-). In 1934 Wilfred was in Road Haulage in Middlewich.

1939 Register identified Fred Birchall (1886-) Unemployed and Elizabeth Ann (1889-) with Dorothy (1917-) Clothing Machinist, a n other (1924-)?? Audrey Birchall (-) School and Wilfred Birchall (1910-) Haulage Contractor at 3 Queen Street, Middlewich.

9 Gertrude Birchall (1887-1914)
married Harry Bolton (1878-1958) on 12 June 1912 in Middlewich whilst working as a bar assistant at Rochdale Railway Station 1912. 1911 census confirmed Gertrude was in Rochdale ... why? Harry, an 'Engineer', was living at 112 Gilda Brook Lane, Hope, Salford ... confirmed  in 1911 census as a 'Fitter Textile Machinery'. Harry was the son of John Bolton (1849-1904) and Martha Thorpe (1848-) from Oldham.

In the 1871 census John Bolton age 23 was possibly living in Chadderton, Oldham. In 1872 John married Martha in Oldham. By 1878, when son Harry was born they were living & working in Russia. Harry also worked in textile machinery manufacture and ended up with Tweedales & Smalley, in Rochdale.

John Bolton (1849-1904) was a Mill Manger employed by Howard & Bullough Ltd, one of the most important textile machinery companies in Lancashire. In the 1901 census John, a Mill Manager (retired), and Martha were living at 38 Gilda Brook Road, Pendleton, Salford, with Nellie (1874-) born in Oldham, and Clara (1882-) & John (1883-) both born in Russia ... John was an Apprentice Electrical Engineer ...

Gertrude & Harry had a son Harold Birchall Bolton (1913-) born in Bradford in 1913 and grandsons Paul (-) & Colin Bolton (-).

During Harry's absence working overseas Gertrude moved to Bradford to be near her sisters Mary Ellen and Minnie who lived there. In the 1911 census she was living at 7 St Lenard's Road.

Tragically, Gertrude died in Litchfield Street, Middlewich in 1914 aged only 27, and Harold Birchall Bolton was brought up by his father's parents in Manchester?? Gertrude was buried with her dad in Middlewich.

10 Mary Ellen Birchall (1889-) baptised 28 Oct 1888 (1656758)
married Hugh Percy Town (1877-) 1910 ... a Bradford guy 12 years her senior   

1911 census Hugh Percy Town was a Dyers Chemist. They were living in Bradford at 9 Dalton Terrace. with them was Mary Ellen's elder sister Minnie ... confusingly transcribed as Minnie Town !

11 Nellie Birchall (1889-)
married ????

12 Harold Birchall (1890-) baptised 27 July 1890 Wheellock    
married ????     

Harold joined the Liverpool police force and enjoyed a successful career as a Detective Inspector. He made the headlines in 1927 when he investigated bribery & corruption involving local bookies and young constables ... the incident also made the Exeter Gazette ...

Harold cemented his career in 1920 as a freemason, member of the Stanley Lodge. Liverpool.

(13 ?? Julia (-) who married Hugh?? ...)

Edward Birchall 1898Edward joined Brunner Mond at Middlewich and he was photographed at a banquet given at the Central Hall Northwich on the 25th anniversary of the commencement of Winnington Alkali Works on July 8th 1898 ... No 115 dimly peering from the background behind a white bearded John Hough ... appearing reticent, even diffident, but this man was an accomplished craftsman who had joined one of the most successful companies ever ... Edward was a joiner, and we are proud owners of his  horizontal 'spirit level' to prove it ... 'Makers John Rabone & Sons Birmingham, Guaranteed Correct'!

1861 census Edward, at school, with his Mum Ann, Grocer, now a widow, they were at Middlewich Road, Sandbach.

1871 census ... no Edward Birchall? ... where was he at 16? The census revealed all. Ann Birchall neé Threadgold married Ralph Henshall 31 Dec 1867 Barthomley. Mum Ann Birchall née Threadgold (1828-) had married again and Edward was now 'Edward Henshall', living with his step dad Ralph Henshaw (1836-) ... but he soon reverted to his Birchall name, perhaps he was only a Henshall for the day of the census.

1881 census at 40 Wheelock High Road, Edward Birchall aged 26, a joiner, was now with Mary Ann Knapper (-) aged 27 from Kidsgrove and his family, seven of them, George (-) 6, John (-) 4, Edward (-) 3, Harry (-) 2 monthes and including mother-in-law Eliza Knapper née Jenkins (1828-95) 49, nurse midwife looking after young Harry.

1891 census indicates the massive family, with the youngest Harold just born, were still at Wheelock Road, Sandbach. George was a Post Boy, Eliza Ann, John, Edward were Silk Hands, and the youngsters still at school.

1901 census Edward was with Mary Ann; Alfred, Minnie, Gertrude, Nellie and Harold at 9 Lichfield Street, Middlewich. Nellie was a nurse, and the three teenagers had found jobs at the local condensed milk factory.

 The Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company started production in Middlewich around 1866 on the old Lowe's Salt Works site. In 1866 at Charn in Switzerland, a condensed milk plant was set up by the Page brothers, The Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Company. In 1866 the Pages had obtained the sole agency in Britain and in 1874 they bought the English Condensed Company of London, which gave them three production centres - Middlewich, Aylesbury and Chippenham.

Henri Nestlé was born in Frankfurt on Main in 1812 and went to live in Vevey Switzerland in his late twenties. He had a passion for chemistry and was a born inventor. During the 19th century the child mortality rate was very high, 1 in 5 dying in their fist year, Nestlé decided to produce a baby food. The Pages and Nestlé were to become fierce rivals until 1905 when they merged and The Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Company became part of Nestlé. The site later became a textile mill and was burnt down in the 1970’s.

Edward GraveEdward died in 1903, the Memorial reads -

In loving memory of Edward Birchall who died 13th April 1903 aged 48 years, also Mary Ann wife of the above who died 25th April 1928 aged 75 years, also of Gertrude beloved wife of Harry Bolton and daughter of the above who died 31st May 1914 aged 27 years, 'not gone from memory nor from love but to our Father's home above', also Alfred Birchall RCA son of the above who died Nov 9th 1924 aged 40 years.

1911 census Mary Ann was a widow, living with son Alfred, Alkali Labourer, & Harold, a Railway Porter, and granddaughter Phyllis Annie Webster (1896-) born St Leonard Gate, Lancaster ... living at 9 Litchfield Street, Middlewich. Eliza Ann Birchall (1874-1901) Mary Ann's first born died in 1901 ...

Edward Birchall died in Middlewich in 1903, he was only 48, officially he died from phthisis. Was there a genetic predisposition to this tubercle bacillus, as his dad and granddad both died of this dreadful affliction within three years of each other? ... but 'exhaustion' tells more ... Edward was fastidious, a stickler for detail, diffident almost self-effacing as he mastered his skills and strived for perfection with wood ... they don't make craftsmen like that anymore ... ?

What a waste, at 48 years old, Edward enjoyed little more than half our own effort ... however during the much shorter span he did manage to successfully leave eleven gene machines to carry on the good work.

William 1831William Birchall (1831-60) was Edward's father who had a tragically short life ... 29 years ... what a waste. He was baptised in Sandbach in 1831, the son of James & Sarah. Like Edward, William also worked in wood, he was a cabinet maker when he married Ann Threadgold (1828-) in 1854 at St Mary's, Astbury, Congleton, in the heart of the silk throwing district.

Enter the Threadgolds

Francis Threadgold (1773-1860) baptised 30 May 1773 Wybunbury

 married Ann Sherwin (1779-1860) 23 Feb 1801 Barthomley ... original ...

died 15 Jan 1860 Haslington aged 86 ... lots of kids -

Thomas (1801-74) son of Francis & Ann baptised 28 June 1801
married Elizabeth Simpson (1812-84) 30 May 1852 Moreton Say, Shropshire, they had one child, Ruth
died 4 Oct 1874 Moreton Say Shropshire

Samuel (1804-37) married Hannah Cartwright (1808-32)

Mary (1807-)

William (1809-84) son of Francis & Ann baptised 23 April 1809 Haslington
married Elizabeth Wharton (1811-84) 30 Sept 1828 Sandbach ... 12 kids - George (1831-), Mary (1831-), Charles (1834-), Anna (1835-), Hugh (1837-), Ann (1840-), Sussanna (1841-), Hannah (1842-), Emma (1847-), Sarah (1848-), Eliza (1852-), Alice (1856-)
died 4 May 1884 Haslington ... exhausted!

Elizabeth Threadgold (1812-) daughter of Francis & Ann baptised 6 Sept 1812 Haslington 
first married Thomas Henshall (1816-) 27 Dec 1835 Barthomley ... Ralph Henshall (1836-) was their son!
second married Aaron Barnett (-) 13 June 1848 Haslington ...
third married Richard Whitmore (-) 16 Sept 1861 Haslington ... complicated marriage for family historians?
1841 census - Thomas Henshall (1816-) was an 'Ag Lab' with Elizabeth Threadgold (1816-) and three kids, Ralph (1836-), Joseph (1837-) & Mary (1840-).
1871 census - at Haslington Richard Whitmore (-) 57 & Elizabeth (1812-) 58 with 4 year old grand daughter Mary Ann Henshall (1866-) daughter of Ralph Henshall (1836-) & Margaret Sherwin (1841-66) ... which tied it all up nicely.
1881 census - with Richard Whitmore (1811-) 70 & Elizabeth (1812-) 68 was 14 year old grand daughter Mary Ann Henshall (1866-)

((1861 census - interesting ... nephew Thomas Henshall (1811-) 50 born Sandbach formerly Farmer was with his Uncle Edward Henshall (-) aged 69 Salt Proprieter employing 20 labourers 3 smiths 2 trimes 1 bricklayer ... sister Margaret Henshall (-) aged 72 ... all three born in Sandbach, unmarried, and living at 143 Brookfield Cottage, Newton, Middlewich))

Ralph (1821-) ???? married Mary Fox (1821-79)

Ann (1827-) ????

1841 census - Ann 14 was with 65 year old granddad Francis Threadgold (1773-1860) in Haslington ... oh dear we wonder if 'our' Ann made the census twice?! Haslington to Wheelock 2.5 miles ... but no ... Francis Threadgold and Ann Sherwin and also had an Ann in 1827 ... confusing?

1851 census - at Haslington Francis Threadgold (1773-1860) 77 Farm Lab born Weston with wife Ann (1779-1860) 72 born Haslington with unmarried son Ralph (1821-) 30 born Haslington

Samuel Threadgold (1804-37)

Samuel Threadgold (1804-37) son of Francis & Ann, baptised 22 July 1804 Haslington ...
married Hannah Cartwright (1808-32) 28 May 1827 Astbury
died 30 June 1837 Astbury (1655361) at the age of 32, just 5 years as a widower after Hannah died ... 'our' Ann was only 9 years old.

Ann Threadgold (1828-) daughter of Samuel & Hannah baptised 1 March 1828 Sandbach,
first married William Birchall (1831-60) 27 Feb 1854 St Mary's, Astbury ... 
second married Ralph Henshall (1836-78) 31 Dec 1867 Barthomley ... Ann a 36 year old widow married her cousin Ralph a 33 year old widower ... nice one she deserved some stability ... . 
died ??

1841 census -  orphan Ann 15 was with 65 year old grand parents Thomas & Charlotte Cartwright at Heath West, Astbury ... the whole gang were in silk in Astbury ... this was the best bet ...

1851 census - Ann was working as 23 year old servant girl born in Wheelock. with John Wooley 63 year old Silk Throwster from Brereton at Newfield House, Common Lane, Sandbach.

1861 census - at 38 Middlewich Road, Sandbach. Mum Ann now a Widow, working as a Grocer, young son Edward, aged 6 was at school. 

1871 census ... no Edward Birchall? ... where was he at 16? The census revealed all. Ann Birchall neé Threadgold married Ralph Henshall 31 Dec 1867 Barthomley. Mum Ann Birchall née Threadgold (1828-) had married again and Edward was now 'Edward Henshall', living with his step dad Ralph Henshaw (1836-) ... but he soon reverted to his Birchall name, perhaps he was only a Henshall for the day of the census? In 1881 census Edward Birchall was at 40 Wheelock High Road, aged 26, a joiner with his own family.

1881 census - Ann (1828-) aged 54 Dressmaker, now a Widow ... again ... with Joseph (1861-)  aged 20, John (1864-) 18 and grand daughter Eliza Ann (1874-1901) aged 7 ... Edward's eldest must have beed some comfort!

Tragically Ann lost her mum when she was 4, her dad at 9 and husband William at 32 ... and husband Ralph at 50 ...

Enter the Cartwrights   

Thomas Cartwright (-) married Jane Riley (-1790) 28 April 1778 Astbury ... original ... and wow ... the marriage licence revealed Thomas was a Widower and a Wire Drawer ... interesting ... in Congleton.
Jane Cartwright (-1790) died 28 March 1790 Astbury (1655359)

(Who was his first wife? Elizabeth? There was a Thomas Cartwright (1781-) son of Thomas (1737-1806) & Elizabeth Cheyney (1743-1806), born  16 Sept 1781, baptised 28 May 1782 Nantwich = rejected not as good a fit? The girls & boys married very close to home in those days!)

Thomas & CharlotteThomas Cartwright (1781-1862) son of Thomas & Jane baptised 10 June 1781 Congleton
married Charlotte Wakefield (1778-1844) 8 Oct 1804 Astbury ... both of this Parish
children - James (1805-08), Hannah (1808-), Sarah (1810-), Mary (1812-), Samuel (1815-73), Charlotte (1820-32), Sophia (1823-24)
died April 1844 - MI - St Mary Astbury

'Charlotte Cartwright died April 1844 age 65 also Thomas Cartwright died Nov 1862 aged 81 also Harry Lake found Jan 18th 1861 died Sept 3rd 1864 also Samuel Cartwright died April 3rd 1873 aged 57 also Elizabeth wife of the above died 31st Jan 1874 aged 62 all of Hackney's Lake Congleton also William Cartwright died Sept 22nd 1923 aged 77 also Eliza wife of the above William Cartwright died Jan 22nd 1936 in her 95 year Rest in Peace'

1841 census - at West Heath, Astbury, Thomas Cartwright (1781-1862) aged 65 Labourer with wife Charlotte (1778-1844) 65 with son Samuel Cartwright (1815-73) 25 Silk Dresser and his wife Elizabeth Swinton (1812-74) 33 with Samuel's kids Frances 'Fanny' (1835-1909) 5, John (1839-) 2, Mary (1840-) 1, ... with Silk Carder Enoch Dale (1801-) aged 40, Sarah Dale née Cartwright (1810-) 30, & George Dale (1838-) 2 ... and 15 year old grand daughter and orphan Ann Threadgold (1828-) Silk Piecer.

Sarah Cartwright (1810-) was Hannah Cartwright's younger sister married Enoch Dale (1801-) 1839.

1851 census - at 23 Hackney's Lake, Congleton, Thomas Cartwright (1781-1862) aged 69 Widower from Moreton, Cheshire ... Charlotte died in 1844 ... with son Samuel Cartwright (1815-73) 36 born Hall Green/Church Lawton and his wife Elizabeth Swinton (1812-74) 39 from Congleton with Samuel's kids Mary Ann (1840-1900) 11, Thomas (1843-) 8, and William (1846-1923) 5 ... all children born Congleton.
Mary Ann (1840-1900) 11, Thomas (1843-) 8, and William (1846-1923) 5 ... all children born Congleton.

Next door was Sarah Dale née Cartwright (1810-) 40 Widow Silk Doubler born Hall Green/Church Lawton with son Elijah Dale (1843-) 7 and step son George Cartwright (1838-) 12 Silk Cleaner. 1861 census - at West Ward, Congleton Sarah Dale née Cartwright (1810-) 50 Widow Silk Worker born Hall Green/Church Lawton with son George Dale (1838-) 22 Silk Mill Man and son Elijah Dale (1843-) 17 ... please untangle!?

1861 census - still at Hackney's Lake, Thomas Cartwright (1781-1862) aged 80 Widower from Odd Rode, Cheshire with son Samuel Cartwright (1815-73) 46 Silk Dresser born Odd Rode and his wife Elizabeth Swinton (1812-74) 49 from Congleton with grand kids William (1846-) 15 Silk Piecer, Samuel (1851-) 10 ... also Harry Lake, a 'found boy', 7 months, abandoned in Congleton by the 'lake'?  Harry only survived for 3 years but was looked after and given a space in the family grave ... good show!

Moreton to Odd Rode 2 miles ... to Congleton 3 miles ... to Astbury 2 miles ... to Hall Green/Church Lawton 2.5 miles
Hall Green to Church Lawton 1 mile ... to Alsager 2.5 miles ... to Moreton 2.7 miles ... to Astbury 4 miles

Hannah Cartwright (1808-32)
Hannah Cartwright (1808-32) daughter of Thomas & Charlotte baptised 10 May 1808 Church Lawton,
married Samuel Threadgold (1804-37) 28 May 1827 Astbury. Witnesses were John Shenton and Frances Cartwright who were also married in 1854. Frances (Fanny) Cartwright (1835-1909) was Ann's cousin, born in Congleton in 1835. The other witness was John Shenton (1824-1917), a miner from Staffordshire, married Frances Cartwright in Congleton March 1854.

John's dad Job Shenton (1810-63) married John's mum Mary Scott (1812-49) 5 June 1830 Cheadle, Staffs and second married Sophia Brereton (1809-) 31 December 1849 Bidulph.

Job Shenton (1837-1918), John's younger brother, also injected his genes into the Cartwright family, to Mary Ann Cartwright (1840-1900) married 20 Oct 1859 Congleton. It seems family bonds were thick around Congleton in the mid 1800s.

The Stentons had a fabulous website, their route to Congleton was from Cheadle, Cheddleton, Ippstones, Silverdale, Bidulph ... seeking work ... a trek through the well worn Uttoxeter Gap into Cheshire straight across the North Stafforshire coal seams to the Congleton Mills?
died 9 Dec 1832 Astbury (1655361) at the tender age of 24, when 'our' Ann was only four.

Samuel Cartwright (1815-73) married Elizabeth Swinton (1812-74)
children - Frances (1835-1909), Hannah (1837-38), John (1839-), Mary Ann (1840-1900), Thomas (1843-), William (1846-1923), Samuel (1851-) 

Frances Cartwright (1835-1909) married John Shenton (1833-1917) March 1854 Congleton
children - Charles William (1854-1927), George (1867-), May Allford (1883-)

1861 census - at Bidulph in the mines, John Shenton (1833-1917) wife Frances (1835-1909), son Charles (-) and brother-in-law Thomas Cartwright (1843-)


Many of the Birchalls found useful employment in the silk industry, including William who was a 'Staffman in a Silk Mill' when he died on September 30th 1860, aged 29. William followed his father into silk and was trained in the intricacies of silk throwing in Newcastle-under-Lyme, where in 1851 census he was living with George & Elizabeth Boult at 6 Rye Croft, Newcastle under Lyme ... described as 'son' ... see below. And he married into 'silk' with the Threadgolds and Cartwrights. 

Although a cabinet maker by trade the jobs in the silk mills paid well and attracted the cream of the local lads, and also many new comers. William ended up in silk like his father but William's son Edward and grandson George William both followed similar career paths from training as joiners to working for industrial concerns. In the case of Edward & George William the concern concerned was Brunner Mond. Simple economics, the opportunities for trained craftsmen were better at BM&Co than elsewhere ... and now more reliable than silk.

William Memorial SandbachYoung Edward, born in 1854, was a fine lad but soon tragedy was to strike the family. At 29 years of age, in 1860, his dad William died of Phthisis Pulmonarlis, or what was then called 'consumption', today we know the terrible affliction as tuberculosis ... TB. William suffered for many months and passed the disease on to his father James who suffered for three years before he also succumbed to the same dreaded infection in 1863. Dad and granddad both gone within 3 years of each other and little Edward was only 6 years old ... but the family rallied round, Auntie Mary's husband George Nield handled all the arrangements for both William & his dad James ...

Buried with William Birchall (1831-60) in the same grave were Eliza Heathcoat (-1911), wife of John Birchall (1877-), who died on July 25th 1911, also Lawrence Birchall (1907-11), son of the above, who died on February 11th 1911, also Ada Ella (1904-21) daughter of the above, who died on January 23rd 1921.

Economic change introduced Sandbach to the many evils of urbanisation previously unknown ... pollution, cholera, overcrowding & consumption were rampant but to represent industrialisation as misery & deprivation must have been a travesty of the truth ... the Birchalls were doing well, earning good money in new factories, why else would they have left the land? ... through hard work, honesty & thrift they became skilled craftsmen and above all they had escaped the terror of scraping out an existence on the land where famine, disease, plague & terrible infant mortality were the norm and any surpluses were fickle dependents of weather and crop & cow malfunctions ... the move to the mills was a success story ... far from the evils of congestion and exploitation of child labour the factory wages purchased the greatest prize of all ... survival ... the population statistics confirmed the children survived ... it was rural poverty that was the greater risk? Like hoards of the others the Birchalls trekked to the urban manufactories for jobs!

Elizabeth Gaskell, renowned for her recollections of squalor and desperation in 'Mary Barton', also described the new excitement of 'The Manchester Tea Party'...  a story of social interactions and prosperity? -

'Run, Mary dear, just around the corner, and get some fresh eggs at Tippings, and see if he has any fresh cut ham, and Mary, you must get a pennyworth of milk & a loaf of bread, mind you, get it fresh and new, no that's not all, get six pennyworth of rum to warm the tea, get that at The Grapes ... '

After William died Ann was resilient and worked in a grocer's shop to make ends meet and educate her son. The 1861 census finds them at Middlewich Road, Sandbach, with Edward at school and Ann earning extra pennies by taking in a lodger. Edward picked himself up, dusted himself down, and worked hard, equipping himself with the skills of a craftsman ... he served his apprenticeship as a joiner.

On December 31st 1867 Ann found new succor in her tragic life; she remarried to a star Ralph Henshall.

Ralph Henshall (1836-78) son of Thomas Henshall (1813-) & wife Elizabeth Threadgold (1812-) of Haslington, Barthomley, baptised 2 Oct 1836 Haslington. Thomas & Elizabeth married 27 Dec 1835 Barthomley. Witnesses Charles Roberts and Elizabeth Henshall. Haslington to Barthomey 3.8 miles.
first married Margaret Sherwin (1841-66) 28 March 1859 Warmington. Bride & Groom from Elton. Ralph & Elizabeth children - Thomas (1859-), Joseph (1861-), John (1864-) and Mary Ann (1866-)
second his cousin - married Ann Birchall née Threadgold (1828-) daughter of Samuel & Hannah, 31 Dec 1867 Barthomley, Widow a mature 36 year old. The witnesses were James Kay and Emma Nield. Emma (1849-), of course, was Ann's 18 year old niece, the daughter of William's sister Mary Ann, see below.
died 1878 between the 1871-81 census. Ralph was only 41 ... Ann had a rough time ... 

1841 census - Thomas Henshall (1816-) was an 'Ag Lab' with Elizabeth Threadgold (1816-) and three kids, Ralph (1836-), Joseph (1837-) & Mary (1840-).

1851 census - Ralph aged 14 was working as a Farmer's Servant on James Barratt's Bolts Green Farm, Betchton, Congleton.

1861 census - Ralph, then a 24 year old Salt/Silk Works Labourer, was with his 1st wife Margaret (1836-), 25, at Forge Fields, Sandbach with sons Thomas & Joseph.

1871 census - Ann (1828-) aged 43 was now installed with her new family at the Green Bank Nag's Head, Wheelock. Ralph (1836-) aged 35, Brewer/Publican, had existing children which included three bright lads Thomas (1859-), Joseph (1861-) & John (1864-) and Edward was now with them, a 16 year old joiner. Was Ralph the first brewer in the family!?

1881 census - Ann (1828-) aged 54 Dressmaker, now a Widow ... again ... with Joseph (1861-)  aged 20, John (1864-) 18 and grand daughter Eliza Ann (1874-1901) aged 7 ... Edward's eldest must have beed some comfort!!

William died at 29 in 1860 but he left a gem in young Edward ... and he also left his dad James ... if only for 3 years ...

James 1802James Birchall (1802-63)

Edward's granddad, William's father, James was baptised on November 21st in Astbury Parish, the son of John & Hannah, clearly recorded in the Bishop's Transcripts. The baptism was at St Peters, Congleton ... and again the transcription from Family Search confirmed, James son of John & Hannah. 

James went into silk, son William's marriage certificate from 1854 described James' occupation as a 'Maker Up in Silk Factory' or a 'Silk Staffman' ... a staffman was a workman employed in silk throwing, or silk spinning, the twisting silk into yarn.

James from Sandbach married Sarah Richardson (1802-38) from Congleton, Astbury, on Boxing Day in 1824 at Astbury. It was a licence job issued on December 18th 1824. James & Sarah were both upwards of 22 years old and the licence confirmed that James worked as a Silk Throwster. Sarah Richardson was the daughter of John & Sarah and baptised at Sandbach on 29 September 1802. Sarah Birchall died in Sandbach in 1838, only 36, the same year as her mother Sarah Richardson, but mum was 79 when she died, they were on the same page of the Sandbach parish register. Unlucky folk were really dying young in those days ...

The first witness at James & Sarah's marriage on Boxing Day 1824 was Sarah's elder sister Mary Richardson (1797-), daughter of John, who was baptised at Sandbach in 1797. On April 27th 1823 Mary married John Boult (1797-) from Eccleshall, Staffordshire in Sandbach; witnessed by Frances Kent and Samuel Cooper. Mary Richardson should have been Mary Boult in 1824?

The Boults

In 1841 John & Mary Boult were at Bleak Hill, Burslem, Rushton Grange, Stoke on Trent with young son John Boult (1839-) aged 2.

In 1851 they were at Common Lane, Sandbach with nephew George Boult (1832-) aged 19, a Groom.

Nephew George Boult (1832-) was born in Wolstanton, Staffordshire, the son of George Anson Boult (1803-) from Wollerton, Shropshire & Elizabeth Rhead (1805-) from Woolwich who were married in 1828 in Burslem. IGI - Elizabeth Rhead - England, Marriages, 1538–1973 - 17 Dec 1828, Burslem, St John, Stafford. spouse: George Anson Boult.

In 1841 George & Elizabeth Boult were at Rye Croft, Newcastle under Lyme with young George.

John Boult (1797-) & George Anson Boult (1803-) were brothers, sons of John Boult & Sarah, and young John & George were cousins ... now here was the interesting bit ... young William Birchall (1831-60) was trained in the intricacies of silk throwing in Newcastle-under-Lyme ...

In the 1851 census young William (1831-60) was living with George & Elizabeth Boult at 6 Rye Croft, Newcastle under Lyme ... it seemed William (1831-60) was staying with his Uncle John's brother, George ... family connections were thick in those days ...

James (1802-63) was connected to mum Hannah & dad John through his baptism at St Peter's, Congleton and to son William (1831-60) through the Boults.

The second witness at James & Sarah's wedding in 1824 was James Dickinson (1802-63).

1841 census James Birchall (1802-63) aged 35 Silk Throwster at Flatt Lane Field, Sandbach with Mary Birchall (1825-) aged 15, John Birchall (1826-) aged 14, William Birchall (1830-) aged 10, Fanny Birchall (1834-) aged 6 and Henry Birchall (1836-) aged 4.

 ... living next door was 70 year old Jane Dickinson (1765-1847) with 15 year old granddaughter Fanny Dickinson (1826-) a dressmaker and close by were more Dickinsons ... Charles Dickinson (1798-) aged 40 Shoemaker, Elizabeth (1811-) aged 30 and Thomas (1838-) aged 3

1851 census for James Birchall (1802-63) aged 48, Silk Staffman, was at 225 Dickinson Gardens daughter Fanny (1835-) aged 17 and son Henry (1836-) aged 14 apparently also in silk and left school.
... and very close by at 220 Flat Lane was 53 year old Charles Dickinson (1798-) with 44 year old wife Elizabeth (1811-) with 13 year old Thomas H Dickinson (1838-) and servant Eunice Robinson.

... the Dickinson family connection was interesting ...

Enter the Dickinsons, Lunts, Colcloughs & Harderns - The Sandbach Mafia... and feel the fun as a Birchall married a Dickinson, a Dickinson married a Lunt, a lunt married a Colclough. a Colclough married a Hardern ...

In this way there existed an interwoven web of Sandbach families prospering in South East Cheshire ... acquiring trades and moving to pastures new away from their small farms ... part of the middle class bulge ...

After this intriguing ramble through the Sandbach families who witnessed the marriage of James Birchall (1802-63) and Sarah Richardson (1802-38) we note in her short life Sarah managed five children.

James & Sarah's children were -

Edward's Aunt Mary Ann (1825-1901) baptised Sandbach, IGI - Mary Ann Birchall - England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 - christening: Oct 16th 1825, Sandbach, parents: James Birchall, Sarah Birchall ...
married George Nield (1822-95), a Joiner from Nantwich, in 1848. Friend & neighbour Charles Dickinson, and John Birchall, Mary Ann's brother, were witnesses. George Nield was born in Stapeley in 1822.

In 1841 George was living with his Mum & Dad, George & Alice and elder brother Needam Nield at Wheelock Road, Sandbach.

Mary Ann and George had six children. Emma (1848-), Frederick George (1852-), Thomas (1856-) researched by Deborah Ashton (, Charles Henry (1860-), William (1862-), Joseph John (1866-).  

In 1851 after the wedding, Mary Ann, 25, & George, 28, a cabinet Maker, were at 224 Flat Lane, Sandbach with daughter Emma (1849-). Right next door at 225 Dickinson Drive were James (1802-63), 48, Silk Staffman with Fanny, 17 and Henry 14!

1861 census - at Middlewich Road, Sandbach, the family had grown Emma (1849-), Frederick George (1852-), Thomas (1856-), Charles Henry (1860-) & William (1861-). 38 year old George was employing 1 man & 2 boys.
Father in law James Birchall (1802-63) 58 was living with them at this time, just before he died.

In 1871 they were at Wheelock Road with four boys and new addition John Joseph (1866-).

In 1881 still at Wheelock Road,  with Thomas, Joseph and with grandson, Edward William Nield (1876-) and servant Ellen Birchall (1864-) servant from Sandbach, Mary Ann's niece, daughter of brother John.

In 1891, now at Union Street, with George now retired and grandson George William Nield (1877-). George died in 1895. IGI - George Nield - England, Cheshire Probate Records, 1492-1940 - name: George Nield, location: Sandbach, year: 1895, record type: Will.

In 1901 Mary Ann was living with daughter Emma at Marsh Green Farm, Vicarage Lane, Bradwall, Cheshire. Emma had married farmer, Thomas Arden in 1868.

Mary Ann died at a grand age of 76 in 1901.

Uncle John (1826-76) named after his father's father was baptsed in Sandbach on Christmas day 1826, he married Mary Shaw (1831-80), daughter of William Shaw, in 1849 in Coppenhall, Crewe where John was described as a Fitter? Charles Moors and Elizabeth Brereton were witnesses. Mary, daughter of William & Ellen, baptised 25 Sept Alsager 1831 ... (1595460) ... In the 1841 census the Shaw family were living at Union Street, Sandbach. William, a bricklayer, his wife Ellen (1806-), Mary (1831-) the eldest, John (1833-), Charles (1837-) & James (1840-).

In the 1851 census, John was a Staffman at Silk Factory, with wife Mary, a 19 year old Boot Binder, living at Heath Sylvan Terrace, Sandbach. In 1861 John was a General Dealer, living at High Street, Sandbach with Mary, age 30, and children Robert (1857-) & Frank (1860-). In 1871 John was an Inn Keeper & Mary were at the Right of the High Street Public House, Sandbach with Robert, Frank, Ellen (1864-), Nancy (1866-) & Mary (1870-).

Young Robert (1856-), Edward's cousin, married Sarah Jane Wooley (1855-) in Edensor, Staffs in 1881. IGI - Robert Birchall - England, Marriages, 1538–1973 - birth: 1856, groom's age: 25 - marriage: 08 Aug 1881 Edensor, Stafford - bride's name: Sarah Jane Woolley - bride's birth date: 1854, bride's age: 27 - groom's father: John Birchall - bride's father: John Woolley.

In 1881, just before he married 25 year old Robert was working as a joiner and boarding with John Felthouse & his wife Elizabeth at Longton; 6, Spring Garden Road, Stoke Upon Trent Staffordshire.

In 1891 Robert & Sarah were at 9, Hardinge Street, Stoke Upon Trent, Fenton. They had 3 children born in Longton - John (1882-), Gertrude (1883-) & Harry (1884-). Sarah was working in a pottery Warehouse.

In 1901 they were still at Hardinge Street. Son John was a Foundry Moulder in Dresden and Harry was a Coal Collier Loader in Normacot.

In 1911 'Bob' & Sarah Jane were still joining & warehousing and now living at 9 Swan Street, Fenton, Stoke-Upon Trent. The boys were still single, John a Lifter Railway Waggon and Harry a Driller.

In 1881 young Frank (1860-) was staying at Park Lane, Sandbach with his uncle James Shaw (1840-), Mary's younger brother, a brick setter. James married Hannah Farr from Sandbach in 1868.

Looks like Frank didn't marry, in 1901, at 37, he was still single, working as a labourer in a Foundry and lodging at 26, Brunswick Street, South Manchester.

John died in 1876 in Sandbach, aged 49. Mary died in 1880, aged 48.

Dad William (1831-60) baptised Sandbach ... Edward's dad, our hero, our g-g-grandfather, who died far too young at 29.

Aunt Fanny (1835-58) baptised Sandbach ... Aunt Fanny died, unmarried, at the tender age of 23 years ... Edward was only four ... we wondered if he remembered her?

Uncle Henry (1836-) baptised Sandbach.

We can follow James Birchall (1802-63) in the census -

1841 census James Birchall was 35? born about 1806? in the Civil parish of Sandbach in the Northwich Hundred of Cheshire Country, England, Registration district Congleton, Sub-registration district, Sandbach. The census revealed more family details. James Birchall (1802-63) a Silk Throwster, aged 35 and a widower, Sarah had died in 1838, his five children were - Mary Ann (1826-), 15, John (1827-), 14, William (1831-), 10, Fanny (1835-), 6, & Henry (1837-), 4 - at ??? Field, Sandbach, Congleton (after Flat Lane, by The Wheat Sheaf on the High Street). 

1851 census James was 48? born about 1803? James was living at 225 Dickinsons Garden, Sandbach, Congleton, in the Ecclesiastical District of St Mary's. James, a Silk Staffman, was with Fanny (1835-) aged 17 and Henry (1837-) aged 14. 

1861 census James was 58? born about 1803? James was living with son-in-law George Neild, 38, 'joiner employing 1 man & 2 boys' and daughter Mary Ann Neild (neé Birchall) (1826-), 35, and their family Emma Nield (1849-), 12, Frederick George (1852-), Thomas (1856-), Charles Henry (1860-) & William (1861-). They were all living at 5 Middlewich Road, Sandbach with George Nield his son-in-law who had married his eldest daughter Mary Ann. 'Father-in-law' James Birchall (1802-63) was a 'staff man in silk mill' ... this was just before James died.

In 1861 Henry was boarding with the Charnocks at 3 Devonshire Street, Chorlton Upon Medlock, Manchester. Henry was unmarried and working as a 'Silk Throwster Maker Up'.

By 1871 James (1802-63) had died.

In 1871 Henry from Sandbach was with Mary Ann his wife from Wakefield, working as a Railway Porter and living at Malthouse Lane, Brightside Bierlow, Sheffield.

In 1881 Henry from Sandbach was in working in London as a Housekeeper at 10, New Broad Street, St Botolph Without Bishopsgate, London, Middlesex.

James Birchall (1802-63) was buried in Sandbach on December 13th 1863, he was 61. His death certificate confirmed George Nield in attendance ... George had also been in attendance at the death of his son William (1831-60) 3 years earlier ... this connects father James (1802-63) & son William (1831-60) to eldest granddaughter Mary Ann (1825-1901), wife of George Nield (1822-95).

We know James was the son of John & Hannah ... was James named after his father's father as usual? ... it turned out ... after a long grind of pain & plenty ... that James' graddad was a Robert from Wybunbury!

But first the pain ... who were John & Hannah?

Mum & Dad ... John & Hannah Birchall?

 John, our 4g-granddad, the father of our James (1802-63) ? ... there were two candidates -

John Birchall (1780-1857) son of Robert, baptised 13 Feb 1780 Wybunbury, a Silk Throwster? or confusingly another John Birchall born around the same year -

John Birchall (1779-1850) son of James, baptised 24 Sept 1779 Sandbach, a Sandbach Yeoman who left a will?

and there were lots of other Johns ... a popular name ... and more confusion there was yet another John Birchall (1786-) born in Wybunbury in 1786 who fell on hard times and in the 1861 census he found himself incarcerated in the Nantwich Workhouse at Beam Heath as a widower at the ripe old age of 75 ... original ... perhaps -
John Birchall (1783-) son of John, baptised 7 Sept 1783 Wybunbury or
John Birchall (1784-) son of Samuel, baptised 29 Feb 1784 Acton by Nantwich

then there was -  
John Birchall (1792-1859) son of John, baptised 7 July 1792 Church Hulme, Sandbach
married Sarah Emily Sant (1791–1878) 28 June 1814 Sandbach (1751911)
John Birchall (1794–Deceased)
John's Siblings (9) -
Mary Birchall (1817–Deceased)
Thomas Birchall (1819–1883)
Sally Birchall (1821–Deceased)
John Birchall (1823–Deceased)
Joseph Birchall (1824–1909)
+ 4
Spouse & children (11)
married Eliza Bibby (1828–1906) 4 August 1845
Children (11)
Faithful Birchall (1846–Deceased)
Ann Birchall (1849–1874)
Henry Birchall (1851–Deceased)
Mark Birchall (1855–1929)
Alfred Birchall (1855–Deceased)

John Birchall (-) son of ??, baptised ?? married Margaret Lowe 21 Sept 1820 Sandbach (1751911) or
John Birchall (1793-) son of Thomas, baptised 17 March 1793 Wybunbury  ?

And more pain. Who was Hannah Birchall, the mother of our James (1802-63) ? ... there were two candidates - 

Hannah Martin (1780-1844) daughter of Thomas & Mary baptised 8 Oct 1780 Congleton, Astbury or confusingly another Hannah born around the same year -

Hannah Steele (1780-1834) who AWOL in Sandbach in 1780? Was she from Rostherne? ... both these ladies married John Birchalls ... that hurts ...   

and there were lots of other Hannahs?
Hannah Lawson (1793-1863) born 1793 Barthomley, or born 1793 in Liverpool, who married John Birchall, a labourer, 29 Sept 1817 at Barthomley. Witnesses John & Jane Broad? And transcribed ... but this Hannah was too young, no good for the mother of James Birchall (1802-63) born in 1802, but possibly good for Emma Birchall (1821-)?

Looks like the families of John & Hannah Birchalls need attention as there were at least two families in Sandbach and Astbury around this time and TWO John Birchalls and TWO Hannahs ... all four of them born around 1780 ... which one was who, where, when & how?


John 1850

The 1st lot were Yeomen of Sandbach - the Hannah Steele clan -

the Sandbach Birchalls        

We now think that this lot were an interesting diversion but not our lineage. This John (1779-1850) son of James was a Yeoman, the cousin of our John (1780-1857) son of Robert who was in silk!

John Birchall (1779-1850) married Hannah Steele (1780-1834) 1 May 1804 Sandbach (1751911)

John was the son of James  - James sired the Sandbach Birchalls   

In July 1825 father James Birchall (1741-1825) Sandbach Yeoman left a will which identified son John and recorded -
- Yeoman
- land at Sandbach Heath
- wife Margaret
- sons John and Samuel
- John Dickinson, Cordwainer, William Peover, Butcher executors
- granddaughter Mary wife of William Lees 
- sons-in-law John Dickinson and John Hyde 
- James Colclough, Vernon Bloore, Samuel Cook witnesses

Emerging from the registers of St Mary's, Sandbach; 24 Sept 1779 was John, son of James. This illustrious birth was confirmed from the transcription - John Berchall - Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-2000 christening: 24 Sept 1779 Sandbach, Cheshire ... father's name James Berchall. 

John Birchall (1779-1850) was buried on 11 Sept 1850 at Sandbach, age 73 years, making a birth date around 1777? His death was recorded in the Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1900, John's death certificate in 1850, described him as a labourer with the death registered by John Seaman. John Seaman (1808-) married John's daughter Jane Birchall (1810-) in 1834.

In 1850 John also left a will which identified -
- Yeoman  
- sister Jane who married John Dickinson and they had a son Charles  
- nephew Charles Dickinson shoe manufacturer
- two friends Thomas Stringer timber merchant, and George Furnivall, the younger, plumber and glazier as his executors
- equally amongst all and every of my children as shall then be living and in England, equally share and share alike
- witnesses George Steele & James Lamb 
- codicil revoked Charles Dickinson witnessed by George Hancock & James Lamb

St Mary's SandbachThe children of John (1779-1850), son of James, and a Hannah Steele (1780-1834) were the Sandbach Birchall clan -

1 Robert Birchall (1805-11) son of John & Hannah, baptised 2 June 1805 Sandbach ... born 20 March 1805 Sandbach ... original baptised 2 June 1805 ... Named after his father's father?
Robert died on the 27th October 1811 in Sandbach ... only 6 years old. 

(Robert Birchall (1804-) son of John & Hannah, baptised 2 June 1804 Sandbach ... who was this guy from exactly a year earlier?? ... original baptised was 1805 ... so 1804 looks like a transcription error !)

A Robert Birchall died in Congleton, Cheshire in 1862??

2 Thomas Birchall (1806-) son of John & Hannah, baptised 10 Aug 1806 Sandbach ... born 15 April 1806 ... original baptised confirmation.
In 1827 Thomas Birchall married Mary Steele (-) 26 Feb 1827 Sutton, Prestbury (1751957). Witnesses Thomas Turner? & Thomas? Robinson ... but he was a shoe maker not a felon?
Oh dear - Intrigue - Thomas Birchall - aged 31 - Imprisoned @ County Ajourned Sessios Knutsford 3 Jan 1838 - Larceny before convicted of Felony - 7 years Transportation.

Hannah 1808-3 Hannah Birchall (1808-89) daughter of John & Hannah baptised 16 April 1808 Sandbach (175911) ... orignal baptised confimed Sandbach  

married to Cooke Abraham Jennings (1807-92) 11 Jan 1830 Prestbury ... original ... this marriage doesn't look right, 'Birchinal of Bollington'? ... and emigrated to Oz in 1841?
children - Robert, Samuel and daughter Margaret
Margaret Jennings (1825-1927) married Hugh Kittson (1823-71)
daughter - Hannah C Kittson (1859-1942) married John T K White (1860-1942)
duaghter - Hazel Jean White (1898-1990) married Rev Arthur Geddes (1890-1951)
daughter - Mona Geddes (1920-2008) married Erick Stanley Bain (1914-93) 

... but which Hannah Birchall of Sproston married James Brereton 26 Oct 1851 Middlewich?

Hannah Jennings née Birchall died 21 July 1889 Portland Oz aged 81

4 Jane Birchall (1810-11) daughter of John & Hannah, baptised 10 Feb 1811 Sandbach ... born 10 June 1810.
Jane died in Sandbach on 12 October 1811. Just 15 days earlier than her brother Robert ... was it the plague?

5 Jane Birchall (1812-94) daughter of John & Hannah, baptised 27 Sept 1812 Sandbach ... born 25 March 1812.

Perhaps distressed at the loss of Robert & Jane in the same month of October 1811 John & Hannah's new baby girl born 5 months later was a 'replacement Jane' sent straight from heaven. A replacement Robert had to wait until 1820?

Jane Birchall (1812-94) married John Seaman (1808-) in 1834. John Seaman was baptised 23 March 1808 Sandbach born 1806, son of Hugh junior & Ann Smallwood, who were married in 1805. Abraham Goodwin & Sarah Seaman were witnesses at Jane & John's wedding. Sarah Seaman (1812-) was John's sister, baptised in Sandbach in 1812, daughter of Hugh & Ann. Sarah married James Wood, a Weaver, in Church Hulme in 1840. Abraham Goodwin (1811-) was also 'family', he married Mary Seaman (1816-) in 1834, Mary was John's younger sister, daughter of Hugh & Ann, baptised in Sandbach in 1816. The Goodwin & Seaman shoemaking families were living next door to one another in 1841 on North Union, Sandbach. Folk found love next door in those days! 

In 1841 John Seaman, a Shoemaker, aged 30, was living with 2 year old daughter Hannah at King's Cottage, High Street, Sandbach.
Where was Jane?

 John Seaman registered John Birchall's death in 1850.

In 1851 John, Shoemaker, & Jane, Bootbinder, were at Middlewich Road, Sandbach with John (1836-), a tailor, Hannah (1838-), a Bootbinder, Ann (1841-), Jane (1843-), Mary (1848-) & Sarah (1851-) ...

In 1861 the family were at Seamans Bank, on Middlewich Road close to Chapel Street, Sandbach with Hugh (1852-) & Emma (1861-) as new additions. The children were still unmarried. Thomas Stringer, a Timber Merchant, was also at Seamans Bank. Thomas was an executor of John's Will in 1850.

By 1871 census things had changed. John & Jane were at Sandbach Heath, Sandbach with Hugh & Emma, and Sarah was at home with husband Joseph Lowndes and their daughter Mary A (1869-). And their cousin, 5 year old Sarah A Steel (1866-) born in Sandbach, was also with them? Sarah A Steel without an 'e' was one of the Steele gang? Daughter of Hannah's brother or nephew?

In 1881 John, now 75, & Jane, now 68, were at The Heath, Sandbach with Hugh married to Mary (1852-) and their daughter 5 year old Alice. John died in 1881 April-May-June, aged 75.

By 1891 Jane was a widow living at The Hill, Sandbach with Hugh, a Tailor, & Mary and family Alice, John & Annie. Jane died 1894 July-Aug-Sept, aged 82.

6 Ann Birchall (1818-) daughter of John & Hannah, baptised 1 March 1818 at Sandbach ...  John was a labourer at the baptism...
married ?? ??     ... not George Brocklehurst he married Ann daughter of Robert Birchall (1787-) and Frances Clark (1783-)

7 Robert Birchall (1820-) son of John & Hannah, baptised 26 Nov 1820 Sandbach .. John was a labourer at the baptism ... (973139)   
married Elizabeth (-) ?? ??

1841 - John (1780-1850), age 60, was also on the High Street, Sandbach with son Robert Birchall (1825-), age 16, John was an 'Ag Lab' and Robert a 'Stone Mason'

1851 census - Robert had married Elizabeth (1830-), born in the Isle of Man, and moved to Slack Lane, Stoke on Trent, where he was working as a Plumber & Glazier Journeyman. Daughter Mary (1846-) was with them and they had a visitor from Nantwich, Margaret Birchall (1817-), a Bonnet Maker, Robert's cousin? Margaret Birchall (-) baptised 17 Sep 1815 Nantwich, daughter of James Birchall and Ann Williams (-) married 26 Sept 1814 in Nantwich.

1861 census - they were at Bryan Street, Shelton, Handley,  with Mary (1846-) & John (1861-) ... named after his granddad ... the business did well

 1871 censu - Robert was a Master Plumber employing 5 men ... ??

8 John Birchall (1823-) son of John & Hannah, baptised 17 Aug 1823 Sandbach (1751912) ... father John was a labourer at the baptism ... see the original 
married Mary around 1845 ?? ?? 1851 census was this them ??

No ways ... it doesn't look like 'our' James (1802-63) was one of this clan?

Here are the rubs -

'Our' James was born in 1802 but John & Hannah Steele were married in 1804? John was 23 years old when son James was born baptised at Astbury not Sandbach, son of John & Hannah ... John & Hannah from Sandbach weren't married in 1802?

'Our' James was a fine lad but perhaps not named after his granddad? And there was no sign of son James (1802-63) when his dad died in 1850 in Sandbach?

John '1850' died with John Seaman? Was Jane Seaman, our James' young sister?

John '1857' was present at his wife's death in 1844? Was Hannah (1780-1844) died in 1844, wife of John, Silk Worker, our James' mum? 

Did our John die in 1850 or 1857?

Did our Hannah die in 1834 or 1844?

Looks like the Hannahs could provide some evidence about which Hannah did which father John marry around 1800?

In the 1841 census Hannah (1780-1844) age 60, was in Hawk Street, with 4 girls - Ann 1811, Mary 1816, Emma 1821, Harriet 1821 ... all 4 surviving girls were working in the silk mills? This links John 'silk' with Hannah '1844' ... the other Hannah was dead!
(next door was 35 year old Joiner John Dickinson (1806-), and next door but one was 55 year old Shoemaker Robert Colclough (1786-) ... it seemed Hawk Street house all the respectable tradesmen)

Sooo ... if John '1850' was buried in Sandbach, and he was buried with the Hannah '1834' we can rule out these Hawk street girls? However if John '1857' was buried with Hannah '1844' these were our girls!

Find the monument inscriptions?


The Hannahs to the rescue? Were we Steeles or Martins?

Hannah 1844Hannah Birchall née Steele (1780-1834) died in 1834 in Sandbach. Hannah Birchall burial 16 March 1834 Sandbach, aged 54 years. This makes Hannah's birth date 1780. (175911)

Hannah Steele (1780-1834) was one of the Sandbach Steeles ...

On 1 May 1804 John Birchall (1779-1850) married Hannah Steele (1780-1834) at Sandbach, Samuel Birchall & Thomas Dean were witnesses. John's marriage was witnessed by his younger brother Samuel (1782-), son of James, baptised in Sandbach in 1782. The other witness was Thomas Dean? Was he a member of the Steele family?

Thomas Dean (-) of Middlewich married Elizabeth Jones (-) 17 Oct 1808 Sandbach ... (1751911) ... looks like the same Thomas Dean signature ... witnessed by James Dean & Anne Hitchin

Thomas Dean (1779-) jnr aged 20, son of Thomas Dean snr of Over,  married Elizabeth Hitchinson (1781-) aged 18, daughter of widow Mary Hitchinson of Church Minshall in 1799. Thomas snr & Mary widow the natural born father, mother & guardians of the two minors and sworn by Henry Robinson, Cordwainer of Nantwich & Richard Bostock, Farmer of Minshall.
Over to Church Minshall 4 miles. Church Minshall to Sandbach 7 miles.

Thomas Dean (1778-) son of Thomas baptised Nov 1778 Sandbach? ... (1751911) ...

Or Thomas Dean (1780-) son of William baptised 10 Jun 1780 Sandbach or baptised 7 May 1780 Sandbach ... (1751911) ...

Or Thomas Dean (1781-) son of John baptised 15 July 1781 Sandbach ... (1751911) ...

George Steele witnessed the will of John Birchall (1779-1850) in 1845, probate issued 1852. The will identified -
- Yeoman
- nephew Charles Dickinson shoe manufacturer
- two friends Thomas Stringer timber merchant, and George Furnivall, the younger, plumber and glazier 
- equally amongst all and every of my children as shall then be living and in England, equally share and share alike
- witnesses George Steele & James Lamb 
- codicil revoked Charles Dickinson witnessed by George Hancock & James Lamb

 ... but how was George Steele related to Hannah, he may have been just a friend & neighbour in Sandbach ... perhaps 'cousin Sarah Ann Steele' and Will witness 'George Steele' link to wife Hannah Steele ?

So who were the Steele family?

Clues from the 1841 census -

John Birchall (1780-1850), age 60, was on the High Street, Sandbach with son Robert Birchall (1825-), aged 16? Robert (1820-)?? John was an 'Ag Lab' and Robert a 'Stone Mason' ... where was Hannah Steele? One Hannah died in 1834?

John Birchall (1780-1857) age 60, a 'publican', was with George Skillom, at The Viaduct, Church Hulme, Sandbach ... near to Thomas Payne at The Bull's Head ... where was Hannah Martin? Another Hannah died in 1844?
1841 census Hannah Birchall (1780-1844) age 60, was in Hawk Street, with her 4 Birchall girls - Ann (1811-) aged 30, Mary (1816-) aged 25, Harriet (1819-) aged 20 and Emma (1821-) aged 20 ... all 4 girls were working in the silk mills. 

Clues from the 1851 census -

John Birchall (1780-1850) was AWOL in 1851 census, this John died in 1850 ...

John Birchall (1780-1857) widower, born in Wybunbury, living with daughter Emma (1821-), 29, born in Sandbach, unmarried, Stay Stitcher. They were living at Crown Bank, and at 71 years of age, John described himself as working in the mills as a Silk Throwster. Emma, at the age of 36, married 35 year old John Cox, in 1857 the year her dad died. Hannah  died in 1844?

For sure much came from the unions of the Sandbach Birchalls ... and it still goes on ... but there was another John & Hannah family ... and another load of locals, the Astbury Birchalls ... 

Hannah Steele doesn't fit well?

Hannah Martin was a much better bet!

Hannah Martin

Hannah Birchall née Martin (1780-1844) died in 1844 in Sandbach, wife of John, Silk Worker, age 63. This makes Hannah's birth date 1780. John was present at his wife's death in 1844.

Hannah Martin (1780-1844) baptised on 8 Oct 1780, at St Peter's Congleton, daughter of Thomas, shoe maker & his wife Mary.

St Peter's was a chapelry, and the head of union, in the parish of Astbury, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the hundred of Northwich.

John & HannahHannah Martin (1780-1844) married John Burchall (1780-1857) 25 April 1802 Astbury by Banns, two 22 year olds, of this parish ... Bishop's Transcript ...

Hannah Martin fits and should be confirmed when we find the DNA match for the Martins? Which should be closer than a DNA match with the Steeles.

We have a 5th-8th cousin DNA match with John Smith and potential Common Ancestor Ellen Martin (1810-)?

Another decider? Our James was born in 1802 but Hannah Steele (1780-1834) and John Birchall (1779-1850) were married on 1 May 1804 at Sandbach.

Our James was baptised November 1802 Astbury where John & Hannah Martin were married in April 1802 in Astbury ... dates were a bit tight but a good effort?

Looks like we're Martins!  ... all this was confirmed when we found the will of Charlotte Martin (1788-1851)!


John 1857The Astbury Birchalls  

The 2nd lot were in Silk - the Hannah Martin clan  

the Astbury Birchalls         

We now think that this lot were our lineage. Our John (1780-1857) son of Robert was in silk! The other was cousin John (1779-1850) son of James was a Yeoman. 

John Birchall (1780-1857) son of Robert, baptised 13 Feb 1780 Wybunbury ... a frayed remnant recorded the birth of John Birchall in Wybunbury on the 13 Feb 1780, the son of Robert of Willaston ... and Wybunbury = Win - bree ... and the transcription !

married Hannah Martin (1780-1844) daughter of Thomas & Mary, 25 April 1802 Astbury ... (1647852) ... by Banns, two 22 year olds, of this parish ... also (1655359) ... our exciting best bet!
Hannah Martin (1780-1844) daughter of Thomas & Mary, baptised 8 Oct 1780 Congleton ... (1655596) ...
So who were the Martin family ... worth a closer look?

Note the Burchall spelling confusion ... and note also that young James our g-g-g-granddad seemed to have almost anticipated the fun? ... James was baptised 21 Nov 1802 Congleton, Astbury Parish ... (1655359) ...

Our John was the son of Robert - 'Robert of Wybunbury' who sired the Astbury Birchalls   

John & Hannah were married in St Mary's Astbury ... and we celebrated the occasion in 2004 when we purchased the 11th copy of a 500 limited print run of C P Mayer's Spring Astbury Village ... superb effort.

John (1780-1857) died 25 July 1857 Sandbach ... (1751913) ... he was buried at St Mary's, Sandbach on the July 25th 1857 age 77. His death certificate suggested John died from 'debility' on July 23rd and confirmed his occupation as a 'Staffman in a Silk Factory'. John Cox was present at Green Street, Sandbach when he died. On June 13th 1857, just a month before John died, John Cox, 36, married John's 35 year old daughter Emma at Sandbach. The 1861 census confirms John Cox (1820-), a Cabinet Maker from Liverpool, & Emma, a Shoe Binder from Sandbach, living at Green Street, Sandbach. In 1871 they were at Wheelock Road and 1881 at Market Street, Monks Coppenhall, they had no children.

Where was son James (1802-63) when his dad died in 1857?

St Mary's AstburyThe children of John (1780-1857), son of Robert, and Hannah Martin (1780-1844) were the Astbury Birchalls clan - 

1 James Birchall (1802-63) son of John & Hannah baptised 21 Nov 1802 St Peters Congleton,  Astbury ... (1655359) ... original ... FindMyPast baptised 21 Nov 1802 Congleton and  ... original ...

NB same date John Birchall (1798-) son of Thomas and Rebecca aged 4 years baptised 21 Nov 1802 Congleton
Thomas Birchall (-) married Rebecca Hodgkinson (-) 19 Aug 1793 Congleton ... (1655359) ... and ... (1647852) ...    ????
((Thomas Birchall married Rebecca Taylor 1843 Congleton ??))

Our g-g-g-granddad!
Looks like James was a fast mover born 7 months after John & Hannah's marriage??
And Elizabeth Birchall (1803-) daughter of John & Hannah, baptised 10 Aug 1804 Congleton ...
On film no 004011827 John & Hannah married 25 April 1802 Astbury, James was born 21 Nov 1802 Congleton, Elisabeth was born 10 Aug 1804 Congleton ... more work ... ??

James married Sarah Richardson 24 Dec 1824 Astbury ... (1647808) ...
James died 1863 Sandbach aged 61 ... (1751913) ...

1861 census - George Nield (-) Joiner employing 2 men & 1 boy aged 38 born Nantwich

1861 census - father-in-law James Birchall Staffman in Silk mill aged 58 born Congleton

2 Elizabeth Birchall (1804-5) daughter of John & Hannah baptised 10 Aug 1804 St Peters Congleton, Astbury ... baptised ... (1647807)... buried at Astbury in 1805.

3 Ann Birchall (1806-72) daughter of John & Hannah baptised 23 April 1806 St Peters Congleton, Astbury ... original ... (1655359) ... this identifies Ann as the sister of James (1802-63) the two baptisms were from the same digital record ref 004011822 of The Bishops Transcripts.

married Edward Clough (1808-36) 17 Aug 1828 Astbury ... (1655361) ...
Edward Clough (1808-36) son of Joseph & Mary baptised 4 Sept 1808 Wybunbury.

Ann Birchall and Edward CloughThe wedding of Ann & Edward, was doubly important for our story because not only was Ann the younger sister of James but the witnesses at the wedding of Ann Birchall (1806-72) and Edward Clough (1808-36) 17 Aug 1828 Astbury were Mary Clough, Edward's mum or aunt or sister-in-law ... or cousin? ... and Charles Martin (1794-).

Charles Martin was Ann's uncle, mum Hannah's brother, baptised 5 Nov 1794 St Peter's Congleton. Charles was a shoe maker, like Thomas his dad, and was living with his sister Charlotte (1788-) in 1841 at Lawton Street, Congleton, Astbury. And Charlotte's will in 1850 confirmed the link.

This evidence identified with some certainty the connected Martin family and the Astbury Birchalls.  

Edward & Ann children -

John Clough (1830-) son of Edward & Ann baptised 9 May 1830 Sandbach ... (1751912) ...
married Elizabeth Rhodes (-) 22 July 1850 Hanley 'Potteries' ... (1470996) ...

Hannah Clough (1832-) daughter of Edward & Ann baptised 16 Sept 1832 Sandbach ... (1751912) ...
married James Bunn (1833-) 8 June 1856 Congleton ... (1941925)

Harriet Clough (1834-) daughter of Edward & Ann baptised 2 Nov 1832 Sandbach ... (1751912) ...

1851 census Hannah Clough (1832-) aged 19 with mum Ann Clough née Birchall (1806-) aged 45 widow Stay Maker

1871 census Ann Clough née Birchall (1806-) aged 65 widow, mother-in-law, Stay Maker, born in Congleton living Right Hand Side of The Commons, Sandbach with James Bunn (-) aged 37 Joiner born in Middlewich and wife Hannah (1833-) aged 38 Stay Maker born in Sandbach.

... it all hangs together 'our' Hannah was a Martin!

It looks like John Birchall (1780-1857) married Hannah Martin (1780-1844) ... our best bet confirmed !!


Edward CloughEnter the 'Potteries' Cloughs

Edward Clough (1808-36) son of Joseph & Mary baptised 4 Sept 1808 Wybunbury married Ann Birchall (1806-72) 17 Aug 1826 Astbury.

John Clough (1830-) was the son of Edward Clough (1808-1836) and Ann Birchall (1806-72).

The 1841 census records Joseph Clough (1781-) aged 60, and Mary Clough née Shakerly (1780-) aged 53 with grandson John Clough (1830-) son of Edward & Ann baptised 9 May 1830 Sandbach.

In 1841 John Clough (1830-)'s siblings Hannah Clough (1833-) & Harriet Clough (1835-) were with widowed mother Ann Clough née Birchall (1806-72) aged 35 at Scotch Commons, Sandbach.

In 1841 census Ann was at Scotch Commons, Sandbach, aged 35 with daughters Hannah Clough (1833-) & Harriet Clough (1835-) and working as a 'Stay Stitcher'.

Edward died in Sandbach in 1836 aged only 28.

John Clough (1830-) son of Edward married Elizabeth Rhodes (-) daughter of Aaron  22 July 1850 Hanley, Staffs clearly records father Edward Clough (1808-36).

This identified the 'Potteries' Clough Clan (good work by Gillian Clough!) as descended from Edward Clough and Ann Birchall, through John Clough and Elizabeth Rhodes, and then Aaron Rhodes Clough and Jane (Mary Jane in 1901) Woolley.

DNA analysis will prove these Birchall and Clough trees back to John Birchall (1780-1857)?   


Continuing with John & Hannah's children after the 3 eldest James (1802-65), Elizabeth (1804-5) & Ann (1806-72) came 5 smart girls and just one boy Thomas (1812-78) -

4 Hannah Birchall (1808-15) daughter of John & Hannah born 1808 died aged 8 (1647807) ... thus distinguished this young Astbury Hannah from Hannah (1808-89) who was a Sandbach Steele ... (and may have emigrated to Oz in 1841)
Hannah Birchall buried 30 April 1815 Astbury ... Hannah daughter of Silk Throwster John Birchall was buried 30 April 1815 in Astbury ... just 8 years old?

5 Sarah Birchall (1810-11) daughter of John & Hannah baptised 28 Jan 1810 St Peters Congleton, Astbury,  ... baptised ... Sarah died the next year and was buried at Astbury ... following the loss of Elizabeth in 1805 ... two girls full of potential lost over 5 depressing years ...

6 Thomas Birchall (1812-78) son of John & Hannah baptised 1 Nov 1812 St Peters Congleton, Astbury, Chapel of Ease ... original ... (1655359) ... the same film number confirmed Thomas the younger brother of James (1802-63). From the same digital record ref 004011822 of The Bishops Transcripts ...   

Enter the Barbers & Heaths of Davenham

Thomas Birchall (1812-78) -

first married Ann Barber (1810-) 27 Dec 1838 Davenham. Ann's dad Daniel was a tailor. Thomas was described as a 'Labourer' from Wharton and his dad John as a 'labourer'. Thomas was a 'widower', age 35 ...

second married Mary Ann Heath (1812-72) 19 Dec 1847 Davenham ... after banns ... John a Widower aged 35 described as a 'Labourer' from Wharton. Mary Ann was the daughter of John & Mary Heath, of Wheelock, born in 1812. ... witnesses were Thomas' nephew and niece - Mary Ann Birchall (1825-1901) and John Birchall (1826-81) the children of brother James Birchall (1802-63).  Father John Birchall was a Silk Throwster, father John Heath was a Publican ... well played.
Mary Ann Heath (1812-) daughter of John & Mary, bapitised 28 Dec 1812 Sandbach ... (1751911)

Mary Ann Birchall (1825-1901) was to marry George Neild a year later in 1848 and John Birchall (1825-81) was a witness at this wedding also. Identical signatures confirm the link.

 Mary Ann died in 1872, aged 66? b 1806? Thomas died in Wheelock in 1878, age 66 b 1812.

This evidence identifies the family as the Astbury Birchalls of our James (1802-63).

Thomas & Ann/Mary Ann had issue -

1 Martha Birchall (1842-1923) 
Martha married James Walley, a 33 year old widower, in Christ Church, Wheelock, in 1869.
Martha Emma Walley née Birchall (1842-1923) born 1842 Middlewich died 15 Jan 1923 aged 81 Biddulph, Staffordshire, Moorlands District. Burial St Lawrence Churchyard memorial ID 209019692. 
Martha Birchall daughter of Thomas Birchall & Mary Ann Birchall née Heath age 27
married James Walley (1833–1902) 28 Oct 1869 Wheelock, Cheshire, England
18 Jan 1923 aged 80 burial 2 Congleton Road
children of Martha & James -
-- Elizabeth Walley (1870–1872)
-- James Walley (1871–1872)
-- Lizzie Walley (1877–1877)
-- James Walley (1878–1895)
-- Alfred Walley (1880–1880)
-- Fred Walley (1881–1893)
-- Alice Walley (1883–1883)
MI -'in memory of Eliza beloved wife of James Walley of Bradley Green who died December 22nd 1868 aged 28 years
also Anne daughter of the above who died May 30th 1863 aged 2 years 6 months also Elizabeth their daughter
who died March 23rd 1872 aged 1 year & 6 months also James their son who died April 6th 1872 aged 6 months
also Lizzie their daughter who died December 25th 1877 aged 11 months also Alfred their son who died June 28th 1880 aged 14 days also Alice daughter of James & Martha Walley who died December 8th 1883 aged 18 weeks also Fred their son
who died Feb 15th 1893 aged 11 years also James their son who died Oct 8th 1895 aged 17 years also the above James Walley
who died August 5th 1902 in his 70th year also the above Martha Walley who died Jan 15th 1923 aged 80 years'

2 Martin Clement Birchall (1845-) son of Thomas & Mary Ann baptised 1845
married Frances Fox (-)
Fanny daughter of John & Mary baptised 15 Oct 1843 ... (1751193) ...
son John Birchall (18??-)
Young John excelled at school and with his mate Walter Lowndes made the local Nantwich Guardian in 1882!
1881 census - @ Wheelock High Street just by Edward & Mary Ann were Martin Clement aged 35 Joiner born in Middlewich, Fanny aged 37 born in Sandbach and John aged 9 the budding scholar.   

3 Elizabeth Birchall (1849-)

4 John William Birchall (1852-)

1841 census Thomas Birchall (1812-78) aged 25, was in silk, a 'Silk Throwster' & Anne Birchall née Barber (1810-), aged 30, was an 'Earthenware Dealer', they were at Wheelock Street, Middlewich ... Thomas did not marry Mary Ann until 1847 ...

1851 census Thomas Birchall (1812-78) followed his elder brother into Silk ... living at 5 Havannah Street, Astbury, Eaton, Buglawton. aged 38 born in Congleton married to Ann (-) aged 39 born in Wheelock with children all born in Middlewich, Martha Birchall (1842-) aged 9, Martin Clement Birchall (1843-) aged 7, and Elizabeth Birchall (1849-) aged 2. Thomas & Ann were Silk Workers and a new addition to the family - 
John William Birchall (1852-) son of Thomas & Mary Ann, baptised 18 June 1852 Congleton, dad Thomas and Mary Ann were living in Havana, Buglawton and Thomas was now grandly described as a Manager in a Silk Mill ...

1861 census - at Wheelock Street, Wheelock, only Martin, a Silk Worker, was at home. Thomas was a Maker Apprentice of Silk. 12 year old Elizabeth was staying with her aunt Ann Grimsey (1831-), a 30 year old widow, who was Inn Keeper at The Borough Arms, Moody Street, Congleton.

1871 census Thomas & Ann were still at Wheelock Road, Wheelock.


7 Mary Birchall (1816-) baptised 12 April 1816 Sandbach ... baptised daughter of John 'Silk Man' ...

Enter the Davies

Mary married Thomas Davies in 1844. Emma Birchall was a witness.

1861 census family at 233 Brereton Road, Sandbach Thomas Davies (1815-) Factory Hand aged 46, Mary Davies (1816-) aged 45, John Davies (-) Factory Hand aged 16, Ann Davies (-) Factory Hand aged 13, Hannah Davies (-) scholar aged 9 named after grandma ...


8 Harriet Birchall (1819-) baptised 15 Aug 1819 Sandbach ... baptised daughter of Silk Throwster ... and again August 15th 1819 ...

Enter the Thornhills

Harriet married Daniel Thornhill (1819-92), a shoemaker, in 1842, Harriet was 22. Sister Mary was a witness, and father John was working in a 'Silk Factory'.
Harriet and Daniel had children - Emma (1843-1905), Francis (1847-), Mary Ann (1850-), Louisa (1852-), John Thomas (1855-), Harriet B (1853-) ... 
Emigrated to Oz ... what date ??


9 Emma Birchall (1821-) baptised 25 Dec 1821 Sandbach ... baptised daughter of Silk Throwster ... Hannah was 41? Ouch ...

Enter the Coxs

In 1857, the year her dad died, at the age of 36 Emma married 35 year old John Cox, a cabinet maker, in Sandbach. Witnesses William Buckley and Ann Simpson. Emma's dad John was a 'Staffman', and John's dad Charles Cox was a printer. Witnesses were William Buckley and Ann Simpson?  ..

1861 census John, Cabinet Maker, & Emma, Shoe Binder, were at 157 Green Street, Sandbach

1911 census Emma was a boarder with John Frederick Edgerton, 44, with his wife Harriet in Hill Street, Elworth, Sandbach?

Emma died in 1911 in Sandbach.
(another Emma Birchall, daughter of James married William Loundes in 1849 in Congleton? ??????


1841 census John Birchall (1780-1857) age 60, a 'Publican' not in Silk? was with George Skillom, age 25, Baker, at The Viaduct, Church Hulme, Sandbach ... near to Thomas Payne at The Bull's Head ... George Skillom (1816-72) a mystery? MI - Congleton - George SKELLERN of Congleton, 28 August 1895, 72, Ellen, w, 20 March 1898, 63, William SLATER, 22 February 1897, 57, Ellen, d, 15 August 1897, 9yrs, Emma SLATER, 4 December 1924, 78 ... ??
... and where was Hannah?

1841 census Hannah Birchall (1780-1844) age 60, was in Hawk Street, with her 4 Birchall girls - Ann (1811-) aged 30?, Mary (1816-) aged 25, Harriet (1819-) aged 20 and Emma (1821-) aged 20 ... all 4 girls were working in the silk mills. But Ann Birchall (1811-) aged 30 born in 1811? ... maybe Ann Birchall (1806-) who had married Edward Clough (1808-36) 1828? In 1841 Edward Clough had died and Ann was a widow living with mum and still in silk?
Or could be Ann Birchall (1811-) daughter of Robert Birchall (1787-) & Frances Clark (-), married Geroge Brocklehurst (-) ... Robert Birchall (1787-) was the son of Randle (1741-) son of Randle (1705-)

1851 census John Birchall (1780-1857) widower, born in Wybunbury, living with daughter Emma (1821-), 29, born in Sandbach, unmarried, Stay Stitcher. They were living at Crown Bank, and at 71 years of age, John still described himself as working in the mills as a Silk Throwster ... his birth place was Wybunbury. Emma, at the age of 36, married 35 year old John Cox, in 1857 the year her dad died. By 1851 John was on his own, Hannah had died in 1844. Hannah died tragically 6½ hours after a 'strangulated hernia' operation, she was 63. John, a silk worker, was present at her side when she died. That made Hannah's birth date 1780.

All fitting nicely ... confusion cracked!

So who were the Martin family ... worth a closer look?


Enter the Barthomley Birchalls    

Our John & Hannah Birchall pain had been compounded by a third coupling ...

 Thomas Birchall (1821-) son of John & Hannah baptised 29 July 1821 Barthomley ... this guy was the son of -

John Birchall (1793-1863), son of Thomas, baptised 17 March 1793 Wybunbury
married Hannah Lawson (1792-1863) 7 Nov 1817 Barthomley ... the Astbury Birchall gang had a branch in Barthomley!

But there were Barthomley Birchalls before - Sarah Birchall (1766-1822) married Robert Smith (-) 5 Feb 1788 Wybunbury ... witnesses Thomas Birchall and Mary Tomlison ... this was Sarah Birchall (1766-1822) daughter of Thomas Birchall (1733-) son of William & Mary who married Sarah Hilditch (-) of Barthomely in 1756.daughter of Thomas Birchall (1733-) son of William & Mary who married Sarah Hilditch (-) of Barthomely in 1756.

5th October 1774 – Thomas Birchall (widower) Wheelwright married Jane Nodin/Noden (widow) at Barthomley. Jane Nodin was Sarah’s stepmother.

1789 Jane Key/Nodin/Birchall- Sarah’s first stepmother- died on 1st April- a year after Sarah married Robert Smith.
Sarah’s father then married for a third time:

Thomas Birchall (1733-1802) Widower Wheelwright aged 57 married Mary Clows (1763-) age 27 on 790 20th June 1790 Barthomley ... Thomas signed his name and Mary made her mark X
So Sarah Smith (nee Birchall) lost her own mother when she was 4 years old and subsequently had 2 step mothers. Sarah’s father died in 1802:
Thomas Birchall died 11th Feb1802 aged 69 - Wheelwright, buried at Barthomley 14th Feb 1802.        

Also Sarah Birchall married Thomas Jones (-) 14 April 1789 Barthomley?

It looked as if there was a gang of Barthomley Birchalls with an undiscovered sire a Ralph or a Thomas?


Birchall Brothers BuildersThere were other interesting Birchalls around Middlewich including some enterprising builders recorded in Kellys Directory in 1902.

In 1956 the Winsford Chronicle published a fine obituary of Edward Birchall (1889-1956) who lived for 60 years at 16 Darlington Street, Middlewich. He joined the firm in 1905 founded by his father Edward Birchall and his uncle William Birchall around 1899. He was 47 years with the firm constructing extensive and prestigious buildings throughout Cheshire.

The papers reported on the Birchall Builders pre 1897 construction of stables and fire station in Middlewich and the marriage od Edward Birchall to Lena Mabel Hulme the only daughter of George Hulme well known trades man of Wheelock Street, Middlewich.

Edward Birchall MI

Founding Birchall Brothers of Middlewich were Edward & William sons of William Birchall (1790-) Wheelwright

Edward Birchall (1889-1956) MI reads -

George (1861-1935) husband of Alice A Hulme passed away 2 Feb 1935 and Alice A Hulme (1864-1957) passed away 12 Feb 1957 aged 93 and Beatrice Alice (1886-1963) passed away 3 April 1963 aged 77 and George Edward Nelson Birchall (1932-1942) RN son of Edward and Lena Mabel Birchall lost at sea 5 Aug 1942 aged 20
Edward (1889-1957) husband of Lena Mabel Birchall passed aged 67 and Lena Mabel Birchall (1890-1965) passed away 10 Jan 1965 aged 75

Barthomley Birchalls ex 1655367 -

Thomas Birchall (-) baptised

John Birchall (-) baptised
 married Mary Lowe (-) 30 Nov 1732 ... (1655367) ...

Thomas Birchall (-) baptised
married Jane Nodin (-) 5 Oct 1774 ... (1655367) ...

William Birchall (1696-1736) son of Thomas baptised 13 Oct 1696 Barthomley ... (1655367) ...
married Mary Clowes (1695-)

Thomas Birchall (1732-1802) baptised
married Sarah Hilditch (1729-70)
married Mary Clows (-) 20 June 1790 ...(1655367) ...

Ralph Birchall (1763-1842) baptised
married Mary Ashley (1757-1844) 30 June 1787 ... (1655367) ...

William Birchall (1791-1888) born 1791 ... died ?? 
married Sarah Gallimore (1791-1854) 16 Jan 1815 Barthomley... (1655396) ... original ... Wheelwright
1851 census William (1791-) aged 60 Wheelwright employing men, Sarah (1795-) aged 56, William (1832-) age 19 Wheelwright at home, Ellen Gallimore (1764-) aged 87 mother-in-law Pauper, Elizabeth Biddulph (1838-) aged 13 niece Staffordshire  

William Birchall (1831-1901) born 9 May 1831 ... died 8 June 1901 
married Sarah Rowley (-)

Frederick Birchall (1853-) born

Edward Birchall (1855-) born Barthomley
married Annie (-) from Wrexham 1883

children -
Mary Birchall (1884-)
Ellen Birchall (-)
Edward Birchall (1889-1957) ... died 12 Feb 1957
married Lena Mabel Hulme (1889-1965) born 25 Jan 1889 ... died 10 Jan 1965  
son George Edward Nelson Birchall (-) RN died 15 Aug 1942 aged 20
Samuel Birchall (1892-)

George (1861-1935) born ... died 2 Feb 1935
married Alice A Hulme (1864-1957) born ...

Sarah Ann (1860-) sister Grocer

William Birchall (1864-) son of William & Sarah baptised 1 June 1864 Barthomley
married Elizabeth (1865-)

1911 census at 16 Darlington Street, Middlewich - Edward Birchall (1855-) from Barthomley aged 55, Builder & Contractor, Annie (1855-) from Wrexham aged 55 married in 1883 and kids all born in Haslington, 2.5 miles down from Wheelock, Ellen (1887-) aged 23, Edward (1890-) aged 21 Joiner working with his dad and Samuel (1892-) aged 18 Commercial Clerk also working in the business ... a 4th child not at home.

1901 census filled in more details eldest child was Mary Birchall (1884-) aged 16 Drapery Apprentice born in Haslington ... Living next door was Edward's young brother William Birchall (1864-) Builder born Barthomley aged 36 with wife Elizabeth (1865-) born Hassall aged 36 with son Alfred (1892-) aged 9 born Haslington

1881 census Edward (1856-) aged 24, unmarried Carpenter from Barthomley, was in Haslington with sister Sarah Ann (1860-) aged 20 Grocer
next door was Edward's elder brother Frederick Birchall (1853-) aged 27, Carpenter from Barthomley and wife Annie (1855-) aged 25 from Alsager with daughter Florence Ann (1880-) aged 8 months

1871 census tied the family together in Barthomley, Wybunbury Father William Birchall (1790-) aged 80 Widower, Wheelwright with son William Birchall (1831-) aged 39 Carpenter & Wheelwright, Sarah Birchall (1832-) aged 38, daughter-in-law, Dressmaker, Frederick Birchall (1853-) aged 17 grandson, Apprentice Wheelwright, Edward Birchall (1856-) aged 14, George Birchall (1858-) aged 12,  Sarah Ann (1860-) aged 10,

1861 census at Smith Green Cottage Barthomley William aged 70, William (1831-) aged 29 & Sarah (1832-) aged 28 Frederick (1853-) aged 7, Edward (1856-) aged 4 George (1858-) aged 2 Sarah Ann (1860-) aged 10 months ... and one servant nurse.

1851 census at Smith Green, Barthomley William Birchall (1790-) aged 60 Master Wheelwright, wife Sarah (1794-) aged 56 and son William (1831-) aged 19, Wheelwright ... plus mother-in-law Ellen Gallimore (-) aged 87 and niece Elizabeth Biddulph (1838-) aged 13
Elizabeth Biddulph (1838-) daughter of Noah Biddulph & Elizabeth baptised 8 April 1838 Audley Staffs
married William Leighton (-) 1861 Kidsgrove ...
Noah Biddulph (-1859) married Elizabeth Gallimore (-) 5 June 1836 Macclesfield ... (1656952) ...
Noah Biddulph (-1859) Boatman died 25 April 1859 Kidsgrove  ... probate to widow Betty 
1861 census - mother born in Barthomley now a widow and daughter together in Kidsgrove

Not the Gallimores -- 1861 census - Elizabeth Biddulph (-) Silk Hand aged 25 born in Biddulph appears with mother Elizabeth Mitchel (-) aged 46 with siblings, Mary (-) aged 21 both born Biddulph and Lettice (-) aged 16 born Hyde ... and Sarah Beech (-) aged 12 born Buglawton??
oh dear ... also an Elizabeth Biddulph born 9 Sept 1825, baptised 6 Oct 1825 non-conformist daughter of William Biddulph Silk Weaver and Elizabeth Bullen ... Prestbury Macclesfield ... not our lot !!??  

1841 census at Smith Green Barthomley William (1790-) aged 50 Wheelwright

William Birchall (1790-) son of Ralph & Mary, baptised 27 Feb 1791 Barthomley ... 

Ralph Birchall (1764-1842) son of Thomas, baptised 1764 Barthomley
married Mary Ashley (-) 30 Jan 1787 Barthomley (1655367) ... children Ralph ... Hannah ...
died 1 May 1842 aged 78

Ralph Birchall (1797-) son of Ralph & Mary, baptised 2 Jan 1797 Barthomley ...  (1655367)

1851 census Ralph Birchall (1797-) aged 55 was at Odd Rode, Hall Green, Sandbach a Carpenter with wife Hannah aged from Kidsgrove ... kids Eliza aged 16 ... Dinah aged 14 ... and George aged 8 ... all born in Kidsgrove ... 2.5 miles away ... 6.5 miles from Barthomley ...

Thomas Birchall (1732-) son of William & Mary, baptised 30 Jan 1732 Barthomley (1655367)

B6. William Birchall (1735/6-75/6), 31 March 1775/6, aged 40
To whose memory this stone was erected
by John Crewe, Esq, of Bolesworth Castle
who he faithfully served 15 years

1841 census Union Street, Sandbach - there was another James Birchall (1781-) Coal Dealer, married Ann (1791-) children Maria (1826-) Ann (1826-) Emma (1827-) 3 girls were Silk Throwsters plus 2 more school girls Harriet (1831-) Louisa (1834-)


Samuel Birchall (1865 - 1958) born in Barthomley, Cheshire, England on 23 Oct 1865 to William Birchall (1831-1901) and Sarah Rowley (1833-91). Samuel Birchall had 2 children. Frederick Arthur Birchall (1903-71) and William Birchall
(1899-) Died 04 Oct 1958 Alsager, Cheshire, England.

Hannah Birchall (1799 - 1890) born in Barthomley, Cheshire, England 19 May 1799 to Ralph Birchall and Mary Ashley. Hannah Birchall married William Proudman and had 6 children. She passed away on April 1890 in Wolstanton, Staffordshire. Ralph Birchall (1763-1842) Mary Ashley (1765-1844) children - Lewis Proudman (1837-1923). William Proudman (1827-1905), James Proudman (1830-), Samuel Proudman (1832-), Hannah Proudman (1834-), Dinah Proudman


St Bertoline, Barthomley -

Thomas Birchall (1694) son of Thomas, baptised 27 Mar 1694

William Birchall (1696) son of Thomas, baptised 13 Oct 1696

Elisha Birchall (1705-) son of Thomas, baptised 12 Aug 1705

Matthew Birchall (1706) son of Thomas, baptised 21 Sep 1706

John Birchall (1707) son of Thomas, baptised 21 Feb 1707

William Birchall (1710) son of Thomas, baptised 30 Apr 1710

Thomas Burchall (1732-) son of William & Mary, baptised 30 Jan 1732     

William Burchall (1735-) son of William, baptised 15 Feb 1735

William Burchall (1735-) son of John, baptised 30 Nov 1735

John Burchall (1742-) son of John, baptised 12 Dec 1742

John Burchall (1743-) son of Robert, baptised 5 Apr 1743

Thomas Burchall (1758-) son of Thomas, baptised 21 May 1758

William Burchall (1760-) son of Thomas, baptised 14 Sep 1760

Ralph Burchall (1763-) son of Thomas, baptised 21 Aug 1763  

John Burchall (1779-) son of Ann, baptised 21 Jun 1779

William Burchall (1791-) son of Ralph & Mary, baptised 27 Feb 1791

Ralph Burchall (1797-) son of Ralp & Mary, baptised 2 Jan 1797

Thomas Burchall (1812-) son of Mary, baptised 12 Jan 1812

John Burchall (1824-) son of Ellen, baptised 21 Jun 1824

Ralph Burchall (1834-) son of Ellen, baptised 21 Sep 1834

MI - B26. Sarah Birchall (1833-91), wife of William Birchall of Barthomley, 30 April 1891, aged 58
William Birchall (1830-1901), above, 3/8 June 1901, 70

- Frederick Birchall (1853) son of William & Sarah, baptised 10 May 1853

- Edward Birchall (1857) son of William & Sarah, baptised 22 Mar 1857

- George Birchall (1859-) son of William & Sarah, baptised 19 Jun 1859

- William Birchall (1864) son of William & Sarah, baptised 1 Jun 1864



Conclusions without ends   

John Birchall Father?John Birchall (1780-1857) son of Robert (1747-) baptised 13 Feb 1780 Wybunbury (FHL film no. 1850127 and 1647852 may identify his family?)
married Hannah Martin and was in silk and not -

John Birchall (1779-1850) son of James (1741-) baptised 24 Sep 1779 Sandbach (FHL film no. 1751911 and 1751911 may identify his family?)
married Hannah Steele and was a yeoman. 

Soooo ... John Birchall (1780-1857) married Hannah Martin (1780-1844) was the Cousin of John (1779-1750), son of James (1741-), who married Hannah Steele (1780-1834) ... and the Uncle of John Birchall (1793-), grand son of Robert (1747-), who married Hannah Lawson (-).

Three Hannahs married three Johns sired from two sons of Robert (1709-) of Bridgemere - James (1741-) and Robert (1747-) ... a third son Samuel (1743-) we know well from Lynda Burke's research ... and there was also an interesting fourth son; Thomas (1735-) maybe the famous Nantwich clock maker ... or maybe not ... our next target to investigate?

John Birchall (1780-1857) was our 4xgreat-grandfather ... sweating through the parchments we confidently traced our lineage from Dad George (1907-85) to Granddad George W (1875-1960) then Edward (1854-1903) then William (1831-60) then James (1802-63) then John (1780-1857) of Wybunbury.

These guys & gals we knew well, the older ones worked in the silk mills and the youngsters worked with wood. Once we had cleared some of the fog around three Johns who married three Hannahs around 1800 we had a  family line back to 1780.  

But what of earlier times? The only clue we had of the early escapades with a modicum of confidence from our 2017 research was that our 4xgreat-grandfather was John Birchall (1780-1857) son of Robert, baptised in Wybunbury on 13 Feb 1780.

Robert 1747Robert of Wybunbury ... ?

So who was Robert Birchall the father of our John Birchall (1780-1857) probably born around 1750? Where was he from? Who did he marry? When did he die? Was he a farmer? What brought him to Wybunbury? Probably farming rather than silk?

Robert Birchall (1747-1807) son of Robert, baptised 17 March 1747 Wybunbury ... making him 33 when our John (1780-1857) was born ... ?

Was this our man?

So what of those Early Birchalls and their earlier times?


George BirchallBirchall Name

The names were rampant - Birchall, Birtles, Birtle, Burcham, Bircher, Birdsall, Barnhill, Birch, Birdwell, Birchard ... Birchwall, Birchal, Burchall, Birchell, Birchill, Berchall, Barchall, Brichall, Byrchall, Birchale, Bruchall, Bircholl, Borchall, Birchwell, Birchwale, Birchill, Buirchell, Brichalli, Berchalli, Borchalli, Buirchill, Birchly, Burchal, Birchel, Bruchal, Borchal, Berchal, Birchol, Barchal, Brichal ... and called names didn't help, everyone was a Tom, Dick or Harry ... and worse still Toms, Dicks & Harrys ran in families.

Birchall was a locational or habitational English surname, from Biekel, the original spelling of the Lancashire village of Birtle, Bury, Greater Manchester. The meaning of the Birchall place name was Birch Hill from the pre 7th century Olde English birc - hyl. Such surnames were given for the identification of somebody who had left his original village and moved elsewhere.

Birchall was first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1246. In 1401 the family name appearer with John de Birchall de Birtles in the rolls of Gawsworth District of East Cheshire, during the reign of King Henry IVth of England, 1399 - 1413. Surnames became 'requirements' when Henry IV introduced personal taxation and his infamous Poll Tax ... and inevitably surnames regularly changed, confusing family historians as well as tax collectors!

Birchall DensityThe earliest wills at Chester were from Richard Birchall, of Parr, 1581. James Birchall, of Winwick; 1591. Geoffrey Birchall, of Croft, in Winwick, 1614.

Later Birchill appeared in Derbyshire and Staffordshire? But in 1891 69% of all Birchalls in the census were living in Lancashire.

Little doubt that the Birchalls came down to Cheshire from Lancashire, perhaps down the ancient saltways ... a route also well trodden by the Hindleys from Hindley - Winwick - Warrington - Antrobus - Great Budworth.

The modern Birchall name 'density' maps still indicate the clear diaspora from Birtle, Bury, Wigan south east to Prescot and south west Leigh and south south through Ashton and Winwick then over the river at Latchford into Cheshire ... the ancient saltway ... and on to Staffordshire.

Some East Cheshire Birchalls trekked into the mills from Staffordshire ... maybe from Talke Pits ... there was Birchall Meadows near Leek, and a Grange at Birchall in 1246, and Big Birchall at Chedderton, and a Great Birchall farm of Dieulacres Abbey, and a Birchall Horse Mill, and by 1833 there was horse racing at Birchall Dale ... 

The Birchalls also traveled afar ... London for sure ... but not many to Scotland nor Wales and few crossed the Penninens ... and France was almost taboo ... but the New World, Canada, Australia. New Zealand and South Africa were unsurprising destinations.

We tried the DNA analysis but the Birchall ancestral lineage very soon became very difficult ... almost meaningless and certainly not meaningful ... sure, the more similar the DNA the more closely were the owners related ... but the muddle made fathoming lineage well nigh impossible -

every generation the name risked change as spellings & sounds were unstable

none Birchall mates always supplied 50% of the DNA of the next generation

very very soon we were all marrying not so distant cousins 

... all was a bugger's muddle ...


Our Neck of the WoodsEarly Birchalls in Cheshire in the 17th century -

Our Cheshire Birchalls probably moved with their genes from the parishes of Lancashire ... migrations which seemed to have left a record in surnames. We can trace possible routes through the Parishes which our Birchalls may have followed ... but we can't be sure of the pathway, the written evidence very soon gets very blurry ... all we know for sure was that our very own Birchalls ended up in Cheshire ... our neck of the woods !

Winwick St Oswald - West Derby Hundred, Warrington Union & Registration - towns Ashton-in-Makerfield, Croft with Southworth, Lowton, Newchurch, Newton-in-Makerfield later separate parishes and Arbury, Haydock, Houghton, Middleton and Arbury, Winwick with Hulme, Kenyon, Middleton, Myddleton, Risley, Hulme.

Wybunbury St Chad - Nantwich Hundred, Union & Registration - towns Basford, Batherton, Blakenhall, Bridgemere, Checkley with Wrinehill, Chorlton, Doddington, Hatherton, Hough, Hunsterson, Lea, Rope, Shavington with Gresty, Stapeley, Walgherton, Weston, Wybunbury, Willaston.

Astbury St Mary - Northwich & Macclesfield Hundreds, Congleton Union & Registration - chapelry Congleton St Peter - towns Congleton, Astbury-Newbold, Buglawton, Davenport, Hulme-Walfield, Moreton with Alcumlow, Odd Rode, Radnor, Smallwood, Somerford (Northwich) and Eaton, Somerford-Booths (Macclesfield).

Sandbach St Mary - Nantwich & Northwich Hundred, Congleton Union & Registration - chapelries Church-Hulme, Goostrey with Barnshaw - towns Arclid, Betchton, Blackden, Bradwall, Cotton, Cranage, Hassall, Sandbach, Twemlow, Wheelock, Leese.

Middlewich St Michael - Northwich & Eddisbury Hundreds, Northwich Union & Registration - towns Byley with Yatehouse, Clive, Croxton, Kinderton with Hulme, Middlewich, Minshull-Vernon, Mooresbarrow with Parme, Newton, Occlestone, Ravenscroft, Sproston, Stublach, Sutton, Wimboldsley, Leese, Weever.

Great Budworth St Mary - Bucklow, Eddisbury, Northwich Hundred, Runcorn Union & Runcorn, Northwich, Altringham Registration - chapelries Witton-cum-Twambrooks St Helen, Little Leigh, Lower Whitley, Lower Peover - towns Allostock, Anderton, Antrobus, Appleton, Aston-by-Budworth, Bartington, Barnton, Birches, Comberbach, Castle-Northwich, Crowley, Dutton, Hartford, Hulse, Lach-Dennis, Little-Leigh, Lostock-Gralam, Marbury, Marston, Nether-Peover, Northwich, Peover-Inferior, Plumbley, Pickmere, Seven Oaks, Stretton, Tabley-Inferior, Whitley-Inferior, Whitley-Superior, Wincham, Winnington.

and those who came from the South ....

Wolstanton St Margaret - Pirehill Hundred, Wolstanton & Burslem Union - chapelry Newchapel - towns - Branscliff,  Brieryhurst, Chatterley, Chesterton, Dales Green, Golden Hill, Great Chell, Greenfield, Harrisea Head, Kidsgrove, Knutton, Little Chell, Oldcott, Ranscliff, Red Street, Sandyford, Stadmoreslow, Thursfield, Tunstall, Wainlee and Wedgwood.

Audley St James - Pirehill Hundred, Newcastle-under-Lyme Union. Another church Talk-o'-th'-Hill - towns - Audley, Bignall End, Halmer End, Knowle End, Park End, Eardley End and Talke.
Adjoining the ancient parishes - Barthomley and Church Lawton in Cheshire, and Wolstanton, Keele, Madeley and Betley in Staffordshire. 


Sandbach CrossesFrom Land to Mill

Sandbach, around this time, was a developing hive of activity and the names on the High Street in the 1841 census, were mirrored in the Trade Directories, Pigot's of 1822 listed Robert Birchall, the Blacksmith, John Dickinson, the Shoe Manufacturer, George Furnival, the Plumber & Glazier, John Steele, the Grocer, John Stringer, the Builder ... and John Bull & Co, Silk Manufacturers ... was that where they all worked?

For sure, way way, back ancient Birchall ancestors worked on the land, because everybody worked on the land and, for certain, some bright Birchall sparks left the land and picked up skills, and we know some of the Birchall lineage were bright because they had surviving descendants. We also know for certain some of the lineage acquired woodworking skills, which always seemed to be in demand ... the younger gang of our Birchalls, George William, Edward & William were all joiners ... the older gang of our Birchalls, James, John & Robert/James were silk throwsters ...

We know that after John Clayton started throwing silk in 1752 many folk gravitated to the silk mills in Congleton ... there were good jobs to be had ... perhaps like so many others before & since, Robert/James was looking for lucrative work to support a wife & family ... and perhaps he found it at the Brook Mill just off High Street where the Arclid Brook flows down to join the Wheelock?

John Barker has produced a wonderful website about the Birchall/Birchenoughs but so far the link from his lot to our lot has been elusive ... but we can imagine the trek from the fields to the mills so interestingly described by John ... perhaps from the rich agricultural crescent of the North Shropshire moraines;  Wrenbury, Audlem, Madeley up to the Congleton mills & Buglawton via Barthomley, the Talke Pits and ancient Astbury; and then indirectly down the Dane to Middlewich via the Arclid Brook, the Wheelock and Sandbach, with some stopovers on the railways in Crewe ... a fascinating genetic migration of hard working folk looking for jobs ... perhaps if we fail to follow the route via the rotting records of baptisms, marriages & burials in the parish churches, we can, for sure, follow the indelible marks of the DNA unwittingly left behind by the Birchalls ... because that DNA is alive and kicking today ...

A good story came from John Barker ...

When we have the time we will understand the Birchall DNA trace from the land to the mill ... because a sample of the DNA of the folk who made this trip is still available ... QED?

Sooo the best story came from George Birchall (1907-1985) and we had a sample of his Birchall DNA!


Reginald BirchallWe found one skeleton in the cupboard Reginald Birchall (1866-90), a farm pupil sent to Canada to learn by his clergyman father.  A conman, a flash dude full of wild pranks extravagantly acquired the name Lord Somerset.  Born into a wealthy family in Lancashire, England, Birchall entered the Lincoln College, Oxford in 1885. While at Lincoln, Birchall spent his time partying and incurring debt, and founded the Black & Tan Club. In 1888 he paid £600 for an estate in Woodstock, Ontario ... and found he had been duped. Birchall then concocted a scheme to defraud several wealthy people. Advertising a London newspapers claiming to be the owner of a prosperous horse farm in Canada who was looking for investors. His plan was to take the money, place bets in the Derby horse race, and pay back the investors with his winnings.

However the savvy British investors wanted to inspect the Canadian farm and its financial records before investing ... and it all ended in murder ... 23 Feb 1890 ... Birchall was hanged on 14 Nov 1890.      

Read all about it ... we failed to find a family connection ...     


'The 50th Anniversary: The First Fifty Years of Brunner Mond & Co, 1873-1923', 1923.

'A Hundred Years of Alkali in Cheshire' by W F L Dick, 1973.

'100 Years of Recreation with Brunner Mond, ICI & Soda Ash Products: Winnington Park Recreation Club centenary, 1890-1990' by Paul Lavell.

'50 Years of Octel: 1938-1988'.

'The Octagon - Making the Magic Bullet: A History of Northwich Works 1939-1986' by Geoff H Buchan, 1986.

back to Birchall DNA


The Early Cheshire Birchalls -

Brilliant suggestions detailing the early Birchall ancestors in Cheshire came from Joe Pattinson and they sparked an interesting sequence of new possibilities ...

Thomas Birchall b 1641 Wybunbury = Mary Hewitt b 1645 Audley

1 William Birchall b 15 Mar 1670 Wybunbury = Ellinor Madew

- 1.1 William b 22 Nov 1694 - 1.2 Thomas b 5 Jun 1698 - 1.3 Francis b 26 April 1702 - 1.4 Randle b 8 July 1705 - 1.5 Robert Birchall b 15 Feb 1709 - 1.6 Thomas b 13 Aug 1712    (all born in Bridgemere)

Robert Birchall’s children (wife unknown?)

- 1.5.1 Thomas b 1735 - 1.5.2 Hannah b 1737 - 1.5.3 Sarah b 1739 - 1.5.4 James b 1741 - 1.5.5 Samuel b 1743 - 1.5.6 Robert b 1747      (all born Wybunbury)

Let's go ... and hope to discover more - The Early Cheshire Birchalls



Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact john p birchall